Brand new newbie needs your help!!!!

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    • #39315

      Hello all. I have been searching all over for a reputable source of information that would guide me in the field of videography, and I believe I have found it here. I have alot of questions for you all and I hope you all can guide me. First let tell you about my background. I live in Toronto, Canada. I have a technical background with PC’s and do second level technical support. I have a "Samsung scd230" digital video camera. Purchased it at walmart almost 2 years ago and I am very comfortable with all the functions. I have shot a many videos with it, and have edited a couple of them and have gotten paid, not much, but I thought since I am just starting out I thought I would just charge what I am worth at that moment. I use Roxio Easy Media Creator software to do my editing and import, etc. My computer specs are 2.4ghz, 512mb ram, 2 dvd burners(one is a lightscribe drive), firewire, nvidia GeForce FX 5200 video card with 128mb ram.


      1. What camera do I start off with? Would like one that does not cost much but still delivers professional results and does not produce and tape noise in quiet environments.

      2. Why would you need 2 or 3 cameras?

      3. Are weddings the best and only method to have your main income?

      4. Since I live in Canada will weddings mostly in the spring, summer and fall months, and would my income suffer during the colder months?

      5. Why would you need 2 or 3 lighting systems?

      6. As previously mentioned I use Roxio Easy Media Creator software do to all my video editing. Would you recommend something from Adobe and would you advise I use a MAC rather than a PC?

      7. Do I have to spend alot on advertising or should I just focus on putting up a website and using word-of-mouth.

      Thank you very much. Hope to hear from you all soon.

    • #170180

      For weddings, three cameras are a "must" for a really professional job.

      Ok, normaly I agree with you 99% of the time Hank but, I think I need to say something about this. This is something that is stated quite frequently on these boards and I feel we may be discouraging new wedding videographers by telling them they can’t do a professional job unless they have three cameras. In the town I work and live there is a professional videographer who has been in the business for 15 years and one of his basic packages that sells for about $1,200 he uses only one camer and does a great professional job. I have seen demos from other that use only one camera and they do a great job as well. Could they do better if they had more cameras? Certainly, but it doesn’t mean they can’t turn out a good if not great, professinal wedding video using one camera. When I first started out I used only one camera.( I still can only afford to use two now) But, I let people know that and I charged them accordingly. If they wanted to pay more to someone else that used more cameras that was fine. The most important thing that I think is overlooked when starting out is that when you have to use one camera, you can’t mess up! Every shot has to be just right. BUT, because of this, you learn to be a better camera person. You don’t have another camera to catch that shot if you miss. Sure this can be seen as a negative, but like I said it also makes you a better videographer. Anyway, sorry for the rant I just wanted to voice my opion, that yes, we would all love to have three camera at every wedding BUT, don’t feel that it’s a neccessity when getting started. Use one camera if thats all you can afford, learn the ropes, charge accordingly, and then move on up.

    • #170181

      I am not one to invest heavily in equipment. Check out my website and see what I do with mainly one camera shoots on a Canon GL2 and hardly ever use lighting except a small on camera light. (I do shoot most of my stuff outdoors…).

      I use Sony Vegas for editing which is very cost effective and very fast once you learn a few shotcuts.

      I think your talent will far outway your equipment. What I did was invest in a few videos at first. A good video to purchase is from – a video called Advanced Broadcast Techniques. You might find it on Ebay for less. It’s a little cheezy, but the techniques work.

      About getting your name out on the street. Networking is HUGE! When I first started I went to a Bridal store and created a partnership. I did a few demo videos for them and they have a TV in their showroom that plays my demo. Then I started speaking with Photographers and creating demos for them with my name at the end of the demo. This month I was featured on three different photographer forums because of my work in their industry.

      Another thing that really worked for me was to make friends with other videographers. I find that I get a lot of referrals from other videographers and many of them have hired me to film their weddings.

      One of my favorite purchases is my Glidecam 2000 pro. It has really helped my website traffic due to being on the Glidecam website. I won 8 first place awards a few years back and mentioned it to Glidecam and they asked if it would be OK to put a link on their site to mine. Due to that link and other forums I get between 65,000 to 95,000 hits per month.

