Wedding Videos, what should I know?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by P-Worm, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #1
    I'm seriously considering doing wedding videos for people part time while I got to school. I thought it would be great because you mostly work Saturdays (at least you do in the state I live in) and you work mostly on your own time. I'm not looking for a lot of work (although it would be nice), but enough to let me have some money to help with the school bill.

    My question, is what do I need to know before I get started. I have Final Cut Studio and am fairly good with it. My camera would need to be upgraded I think; I am currently using a Panasonic PV-GS70 3CCD camera. I was thinking that I should rent a higher end camcorder like a Canon XL1-S and I could use the Panasonic as a backup. Would that look strange mixing footage from those cameras?

    My thought to get started was to advertise in the classifieds that I will do some wedding videos for free if I can use their videos as a demo for others. That way I can build a reel, set up a website and hopefully do a few jobs.

    I'm probably making this much more simple than it really is so I would like get some input on people that do this. How long should a video be? Are there copyright problems I am going to run into unknowingly? What's a good way to get business?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    P-Worm
     
  2. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #2
    The length depends on the wedding and reception and what ever else the customer wants like interviews or rehersal party...

    The main copyright problems you will run into is if you use music that you don't own usage rights to. Pop song on the radio are not free...

    The best way to get into the business is to work for someone else and learn the ins and outs before you go spending a bunch of money on a new camera.

    FYI you will also need a GOOD tripod and some sort of wireless mic or digital recording system. (The on camera mic will not pick up the bride and grome from the balcony...) Couple of extra batteries and some lights wouldn't hurt. (Receptions can be very dark...)
     
  3. Texas04 macrumors 6502a

    Texas04

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    Lights, Batteries, Tripod(s), extension cords, plenty of tapes and a mic if you so choose. Usually we get shots at the ceremony right behind the altar and/or to the side. It seems to work best there. If you have multiple cameras a balcony shot would be great but we work fine with just one. Also it would not look wierd mixing camera shots, a 3CCD camera is great so no worries there.

    You could rent a camera but most people go ooh and ahh if the camera is larger and *looks* high tech. So thats usually good enough ;). Well wish you luck!

    -Tex
     
  4. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #4

    i second this post to work with someone else at first. wedding videography is big business. the last thing you want to do, is to start out - with all the best intentions and maybe have 1 job...just 1 job...go bad and ruin your reputation. partner with someone....learn the trade...perhaps run one of their cameras to see how and what they frame...then you can try to get in on the editing or vice versa...edit and see what they film and then cut. the one to remember about any video work...you are working on priceless moments which can't be repeated so know your stuff first and then eventually, you can branch out on your own.

    if you are looking to make some cash, considering offering video transfers. sure, you'll need some more equipment no doubt, but the benefit is that you can "somewhat" control your projects and when you do them. i'm a stay-at-home Dad who runs this type of business and i can adjust when i run my transfers, render files and compile DVDs. works out well...money is ok..probably not as much as wedding videography, but it helps.

    best of luck,
    keebler
     
  5. OldSkoolNJ macrumors 6502

    OldSkoolNJ

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    #5
    Deffinitely get an internship with someone first. I used to Photography semi proffessional and did some weddings. This was unfortunately what got me out of the business and now I do photography for just myself. Besides the eqipment you dont realize you will need there is your customers. Now by all means I am the person that would never discourage anyone from going out and trying something new and putting your all into it. However Wedings are not the best gig out there. It is hard to please your customers when it comes to weddings. Its not something you can just go and do on the weekend. You have to whole heartedly commit to it. As someone mentioned before if you make one person unhappy that can ruin you. Its also something you will usually want someone doing it with you as we would suggest you being that person for someone else.

    Kevin
     
  6. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #6
    Good advice. An apprenticeship or an internship is the best way to go.
     
  7. P-Worm thread starter macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #7
    Great help guys, thank you.

    I applied to work for a local company, but they wanted me to sign an anti-competition waiver that said that after I quit, I can't do weddings for five more years. Like I said, I'm not looking into this as a career, but as a way to use the skill I have developed to help me get through school. What I gather here is that weddings are just not the right thing.

    I used to teach saxophone lessons which did well for me, having a skill can really get you by. Is there anything thing I can do with video that I can get into without it conusming me? It seems a waste to know how to use Final Cut Pro fairly well and not do anything with it...

    P-Worm
     
  8. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #8
    Check with the Studio to see if you can use their wedding footage for your demos. You can't advertise your services if the Studio owns it.

