Im New. Tips to getting started??

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    • #49683

      Hello all,

      I just have some questions about starting my company. Im in the military right now and when i get out i want to attend film school. I think shooting weddings could be a great way for me to get some experience and make some extra money. I have a brand new iMac for editing, what editing programs should i get. I have heard iMovie can work for a while, is this true? As far as a camera goes i am planning to get the new nikon D3200, would this be good to start out on? if so what equipment should i get with it, what lenses? I figure that i will probably need to get a tripod, a mic, and maybe a lighting kit, is there anything else. Also what is the best way for me to get my name out there? Thank you for your kelp.

    • #203304

      Hi Sarah,

      First, Thanks for your service. As far as equipment goes, I would make the decision on school first. Some have equipment/software associated with them and you would want to be compatible with what you are using for school. None of the schools are cheap, so I’d start spending money sparingly now if you can. Where are you thinking of going to school at?

      I would wait till your in school to make any business choices as well. Some are extremely fast paced with heavy work loads. You don’t want to much to juggle at one time. I would also suggest keeping your mind open about fields to make money in. Video is a very broad field, wedding video can be pretty saturated in some areas and difficult to break into for a new person in that area. It develops a lot of “Predator” pricing issues. Making cash in video around a film school, your going to have to get creative. You might keep an eye on industrial avenues or other commercial applications and be outside the box of what most of your class mates are doing.

      I would suggest surfing this site from one end to the other. It will take you quite a while but it will answer many questions you have and will have. I would also suggest to not just focus on what you want to do but what you can do, “want’s” change down the road.

    • #203305

      iMovie, especially the newest iterations if your iMac came with Lion installed, but i’d give some serious consideration to FCPX, not that I’ve moved from FCP 7 yet, but many of my friends in the business say that since the upgrades to FCP X it’s all that and a bag of chips.

      Weddings are an easy arena to enter but a challenging grind for hours invested vs wages earned. You’ll do good, starting out, to make minimum wage after all the hours spent shooting, then editing, unless you can quickly get to the point where you charge $2,100 or more and keep your production time under 35 hours total for shooting and editing.

      I’ll leave comments on the Nikon for others as I still adhere to the video-style camcorders for my general production work and have no need for photography or desire to use a DSLR-style body for my extended shoots.

      Tripod is a must, a good, solid monopod with a foot brace extension that allows for additional stability and one with a fluid head mechanism would be sweet for run-and-gun event videotaping. Ditto for a nice mic, but you’ll soon see the need for a solid wireless, a couple of hardwired options and at least one, maybe two standalone digital recording devices like the Zoom series with the H1, H2 and H4, or other brands similar.

      A basic lighting kit is a good thing … regardless of any unit’s so-called low-light capabilities, LIGHT is video is color, and some kind of lighting is critical to most wedding and event video shooting, especially indoors.

      Good quality business cards, always with you, with the minimum information and your website URL, as well as a direct-mail postcard campaign. A good way to kickstart wedding video options is to attend a local bridal fair and make maximum use of whatever mailing list the organizers provide as part of your booth rental package.

      A GREAT wireless system that’s built like a tank and is ultra dependable and falls under $1K is the SONY UWP-V6. There are others but this puppy has done well by me for more than two years now. I also use handhelds and wired lapels mic systems purchased from RadioShack without shame or anxiety.

      I have four Zoom H2 units and they are awesome standalone audio bombs I can place on podiums, near the soloists, at the head table for toasts and on a mic stand up high and aimed at a speaker’s sweet spot for recording the reception ambience and announcements, etc.

      School isn’t the ONLY resource for developing the skills and gaining the knowledge you need to be a professional video producer. The school of hard knocks has it’s deficiencies but can work out, especially if you take advantage of the training programs available at Videomaker and throughout the Internet world. There’s a bounty of instructional, information, reference and how-to materials from books to video on DVD, to interactive lessons on the web to webisodes and podcasts that will provide you with a HUGE amount of information and instruction. You can apply these at your leisure, rather than tying yourself down to a lecture series at some ultimate formal educational facility. Experience is an absolute must but there’s nothing on that sheepskin that proves you have any, and it isn’t likely you’ll gain much in the early sessions of your formal education.

      I’m not against schooling, but I prefer learning by doing rather than ingesting a lot of history and theory in classroom lectures. But that’s just me. I suspect, however, that you’ll find a lot of independent professional video services providers are of an INDEPENDENT nature and very strongly focused on controlling their learning experience in a hands on environment rather than a classroom.

      Unless your aim and focus is a growing independent professional business, boutique, production house or working for the entertainment or a high end commercial operation, you might not need the credentials offered from a 2, 3 or 4-year formal education. You can also gain some level of employment from a commercial operation that focuses on the type of production work you want to pursue.

