I’ve shot a lot of weddings since starting First Impressions Video. They are gratifying, for sure, but a challenge because of the emotion associated with them–and the desire to get it right. As it is in most event videography, there are no “second takes.” Between bride and groom prep, through the ceremony and reception, there are many aspects to capture and as a result, several places where things can go sideways–especially during the ceremony.
The still photographer has a pivotal role in a wedding and I’ve worked with many outstanding ones. A crucial element that constitutes an “outstanding” photographer is an inherent sense to “share the space” with videographers. This is extremely vital as both photographer and videographer have key “money shots” that are essential components of the photographer’s album and the videographer’s DVD (or other delivery medium). In a wedding I recently recorded for a very special family, I found myself working with one of the most difficult and selfish photographers I’ve ever encountered. Not only that, he brought his son as a 2nd camera, and together, they seemed to go out of their way to crowd me out of all the aforementioned “money shots.” I was able to get them, despite their obliviousness to my presence, as if I wasn’t entitled to the same space they occupied. As we reached the “I now pronounce you” moment, I actually had to physically move one of them so that I could capture “you may now kiss your bride!” The guy seemed stunned that I pulled him out of the way and I can assure you that as a 240-pound former Marine, I was no longer in the mood for these antics, as this had gone on throughout the ceremony.
This behavior wasn’t missed by the family who were equally displeased, and said so to me. The disappointing part is that I go out of my way to befriend not only the photographers assigned to a wedding, but all of the vendors. I’m also pleased to say, that this is a rare occurrence. We all have important jobs to do to make the day super special for the bride and groom, and their families and friends. In order for that to happen and for us to do our jobs in ways that exceed expectations, we have to…wait for it…share the space!
It’s been said before, but bears repeating: Every video should tell a story! Even 15 second commercials do this, so it stands to reason that anything longer should be a no-brainer, but it often isn’t.
So, let me point out that the nucleus of any story should have three main points:
Yeah, I know it’s simplistic, but this is the cornerstone of any story “arc.” Having spent 30 years in marketing, there is another way to look at it:
If you do this right, there’s one last three-point metaphor:
Note: for those interested in delving into the full complexity of story development, there are hundreds of books, blogs and videos that will expand your horizons. I just wanted to keep it short and simple today…lots of projects in the workflow !
Yesterday was August 1st. On that day in 1981, Music Television, or MTV, was launched. It was a somewhat shaky start with cable television still trying to catch traction. Fast forward to today and there are hundreds of cable outlets, with dozens of other streaming and online options for viewing content. But along with music videos, MTV also launched something else: the creation of the “logo bug” that now appears (usually) in the lower right corner of most of the programming we see today! Even video producers like this writer “bug” their videos, which I chronicled in a post back in 2015! http://wp.me/p2YaU5-8Y
If you want to place a lasting impression on your productions, be sure to “bug” them! Thanks, MTV, for an iconic idea!
As we close out the crazy year known as 2016, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a sincere THANK YOU to all the clients I served. And as we head into 2017, there is only one question: GOT VIDEO?
Let’s do something together in this next year and you can see what other clients have learned: Great video does NOT have to break the bank!
First, my sincere thanks to all my clients who entrusted their video work to First Impressions Video! Whether a direct production or as a freelance contributor, 2016 was a very special year, and I am truly grateful! And as we head into 2017, just remember this important axiom: Rule #1…don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2…it’s ALL small stuff!
May we all be wildly successful in our respective endeavors in the coming year!
A blog entry I wrote earlier in the year was picked up on Twitter. In it was one of several infographics I’ve posted and commented about over the course of the year. These visual pictures tell great stories and are applicable to producers of video, as well as consumers of video. I thanked the Tweeter for providing a great idea on how I could share a few of these infographics, which I have compiled here. Thanks to L. Scott Harrell ( @lscottharrell ) for the motivation to do this!
That last one was from 2015, but a few folks had asked me about it, so I figured, what the heck, and threw it in. And while the amplifying content around the infographics is likely mine, source credit for all of them goes to the respective creators.
Let me end the year with this one. Although intended to be humorous, all facets of video/film production require perseverance and resourcefulness. But for those with both, this can be a fascinating and gratifying endeavor. Just ask me!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year
I hear that question a lot. Unfortunately, there are a number of elements that affect the price of a video. No, that’s not a dodge, it’s the truth. What would you say if someone asked you this question:
How much does an airplane cost?
In thinking about the variables in play to answer this question, you begin to get the idea there are a lot of things to consider! I know my way around aircraft and there are easily thousands of questions, like are we talking about fixed wing or rotary wing (helicopter)? So let’s dump the airplane example and get back to video. Let’s start by posing a few questions that should be addressed before we answer “that other question.”
- Rate. Often described as hourly, half-day and day rate. Many videographers don’t price by the hour and some only price on a full day-rate basis. Hourly averages range between $25 an hour from that film school grad you know to $250 an hour for a top-flight video veteran. My hourly average hits right about the center: around a hundred bucks an hour. Which lends me to…
- Equipment. Sure you could whip out your smartphone and shoot away, but is that really the look you’re going for? If so, stop reading! Otherwise, continue. There are $20,000 cameras out there (don’t forget lenses!), $2,000 microphones, and lights that weigh as much as a Volkswagen, but is that really necessary? Is there a line item charge in the project budget for equipment? I have professional level gear that you may not see Spielberg using, but it will produce corporate video that will resonate with your audience and you won’t need stockholder approval to shoot! Oh, and my rate includes the aforementioned pro-level gear! Cameras, mics, lights, sliders, tripods, gimbals…oh my! Only if I have to create a specific effect might extra equipment fees enter the equation. I don’t have a drone, though I have access to one through an industry colleague, and this is considered specialized equipment.
- Personnel. I started my business as a single person crew (“SPC”) to be able to deliver quality work at an affordable rate. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be multiple cameras, mics and lights…it does mean that I know how to be efficient in the deployment of this hardware (including setup and take down) by myself. And in those instances where it just makes sense to have a grip, 2nd camera op or sound person along, I have a rolodex full of these folks that can be called in. Also in the category of personnel: talent. Does the project require professional acting talent or will we be shooting personnel from the company being filmed?
- Time. How comprehensive is the project? Can we do it in a day? A few hours? What will be required to edit the acquired footage? When is the project due? And by the way, just because the finished deliverable is “only” 5 minutes long doesn’t mean that hours, and sometimes days of production didn’t go into what is ultimately seen on screen.
- Post-production. Because this is a future article all by itself, I’ll be brief here. Post-production includes the components that help make the video “pop.” Editing, music selection, titles, graphics, animations, voice-overs, special effects. A word of caution here: less is often more.
So there you have just a few of the key elements of a video. Truthfully, anyone who would just throw out a “ballpark” quote without reasonable consideration of the variables I’ve shared here is asking for trouble. I would much rather take a modest amount of time to talk about those elements so I could provide a quote that would be meaningful for all parties involved. I may miss out on a few jobs taking this approach but I’m as professional in my business methodology as I presume you are in yours. Consultations are free, and the result will be a production that achieves its desired results at a rate everyone finds acceptable.