Race Track (Speedway) Video Production Company

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    • #39331

      They say this is a good place to bounce ideas off other filmmakers, so Ill give it a try. πŸ˜€

      Ive come up with an idea that has a lot of logistical challenges. Im a jack-of-all trades employee at a local race track, which races every Friday and Wednesday night. I feel after being a part of the racing industry for a few years there may be an opportunity to put my editing and video knowledge/talent to some good use for the race teams and fans. Ive had numerous requests from drivers, teams and fans to tape the races in the past.

      My idea is simply to record the races the most cost effective way possible a manned camera from the roof of the broadcast tower following the action, and a stationary catch all camera at the end of one of the straightaways to catch any action (crashes) the main camera misses. The nature of my job occupies me during the actual events with other important business that cannot be left unattended, so a colleague who I have worked with on other projects would staff the camera.

      Another company tried this a while ago, but they pulled out after not making enough money. This was almost 7 years ago now though (before the advent of DVDs!), and the technology has changed a lot to make this type of endeavour much cheaper.

      A strong market is already in place 2000 to 3000 fans per Friday night, plus 700 additional crewmembers, drivers etc. Wednesdays has a VERY dedicated fan base of 100 fans (mostly friends and family of the drivers), plus drivers and crews. Not to mention sponsors of cars. Im looking at selling these DVDs for 10-15$ (cdn) for a night of racing.

      If it werent for start-up costs Id already be all over this but they are a serious concern. I currently have no equipment previous volunteer projects I have completed by pulling in favours from the school I attended, but I would like to get off on my own.

      A typical race event is 3 hours long so Im looking at having to pay my colleague for that amount of time.

      Im also looking at having to purchase two Mini-DV cameras (is there a good place to get decent used ones?). I will also be purchasing a new laptop for editing, but I was planning on acquiring that regardless for other uses.

      To pay everything off in one season (based on $12 a piece) I would have to sell around 350 disks (not out of the question in my opinion), which brings up another concern the burning process. Typical DVD burning on rs I have found does not work on all players. Is there a way of getting around this? Also wear and tear on the dvd burner, especially in a laptop is of concern. Is there a better solution?

      This is all very rough and preliminary. Im certainly not going out tomorrow and buying a equipment, I wanted to brainstorm more first. Video is one of my great passions and I love recording events for people to enjoy as souvenirs. I dont know that this endeavour would be a great moneymaker, but I am certain I can receive permission from the speedway to do it, as well as have a lot of fun.

      Any thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Experiences to share? Im all ears. Thanks for reading! πŸ˜€

    • #170225

      Very interesting idea. I live right next to Phoenix International Raceway, and wondered about this myself. What you are talking about seems a lot more managable do to the size.

      I’m new also, but as for cameras, the Canon GL2 is insanely popular, and for that reason you can always find good deals on eBay. I would never buy anything off Craigslist unless you can see it for yourself.

      Keep us posted, I love your entrepreneurial spirit.

    • #170226

      Finally some replies! πŸ˜€ Im actually really glad to receive some. I posted this story on an entrepreneurial message board. They have great ideas but are not very knowledgeable in the technical end.

      The equipment you suggest is well above my start-up range. That particular camera falls into the prosumer range, which while extremely high quality and reliable, probably is way overkill for this project. To be honest, I was simply hoping for a couple of used consumer level mini-dv camcorders! lol

      The main market for this would be trackside. People love to watch videos of themselves! In that sense, a 1-week layover for the disk is not that big of a deal. Simply enjoy last weeks race the next week. Editing takes some time.

      Im slightly conflicted about the whole deal. I have the entrepreneurial spirit to go for it, but I am also the announcer at the track a position that took a long time to get into. Part of my business plan was simply to edit the videos the day after, but have them recorded by an employee(s) allowing me to continue my rewarding work as announcer. πŸ™‚

      But the more I think about it even further, I feel the reason I am doing it is simply for the challenge and love of recording a couple of races in a professional manner for the enjoyment of the track and teams. Im not sure if its necessary to go full out business. Perhaps I should just get a few friends and record a couple as a pilot project and see where that leaves me?