      When I first started in the business I did my first two weddings for free. That took the pressure off me and that lead to 4 other weddings that were paying jobs. Honestly, those first videos were really bad, but I just kept trying and finding my style. Be patient with yourself at first and believe in yourself. Hard work will pay off if you follow the tips in that video I told you about earlier (Black Belt Series).

      Another important aspect of having a succesful business, video or whatever, is YOU. If I had to choose between great personality or great video quality, I would choose personality. Seriously, if people think you are sincerely interested in them and excited about what you are doing, it leads to many people at the events coming up and asking for your business card and referring you to their friends. Not saying you can have crappy video, but I am saying if your video is similiar to what is out there and they like you – they’ll book you over them.

      A lot of random stuff, but hope that helps.

    • #170182

      For I’d recomend the Sony HVR-Z1U, the HDV camcorder from Sony. This gives great resolution and professional features for only $1000 more than its SD coutnerpart. It’s the best camera for the money. B&H photo video has them for around $4500.

      It sounds like you’re quite new to the whole process in general. I’d reccomend learning editing before jumping into this head first. Once you get a good handle on editing you’ll know why having 2 or more cameras are important during a one time event and you’ll have a better handle on what you need at the time of capture (ie good mics for audio, lights, etc.)

      As far as software, the "industry standard" is Avid, although Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro are putting out some great products (my new employer uses Final Cut Pro). In fact just about all non-linear programs operate on one simple editing practice: Mark in, mark out, lay it in the timeline. Anyway, back to Avid. You can download a free copy of a downgraded version of their software from their website. It’s called Avid Free DV. That’s a watered down version of what big hollywood studios have been using for a decade or more. There are tutorials all over the web on how to use it, probably even from Avid themselves.

      Computers these days are like Ford vs. Chevy. I prefer Macs and I also like Fords. I personally just seem to have less problems with those names.

      I was a combat camera videographer in the USMC for years. I’ve done very little wedding work, only favors for close friends and family, but events are events no matter what the subject matter is. I never had to worry about the marketing aspect either. We pretty much had the market cornered for the Marines.

    • #170183

      2. Why would you need 2 or 3 cameras?

      For what type of shooting? You don’t need 2 or 3 for everything, but for event shoots – things where you can’t do second and third takes from different angles, etc. – then you need multiple cams. For weddings, three cameras are a "must" for a really professional job.

      I believe you can get a good quality video with 2 cameras, but it’s not easy. 3 is best.

      3. Are weddings the best and only method to have your main income?

      Weddings are probably the worst method if you weight the time and effort against the income. Wedding videography is probably the easiest way to get into professional video though.

      I disagree completely. Aside from marketing time I put in (which isnt all that much), I make close to $50/hr for weddings (that’s about 40 hours per wedding)

      7. Do I have to spend alot on advertising or should I just focus on putting up a website and using word-of-mouth.

      A website is only going to bring you new business, if you effectively have it optimized for search engines. I did that for mine and that’s where most of my business comes from now, but that’s not how I got it started. Phone book advertising is not likely to bring in enough income to cover its expense. Word of mouth isn’t going to have much effect until you’ve been in business several years.

      I agree. I’m only in my second year (like Hank) and I’ve only gotten 1 job off of a refferral.

    • #170184

      I’m going to chime in here.

      First, on the multiple camera debate. Why is this a debate to begin with??? The last two weddings I’ve done, I’ve actually brought my old GL-1 that I retired when I bought the Sony, back into service, giving me 4 cameras. Truth be told, if I had two more cameras to use, I think I’d use them too!

      The ONLY downside, and it’s not even that big a deal, is that for every camera you add to an event, you add the entire events length onto the length of time it takes you to dump all the video to PC for editing. However, that’s an easy hurdle to overcome. Any 700Mhz PC can grab video, so I’ve got 4 computers in my house I can plug a camera into, and boom, 10 hours of video is ready to edit in less than 3 hours.

