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


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Old February 1st, 2006, 03:50 PM   #1
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The Importance of Education Beyond the Boards

Hey Guys,

There was an interesting topic regarding joining organizations and if they were worth it. The argument is that you can get enough with just the online forums. That is true to an extent. Online forums are a great place to learn and network but nothing beats a classroom environment offered at conventions and local workshops for getting the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time. There's also the opportunity to have face time with instructors and really have a chance to dig beneath the surface.

Of course there's the argument that you could be on the way to purchasing that new camera or tripod for what it would cost to attend a convention, workshop, or instructional videos. The one thing I had to learn the hard way was that the most valuable thing I own is my time. I could try and figure out all the ins and outs of shooting and editing which could take me years or I could invest a few hundred dollars and attend a seminar where the instructor shows me what works and what doesn't saving me alot of trial and error. To me, that's a bargain.

There are also the intangibles that come with the convention experience, namely the informal networking. I've learned more breaking bread with videographers than I did in the classroom or online. I strongly encourage those who haven't made it out to a convention or local workshop to do so. It really is worth it and the time savings alone make it worth the trip.

Also, FYI, we have it good compared to the photographers. A photographer friend of mine is doing a 2 day long workshop for $650. To put that in perspective, that's the cost of attending both WEVA and 4EVER Group's conventions COMBINED. And this is just one gifted photographer. I don't have the cost of attending the PPA convention in front of me but you can bet the cost is comparable. The main thing is that most photographers are happy to pay what it takes to learn from the best in the field. That eagerness to learn their craft has resulted in what I beleive to be better quality across the board as an industry compared to ours as well as the ability to command higher fees.

I hope we can have a mature discussion about this without it getting derailed into WEVA vs 4EVER Group politics. This isn't about that. It's about education and investing in yourself.

Chris Watson
Watson Videography
www.dynamovideo.com
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Old February 1st, 2006, 04:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris M Watson
I hope we can have a mature discussion about this without it getting derailed into WEVA vs 4EVER Group politics.
I'll make it easy for everyone. Any mention of either association's politics will be removed without explanation or delay. Please proceed with the mature discussion. Thanks in advance,
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Old February 1st, 2006, 07:15 PM   #3
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Maybe this is just me, but as a beginner, I think that joining an association is a good benefit. You can converse with other seasoned videographers and ask get their personal experiences and opinions. Not that you couldn’t do that here, but in an association, your sitting next to the guy rather than waiting for someone to post feedback.


Another pro of an association, is that you can offer your assistance to other videographers in the same area by doing camera or editing work for them for experience and to learn new techniques.


I think there is always something new to learn being a part of an association. There isn't a meeting that goes by that I get some new insight into doing things a little bit differently.

Also, some associations can get exclusive promotional deals that are not offered to the general videography community.

Just my two cents.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 02:29 AM   #4
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I haven't ever been a member of a video "association", so I can't speak to their benefits. All I can say is that in my years of experience, I have done just fine without such a membership.

I'm posting my experience, not to devalue being a member at all, but to give some evidence that you can learn a lot in other ways and put your money to other uses.

As always, just my opinion.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 05:57 AM   #5
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i refuse to join associations as they do nothing to "better" the prduct or teh industry in general. EVERY association i have heard of has its issues and politics and im too busy to stick my nose in that crap. However misleading information stemmed by these associations and their members with regard to "quality" of product really ticks me off... so to combat the crap, i go it alone and use commercial standardisations which these associations canot compete with...

as for education... gettin ur hands dirty is the only real way to learn. Finding some good inspiration and good teachers, as well as good values, is another major element.

As for forums, they are a great help when it comes to the quick and dirty answers for almost anythign u might have on your mind (i recently had a q about Avid Express ProHD and HD formats it handles. As i dont have an Avid here anymore, asking someone who does helped me finish a project and meet my deadline. Now to me, the value of that interaction between total strangers is incredible.
I also help run a technology baed forum here in Aus and its pretty much teh same with regard to learning about elements when it comes to PCs and the like.
Communities like this are esential, as this is REAL WORLD people talking abotu real world experiences.

you jsut cant buy that...
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 07:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
However misleading information stemmed by these associations and their members with regard to "quality" of product really ticks me off... so to combat the crap, i go it alone and use commercial standardisations which these associations canot compete with...
Pete - what do you mean by "commercial standardizations?" I think I agree with your post but I was wondering if you could expound on that? -thx
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 09:56 AM   #7
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Education

I am 21 years old and have been working on getting my own video production business off the ground since my senior year of high school. It has been slow going, but I am making progress.

I have been studying motion picture production at Lansing Community College for the past two and a half years. I have been taking about 12-15 credits per semester, trying to balance school with running a business. The instruction has been good (some instructors have degrees from USC and the like) but it is nothing extraordinary.

I have been shooting weddings for 2 years now. My first wedding was ok, obviously not perfect, but I booked several weddings ($1500 packages) using it as a demo. I kept practicing, reading, watching, and attending classes, and I got better. Today, just about every bride that finds me, interviews me, and books me, tells me that I am "the best in the area."

The local competition doesn't come close to a lot of what i see on this board. I book about 90% of the couples that I meet with.

