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


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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:11 AM   #31
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Amanda, if no one in your area offers wedding video, then just start doing it!! Do a few for free or charge something, this will give you demos to show. All you need are 2 or 3 demos to really get started and soon your phone will be ringing off the hook. Just do it!!

If no one in my area sold hamburgers, no matter how bad of a cook i am, people would still buy my burgers and I'd only get better and better at making them...it's probably how Ray Kroc started McDonalds.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 01:14 PM   #32
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Amanda,

Perseverance is your number one success tool. If you want it, and stick with it, and don't lose faith.... you'll make it.

More than anything, the reason I'm in the film business is because I absolutely love the process of capturing those magic moments.

This forum is an incredible resource. You can study the work of, and ask questions to, many of the best wedding shooters on the planet.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old January 28th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #33
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If no one in my area sold hamburgers, no matter how bad of a cook i am, people would still buy my burgers and I'd only get better and better at making them...it's probably how Ray Kroc started McDonalds.
I think this is rather like encouraging someone to leap off a cliff because they think they can fly. I think it's maybe even a little bit irresponsible and not genuinely helpful to the OP. If you make lousy hamburgers, not only will no one come back, but they'll tell their friends to avoid you, in every form of social media available -- and every bad experience with a bad videographer gets extended to all videographers and hurts everyone in that business. So I think this kind of leap before you look advice hurts everyone in the long run.

(And Ray Kroc didn't start McDonald's. He was a milkshake-machine salesman who bought the already-successful chain from the McDonald Brothers and introduced the concept of franchising it. He didn't cook but he knew the hamburger business very well.)

True Story: For the past 20 years or so, everyone I know has been urging me to open a restaurant, because I'm a pretty accomplished cook and it's always been a dream of mine. So for the past year I've spent quite a lot of time on forums much like this one, but for the restaurant biz, and I spent four months preparing a seventy-page business plan outlining every single aspect of the venture. And you know what? After doing all that due diligence, I decided it isn't for me at this point in my life because I wasn't prepared to do what it takes to run a successful restaurant business. If I'd followed the advice of all my well-meaning friends to "go for it" because they wanted to make me feel good, I'd have lost my shirt and probably my house as well, because the realities of the business mean I was going to spend no time cooking and schmoozing, and all my time on the phone making deals, doing marketing and managing payroll. In other words, what I thought it was, and what had been appealing to me, it wasn't. And if I'd gone out and leased a space and bought kitchen equipment before doing all my research, I'd have been out a fortune before I realized it wasn't going to work.

But back to the real point: Amanda, your enthusiasm is to be commended, and I don't think anyone here is trying to discourage you. But the advice from the many professionals around here is to take things in the logical order and learn a bit more about what you want to do before you dive in headfirst without a helmet. That you are focused on which cam to buy is evidence that you haven't done enough homework yet; that decision comes last, not first. And the dirty little secret is: It doesn't matter. All cams are fine if you know what you're doing, even an old and outdated SD cam like the XL2 (but the fact that you didn't seem to know it isn't HD means you still have a bit more studying to do).

As you've no doubt seen, there are as many opinions as there are posters here. The good news is that all your questions have already been asked and answered right here at DVInfo many times -- just look back in the posts for about six months and you'll find spirited discussions on just about ever topic imaginable, along with very specific opinions about very specific pieces of equipment. Everyone obsesses over which cam to buy, and the real answer is always: there is no best camera, only what's best for you. Everyone is going to advise you to buy the cam they have, use and like.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; January 28th, 2011 at 04:20 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #34
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If you live in the desert and you are the only one with hamburgers, no matter how bad they taste, people will want them. Amanda has stated that no one around her offers video. She's been to enough weddings to know the format. She's adept at photography. If she can hold the camera steady, she can shoot video. It's not rocket science.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:16 PM   #35
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Actually, she said there is no one in her area doing it and then in the same breath mentioned that there is one 'old guy' doing it. So she's not completely in the desert. d;-)

I think Adam, myself, and many others on here have already given her great information on how to get started in this business. No one is telling her to NOT get into the business, we're just trying to help her get into it with the least pain possible. But she seems pretty set on just picking cameras and jumping right in, and that's fine. She's more than welcome to do things her way and not take the advice given to her by professionals who are already successful in doing what she wants to do.

