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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 17th, 2011, 04:33 PM   #1
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Worried about my branding...

Hi - first of all, thank you all very much for the invaluable information you provide to this forum - I really don't think I would have the drive or knowledge to progress with my wedding video business if it wasn't for the information on here - so thanks!

My name is Andy and I have been working in video production for 3 years, with 2 years at college. The small company I work for have been very generous and agreed to let me rent all their equipment for a very small fee. Although I have never filmed a wedding, I have filmed live events and know my way around a camera and editing suite.

After a lot of research, I decided that I wanted my 'brand' to be fairly contemporary, rather than the usual traditional brand - not that I think there is anything wrong with the traditional look at all, but to see if it sets me apart from the rest.

Obviously the quality of your videos and service sets you apart from the competitors in the end, but I have no portfolio as yet.

My questions are :

1, What are your thoughts on my branding? Do you think it will work? The website is Big Day Media - Wedding Videos in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

2, As I have no portfolio, I am advertising a wedding video for free in return for its use as a promotional tool. Has anyone done this? How would you advertise this service?

Thanks,

Andy
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Old January 17th, 2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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Hi Andy

Neat website!! Personally I would try to give more information for the bride. The guys don't look at your site, the girls do !! so try to make it more "female friendly" with tons of information about what she will get for the price and what you will cover. She really doesn't care about your gear ..all she wants is a great DVD at the end of the day so you can keep that very simple.

Getting the first one is tough!!! Try to maybe do friends or family weddings so you at least have a few samples to run on the site.... there is a UK forum that guys often offer free shoots and they get a good response ...can't remember the name but just google "UK video forum" and post in the wedding section and you will probably find a bride who will let you do her wedding.... I wouldn't advertise the free DVD on your site at all. Soon as you have one under your belt you are up and running.

I'm sure others will have more comments

Chris
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Old January 17th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #3
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Andrew I feel your pain :)

I'm also getting a web site/branding thing going for my business so I've been pondering this stuff a bit lately.

What you've got looks good so far. Site seems simple and friendly. I agree with Chris, brides are not going to care about your gear. I would even remove the pics of the cameras and the mention of "industry standard" editing software. Let your reel speak for you..... which of course is the rub :)

Again agree with Chris, I'd pull the free DVD thing. Find a way to shoot a couple weddings and cut together a highlights reel and post it to your site.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #4
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Make sure you take the time to listen to this. It has a unique perspective on "branding", taking away all the fluff leaving you the "real deal" on what "branding" is all about.

Branding Only Works on Cattle

Lots of other useful and free information on Startup Nation as well for anyone looking to venture into a business of their own.

PS.... Good Luck !!!!
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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Personally, I hate flash websites.

I have relatively fast broadband by Australian standards (which are admittedly not very good) and your site still took a little too long to load. The slow scrolling in of the buttons too was a little tedious. I like the layout and simplicity of your site though. I know that as a digital content producer, it sometimes feels like you need to have a complex, impressive website but in reality proper colour, design, text size, font choice etc is far more important - you've done well with those choices so why slow the site down unnecasarily?

I agree with Chris that it is the brides looking at your site, not guys. Many don't know HD from SD so the cameras are not important. If they are concerned about what gear you use, they'll ask you, but if you don't capture their attention first, they won't bother to contact you.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:52 PM   #6
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Chip, that's AWESOME. I think it does go hand in hand a bit in this business. They hear of you through their friends or vendors and that's what gets the ball rolling, not logo, colors, fonts, etc. Talk to them. Directly. Awesome.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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Wedding Video Website

Andy

I think your wedding video website looks good. Nice and clean, straight forward and gives the client relevant information without having to dig too deeply. The problem with so many wedding videographers is that they make it all so complicated. So I think your off to a great start.

Wish you all the best in the future!!

