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

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Old March 28th, 2013, 12:11 AM   #1
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Why weddings?

One thing I've been curious about for a while -- what possesses people in the first place to say, "I'm going to film weddings for a living"? What backgrounds do wedding videographers come from?

It seems to me the commonest paths are:

-- photographers
-- video hobbyists
-- wedding guests. I've often heard people saying they were at a wedding, saw someone else doing it, and thought it would be a cool job.
-- very often: your spouse dragged you into it.

What you don't seem to get so often are:

1. Business people. It's not really the sort of thing you simply buy into without knowing much about it because you're looking around for a small business.

2. Film school people. Even if there are more media students being churned out than ever before, I'm skeptical how many have any camera operating and editing skills, and how many LIKE weddings enough to stay in them. It's not a business that is as lucrative or as glamorous as other areas of video production. It's not something you go to film school to do.

The origins of wanting to do photography for a living I think are more understandable. Photographers have a higher profile. Photography is a well recognised profession. Most people have tried out photography as a hobby, etc.

And general video production as opposed to weddings I think is slightly more explicable -- people wash up into it from other parts of the broadcast world.
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Old March 28th, 2013, 01:31 AM   #2
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Re: Why weddings?

Hi Adrian

I was a wedding and studio photog for 10 years (all film of course) ...video systems in those days were simply too big and cumbersome to drag around but I always wanted to make movies ...When Panasonic brought out the "M" series cameras that you popped a full size tape into then it became practical to do video at weddings.

I wonder what motivates them nowdays ...maybe the lure of easy money to be made in one day ....We are a minority in the industry because it's far easier to do a 6 month photography course after school and then Daddy buys you a Canon 5D and voila! You are a wedding photographer ... video is another ball park!

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Old March 28th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #3
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Re: Why weddings?

I'm like Chris. Started as a still photog doing everything under the sun to make a living. In 1983 I had a chance to try my hand at video and I got hooked on the moving images. If I only knew back then what I know now! ;-)
It has provided me a good living over the years but keep in mind...while I do a lot of weddings (well not this year but I'm trailing off towards retirement from weddings) I've also done a ton of corporate work. Everything from seminars, conferences, focus groups, panel discussions, training vids, promos, reunions, news, sports, TV commercials, TV shows, web shows....like I said anything to make a living. Weddings just happened to be more frequent than other work.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old March 28th, 2013, 05:53 AM   #4
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Re: Why weddings?

Most of my working life up until 1983 was music and audio production, earning my living as a gigging musician and building my own commercial recording studio. I engineered and produced for many years and also inherited an interest in cine film from my Father.

In 1983 I bought my first video cameras and an ex broadcast U-matic editing suite, and started experimenting with in studio band recording. I bought a portable recorder to use on location, but my first location recording was for a singer who had used my studio, who asked if I could film his wedding. Shortly after, I sold the agency side of my music business and invested the profits in new video cameras and editing gear. By then the original wedding had led to others, and I was filming more wedding work than music.

I still film multi camera music and schools work with some corporate, but weddings are the mainstay of the business and I really enjoy the challenge of them.

I think that there are a lot of budding film makers now coming out of film and media degree courses who are frustrated by the lack of paid production work. Many of these seem to be turning to wedding work as a means to applying their newly acquired cinematic knowledge whilst earning some money. I think that this accounts for the increase in people offering stylised cinematic and multi angle wedding shoots rather than the perhaps more traditional documentary style.

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Old March 28th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #5
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Re: Why weddings?

I got in to it because family told me too.

I loved the concept of pleasing people with some thing I have created from scratch. It satisfies me knowing I have full creative control, with no one 'like a manager' in a conventional job telling me what to do.

And I come from a health & safety office background from a well known budget airline !
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Old March 28th, 2013, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Why weddings?

I come from the other disrespected (often rightfully so) wedding profession: DJ. I've been a pretty good wedding DJ for 15 years (500-600 weddings) and for about two years we were looking at getting a photo booth. About the same time we realized there were already a bunch of photo booths in our small/modest market, we had two different couples asking about videographers. The names I had were old and out of business, so we volunteered with out Handycams.

It's then that we realized that 1) we like doing it; and 2) our market is under served; we starting offering it formally to DJ clients on the cheap with the understanding that we were learning, but we'd still be better than their uncle. (my wife is primary shooter, and I or another gentleman are her seconds).

A year later, and we're booking 10-12 weddings, almost all with my wedding DJ clients. We're selling our first "real" camera (Canon T2i) for a Mark ii, with plans for a pair of Mark iiis before next season. If we keep improving along with our gear, we may end up as real videographers yet, instead of just 'better than your uncle' (which is our real business tag line).
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Old March 28th, 2013, 09:01 PM   #7
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Re: Why weddings?

