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


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Old January 27th, 2016, 07:37 PM   #16
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Hi Chris,

I haven't promoted 3d at wedding shows for about 3 years now, apart from it being mentioned very briefly in my leaflets. I don't promote any gimmicks on the stand, as I believe our biggest strength is drawing people in and talking about it, we are both pretty good at that.

Public interest in 3d is pretty much dead, but I have a couple of ideas afoot to promote my 3d skills, but with photography rather than video, although using the 4k video cababilty of the FZ1000s. It will take a while to implement, but if I can achieve the product I want at the right price, it will be quite dramatic at a wedding show.

Roger
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Old January 27th, 2016, 11:36 PM   #17
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Hey Roger

Fair enough so it's all about your charisma and because you are friendly and approachable ..I see so many who spout their mouth off about how good their cameras are and all their accessories they have and really, the bride couldn't care less!! I did a dual interview years ago with a photographer who spent most of his interview with the bride showing off his camera! He didn't get the job either!!
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Old January 28th, 2016, 02:21 AM   #18
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Hmmm - if the competition is really so bad as some you more experienced guys claim, perhaps Chris' original statement at the start of this thread is easily answered and we have nothing to fear from weekend warriors. Or do we? Its easy to knock competition, easy to focus on one or two things they get wrong and assume the rest. We only really know the needs of our customers, but they are our customers for a reason and of course their needs are going to be in line with what we offer, or else why come to us in the first place.

Traditional coverage is all well and good, but I've spoken to many who see such videos as boring and nothing more than shelf filler. Thanks to the internet, couples are seeing much more scope for what Wedding videos can be. Offering joint Photography and Videography is a gimmick; its one that will help your business stand out from the rest in much the same way I offer Marryokes, same day edit and other features. Sure you can limit yourself to a single service, focus on a niche market who want traditional coverage, but if your Business is still new then how you progress will depend on your marketing and quality of work. Just being good at your craft won't be enough.

More and more people are being introduced to a Wedding video via the short 4-7 minute highlight and I'm seeing a shift in people's expectations as a result, especially last year; questions I'm being asked about different styles, are my videos cinematic being a popular question.

Surely it's not just a question of reacting to competition from weekend warriors, but also reacting to your bigger competitors reaction to weekend warriors. If another fulltime Wedding Video company local to you offers xxxx services to stand out from weekend warriors, do you feel the need to do the same just to compete.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 03:59 AM   #19
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

I think there are mainly 3 type of clients, one just wants "a" video and takes whoever is recommended by their photographer, venue, master of ceremony or whoever they come in contact with before they hire the videoguy, basically they are clueless and might also just look on the internet and pick the first ones they see that fit in their budget.

Then you have the client who wants a specific style which they have seen from another videographer that is outside their budget and then you get questions like Steve got "are your videos cinematic" or "I like that vintage look style from videographer x, is that something you can do to?"

and last you have the ones that are a fan of your work because they have been looking at many videos online until they saw your work and here your own trailers make the biggest difference, or you might have shot their friends wedding and they saw the long version and loved it and they only want you to shoot their wedding and nobody else.

In any case if you feel you got problems getting your year booked full you probably will have to become more diverse and offer lots of extra's and sell yourself as good as you can on your website.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 04:25 AM   #20
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

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How would you handle ceremonies on a single camera ... I think I would find filming the bridal entry and then having to switch to the actual ceremony might be tricky?? Would that be tripod based or handheld??
Eventhough I have shot for about 5 years with one camera only when I started out I very well know what the limitations are and I have been thinking a lot on how to deal with that, at the ceremony I most likely will be running a second unmanned camera as safety wide just to cover me if somethings might go wrong that I cannot back up with b-roll footage but if all goes well I don't plan on using that extra camera in the edit. In this way I can cut back my edit time a lot but I need to choose my compositions very carefully and also shoot with the edit in mind, meaning get as much as b-roll as possible using the same camera.

For bridal entry I just stand behind the groom when she approaches and when she reaches the altar I just go to my tripod and place the camera there to cover the priest or whoever will come up front to say something, the only tricky part is finding the time to get enough headshots and that I can only do when they play a song or when someone sings live, when they just play music from a cd that is my moment i can get my b-roll footage but if they have a live singer I most likely will be forced to attach a cx730 to my tripod and leave it running unmanned pointed towards the singer.

I still have a week to figure that all out :) The wedding I have to shoot will have a singer during the ceremony, they said she only would perform one song so that limits my time for shooting other stuff.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 06:06 AM   #21
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

I like Noa's new approach because it is not going back to an old boring way of doing thimgs, it is going back to basics which is completely different. It is about using carefully honed skills to produce a product that captures the day and is visually interesting. It is not about a few minutes of froth and music and is a different product.

