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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:36 PM   #1
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Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

I know a lot of you out there do both weddings and corporate work, and we're just starting to branch out into the corporate world and have a few questions, so hoping someone can help!

First, how do you charge?? When you design your proposal to a company, hand them your budget, how do you break it down...hourly to shoot, hourly to edit, based on duration of finished product, etc?

How many edits do you give them?...I can imagine if there is no limit, some will just take advantage and continue to ask for more and more changes. I understand the client is in charge, but how do you avoid this?

And finally, is there a basic light kit you recommend for someone just starting out?...I'm thinking just something good for interviews / talking heads portion of the videos.

Any other advice is much appreciated beyond this!
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Old October 8th, 2013, 02:32 PM   #2
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Corporate work is really about business, how you can help the company sell etc. You'll end up dealing with more than one decision maker sometimes, so it's helpful to know that ahead of time.

Looking professional is very important, company shirts etc. One of my weaknesses is my own website which has nothing corporate on it, even though we've done some. I plan to address that in the winter.

I also made different cards, edgy non weddiney ones.

I come from the business/government world, It's a different animal. Be sure to cover your bases, such as be very clear about how many hours you'll put in a project, what their obligations are etc.

....these are just some thoughts in my head.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Katie,

I could write a book on this subject but not at the moment. First, Corporate work is a broad term. What does it mean to you?

Here is a few tips that work for me:

In the business world they are not looking for an artist. They are looking for a business professional. If you are covered in tattoos and have metal hanging out of your nose and tongue my clients would not even let you on the set. That is not judgmental, that is the way it is. I go into the homes and offices of some very prominent people for interviews, not stuffy, just very professional.

The vast majority of them are not tech savvy. Do not try to impress them with equipment specs and model numbers. They are going to assume you are professionally equipped because you are telling them you are a pro. But perception matters, if you show up with a 5D MIII you will be immediately judged as an amateur. I am NOT trying to start the debate. I don’t care how good someone is with a DSLR. I am simply stating that “to them” you showed up with a still photographers camera. Please hold the flaming replies. That is the way it is in MY world.

I work in full day rates, sometimes half day, never hourly.

I asses the job and give them a flat rate for post production too. Hourly rates keep their cost open ended, no one likes that. Number of edits? Never. I do what it takes to make them happy, always. Have I been burned? Of course, but not often.

Price, the game is changing. Cost did not used to be an issue, but those days are over. Now I get calls from “price shoppers”, even in the corporate world. I usually scare them away in the first call. Not intentionally, I just don’t play that way. I am not a low budget provider. For some of my clients, you can lose them if you come in too low. They want a quality product, if you can’t ask for a decent price than your probably not worthy of commanding it. Things are not always about the bottom line.

That’s a few tips, again, in my world.

What market are you going after?

Steve

Edit: must have been typing at the same time as Steve Davis :0
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Old October 8th, 2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Most of the work I do is weddings and some events but did some corporate stuff over the years as well, simple stuff that could be done solo, when they asked for a quote I tried to get all the details needed and made a fixed prize based on a half day or full day rate and like Steven said not on a hour base, I always rented lights, which would cost me 20 times new compared to the renting prize and I just calculated that in the quote, for corporate work I found it better to just rent the appropriate light kit.
Currently I don't advertise to do any corporate work anymore, I stopped because some assignments took up to a year from first contact to actual full payment, weddings are much easier in that respect, if I would have no backlog and shot a wedding Saturday I could have it edited by Wednesday and have it delivered and being paid in full on Thursday, done, only pre-planning would be a one hour meet and a 30 minute phonecall to go over the planning. Corporate takes much more time to plan and to finish but the money is better but I just prefer doing weddings now, less hassle.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Corporate work is a totally different ball game and only partly about the filming. You will frequently deal with people who have absolutely no idea of what is involved in making a video. They will tell you what they want filmed, will expect their own staff to do voice overs and talk to camera and expect a £50k video for £500. They quite probably also won't understand that a 5 minute video can take many hours to film and edit.

The reality is in depth meetings and site visits to understand their product and how they envisage marketing it, explaining to them that they need proper voice overs, not untrained staff. You will need to produce a treatment plan, script and outline storyboard to give them an idea of your anticipated production which they can discuss, change and finally approve before you ever start filming.

If you follow those guidelines, you will be in control leading them as a professional and will not be for ever reshooting and altering things that they don't like.

You will of course sometimes be approached by companies that already have some good ideas and basic storyboard and script, but in my experience at my level, they are few and far between.

Roger
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Old October 8th, 2013, 06:26 PM   #6
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Corporate can be anything from an all day seminar to a 1 person interview in the VP's office to a training video for new or current employees that will be on the company intranet to a 30 second "commercial" that's used on the company website to...whatever the company thinks they want.

