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Old July 1st, 2008, 05:32 PM   #1
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Finding A New Name For Wedding Videos

Due to a suggestion over here I am starting this thread to help a common problem for wedding movie makers world wide.

That problem is the "video" stigma of the 80s and 90s weddings videos. I know some reading this were operating back then and did NOT fall into the mass market stigmas of cheesy videos, so feel free to exclude yourself.

When people think "wedding video" they are NOT thinking about a cinematic presentation like what they see in theaters. Part of our craft, business, and part of the uphill climb we face is educating our clients regarding the new wave of cinematic wedding coverage.

Part of this public relations battle is poor quality upstarts, of which I once counted myself, cheap priced undercutters, and the decades long stigma of "wedding video."

While we cannot do anything about the business practices of others we can help eliminate the stigma of "video" with a shift in terminology. As the poster in the above thread suggested, what we need is to change the name, and to change the way our clients refer to us so that there is a mental shift. A separation between the cinematic and the static; the artistic and the lone balcony camera.

I do understand the desire we all have as individual businesses to distinguish ourselves and thus have a unique name for our product, but that can lead to the common adoption of none of the modern names and the persistence of the very phrase I'm attempting to obsolete.

So the question is, in order to abandon the video stigma, what should our craft be called. I have been trying to refer to my productions as "Cinematic Wedding Movies" though I reference video on my web site for search placement purposes.

What do you call your productions?

What would you like to call your productions but because you don't want to abandon your SEO pages you still use "wedding video." This is not an easy hurdle to overcome because organic search placements are free advertising, and google is the 800lb contender in the search business.

What do you call yourself? Travis C. referenced cinematographer. I have heard Directory of Photography (though that might confuse customers not familiar with film production terms). I use videographer though I understand that contributes to the problem by referencing "video."
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Old July 1st, 2008, 07:15 PM   #2
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Cinematographer and films are both used in my area. I on the other had prefer documentary style wedding versus the cinematic approach. The combination of the two makes for what we offer but everyone has their unique way of presenting the same thing, a wedding. One guy in my area cuts it all down to 45 minutes or less. The only part that isn't set to music is the vows, everything else is cinematic. The few inspiring people like Patrick M or Jason M seem to always raise the bar when in comes to cinematic weddings. It's really inspiring to watch their highlights.
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Old July 1st, 2008, 07:59 PM   #3
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If everybody started calling video something else overnight, the stigma or a whole new stigma would be created for this new word we use. While I agree that we need to try and separate our work from what is traditionally thought of as a wedding video, both by what we produce and how we market ourselves, how do you prevent those who are doing traditional 'wedding videos' from copying your tactics and diluting the term?

Photography had a big shift where photojournalism was huge and words like PJ and candid popped up on many sites very quickly. Did they all change styles that quickly or did many people learn what their clients wanted to hear and started using those catch phrases...?

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Old July 1st, 2008, 09:15 PM   #4
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I agree with Patrick. Unfortunately, if the industry starts to lean towards a new phrase or reference to what a wedding video is, everyone else is just going to pick that up and there's goes the exclusivity of it. We've had plenty of people in this area start up only because they bought a camera and wanted to make money. We were marketing ourselves as cinematic wedding videography and they started doing the same. The products were absolutely night and day, but all of sudden we're in the same category now.

I definitely am curious to see what others have to say on this topic. It's something that I constantly think about and am always working on new ways to SHOW what we do, no matter what people want to call it or what clients think wedding video is. I believe, in the end, your work is going to support your business and even if everyone is 'filming your wedding' , offering 'cinematic style' , your work just needs to stand out from the pack.

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Old July 1st, 2008, 10:17 PM   #5
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It gets them looking

I feel that if there is enough momentum brides will start looking to see what the big deal is and will search more sites. Invariably the better producers will get more jobs.

I agree that there will be those who mearly change thier "style" by just adding the latest catch phrase but I don't think status quo is helping.

I think people will be compelled to view different styles. As was mentioned Photo Journalistic was/is IN. How did it get there? Generating the buzz is worth every penny.

I explain on my site that we no longer call our product a wedding video. We prefer a wedding film because we use the timeless techniques found in hollywood productions. Less gimmicry etc.

I think the top of the heap reside here and a few other forums and being ahead of the curve will help. Just a shift may be enough to make people see there is a difference.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 01:15 AM   #6
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My personal opinion is to not worry about other people using terms like cinematic or film or whatever. If they decide to use it but they don't offer it, what can I do? Nothing. So why worry about it?

I see the point about not wanting everyone to call their productions cinematic, because chances are many of them are actually not very cinematic. But my point is don't worry about what you can't change.

