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Business Opportunities in Event Videography

There are many opportunities in event videography in addition to wedding videos. Today videographers are getting jobs videotaping theatrical performances, concerts & making memorial videos. Learn how to plan ahead to insure your video includes the best moments.

Video Transcript

Whether it's a live broadcast of a service, a missionary field trip, commercials, fundraisers, or promotions, many services are now including video in their events.

Some of the fastest growing event video programs include video for worship, funeral videos, theater, ballet, and stage events, and musical concerts. Here are some general tips to get you started, then we'll follow with a few specifics.

Most events follow a schedule. A printed program is an important tool for predicting what will happen next. Acquire a copy of the show program early if you can. If not, make sure you jot down the planned order of events along with those that are more important to cover.

Prioritize your needs into essential shots that absolutely cannot be missed, secondary shots that would be nice to have if you can get them, and bonus shots. Let the essential shots drive your shooting schedule and record the secondary and bonus shots when there are lulls in the action.

Scout the location before the day of the event. This gives you the chance to identify electrical outlets and locate shooting positions. Scout at the same time of day the event will take place so you can check out the ambient sound and lighting conditions of the venue.

Now let's look at a few specific events to get you motivated. Video for worship. If you're shooting footage using two cameras that will be edited later, try to make an audio clap to synch the footage when editing. Something as simple as clapping your hands together one time will do it. If you have two camera operators, try to stagger when you begin recording so you still have one camera running when changing tapes on the other camera.

When shooting an event live for a big screen, remember you need to shoot carefully. Any shift in focus or shaky shot will literally be larger than life and absolutely obvious to everyone. The shot should be no wider than waist up and closer if possible. But no giant floating heads, please.

It's becoming increasingly mainstream to have a video scrapbook of a person's life at a service. And some families are actually even wanting to shoot the service itself. Shooting a funeral service is similar to shooting a wedding, but you need to be a little bit more discrete.

For the memorial videos that play at the service, here are a few tips to help you along. Time is of the essence. If you promise a video, you have to deliver within only a few days. Don't over extend yourself. A simple and clean video can be quite elegant. Talk with the family about the type of music that best represents the deceased and the family's lives. If they can scan the photos ahead of time for you, have them do it in sequential order. If they supply photos, have them place post-its to the back with notes on who is in the photo and prioritize its importance. Keep the video that will show at the service to about 20 minutes. You can make an opus later if the family requests it, but the funeral service has other things to cover besides showing your video. Make sure to test your finished DVD on the event's system before the service, preferably the day before to make sure your format is compatible. Also, make sure they have a big screen to shoot it on or you'll have to deliver that. Don't get fancy on menus or DVD covers for the show video. It can waste time that you don't have and cause technical problems at the service. Save that for memorial video presentation for the family archives later.

Plays and recitals are often the product of non-profit organizations. Churches, schools, and community sponsored events often rely on the videographer's kindness to get their videos done. By gaining proper permissions, you can team up with a group hosting the event and arrange to tape the live show for the eventual sale to parents and other audience members.

There are two markets for recorded stage presentations. People personally involved in the show, the performers, their friends and family, and the general public, people who aren't related to or don't have a personal stake in the people on the stage. Who your audience is will probably have a lot to do with how you go about shooting and packaging the stage production. Know as much as you can about the venue before you get there. How much light will there be? How will you set your white balance? Is there power? Where can you set up your camera? Is the audio mic-ed? Do you need to tape down your cables?

If you can help it, try to shoot dress rehearsals when there's no audience so you have better access. This will give you the ability to set up a camera and tripod wherever you want and put microphones in place that you ordinarily couldn't. If possible, shoot the last two dress rehearsals. This will give you the option of having one static master shot and shooting the second with a tighter zoom. It allows you to follow the action. Recording two performances allows you the chance to cut between the two.

Pick a place far enough back that you can see the entire stage but close enough that your microphone cables will reach the stage. If you'll be recording the show twice with one camera, do the master shot first so you know beforehand what you want to get in close-up and where it's going to take place on the stage.

The trickiest part about music concerts is the audio is more important than the video. Many times people will sit through a shaky bad video, but if the audio isn't good they don't want to have that production. The first rule of recording music events is to keep the camera rolling so that the audio portion of the event never breaks. It is important that you have a solid, unbroken audio track to work with. You can cover spots where you move the camera later with B roll that you pick up before or after the event. The best way to record perfect, clean audio is to tap into the house sound system. Just make sure you come equipped with a variety of adaptor cables to take an external signal in your camcorder. Always wear good headphones. And when shooting, knowing the musical performance ahead of time helps a lot.

If you're shooting with only one camera, start wide and slowly zoom in after a while to get medium shots of the performers. Hold each shot before and after the movement for several seconds before you move again. Get close up cut aways of the musicians faces to plug in later when you don't have the instruments in focus. Never edit in a close-up cutaway of an instrument playing out of synch. This is quite amateurish. Do follow in close on the player that is doing a solo.

Finally, never let them see you sweat. If you're having technical difficulties from your video to your audio to any kind of setup, don't bother the show producers about it until it's absolutely necessary. Make sure you have a redundancy in batteries, tapes, and any other needs that you have and make sure it works beforehand so you have a good show afterwards.

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