    I would try doing some wedding freebies so you're confident enough to handle the pressures of shooting a non-repeatable event. Don't make any claims of quality to your brides, but make sure you use a tripod, don't make a scene in the church (ie moving around a lot), and use a wireless mic as hearing the vows is really important.

    To get some freebies, try advertising in Craigslist, or hit up on some photographers, offering if they will allow you to video their brides' weddings for free, or even shoot the photographer doing their "thing" and as a way to advertise with the photographers. Edit something cool for the photographer (for their advertisement) and they may give you plenty of high-quality referrals.
     
  9. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #9
    Ugh, don't go into that stuff.. makes me sick to think about contracts like that. Competition is good and healthy. There are plenty of people out there that would be more then happy to work with you. Where are you located? Maybe do a search requesting that you are looking to do an apprenticeship. If you are good with FCP then you will be merely looking for the experience of being a part of the wedding. Maybe look for a photographer whom you could tag along with.
     
  10. P-Worm thread starter macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #10
    That's not a bad idea. How would you recommend getting an apprenticeship (sorry about all of the questions, but I don't know anything about the busines isde of this)? Would you go to something like Monster.com?

    P-Worm
     
  11. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #11
    Do some research. I would grantee you that if you went to a photographer, someone who does not do video, that they would have a list of videographers or if you went to any wedding vender that they would also. Then just start cold calling.. right now is a good time, weddings are abundant and finding someone who would just like some extra help might be easy to find. Honestly, I did a few and don't do them anymore... wasn't for me, but like I said before, know that there are people out there that do love to share and are in it part for the business but also part because they love what they do... those are the ones you want to find.

    If all else fails just jump in... the best thing to do is to always coordinate with the photographer and to pay attention to the bride... don't film the game on tv, like our videographer did (we got the raw footage because I wanted to edit it).. The main reason why I recommend the apprenticeship is because you will learn the timing of events and see how to deal with your clients.
     
  12. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #12
    The people who did my wedding were pretty much self-starters like you want to be. They started by doing a few weddings for just the cost of the tape and dvds. A few years later (by the time we hired them) they completely dominate the market in my city. I think they earned their reputation not because of their skill (which is good but not great) but because of their respect of the customer and attention to detail. They are total professionals in this regard. Therein lies the success to this field I think. They empathize with what you want and take your expectations to film rather that chopup some cheesy textbook shots. Don't feel an internship is the only way to do this thing.
     
  13. knackroller macrumors regular

    knackroller

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    #13
    If you're planning to go it cold, be prepared to torture yourself for the first year. Do a few free events, then charge very low BUT accept only a few jobs. This will allow you to create a good portfolio and/or give yourself the training. Resist the urge to charge too much (you create too high expectations) or accept too many jobs (you spread yourself too thin and will be unable to spend time to develop higher quality edits).
     
  14. CallmeKenneth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    Mega-City 1, Sector 41
    #14
    Just go for it

    If I was you, I'd just go for it. Sure, get some practice in - but it's not that hard. I've done a few freebie videos for friends and they loved what I did (which wasn't that fancy. I just used iMovie and iDVD). Let's face it, anything done on Apple software looks amazing to most 'norms'.

    My advice is to make sure that when you agree to a job, you sit down with the couple and go through exactly what they want. Be realistic about the time it will take to edit as well - and reflect that in your fee. The couple will only see you on the day flitting around with a camcorder - what they won't see is you hunched over your Mac for hours putting the darn thing together.

    As has been said - prepare for every eventuality: plenty of tape, batteries, extension leads, gaffer tape, lights, umbrella, tripod, decent mike, AV cables etc.
    A second camera is a must just in case one breaks down - not being able to capture someone's precious moments is an absolute disaster that cannot be allowed to happen (your reputation hangs on it). Planning will also help to ensure that things go well i.e. visit the church and reception in advance, note where the power points are, where the bride and groom will be, anticipate the lighting siutation, what are the acoustics and so on.

    If you do it well, you should get fairly regular work for fairly decent money.

    That's what I think, anyway!!

    ________________
    Alternative Mac History Mactimewarp
     
  15. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #15
    Don't forget, you'll need a tuxedo (or at least a suit) to wear at the wedding. Can't be doing a wedding in jeans and tennis shoes.
     
  16. P-Worm thread starter macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #16
    I wasn't thinking about lighting to much. Reception halls can be pretty dark and lighting would be a must, but how can you light the place without being intrusive to the event itself?

    P-Worm
     
  17. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #17
    I would think, you don't.

