In our News & Technology segment with Mark and Derek, JVC’s announces a new pro HD camcorder, AJA introduces a miniature converter for H-D-M-I as well as news from Sorenson, Bella, Final Draft and Alienware.
In our Tips & Techniques segment, John and Mark look at “The Business of Video” with some good ideas to make your video make money for you.
This week’s “Take 20”, Charlie and Mark look at a music video by producer Steve Schubert of Cambridge, Ohio called….. “Ohio.”
In the “Profile” segment,Travis White of Pinnacle Systems comes by and gives John a demo on their newest update.
Mark Montgomery: And I’m Mark Montgomery.
John Burkhart: And today we’re going to, on our Tips and Techniques segment, we’re going to talk about the business in video.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah. Making money. There are lot of hobbies out there who do some sort of level of business, either with friends, or just like a hobby/business.
John Burkhart: Yeah, and of course, you know, it can be quite lucrative work, or it can be something to support your habit, as it goes, you know.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I’ve never heard that before.
John Burkhart: Yeah.
Mark Montgomery: But you can definitely make it a full time job.
John Burkhart: You can, or you can just have a little extra income from it.
Mark Montgomery: Right.
John Burkhart: But the first step you have to do in the process, educate yourself. Obviously if you’re watching vidcast or are a reader of our magazine, you’re taking sort of the first step, to, you know, learn the tools, and tips, and the techniques of your craft. And hone them and make them marketable.
Mark Montgomery: You also want, too, to educate yourself about the business practices. There’s so much to learn just on the business time that we’re going to save you time and money. We can teach you how to make a better video, or how to make a better video efficiently, or to avoid mistakes, but there’s a lot of business mistakes you can do as well, so…
John Burkhart: Certainly.
Mark Montgomery: There’s a lot of resources on that so you can, you need to educate yourself on as well.
John Burkhart: Yeah. Exactly. And places you can find that are local videographers associations, places that are sort of professional interest groups that you can join, either nationally or even locally, and they can give you a good heads up on the, you know, business, business part of it.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, and on the small business association, I think is Government.
John Burkhart: Yeah.
Mark Montgomery: I think sba.gov is the website with lots of useful information for people starting businesses or operating business as well.
John Burkhart: Yeah, of course, so, do you research and go learn about business, and learn about video. That’s the step one.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah. And I just wanted to, before we move on, you know, just because you may make great videos, and that will do a lot for you, but being a great business person is almost completely different. So, I just want to really iterate that sometimes just because you make great videos doesn’t make you a great business person.
John Burkhart: Right.
Mark Montgomery: So, learning both is a critical thing about being a business professional in a professional video world.
John Burkhart: Right. And tying in to that, the next thing you want to do is get equipped. You probably already have some equipment lying around, that you used before, but to just take it up to the next level, you might want to buy some more stuff, which is always a good part.
Mark Montgomery: Right. Just going into video tools, obviously, I mean, the bare minimum, depending on what you want to do, is going to require, you know, either a video camera or some post production equipment.
John Burkhart: Certainly. Yeah, yeah.
Mark Montgomery: But depends on what you decide to focus on, because you cannot, you know, you can do just strictly post production work, or just shooting. Actually, I used to freelance just doing shooting and say, hey, I’m going to shoot, and I’ll give you a tape. Which is a great way to start off, because you build some networks, you don’t have to have all the equipment.
John Burkhart: Sure, and that really leads into the next point that is, you know, the equipment you want and the equipment you need to do the job may be two entirely different things. And it’s important to realize that, you know, that camera that has that one cool feature that may be four or five thousand dollars more than the camera that you really need, you’ve got to really take a hard look at wants versus needs.
And, I would even recommend certainly starting out, renting equipment. First of all, before you even commit to buying anything. Try as many different cameras as you can, see what works best for you, before you commit to purchase that.
Mark Montgomery: And depending on what your budget needs are, you can also at least own or try some of those variables of actually owning the equipment which aren’t bad. And speaking of budgets, one tip I often encouraged people starting business to not do this on a shoestring budget.
John Burkhart: No, you have to budget some serious capital into it.
Mark Montgomery: If you really want to do this right, you need to make sure you’ve got your capital, either from investors, bankers or whatever, because you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where three months into your business you can’t operate any more.
John Burkhart: Yeah.
Mark Montgomery: That’s not a healthy business to on a get go.
John Burkhart: Oh, exactly, and also, one important point that as your business goes on, really helps to get rid of your old equipment, selling it off while it still has some value. I know a lot of video companies that have a back room which is just full of old cameras and decks and formats that are not supported any more, that is pretty much useless today, and not, they don’t have any value, but even three or four years ago you might have been able to sell them off for a decent amount. So, you know, keeping that capital turn over going.