      Again, if, however, you want to be an independent, then that approach just might be rewarding enough. I’ve written a number of resource books on producing and marketing funerals, making money with photo montage production and even book one of a 3- or 4-book series, each with 7 interesting ways to make money with video. The options are out there, the opportunities are out there and the most satisfactory aspect of video production (FOR ME) is personal and event, small business and human interest video production, as well as special interest videos where I plan to build a library of unique videos that will help people such as yourself find opportunities outside the wedding community in which to establish themselves as independent video businesspeople.

      Sanford makes a good point about saturation in the wedding video industry and “predator pricing” and also has a point in SURFING this site and its archives for all its worth because there are some seriously incredible jewels of thought, fact and concepts as well as solid information to be found here.

      I salute you, Sarah, for your service to our country … most sincerely.

    • #203306

      Great Pearls from Earl as usual. I just wanted to add something about being around schools. I have within an hours drive from me an Art Institute, a Living Arts Institute, a DeVry and State all fully loaded in the media arts. My market area is loaded with eager young minds full of ideas. I get along fine with any I run into but I’ve had to really watch myself.

      I’ve had to look for work students just couldn’t do. I also do more direct marketing, fliers and such. I target industry where people are so busy they don’t have time to surf the web or look for a video service. These students are willing to work for a bullet statement on a resume. So I’ve had to not only think outside the box but stay away from lines of work they do all together as the price those jobs go for is now nothing or close to it.

      Most of all I don’t tell much of what I do. I have a business name I work under and those I market to see that. I provide clients with all the demo they want but I don’t have diddly on the net that’s not protected from public view. If I was to do some great piece of work and brag about it online, I could loose that whole avenue of business or suffer enough loss that I have to move. I have no problem doing business fairly and like I said, I get a long fine with the tons of students in my market area but I can’t afford to shoot myself in the foot and they will just have to find the work like I did and I think that is fair.

      Being around schools is tough but there is work if you look for it. You’ll have to step outside of your comfort zone but the bonus of that is it will make you better at anything you want to do.

    • #203307

      Sanford and Earl, thank you so much for your input it is much appreciated.I should start by telling you thatdoing weddings was just an idea for right now, but eventuallyI want to work on motion pictures.As far as schools go, ive been doing my research, and I think i would like to go to NYU Film or Maybe UCLA. Im stationed in NC currently and there is suppost to be a great school right around the corner from me, But from what i read NYU is the cream of the crop, Is this true? All i can say is those are the schools im looking at right now, but they could change when i learn more. Money should be taken care of for the most part, my GI bill will pay for 4 years of school, so unless i decide to get a grad degree i dont think i will have anything to worry about. Currently my biggest concern is getting in, I feel as though i need to go to a great school not just a school because of the way the industry is. I think that will at least help me stand out a little, or hope so anyway. But i know a school like NYU isnt just going to take anyone, the only thing i have going for me is military experience, i hope that will help with admissions, but i know that im going to have to sumbit portfolios, and since i have no experience yeti thought weddings could be a great way to gain some. What do you think? would it be better to hold of or do something else?Thanks again.

    • #203308

      Sarah, if you haven’t already, get a hold of “Film School” which is a series that documents NYU Film School Students. It’s on Netflix.I think it will give you a good idea of what to expect. I am not sure whether NYU or any other Film school requires a portfolio for admission consideration. From my perspective, the road to feature films requires significant immersion into the craft and discipline and practice. Think about the old saying “How do you get to Carnegie Hall,…Practice, Practice Practice.” At this point, if you are just giving consideration to being a film(Video)maker, use whatever equipment you have, even you smartphone takes videos, and just start filming and editing. If you want a specific assignement, volunteer to do a short film for a local non-profit or public body. I volunteer to help my local Police, Library, Humane Society and others with short films and they are very happy to get something produced on a professional level. You should be sure you want to devote your time and effort to the lifestyle of a film maker before you commit to an expensive school. Believe me, there will be many expenses not covered by the GI bill. Best of luck and also, thanks for your service to our country.

    • #203309


      I’m in NC. I’m a Vet and my wife is still active duty at Seymour Johnson, she retires with 23 years next spring. We got stationed here four years ago. Before that wee were in AK for many years and the market was a lot more open there.

      I have worked in video for about 15 years now but I take classes and pic up new books as often as I can. I think this is a field where “Professional Development” training is a must. A good book that would answer a lot of the questions you have right now would be the “Shut up and Shoot” freelance video guide by Anthony Q. Artis. He’s an instructor at NYU. Its a good book, its his second and will give you lots of insight.

      With my dealings with the schools around here and with the students, I think you are making a good choice not to go here. Have you looked into cross training?

    • #203310

      Sarah, I was a broadcast journalist in the Army years ago and got my kickstart from the Defense Information School back in the day.

