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Thread: A few more newbie questions

  1. #1

    Default A few more newbie questions

    I've been really umming and aah-ing on whether to join the Wedding/Event videography business for some time now, and have recently started looking into it seriously. I have a few questions so I thought this would be the best place to ask.

    1) As a startup, the biggest obstacle is the huge cost of equiptment, so I wondered whether it would be harmful to start off with high quality, older cameras off ebay, or would this be a false economy?
    2) Since 2 cameras would be essential, is it also essential that they be the same ? Will simple white balancing across two seperate models (or even makes) be enough, or would I be setting myself up for a massive post production colour correction nightmare? My initial plan was perhaps buy one expensive ass camera, and one cheaper one. Then if the business takes off, buy another super expensive camera.
    3) I know most pro shooters are shooting in HD, but how often, realistically are customers willing to pay the extra, or even demanding, HD on blu ray as a finished product? It seems a bit of a waste to shoot the video with these super spec HD cameras and then export onto a SD DVD.
    4) In a similar vein, is shooting on MiniDV tape the best way to go or is there something to be said for hard disk cameras? I can see the great appeal of copying several hours of footage to computer in minutes rather than hours, but is the quality drop acceptable, or similar to what you would expect to see when it is compressed out to DVD anyway?
    5) My business plan was to have me as editor and primary cameraman, and a business partner as a secondary cameraman. However, since the partner would not be doing as much work (since the editing would typically take several days rather than just a days shooting) I was thinking of getting him to do things like home visits to customers, getting new clients etc... to bump up his wages for a particular job. Do any other wedding video companies work like this, or do you work more on word of mouth to get new clients?

    Thanks very much for your help!

  2. #2

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    Hi - There's a good few years life left in SD and a wise choice would be for 2 matching cameras with really good lenses and some high quality mics.
    Many will say it's far better to have well filmed weddings on SD than poorly shot weddings on HD. Same with tape, there's lots of video companies shooting on tape, as we do, though we use hard drives on the cams as back up, and for speedy downloading, as well.
    At the end of the day it's your choice, but if you're undecided about the venture it's a far cheaper option to go for SD to see if you can produce the goods that will be in demand rather than shelling out many thousands and find you're not suited or don't have the eye for it.

    If your partner is the friendly type and can coax the undecided into buying into your services, then yes, let him meet the clients. One day, providing you produce high quality weding/event videos, you'll have enough work and recommendations to invest in higher quality kit and target higher quality clients too.
    Hope this helps!
    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

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    Thank you! I didnt know some cameras had the feature to record to both tape and hard disk at the same time? But do you find that in the final export, it makes little difference whether the source was tape or hard disk?

  4. #4

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    No...it only depends in the "format" the data was written to.
    For example, I can write a .wmv file to my HDD or I can write a .avi file to my HDD. What matters is not that I am storing them on my HDD, what is important is the format in which they are stored.

    If I may suggest, for your first few jobs keep the investment in hardware to a minimum. Rent some of the better pro cameras and microphones, and cost the rental cost of them in the pricing for the job.

    One company will let me hire a Canon XHA1 for a week-end at 100. That's receiving the camera on Friday and playing with settings and prepping it. Saturday the wedding and Sunday, Getting all the content off the tape. So you can get Two Canon XHA1s for 200 for an entire week-end and if your cost for the shoot is 800, That's 600 towards your time and other expenses.

    Purchasing kit that is low standard because you do not have the money to aim higher is always a poor compromise, And I would also emulate Zero's comments on SD V HD. HD rocks if it's used well, But most people never notice the difference even when it is lined up in front of them, They will notice items like:

    - Out of focus shots.
    - Poor audio
    - Dodgy camera work
    - Nasty framing of shots
    - Jerky transitions
    - Miss-match in colour balance between one shot to another ( Often happens when you have 2 different camera models )