I did the same thing when I first started .. and learned plenty of stuff the hard way. d;-)
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Old January 29th, 2011, 12:28 AM   #36
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Well, had I known this would be the feeling I would have after posting, I wouldn't have posted at all, or maybe just asked more specific questions. Let me remind everyone that my first post prefaced that I am not a videographer. I also said I have a lot of learning to do. I'm not opening a restaurant that could sink me house and home. I'm paying cash for my venture, not that I should have to go there, but this isn't something I'm going in debt for, quitting my job for, moving to the big city for or any other thing that wouldn't fly with my current financial plan for myself. Also, you have turned my posts into the irresponsible Amanda infant who is jumping off some cliff without a helmet, going into debt, running backwards all while eating crappy deset hamburgers post. It's not my way or the highway. I never even came close to presenting myself that way. All I said was that I had alove for weddings and wanted to learn how to navigate a camera through them. I live in a small town where the one video guy makes 800 bucks off of raw footage. What I meant when I said no one is around??? I meant there are no professional production companies. Not much of anything at all. I'm not lookin to go to hollywood. I'm not lookin to aquire an award. I just wanted to give the bride something to remember. All I needed from you was a few starting points because I was confident enough to say that I know weddings and smart enough to admit to ignorance right away. I sure learned one good lesson here....and I will just keep it to myself and thank those who took the time to help. P.S. Michael, I would eat your cheeseburgers.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 12:45 AM   #37
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Hi Amanda

Don't allow any negative comments to influence you at all. We all have to start somewhere and you will improve as you shoot more and more weddings. If I was in your shoes I would certainly just go for it!!

You are not trying to start a multi-national empire !! All you have is a love of weddings and a desire to shoot them AND you importantly have a market!!

Grab yourself a camera that you like and jump in!! You will learn as you go (I did and I started with just one Panasonic GS500 camera!!) As you get more bookings you can upgrade your gear.

You have something that I have that a lot of videographers don't have...a passion for weddings!! Just for interest Panny have released the MH1 camera which is a lighter shoulder mount that shoots HD ..I used to use the older MD10000 (DVC20 is the USA) and it's around $1000 ...great to start with!!!

Tell us how you get on!!

Chris
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Old January 29th, 2011, 01:08 AM   #38
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And just for the record.....my husband and I built a drive in theater screen in our backyard, designed an outbuilding for home theater, built a screen in our bedroom, none of them under 8 feet. imagine a nursery with surround sound....we have about 30 feet of screen alltogether and over 2000 dvd titles.....I couldn't have the passion to recess a wall to house a tv in my kitchen (that I did all by myself, thank you) if I didn't know the friggin difference between HD and SD!!! I just liked the idea of interchangeable lenses. Sheesh!
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Old January 29th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #39
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Sorry for all the frustrating responses, Amanda. Take a little breather and come on back--it'll get easier. :)

If you truly are fed up with us as a collective for the time-being shoot me an email and we'll chat. I've been here for quite a few years and find most of the folks to be both knowledgeable and kind...it looks like you just got off to a rough start.
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Last edited by Lorinda Norton; January 29th, 2011 at 03:19 AM. Reason: you already know about audio recorders :)
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Old January 29th, 2011, 03:32 AM   #40
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Hey Amanda,

It sounds like you've already made up you mind and what you really need is a little push start. So here's a different perspective and a way to go about starting. As the famous footwear tag goes "Just Do It". If you don't have anyone locally to help you along, I'd suggest just getting a not too expensive used camera and a good tripod and start shooting. Shoot for free, shoot for friends, shoot for whatever people are willing to pay you. What you need to do is develop camera technique which is not so much dependent on the specific camera you're using, but more about how you use it. You need to develop your style of shooting. What types of shots you find aesthetically pleasing and how to move the camera so that you don't make people want to run for the sink (or toilet).

