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

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Old July 28th, 2010, 10:33 PM   #1
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Home or Studio?

Hi there,
I've been shooting wedding videos as a full time for almost two years now.
It has been almost 2 years that I have been working from a studio which has great effect when you meet clients.
The draw back is that I do not get to see my family due to many hours of editing.
In the past two months, I've decided to work from home cause I really missed my family, especially my two year and five year old children. I still have my studio but haven't been there for the past 2 months aside from meeting with clients.
My question is, do I keep the studio just to meet clients or potential clients for presentation?
Or do I bring them home to show them my work for presentation which I'm really not a fan of that idea?
I wonder how many of you actually work from home and bring clients home? and for the ones that work from a studio, how do you manage with so many hours of editing to still be able to see your family?
The ideal thing for me will be a virtual studio if you will, but I'm not sure if such a thing exist. I know they have virtual offices which looks like an office though I'm not sure how potential clients would react about that, knowing that they are not coming to a permanent studio.
I would love to hear your input and any suggestion.
Thanks in advance.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 06:39 AM   #2
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I understand your problem and I was in the same situation, but you already have a studio which I don't have.
But it's normal that you're spending more time on editing then meeting with clients.
Can't you do the editing at home and do the meetings and screenings to the customers in your studio ?
If you want to invite them at your home, it all depends how you are installed in your home.
If you want to meet people for business in your home and they have to sit in the chair between all the toys from the children etc, in my opinion it's not really professional, so I won't do that.
Next week we are starting the building of our house and we will be making our studio in the basement of our house with an editing room and a seperate theater room of up to 8 people for screenings.
I'm really looking forward to that !
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Old July 29th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #3
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Three years ago, I shut down my office after so many years. Best decision Iīve ever made regarding family time. Now I have a home office and see my son and the wife anytime.. and love it. First contact with new clients is my cellphone anyway and using word of mouth as advertising, didnīt suffer any shortage of work yet.

If you miss your family, go for it.

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Old July 29th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #4
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Thank you all for your input.
Bart! where do you meet with client?
Where do you show your work?
I could stay with the studio just for presentation but it does not make sense to pay rent just for that.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #5
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Dror, we're actually relocating our business to Miami this year and we're building a studio. We've been operating a residential studio for the past 7 years, but as part of our relocation we're opening a commercial studio space. Our current home is almost entirely converted to the business and it looks like it. It's nice, and people often ask where we live, unaware that we live here as well.

So why go the other way? There are many reasons we want a commercial space.

First and foremost we want some distance between our living space and our work space. When you live where you work you tend to work all the time. You end up feeling guilty if you're not working because work is just 10 feet away. It becomes really difficult to set work hours and stick to them.

Second, it's a lot of work to keep a residential studio presentable for clients. We've gone to great lengths to keep things looking and smelling just right. But sometimes if you've had people over for the weekend you just want to let it go a few days, but you can't. You have a family with children, so this becomes even more difficult. We have dogs, which aren't quite the same as kids, but still do present challenges.

Third, we want our clients to better recognize the distinction between our work and private lives. If you meet a client at your home, invariably they get the idea that you work all the time (which you probably will) and that they can call you or email you at any hour and expect a response. Even worse, we've actually had clients show up unannounced in the evening or on a Saturday morning. It can be really annoying. Client expectations change when they've met you at a commercial studio. They are much more likely to respect your work hours. They'll know if they call or email after hours that you probably won't get back to them until the next day. They won't just stop by because they'll assume nobody will be there. And they won't expect you to make exceptions to your work hours to make appointments. Things like that.

Fourth, clients are just better impressed when they meet with someone at a commercial location. We produce top-notch work, but there is still a stigma when someone meets you at your home. It just automatically lowers their confidence a bit and detracts somewhat from your 'pro' image. People may even wonder if you are just doing it part-time, and if they don't ask they may just assume it. Having a commercial space shows them you care enough to make an investment in your business. With a commercial space you're also more likely to be able to set it up just how you want, since it won't also be doubling as a living space.

All that said, I'm not saying you can't be successful with a residential studio. We've been quite successful, actually. But just be aware of the advantages you'll lose if you go that direction.

There are of course advantages to a residential studio too. I love the fact that I haven't had to get in a car and commute to work for the past 7 years. I love being able to jump in my office and get something done or stay up late and still get to be around my wife and our dogs. I love being able to write off our internet and other things because our business is at home. I love that our overhead costs have been so low for so long too.

So just make sure you lay out what you really want and need and then just go with the option that works best for you. By the way, you could easily beef up a laptop and edit from home while still using the commercial space to host clients. There is also software that can allow you to access your computer remotely if you need to.

