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

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Old May 20th, 2012, 02:41 AM   #16
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Re: video biography

Now I'm just assuming here that Alex is looking for something he can maybe do when he's not shooting weddings..I guess France has a pretty cold Winter so that would have a drastic slow down of work (ours here are sorta cold but also wet so our weddings also get reduced to a trickle)

Before starting a new post that will raise the wrath of our Chris Hurd, does anyone know if we already have a thread of ideas that wedding videographers can look at to keep themselves and their cameras busy when weddings slow down???

If Alex is looking for ideas to supplement his wedding income then a thread with business ideas would be great sort of "What do you do when weddings are scarce"

(I wouldn't mind seeing a thread like like too!!!)

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Old May 20th, 2012, 04:13 AM   #17
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Re: video biography

That's the idea Chris :)
Here weddings mostly take place between May to September with a friend dance recitals in June.
I thought the bio idea could keep me busy all year round or at least a bit more when weddings are off.
The corporate movie market is pretty difficult as the competition decided to work for peanuts.

Any thoughts on guides on corporate films and marketing techniques?
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Old May 20th, 2012, 06:24 AM   #18
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Re: video biography

Hi Alex

We have the same situation with plenty of weddings between September and May (we are in the Southern Hemisphere of course) and then over the 3 months when it's cold and wet there are virtually nothing...Winters mean indoor ceremonies and early start receptions and of course rain and more rain which isn't good for us or the bride!!

What we can do is see if any thread on "other ideas" exist and if not there shouldn't be any harm in starting one for events we could do other than weddings and recitals ...Yes, recitals are usually practical as you can essentially shoot for free and still make a decent amount from DVD sales. Apart from Christmas Pagents and Dance recitals (more often than not done in December when I'm busy with weddings), the only thing I have been approached to do is Funerals which felt strange to accept as they are normally sad occasions and I'm used to happy ones!!

The important thing to do, marketing wise, is to make sure that you choose something that's out of the scope of the amateur videographer!! Advertising for kids birthday parties is an example where the parents probably have a camcorder so why pay a professional????

Hopefully there is already a thread here on ideas???

An Extra Bit for Jeff : We have a guy that advertises a "budget" family history for a mere $99.00 ...There is a sample of his work (Nearly 20 minutes) and he also offers a free consulation but charges an extra $70 to come and film at your home...A far cry from the $5K - $10K being paid????

The link is :


Last edited by Chris Harding; May 20th, 2012 at 08:08 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 10:39 AM   #19
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Re: video biography

I have also struggled with trying to start a video biography business. As others have said, the idea seems to get a LOT of interest from people when I explain it... but no one ever follows through and actually orders one. Strange. This is definitely one of those items that people love once they have one, especially if the subject of the bio has passed away, but I have yet to find an effective way to market the service. Perhaps one marketing idea would be to show testimonials of people who got a biography made, having them rave about how happy it made them.

In my opinion I think you have to market it to people from the perspective of getting one made about their parents or grandparents. I don't think most people would commission one for themselves, except for maybe a politician or actor.

If you're serious about getting into it I suggest you do a web search for other companies that already offer this service so you can get ideas of what might work for you in regards to marketing. There are many companies and news articles I've found on the web. Just do a search using keywords like: family, video, biography, legacy, memories, etc. Also look into "ethical wills", a term I found that also applies to video biographies.

There is also an association of Personal Historians you can join. Many of the members only do written life stories so perhaps you can partner with someone in your area to create a video. Along those same lines you can try working with local attorneys to provide a video "ethical will" in addition to the regular wills they provide.

If anyone else has more ideas I'd love to hear them!
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 04:44 PM   #20
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Re: video biography

I'm really interested in this idea but can understand why it wouldn't be a money maker. It's one of those things people are interested in or mean to document but never get around to it. That said, as a photographer also, the most satisfaction I've gotten out of taking pics is from giving people pictures of a person or animal special to them that has passed away. I've always made a point of snapping shots of older people and dogs for sentimental reasons and sometimes they become an important memory to somebody later. Being a big softy, I could never charge them. It's just worth it when people are so grateful for something like that.

Anyway, on topic, this thread has inspired me to pick three really interesting older people I'd like to interview or video just telling whatever stories they'd like to tell. One is a relative and the other two are simply interesting people I know or know of. I don't know what I'll ultimately do with the footage, but at least I'll have it for the future.

Thanks for starting this thread.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 02:01 AM   #21
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Re: video biography

It's refreshing to read Denise's take on this.

I know that in business it's sensible to look for a commercial angle on work and how to exploit it's money-making potential but sometimes it's beneficial to start from the creative view and aim at converting the idea into a creative product without being blocked by not seeing where the money is. After all, all it really takes is time and if there's no other paying work on the books why not use the time creatively by just offering it it without a price tag and who know the rewards may come. Even if one or two are done without payment they would also provide something substantial to use in future promotion which would make it easier to market than just the abstract idea.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 06:15 AM   #22
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Re: video biography

This sounds like a great idea, and I would love to make one based on my gran who is now 89. She has lived in London during the war, worked in the land army and then went back to live in London after the war ended. It would be a great memento, I think, for my mother and my aunty also all my cousins. And to show our children when they get a bit older. Being a videographer it is something that I could film myself.

However if i was looking to get this done by someone else and have to pay for it, then it could be a headache finding who in the family would actually be up for contributing. If I was thinking of it as a present then it would be perfect for my mum and Auntie, to have of their mum. Probably not a present for my Gran as she wouldn't like to look at herself on film. So the people who would pay for it would be myself and my cousins and made a surprise for our parents. split between 4 of us that would be about 250 each if the whole thing was to cost about 1000. Obviously bigger families will have more cousins and the cost would be lower.

If you are thinking of this younger generation then this could be something that you could market at weddings, flyers on the table in the evening ? or include a flyer when you deliver the finished product. the wedding crowd is likely to consist of plenty of younger generations of whom are professionals, Gran-parents still alive and likely to have some spare cash and willing to have this done for their own parents. It could work ? Maybe not for everyone but you may get the odd taker.

Now I've just got to find the time to film this of my grandma!
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 07:19 AM   #23
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Re: video biography

I think that the key to this sort of work is deciding on the way that the story will be captured.

If you have good interviewing skills able to prompt when necessary but hold back from interrupting and good at putting people at their ease you could get them to relay their story direct to camera which would be very straightforward to edit.

An alternative way would be to capture it as a conversation between two people, daughter and mother for instance. Using two or three cameras discretely with a minimum of moving around they would very quickly forget the cameras and just chat. that may take more untangling in the edit but could produce a more natural account. I did things like that some years ago as an audio recording with an artist putting together a stills exhibition of local areas with an audio soundtrack of locals reminiscing on how the areas had changed.
A personal bio would certainly be more focused but could be enlivened with photos from their album or even cine film and home video.

As everyone seems to recognises though the problem is really with how to make it pay in terms of return for the time you'd have to input. Maybe pitching the idea to a local cable/satellite station to get sponsorship for it by a local company (funeral director maybe).
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