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

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Old November 27th, 2005, 06:15 PM   #16
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
"They aren't very good in low light..."

No more needs to be said. The VX/PD cameras are the best for weddings, or at least the receptions. I went the dual-onechip route. It meant that I threw that money away and bought a better camera the second I could afford it. Consumer cameras lose their value quickly. If the business doesn't work out, you could sell your used VX2000 for over $1000. I would rather have one good camera and one good mic than three mediocre cameras with three irivers.

There is no substitution of at least one good camera and one good wireless. That is your starting point. Get a used VX2000 if you need to save money and borrow/commandeer Uncle Bob's camera if you have a catastrophe at the wedding.

Your second audio setup can be an iriver.

You probably have a single-chip camera already to use as backup.

I hate to be a contrarian to other's posts, but I wish I had the money I spent buying lesser cameras than I really needed - only to replace them a year later.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 07:46 AM   #17
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Location: Denver, Colorado USA
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You should have a business plan FIRST.
Indeed Bob youíre right.

My business plan is: To avoid being a Wal-Mart greeter when my current job ends in about 5 years or so. :)

Perhaps some background information about myself is in order here. I am 48 years old, currently have a full-time job with a decent income (been there for 25 years) and have my weekends and evenings pretty much available for filming and post production work (which I pretty much do now for nothing). I will most likely be unemployed in 5 years or so as the current owners sell and the business changes hands.

My wife earns a modest income as a school teacher and she will still be employed for probably another 10 years after my job ends. We have two children that will be attending a local university and ďsomeĒ money has been set aside for that. (Granted, kids never stay out of you pocket though).

I will receive a generous compensation package upon termination and of course have a retirement plan which, at the age of 53 or so wonít be available to me. I never finished college and I know how tough it is to be hired at this age for anything decent. Perhaps I should use these next 5 years to finish my degree but to be honest, I just donít have the stomach for it. Iíd rather do event videography Ė something I really enjoy. While it may not make a lot of sense in my market, Iíd kick myself down the road if I didnít try. Iíve really never been in a position to do something I like vs. something I had to do for the family and household.

So yesÖ this would be a part-time business for the next few years or so.

As far as my given market of about 60,000 people there are on average about 10-20 weddings each week. (More in the summer less during the winter months). If I extend my travel circle to 60 miles that number probably triples. Going further (about 150 miles) the population goes up to about half a million.

NowÖ at the risk of putting my foot in my mouth, I would rather be starting out in THIS situation than going into the oversaturated and highly competitive rat race some of you guys live in.

As you can see I do have some time to ease into this and I donít think Iíll have any problems cultivating business. The question remains Ė what price will folks in this area pay for a single-camera event. For this Iíd expect $500 - $800 for each shoot and I agree, my time should be limited to about 5 hours. Iím pretty efficient at post production and can most likely turn the final product out in 2 weeks or so (remember, Iím still working days).

I donít intend to make anything my first year. (The little I do will most likely go towards supplies and other incidentals as you mentioned). I have no illusions about getting rich as Iím old enough to know better. For a while I intend to keep developing a portfolio of satisfied clients to use a referrals even if I need to do them for nothing at first. (Time and money-wise Iím in a position to do that if necessary). I consider myself to be very tenacious and have no moral convictions that would keep me from cutting the throat of any competitor which I will promptly do should the opportunity present itself. Itís business and I (like many of you) consider myself to be a survivor.

Thank you for the links and info on the PDX-10. Iíve actually used one. While your suggestion to start with a 2 camera rig from the onset is very sound Ė I am undeniably a VX fan which Iíve used as well. To me there is no comparison (In post anyway). The next major purchase will most definitely need to be a second camera. If I find this is the difference (again in my market) between a $500 gig and say $1200-$1500, Iíll spring for one immediately out of pocket. I am also trying to work something out with a local high school media teacher who will let me rent one of his budding students and a VX2000 which the school uses for about $100-$150 during the ceremonies.

I would however like to ask what you folks do as filler projects when youíre not doing weddings which are generally always booked on a Saturday. (I know that lots of pros have more than 1 crew). Iíve done a couple of funerals and know pros do them but Iíd expect this segment of the business to be not as lucrative. And Johnnyís Bar mitzvah or Grandmaís 100th birthday certainly canít be worth the time. Something might be said for anniversaries but these are always on a Saturday as well. Iíve read here in the forums that some do a lot of band promos but Iím sure my equipment is insufficient for something like that for now.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #18
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Location: Venice, FL
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I have a friend who built a great (busy, not profitable) business doing $500 weddings. He was doing a couple a week, and always booked. When he raised his price to more normal levels (above $1k), all his referrals dried up, since he was selling to the bubba crowd. His work is easily worth more than $1k, but he just doesn't know the right people (or rather, they don't know him). My advice would be to do fewer weddings, but do them at the price range you want to be at to make money, especially since you are not so concerned about volume now. One $1500 wedding can generate a $1500 -$2000 referral later, whereas 3 or 4 $500 weddings will not yield any $1500 referrals.

And to play in that range, you should have two cams, even if they do not match. The biggest thing is to have two with similar color curves, so get your vx and then find a cheap one that cuts well with it. And just set it in the back (balcony?) you don't need to have it manned. White balance them both to the same spot. This is how most wedding people work. 2 cams, one operator. 3 cams, two operators. Some set 2 or 3 cams and lock them down, so they can offer a 3 (or 4) cam shoot by themselves. Not all shots are equally useful, sometimes the extra angle is only for the vows or some other special period of the ceremony.

You also get better customers at a higher price, ones that will be more reasonable and more likely to brag about how great their video came out.
Good Luck.
You are either growing or dying.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 10:12 PM   #19
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
I tried shooting with two-cams/one-operator but found the static cam footage to be useless for me. I started carrying the extra DV camera in a waist bag with a firewire cable connected to the primary cam on my monopod. This way, I got a backup copy of the primary camera's tape.

From personal experience, don't go below $1000 except for ceremony-only shoots on off-days. It will cost you in the long run. Trust me.
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