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


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Old August 15th, 2005, 07:22 AM   #1
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Why so many new wedding videographers?

It seems to me that there is just a huge rush of people going into wedding videography lately. Is this just normal, or a surge broaght on by the current economy? Will these people just fuel next years eBay sales of low-usage cameras? Why does everyone think weddings are easy? Why do new people worry only about equipment, and never about marketing or pricing or TRAINING? Why don't any of them do the math on what it takes to make a living at it? How quickly does the "newness" wear off? It seems like typical equipment seller has done 4 weddings... Will this surge of wannabees ever let up, or is the industry doomed to always have a bunch of rookies screwing up the market and damaging its reputation? How soon will the advent of cheap HD cams force surviving pros to upgrade just to stay marketing-competitive with the wannabees?

I just don't get why so many people want to be in this market.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 08:28 AM   #2
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Get Over It

If you don't like it... then change professions. But I have to warn you, there is no business that doesn't hold the same truths. The fact remains, however, that if you produce a quality video at the right price, then you will have customers. A lot of the "wannabees", as you refer to them, can actually produce very high quality videos with less equipment. So now you have a choice, either do something that is far beyond their reach or learn to adjust to the market. Or I guess you can just keep whining about it.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #3
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I say bring 'em on, the more the merrier. The only way it could possibly affect your business is if there's an influx of newbies in your particular area; and that would be a good thing. Competitiveness gives you an opportunity to work smarter and produce better video than they do; plus, you'll have referrals handy for those particular brides that you don't want to deal with!
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:05 AM   #4
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My perception is that there isn't much competition, unless you're really competing for the bottom dollars in your area.

Based upon quantity of listings in directories for videographers & photographers, I wouldn't doubt that photographers probably out-number videographers by about 10 to 1. I bet we'd see the same type of post in a photographers forum.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #5
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Hey, I don't do weddings. The business is not attractive to me for a lot of reasons having nothing to do with this post. It just seems to me that there are an awful lot of newbies coming to the various forums saying "I am buying video equipment to be a wedding videographer. What should I get?". The normal way into this business IMHO would be home movies -> serious hobbyist -> do a wedding for a friend -> do a second one -> hang out your shingle. By the time most people do their first wedding, they would normally have 20-50 hours of shooting experience and some editing. I bet a lot of them today don't even own a one-chipper. I was just wondering if this seeming (to me) influx of posts of complete newbies is normal, or a sign of the last year or two. And if it's a new phenomenon, why?
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
It seems to me that there is just a huge rush of people going into wedding videography lately. Is this just normal, or a surge broaght on by the current economy? Will these people just fuel next years eBay sales of low-usage cameras? Why does everyone think weddings are easy? Why do new people worry only about equipment, and never about marketing or pricing or TRAINING? Why don't any of them do the math on what it takes to make a living at it? How quickly does the "newness" wear off? It seems like typical equipment seller has done 4 weddings... Will this surge of wannabees ever let up, or is the industry doomed to always have a bunch of rookies screwing up the market and damaging its reputation? How soon will the advent of cheap HD cams force surviving pros to upgrade just to stay marketing-competitive with the wannabees?

I just don't get why so many people want to be in this market.
Down here, the way Video is looked upon compared to photography, well all i can say is that its ALREADY DOOMED.
As for upgrading.. i wont be.. Not until my clients can watch a full HD presentation at home in its native resolution. If they want somethign shot on HDV, i tell them that what theyll be seeing is interlaced footage, NOT full res progressive scan, so SD delivery in progressive is comparable to HDV downconvert to DVD.. on top of that, i can retain my prices without increasing them to pay off my "new" gear...

The biggest problem causing this is the "easy" attitude to video editing.. yeah on the offset it may seem easy, but when we get down to technicalities, most people are lost.. this is the NLE distribution channels responsibilty... theyve been marketting their wares to the uneducated and even though this works for the consumer, its killing the profession..