Beautiful Life Wedding Video and Wedding Photography
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Old January 17th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Chip, that's AWESOME. I think it does go hand in hand a bit in this business. They hear of you through their friends or vendors and that's what gets the ball rolling, not logo, colors, fonts, etc. Talk to them. Directly. Awesome.
Bill
Well Bill I can only take credit for seeing it and listening. :-)

It really opened my eyes WIDE to what has been blinded by all the BS and hype. I have noticed since around the 90s, lots of confusing "buzzwords" being tossed around in business. But when you cut right to the bone though, it all comes down to business basics of taking care of the customers you have. I don't know about anyone else, but every now and again I need a good slap back into reality. That podcast did that for me.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 10:05 PM   #9
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Andrew

I share the views of Chris and John. Equipment is irrelevant to most so include it in the detail but no pictures - this isn't an equipment catalogue.

As far as branding is concerned my view is that it's vital; it's how you'll be recognised and is the factor that means your promotion, advertising, identity is cumulative and not isolated. I couldn't hear the piece Chip referred to so these are my thoughts alone.

Typical pitfalls of start ups is that the individual feels the need to look big and established. This results in a trend towards corporate sounding names and big letterheads. My first brochure 30 years ago had my picture and a line which said "I'm Philip Howells and this is what I do". I recommend you tell the same truth. People respect your honesty and it's a good start.

When I did eventually have a limited company and 15 or 16 employees we also had a trading name, but now as the business and I have downsized, I trade as PHP which not very imaginatively means Philip Howells Productions. I have other businesses with other names but this is my main activity.

Incidentally even trading names can be misconstrued. After we'd done a couple of major productions and raodshows for British Airways (in competition with London-based companies) my company, Bright Ideas AV-Video, was written up by a national trade mag. The reporter described how he expected a room full of zany young people in endless brainstorming sessions. What he found was a competent (for which read boring) video production business. My colleagues were upset; I think it said more about the mag than us.

As for letterheads, well my view is that their size is in inverse proportion to the importance and size of the company. Check out the corporate letterheads (not those.used by the sales or marketing departments) and you'll see it generally holds true.

The next point may reflect my age but I reject out of hand any business which can't be bothered to check the spelling on its website. If that's the extent to which a business regards its own image what confidence can I have in what they'll do for mine? I should add here that you are in good company - the other day I received a flyer from Tesco (the No 1 UK food retailer) telling me about the discounts on their "confectionary" range. Perhaps it's because I had Mars Corp as a client for 25 years but there's really no excuse for such an error. We all make mistakes; the trick is to not let others see them.

I think you'll need to do more than one freebie and in my view a small ad in your local paper (keep the costs down by keeping it local) offering the service will do the trick. I wouldn't put it on your website.

Finally always remember that people are buying a programme, Most of them couldn't give a toss what it was made with. But set your standards as high as you can afford and resist compromising them. Be your own hardest critic and try to make each mistake once only.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 10:52 PM   #10
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Philip if you get the chance some day and are able to listen, give it a whirl. It won't be anything new to you, it stresses customer satisfaction over "branding" promotion. As I remember, if your product is seen as sub standard, all the advertising (branding) isn't going to improve how your product or service is perceived. It just for me was a slap back to reality that we HAVE to put the customer and their satisfaction first. When we do, lots of other things fall into place for us.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #11
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Hi Andrew, welcome to the forums and welcome to the world of wedding films.

Video guys LOVE their equipment and love showing it off. I'm sure when you did your research you found most of them talking about their 'broadcast quality cameras' and showing a little pic. Makes sense for you to do the same? Brides dont care if you film with your iphone, what matters to them is how it looks at the end. When I visited your site and saw the video cameras, the talk of gear and the email address my first thought was not weddings but that you did TV work. Snazzy site though :)

The best thing I did was let Julie pretty much design the website. Most of those in our industry are men and are attracted to other videographers who do stuff which appeals to the men, car mounted cameras, cool shots but the truth is that not what attracts the brides. There are some here whos websites appeal to the men and find its mostly the men who book them. We went down the path of attract the brides so our website and entire style is centred around that. Pick your path.

We also went down the path of keep it simple. These days people dont want to read pages and pages about your services, thats why twitter is popular. We dont have the time. So our text is limited and we prefer to show people what we do, when they enquire we invite them in, we show them a full edit or two and thats it.