      So what if you’re broke, and can’t afford three (or more) pro-grade cameras? Well, it’s no sin to start small. You want to know what my first weddings were filmed on? I had a D8 Sony handycam, a hi-8 sony, and a cheapo JVC Mini-DV, all bought at a pawn shop for less than $500, total. My first tripods? The wal-mart special, $49.95 regular price. I started by doing weddings for free for my friends to build a demo, and then I started charging once I got my feet wet.

      Now, that was a rough start for me, because when I was stepping out on my own, I really was a "pro" cameraman. I had been trained in a studio setting, and was used to shooting On big’ol 2/3" 3CCD Sony Studio cameras that could see clearly in something like 0.0001 Lux. But even in my humble beginnings, I knew that good editing and at least three cameras was the only way I’d ever get business. And it worked. Today I have Pro grade Sony and Canon cameras, supported by Bogen tripods and monopods, and I’m bringing the cash in. Our local newspaper actually caller our business the best videography service in central Minnesota in this last issue of their bridal guide. And while I’d like to think that’s due to our camera quality, I know that the bulk of my gear are GL-series cameras, that aren’t the best performers in low light. But the reason I think they posted that was because we use several cameras, we catch the good shots, and we know how to edit.

      Anyway, enough of that. I think you CAN be a "professional" and shoot with one camera, but I also think that this won’t give you the same results that multiple cameras will, and if you’re willing to live with that, you should consider expanding yur boundaries.

    • #170185

      compusolver Wrote:

      Weddings are probably the worst method if you weigh the time and effort against the income. Wedding videography is probably the easiest way to get into professional video though.

      Adam, I’m sticking with this one!

      (Adam is a very intelligent, extremely talented videographer, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person.)

      We both agree (apparently) that it’s the easiest way to get into video income, but I’m saying that for the time/effort and (especially for newcomers) the stress, it’s the worst, compared to instructional and promo videos for business.

      On business shoots, you get to do more than one take. We usually get the storyboard done via phone & email, so it takes just one day on location to do the shoot, as opposed to two days (rehearsal & wedding) for weddings.

      The atmosphere during our business shoots is always relaxed and casual, and busineses don’t blink at paying two or three thousand, whereas we seem to top out (here in Oklahoma) at about a thousand dollars for weddings.

      So, in my experience, the income is twice as good, compared to hours invested and it feels much less like "work" when we do business shoots.

      As for how many years I’ve been in business, I was in the video business for several years in the eighties (including wedding video) and I did photo and film (movies) in the sixties and seventies, but yes am just ending my second year back in the wedding business for this century! ๐Ÿ™‚

      ok ok. I can’t argue with that (especially the very intelligent, extremely talented part X-D ). I guess I wasn’t thinking in context of better prospects like corporate video (now that I think of it, I’m not sure what I was thinking).

      I am giving a quote in a few days for a promo video for an artist who is trying to sell his work to famous type people (like Elton John). I am so looking forward to this project. I love doing weddings but seldom look forward to them like I am for this. Plus, it will be cool to have an audience with the rich and famous! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #170186

      My strategy is to spend this year working full time for ‘the man’ and shooting on weekends. I’ll be using one FX1 right now because with it I can have superior quality to put together some great demos and shoot promos for wedding vendors. My goal is that when I say goodbye to the corporate world I can start out in full sprint and on my timeframe. At that time I’ll buy a second HDV camera and send my FX1 to the tripod.

      A second part of the strategy, especially with just one camera, is to gain proficiency in doing Same-Day-Edits. I see these as a tremendous perk of going with videography and viral advertising for my services amongst the guests.

      Good plan?

    • #170187

      Wow! Thank you everyone for all your responses and your resoning. It appears I was right when i said this site was informative. One thing I want to ask though. What camera should I start off with. My budget is about $1000 – $1200 and for the camera. I have a regular tripod from walmart and planning on getting adobe premier.

      Secondly, how much income can I expect to make a month. I would probably be the only camera man, that may make things a bit difficult unless I can find someone to help me along the way. Any thouthts…?

      Thanks in advance.

    • #170188


      I’m new to wedding videography, so I’ll make that my challenge. I plan to purchase additional cameras, but since I am still doing free weddings, I think it’s worth the challenge.

      I, too, would love to see one-camera weddings that "work".