Pay attention to how you frame each shot. Have a reason for every shot beyond capturing a picture for a memory. As you said, you love weddings. Ask yourself why. What is it that makes you love them. Is it the moments when the bride and groom are together, is it about the family and friends who gathered, or is it because it's a great big party. Figure out how to capture and convey that message through your video.

Yes, some cameras will be better at certain tasks than others. But at this point you don't know what you want from a camera. Everyone has a different style of shooting and has different demands on their equipment. By starting to shoot you'll discover the shortcomings of the equipment you are using and you'll discover what things you like. After that you can start to narrow down what camera you ultimately would want to invest in. For now, look for something that is a good deal so that when you're ready to sell it you will not take too big a hit and whatever it does cost you will, be more than worth it in the knowledge that you will have gained.

This site is full of a lot of great, very knowledgeable people who are willing to help, and that's what they are trying to do. Read some of the other posts about different cameras and equipment and that might give you an idea of what some of the differences are in each camera. There's a thread for just about every camera you'd probably be considering. There even a thread about what camera to buy:

The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Jump towards the end as that thread started in 2001 and most of those cameras are not even in existence anymore.

After reading your posts and how this this thread is going, that would be my advice for you. And as with advice, you can take it or leave. Good luck in your journey.

-Garrett
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Old January 29th, 2011, 03:47 AM   #41
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Amanda, while your passion about weddings was obvious from your first post, your skills, knowledge, awareness of the subject was not.
That explains the negaiveness of some of the responses.

Now, going back to my other reply to you, are you going to give us some tips about what the brides want? I would really love to hear a woman's (who had being a bride recently) point of view.

Have you seen the work of some of the best wedding cinematographers around? Would you take a different approach? If so why?

Your answers might help some of us produce better wedding videos and (to your benefit) will definately help us recommend you the best tools for the job.

Cheers
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Old January 29th, 2011, 06:06 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Amanda Duncan View Post
And just for the record.....my husband and I built a drive in theater screen in our backyard, designed an outbuilding for home theater, built a screen in our bedroom, none of them under 8 feet. imagine a nursery with surround sound....we have about 30 feet of screen alltogether and over 2000 dvd titles.....I couldn't have the passion to recess a wall to house a tv in my kitchen (that I did all by myself, thank you) if I didn't know the friggin difference between HD and SD!!! I just liked the idea of interchangeable lenses. Sheesh!

Amanda -

I'll be a bit of the heretic here and once again say it's not the camera it's the "nut" behind it that counts! If you've truly been gifted with "the eye", all the rest you can learn... and if you have "the eye" you could shoot with a cheap camera and probably get good results... I have to "work" to get good shots, my wife just instinctively "nails" them....guess who has "the eye"? Just wish I could get her to shoot video, but she likes the "stills" side, no matter how nice the video capabilities are in the cameras I get along the way!

All of us have to learn the "tech side" to some extent, but the basics are fairly easy to learn, and you've got to have some "hands on" time with whatever camera you use to get the most out of it. The camera is a tool, and as you use it it becomes an extension of yourself, you learn what it can and can't do, and if you need "more" you know what to look for when it's time to "upgrade". To be quite blunt, the high end "consumer" cameras from the "big three" (Sony Canon Panasonic) have become very highly developed to where the auto functions often can adapt far faster than I can on a "manual" camera... you can take some pretty decent footage with 'em, and if you just know when and how to override the "auto", you are probably OK for most shoots! If you go towards the HDSLR side of things, again there's some pretty decent and relatively inexpensive choices out there, but you'll need to be more on top of the actual "running" of the camera. Depending on your market, you may not really "need" a "big", "professional" camera - it could be overkill and kill the budget unnecessarily!


You want to spend your equipment budget wisely, so if you're able to take some time, you can get professional evaluations of just about any camera in existence from perusing other setions of DVi, plus you'll run across links to other resources.