It's a great way to do video and be a school teacher at the same time. :)
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Old March 28th, 2013, 11:37 PM   #8
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Re: Why weddings?

Many years ago, like in the early 70's I was a bicycle repairman/assembler for a distributor of cheap cycles made overseas for the North American market. I was making $125 a week working 40 hours during the summer to help pay college fees. I was invited to my friend's wedding one weekend and noticed a filmographer shooting with a super 8 camera most of the day. He had like 10 or 12 film spools that are 3 minutes each and was being very careful not to run out of film by shooting small few second clips from time to time.Super 8 film back the was $11 for a 50ft 3 minute reel. During the evening I approached him and asked how he was going to edit them and how he was going to add music. He said that there is no sound on them but would only splice them together and make one big reel of a half hour duration and present them to the couple that way. I was curious to know how much he charged for his work and materials and I was surprised when he said $600 dollars. That was more than a month's salary on those stupid bikes. You can imagine me going to the camera store a week later to purchase an Elmo super 8, a splicer, Bell & Howell projector, and a 500 watt light that runs off a 100 foot extension cord. The first year I remember booking 5 weddings and the following year upgraded to a Super 8 with sound and had over 10 bookings. Then came the Sony Betamax SL2000 field recorder tethered to a single tube Trinicon camera and the rest is history. I did not make a million, but I enjoyed my work.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 01:26 AM   #9
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Re: Why weddings?

I'm in the same boat as Robert.

I've been DJing weddings for the last 13 years. My degree is in broadcast production so I figured I better put it to use somehow and started offering wedding video. I train my camera crew and do the edits myself. It has worked out pretty well. DJ service is our main deal but video has been a good upsell.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 02:23 PM   #10
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Re: Why weddings?

I started off shooting wedding stills and decided I'd double my workload for the same money and produce wedding films. Editing stills? Click the delete button. Editing video? Sharp intake of breath.

But although practically all couples hire a stills photographer, few realise that a videographer tells a far more moving (ha!) story of the day. I haven't met a couple yet (blush) who preferred the stills to my video of their day.

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Old March 29th, 2013, 02:36 PM   #11
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Re: Why weddings?

I was doing stills photography, had hardly even thought of video and then a year or so ago a guy asked me to video his daughter's wedding, he provided his own cam, a Sony VG 10.
talking about winging it!!!
I had no idea of the controls buttons etc. had it the day before the wedding and practiced like mad - it wasn't perfec,t i did 90% of it hand held, his tripod wasn't up to much, but the hardest part was the editing! I had no knowledge of that at all.
still learning :-)
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Old March 29th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: Why weddings?

Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
But although practically all couples hire a stills photographer, few realise that a videographer tells a far more moving (ha!) story of the day. I haven't met a couple yet (blush) who preferred the stills to my video of their day.

That is so true, the trouble is that they don't realise until they receive it just how important the video is. When I do wedding shows, I just wish I had a table full of previous clients for show visitors to talk to, it might encourage the 80% who don't book video!

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Old March 29th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: Why weddings?

I got into it because everyone says that's where the money is, then I kinda got out of it cause it was too repetitive for me.
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #14
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Re: Why weddings?

Because of my big mouth ...lol!
In 2007, after my co-worker showed me a sample of the videog she was planning to hire ..i told her she was getting ripped off and that i could do better she said "oh yeah? " did it for 1/3 price ($600). After that it was a steady stream of referrals year in and year out. I guess it helped that i paid attention to those film classes i minored in University and also did the MTV fast cut style instead of the straight doc slow-mo , flying hearts,doves and rings that were popular at that time.
Modern Wedding Cinema for the Modern Bride
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Old March 29th, 2013, 11:44 PM   #15
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Re: Why weddings?

It's the perfect combination of heart and liquor.

Shot my first Wedding off a random Craigslist submission to pick up a few extra bucks a few years back and the bride went crazy over it. Shooting/editing mostly creative green screen work prior to that, I suddenly realized how nice it was to hand someone your work and know they'll cherish it 20 years from now. Next thing I know I upped my price and I'm shooting 35-40 a year and loving it. There are two things that drive me still: I genuinely enjoy the romantic side of it and I'm never satisfied with my work. Now that I finally have a talented assistant editor to help, who knows, I may just do this for another 20 years. It's also nice that even in a recession, people always seem to have money set aside for a Wedding.

It's funny, when I think about it, I know for a fact that I would not be doing this for a living had that first bride not gone nuts over her video. Thank you Craigslist! Haha!!
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