For example; I do a lot of seminars. some I supple camera and associated gear, for others I simply show up and run the camera. How do I charge for that? Well one is simply an hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours I'm hired for and that's it. then the other I charge for gear, load in and setup, strike and load out. If for example it's an all day seminar (usually about 6-8 hours of actual seminar) I charge my day rate plus gear. Day rate is based on a 10 hour day. If I only work 9, good for me. If I work 11, they pay OT.
another example is a "commercial I did for a hair salon. I sat with the client for about 2 hours, got his ideas, then went and developed the concept. Presented it to him. I asked if he wanted to proceed with scripting and casting. He said yes. I wrote the script, had the VO script ready, did a paper story board, scouted his shop again for exact locations and shooting times. BTW, my wife was a client of his at the time so it wasn't a big deal for me to jump in the car and travel to see him. The concept was great. He LOVED it. He wanted to know when we could get started. THEN I told him the cost. Now we weren't talking Hollywood blockbuster budget BUT he chickened out even though I had hit his budget number on the head. Why? Who knows. The fact is it would have been a fun job and a cute piece that would have played in his shop and on his website. To the best of my knowledge he still doesn't have anything playing.
Corporate clients can be finicky. Be ready for it.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

As usual, Don is always a wealth of information.

I do a ton of corporate meeting work too. What might surprise some guys here is that in the meeting industry most of it is still shot in standard def. My most common set up is one to three Sony DCX 50 digital broadcast cameras, SD only. Camera control units are run to the tech table so I can shade all cameras and the operator is free to just shoot. I am often controlling the record decks (usually solid state media these days), controlling cameras, and switching live either for records or screen control. Meeting planners don't care (generalization) about hi def in a ballroom scenario. However, they do pay a lot of money for all of that broadcast equipment. And some AV companies mess up the recorded video, a lot. It is usually the audio they get wrong. I do not own all of that gear. If it is my own client I rent it. Sometimes it is the AV companies stuff and I am there to operate it. Fun stuff. Point is, if your new to corporate work, don't assume everything is HD. The vast majority of my interviews and everything else is shot in HD.

Sounds to me like Don knows what a spider pod is ;)

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Old October 8th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Corporate work is a totally different ball game and only partly about the filming. You will frequently deal with people who have absolutely no idea of what is involved in making a video. They will tell you what they want filmed, will expect their own staff to do voice overs and talk to camera and expect a £50k video for £500. They quite probably also won't understand that a 5 minute video can take many hours to film and edit.
I agree with this. You've really gotta sell your service and what you do, but also explain to them why you charge what you are charging, yet also explain why the finished product for a 10 minute video doesn't look as great as the latest Samsung commercial, when you only charged them $500 or $1000. Also TBH scripting will probably be you biggest obstacle, who writes it and who reads/narrates it (hire a host). Admittedly I don't really "do" corporate video but I did work for two small projects for businesses, one was a guy with dreams of making it into an infomercial, he just ad libbed, and another was for two younger coffee entreprenuers who basically had little to say. Finally production quality. Just a few week ago my name was given to a career coach who wanted to make a quality but cheap motivation video. He said "not to belittle what you do, but this guy went out and bought a camera & shoots these himself". for this video: Brendon Burchard presents Total Product Blueprint - How to Create and Promote the 12 Most Lucrative Information Products and Programs I had to cut him off to inform him that no, he didn't buy a camera at Best Buy and just hit record, the camera is on a dolly or steadicam, and it looks like a pretty good camera possibly with filters shooting it. Let alone the fact the guy probably had set designers or artists come up with the easels idea background. The guy thought he just woke up and shot it in his apartment or office as is. Just things like that frustrate me. It be like telling your mechanic "Nahhhhh, it just needs an oil change".
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Old October 8th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Wow, thank you...this is all extremely helpful.

I suppose it's definitely a learn as you go...we do know it's going to be a very different beast than weddings, but we are trying to make corporate work a part of our income. I'd rather work for myself and quit my day job, and weddings just aren't busy enough through the winter for us to do that right now.

Soo, off we go into a different land of video. We have two potential clients right now, who both happen to be former employers of mine, so it will be a great way to break in and feel out how this whole process is going to work. One is a manufacturer with a new product line that they want to feature on their website, the other is a non-profit that just wants a short promotional video, highlighting their services and place in the community. So we'll be learning two ends of the spectrum right off the bat.