There are now different wedding video products availalable and as Steve said, more and more people are offering 'Cinematic' style shorts as a main product. Most prospective clients haven't a clue what they want from a video and I am finding many more couples at trade shows that are asking about highlight and cinematic videos. They generally have no idea what they are but they are buzz words that they have picked up from suppliers and websites. When we tell them yes we do cinematic short videos but also ask them if they have considered a documentary style, they are usually equally unaware what that is. Sometimes they are surprised that they can have a 90-120 min documentary of their day and quite often they tell us that we are the only company they have seen offering it. That doesn't mean that eithe style is better, simply that if people aren't offered something, they don't have a choice. Three of the last four bookings we have taken were from people who wanted doc style, but couldn't find anyone offering it so had decided not to have a video until they found us.

As regards a joint photo and video package, I just don't get how that can be seen as a gimmick. Still photos are traditional at a wedding, hardly a gimmick, whereas video is often thought of as something uneccesary by most couples. Offering a combined package is an opportunity to make available the photography that they always want and the chance to show them what our videos are all about, with the convenience of having both in one booking. If the quality of either is below the standard that they require, then they won't book either.

Usually, couples will book a photographer well in advance as an essential, with a video usually an after thought nearer the date if they have any money left. Offering both has meant that we see couples much earlier in their planning, giving us a chance to show them the advantages of a video and how the two work together. We've found that usually results in them rating video more highly. If couples haven't already booked a photographer when we first see them, we almost always end up with a joint package, even though we also offer them both seperately. This has meant that we are booking much further ahead than ever before, having 25 contracted joint packages already this year, with 4 more shows still to go before the Spring. We also have 10 contracted for 2017 and 3 for 2018, which I think shows that we are not outdated or out of touch, but are supplying a service that many people want.

Roger
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Old January 28th, 2016, 06:37 AM   #22
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Thanks Noa ..that's interesting! In my single camera days I used to set the tripod down, offset in the aisle and do a handheld shot of the bridal party entering and then panic a bit as soon as they went past me as I struggled to get the camera from my hands to the tripod before the priest started talking or the celebrant began talking!

Now Steve? I have no idea whether these weekend warriors are good or bad but the BIG issue is that most budget brides want a simple coverage from start to end and they might look at an online sample and say. "OK that looks fine" and decide on a video. If there are 10 video guys all offering what the bride considers as the "same thing" so she can pay $399 up to $2399 so guess what she will choose?? For the weekend warrior there is plenty of jobs at his discount price so as long as she is reasonably content he doesn't really care whether she is over the moon with it or not ..he just moves on to the next job.

In a niche market I feel you will get a more choosy bride who knows what she wants and because it's a specialised service you don't have 50 wannabe's offering the same thing for half the money! The issue is what to offer! I have always wanted to do a REAL wedding documentary ..I watched a 3 part series on our pay channel called "Little People - Big World" where the son got married... it was so well done using a full story with lots of inset video of the family's thoughts and emotions cut in with the actual event. I must admit that if I was a bride THAT would be the sort of wedding story I would treasure ... whether it would be practical I have no idea!!!

Here is a quick bit of them choosing a wedding cake ..I love the way the production keeps cutting back to their thoughts (obviously shot later and inserted into the footage) The whole wedding was done this way so the story telling is superb!!

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Old January 28th, 2016, 07:24 AM   #23
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

A few years back there was a similar Belgian tvshow (like little people big world) where brides where followed during their wedding, a bride that booked me was contacted and then she called me to ask if I was ok with that to have another videoteam with her that day.

Later on I wished I had said "no" and that was the brides opinion as well, what at first looked like a "I"m going to be on tv!" moment turned out to be a obtrusive and privacy invading nightmare. I always try to be that fly on the wall, try to capture natural moments without giving the couple the feeling they are on a filmset but these tv guys where almost literally breathing in the couples neck all the time.

They started with the groom and went with him to the bride for the first look, when the groom went to the door the cameraman followed like a shadow just behind the groom, when the door opened and the bride came out the camera- and soundman (with a boom) where so close to the couple they blocked my view so I missed that moment completely, then inside the house there was music playing and the soundguy said, "can you pls turn of that music?" so what started as a relaxed morning turned out to be a filmset with the director calling the shots. They blocked my view so many times trying to get their shot that once we where at the photoshoot I went to the 3 guys (there was also an assistant to take care of problems and do the interviews) saying I was fed up with them not considering me and if they would block my view once more that I would do the same with them. Only after that they back down a bit and looked where I was standing.

