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

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Old July 27th, 2004, 02:32 PM   #1
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Weddings are not a Toy like your camera.

If you are very excited about your new camera and want to shoot weddings, you're in for a big suprise. Fun isn't it? But when you feel the real heat from competitors and clients, you'll be under in no time!

Doing wedding videos is a business, and you must treat it that way to be successful. There are so many start-ups and shut-downs. Do your reserch, practice your skills, keep looking at people that are better then you and get better. Learn what to shoot at weddings, not what YOU think looks good or what you think people will like. Couples want shots of them more then you think. Make it about them, and not your ego.

Many couples are only steps away from asking "Uncle Bob" to shoot their wedding. You must convince them this is not the route to take and that your videos are far more better then any family member or friend can do.

We are all Uncle Bob at the beginning. Do you remember your first wedding? Go look at it. Holly gosh, wasn't that terrible. I bet you thought you knew everything didn't you. Boy that shot did NOT come out like you thought did it? I bet you had no clue it was going to take you 2 months to edit did you? It takes longer to edit when you are trying to cover up the bumps and mastakes doesn't it?

Do you know anything about advetising or Bridal networks? Well if you don't, you'll learn very fast. And those other "big" companies will have you by the balls unless you get off your butt and start promoting.

So what are you in it for? Hobbie? then it will be one. A career? then that's what it will be. Think long term, think franshise, think "help", think risking and struggling. Who's going to tape the wedding if you are sick that day? What if you get sick during the wedding? Have you put an ad in the paper to look for an assistant?

If you are good, most chances they may come to you. But regardless if you are good, have they even herd of you? Couples are getting married everyday, 100's every weekend where you live. Where are you? How many people do you know? How many people know someone is getting married? Did you think about that? But they don't have the money right? Well guess what, when you are a videographer - you do it anyways! Don't sit around waiting for paid jobs all the time like some of these guys I know, thier work is dull and outdated, not fresh like you could be if you are always on the ball and working. Practice is expirence, keep doing it. Get better and better. Don't get to relaxed, look at Photography books, go to malls and browse the bride boths, talk to people!!

We need practice. NO not pratice at camera work silly! I mean practice and showing up 1 hour early to weddings and making sure you can be there ontime. I'm talking about practicing writing up contracts and scedualling a wedding. Practicing your people skills! Practicing advertsing and promoting your self because that is going to make or break you. If you think you can stay low and make it in this business, you wont and will be like all the thousands of other guys out there. Work hard, love it and make it a business. Because that is what you want right?

Didn't book this weekend? Why? Don't blame it on people, blame it on your self for not getting off your butt and talking to people and shelling out some cash for a brochure.

Just remember that YOU are incharge of your business, not couples, not family, not only "rich" people that can aford your darn video. What about a payment plan?? There is no excuse. It's all up to you and YOU are the business not because some other video guy got your job. If this is what you want to do, then do it and many times that does not even mean using your camera.

While I'm sitting on the porch, smoking a cigar and looking at the flat tire on my mountain bike. I can say that I do, trully, love what I do and so will you if you take this business as a Love and not work. Give and give and then take a little, soon you'll be ahead of the rat race.

Good luck!

P.S. Sorry about the bad spelling. I got an F in english because I was too busy reading up on video equipment in highschool.
Best Regards,
Mark T. Monciardini
Riverlight Studios
DVX100/Final Cut Pro 4/Mac G5 Dual 1.8
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Old July 27th, 2004, 05:24 PM   #2
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What the heck are you smoking today?


You actually make sense - can I have some?
Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old July 27th, 2004, 05:58 PM   #3
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great timing

This couldn't be better timed. I'm about to get into my first wedding vid.

Good on you and thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. Awesome.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 12:13 AM   #4
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An excellent post Mark, all of it right on the button.

I think we're in danger here of getting a bit negative about the whole biz of producing wedding programmes.
There must be many youngsters out there who read such postings and are put off before they start, but they are the future of the business, we must look after them with encouragement and advice.
You're abviously a seasoned pro and have your finger on the marketing side of things so how about revealing a few of your techniques, we can all benefit from a few new ideas.
David Phillips
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Old July 28th, 2004, 04:20 AM   #5
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Nicely put... This really is well timed for me as well as I'm trying to do a buisiness case for the business of wedding videography and the importance you place on marketing is right on and well received. Thanks for sharing. I second David's request... Can you share some of your marketing techniques or other insights as to what people should consider before plunging into the business? You mentioned "other big companies"... what constitutes a "big" company in this business and how do they get to be that way?