For us just starting out, the hardest part is knowing what to charge and how to budget for shooting and editing time. Thank you for all of your input!
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Old October 8th, 2013, 10:16 PM   #10
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Steven,
as soon as you mentioned the DCX50s I smiled. Yep, the seminar camera of choice. Last year and this year I've been seeing and using a lot of JVC HD250s with the studio setup and of course my own HM700 for the small stuff. When I use that, it's a 1 camera, shoot that in some cases isn't even recorded but just used for Imag.
The bigger the seminar, the bigger the camera ;-) DCX50 with the Canon 32 or 40 for the back center camera. Man you can pick an ant off the speakers nose. Great camera. I do occasionally see and use the PMW350 with a studio setup which I have to say is a sweet setup.
The biggest problem I have with doing these seminars is setting up and laying the cable. Well not even that. It's taping the damn cable down. My knees and back can't take it so I try to find something else to do and let the young gun laborers do all of that. Hey age has it's benefits!

Are you sure we're not brothers from different mothers?;-)

Katie, whatever you do, resist the idea that if you charge less than the other guy you'll get the job and more work from that client. For your own sake, charge what's right for the job. If they think it's too much then they don't know what the charges should be because they haven't talked to a professional before plus they are looking to save money which I understand but IMO you need to stand your ground. After all, you are running a business and need to make a profit to remain in business.
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Last edited by Don Bloom; October 8th, 2013 at 10:20 PM. Reason: forgot to include
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Old October 9th, 2013, 02:56 AM   #11
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

We've also moved over to more corporate work since the local brides seem to be all about price (as low as possible) at the moment.

We've just shot 8 corporate videos on the trot, but they found us, rather than us finding them.

I was wondering how you guys go about finding your corporate work. Do they always find you or do you do cold calling to find them?
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Old October 16th, 2013, 05:30 PM   #12
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Some great information.
Just wonder if anyone can talk about how they get the jobs or how they advertise.
For example. I advertise with the knot and some other website to get brides. But what is your method in this video corporate field?
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Old October 16th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #13
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

OK this is just ME and maybe I'm atypical but I have never and I mean never "advertised" in the traditional sense for corporate work. I know a lot of people in the AV business and thru the years I have been lucky enough to garner quite a bit of work thru them, a lot of seminars, conferences and trade show stuff. I've also never been afraid of opening my mouth and talking to people or going out and knocking on doors with my business card and an information sheet (1 page, 1 side) not talking about me but video and the types of things it can be used for in a general sense. Never asked to speak to anyone just dropped it off to the keeper of the gate and asked they give it to the decision maker and if it was a larger business asked they give it to the person in charge of PR or advertising. I would go back every 4 or 5 weeks and go thru the same routine until they either told me not to come back or someone talked to me. Effect? Maybe not but over the years I picked up some decent clients. I also went to various organizations and associations and while I couldn't handle a lot of the work I COULD handle some and some is better than none. Sometimes I would partner with an AV company or a still photog or another video person to be able to do the job. I did a wedding back in 1990 and got a corporate client from that that I had for 16 years and traveled the country with. Hell I even went on a cruise with them back in 97 or 98 and they paid for my wife to go as well.
Point is, there really is no one place to "advertise" for corporate clients like you can for brides. Go out, shake hands, hand out business cards, talk to EVERYONE, make alliances with AV companies in your area, call, go to or email associations...best to do all 3. Keep smiling and be honest with a prospective client. If the job is beyond your ability or scope, then tell them. they'll appreciate it and remember it and call you the next time.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 11:44 PM   #14
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

Hey Don

That's exactly how it works too! It's not what you know but who you know and the only way to get to the who you know people is by talking about yourself! I got into my Realty shoots purely from another agent telling them about me cos I talk a LOT about what I do and now I do not only their property shoots but also their seminars!

You can have all the talent in the world but if you don't tell people about yourself they will never find you! I also find that business will seldom look thru the Yellow Pages for a Corporate Videographer ...you do work for them simply because they know/have heard about you. I make sure that I slip that the fact that I'm a videographer into the conversation whenever I can. You never know where it can lead you and your local drugstore manager just might have a brother in law that is a big shot in some field and he finds out about you from the manager.

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Old October 17th, 2013, 01:41 AM   #15
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Re: Wedding Videographer - Branching into Corporate Work

When I meet with a new corporate client, one of the first things I discuss is:
1. What is the video is going to be used for?
2. Who is the target audience?
3. When do they need the video by?
4. What is the ballpark budget for the project? (Don't tell them what you charge, ask them what they can pay)

For example, one client said they wanted talking heads with B roll, and that the video was to be shown on a large screen at a grand opening party. Their budget was $11,000. Another recent client also wanted talking heads with B roll for the web, and their budget was $1,000.

I did both gigs, and the budget determined which camera I used, how elaborate the lighting and interview set was, and if I used professional models, makeup artists, set decorators, food stylists, Jimmy Jib, Steadicam, etc for the B roll footage. If you determine their budget first, you'll have a much better feel of how to proceed with the project, and whether their objectives are achievable or not.
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