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You hit it on the head with “I don’t want to make it too hard for myself with a low charge if I need to raise my rates later, or devalue my work with a low charge, or hurt the industry’s pay standards”.
It is fairly easy to work out that your hourly rate should be $60 – 100. The way around the problems of lower ratesthat you mentioned,is to quote a more reasonable “professional” rate, but offer a deep “New Year” discount or whatever other discount phrase you would like to use.
I always strive to get jobs signed and sealed by the first week in December. After that it is a drought until late in January. I always have a few jobs that I do on spec and I keep these for December thru January. It keeps me busy at least and there is the hope of money down the line.
This year seems to be particularly slow, perhaps it is because of the overall economy being so shaky.
A very useful technique for interviews is the 5 shot method Here is a good link http://www.jou.ufl.edu/faculty/mmcadams/video/five_shot.html
Matthew, for the types of video work you mentioned in your first post, I can recommend Earl’s direct mail approach – it really works.
But be patient, it is not easy to get work but it will become easier with time as you gain experience and become known.
Don’t limit yourself to the few types of videography that you mentioned. There are many other options like training videos, travel videos and more. Many of these you can do on spec during periods when you have no other work.May 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM in reply to: HELP Purchasing a Camcorder to use with Articulate! #198146
With your budget, I would recommend a CanonZR960. This camcorder does allow the use of an external microphone and has a remotecontrol, features useful for makingtraining videos.It sellsfor about $230. As far as software goes, I would recommend the Adobe Premiere and Photoshop Elements combo which would allow you to do amazing things for your videos and thereis excellent online training for both on Lynda.com
Depending on what you need, any of the standard mics would do like the Rhode video mics and so on. The only thing to remember is that the S20 has a smaller shoe so most standard mics do not fit. You can either buy the Canon mic that has a smaller foot, or you have to use an adaptor. I use a flash bracket and connect my Rhode mic to the flash shoe on the bracket.
I have both the Canon HV40 and the Canon HF S21, which is the same as the S200optics-wise. Both shoot excellent video the HV40 in HDV and the S200 in AVCHD. I chose the newer Canon becauseof the large LCD screen which is important as one grows older ;-)I use both together when I do event video.When I have to do something quikly, I will grab the HV40 as I am morefamiliar with it, and Ifind the touch screen more finicky to use.
Ibelieve the S200 is being replaced by a newer, more expensive model, so now you can getgood deals onthe S200 so that seems to be a good buy. It has a smaller accessory foot which can present some problems.
Marketing is vital tomy video business. While it is true that much of my work now comes from Word of Mouth, I cannot rely on it entirely, especially if I am trying to promote a new service.
The type of marketing used will depend on the type of videography service I am promoting.The key is to determine your target audience. In the case where you sell your video service through another service provider, like wedding planners, funeral homes, schools etc., direct mail advertizing is idea. It is a good idea to provide these service providers with supporting materials (flyers, demodvds)so that they can promote your business to their clients.
I like doing specific, one-off video projects. In this case I do my homework first, do a write-up of the project as I see it, and then I arrange a meeting with the potential client to do a presentation. The presentation is also an opportunity to hand out promotional material to people attending the presentation. Even if the project does not fly (or not yet), the opportunity to market to decision makers is worth the trouble!
One site marketing is vital. By that I mean that while I am out shooting, it is a good time to market. I wear a baseball cap, golf shirt all with my logo. My logo is also on my camera, tripod etc. I have a collection of business cards and flyers describing the project. There are always interested people who will ask what I am doing. They get a flyer and business card.
General marketing, like an add in a local paper, has never generated enough business for meto justify the expense. However I do put an add in a local monthly magazine. I think that is a way of sort of staying in the public eye and the magazine has a longer shelf life than newspapers.
I edit AVCHD with no problem in PP CS4. I would imagine with your system you would have a problem. The most reliable converter is NeoScene. It is not free but it really works. You can find it here http://www.cineform.com/neoscene/Even with new software and fast computer it will make your life easier if you convert.
I use the Canon HV40 with a wireless mic. Then one has to copy the audio afterwards in Premiere Pro to the other track. It is no hassle really. I have a stereo shotgun that I also use from time time but the sound is not as good.
You mention in your first post that you are interested in small business web video. I can recommend a book, Web Video, making it great, getting it noticed by Jennie Bourne. The book covers all of the technical issues of shooting video and hosting the video on the web. It also describes many potential applications for video.
While it is true that there many opportunities for an IVSP, it is not easy to get jobs. Most jobs come by word of mouth referrals. But you need to get known first and that means advertising. Facebook is fun but time-consuming and that is more than likely not where your clients are. I would start by sending out direct mail to potential small businesses and corporations in your area. I would also join the local chamber of commerce and attend meetings. Another option is to identify potential clients and put together a proposal for them at a reasonable price, but offer a deep “spring discount” to encourage them to give you the job.
I have been using an Epson Artisan 50 that I bought about a year and a bit ago. It cost less than $100 and has been working great ever since. If it ever breaks, I will throw it away and simply buy another.
Roxio makes a converter for analog vhs and it plugs into USB ports
My first Canon was a ZR930 partly because I could not afford more and partly because it allowed for an external mic. It was an excellent purchase, not that I really understood that at the time.
My next Canon was a HV40, which has been a workhorse for most of my projects. The quality being brilliant and ease of use just what I needed. I still use it on a daily basis.
I have since bought the Canon HF S21, partly because I am now a Canon fan, and partly because of the larger LED screen which is useful for me a my age. It has turned out to be a good purchase as well.
Recession, what recession?
Seriously, here in Canada the recession has not been as severe as elsewhere but it has had its effects.My clients are typically “small businesses” and they are looking for new ways of doing business, of being more responsive to the new economicclient. So I havefound anincrease interest in social media, websites, andvideo forall of those.In generalinterest in mybusienss has gone up since the recession. But I grant that it could be a local phenomenon.