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Thread: Looking for experience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    5

    Default Looking for experience

    Hi there,
    I'm new on here and very eager to get some more experience filming weddings.
    i've done two previously as a videographer both times were for friends filmed solo and the end video could definately have been better. I've done some stills photography and was second photographer on a wedding to help a friend out and learned a lot. I am looking for similar epxerience but on the video side of things.
    I know that the best way to get good at weddings is to do them, so if anybody out there wants a second camera or assitant for a day just give me a shout. Im in the Midlands/Coventry area and am very eager to learn more.
    I do have filming experience, done some tricky location filming and some short films plus a few short documentaries. I also have a good grasp of editting.
    I know that Weddings can be one of the trickest things to film and very high pressured so I'm under no illusions that my previous filming experience probably counts for nothing
    Any advice you could give would also be gratefully received.
    Cheers
    John

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi John - Any experience at weddings is a bonus. Just getting used to the flow is a big part of grasping what could/should happen and how deadlines get missed. I'm sure if you ring round your local video producers, or better still, call at a local wedding show (January/Feb is the optimum time) and present yourself for a chat. Offer to carry the bags and runaround for them etc. It'll all help in gaining an insight.
    As time goes on and they trust you, they'll more than likely ask you to 2nd cam and direct you for the shots they need.
    If I were you I'd pick a company just out of your area as many locals will be wary that you'll be picking their brains then setting up in direct competition. Best of luck!
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Cheers Zero, Will get in touch with the local guys and see whats what. The wedding fares I've been to in the past have all had video guys at them but I was sorting out my own wedding at the time so will attend some in the new year with a different aproach
    The weddings ive shot in the past turned out ok but I know I could have got better shots if I anticipated the day better and had planned more. guess its a matter of learning by doing.
    thanks again, Will no doubt be picking brains on here quite often as the learning curve kicks in.

  4. #4

    Default

    Just as a word of caution 'and' encouragement, don't be too surprised if the people you approach are not as enthusiastic for help (even free help) as you may hope. Getting 'good' help is hard. Getting 'bad' help is easier though less desirable. Many will not want to train you with all the tips and tricks for you to then turn round and compete with them. Others will gladly train you on the basis that they could do with some help. Weddings can be both fun and VERY hard work at the same time.

  5. Default

    Just an idea, I bet a load of people getting married might not even be able to afford a cheap videographer. If you advertise on your local gumtree could you get some one to pay you costs of providing DVDs?

    Once you have several weddings under your belt then start putting your prices up as hopefully you would have learned a bit and can charge accordingly.
    Just a thought

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Its an idea, but I dont want to shoot myself in the foot. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising and if i start off charging really low or expenses only then i could be trapped doing that for quite a while, and to be honest I know my editting and filming skills are of a certain standard its just my experience with weddings. Odd I know but I dont mind helping someone out for a day with no pay, but I am reticent to do a wedding on my own just for expenses. its a stressfull day with at least two days worth of editing behind it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Nothing wrong doing your first wedding for free. Maybe even two. But please, pick a couple who are getting married very soon (within say 2 - 4 weeks) so you are not messing too much with local bookings / prices (i.e. stealing a possible booking from some one else that would have been paid) and pick a couple who were not going to have a video, either because they never thought of it or because they simply didn't have the budget.

    You will learn far more shooting a real wedding (see if you can pick one church and one civil) than you will ever learn from books or reading forums. You WILL make mistakes (every one makes mistakes - even the seasoned pros) so don't be too hard on yourself when that happens. Make sure you have a backup camera rolling all the way through the ceremony & speeches to save your arse when you make a mistake. DON'T try to get too fancy on the first wedding. Take your time, do what you know you can do and do it the best you can. Trying to get fancy will only cause you problems later when you see the footage.

    You don't need to spend lots of money to find these first couples either. There are lots of other wedding suppliers that will have couples on their books. Be HONEST with them (the suppliers). Tell them you have some experience with video and editing but that you need to get a foot in the door on weddings just like they did. Ask them if they have any couples in the next few weeks that DON'T already have a video booked but would like a video for free on the basis it's your first one, it may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than no video at all.

    If it's a church wedding, make sure you go to the rehearsal and make sure you agree with the clergy where you can put your cameras. Get an order of service so that you know what to expect next. You should be prepared for events rather than reacting to them. Audio will probably be your biggest challenge here, especially if the church does not have a PA system and the readings can't be mic'd easily.

    Make sure you get a complete itinerary of the day and realise that while this is the general order of events, the timings are so loose that they are only there as a guide. Most weddings run late.