I just recently landed my first corporate job with a company that recently acquired a $300,000,000 contract with NASA. I'm pretty happy about this, and think for my age I am probably doing alright.

I am going to come back to education now.

Like I said I have been taking film classes at a college. The formal education has been great, especially the early classes. It has given me great fundamentals, but lets not forget that video/film production is also an artform. Like any form of art (whether it be music, painting, drawing, or movie making) you can read all the books and have all of the instruction there is, but unless you pick up that paint brush, or camera, even learn to communicate and work with others in real world scenarios, you will never get anywhere with your craft.

I have definitly learned more from this board, working and practicing on my own, reading the books that have been recommended, and watching the work of others, than I would learn in a life time of film school. Film school preaches the theoreticals, the way that things never really pan out.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 11:05 AM   #8
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cost of attending

depending on where your photographer friend is staying, I am willing
to bet the total cost of going to the photo seminar is LESS than what
it costs at WEVA or 4EVER. I did the numbers for W, and estimated
it would cost me about $1300-1400 dollars to attend including airfare,
food, and registration costs. I was gung ho about going (mainly as
an excuse to go to Vegas) this year, but i am going to pass. I have learned
so much from all the boards and viewing other samples of work, and
chatting with other professionals. In the end, I would much rather put that cash towards a family getaway.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 11:13 AM   #9
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this is a good thread, and i'm hoping to read replies from actual weva or 4ever members to gain perspective.

i've been doing weddings for a few years now, and the business is growing rapidly. we just had a very positive showing at this city's biggest bridal show, and are gaining confidence and clientele. i'm no spielberg, but i went to film school, shot a music video last year and hope to shoot a feature this year. i've paced animatics and made storyboards for a john singleton project, and my other job is making movies for videogames. is weva right for me?

what i want to know is whether or not membership is worth it. is it something that will take my business over the top? are there key takeaways that members experience and value? are there any awesome deals or discounts for members that i'm missing out on? is there anything i can get out of the expos that i can't get out of nab?

i've seen many weva affiliated videographers at bridal shows, and frankly, i have not been impressed. i'm not sold on a weva logo commanding respect from a bride the way an ase certification benefits a mechanic. so from the outside looking in, i'm wondering, "why bother?"
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 11:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.J. Briones
i'm not sold on a weva logo commanding respect from a bride the way an ase certification benefits a mechanic. so from the outside looking in, i'm wondering, "why bother?"
I couldn't agree more, but I am all in favor of local associations and general networking with peers in your market. I've become friends with a handful of local videographers who are my competition, yet we shoot freelance for each other when needed. There's still mutual admiration and respect. I've learned something each time I've shot for someone else.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 03:17 PM   #11
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what kind of associations are worth it

"what i want to know is whether or not membership is worth it. is it something that will take my business over the top? are there key takeaways that members experience and value? are there any awesome deals or discounts for members that I'm missing out on? is there anything i can get out of the expos that i can't get out of nab?"

Most deals & discounts aren't at all, or aren't worth much. I never found their "insurance" or other so called discounts eg., credit card setup etc. to be worth a cent and were of no interest to me.

On a different note, different group, I drove up to LA for a user group meeting and won a $199 software which I probably would have bought eventually. Not all demos or presentations had immediate usefulness, but much of it added to the large store of knowledge most of us need to have some understanding about.

The in person associating with others (local groups) in the same business has resulted in a few of us hiring each other for various kinds of assistance, eg., 2nd cam shooter, etc. We've found that hanging out with and sharing with our competitors is beneficial to all of us.

Some associations charge dues for no reason, others at least can justify spending membership $

I don't like the ones that spend member dues on presenters who want to sell something and don't go the extra mile to at least give you a really useful dynamite informational presentation for the $
They should have users do presentations, not salespeople - unless it's a very rare, skilled, hands on kind of salesperson - announcing ahead of time if it's platform specific.

I recently joined a new local and sporadically attend a few other locals (some free). All in all it gives me a good perspective and here and there I make a worthwhile contact which I'll keep in mind for future projects.

Good forums like this have sometimes given me more answers to a wider range of questions, but I have found that meeting colleagues in person was the best way to find others locally that I ended up working with.

Several years back, even though my work at the time did not include weddings, a local group encouraged me to go to the WEVA expo. So I joined WEVA one year and attended one Las Vegas Expo. Back then the biggest benefit was that they had a good side by side camcorder shootout emphasizing low light capabilities. That kind of info takes some time to gather and experience first hand by yourself, so that was worthwhile. Vendors were very accommodating (don't know if it was because of the year or the venue). Later "town hall" WEVA meetings were just lots of hype and of no value from my experience. The one and only time I paid to attend a workshop it was not worth it for me because I had more training and experience than the presenter, but could not know in advance how amateur the presenter was going to be. I'm not trying to say I know everything - but in this case it was a loss for me.

At the larger WEVA expo many untalented people were mixed in with a few very talented and few others who had a few good business tips or misc equipment tips. But not worth re-joining - though I might re-consider after I hear what they have to say on Monday. WEVA is having a "town meeting" free in LA this Monday and I think they are talking about trying to offer more to members and maybe they'll address that on Monday. One of my colleagues swears by their forums - but then he hasn't tried this one.
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