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


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Old February 26th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #1
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Freelance wedding shooter/editor

I've been thinking about getting into wedding video for some time now. My original intentions were to start my own buisness. However, now I would rather try working as a freelance shooter and/or editor.

The thing is, I don't really have any experience with weddings except for one I shot on a sony handicam for a friend of mine. I plan on calling some of the videographers and asking if I could tag along and shoot some footage to gain experience and build a demo reel.

My dilemma is -- do I charge for doing this, or offer to work for free? I'm afraid if I ask for money, people might tell me to take a hike. On the other hand, if I work for free, they might not take me seriously or try to take advantage of me. If I were to charge, what would be reasonable price to ask for?

Also, if anybody has worked strictly as a shooter/editor, I'd greatly appreciate any advise you could give me.

Thanks
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Old February 26th, 2005, 11:29 PM   #2
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Back in 1994, I shot my first three weddings for free, and after that I shot for very little money, then some money, then a little more, then a bit more than that. The fewer mistakes I made, the more I could get away with on the billing side. Doing the first ones for free is a great way to learn, as long as the bride understands that you're in the learning phase.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 12:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. However, I'm not looking to find brides and shoot thier weddings myself. I hope to find work with existing videographers in my area that might need an extra camera guy. I would prefer to do freelance work for the time being, rather than start my own buisness.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #4
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Problem is that lots of videographers are not willing to pay unexpirienced extra cameraman, and that is understandable. You may ask them to assist them for free on some weddings. After few weddings you'll have the idea and could perhaps start to do on your own.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #5
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I think it sounds like a great plan Deniz. Talk to the local videographers and let them know what your intentions are. Hopefully you'll find a couple of good people who will train you and let you have a chance to work with them.

You'll probably work for free on the first couple of times out but the experience would be worth it.

After a few times out you should have a relationship with the producers and they should be willing to start paying you if you've been a good worker. Good talent is hard to find and they'll want to keep it if they find it.

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Old February 27th, 2005, 06:41 PM   #6
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My original intentions were to work for free until I felt confident enough in my skills to ask for money. But then someone I know who works in the video field told me I should never work for free, even if I'm just starting out. That made me wonder if I was making the right decision by not charging anything.

Since I own a DVX100A which I know inside and out, and have a good understanding of FCP HD and DVD Studio Pro 3 (and am in the process of learning Photoshop CS), it's not so much the tools I need to learn but the actual process of shooting a wedding. I read John Goolsby's book "The Buisness of Wedding and Special Event Videography," and it gave me good insight into how it works, but now I need some real world experience.

Just out of curiosity, what's the typical going rate for an extra cameraman? I know it varies in different areas, but I'd like to get a general idea.
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Old February 28th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #7
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Deniz

If you came to me I would ask to see your wedding work. I would pay you according to what I saw, your experience and your equipment. You may have to work for free for a few weddings until you get some experience.

I would look for a company that would be willing to put some time into your skills and let you grow at your own pace. Perhaps starting as a backup to the second camera and then work your way up as your skills and confidence develop.

I don't know what part of New Jersey you are in, but there are a couple of video associations in NJ as well as several in NY and one in Philly. Go to www.weva.com . Look on the lower left for industry links and then local associations. Get involved in your local association. There are always companies looking for shooters.

There will be a wedding video conference in NYC on March 31. There will be 4 hours of optional sessions that incur a fee and 8 hours of free programming including a free dinner buffet. Here's a link for more details.
http://www.wevainstitute.com/programmingdetail.asp?cityID=1

All My Best,
Mark Von Lanken
Picture This Productions, Inc
www.TulsaWeddingFilms.com
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Old February 28th, 2005, 04:12 PM   #8
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Going rate

It's my understanding that most pay in the neighborhood of $150. I pay $20 hr.
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Old March 1st, 2005, 02:20 PM   #9
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My rates for assistants

I pay my assistant $75 per ceremony. He's typically on the job with me for 90 minutes, which equates to $50/hour. He brings his own GL-2, Vinten tripod, and Azden shotgun mic. He does good work and is always very professional. Now that he's out of college, I'm afraid I might lose him to The Man.
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Old March 1st, 2005, 03:04 PM   #10
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I am also in a similar position. I want to learn wedding videography and one of the best ways to learn would be to assist others for a while. But wouldn't they view me as future competition and not be real eager to help me? Deniz, your situation is a little different because you probably wouldn't be viewed as competition - or have you encountered any of that?
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Old March 1st, 2005, 03:37 PM   #11
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I haven't talked to any videographers yet, so I don't know how I'll be viewed. I found out there's a videographers association in my area, so I'm going to attend a meeting next week. Hopefully I'll be able to find someone to tag along with and learn from.

The thought of being viewed as competition has crossed my mind plenty of times. You might as well call some people and see if they'll let you go out with them--especially if your willing to work for free. The worst that can happen is they say "no."
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