    You are right that word of mouth is the best advertising, so you need to get some weddings done in order to have a chance at those recommendations. 'Free' is better than 'Cheap' because 'Cheap' sets the price where 'Free' can be explained very easily for what it is - the first one only. Once you have an idea how long it's taking you (don't forget to include all the time you spend on prep, the day itself, the editing etc), and then sit down and work out how much to charge for future weddings. Too many people forget how long it takes to charge batteries, clean the cameras / lenses etc. This is part of your business and if you were paying some one else to do this you would need to be charging for their time. In the first year most people let this slip, but at some point you need to account for ALL time, not just the time on the day plus editing. In future you will need to budget x.xx per wedding to cover advertising at wedding fairs etc. Word of mouth will not be enough on it's own for quite a while.

    It could be hard to find more (paid) weddings without two things:

    A short highlights video or one or more weddings
    Going to wedding fairs with your demo, be friendly, approachable and 'about the right price' for the area you are in. Too cheap and people won't take you seriously. Too expensive is self explanatory.

    Be prepared to walk away from weddings that are demanding too much from you for too little money, even though you are eager for the job. Don't expect to get 30 weddings in you first year!
    Last edited by David Partington; 01-08-2011 at 12:47 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Good advice thru out David, thank you. I've done two weddings, both just for expenses. But......they were both for friends and I know i was under prepared and not looking to make anything of it, they were just a favour for friends who asked me at the last minute to pick up a camera and walk around for the day. Now i am thinking that Weddings are definately something i could do and with the right attitude and experience behind me I could do them well.
    I agree with what your saying about doing the first one for free and about making sure to judge future fees accordingly. I guess in a way I'm just a little nervous and want to make sure i dont shoot myself in the foot by either selling my skills too cheap or too expensive, I am no Video genius but not an amature with a home video camera. guess Im just finding my footing.
    I dont have all the gear yet that I feel neccesary to deliver the quality of service I wish to deliver, so will be looking for a wedding in a few months time.
    I definately dont want to step on the toes of local videographers, especially when Im inexperienced and just starting out, so the point about looking for couples that were not going to have a video is very valid.
    Cheers for all that you said, much apreciated.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J2point074 View Post
    I guess in a way I'm just a little nervous and want to make sure i dont shoot myself in the foot by either selling my skills too cheap or too expensive
    This will be a never ending battle. The problem is that there are always people more expensive than you, and it's really hard to know how many bookings they actually get at those prices. On the other hand there are always new people picking up cameras and calling themselves wedding videographers, and just to get started they will be offering silly prices. This completely screws with the low and mid range market by setting expectations ridiculously low.

    So many Bride assume that video should be cheaper than photography because all you do is turn up, press record then send them the video. You're only there for e a few hours so it shouldn't cost that much, right? They completely ignore the equipment costs, the time before the day, the time on the day that they don't see, the time afterwards in post production and the cost of promoting the service in the first place. They also see that a photographer is giving them a custom album that they believe costs hundreds of pounds, whereas you are giving them a DVD that sits on the shelf next to one they bought from ASDA for 3.99. Perceived value can be a big problem for some people.

    I even had one guy come up to me at a wedding fair and say "your videos are very good, the best I've seen. How cheaply can you do this?". I probed a little about the day he had in mind, and honestly he was expecting a complete Wedding DVD for 9.99 - total. No filming fees etc, just 9.99! Because he could buy videos for that off the supermarket shelf, he assumed that's what they'd cost! He had no understanding of the difference between mass production of Hollywood video vs bespoke video for his wedding. Crazy.

    The area you intend to work in will to some extent dictate the prices you can charge. If you live in a big city (millions of people) or in a very affluent area then prices can usually be higher than less well off areas. Check your competitor's prices. They are where they are for a reason.... perhaps they are high as they can push them in this economic climate.

    Working as an assistant to another videographer is absolutely recommended IF you can find one willing to take you on. If not, you have to bite the bullet and go for it on your own, but it WILL be hard work. Since you've already done a couple of videos for friends (were you also a guest? That makes it hard!) then you have an idea of things already, and only you can decide when you are ready to really go-for-it!
    Last edited by David Partington; 01-08-2011 at 02:29 PM.

  10. #10

    Default

    One thing that may help you. It's very underhand and not something I have ever done, but I do know a few companies that don't have the same integrity who've sent off to us in the same vein, is to 'pretend' you're getting married and send off for a complete wedding DVD from a company who's style you like. That way you can see what is being filmed and the succesful editing style and cherry pick the bits you need to incorporate into your own productions.
    From our very early days I refused to even look at others work in order to make sure our style remained our original concept, but some, without their own imagination, see the above method as a cheap, painfree way of getting started.
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

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