    I hope you found my comments helpful!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by EternalImages View Post
    Thank you! I didnt know some cameras had the feature to record to both tape and hard disk at the same time? But do you find that in the final export, it makes little difference whether the source was tape or hard disk?
    Some newish cams have simultanious tape and card capture. Our cameras are equipped with Firestore FS4 hard drives which just sit on the back of the cam and connect via firewire lead and yes there is a small difference in quality. The hard drive footage contains no drop outs whereas tape can have the odd drop out at the start of a tape and sometimes mid shoot if ther'es dirt on the heads.
    The biggest bonus though is capture time, which is, for 3 hours filming, 20 minutes.
    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

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bpotter908 View Post
    No...it only depends in the "format" the data was written to.
    One company will let me hire a Canon XHA1 for a week-end at 100. That's receiving the camera on Friday and playing with settings and prepping it. Saturday the wedding and Sunday, Getting all the content off the tape. So you can get Two Canon XHA1s for 200 for an entire week-end and if your cost for the shoot is 800, That's 600 towards your time and other expenses.
    Thanks very much for this info. Would you mind telling me which company would let you hire that for a whole weekend? I was looking at Video Camera Hire | Video Camera Rental at Best Rates : HiRental which have some nice wedding packages, but they are based on a per day, which soon mounts up.

  7. #7

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    I have a few more newbie questions if you dont mind... thanks in advance for all your help!

    1) If I'm working on a freelance basis (as I will be working term time only at a school for my main income) do I have to register my business anywhere? Obviously I do my tax returns every year like a good boy, but wasn't sure if I had to do anything else if doing this in earnest?
    2) I'm making the assumption that a 2nd cameraman is pretty much a prerequisite, but where would you advertise for one, and how much do you pay them? Would 70 for a whole day or 40 for pre ceremony to photo shoot sound reasonable? Overpriced? Not enough? I have no idea. Is there any extra legal mumbo jumbo to worry about since I would then technically be an employer?
    3) Do you offer a large price reduction for the first few clients, on the understanding that you are new to the game or maybe don't have the best kit in the world?
    4) Music licensing - am I correct in assuming that I am best using a site like PRS for Music? Do you absorb that cost yourself or charge the client depending on number of copies/length of DVD?
    5) Other costs - do you charge clients for the petrol or do you absorb the cost yourself, or if you have to do a lot of driving for a job, do you just add a tenner or so to another element in the quote? If you rent higher quality kit than normal, do you pass that cost on or just take the hit?

    Thanks very much for looking!

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EternalImages View Post
    I have a few more newbie questions if you dont mind... thanks in advance for all your help!

    1) If I'm working on a freelance basis (as I will be working term time only at a school for my main income) do I have to register my business anywhere? Obviously I do my tax returns every year like a good boy, but wasn't sure if I had to do anything else if doing this in earnest?
    If you are doing a Self Assessment tax return yourself are you self-employed in a different field rather than PAYE through your employer? If so you will already be registered with the Revenue as self-employed and National Insurance then all you need to do is open another section on your tax return to add the income/expenses for your video work. If not I believe you must notify them for both Income Tax and Class 4 NI.
    2) I'm making the assumption that a 2nd cameraman is pretty much a prerequisite, but where would you advertise for one, and how much do you pay them? Would 70 for a whole day or 40 for pre ceremony to photo shoot sound reasonable? Overpriced? Not enough? I have no idea. Is there any extra legal mumbo jumbo to worry about since I would then technically be an employer?
    I use to use second operators but you've identified one of the main problems - how to find reliable ones. After a number of problems I find I can work more effectively on my own, if I do need a second person I have reciprocal arrangements with other long-time people that I know. As for pricing it depends on who you find, their level of ability, if they will provide their own equipment, and most importantly what they will want. I'd have thought that anyone asking less than 100 for the day is probably going to be concern (unless it's a friend or family member). If they use their own equipment then double that as a minimum. I wouldn't even think about engaging them as an employee you'll probably find that they'd want cash in hand anyway and take care of their own tax affairs, just make sure that you keep accurate records though.
    3) Do you offer a large price reduction for the first few clients, on the understanding that you are new to the game or maybe don't have the best kit in the world?
    I'd never advertise the fact that I'd offer cut price to get experience or because you've got second rate equipment. If you haven't got anything to show as examples of what you can do, as a customer I'd think that maybe you don't know what your doing, if you have already got some examples, and your happy with them, use them and be proud of your work. I think you'll find that people will be buying into your confidence. If you are thinking of it as a game to get into to make money, then I'd do a lot more research first before sinking money into expensive kit. If you don't have a track record ask around amongst friends or colleagues for anyone getting married and offer to do it for free, free is better than even a very cheap price because even a token charge will give expectations and the right to challenge you if things don't come up to their expectations.
    4) Music licensing - am I correct in assuming that I am best using a site like PRS for Music? Do you absorb that cost yourself or charge the client depending on number of copies/length of DVD?
    PRS for music is perfectly adequate for all the licensing you'll need for a typical wedding DVD
    , but be aware that the standard licences they issue do not cover putting anything on the internet which includes synchronised music, unless it is copyright free. I'd include the cost in your package charge, not an add-on.