In the end, there are so many different styles of shooting and personal preferences, you can drive yourself nuts, and at some point I'd just say pick a camera, preferably find a used one in good shape, get it in hand and start shooting every chance you get - even just getting a small point and shoot camera that shoots video and taking it EVERYWHERE will start to fine tune your "shooting sense" - the more you shoot and edit, the more you'll figure out what it is you want. THEN you can more easily figure out what other "tools" you'll need to build your vision. The more you shoot with whatever you can get your hands on, the more the rest will "come into focus"!

Clearly you've got a love for video/cinema - that will help you, as you watch specific shots/movies start to think about what it is that makes those images "work" - things like color correction or post effects, how the camera moves or does not move, how the director frames and focuses the shots, etc. If you haven't already (and I'll bet you HAVE) watch any "making of" type extras on the discs you've got - you'll probably start to see all sorts of levels of gear (including some pretty cheap consumer grade cameras) floating around the sets! You use the tool that does the job...


As you run your budget, don't forget to include sufficient funding for extra/backup gear, including a second (or even third or fourth, depending on shooting style) camera, sufficient batteries and memory (all that little piddly stuff can add up fast!). Those are the things that will save you when "stuff happens".

Also be sure to budget for "grip" gear - meaning tripods, monopods, clamp pods, perhaps a shoulder mount, and maybe sometime along the way a steadicam or a slider. Again, much will depend on your shooting style, but keep in mind these are all TOOLS. With some practice/experience, you might decide that the allure of a steadicam or a particular expensive new "toy" really isn't all it's cracked up to be. I can "fake" quite a few motion shots with my shoulder rig or a monopod... with little or no "setup" time.

Frankly I'm a proponent of relatively cheap cameras, and several of them, strategically placed to get angles you need to cut to, relatively cheap but sturdy tripods and assorted other "fixed" camera mounts, and ONE camera/rig that you can move to get whatever shot you need. For audio I have a mix of wireless and small digital recorders/lav mics I can again strategically place as needed. With multicam, I can have several audio sources when I go to mix down. This hodgepodge of gear fits my shooting style, it might drive someone else completely crazy...

Ultimately you will need to develop your own shooting/editing/production/business "style", as have those here who have offered their viewpoints, don't take offense at any of it, we've all got "opinions" and you know the old saying about that!


As I look at your first post, I think what you really were after was a basic "kit" list, let me try that and see if it helps....

1. A minimum of two (preferably identical for redundancy) cameras - get the best low light and image stabilization performance you can find, make sure you're comfortable with how the camera "feels" to YOU, and that it has at least some access to controls to adjust image quality. Lots of good choices out there, if you stick to cameras released within the last 2-3 years, it'd be pretty hard to go too far "wrong"... Get batteries and memory sufficient to cover 2-3x the entire day.

2. At least one stable, TALL tripod that can be locked down, or if you will be using it to shoot from, has a good smooth pan/tilt action. I'd suggest you consider the Bogen 561 monopod (or at least the 560) with the fluid cartridge - very handy device and adds mobility/stability on the run, most people who have one swear by it, I finally got one of each, and they are a good investment. Alternatively a DV Multirig shoulder mount is worth considering, again they come highly recommended - there are less expensive alternatives too. You want to take the load off your back/feet/legs - lugging even a small camera around all day will beat you up pretty good otherwise! Hard to keep a camera steady when fatigue sets in you you're wobbly!

3. At least 2 digital audio recorders with lav mics - need to be small to fit on the groom or officiant. IRivers have been popular, Travis uses some Olympus models, there are various ones out there. Zoom H2 and H4/H4n are popular, but aren't particularly "pocketable", but handy for "ambient".

