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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 3rd, 2009, 02:38 AM   #1
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Hey0

Iím a young videographer looking to start a wedding videography business. My company will specialize in Cinematic High Definition wedding videos. I have spent countless hours drafting a business plan and have come up with a first draft. However there is always room for improvements, so I have come to you the DV info forum for help and advice. And I want to make enough money to pay for a both at a wedding show(s).

1) I plan on hiring a second camera operator (hvx). How much is it going to cost me to get a lawyer to draft up a contract? And a contract for the B&G to sign?

2) Any advice in getting a XH-A1 and an HVX to play together nicely? (Iím gonna use the panlook preset)

3) How do I start in the business without a wedding demo real? (Iím gonna shoot a love story with a couple I know)

4) Any tips on networking? (especially with other photographers/wedding planers/florists) ( Iím going to start a group on facebook, hope that helps)

5) Is your company a corporation or no?

Any other advice on starting a wedding videography business? (besides donít do it, lol)

Iíll probably have more questions to ask as they come to me. The post started to get to long.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 06:56 AM   #2
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Re: #3, find a couple that wasn't going to pay for video anyway and do it for free or at a very reduced rate. Then never work for that rate again.

Re #4, drop by every florist, linen rental company, reception venue, etc. that you can think off and drop off cards. You could also suggest trading links with other vendors and putting them on your website.

Re: #5, sole proprietorship, but I would check out the CRA and Ministry of Revenue websites to determine what business structure is right for you. Make sure your GST/PST/Business License is all worked out before you take in any money, because it is a pain to sort out after the fact.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:46 AM   #3
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Andrew - to start, I wouldn't invest a lot in advertising and promotion expenses. I would put your money into equipment and focus on producing one or two solid pieces of work that you can use to promote yourself. I'll echo Matthew's comment that other vendors are a great source of leads especially photographers if you develop a good relationship. Hiring help ( second shooter) is not a bad idea if you can afford it. You can search this forum and the web for sample contracts. Good luck!

Art
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 08:44 AM   #4
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Andrew, welcome to the world of wedding videography, I am pretty sure you will enjoy it. Creating portfolio is easy, just go to Kijiji Toronto (under Weddings), there are a lot of B & G with no budget looking for a videographer who wants to add something to their portfolio.

Toronto is a multicultural city, you can advertise on local newspapers catered to a particular community, this is where I get 50% of my bookings.

My 2 cents
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:31 AM   #5
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Hi Andrew,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McDowell View Post
I have spent countless hours drafting a business plan and have come up with a first draft.
Those hours are well spent but at this point your skills are the most important investment you can make right now. Find some examples of work you enjoy watching and emulate the camera control you're seeing, whether its handheld and edgy, or smooth and cinematic. Producing work that appeals to you is the long-term way to avoid burnout. Making something you don't personally see the value in is no fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McDowell View Post
3) How do I start in the business without a wedding demo reel?
The only time creativity will come through is after you mastered the basics, so work at a discount to build up your skills. Take whatever you can and get out in real-world situations so you get used to dealing with fast-moving situations. As Clint Eastwood Sr. said to his son early on: "Show 'em what you can do, and don't worry about what you're gonna get. Say you'll work for free and make yourself invaluable."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McDowell View Post
4) Any tips on networking? (especially with other photographers/wedding planers/florists) ( I’m going to start a group on facebook, hope that helps)

The best networking you can possibly have is past clients talking about you and your work. That means getting something on-line they can see as quickly as possible so they can start a buzz about you going. You need to not only be the first thing they that comes out of their mouth when they find out a friend is getting married but that friend should already know about you because they saw your work proudly being shared. The samples should be short and be one or all of the following: emotionally charged, fast paced, or have 'how does he do that?' camera movements and angles.

If there is anything I can do to help feel free to contact me personally.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:37 PM   #6
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You guys are quick!

Art,
I donít think Iíll be offering a one-camera package. This also ties in with Joelís comment about doing something you love. I donít think Iíd like to be editing a one-camera video a two-camera shoot would look much more professional and would allow me to do it more in my style. And as for watching others to emulate, absolutely, I have been watching as many wedding videos from the guys on DVinfo as possible. Also, I really like the idea of doing ďLove StorysĒ, its defiantly going to be my favorite part.

And as for buying more equipment, a few things Iím looking into are, a steadycam system, a cinematic adapter (M2) (should go well with my 24-70 and my 70-200 Canon L glass lenses), and of course a lapel mic.

Thanks Noel for that Idea. (Yeah Toronto). Noel youíll be hearing about me soon, lol.

And thanks for all the other ideas guys.

6) Is it hard to book wedding that arenít on Saturdays during the summer? ( Im only going to be doing summer wedding as Iím still in school).

7) will 24f (XH-A1) and 24p (HVX) work together in the same timeline? Will it work for both Premier Pro and Final Cut?
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #7
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About 1/3 of my weddings this summer are not on Saturday. I'm finding more and more are popping up which is nice because I would personally much rather work a Friday and have my Saturdays open. And I'm mostly in Toronto so that gives you a bit of an idea of what your market is like.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 02:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Craggs View Post
About 1/3 of my weddings this summer are not on Saturday. I'm finding more and more are popping up which is nice because I would personally much rather work a Friday and have my Saturdays open. And I'm mostly in Toronto so that gives you a bit of an idea of what your market is like.
I think this has to do with the recession, Banquet halls have cheaper pricing on a Friday/Sunday. I like Friday shoots as well, that means you can still shoot Saturday. I once did a marathon Friday/Saturday/Sunday for 2 weeks straight and would love do it again =).
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 03:44 PM   #9
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Hi Andrew, advertising is a big thing. Its only recently we did some figures to see where our bookings were coming from. I dindt think much came from our adverts but turns out its our biggest puller.