I also think Mike has a very good point that the "video" industry needs some buzz and excitement so that brides will start viewing it as a top priority with their photography. If that means the local video "chop and burn" shop gets to call their edits "cinematic", then so be it. As long as the brides start calling me more I'm fine with that.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 02:00 AM   #7
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My productions has many names and they all have one purpose only and that is to score in google. Problem in Belgium is that people still call me the photographer when I arrive at a wedding and they don't care at all about terms like video/film/cinema or whatever, they just want someone to cover their wedding.

It might sound pessimistic but I prefer realistic, changing names (for my region that is) will never change the attitude at how clients will look at our work, it's a fact that I learned to accept. The only way to differentiate yourself is to display enough demo's to showcase your skills, get your prices right and do a lot of s.e.o. so they can find you on whatever video/photo related keyword they search for. It's just a matter to get their attention and only when you get to meet them try to show the difference between a documentary and cinematic style of working.

Here they prefer documentary style but I use some cinematic elements to keep it all together and that seems to work based on the reactions I get afterwards.

So for me names are not important, only what you stand for. Some time ago I found a site of a production company (don't recall the name anymore) who only had demo's on their site and contact info and that was it. They mainly did commercials and all demo's were for very big and known companies and they all looked amazing. For me this was a perfect example to not tell what you are about, just show them. The better you are, the less you have to talk about it.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 05:09 AM   #8
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call it whatever you want. Hell, call it Chevrolet (the name might be available pretty soon if the auto industry keeps doin' what it's doin'). What you call it doesn't matter. Film? I haven't shot fim since the 1980s maybe early 90's. I'm not filming, I'm taping. Different medium although film is coming back in. You know, the old 3 /12 minute cassette.

It's the WORK-the quality of the work that matters. Just like back in the cheesy old 80's those that produce GOOD quality work get the work, those that don't go on to eventually doing something else.

I'm proud to be a VIDEOGRAPHER. I use TAPE, I don't FILM anymore, and I'm not a CINEMATOGRAPHER. I tape mainly in the doc/journalistic style but do use some CIMEMATIC effects in my wedding videos. There I said it. VIDEO. That's what they are right? Not a film.

Nitpicking a bit here and having some early morning fun but to me it really doesn't matter what it's called-just make sure you spell my name right on the check!


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Old July 2nd, 2008, 09:26 AM   #9
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Names are always a funny point. Its like people in my office job like to give themselves a fancy title for what is a pretty simple job.

I think here in the UK were best known as wedding videographers. This is the term all over our site for search purposes and calling ourselves anything else may confuse people. One person is a wedding videographer, then cinematographer then something totally bizzare.

If we do look to change the title it should be a standard one but I personally feel wedding videographer is more than acceptable.

I say stick to videographer but if you use other terms for marketing reasons then thats your bag. Personally, just confuses things.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 09:29 AM   #10
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Don put it so eloquently.. but still...

I'm an unapologetic wedding videographer.

I understand your point and see where you are coming from. But a shift in nomenclature would do nothing if the work remains bad.

I would stick to wedding video and change perceptions via saturating the market with really good ones.

Of course our perceptions may differ because we are in different markets in different parts of the world. I see a lot of complaining of how video is undervalues and short-changed in Northern America. I don't see that as much recently here in the Philippines.

I feel that our market has matured enough. The video-only companies are thriving, the good ones of course. Five years ago, the norm was photo-video studios (real crappy video thrown in for convenience and extra profit) by the photogs. But the local videogs worked hard and raised the bar until the market found out that they can have options apart from the usual studios. All without a change in terminology.

We are a country smaller than California, but there's a lot of weddings to go around for everybody. I'm proud to say even if couples don't get our services ;-), they'll still have a great wedding video done by my peers.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 11:24 AM   #11
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You hit the nail on the head. Calling what we do by another name we still do what we do. It's up to US to raise the bar, put out the best possible job we can every time and do the right customer service. That means educating our clients to what we do. Meaning, when they, the client understands what we do and the VALUE of it, then we can do a couple of things. 1) Get more work 2) get rid of the people in the industry who are out only for the fast buck and couldn't care less about the quality of workmanship they deliver (they hurt all of us) and finally, we can justify raising prices to where they should be. What ever that is in your market.
Why is some people in the business can charge 4 or 5 grand and more and most can't touch that in their market? Perceieved value of the work. The old saying that a VW and a Rolls Royce both get you to the same place in about the same time-but why does 1 cost $200,000 and the other $20,000? Percieved value in the customers mind. (among other things of course ;-)
IMO it's up to us to raise the bar and no matter what you call it, it's still a wedding video to people.

