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


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Old February 28th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #1
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Paralysis

About a year ago I became interested in starting a video production business. I thought wedding video would be a good place to start. So I started hanging out here. I've watched every video possible by Glen Elliott, Mark Von Lanken (I even bought his DVD set), et al. Since my time is precious, I've only been watching the "best".

Well, that has resulted in a sort of paralysis for me. It's almost like I feel I shouldn't even book a wedding until I reach that level. It's a year later, and I've only done two weddings.

I just bought a new book: "The Wedding Video Handbook". It came with a DVD of samples. Boy, they're just pretty regular. Not amazing, but certainly not bad. Just fair-to-middlin'. So I started looking at some sample videos on-line from local area videographers. Hey, I'm actually better than at least half of them.

So from now on, I'm going to start doing the best *I* can do. Maybe some day I'll be in the same league as the big dogs, but just because I'm not doesn't mean I'm going to sit on my hands.

Time to start booking some weddings!
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Old February 28th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #2
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Good for you Chris! I know how intimidating it can be to be competing with much more seasoned and experienced veterans of the business. Having just started up myself I can relate. I started out filming my two sister's weddings last year with my little Sony TRV-19. Not a very good camera, but they got a free wedding video out of it (their idea, not mine). Best of luck to you in booking weddings and gaining more experience.
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Old February 28th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #3
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That's exactly what you gotta do man! I love to watch examples from others, it teaches me what I need to do better and how I can improve. Don't ever stop comparing your work with others either so you don't fall into the trap of never improving. Good luck man!

Eric Hansen
www.ehansenproductions.com
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Old February 28th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'm also in the same boat, just starting a business, specializing in wedding videography. I've watched 1000s of video samples from others all over the world, and I've come up with a pretty good idea of what a wedding video is composed of. I've recently purchased a good handful of professional (prosumer) level equipment, and I'm jumping right into making wedding videos. I'm offering my first few dirt cheap (at cost to me, almost no profit) just to get my foot in the door, and just to have a demo reel to show for. Word is spreading around fast and I'm starting to get more work than I can handle, and I haven't even done my first video yet!

Good luck
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Old February 28th, 2006, 04:45 PM   #5
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Paralysis by Analysis! Unlock the door and go thru it. Watching the samples of people like Glen, Mark and Trisa, Ken E and many many others that frequent the board here and other places can be a fantastic learning tool and is a great bar to set for yourself and strive for HOWEVER, I can say with almost 100% certainty that none of them STARTED off at the level they are at now. It takes time, patience, the want to learn and the love of the craft as well as the daily desire to better one self. Oh yeah it also takes lots of practice. Lots and lots of practice. I've been doing wedding videos for 23 years and let me tell you that as soon as you think you know it all 2 things happen, 1) you become complacent and your business starts to fall off and 2) you find out that you don't.
Get out there and start doing some weddings. Strive to get better with each and everyone, learn a new camera "trick" or a new editing process, even a business technique that might help your business grow.
I go thru ths every year about September, for a brief period of time I feel like I'm going thru the motions and not giving my best (it's called burnout) but I slap myself and make myself sit up and pay attention. Is every job a grand slam home run? NOPE! But I bet that Glen and Mark and Trisha and everyone else probably goes thru it too. Point being, get out there and do the work, strive to get better each time and soon, everyone here will be talking about YOU! There's plenty of room at the top-the road to sucess is not crowded and there is a big winners platform with lots of room for alot of people.
GO FORTH AND MAKE VIDEO!
Don
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Old February 28th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #6
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Boy am I glad to read all this! I plan to start wedding videography within the next 2 years, just doing as much research as I can in the meantime. Along the way I've downloaded and watched samples of others work. I've seen a few really sub-standard examples where Uncle Jim, 2 sheets to the wind with his old 8mm could have done better (these people shouldn't be in the business). A few were nice enough, some beautiful and some simply breathtaking (as in 'this is what it's all about!' factor, btw I would include Erics work in this latter category). As I've tried to study all the theory and techniques used, it has been a mixed bag of feelings every time I see the bar raised higher. Ultimately, it's a good thing, even though for us little guys just starting out, it presents a huge challenge!
I think its like any business though, everyone has to start somewhere and we cant all be the Mozart of videography, but it's fun, interesting (and infuriating!) to see how far we can go.
But yeh, it's good to read your just going to go for it Chris, I'll take a cue from that when I get to that stage. Wow, I think I've just been optimistic...cheers man!
ps have to agree with you about 'the wedding video handbook' quite a good read so I was kinda expecting top-class footage on the dvd...pretty average...but if you were surprised by that, have you checked out the website!? http://www.sunrayvideo.com
I don't want to be mean but I don't think it's anywhere near any standard for 2006, yet the guy seems to be successful, so there ya go...
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Old February 28th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #7
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THe one thing that motivates me the most is watching bad video from people in my area. THere are a good handful (15-20) different video shops around where I live, and there are quite a few, doing considerable amounts of business, making some terrible looking productions! I look at them, and I think to myself "they're charging THAT for THIS???... I can do better than that for cheaper!"