      My apologies if this is wrong, but I’m making the assumption you have no prior video, photographyor media training and my response is geared toward this.

      Breaking into the video business can be a tough task. I took a few years off and have recently jumped back into the game with HD gear replacing my old SD stuff. I’ve found that all of my word of mouth has gone to the wayside, something it took a few years to start building. A lot of companies I used to work with have gone under. So really, I’m starting over from scratch.

      10 years ago I was making $1,000 a wedding. In the last year I have yet to do a $1,000 wedding. My last commercial was paid in product, pizza and the promise of using the store’s square footage on occasion. I look atpaid gigs as a nice little pick-me-up to the wallet when I get them but I have a day job that supports my video habit.

      I don’t want to discourage you, but I feel I need to be honest. Without any video experience, weddings for cash may not be the best place to start. There are no re-shoots or second takes on the big day. You need two cameras, wireless audio,great instincts, experience and moreto get decent video. I almost never do single cam weddings. If I do, I make it clear to the client I set up my camera and get a single shot with great audio. Bad pans, zooms andlittle adjustments just kill a video.

      Again, this is not a slight against you, but rather a reality check. A lot of people think they can get an HD camera and shoot weddings for cash but it’s never that easy. You REALLY have to know your stuff to wring out every last bit of low light capability your camera can muster. Weddings and receptions are notoriously bad when it comes to lighting.

      If you want to ‘break into the business,’ find other people in the area shooting video and help them on projects. I’m sure you can find film clubs, facebook groups etc. Check craigslist for crew postings. Heck, post your own. “Production assistant available – will work for credit.” πŸ™‚

      Ask established wedding videographers if they’d mentor you as an extra camera operator.

      As for cameras, please bear in mind that shooting on an HDSLR is the next level in difficulty. If you don’t know the basics of video and photography- and know them really well – I would avoid them. Using them for event coverage is tough unless you can use the workarounds in your sleep.

      If you do go the HDSLR route, consider the D5100 or the T3i. The Nikon you’re talking about is trulyan intro level DSLR and you’ll get grief from clients and other video producers (who will likely say polite things about it while you’re holding it.) I’m not 100% familiar with it – does it shoot full 1080 30p or have manual audio controls?

      My biggest advice to you is don’t jump into the deep end. You’ll just find yourself frustrated creativly and financially. Read everything you can get your hands on, shoot video with whatever you have, edit it into a product and show it to people who will give you honest feedback.

      I hope I haven’t scared you away. Video production is an amazing thing and I enjoy it very much. I hope you find as much joy in it, too.

    • #203311

      Thank you everyone for you help, i will take your feedback into consideration. Enjoy your day.

    • #203312


      I think we all assumed you were seeking to establish yourself as an independent video producer based on your comments/remarks about getting into wedding video production to gain experience and “make some extra money.”

      Consequently, more than focusing on the EDUCATION necessary for your planned “insertion” into the entertainment industry working on motion pictures, as clarified in your second response, we pretty much LEANED in that direction, generally speaking.

      To my knowledge, no one has sufficiently addressed your questions regarding the Nikon D3200 and accessories. I’m not qualified to offer any information in that model scenario. “Sufficiently addressed” that is, with the exception of Joseph, who commented toward it somewhat, while also advising against “going into the deep end” financially on any aspect or level of, I’m assuming, education or equipment.

      Again, your focus being on the entertainment industry and “movies” if your primary purpose is to operate a camera, then film school is absolutely your front thrust, followed by using something in line with what your end career expectations would be. At least, as noted in the responses, in your film school environment you’d have access to the type of hardware, conceivably, that you’d be exposed to in the real world of your chosen career.

      In reading your initial post and subsequent comments, I get the impression you’ve got a solid grasp on your career direction, the options for your financial needs and a long-term general plan of approach, including education. You may be a bit busy with the education part to engage much in private production to “make some extra money” what with also being involved with school assignments and even working with major production opportunities that will have you doing pretty much everything BUT, probably, working with or operating a camera.

      Opportunities do exist for the dedicated, and I suspect also that the school you decide on will also be a significant resource for options and possibilities in the REAL WORLD while you’re pursuing your degree and creds.

      It would, I believe, help you to have ANY experience you can get in an acquisition form factor that emulates the camera designs and lens options used in movie production, to be aware of DOF and other aspects of capturing imaging that meets the needs of the producers, directors and others lurking above the line in that industry. From Spielberg to Jackson, all have their favorite cameras, lenses and shooters/DPs, and knowledge and awareness of those tools would be crucial to your growth in your chosen career.

      I sincerely urge and invite you to remain active as you can on the Videomaker Forums and keep us informed of your decisions, progress and, of course, to ask any questions this reasonably humble group of professionals and experimenters might be willing or able to answer for you.

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