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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 23rd, 2008, 03:17 PM   #1
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Is it too late in the season to try to break into the wedding video business?

Hello, I am a full time E Media student here in Cincinnati at UC, and I'm about to purchase a used HVX for school use, as well as BMX stuff that I kind of do freelance wise outside of school. This summer I'll be interning locally for free, so I badly need some sort of additional income over my part time job. I've done about 4 wedding videos in the past 2 years on my VX2100 (with my friend has his VX also), and he suggested that we really try to make it a legit job for the duration of this spring/summer/fall on the weekends, and that he'd buy an HVX also if we could get this going.

But I have two questions I'd like answered if possible. First, if we undertook this, and offered "HD Wedding videos" even though it'd be recorded to tape, not P2, is it too late in the season to build clients? Have they typically already picked out their videographers for the summer?

And my other question is, how in the world do we even build clients? There's the obvious put flyer's/cards at wedding shops and stuff, but what is the single most effective way to get work? Online, Craigslist?

Any insight would be appreciated, because I'd love to make decent money this summer while buying/paying for my gear too. thanks!
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 03:31 PM   #2
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I was kind of in the same boat last year as I had a job that took up near 60 hours a week and just didn't have time to market. My entire marketing was just Craigslist/Kijiji ads and telling people what I was doing. What I found was that nine out of ten clients contacted me because they didn't think about video until the last minute, and in a last minute panic got on the online classified sites. I wound up with a jam packed August, but I didn't know that until July.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that people will pop up as the summer goes along, so it's not a lost cause.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 05:56 PM   #3
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Interesting. I would have said you probably don't stand much chance of drumming up business at this point, but every market is different. Looks like Matthew did alright with the last minute crowd. The last minute crowd usually wants a really cheap video, so as long as that fits you, maybe it could work.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:13 PM   #4
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It's never too late. I know for a fact the MAY 17th, SEPTEMBER 13 & 20TH, OCTOBER 11TH are some of the dates that I couldn't find anyone free to cover events in Cincinnati, so no it's not too late.

Good luck.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:37 PM   #5
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well that's good to hear. Is there any other marketing points that are viable, other than Craig's List?
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:54 PM   #6
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First, if we undertook this, and offered "HD Wedding videos" even though it'd be recorded to tape, not P2, is it too late in the season to build clients?
I have 2 things to say to this:

1) this may be overly anal of me, but if you're recording to tape and not P2 then it's not a HD wedding and that would be false advertisement. You somehow glossed right over that fact.

2) you never know till you try. Stop asking if it's too late and go try and drum up some business. You might want to secure some other type of basic employment as a backup plan if the weddings don't take off, but give it a shot.

If you've done a few weddings already then put the work online where people can have easy access to it and drive them to the site. I don't know how computer savvy you guys are, but if you've got a Mac with iWeb and a few bucks you can buy a domain name, pay less than $20 a month for web hosting, make a very simple website and have people seeing your work in no time. Your job is to figure out how to get them to the site.

Just, don't call it HD if it's not HD. Ok?
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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:10 AM   #7
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Just, don't call it HD if it's not HD. Ok?
For the weddingmarket, why not? Do you think that any client knows the difference, for them it's short for "high definition" and that's all they need to know. As I see it HD is a general used term also here in Europe to tell people you offer a format that plays best on their hd-ready or full hd tv. Maybe if you do music or advertisement videos the term has to be correct, otherwise?

@doug; eventhough in Europe it's different I also get requests the last moment and Travis was right about the fact that those last minute people want it cheap. :)
A website with demo's and your packages is the best way to start off quickly but make it look good, a amateur looking site make you look as an amateur as well. Consider wordpress, also easy a fast to set up and has great search engine optimisation.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #8
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Doug, yes, it is a bit late for 2008 but don't worry, like it was mentioned before, lot of people decide to add video at the last minute, and although they might want a cheaper package, it's still great way for you to build a portfolio.

I think the best advertising is to get to know the local vendors and venues. Of course this takes time. After you shoot at a venue send them a link to your video and hopefully they'll recommend you to future brides.

It might also be a good idea to get to know some local still photographers that would suggest your video services.