This goes back to the thread of "how much do i charge"
To put it bluntly, a consumer or newbie cannot EVER get the same results i can. I have my own style in shooting and my own style in editing. THIS is what I am marketting...
Its all i CAN market at this time due to the stupid influx of "pro" producers who dont have a clue...

No seriously they dont.. Ive had about 9 potentials contact me and my studio for freelance work, and not one of them has been able to rattle off basic production info to me when being interviewed.. were talking BASIC info here that EVERYONE in the industry SHOULD know...

more responses to follow...
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #7
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I consider myself fairly "new" I've been doing it for two years now. However I have had the opportunity to work for one of the best guys in my area and have learned a great deal. I do not do it full time like he does, yet the market from what I can see is still un-tapped so to speak. Networking with others here in CO has really improved the product I offer. The most unity the better I think! Some are doing junk, yet it has yet to spoil the opportunites avalible. I just have to sell, sell, sell. It's improved how I deal with each client.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 09:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by David Avedikian
If you don't like it... then change professions.
U know, thats not a bad idea... with the knowledge and current exposure of the business im actaully expanding the business to include photography...
No seriously, i once got a lead for a job which would land me $3500US for the gig.. but the client also wanted photos.. which we dont do.. (at this time... ) so i got in touch with a photographer who i heard about and offered him the gig.. it was an easy pitch BUT.. the sale went for $5500 (US)
No questions asked, the client went for it, and now this photographer HASNT sent me any leads since....
This shits me.. so i say to myself.. f*ck that shit... If you cant beat em, join em.. if u cant invade them with force, invade them with guile (their industry that is)
I compose shots exactly like a photographer would, Actually its MUCH harder for video.. Anyone can put an album together, I already have the sales and marketting engine rolling, I already have the reputation for high end products, I already know how to coordinate a wedding on the day (which is what a photographer usually ends up doing) and i know a fair bit about film photography (my background) AND by doing this i dont have to sit up late at night editing away like a moron while my children grow up around me and 20yrs later i notice ive missed it...
Yeah i'll need traingin to adapt to the Digital Still realm, and i'll do that over time.. in the meantime, ill shoot my videos and build a Photo Portfolio with my still as these wedding jobs come to pass.. this time next year then, i will have enough material and a large enough portfolio to be able to offer the service fully....



Quote:
Originally Posted by David Avedikian
A lot of the "wannabees", as you refer to them, can actually produce very high quality videos with less equipment.
Thats because they HAVE too... Theres a fine line between what you might consider high quality to what i might consider garbage. Tastes vary with person to person, and adapting to this is essential, and having a variety of presentations to show a client during the interview is detrimental to a sale.. research the client ASK THEM what it is their looking for.. they will tell you.. then pull out a presentation of the closest thing you have to what THEY"RE looking for.. this will give them an idea of your perceptions of what it is their looking for....THATS how you nail a sale.. (as well as the a gift of the gab of course ;)
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Old August 15th, 2005, 10:01 AM   #9
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Careful, Peter... Your passion might be misconstued as "bad manners" ;-)
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Old August 15th, 2005, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
THATS how you nail a sale..
No, that's how you nail a sale IF you're charging full market value. For those just starting out, they appeal to the low budget clients. A lot of them do this on the side and can afford to do if for half what you charge. Doesn't matter if YOU think the video is crap... only matters what the client thinks. If they don't do a good job, then they don't get referrals.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #11
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I really can't say anything about a rush of new wedding videographers, as I avoid weddings. I am a coward when it comes to that stuff... Inlaws, outlaws, children, freaking brides- not for me. More power to you guys!
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Old August 15th, 2005, 10:50 PM   #12
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As the entry to equipment and knowledge becomes cheaper, more people will always enter. It happened with web design.

