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


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Old June 1st, 2013, 11:11 AM   #16
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

It doesn't matter whether you do long form, shot form, video camera, dslr etc.

The question to ask yourself is are you a hobby or a business?

If you are a hobby, purchase all the cameras and equipment you want and don't worry about making money or ROI. You can use your abundance of equipment to make yourself look like a pro.

If you are a business, then you need to make a return on your investment of equipment time, experience etc. And that's odd these topics never take price into consideration

For a business it does matter how many cameras you own, and how many you use. I don't think you should just use them because you have them. You have to take in to account the cost of that equipment and maintaining that equipment. And the post production time that more equipment creates.

The wedding business is full of "weekend warriors" and you can tell that by a lot of the questions that are asked here. And I'm not knocking anybody it's just a fact. Weekend warriors will never take out professional videographers. But they do alter the perception of a professional in the eyes of potential clients. Nowadays the professional may shoot with 3 or 4 cameras and the amateur shoots with 6 or more. It does muddy the water, but talent and relationships always win.

I would suggest for anyone just getting in the business to come up with a "out of the door" price. And that is the minimum price that you can AFFORD to work for. And hopefully you will have some respect for the ranks of professionals you aspire to join one day.
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Old June 1st, 2013, 09:39 PM   #17
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Hi Al

That's a point I always wonder about too. Costing out a gig seems often far from people's mind and well, equipment purchases are another story completely.

One has to be logical here first of all. Yeah great, go out and buy 3 x Sony EX-3's for $30,000 so you can make $15,000 a year from them. I try to keep my gear expenditure to around 10% of my turnover in any one year ...if it's more than that (and I'm not a hobbyist!) then I'm already killing the business income!

OK, this is slightly off topic already but you are 100% correct on the main topic ..it doesn't matter whether you shoot long/short or video/dslr ... If you run you business LIKE a business then you will soon see what your market demand is and what sort of product will slot into it...simple as that. I shoot documentary style which is long form simply because that's what brides in my market want and I choose cameras that do the job best for me (in the middle actually as I use Sony EA-50 which are hybrid video/dslr)

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Old June 2nd, 2013, 05:13 AM   #18
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

I also agree that if you are running a business, you need to do your costings carefully to ensure that you are going to actually make a profit. I also agree that it makes no difference if you do long or short form providing you give the client what they want.

What does bother me is that there is a heavy emphasis in the weddings section of this forum towards dslr based, cinematic style, short form wedding video. Newcomers to wedding video here often seem to be seduced by the glamour of the cinematic approach and dslr cameras and lenses, together with some of the beautiful videos linked by members. This will inevitably deflect those asking advice away from the real issue, which is market research in your own area.

Find out what brides really want, not just those who are planning to get married as they are more concerned with the glamour of the day and have no real idea of what they want in a video. It is much more revealing to find out from those that are already married what they would like to see if they did it again. Find out why so few people have a wedding video at all, and target your potential market around what you can sell, not just following what others on this forum do. Be an originator not a follower!

How many times do we see a totally different approach to a tv programme appear, then 6 months later every tv programme maker is producing bucketfuls of obvious clones. The same with cinematic techniques, where something like the famous Jaws shot or shallow dof get copied ad nauseum. Not because the client asks for them or even notices them, but because other producers admire them. The same with equipment, just because lots of similar cameras, lenses and equipment is used by a number of videographers, doesn't make it the best way to go, just the currently most fashionable and probably most expensive.

Build your business around what you can afford, your own skills and comfort zone and your own market research, then you can build whilst earning an income and others will learn from you.

Roger
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 09:53 AM   #19
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Roger is a veteran of wedding video production which also means that his business is successful! That's why his advice is well worth following!

Sure it's great to emulate shallow DOF slider shots that will impress you, your mates but not necessarily the bride who is paying you to shoot her video. It's equally important not to try and impress her with your creative skills and hope that is enough to win her over as it's usually not! However it just might be exactly what your brides want! You are the one that needs to find out !

Find out what your market wants and what your clients want and you really cannot go wrong ..if need be try some brand branding to feel out your particular market with run 'n gun realtime doc style weddings offered on one website and then your apparently desired cinematic and creative short form style and see what the demand is on each.

Chris
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 10:34 AM   #20
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I also agree that if you are running a business, you need to do your costings carefully to ensure that you are going to actually make a profit. I also agree that it makes no difference if you do long or short form providing you give the client what they want.

What does bother me is that there is a heavy emphasis in the weddings section of this forum towards dslr based, cinematic style, short form wedding video. Newcomers to wedding video here often seem to be seduced by the glamour of the cinematic approach and dslr cameras and lenses, together with some of the beautiful videos linked by members. This will inevitably deflect those asking advice away from the real issue, which is market research in your own area.

Find out what brides really want, not just those who are planning to get married as they are more concerned with the glamour of the day and have no real idea of what they want in a video. It is much more revealing to find out from those that are already married what they would like to see if they did it again. Find out why so few people have a wedding video at all, and target your potential market around what you can sell, not just following what others on this forum do. Be an originator not a follower!

How many times do we see a totally different approach to a tv programme appear, then 6 months later every tv programme maker is producing bucketfuls of obvious clones. The same with cinematic techniques, where something like the famous Jaws shot or shallow dof get copied ad nauseum. Not because the client asks for them or even notices them, but because other producers admire them. The same with equipment, just because lots of similar cameras, lenses and equipment is used by a number of videographers, doesn't make it the best way to go, just the currently most fashionable and probably most expensive.

