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


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Old January 8th, 2015, 11:35 AM   #1
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Why do people want an event video in the first place?

I'm working on putting together some new marketing materials in the hopes of increasing my event video workload. Right now most of what I do is live streaming, and that is fine. It pays the bills, but I really enjoy doing videos for performance based events like plays and recitals.

I've done a few of these, just getting a call out of no where without doing any kind of marketing, but I would like to do more. To this end I am putting together some marketing materials and plan on sending out letters to the dance and music schools in my area.

For those of you who have done lots of this type of work, I am curious what reasons clients have cited for wanting an event video in the first place? What concerns have you had clients express regarding their videos? What have you found is most important to clients with their videos?

Thanks!
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Old January 8th, 2015, 02:14 PM   #2
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Re: Why do people want an event video in the first place?

Here you have a likely disconnect between the people who would be watching the videos and the people who would be hiring you.

For instance, if hired to film a dance recital, the studio books you, but its the parents that watch. So, the studio might want someone reliable, who handles everything so its not a headache for them, but some on this board will tell you about studio contacts who just want a cut of the take.

The parents, however, want a record, a memory frozen in time.

If you're looking for regular work, you might be better off contacting relevant people directly and getting your reel in front of them. Once you've had an opportunity, hopefully they call you for all their recitals.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: Why do people want an event video in the first place?

The purpose of the recording really does need establishing early on, because if it's for the parents then the kids need to ALL feature, if they are paying for it and funding the video, plus a little extra for the school. Contrast this with a video recording for evidence purposes - colleges frequently have 'final major project' type productions where the product is used to evidence the awarding of grades - this is very different in style and content. Other events use the video as a marketing product, perhaps charging each contributor, and then selling the DVDs, and another purpose of events videos is for archive and legal purposes, where it won't see the light of day. Ironically, another use is for the calculation of royalties to PRS, based on the ratio of music to playing time start to finish. Very few of these look the same. I'm also very aware how many of the things I'm involved in are dodgy from the copyright point of view. I really am not comfortable with shooting plays and musicals because I know that part of the license they purchase (assuming they are not doing an unapproved got it on the net script) includes a no video clause. Although I know it is not watertight, I always get the to confirm they have sorted out the copyright for the recording - they always say yes, but I know from my own dealings that this is very, very rarely granted.

I never advertise that I record theatrical events, far too risky. However, most of my video work is theatrical which is odd.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 01:03 PM   #4
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Re: Why do people want an event video in the first place?

Ahh event videos in general. I'm sure there's money to be made there - somewhere.

We started out trying to film just about everything you could imagine: biirthdays, dance recitals, marching band competitions, weddings, and local concerts.

Of all those over 15 years the money makers have been weddings, dance recitals** and marching band competitions**.

The key to the last 2 is having LARGE numbers of people combined with not allowing outside videotaping.

It's not uncommon to show up and do a recital with a couple hundred kids on a Saturday and make $3000-$5000. Same thing with marching band competitions. if you can get into some of the bigger well known ones where you have say 25 bands and there are 100+ kids per band, then you can make close to $10,000 on a good Saturday.

For weddings my tag line when talking is, "This is a live event that is only going to happen one time - it should be captured with not only photography , but also video - so you have an accurate record of everything that happens" .. .then discuss the blur of the day and how fast it all happens, and how it happened to me, and I had been filming for like 10 years when I got married and I thought it would be different for me. lol
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Old January 15th, 2015, 10:51 AM   #5
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Re: Why do people want an event video in the first place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth View Post
For those of you who have done lots of this type of work, I am curious what reasons clients have cited for wanting an event video in the first place? What concerns have you had clients express regarding their videos? What have you found is most important to clients with their videos?
!
Hi Adam,
When I was doing children's musical theater I found that you have 3 clients. The production company, the parents and the children.
Production company looked for consistency in
1. production quality show to show
2. reasonable turn around from show to product
3. preparediness (affects 1 & 2)
i. show up early and have everything ready
a. setup your video equipment
b. work with sound to get a good feed
c. setup your backup sound (floor mics on stage independant of show sound)
ii. when disaster strikes record a 2nd show
Parents
1. Hear their child
2. See their child
i. major part needs closeup
ii. minor part needs medium
iii. fill requires wide angle
Kids.
1. They've never seen the show from the audience, almost anything is fine.
2. Hear the sound

I used my own mics (at-851s) on stage. Sometimes I'd get on their snake and have my own
channels I could power, othewise I'd have my own preamp/recorder hooked up.
Get 3 sound feeds if you can. House, music, vocals. My experience is that you need to be there
for mic check to verify that your feeds are correct, and even then the soundperson may mess you
up later, and the house rules so if the mess it up "sorry". That's why its so important to have your
own mics on stage. When cue's are missed, batteries die, or the ensemble sings you'll have a way
to pick out the sound.

Run 3 cameras, 2 manned. 1 is wide of the stage, 1 is medium, 1 is close up.
Unless you know the show watch the last dress rehearsal so you'll know where people
come in/exit.