I built my 1st commercial website 10 yrs ago when only a handful of us were handcoding HTML. Then along came Hotdog, Frontpage, Coffecup etc. and then high school kids were hanging web design shingles, undercutting the competition with cheap knockoffs. And then business owners thought all they had to do was buy the software and presto they would have a website with 1000s a hit a day.

Regardless of the business you're in you have to deal new newbies entering the arena, scared to price their services so they get paid a fair wage.

Weddings probably look like the easy way to get into video production. We all know someone who's planning to get married. So people think all they have to do is purchase some equipment, print some business cards and viola here come the clients.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
Hey, I don't do weddings. The business is not attractive to me for a lot of reasons having nothing to do with this post. It just seems to me that there are an awful lot of newbies coming to the various forums saying "I am buying video equipment to be a wedding videographer. What should I get?". The normal way into this business IMHO would be home movies -> serious hobbyist -> do a wedding for a friend -> do a second one -> hang out your shingle. By the time most people do their first wedding, they would normally have 20-50 hours of shooting experience and some editing. I bet a lot of them today don't even own a one-chipper. I was just wondering if this seeming (to me) influx of posts of complete newbies is normal, or a sign of the last year or two. And if it's a new phenomenon, why?
I just shot my 4th wedding on saturday. Videography has been a serious hobby of mine. I've been running camera and directing midgrade professional cameras at my church for the past 8 years or so. I've been wanting to do video professionally for a while, but just couldn't find a job in the industry due to my lack 'professional' experience. So I decided to go in business for myself, it's not that I'm inexperienced, I have probably logged 1,000's of hours behind the camera doing live events for my church.

Too be perfecly honest with you, there's very little difference between shooting a wedding, and shooting a church service.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 11:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
It seems to me that there is just a huge rush of people going into wedding videography lately. Is this just normal, or a surge broaght on by the current economy? Will these people just fuel next years eBay sales of low-usage cameras? Why does everyone think weddings are easy? Why do new people worry only about equipment, and never about marketing or pricing or TRAINING? Why don't any of them do the math on what it takes to make a living at it? How quickly does the "newness" wear off? It seems like typical equipment seller has done 4 weddings... Will this surge of wannabees ever let up, or is the industry doomed to always have a bunch of rookies screwing up the market and damaging its reputation? How soon will the advent of cheap HD cams force surviving pros to upgrade just to stay marketing-competitive with the wannabees?

I just don't get why so many people want to be in this market.
Because people's expectations of wedding videography are low. The biggest problem right now is that most people see only mediocrity. The ones booking by word of mouth have very little exposure beyond their own clients. The ones that need to rely on heavy advertisement are the ones getting seen, and unfortunately those are the videos that tend to make people say 'I really don't want a video.' There is plenty of work to go around. Less than 20% of all weddings have a professional wedding videographer. People who see worthwhile wedding dvd or sde put it at the top of their list of priorities. That 20% will inevitably rise. When the good ones get booked up there is going to be more and more trickle-down to less experienced videographers. What has to happen is that the leaders in our industry have to have a higher profile - showing the public what is possible. Only when people see what good wedding videography is will their expectations change. The best in our industry shouldn't hide their online demos behind password protection or guard their dvd demos as if they are made of gold, only meeting with prospective clients face-to-face. Hand those demos out at your shoots, proudly display your clips, produce SDE's that will show people what you can do. Send your work to anyone that cares to watch it. Don't think of it as giving away your secrets. Think of it as an investment in your own future.
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Old August 16th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #15
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"How soon will the advent of cheap HD cams force surviving pros to upgrade just to stay marketing-competitive with the wannabees?"

A better question here would be how soon will high-end pros have to upgrade to some sort of HD equipment because their customers demand it? If you live in an area where lots of people are buying HDTVs, the answer to that is probably 12-24 months tops. That will become more apparent once mainstream HD DVD players start shipping, and people find out that HD/HDV video looks really good when shown on a large HDTV display. Once the tide shifts, today's HD naysayers will be pitching it to all their customers as if they'd always believed in it...
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