4. Some form of on camera light, with diffusion, because sometimes it's just too dark to shoot at receptions!
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Old January 29th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #43
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Well, had I known this would be the feeling I would have after posting, I wouldn't have posted at all, or maybe just asked more specific questions. Let me remind everyone that my first post prefaced that I am not a videographer. I also said I have a lot of learning to do. I'm not opening a restaurant that could sink me house and home. I'm paying cash for my venture, not that I should have to go there, but this isn't something I'm going in debt for, quitting my job for, moving to the big city for or any other thing that wouldn't fly with my current financial plan for myself. Also, you have turned my posts into the irresponsible Amanda infant who is jumping off some cliff without a helmet, going into debt, running backwards all while eating crappy deset hamburgers post. It's not my way or the highway. I never even came close to presenting myself that way. All I said was that I had alove for weddings and wanted to learn how to navigate a camera through them. I live in a small town where the one video guy makes 800 bucks off of raw footage. What I meant when I said no one is around??? I meant there are no professional production companies. Not much of anything at all. I'm not lookin to go to hollywood. I'm not lookin to aquire an award. I just wanted to give the bride something to remember. All I needed from you was a few starting points because I was confident enough to say that I know weddings and smart enough to admit to ignorance right away. I sure learned one good lesson here....and I will just keep it to myself and thank those who took the time to help. P.S. Michael, I would eat your cheeseburgers.
Why are you so defensive towards people that are trying to help you? You're on a awesome forum with people that have been in this business for 5, 10 and 20 years or more, and when they willingly and freely give you advice to help you with getting started you get your feelings hurt and lash out at them? That makes no sense.

Once again, NO ONE is telling you not to get into the business. The point you keep missing is that all of us here HAVE gotten into the business and we've all learned many things the hard way along the way. So when we see someone show up on the forum who wants to get into the business and has 'stars in her eyes' and 'just knows she'll do a great job because she was a bride once' and has admitted she is not a videographer and yet seems to think that the first logical step is deciding on what camera to buy ... well, most of us here know that this is not the best move. So we're simply giving you suggestions to help you get started in a way that is more logical and beneficial. If you're not a videographer then hands down the best way to get started in this business is to assistant someone else. You can be frustrated with that advice all you want but that doesn't make it bad advice.

Also, I don't think anyone here has been negative towards you. On the other hand, your approach of asking for advice and then showing frustration towards anyone who gives you advice you don't want to hear IS negative. I've been on this forum for a long time now and I make it a point to try and help everyone I can. You certainly don't have to take my advice (I mentioned that in my last post), but there's no need to get frustrated with me for giving it. That's not fair to me and it's disrespectful.

I wish you the best in your new venture and hope you can eventually see that we were all just trying to help you here. Good luck.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #44
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And not to put too fine a point on it, but on what often is a very stressful chaotic day (often with lots of stressed PEOPLE, some possibly drunk and behaving badly...), the camera is the LEAST of the things you'll have to deal with...

This isn't a business to dive into with "stars in your eyes", although a positive attitude will definitely help on the first "bridezilla" or just general "day that doesn't go as (un)planned", and you'll have to deal with "one of those days" eventually, sooner or later.

To become offended on one of the most professional forums available over a bit of "advice" seems a little hasty (maybe some of it came off as "negative"... actually more sarcastic, and with an added "wink" so it was meant in good intent... but that's the nature of open forum communication). To take offense here, I can't imagine what will happen on the first "MOB attack" at a wedding. Diplomacy skills and a calm cool demeanor when the world is falling apart rank REAL high on the "needed" tools/skills list if you shoot weddings...

I think every shooter here has learned from the school of "hard knocks", been offended, had disasters (some even posted here for sharing the misery!), dealt with difficult or awkward situations, and so on. Our choice of tools is pretty low down on the list of "worries", if I had to guess.

Obviously if you can frame, compose and properly expose a shot while shooting with a handheld rig of some sort while your locked down cam rolls, you're likely ahead of the guy with one cam and a tripod charging $800... But do you know if your market would even consider paying more than what is being charged (find out as cheaply as possible, just in case it doesn't), and until you've shot and edited one, you really have NO idea what's involved (unless of course you dig into the forums here, which will give you at least a good run of "tales from the front line"). Everyone else's "experience", while helpful, won't substitute for actual "live fire" experience and what you're shooting with won't matter...