I cant recommend anywhere as ours are uk based so not much use to you.

We went down the "give out a freebie or two to build our demo disk" route. It worked well to get us going.

Make sure you post some of your work, this place is a great place to learn and grow. Note to self: Check out other forums on dvinfo.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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Andrew,
I am from Toronto too and besides various different production work, I have a separate wedding company that specializes in photo and cinema. I also use XH A1 and HV20.

To answer your questions.

HVX can work if you P2 cards and correct it later. It's a horrible camera if you film everything on tapes. I am sure you know that. At the end HVX works wonders if lighting is good. And yes you can work them together on same sequence. You will have to do work but in the end you can

Here is the thing with booking. Don't spend money in advertising. I have been in business for 2 years and I just did a small ad piece. Very very small. Your best bet is to get at least 3 weddings under your belt and use that promote yourself on facebook, tell your clients to share it with friends etc. It will take time to get off your feet but that's your best bet.






Art,
I donít think Iíll be offering a one-camera package. This also ties in with Joelís comment about doing something you love. I donít think Iíd like to be editing a one-camera video a two-camera shoot would look much more professional and would allow me to do it more in my style. And as for watching others to emulate, absolutely, I have been watching as many wedding videos from the guys on DVinfo as possible. Also, I really like the idea of doing ďLove StorysĒ, its defiantly going to be my favorite part.

And as for buying more equipment, a few things Iím looking into are, a steadycam system, a cinematic adapter (M2) (should go well with my 24-70 and my 70-200 Canon L glass lenses), and of course a lapel mic.

Thanks Noel for that Idea. (Yeah Toronto). Noel youíll be hearing about me soon, lol.

And thanks for all the other ideas guys.

6) Is it hard to book wedding that arenít on Saturdays during the summer? ( Im only going to be doing summer wedding as Iím still in school).

7) will 24f (XH-A1) and 24p (HVX) work together in the same timeline? Will it work for both Premier Pro and Final Cut?[/QUOTE]
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Old April 5th, 2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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1b) does anyone have any info on where I can look at contracts, to see what I'm looking at making?
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Old April 6th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #12
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Andrew, take a look at thеse links (it's just as an idea):

1) Wedding Video Contract
2) print a copy of our wedding video agreement contract
3) Free Copy Of A Typical Industrial, Corporate and Commercial Video Production Contract
4) ContractCentralģ Contracts & Agreements - Contract Central Inc
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Old April 10th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #13
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One aspect of the business that will make you successful is having good etiquette. It's so important to be respectful of not just the clients, but the other vendors at the event, even if they don't seem to be reciprocating the respect. Others will notice, and will speak highly of you behind your back.

There will be many occasions where the photographer or dj will think they are the best on earth, and could care less about you. For example, the photographer will knowingly step right in front of your camera, right at one of the most important parts of the wedding, just to get his shot, ruining it for you. If you lose your cool with him/her, it will most likely get back to the clients and probably other vendors at the event. Negative things said about you will only hurt, even if its coming from an idiot. Even if something doesn't go your way, try and always act professional and get on the good side of the other vendors, even if you don't like them (just bs them to be nice).

Once you have the whole business side of it down, such as your insurance, your invoicing system, contracts, marketing, etc... you need to focus on your product. Nothing will promote your business better than a video that just impresses the hell out of your clients. This includes your shooting style, your editing style, the content of the video, and of course the packaging (Cover, label, DVD Menu).

I was co-owner of a production company for years that primarily did high end wedding videos ($10k plus packages). When we would have potential clients over to show them our work, the first thing they would see was the cover and label of the disc, followed by the dvd menu of the video, which was my specialty. Before they even watched the video, they were extremely impressed and started the meeting on a very positive note... in fact I can't remember a single client that decided not to go with us after coming over to see our work. Of course there were clients that called on the phone, and after realizing they couldn't afford us, we never heard back from them. But those who were comfortable with our pricing always went with us.

I've since left that company and decided to launch my own website where I offer these motion menu templates for use in Encore and DVD Studio Pro (or other programs), and it includes the Cover and Label templates as well. I wanted other video production companies to benefit from these designs as we were at our company. So much work was going into the menu and only one client was enjoying them... well not anymore.

So the bottom line is, practice good business etiquette and offer an outstanding product, and you should do just fine.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 12:04 AM   #14
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You also might want to do some 2nd camera work for established wedding videographers in your area. I am a member of a professional video group (PVN.org) and we back each other up on multi-camera shoots. I started in the business that way.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Geddes View Post
One aspect of the business that will make you successful is having good etiquette. It's so important to be respectful of not just the clients, but the other vendors at the event, even if they don't seem to be reciprocating the respect. Others will notice, and will speak highly of you behind your back.
Good point - presenting yourself as a professional is important. I sense that many couples are as concerned about not hiring a jerk as they are about the quality of work. Likewise with other vendors. Work well together and they will remember you if a client asks them about a videographer. Always send the photographer a link to the video of the wedding you worked on together.

Art
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