The bride was very disappointed and wished she had never agreed to that, also because I missed some important moments because of them.

I"m just giving this as example because if you want to shoot in the style of little people big world you need to be so close to people all the time plus you need a dedicated soundguy, also you need ot get permission from everyone they visit for their wedding preparation and if they don't want that then there goes your story. If it's for tv then vendors are often more cooperative because they can get free advertising out of it on tv.

As I see it it's way to much work to make a documentary like that + I"m not sure if you would find enough couples willing to have a camera so close to them all the time.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:09 AM   #24
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Hey Noa

Comments are appreciated ... because I like the concept doesn't mean the bride would like it of course! It comes out as a great story though ... In this series during the actual ceremony there was no in your face shots as far as I could see and remember all the cutaway shots are done remotely not during the actual shoot. Apart from liking the idea, the advantage of being able to shoot more footage at each wedding was an advantage too ... Brides here tend to favour Saturday's and I can only shoot one wedding at a time so if I can get more work from each wedding I can make a better living .... in practice quite often I only do 4 weddings a month for $XXXX and they usually only want me for 8 hours maximum ...if I can persuade brides to "hire" me for a LOT longer for their wedding story then I have more work per wedding and of course more income. Maybe it would only appeal to TV audiences and not brides?? As videographers were seem to be pretty far down on their priority list so most have a limited budget! It would be nice to earn substantially more "per wedding" as each month they are limited....Hmmm maybe another add-in might work ..I'm open to suggestions!!
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:29 AM   #25
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Because video is still such a low priority with a large percentage of couples, I have started to think that it really doesn't matter what type of video you are trying to sell. Most couples will have a pre conceived idea of what a wedding video is, either from very limited viewing of a friend's wedding, the odd website or just assumption. Most of the discussion about what is the most attractive is between videographers on websites like this, where producers will always believe that their way of working and product is the best way.

At the risk of sounding like a cracked record and fulfilling my own criticisms above, selling yourself and talking in a relaxed and informative way to people is as important as your product. Couples really do need information on what is possible and what you personally bring to it, to give them a broad view to base their decision on. For me, wedding shows are vital as it makes that initial friendly, non pushy and non technical contact that makes them remember you over the others. We make a point of never taking details at a show or even considering taking bookings. Instead, we talk about why they decided to get married, what sort of venue they are having and have a very informal chat before even broaching the subject of what we do. They get so tired of being sold services at shows that they visibly relax after a few seconds and enjoy talking about their plans. We make sure they have a brochure before they move on, then if they get back to us, we always arrange to meet up and will only reserve a date over the phone rather than accepting a booking. For us, the total undersell works really well and it is very unusual not to take a booking after we visit a couple.

Many couples never get a chance to speak to videographers, and many videographers rely on websites, Facebook, brochures etc and communicate by email. That means that the opportunity to get the full information across is lost and pre conceived perceptions will usually sway the couples decision. Many videographers and photographers are technically minded people and find it easier to rely on remote communication, but actually building a client relationship can be very positive to sales and can be extended through social media.

I'm not suggesting it works for everyone, but if they like and feel comfortable with you, they will listen carefully to what you have to say. If they meet you for the first time, whether you are a seasoned professional or a weekend warrior, and you try sell to them with technical information and make it about you, they will never get to know you and are likely to remain defensive.

Roger
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:57 AM   #26
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Just as a follow. on to my previous post, the wedding show we attended last weekend, had an attendance of 650 brides according to the entry registration. Given the size of the show, we probably had perhaps 150-200 that noticed our stand. Many of those may not have bothered to look, or there were a lot of people around us, or perhaps they were looking for dresses or cakes. Even so, given that only about 10% book a video, that leaves potentially 20 brides that may have been interested if they spoke to us.

We have already taken 5 confirmed bookings from the show, plus 5 further appointments to visit couples so far, that I confidently expect to turn into bookings. Out of the 5 booked so far, 2 hadn't thought about a video at all, 2 had decided they didn't want one having seen other suppliers and one already wanted a video. Without speaking to the 4 waverers, there would only have been one booking. Out of the 20 potential bookers that I estimated from those that walked past, we will probably have 50% booked already, which is a great return for the less than the 200 cost of the show.

We also found that 135 brochures had been taken, many while we were tied up talking and past experience tells us that enquiries will come in for up to 6 months after the show and often longer. The actual number of bookings over a longer period of time is likely to increase considerably.