    5) Other costs - do you charge clients for the petrol or do you absorb the cost yourself, or if you have to do a lot of driving for a job, do you just add a tenner or so to another element in the quote? If you rent higher quality kit than normal, do you pass that cost on or just take the hit?
    It's not a matter of absorbing costs, unless you want to run it as a hobby every cost is part of your overheads, i.e. money you've got to spend to do the job. You should really sit down and cost out a business plan which should show you just where you will have to spend money to complete the work and not forgetting the money you'll have to spend getting work in the first place by advertising or promotion.

    Thanks very much for looking!
    No problem , good luck with your venture.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks a lot for your replies...

    If you are doing a Self Assessment tax return yourself are you self-employed in a different field rather than PAYE through your employer? If so you will already be registered with the Revenue as self-employed and National Insurance then all you need to do is open another section on your tax return to add the income/expenses for your video work.If not I believe you must notify them for both Income Tax and Class 4 NI.

    No I am in full time work in a school (going to term time only, so my plan was to try to get a few bookings every summer, some theatre work in the winter, and build on that over the course of several years before deciding if there is enough business to do it full time) so I am already taxed via PAYE. I just put the video jobs down every year but I wasn't sure if I needed to tell anyone other than the revenue what I was doing.

    I'd have thought that anyone asking less than 100 for the day is probably going to be concern (unless it's a friend or family member). If they use their own equipment then double that as a minimum.

    I would have guessed that I would be providing the cameras for the shoot - because even if they have cams of their own the footage may not match too well if its a different model. I never really thought about it.

    I'd never advertise the fact that I'd offer cut price to get experience or because you've got second rate equipment. If you haven't got anything to show as examples of what you can do, as a customer I'd think that maybe you don't know what your doing, if you have already got some examples, and your happy with them, use them and be proud of your work.

    Good point! I have done a number of freebie weddings , enough to make a basic showreel, and initially I am looking for clients via Facebook (I think I got one, too!) who will receive pretty hefty discounts. But yeah, when I am ready to advertise or make my website it wont be on a discounted basis.

    PRS for music is perfectly adequate for all the licensing you'll need for a typical wedding DVD, but be aware that the standard licences they issue do not cover putting anything on the internet which includes synchronised music, unless it is copyright free.

    I thought not. Thanks!

    Thanks a lot for your helpful comments!

  10. #10

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    In response to hiring of kit

    Canon Video Camera Hire : HiRental

    You can do daily rate, 3 day hire, Or week-end hire.

    XHA1, Week-end Hire = 100.

    Don't forget accessories! Tripods, Mics, ect
    Video Camera Accessory Hire : HiRental

    Don't pour ANY serious cash into this, Even if you plan to quit your Job and work on this full time, When your starting out, Trying to find Jobs, rental kit is fantastic and it lets you play with different cameras and kit, Then when you have enough work coming in the door to justify purchasing your own, You'll have a feel for what kit you like/don't like.

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