    • #170189

      woohh You can make money dude when you have your own website… Start creating now..and be a millionaire ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    • #170190

      kevinvideo Wrote:

      7. Do I have to spend alot on advertising or should I just focus on putting up a website and using word-of-mouth.

      I think you should also consider in building your own website and advertising it online, who knows you might gather more clients online. Make sure when you build your site less of flash since you do video to make it more search engine friendly… X-D

    • #170191

      Can anyone tell me …

      1. How much is the standard amount to pay a camera person that is helping you on a project, for example a wedding?

      2. I do not have a professional video camera as of yet, all I have is a $500 camera that I bought at Walmart. Therefore can anyone advise of any video projects that I can do in the mean time order to make some money and get practice at the same time.

      3. What is very cheap professional camera to start off with as I don’t have alot of money to spend at first?

      Thank you.

    • #170192

      I agree. I waited to get started until I was able to buy the equipment I needed to do good work. I didn’t want my name out there on bad work.

    • #170193


      I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into wedding videography. I think there’s money to be made in this market. But I’m not sure if the I want to get good tools to make money or if the wedding business is just an excuse to buy the cool toys that I want.

      The camera people have reccomended to me is Panasonic DVX100b. Around $2500. More than you were willing to spend (especially if you want 3 of them). But what are credit cards for?

      That’s not to mention sound equipment. Having a radio microphpone and a shotgun mic will help to make your video better than the one uncle Herb could shoot. But that’s going to set you back a couple hundred bucks or more.

      Now you need a computer to edit and burn DVDs on. So you have to buy the 2.66Ghz quad core Mac. . . $2500. Plus extra hard drives and ram. . . $500. 3D video card . . . Just kidding. But you will need a video editing program, which cover a large range of prices and functionalities. The Intel Mac only supports Final Cut until Premiere comes out in April. Is it worth waiting for? There aren’t many weddings up here in winter. I don’t know what most wedding videographers use, but the full version of FC Studio will set you back $1400, ouch. All the money you just saved on the mac, you just blew on their high-priced program. But the "Motion" program seems pretty cool.

      Yeah maybe I do just want the mac and the weddings are just an excuse.
      I can’t really see myself going to 20 or 50 weddings a year. Ideally, I can find someone else to buy the cameras and shoot the weddings, and I’ll just play around on my mac and make the dvds. Any takers ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks everybody for all the great advice on these message boards!

    • #170194

      I forgot:

      3x 3ccd cameras … 7500$
      1 mac pro …….3000$
      Sound eq. ………….. 500$

      Knowing you started your own businiss for around 11,000 bucks … Priceless!

      And you’ll be paying it off for the next 5 years.

      Don’t quit your day job because it will be a while before you learn to use all this stuff.

    • #170195

      Hi again all. Want to ask a very important question again. As I have mentioned before how do I find out what kind of market exist in Toronto, Canada for a videographer? IS THERE A WEBSITE THAT WILL LIST STATISTICS? I know the obvious way to go is maybe to ask another videographer, but I don’t know any in Toronto. And if I did I doubt they would help out any possible competition. Does anyone have any ideas? Also another question. What other ways can I make money besides weddings, and yes I am speaking of earning a living full time.

      You all have been great in letting me of a few ways inwhich you can make income such as: weddings and selling your scenery. Are there anymore?

    • #170196

      compusolver Wrote:

      As for the market in Toronto – Toronto is a huge city and there will be plenty of opportunity for someone who is talented. Just remember though that it takes more than talent in your craft to be a success – you must be a good salesman, promotional expert, diplomat, accountant and wear a host of other hats too.

      Statistics are meaningless for what you want to do. If you’re a good videographer and a good salesman, you’ll succeed. If you’re a good videographer and a poor salesman, you’ll probably fail – no matter what the statistics.

      During the depression, the statistics would have been awful, but there were insurance salesmen (for instance) who made tons of money while others starved.

      We tackle all these things in our video course on wedding videography, which will be released sometime next year.

      Hank, thank you very much for your advice. I have visited your website and find it very informative aswell. It actually came up on "Google" as one of the top hits. You answered many of my quesitons and actually inspired me to get serious.

      Thank you.

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