Anyways, see you soon in Miami sometime! d;-)
Black Label Films
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Old July 29th, 2010, 06:35 PM   #6
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As I am seeing this thread, you are discussing three spaces, one for working, one for meeting clients to present a professional image and lastly, one for living.

Travis is dead on with his observation that living where you work, you never do "get away" from it, ever. Nothing good on TV tonight...editing is calling you !!! Can't sleep, mind is racing trying to figure out the problem with the footage you had all day.... editing is waiting for you just feet away !!!!

All the reasons you want to be home, are exactly the same reasons you won't be able to establish "set working hours" which is a double edged sword. Take time from work to play with the kids, breaks that rule of "set hours". Once you break it, it will come back to haunt you in reverse, guaranteed.

That's the downside. The upsides of it are immeasurable. Time with the kids, working in your pjs at 2 in the afternoon, lots of pluses and freedom to getting rid of the shackles of a rented work space. But, you already know or have thought of those I am sure.

Your problem seems to be in how you are going to make presentations to your customers. Your brain or business plan seems to be locked into the routine of the customer comes to you..... ONLY.

Also, how often during a month's time do you meet with these customers ??? If you keep facilities for just customer meetings and presentations, what is your monthly "per meeting cost" of having a space designated for this purpose ??? Could you hold group presentations at an area hotel in one of their meeting rooms using their equipment ??? Lastly and the most obvious, can you meet the customers in their home, their comfort zone, and use their TV and DVD player to present your work to them ???

As I see this, it's not about keeping your space anymore, you probably have already made that decision whether you admit it to yourself or not. The problem you need to find the solution for is how to present ???
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Old July 30th, 2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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Have to agree with Travis. For me it is easier to work away from home - I can focus only on editing and I'm not being taken away from work. You come to work for 8-9 hrs, do your work, walk out and never look back till following day. It's also easier to estimate time you need to complete the project too. Now, without studio, I find myself working very unevenly - few days of almost no work then few days of extended hours, because I have to catch up - very unhealthy for both me and my family.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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Travis writes much good sense, although, speaking from the downside slope of my business career, I've done studios and, like the OP, consequently missed a good deal of my children's young life.

Just one thing, we always do presentations at the clients' home. That means accepting the quality and colour settings of their equipment but if all the faces are deep red no doubt that's what they expect. I've never lost points for taking the trouble to go to my clients' homes though I do carry a 22" screen and DVD player in the back of my car in case of complete disasters.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 04:51 AM   #9
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My main work place is a home based studio in self contained annex to the house. I meet all of my wedding clients in their home for the same reasons as Philip and meet all commercial clients at their business address or hire a meeting room in a business centre. I have a laptop, 22" screen and projector with which I can comfortable edit with clients away from my home. The only thing they usually have to visit me for is if they wish to do their own voice-over. I have the use of a dance school studio (one of my clients) for any studio work .
I decided long ago that as most of my time is spent in front (or behind/inside/underneath) my editing console It was a luxurious waste of money to rent a permanent studio. That saving has bought our house in France.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 10:51 PM   #10
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As some of you said I already made my decision which is very true.
I am able to get work done at home much faster then the studio, and at the same time I enjoy my family.
I still don't believe that bringing potential customers to my house is the best thing to do.
At this point I am trying ether to get someone to share the studio with me or to find a place that will let me use some of their space for presentations only.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 11:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dror Levi View Post
........At this point I am trying ether to get someone to share the studio with me or to find a place that will let me use some of their space for presentations only.
Smart business would suggest you look to fellow wedding vendors whose product compliments yours and yours, theirs, to share presentation space. If you choose to share space with another video house, trust me, it WILL come back to bite you in the butt one day !!!!!

I'd look at your network of vendors you have a good relationship with, and start there.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:47 AM   #12
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I would suggest do what fits your budget. If it's an expense you can afford and you think it generates sales better than stay with the studio and edit from home. I'm sure there are times where home may lead to too many distractions. Maybe you haven't worked at home yet to realize. It's nice to have that away time to focus on work. Virtual studios are a good idea as well. What's wrong with meeting them at Starbucks? It's been working for me.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 03:37 AM   #13
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I'm confused? You work from the studio, then go home to the family. One is work, one is not. You won't see your family if you are at home editing anyway, will you? They will be at school or work, or whatever?

If you mean you are at work all day and all night, then you need to change your working style - but working for yourself is infinitely more flexible than working for a boss!
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Old August 6th, 2010, 05:16 AM   #14
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why have two mortgages? school starts soon. meet clients at starbucks, or better yet, find a planner
who has a place and work something out to meet clients there. I have kids the same age, and the "editing is only 10ft away" deal probably contributed to my divorce. work at home, have a work life balance and
the money you save from your commercial location, put towards paying off your car(s) and or house.
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