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


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Old March 3rd, 2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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Starting up with $10K budget - How would you spend?

I plan to jump into the Wedding Videography biz with a $10K investment. I have some ideas on how to spend but would appreciate any feedback. Here's what I'm thinking

Cameras
XH-A1 $3400
HV20 $1100

Tripod
Bogen 503 $500

Audio
??? $1500??

Software
Vegas (upgrade) $200
Magic Bullet $140

Stabilizer
Glidecam 4000 $400

My focus is on equipment but what other major investment areas should I be looking at? I have a decent NLE setup that will work for now. I know I'll need a good website built but have no idea on cost. Also, am I going out on a limb with one main camera? For my intitial gigs I'll be sticking to the basics so I can't see the justification for a second A1 right away but then what about equipment failure? Any thoughts?
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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #2
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As mentioned other times on here....

Keep in mind that no one here (including me) has any idea about your business background, shooting experience, etc....

First you need the business end in place, although one of the business ends is determining how much you are willing to invest.

If $10K is all you have to put into the business, then cut the amount spent on physical goods by at least $1000 and put that money into a marketing budget. Then put another few hundred into an overhead budget, like stupid little supplies that everyone needs (business cards, paper, notebooks, web site, blank DVD-Rs, etc). Then put another few hundred into a third account for legal & accounting expenses. This is the point where I have been the weakest. You will need contracts, and those contracts should be checked by a lawyer. And your accounting will need to be setup. Either get Quickbooks, or get it and have an accountant help you setup everything so you don't need to go back to them that frequently.

Now as far as the gear..... other more experienced shooters will provide those opinions.

jason
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Old March 7th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #3
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One thing that I noticed is missing from your list is lighting. This can be a must for shooting very dark reception.

I'm not talking about brining a 10k watt light kit. But maybe invest in an 100w oboard light for each camera being used.

Preferably one (I use the NRG Varalux [100w dimmable] but also use a PAG C6 [30w] light as well), that has dimming capabilities. This way you can pump the power up to create fill lighting when shooting from a distance, and turn it down so you don't blind guests when shooting in close quarters.

Some here use new LED light technology, which is very compact and works well, when used in close proximity to the subject. But LED lighting falls off drastically after about 10-15 feet or so.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #4
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Lighting and Marketing

Thanks for the info on lighting. I haven't given that much thought yet but need to. Some other posts have suggested 50W as absolute max. I've also seen some videographers promote "no lights" as a selling point. Your thoughts? Paul -I do plan to invest in marketing outside my budget. How much should I expect to pay to have a nice website created and maintained? Until I establish myself, I see the website as a critical marketing tool so I'd like to do it right. Also has anyone paid for a search engine optimization and seen significant results?
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #5
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Googles vs SEO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
Thanks for the info on lighting. I haven't given that much thought yet but need to. Some other posts have suggested 50W as absolute max. I've also seen some videographers promote "no lights" as a selling point. Your thoughts? Paul -I do plan to invest in marketing outside my budget. How much should I expect to pay to have a nice website created and maintained? Until I establish myself, I see the website as a critical marketing tool so I'd like to do it right. Also has anyone paid for a search engine optimization and seen significant results?
Keep in mind that google does the "google shuffle" once a month as they tune their rankings and search results to specifically eliminate sleazy SEO techniques. Either buy google add words for specific geographical areas, or build a good site that mentions your search terms a lot. That is how you get good rankings. It never hurts to try those "submit your site for free" things.... because it is free (don't give you personal info obviously)! Just expect more SPAM mail when you do.

P{ersonally, I suggest looking at everyones site here at DVInfo. Look at the good ones and then just ask them who or how they did it.

As far as hosting, your needs depend on what you will be doing with the site. If you have a 5 page site with photos, you could get hosting on your own, or pay a reseller to host it for you (I happen to be a reseller) and pay any where around $10 / month for a relatively standard starting size site. If you get into hosting lots of video samples, you could run over the usual bandwidth for smaller sites. This just mean you could expect to pay around $15-20 / month. If you expect to have lots of business contacts and run big newsletters with email lists, etc, then expect $30-50 / month.

I have a client (client of my reseller hosting business) that has a ~4200 email marketing list for auctions. But there is NO WAY an entry level hosting plan will let you send that kind of email traffic through a shared hosting plan. Keep in mind that unless it is Dedicated or VPS, your site sits on a computer with may be 300 other accounts and sending email to even 500 people will KILL the servers response time for everyone. So hosting companies limit emails per hour to preserve server response times and also to avoid blacklisting that computer (which holds 299 other customers web sites as well) for perceived SPAM problems (because hotmail can't really tell the difference between email sent from your site and my site if it sits on the same server).

There are lots of threads here on DVInfo.net about hosting plans. I am hosted through Surpasshosting.com Other users here have mentioned 1and1.com. Do a little reading at site forums and feedback sites. See how they respond to negative feedback. If there isn't any feedback or all the feedback is recent, then the company is new and might be suspect.

Jason Robinson
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 03:01 PM   #6
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I'd save some money on the Glidecam and get a monopod instead. The money you'll save will almost buy one of the 2 wireless microphone systems you'll need.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 05:56 PM   #7
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First of all, definitely get a monopod and lose the Glidecam for now. I find the monopod can be very useful, especially for covering long toasts or even ceremonial dances at the reception.

Second, I disagree that you HAVE to have an on-camera light. I don't want to turn this into a debate on lighting, but there is a MAJOR difference between a videographer with a light and a photographer with a flash. The flash only appears for a split second, while a light is just on for the duration. One of the best ways to clear people off of a dance floor is to approach it with a light on your camera.

Now, with that being said, I do have a 40w (2 20w bulbs for flexibility) on-camera light that I have used a few times. However, I always ask my client first before I put it on, and I explain that the light will give me better footage but may also detract from the ambiance (sp?) of the event. 95% of the time I'm told to leave the light off. Heck, half the time I have couples asking the event center to turn down the lights more.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #8
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Travis said: "One of the best ways to clear people off of a dance floor is to approach it with a light on your camera."

Much less of a problem after 10 PM.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #9
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