Build your business around what you can afford, your own skills and comfort zone and your own market research, then you can build whilst earning an income and others will learn from you.

Roger
Solid advice Roger.

It really is all about market research. I don't believe there is any right or wrong in the wedding market. You need to suss out what your clients want.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 11:25 AM   #21
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Clearly video has not been well marketed to wedding clients compared to photography. While around 90% of weddings have a professional photographer around 90% DON'T have a professional videographer. Alternatively if it's not the marketing then maybe it's the product that has been offered that is not wanted by 90% of couples.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 11:38 AM   #22
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Quote:
While around 90% of weddings have a professional photographer around 90% DON'T have a professional videographer.
I hear the same hear from the people at the townhalls where they perform the legal part of the wedding, they all say they hardly see a videographer.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 12:50 PM   #23
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Clearly video has not been well marketed to wedding clients compared to photography. While around 90% of weddings have a professional photographer around 90% DON'T have a professional videographer. Alternatively if it's not the marketing then maybe it's the product that has been offered that is not wanted by 90% of couples.
Clearly not the case in the U.S. I hardly ever see a wedding without a professional videographer.

There must be some underlying reason that is different elsewhere?
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 02:45 PM   #24
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

I agree with Al about the US. I don't know the number but I would guess it's around 50 to maybe 60% DO have video. A couple of weeks ago I was at a venue where there were 4 wedding receptions going on. I've worked there a number of times in the past and it's was a movie multiplex when it was bought out and converted to a banquet venue. They did a great of putting it together and have the staff to run up to 6 receptions at one time. Anyway, at the one I was at every wedding was being covered by a videographer. This is not unusual at least around my area. As I've said before, every area, every country is different.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 03:35 PM   #25
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
Clearly not the case in the U.S. I hardly ever see a wedding without a professional videographer.

There must be some underlying reason that is different elsewhere?
As someone primarily from the DJ side of things, I can tell you the majority don't have video. As a higher end pro, more of my weddings have video, I notice, but not most... not yet. Of course, the majority of weddings aren't $20,000 - $50,000, either, but those are the kind we're more likely to work. Remembering that there are different client bases: a $10,000 just isn't likely to spend on video, limo, or open bar..
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 04:08 PM   #26
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Robert,
I mostly worked high end weddings. But honestly I don't see how anyone in the U.S. can have a $10,000 wedding?

It seems like in the U.S. a wedding is a chance to show just how much money 2 people can waste.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 10:23 PM   #27
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Actually around here you can do a wedding for about 10k. Small, afternoon, Friday or Sunday. Easy menu, 2nd shelf liquor, maybe 4 hour reception including food. Ceremony at the same venue. I know because believe it or not I've done a small handful over the last 5 years. My cost is more than 10% of the budget, the photographer is about the same, a DJ is about the same so they have about 6K left for everything else. These are almost 100% military guys or gals and being a veteran myself, I would almost do it for nothing. Cops and FFs the same since one of my sons is a FF.
I also know of a few other guys that do the same around here so it can be done but it's not big or extravagant.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 07:14 PM   #28
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

This is some of the best advice I've heard guys. Fortunately this is a side gig for me so I'm not concerned with paying off tons of expensive equipment, and as I do multimedia production at my 9-5 I got into this so the two jobs can benefit each other through education and practice. I did enough research to figure out what equipment I need, set a budget, and bought inexpensive starter equipment. No loans taken out for stuff I don't need.

Through my day job, I have access to a Canon XF100 for my A-cam and the required accessories. Someone I work with is a weekend-warrior wedding photog, and we started working together so learning to do wedding videos was an approachable idea for me. That being said, I don't intend to undercut or outperform everyone in my area- I just want to offer as best a product as I can and learn as much about video production as possible. I intend to price accordingly of course, and don't have any overly-ambitious ideas of making more money than can be reasonably expected. For now, I intend on shooting solo with 2-3 cams and I will always communicate with my clients what they will get, and also what they could expect to get if they spent more ith someone else who might have more ability and skill.
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Old June 4th, 2013, 07:27 AM   #29
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Sounds like a sensible plan to me Max, good luck with it :-)

Roger
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Old June 4th, 2013, 11:23 AM   #30
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Re: Starting out- long form or short form?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
Robert,
I mostly worked high end weddings. But honestly I don't see how anyone in the U.S. can have a $10,000 wedding?

It seems like in the U.S. a wedding is a chance to show just how much money 2 people can waste.
Somewhat agreed, though remember the folks who get married for less, we never see. They have receptions in their back yards with 50 guests and home cooked food (my wedding, for example).

I've worked plenty of $10,000 (or less) weddings at an Eagles/VFW hall, and inexpensive food, photog under $1000, and minimal decorations, where the only thing more expensive than me (as the DJ) was her ring, and maybe her dress, and food for 150-200 people. It's not a consistent market to work, though, since they often chase cheaper pricing. Sometimes, *sometimes*, they're just folks who arranged their priorities and will still go after one or two high end items/vendors if it's something they value.

Our video business is at a crossroads - we're only just over a year old, with 10 weddings done. someone called today for what would be a SPC wedding, just my wife (I'm working elsewhere as a DJ)... not so sure I'm willing to agree because I have no faith her work will be any good.

My wife is *supposed* to be the primary shooter, but seems to refuse to learn from her own mistakes. Looking over Saturday's footage, she still did too much handheld, so shots are shaky.. she won't move aggressively to fix a poor position to shoot from, still has some issues noticing she's over or under exposed, and wouldn't step foot on the dance floor to shoot at all. Very frustrating.
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