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Old July 2nd, 2008, 11:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Nitpicking a bit here and having some early morning fun but to me it really doesn't matter what it's called-just make sure you spell my name right on the check!
Well put. Part of the reason this has been stewing in the back of my mind is that my wife's cousin got married a year ago. I admit partly because I was too expensive, but the family choose a local guy who sat up in the balcony with an XL2, didn't move and never talked with the couple the entire day. He did show up going hand held for the cake & toasts, and that was it. But that family told me they hired a videographer, like me. So When I look at what end product they will have vs what I could have produced, it kind of pains me to know that they don't even know the difference. If they don't know the difference yet know I've been in the business (at that point about 3 years), how much more so will any other bride?

So I guess part of my reason for this topic is the selfish "but I need to call it something else or else I won't even get the first phone call" attitude. But I do understand your points too.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 12:36 PM   #13
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A bit off topic but in my experience friends and family are the worst to worry about when it comes to what you do. 99% of our friends and family have gone the cheap route with photography and videography, despite what they know about us and the industry. It's like that old saying in the Bible. A prophet isn't respected (or something like that) in his own town.

I actually did do the video for my brother-in-law's wedding. 3 camera shoot AND I was a groomsmen. I put a lot of time and effort into the product and despite asking on multiple occasions I never got a testimonial ... and this is from family. 2 years later we're all sitting around talking about our industry with the family and how some people have different priorities in regards to photography and videography. My brother-in-law opens his mouth and actually says, "Yeah, I didn't really care about our photography or videography. I never really watch the video or look at the pictures."

Now first of all, it's pretty stupid to say something like that in front of the guy who busted his butt and worked for free to get you a nice wedding video. But moreover it proves the point that people just have different priorities, and even if they receive an excellent product they might not appreciate it.

So back to the topic at hand, I don't think the market is just going to suddenly start respecting video more if we start calling it film or whatever. People are still going to have different priorities. I think the difference is that in the short term you can maybe help set yourself apart from others in your market by what you call yourself. Eventually everyone may start using the same terms, and so what. You can't change that. But in the short term maybe you get a little extra interest because you offer wedding "films" when everyone else is offering wedding "videos".
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 12:38 PM   #14
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I fully understand what you're saying. One thing I do for the nephews and neices in my family is offer a 'family discount'. I still get paid just not at 100%. Hey, they're family. I would never do it for free either. If they don't pay something they don't appreciate it.

Back to point though.

Some people I've dealt with over the years (some booked and others not) have said to me, 'we can book so and so for less money and he does the same thing.' No he doesn't. Take the same footage, give it to 10 videographers and you'll get 10 different edits. We all see things differently in our minds eye. We have differences in edit style as well as shooting style. Can I do what Jason M or Patrick M does? Maybe, maybe not. Can I do what Mark and Trisha VonLanken do? Maybe, maybe not. Put us all in the same room, you too-get in here, and we'll all shoot the same wedding. Man what a deal that would be. Anyway you know like me that the client would get very differing finished products.
I guess my point is changing what we call what we do isn't the answer. It's a percieved value in the mind of the customer that WE have to overcome with the customer. When they say why do you charge what you charge and this guy over here charges a lot less for the "same" thing it's up to us to overcome that by educating the customer on what we do.
I dunno, I just don't feel that changing the name of what we do is the answer. I wish I had the answer, I'd be rich, selling the answer to everyone else ;-) but I can tell you that after all the years in the business it's still videography to me ;-O
BTW, if YOU come up with the answer let me know and I'll be more than happy to be your agent and we can sell it to every wedding videographer in the country and both get rich and never have to shoot another wedding in our lives! lol!

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Old July 2nd, 2008, 03:27 PM   #15
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Having probably inadvertently nudged this idea in earlier postings, I've been contemplating it...

A couple thoughts -

"video" - this is what every joe bob with a $150 camera takes, at least in perception - this is amateur hour stuff, the throwaway footage on the local cable channel or evening news.

"film" - that's what they USED to use to make...

"MOVIES" - people understand that term. That's REALLY what we are creating it's a "movie" (as opposed to a "still-ie"). This incorporates the idea of "cinematic"... and I suppose could include "documentary" style - they are all movies.

SO if you tell a couple you're creating a personalized custom movie of their day, not just "shootin' some video", I think that helps?

Then there's "production standards" - and I think this is where the perception comes in - we've all seen some of the incredible high production value output that you could put on a big screen and go "WOW", and we've seen the stuff that makes us cringe - bad edits. poor color, cheezy effects (and we probably all did THOSE at one time, all hands raised?).

The problem is there's simply no "standards" and no "bar" other than that which we set for ourselves, is it any wonder that it all gets lumped together? The guy shooting 3x $5K cams, the guy shooting 4 smaller HD cams, the guy shooting the HC3 with the lampshade, and uncle Bob all end up in the same hopper.

I guess we should think about how we "educate" the average "consumer/bride/ relative who will pay the bill" on what to expect and how to go about selecting a videographer. I've seen some short "guides" primarily for photography, but not much for video...

This gives me some ideas... something I've been toying with for a while... hmmmmm.
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