      Thoughts πŸ˜•

    • #170227

      First things first. Have you done any editing before? It can be very time intensive.
      Second. How are you going to promote the product. ( dvd ie.)
      Will the racetrack ok it for you to do this in the first place?
      They might want a cut and that would lower your profit.
      If you think you might be able to sell 350 dvd’s cut that by about 60 percent and you will have a better idea of what you MIGHT sell.

      You might be better off making a highlight video of finishes, wrecks, winners etc. and selling that towards the end of the season.
      Try a few things first without worrying about profit.

      Lots of Luck.

    • #170228


      Very good idea, and realistic thinking about covering your expenses. Some good thoughts from the others. May I add the following:

      The company I work for produces DVDs for our local Speedway. They bring us a single camera tape (quality ok, camera work….well….) and we add titles, do some VERY basic editing, and dupe the DVDs. They sell them at the next race. It’s easy money for us as we only have to burn and copy the master plus spend about 1 hour of editing time. We use a stock template for their title/credit pages and just change the weekly information. Do you have access to any "wedding" or other types of video production houses that may want some easy money?? Of course, this does not solve the problem of acquiring a camera (or two as you mentioned), but it may help you get started. Do any of your loyal staff/fans have a good camera and a desire to see their name in the credits? If you pay for the tape, they may do it for a while and this would also help you get started until you can afford what you need. I would be leary of used cameras. Remember, there is alot to go wrong in that little box!

      Lastly, what about using a basic camera switcher (ie: Videonics MX-1) that you can find on E-bay for about 4-500 bucks and editing the shoot live. I suggest the Videonics because it has built in sync. for up to four sources. You could use two cameras (there are some newer cabling options that would allow the second camera to be pretty far away without significant loss) and record directly to DVD (stand-alone recorders at Best Buy or other box houses are pretty cheap now). You could use your laptop with "Power-point" as a titler for your opening, closing, and sponsor pages (yes, DO have pages for sponsors!). Even if they will not pay you directly, it is what we used to call in radio "valu-added" advertising. As Compusolver noted, the consumer is not taking away a finished product, but you could put a TV near the walking exit and re-play the video as people are leaving. (Our stand-alone recorders only take about 3-4 mins to finalize a disk) May make things a bit more tangable. Then find a near-by dupe house (again, check into anyone who produces video) to make the copies. Considering the profit on duplication, they may do this on a per-order basis and just take a portion of the sales. No front money from you that way!

      Hope some of this helps. Best of luck!

      AATR Video

    • #170229

      Thanks for the replies everyone! πŸ˜€

      This had actually slipped off my radar here a for a few weeks, and I realized I didn’t have e-mail notification enabled so I didn’t realize there were new posts.

      Videobob1, yep my video editing experience is extensive. I’m highly proficient with Final Cut for the Mac, which is what I would do this on. Although the editing might take a good amount of time – – It would be a labour of love. I love racing and would love to produce something great for the drivers and teams.

      Kfox, you have given me a lot of food for thought. Since I posted the original idea I have been in contact with other speedway video production companies that have also given me some ideas, but your post has re-inspired me to look at this again, especially with your mention of pulling this off with only one camera…

      Im continuing to run the ideas in my mind. If I go forward, I will be presenting my ideas to management before the New Year. Thanks for all the advice! Keep the brainstorming coming if you can! πŸ˜€

    • #170230

      Get 5-7 cameras…good but consumer quality ok
      3 on track, 1 in pit/setup area, 2 on crowd, 1 for volunteer/student announcer.
      wire all cameras back *yes, alot of wire…but the track might have some pre-run cables) to a control room with 9 monitors (each camera plus program), an audio mixer (for all the signals) and a video switcher. add an 8th channel with a graphics feed (lower 3rd) that shows what car, etc. and has some sponsor logos (sell sponsorships!) Record this to Digital Tape (not DVD) and hard drive of your edit system. You’ll then have a nice, mixed, "finished" product ready to sell

      If you’re in PA/NY/NJ…Ihave this gear and can go into it with you

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