Being one of the not-so-young youngsters that you mention who is currently considering this line of business I dont think this is negative at all. The points made regarding the focus on marketing and and the fact that it needs to be run like a business is something any person needs to hear and understand before launching any business. Too often businesses fail becasue people are going after something that like to do without really understanding the complete picture of what it takes to really make it successful... i.e, a real business plan.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 06:59 AM   #6
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Well put and if your intent was to keep amateurs from the wedding video business, you convinced me. I'll stick with recording oral history projects and back-pedal from any and all live event videography until I'm willing to face the business environment you described. Your observations are obviously from first-hand and sometimes raw experience. Thanks for being blunt.
Fear No Weevil!
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Old July 28th, 2004, 08:54 AM   #7
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Well the great thing about the Wedding Videography business is it can be as low key as you need it to be. You don't have to jump head-first into it with marketing and bridal shows- surely any beginner will be overwhealmed. I feel it's better to start slow and small and build up momentum at the rate you feel comfortable.

Mark did make many points that happen to be vicious truths. Once you make the commitment to cross the line and go full time with it there are many things you must take into consideration. Not that they were non-issues as a light videographer but will become more pressing as your volume of workflow increase and stakes are higher. You have to quit your day job to give Wedding Videography the time and comittment it needs to operate as a career for you. Often times there can be a lot to lose and these issues aren't to be taken lightly.

With this said don't be discouraged (that is unless your in MY market...just kidding!)- as many hardships as it has it has it has many rewards as well. Never in my life have I made money doing something I have a genuine passion for.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 05:48 PM   #8
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Dude.. this wedding thing is not difficult at all if you're at all decent at shooting and editing. Don't make it like what it isn't.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:56 PM   #9
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Yang Wen,

Thank you for the wonderful laugh! I needed that!

It really does take more than just talent to be successful in video. At any level. I've seen some talented folks hit the road for any number of reasons other than their ability. Keep thinking like that and you'll find yourself with very few projects. Make yourself well rounded and you may make it.

Ben Lynn
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Old August 6th, 2004, 06:48 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ben Lynn : Yang Wen,

Keep thinking like that and you'll find yourself with very few projects. Make yourself well rounded and you may make it.

Ben Lynn -->>>

it all depends on how big you want your wedding biz to grow.. I do no advertising of any sort. My former clients do all the advertising for me and I do enough weddings this seasons to make it a good side income for me(or something to feed my video hobby, which ever way you look at it) A lot of the points he listed was pretty obvious but I would like to add one very important point..

Do something to make yourself enjoy the process. It is much harder to keep from being bored at it than anything else.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 03:12 PM   #11
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A good advise Mark!

I just got a new 3CCD camera and I have my first wedding to shoot for free because is for my co-worker and also I want to get experience and learning. I can't wait.

In the future, I want to shoot wedding as freelance. I still want to work for my daytime 'boring' 9am-5pm office job, but I need it make money to get gears.

If, let say I want shoot wedding in a 'semi-pro' style, not "very pro", one camera, nothing complicated, is there still couple out there want a simple and natural video other than long, fancy and 3D graphic video? I know many wedding business have more equipments and charge higher. I just want to charge for mid-range. (I still try to make the best video)
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Old August 7th, 2004, 12:15 AM   #12
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what is midrange for you? you can hardly cover a ceremony with a single camera if you want at least "decent" result. 2 camera is absolutely minimum for ceremony imo.
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Old August 7th, 2004, 12:30 AM   #13
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But at this point, I can't afford 2 camera and I can't find a second cameraman right now.
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Old August 7th, 2004, 01:04 AM   #14
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just coz u have a cam and ur charging $$ doesnt mean ur pro..

there are many other facets involved, business aproach, work plan for the day, liasing with photographers, researching locations, itinirary, equipment (cams, lighting, mics, backup cams, stabilisers, edit workstations etc etc )

I started my business on the flipside.. through audio productin first.. from tehre i moved into video editing and some of the footage i used to work with made me consider other ways to expand the business.. so i invested in cams and learnt how to use them in different environments..
Practice.. anyone can film a wedding, even uncle bob.. HOW you fim it and more importantly HOW u cut it is what makes or breaks ur business..

most importantly have fun with it.. if u dont, it WILL be trnasparent in ur work.. :)
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 07:57 PM   #15
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I think everyone needs to take a step back for a second... think about why you got into this in the first place. I myself, did because it was fun! Remember that word?? FUN!!! The fact that I can actually make money having fun is amazing, but I bet there are quite a bit of you out there that do it for the fun.

Granted there are some that are serious "videography" pros and all the best to them. I'm fortunate enough to work with some of the best in the business here in Hawaii. And most of them have great attitudes about the business and novices alike. (some)

While yet there is that in-between level, you know the "I'm not a beginer or hobbyist" and "I'm not quite a pro" that always seem to know everything, or at least let you know what's best for you. I bet you know a few of them. So many times I see people get disuaded into giving up due to lack of information, opportunity, financing, etc.

All's I'm saying is however you approach this industry is what it will be for you. Don't feel pressured to go out and but that extra camera because someone recomends it, or buy a steady cam because it's the best way to do "shot x", do what is realistic for you. I went all out when I started, and there are a few things I regretted buying, but alas, several thousand dollars later, it's come back and I'm that much the wiser. Just ask alot of questions and frequent places that have a wealth of info like here!

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