    I shot my friend's wedding banquet with my Sony VX2000, which is a 3-CCD unit with very good low-light sensitivity. The camera essentially could see better than I could. It was not optimal, of course, but I got very watchable footage when everyone else with their home camcorders only got dark shadows. I was quite amazed!
     
  18. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #18
    If you've been to a wedding that is professionally shot, you'll notice that they just about always have (3) people doing the video. One with the camera, one with the light, and one with the microphone. You might get by with (2) people, but I'd think if it's just you, you'd have a hard time doing everything. At least have an assistant who can help with the lighting and keep you from tripping or crashing into people.

    ft
     
  19. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #19
    You always need some lighting just in case it is totally dark.

    I carry what is called an eye light (or iLight) that is about the size of a silver dollar and mounts on the camera hot shoe. It runs off of a video camera battery or a belt pack battery (the same one I've used for 15 years for still photo flash.)

    I also take a portable studio light on a stand just in case. I've only used it a few times. I have a silver umbrella to bounce it into for softer lighting (or the ceiling if it is low enough and white). Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    Oh, don't forget extension cords - long ones. And a powerstrip.
     
  20. Nuc macrumors 6502a

    Nuc

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Location:
    TN
    #20
    I wanted to add my input on a few things. I got married 2 1/2 years ago and I didn't like the way the wedding was filmed.

    I would suggest having two cameras if I were you. Keep one on the wedding ceremony while the other moving around getting different views such as audience and different angles during the ceremony.

    And for the love of God get the bride, groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and parents while their walking down the isle. Also get the couple exiting. Our cameraman messed this up.

    Also during the reception have another camera on the people that are mc'ing. Get video of the speeches that people give during the reception. The cameraman cut off my best man's (brother) speech, that really pissed me off. So I recommend one camera by the microphone at all times. And then walk around with the other one interviewing the guests and capturing different angles.

    Above all. Ask the bride and groom what they would like you to capture. Our camera dude didn't do this and he missed a lot of stuff. Ask if they have any people in particular that you want to interview such as parents, friends, etc... Also get a video of the food...

    Anyways good luck with it. It can't be easy... Invest in a steadicam merlin (there expensive but you don't get a lot of movement while filming). You could probably find a cheaper alternative to this as well. Also don't skimp on external mics!

    Nuc
     
  21. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #21
    Just out of curiosity, how much did you pay? Did they come highly recommended?
     
  22. Nuc macrumors 6502a

    Nuc

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Location:
    TN
    #22
    Actually I don't remember how much. Our church has a audio/video dept. They usually do a good job but it wasn't their best. Oh well, at least the photographer we had was good.

    Nuc
     
  23. Daikuma macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #23
    2nd Unit Camera

    Ok, so now we need some camera feedback. With a Canon GL2 as my primary camera, what small cameras (3CCD or otherwise) shoot comparable enough footage to edit together with the primary fairly seemlessly in FCP? I was even thinking of expanding to maybe 3 or 4 small (read: inexpensive) secondary cameras to cover wide shots and cutaways on smaller tripods, but I'd like best bang for the buck in the low end.

    Also, on copyright, if there is copyrighted music played, you don't have too much to worry about, because you are not selling them a wedding video. You are selling the service of having the video shot, edited, burned to DVD, etc. Whenever they play copyright music at a wedding, technically the people throwing the wedding needed to pay a copyright fee for public performance. You are merely providing event coverage and post-production services.
     
  24. kingkezz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #24
    I think the main issue of copyright being discussed is when you have music tracks overlayed on the actual DVD for the clients. In this case, you are liable and need to have copyright clearance.

    It's best to have friends who play music and can do some royalty free stuff. Or try not to be to tacky and spend a week and half in garage band. There are also a stack of royalty free music sites out there.
     
  25. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #25
    Sound is VERY important. Clients will complain about poor sound before they complain about poor video quality. You ned to spend the bucks on stuff like good mics, mini-disk recorder, wireless and so on. It is so important that you should use redundent recording techniques. Also you need more then one camera rolling all the time. ONe neat trick is to put a camera on a tripod and turn it on and let it run un manned. You might get 20 seconds of usable footage on the whole tape but it will be from an angle that you could not otherwise get Wedding are so predictable you can pre-focus and plan hotts with un manned cameras

    I think you can cut shots together that are taken with diferent camera if you take care to color balance. White should stay white

    Same with sound. You want multiple mics and multiple recorders.

    I'm sure glad I don't have to make a living this way, such an investment fr so little return.
     

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