Good luck!
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Old April 24th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #9
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For the weddingmarket, why not? Do you think that any client knows the difference
I can see that you and I wont agree here.

I'll just say it's much like the guy selling Rolexes on the streets of Brooklyn. If you bought one of these watches and you didn't know it wasn't a Rolex but thought it was, would that be right? Probably a terrible analogy, but it's 1am here and my brain isn't working that well. Point is, it's just wrong any way you cut it to advertise one thing and deliver another. If you're shooting tape in a HVX200, you're shooting DV and therefore shouldn't advertise your product as HD. Period.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 01:41 AM   #10
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If you're shooting tape in a HVX200, you're shooting DV and therefore shouldn't advertise your product as HD. Period.
Maybe I misunderstand you, so if you have a canon xh-a1 for instance which records to tape as well you shouldn't advertise that you deliver in high definition? Or does the pana only record sd on a tape?
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Old April 24th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #11
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I now see the source of your confusion here Noa. This should help.

Doug stated that he has a HVX200 and that he was going to record to tape. That particular camera only records standard definition DV to tape. The only way you're going to get HD from that camera is to record to the P2 cards and I'm guessing they aren't doing this because they're a new company and don't have 1000's of dollars to spend on the necessary amount of cards to shoot a full day's events with 2 cameras and trust me, that's completely understandable.

The P2 price per GB situation has vastly improved in the last 2 years, but it's still kinda pricey for an event shooting 2 cameras. Let's say you were shooting 720p @ 24fps (native). Their 32BG card retails for $1,550 and holds around 80 minutes of footage. For me, I'd not feel comfortable going into battle without at least 5 hours of shooting time available per camera. That's 4 32GB cards at $1550 a pop per camera so he'd be looking at $12,400 just in P2 card cost if he went this route.

I know some will say you can offload cards in the field which is true given you lug around a laptop with you, and this might be feasible to a degree. You could most likely have your assistant offload the prep footage while manning the rear camera at the ceremony leaving those cards free for the reception, but even if you're comfortable doing this, you're still looking at 2 32GB cards per camera costing you $6200 plus the cost of a laptop.

Wait... why did I go off on this tangent?
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Old April 24th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #12
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yeah I guess I was under the same confusion as others in that, I thought the HVX recording to tape was the same as the A1 recording to tape. I dont own the HVX yet, I'm just looking for the right deal on DVXUser to purchase. But yeah, we're both full time students, so funds are very limited but wedding videography can be a very lucerative summer job, so that's why we're trying to jump in as quick as possible.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #13
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I have to agree with what was said here about false advertising.

It's one thing to mention that you shoot HD, which you are not if you record to tape on the HVX200, as only P2 recording will give you HD footage.

Now you don't mention what your final delivery format will be but I gather it's SD DVD, since you used to shoot with Sony VX cameras.
If it is SD DVD, then the other thing I have a real problem with saying is that your product is HD, when you are not delivering a final HD product. This really gets my goat, when many advertise that they do HD.. I know that HD is a hot buzz word. But to me it's false advertising if your final product isn't in a HD format

We do shoot in HDV using FX1's, but only advertise that we shoot in HD, but currently deliver in SD DVD Widescreen format. Which does produce a crisper, richer image when compared to shooting with SD cameras.

So unless you plan to deliver your final product on BLURAY (since HDVDD is dead), streaming HD video or on a hard drive, then I don't see it as being appropriate to advertise that your final product will be HD.

I don't want to sound like I'm preaching ethics or anything, but do believe in being as honest and upfront with people as I can be. It's just good business sense to me.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 11:02 AM   #14
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Doug stated that he has a HVX200 and that he was going to record to tape. That particular camera only records standard definition DV to tape. The only way you're going to get HD from that camera is to record to the P2 cards
Thanks ethan, that's clear enough for me. I actually didn't know that the hvx recorded only sd to cassette. Knowing that I can only agree with you earlier statement.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 11:09 AM   #15
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Guys, in Doug's defense, he did say that he was unaware that the HVX's tape based recording system (sounds official doesn't it) only did standard def.
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