Mark Montgomery: It’s a good point.
John Burkhart: The next step is to really focus on your own niche, and find out what interests you, what you think you’re better at than say, other people in town and competition. And really kind of try to sell yourself on that specific, that specific topic.
Mark Montgomery: Right, and there’s several benefits of this. One, if you hone in on this certain craft, you get to be a kind of a master of it. And you’ll be recognized for that, so it’s a great way to build your networks, you know, because people go, oh, I know somebody who can do this very well. You’ll get more jobs based on that. Plus, it helps your pricing model. If you’re jack of all trades, you kind of tend to say, oh, I’ll do this for this much, and you tend to lower your pricing model in hopes that you’ll make up for that in volume. When you hone in on a specific craft, you can charge a premium for that, because you become a master craft man if you will.
John Burkhart: Right. And not just in video related topics. I mean, if you have a hobby, say you go a skydiver, or a rock climber, or you know, you have something else that sets you apart from the competition, then, you know, you can probably make a much better skydiving video than somebody who’s never done it before. And those are the little niches that you can really, sort of, carve out for yourself and make them your own.
Mark Montgomery: Right. And you make a name for yourself, and then your business actually gets branded for that, and of course, once that happens, you really don’t want to get skimpy on the quality of your work. Because you want to be known for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.
John Burkhart: Yeah. This also takes us to the next point. Honestly, don’t be afraid to turn down work, or to fall work to someone else who you know will do a better job. Networking is very important, especially in freelance video production is, everybody should know what everybody else does and how they do it. And if you refer a job to someone else who you know will do a better job at it than perhaps you will, more than likely they’ll reciprocate when there’s something in on their end. So, build that network and don’t be afraid to, you know, pass a client on, and it will come back to you.
Mark Montgomery: Right. In video production, just by its nature is so demanding that it really makes sense to have that network. Oh, I know somebody who can do great, you know, interactive DVD, or I know somebody who’s a great shooter, and you want to incorporate them in your production as, just because it’s such a big task to put together something, especially in the beginning, and, so…
John Burkhart: Yeah, absolutely. And you’ll find that, as he said, their shoots get bigger and more complicated, you’ll be called on more to help out as well.
Mark Montgomery: Order a lot of business cards as well. What he’s trying to tell you.
John Burkhart: Yeah, so, marketing obviously is extremely important. Now you’ve got your gear, you’ve got your business model, you’re all set up, and now you want, you need customers. So, what do you do?
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, what do you do? I mean, you know, I’ll use a wedding videography example here. So a lot of shows, are a lot of opportunities to meet potential customers. There’s a lot you can do online, but when you’re saying off face to face contact is incredibly valuable. So, that’s one suggestion. Do you have any ideas where, where to meet…?
John Burkhart: Well, yeah, obviously, you know, with the Internet becoming more pervasive in our daily lives, having a website is probably a very first thing you should do. It’s very cost effective marketing. Because people will be looking for videographers and stuff online. And sort of aggregation sites where you can, I believe mandu.com is the most famous one, where you can, where people from all over the world go look for specific video and film related needs. And you can have your site for free linked to that, so… yeah, the web would probably be the most cost effective way of getting yourself out there, and getting your marketing on.
Mark Montgomery: Right. And be prepared also to do some pro bono work where you actually jump in to this particular market, find a client and say, hey, you know, I’m new at this, but I’ve got the tools and everything and I can do a great job. Sell yourself, but also give them a rate that’s going to make them jump in. if not free, then really low, so you can get a few projects under your belt that really show the quality of work you want to do. And that way that person will also start to say, hey, you know…
John Burkhart: I would recommend not necessarily doing it for free for profitable business, but certainly there’s a lot of deserving charities out there, and organizations that are always looking for video. And there are certain businesses out there that will, that will try to sell you, oh no, if you do this for us for free, there will be more work in the future. If you do this for us for free, you know, it’s a great thing for your demo reel. And those hardly actually ever turn out well.
So, you do need to be making video, you do need to be having reel, and if you got none, I would certainly suggest contacting a charity of your choice and offering making a video for them, because at least you know it’s going for good cause.
Mark Montgomery: And what’s great about a lot of these charities when you start to work for them, they’re basically a great networking system themselves, a lot of the people who are working for charities are also just spread across the community. So, once they see you work with, you know, the business owner who, you know, dedicating an hour a week to help out a charity will probably see your product and even, when they go back to work, say, hey, we want something similar, and you know… So it’s a definitely great opportunity.
John Burkhart: There’s a lot of opportunities down there, and we hope that these tips and techniques will help you take advantage of it.