Again, my advice is to pick up a used camera or two (even a couple cheap handycams of current manufacture will get passable results, the technology moves really fast, but it's how I started, and it worked out OK - todays' cameras are light years ahead of what I started on) and shoot a couple weddings for cheap or free. If after your first run or two you decide it's actually FUN (it takes a certain personality to actually DO wedding video), you can upgrade and collect all the other gear along the way as needed.


It's not the gear, it's the "nut" that runs it that matters... stop stressing over equipment, there's lots of options, as many as there are shooters here (I guarantee there are almost as many "kit" variations as there are posters!!). EVERY piece of equipment has it's plusses and minuses, limitations and places where it excells. If you asked "have you shot with Panasonic, Canon, or Sony", I'd venture to say most here would answer "yes, yes, and yes". If you ask "which camera should I buy" (the ginormous thread linked earlier), you'll get LOTS of people piping in with what they use and are happy with... Will it be the "right" camera or set of gear for you? Maybe yes, maybe not so much... and when next year brings new toys to market, the answer might be different.


If I tell you to go buy my rig, it might or might not suit you, Travis's setup might not "work" for me . "Down and dirty" Don Bloom has lots of experience, and he shoots a different setup quite successfully... Mark's advice is top notch, and he's regarded as a "guru" in the WV field, and I think he changes cameras almost as often as I do! OTOH, having read what these guys shoot, and having spent more than a day or two on DVi, I could probably walk in and pull off a wedding shoot with their kit, or they with mine, albeit with a bit more stress!

I think everyone is trying to help you here (even the sarcastic ones <wink>), and you won't find a better resource anywhere. Your initial post asked for: "Just wish I could have someone make my mind up who has some experience". You won't find ANY more experience anywhere else, and while we can make suggestions, take them for what they are worth, and give them time to digest, so when you decide, you'll feel you got the right kit for YOU. And if you later decide it wasn't, then you can trade up down or sideways - we ALL do it... I'd say "boys and our toys", but I'm guessing you like your toys TOO from your posts, so it's all good...


If you think you've narrowed down your field of possible candidates/kit purchases, you can post for "opinions", but frankly it was a bit odd to see a relatively aged SD camera (XL) on the same list with a current HD one... It struck me right away too, but it's probably just you're overwhelmed by all the "stuff" out there - that's where DVi comes in, you'll get the straight out, raw, honest opinions. Sometimes we "disagree", but that's OK too. Take some time to wander around DVi, it'll all fall into place.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 04:48 PM   #45
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Travis, I came here for a reason. I needed help from the big boys. I knew I was stepping into your world and said in my post that people likke you hate people like me. I knew to expect some freshman senior crap. But, admittinly, I did get frustrated. I took paper pencil notes from everyone's posts and was really appreciating the feedback. I ended up somehow getting portrayed as having my mind up to do things my own way and dismissing advice. I responded to the posts about observing for a while by stating that I would love to do that and even went as far to say I would drive far and pay if someone was close. Then I got portrayed as the cute little bride who wants to pick up a camera and be in the big league. Yes, I was a bride once, but what I tried conveying was that I know weddings in and out. Not because I was a bride, but because I had been performing in them since the age of twelve! So I am backwards to the people here. All of you who might have started with a cam and knew nothing about wedding ettiquette had to learn it. Well, I have the wedding ettiquette and need the video knowlege. But somehow I lost the little credibility I did have. Also, I'm not a teenager or a just out of college kid. We have done extensive work to getting business ready. I said we have been getting ready for months. But still I was portrayed as irresposible and jumping in. Just not accurate at all. I am not claiming to being close to ready. I just wanted some equipment advice. And I am thankful for the good stuff. Daves last post was what I was looking for as well as several others. I have a lot of stuff to consider and I'm going to. I'm sorry if you felt disrespected, but I'm not sorry for feeling misrepresented.
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