Strength in numbers: Joining an Association for Videographers
Wedding videography's a lonely business and it's easy to feel isolated. Even a hardened videographer's at the mercy of technology, and the ability to borrow a camera at short notice could be a life saver. Or you may just need advice on how to tackle a new problem. By joining an association of videographers, you're no longer alone and can easily call on the invaluable experience of others. At least that's the motivation of many for joining a professional organisation, but with so many free forums offering advice, professional organisations need to offer more than just an opportunity for exchanging ideas. There are currently two large organisations in the UK for professional videomakers: the APV and the IOV. Both of these aim to improve standards with the professional videomaker industry and both offer accreditation and annual rewards. On the surface both would seem to offer identical services, but it seems there's subtle differences between the two which may make one organisation more suited to you. Just as importantly, are either organsiation for you?
The Institue of Videography
Although promoting standards within the industry, passing an assessment is not a requirement for membership of the IOV. However, the IOV does operate a "code of practice" and its main stated aim is to promote professionalism within the world of videography. Free subscription to Focus, a magazine for professional videographers is included with membership of the IOV, together with access to the websites forums and articles. The IOV also organises local meetings, providing the opportunity for likeminded videograhers to come together to exchange ideas, and they also indicate the potential for new business opportunities as a member.
Wedding videographers typically join as an 'Individual Member' at £107.50 per year, plus a one off £15.00 joining fee. This entitles members to the benefits of membership quoted above, but arguably the most visible benefit of advertising membership of the IOV in promotional material is only available to 'qualified members'. Assessment costs £35 for members and are carried out once every two months.
The IOV also arranges an annual convention with exhibits from leading manufactures and retailers within the videography industry.
The Association of Professional Videomakers
The APV recently underwent major changes under a new director and in common with the IOV, the APV operates a code of practice to promote professionalism amongst videomakers. Again, like the IOV the APV operates an assessment programme with 'qualified' members only being permitted to promote their membership of the association. They offer a referal service for qualified members and their member only area of the website offers help and advice for video professionals.
Annual membership of the APV costs £70, with a one off registration fee of £14. Members must submit work for assessment to become a qualified member, with a fee of £35 for a 'certificate' qualification, £60 for a 'diploma' and £100 the IOV's 'award of excellence'.
As well as offering help and advice for members, the APV also offer music licencing. This is an area of confusion for many videographers, and the ability to buy licences direct from the APV takes some of the stress out of using copyright music in your presentations.
Horses for courses...
So which one's for you? The IOV appears to be the home of choice for wedding videographers, but not quite as dynamic as the newly re-launched APV. That's not to say the IOV's for wedding videographers, just that much of their promotional material centres on wedding videographers. Indeed, the IOV website features a 'find a wedding videographer' service and a substantial proportion of their membership indicate wedding videography as their main activity. The IOV's local meetings also rather allude to a social club rather than a professional body, something which I believe the APV is keen to distance itself from. Again, this is not to say the IOV has a higher proportion of 'professional' members, but may give an indication of which association is suited to you.
It's important to note that both are professional associations operating on a not-for-profit basis; you're not paying for the privilege of displaying a logo. Moreover, both organisations offer an arbitration service and are fundamental to promoting professionalism. Although the IOV is often perceived as an association for wedding videographers or a club for part-time videographers, this may appeal to you. On the other hand the APV is keen to promote itself as an organisation for video makers and keeps qualifcations for wedding videographers seperate.
Membership of either body may not provide immediate tangible benefits, and you certainly can't expect membership to guarantee additional work. But membership of either acts as a signal of your intentions and helps promote professionalism in an industry in dire need of self-promotion.