Biggest headache I had in the 5 years of doing the shows was sound. I've seen it in my reading
of forums, 70% of a movie/video is sound. You can almost leave the video edit in wide angle
and people will understand, but mess up the sound and you're a horrible incompetent fool stealing
money from the mouths of children (really, they will get very upset). And you're at the mercy of
the soundperson.

Good luck.

thanks
jimc
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Old January 16th, 2015, 12:06 PM   #6
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Re: Why do people want an event video in the first place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Root View Post
Ahh event videos in general. I'm sure there's money to be made there - somewhere.

We started out trying to film just about everything you could imagine: biirthdays, dance recitals, marching band competitions, weddings, and local concerts.

Of all those over 15 years the money makers have been weddings, dance recitals** and marching band competitions**.

The key to the last 2 is having LARGE numbers of people combined with not allowing outside videotaping.

It's not uncommon to show up and do a recital with a couple hundred kids on a Saturday and make $3000-$5000. Same thing with marching band competitions. if you can get into some of the bigger well known ones where you have say 25 bands and there are 100+ kids per band, then you can make close to $10,000 on a good Saturday.

For weddings my tag line when talking is, "This is a live event that is only going to happen one time - it should be captured with not only photography , but also video - so you have an accurate record of everything that happens" .. .then discuss the blur of the day and how fast it all happens, and how it happened to me, and I had been filming for like 10 years when I got married and I thought it would be different for me. lol
Unfortunately I fear that marching band competitions may not be too lucrative around here. A community television state here that has their own HD live production truck has been doing statewide marching band competitions for over a decade now.

I'm curious though how you approach potential clients about doing recitals? How do you contact them in the first place and what have you found gets them on board with the idea of a video?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cowan View Post
Hi Adam,
When I was doing children's musical theater I found that you have 3 clients. The production company, the parents and the children.
Production company looked for consistency in
1. production quality show to show
2. reasonable turn around from show to product
3. preparediness (affects 1 & 2)
i. show up early and have everything ready
a. setup your video equipment
b. work with sound to get a good feed
c. setup your backup sound (floor mics on stage independant of show sound)
ii. when disaster strikes record a 2nd show
Parents
1. Hear their child
2. See their child
i. major part needs closeup
ii. minor part needs medium
iii. fill requires wide angle
Kids.
1. They've never seen the show from the audience, almost anything is fine.
2. Hear the sound

I used my own mics (at-851s) on stage. Sometimes I'd get on their snake and have my own
channels I could power, othewise I'd have my own preamp/recorder hooked up.
Get 3 sound feeds if you can. House, music, vocals. My experience is that you need to be there
for mic check to verify that your feeds are correct, and even then the soundperson may mess you
up later, and the house rules so if the mess it up "sorry". That's why its so important to have your
own mics on stage. When cue's are missed, batteries die, or the ensemble sings you'll have a way
to pick out the sound.

Run 3 cameras, 2 manned. 1 is wide of the stage, 1 is medium, 1 is close up.
Unless you know the show watch the last dress rehearsal so you'll know where people
come in/exit.

Biggest headache I had in the 5 years of doing the shows was sound. I've seen it in my reading
of forums, 70% of a movie/video is sound. You can almost leave the video edit in wide angle
and people will understand, but mess up the sound and you're a horrible incompetent fool stealing
money from the mouths of children (really, they will get very upset). And you're at the mercy of
the soundperson.

Good luck.

thanks
jimc
Hi Jim! Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a thorough reply. I appreciate it greatly! I have been doing live event production for more than a decade now. What I would like to do is more things like dance recitals, youth concerts, and that sort of thing. First, I think it would be a good filler to do between my bigger gigs and also I just like doing that kind of video. It's fun and I like being able to give appreciative parents an awesome video of their kids performance.

The problem I am having is that I haven't had a whole lot of luck in the couple attempts I've made at getting more of these videos. I've sent mailers out to dozens of dance schools explaining my services, but haven't got any response from them. I've tried calling places as well, but the most I have got is transferred to a voice mail and never get a call back.

So specifically what I am trying to figure out is who to contact to offer my services and how to go about contacting them. I also want to know, assuming I can get to the point where I'm having a conversation with someone, is what selling points should I talk up? Is it the super fast delivery? The size of the kickback I give the institution on every DVD sale? The production quality?

I feel like I offer a pretty decent quality product. I use a high definition flypack for event video production, so everything is switched live. I still record in camera, but doing the live switching lets me coordinate all the cameras, make sure the shots match, and dramatically cuts down on post. I am able to record sixteen discreet audio channels for later audio mixing, this lets me not only take a house audio feed but use several of my own microphones.

Typically it only takes me a few hours the next day to get the final audio mix, titles, and disc authoring done. I have a small disc production assembly line, with a robotic duplicator and printer, paper cutter, shrink wrapper, everything needed to produce a lot of discs quickly. The result is that the day following the event I am able to start mailing out many, if not all of the discs.

So I think I can offer a good service once I have an event to go shoot... It's just getting that event to shoot in the first place that has been difficult.
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