I'm anxious to get started. I've had a good but of editing and shooting experience here and there, but nothing as high priority as someone else's wedding. I'm up for the challenge.
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Old February 28th, 2006, 08:08 PM   #8
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I've made a commitment to myself, to start shooting weddings professionally, in HD, by this summer, with at least two "trial runs" at a very reduced cost to those couples, in the meantime (probably more like three or four). I "know" I'm "not ready" yet and won't be then. That's not to say that I lack confidence in my abilities. I've never been one to shy away from a new challenge in life for lack of confidence (with somewhat humorous results on occassion!). What I do know is, that no matter when I set a time to start, there would still be "but I still need to learn [fill in the blank]" thoughts in the back of my head. I've been studying video production, particularly HD, from all angles, for a little over a year now, and while I've learned a heck of a lot, there's still a heck of a lot more left to learn, and there always will be. One thing I've learned, is that there is a lot to be learned right here on this board. This is a fine collection of people involved in video production, in one way or another, who are quite serious about their work, with a genuine commitment to continually improving their knowledge and skills, with a willingness to share that knowledge and experience with others.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 02:56 AM   #9
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Some good points here....A LOT of wedding video companies do bad work for multiple reasons and the biggest in my opinion is they lack the skills and know how to produce quality material. SO, to all of you just getting started or are thinking of doing wedding videos.....DONT RUSH IT!!!! Get your skills together first....sure, your 20th wedding video will look better than the first and it should but your first handful could look really nice if you take the time and dont jump head first into it. The wedding industry is flooded in many cities with lousy wedding video producers and that adds to the stigma and bad rap that wedding videographers sit in the shadow of. You wouldn;t claim to be a airplane pilot without knowing how to fly a plane yet...would you, no because you would crash and die????? SUre.....you're not going to die shooting a wedding video as you would if you were attempting to fly a plane without the knowledge and instruction....but you will add to the many bad wedding videographers mentioned in many of the posts. Not only do you owe it to yourself, the wedding videography industry as a whole....and last but certainly not least, actually the most important, you owe it to the clinets/bride-grooms who will be trusting you to produce their video. So please take your time honing in on your skills.....get the training material folks on here talk about often.....and PRACTICE A LOT......this way when you get your first client...paying or freebie......you'll have a huge advantage to producing quality material right out of the box.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Weeks
THe one thing that motivates me the most is watching bad video from people in my area. THere are a good handful (15-20) different video shops around where I live, and there are quite a few, doing considerable amounts of business, making some terrible looking productions! I look at them, and I think to myself "they're charging THAT for THIS???... I can do better than that for cheaper!"

I'm anxious to get started. I've had a good but of editing and shooting experience here and there, but nothing as high priority as someone else's wedding. I'm up for the challenge.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 12:20 PM   #10
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Chris I know exactly how you were feeling. When I started wedding videography I had never seen a single wedding video my entire life. I had nothing to strive for, nothing to inspire me, and nothing to really set the bar so to speak. I just shot and edited to the best of my ability. After I started researching the internet and seeing what high-end wedding videography can be it really opened up my eyes to the possibilities.

I'm somewhat obsessive in that whatever I get into I'm into 110%. I eat, slept, and...well you know what, wedding video. I purposely exposed myself to as much online content as I possibly could, paying special attention to the works from the videographers whom I personally liked the best.

It was only a matter of time when I began to see the result of these influences in my own work. When you surround yourself with people/influences that are more advanced than you- one of two things can happen. Either you get discouraged or you strive to do the best that "you" possibly can do taking heed to the artists' work that you favor most.

Earlier works were "inspired" more heavily by the others with even some bonified emulation. Over time you find your stride and watch your influences harmogenize with your own style. Soon enough you'll grow comfortable with your style practicing it with inherent consistancy. This is a double-edge sword because it can eventually lead to burn-out.

In order to stay fresh don't stop drawing influence from your favortes all the while constantly working on changing specific elements of your own in each wedding you complete. This perpetual "evolving" or "exploration" will broaden your skills and make you a very well rounded editor/shooter in addition to keeping the genre continually fresh and challenging.

I may be jumping way ahead here but I figured I'd offer some insight into what it's like for me- abliet, I don't have anywhere NEAR the experience as the others mentioned. I often feel like I'm still finding my stride.

Good luck with your growth, and best wishes to a flourishing and rewarding career in the industry.


PS Chris, your first efforts will immeasurably be better than mine. You should see my assistant's first video he completed- it blew my first 5 wedding out of the water. I attribute that to exposure and influence.
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