Although many on this forum are looking at ways of increasing their sales through specialized products and remote marketing, don't underestimate the power of face to face marketing of what you already have.

Roger
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Old January 28th, 2016, 09:57 AM   #27
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

If I added Photography to my service, it would be a gimmick, why, because I've no interest in it and would simply be adding it for extra business. I see some Photographers doing the same with video. If you're doing both because you're interested in both professions equally and want to offer that service, then yes I agree its not a gimmick. It does as Roger say bring advantages in meeting and booking clients much earlier than video alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
the only tricky part is finding the time to get enough headshots and that I can only do when they play a song or when someone sings live, when they just play music from a cd that is my moment i can get my b-roll footage but if they have a live singer I most likely will be forced to attach a cx730 to my tripod and leave it running unmanned pointed towards the singer.
One of the reasons I prefer multi camera is that the results don't require some tricks in the timeline to balance out the edit. It is presented as recorded live, with the edit a case of selecting simply the best camera angle. I may play with the timeline for my shorter 30-40 min video, and slightly in the longer edit to cover any issues on the day, but the couple always get an uncut Ceremony with no tricks, no special grading apart from basic exposure and colour correction. I would feel uncomfortable recording segments of the Ceremony to be used elsewhere in the edit. When I get guests reactions for Ceremony and Speeches, I always leave them at the point where I grabbed them. It feels more honest and not re-writing history in the edit. Its tricks like that, cutaways to decorations and other such nonsense why I generally poo poo the whole single camera coverage. Plus it doesn't sound less stressful - feels like more hassle that simply plonking a small camera at the back.

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I like Noa's new approach because it is not going back to an old boring way of doing thimgs, it is going back to basics which is completely different. It is about using carefully honed skills to produce a product that captures the day and is visually interesting. It is not about a few minutes of froth and music and is a different product.
I've just finished editing a full length Wedding Video, 1 hour 50 mins in length. I certainly feel I captured the day and used my carefully honed skills to produce something that was visually interesting, and the beauty is, I didn't even have to go back to basics to achieve it. Okay, the couple did get a few minutes of froth and music - I call it a Trailer and to be honest, a few minutes of froth and music is exactly what all Trailers are.

I always get asked how long my videos are; most seem to think I mean 30 mins when I say I offer longer videos!!! I think many in the profession are turning towards the 15-20 min shortform, so my full length is not one I'm going to ever stop offering, though I shall push my shorter videos as well. In fact Roger's comments make me think I need to broadcast this dual edit a whole lot more. A rewrite of my home page I think.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 10:10 AM   #28
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

Steve, promoting your dual edit so that they have the full version and the short froth is a good one and covers both sides of the story. It is basically what we do, with a short highlights video included if they want one. It covers all bases, just as we offer photography only, video only or the combined package. The good thing with the combined package is that they are starting to come back for baby photos, christenings and family photos, which almost never happens for video only.

Interestingly, we have never had a photography only for weddings, they always want the joint package even if they were initially just interested in the photography. Video only is usually when they already have a photographer booked or have a particular photographer that they want as they know his work or have used him before.

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Old January 28th, 2016, 10:12 AM   #29
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

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Although many on this forum are looking at ways of increasing their sales through specialized products and remote marketing, don't underestimate the power of face to face marketing of what you already have.
Lets not underestimate the power of social media. When most friends communicate through Facebook and Twitter, many couples are probably more comfortable with that side of communication than they are face to face. How many couples have met online, formed a bond with someone via the internet before meeting face to face.

In regards to specialise products; what is a specialised product? If you offer a Photo booth, is that a service or a specialised product. If its not, then how is Marryoke, Video booth and Messages a specialised product. Is offering drones a specialised product, or just another tool of filming. I see some companies offer drones, sliders and gimbals for their top package only, so its a deal breaker to justify their low cost packages. Then again I do that, just from offering to stay till midnight. I'm not sure where all this specialised products stuff springs from. I look at mine more like side orders you get on a menu; something extra if the couple want a bit more.
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Old January 28th, 2016, 10:59 AM   #30
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Re: Unique Wedding shoots to a Niche market

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One of the reasons I prefer multi camera is that the results don't require some tricks in the timeline to balance out the edit.
I do know the advantages of using more camera's but that is not the problem, the problem is the added bulk (camera's and tripods) I need to drag along which is what I want to prevent with my bad back, if I only had to shoot the ceremony I wouldn't mind using 4 camera's as long as I have all the time to set up and after the ceremony clean up and go home so I can take my time but on a full weddingday I don't have that luxury and it's because I have to move fast I fear that a wrong move might leave me immobile again.
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