Branding is important and someone recently said to me that it should reflect you and your business. Why did we choose white? Because its weddings but it says nothing about us. Why did you choose blue? Why did you go with clouds? I'm not saying there wrong, just asking the question.

Something to remember though is everything above is nothing more than my opinion, I can see from others here that lots of words is their thing. Others dont show their work online while we LOVE to show it off hence the blog.

As for finding your first customers. Friends and family, ours was a good friend and the second was a friend of a friend. Try the bridal forums, brides there are always looking for a bargain and a free wedding is nice. Problem is though most of them are months or years away and you could be spending a lot of time building up a portfolio. Another option which is popular with photographers is to go along with an established pro as their assistant and in exchange for your hard labour you get to keep and use any footage YOU shoot for promos. A lot of togs assistants are there for free on the day for that very reason, experience and portfolio.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 06:41 AM   #12
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Thanks very much for your comments.

Chris - I agree that I should make my site more female-orientated. By including the pictures of the cameras I would be using and the techy info, I thought that it would tell potential clients that I wasn't fresh out of college with a 300 camera. My videos will tell people that though (once I have some), so thanks.

I'll definitely look into that UK Forum - see if there is anyone that wants a freebie.

Burk - Thanks, I agree with you and Chris about the overload of technical stuff. I think you're right about taking the freebie advert off the site as well.

Chip - I'll have a listen to that later, sounds quite insightful. Am I right in thinking that you feel branding is not very important? Personally, I think that anything that sets you apart from competitors is a bonus. The portfolio is the most important thing, along with pricing, customer service etc, but having a solid website and brand is very important for me - if I can't provide great first impressions with a multitude of existing videos yet, then I should try to leave an impression with my branding. It may not work at all, but hey, worth a shot.

Thank you very much Shaun! You've got a great website.

John - thanks for your comments. I wasn't sure about the animations on my page as it slowed the load times down. After reading your comments, they are completely unnecessary - will remove them later. Thanks!

Philip - Great comments - I had never really thought about going down the more personal 'this is me, this is what I do' route. Maybe I could give this approach a go as well and see which route is more profitable?

It's definitely not your age with the spelling thing - apologies. I had only published the website last night to see what you guys think - I haven't done a final quality control check. There a few links that don't work yet etc, but thanks for reminding me to check my spellings.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 07:18 AM   #13
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You might do a contest for the freebie to generate more free publicity. Think up a topic contestants would write about to win the coverage. Give the grand prize winners something additional like a weekend getaway or something of the sort. Give the runner-ups something too, maybe dinners for two etc.

Also, start right now building relationships with other businesses that service the industry such as florists, caterers, bakers, etc. They can be a source of leads for you.

Have fun with it.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #14
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You dont need pictures of cameras to tell people you know what your doing. You tell them that and eventually your work will.

Think about this, do you EVER see a photographer telling you they shoot with professional DSLR's or show you their camera? Why do video peeps feel its necessary?

We shoot DSLR, if we showed a picture of our camera it would confuse people. We only pull out the camera when we meet them if we have a nervous groom. For some reason the small size seems to put them at rest.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andrew Jennings View Post
Chip - I'll have a listen to that later, sounds quite insightful. Am I right in thinking that you feel branding is not very important? Personally, I think that anything that sets you apart from competitors is a bonus. The portfolio is the most important thing, along with pricing, customer service etc, but having a solid website and brand is very important for me - if I can't provide great first impressions with a multitude of existing videos yet, then I should try to leave an impression with my branding. It may not work at all, but hey, worth a shot.
Like you said "anything that sets you apart from competitors" will become your "brand".

The most unique "brand" I have seen in this so far is the guy who does some of his shooting from a unicycle. I wish he were here and chiming on on this, because I would guess it is more his quality, not as much as his unicycle, that gets the work he performs. His "brand" might get someone to look, but after the "look" you have to have more behind you than "brand" to sell.

I see where you are going, you really wish to have a uniform appearance to the business' "identity". That is great and makes lots of sense, but that should never become "your brand". Anyways, that is the jest of the podcast. Listen when you can, it is good for anyone to remind us of some of the basics.
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