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The Wedding Video Handbook

How to Succeed in the Wedding Video Business By John Virata

Wedding videography is big business. But more often than not, those who get into the business get out of it in just a short time, duel to lack of business savvy, skills, planning, or a combination of these and other factors. Author Kirk Barber attempts to address the business of wedding videography in his new book, The Wedding Video Handbook: How to succeed in the Wedding video business. Within this review, we'll take a look at the first few chapters of this 15 chapter book.

Chapter 1 discusses setting up your business from the business aspect of things. Topics covered include the pros and cons of working from a home office versus actually renting office space, the need for Office type software as well as accounting software, and naming decisions, and the benefits of choosing a fictitious business name versus using your own name as the business name. Other important topics discussed in Chapter 1 include the importance of obtaining business licenses, reseller's permits, and liability and errors and omissions insurance; office equipment, logos and business cards.

Chapter 2 and 3 Choosing the Video Equipment and Setting up the Equipment
The first topics discussed in chapter 2 include the differing types of video cameras and video formats on the market. Barber discusses the choices available, including such camera formats as DV, miniDV, Digital8 Betacam, DVCAM, DVCPRO, HD, and HDV. barber also discusses the merits or lack thereof, of consumer format cameras, as well as the more professional cameras, including single chip versus three chip cameras, the most widely used formats and the various options available on the cameras. Barber discusses how to choose a camera in this chapter, what features to look for when considering a camera, as well as other must have accessories such as tripods, battery belts, and microphones. Barber also discusses the importance of having backup equipment in the case that the main equipment fails. This could be as much as the phone number of a rental place where you can rent backup equipment to the phone number of a fellow wedding videographer who could provide backup in the case of failure. Linear versus nonlinear editing equipment is the next topic of discussion. Nonlinear is by far the most widely used editing system used, and the author discusses what is available on the market for both Mac users as well as PC users. Also covered are external monitors, DVD burners and a section on how much money you can expect to spend on the equipment. then there is setting up the equipment. Opening Chapter 3 is a discussion of the various cables that one would find in a typical edit suite, along with back and white pictures of each along with explanations of what they are used for and what they connect to.

Chapter 4 and 5 How to use the Equipment and Getting Experience
An explanation of the various controls on a video camera are discussed, as is a very brief explanation of how nonlinear editing software works. Also explained is the method for creating an unauthored DVD as well as an authored DVD. Chapter 5 Getting Experience. This chapter deals with how to get the necessary experience and know how so you can successfully charge clients to do the job. A unique approach the author writes about involves calling wedding locations and asking if they would be amenable to allowing a videographer to shoot a wedding for free in order to check out some equipment. In this way, you can gain experience without being beholden to someone's money, and you'll also have some footage to show potential clients.

Chapters 6 and 7, Marketing and Getting the Clients and Phone Calls and Appointments offers tips on marketing your business and getting clients. Specifically, these chapters cover some of the content elements that comprise a package that clients might want to see in your demo DVD, such as childhood photo montages, bride getting ready montage, and wedding day highlights. Discussed in this chapter are several of the package options that the author offers his clients, including such elements as opening titles and closing credits, the number of videos included in specific packages and the like. Also discussed are the marketing techniques that may help promote a wedding video business, including participating in bridal shows, wedding vendors, yellow pages, bridal magazines. Phone Calls and Appointments covers meeting with the clients after the initial phone call, scheduling the appointment, showing the demo video, explaining the packages offered and closing the sale. Barber also writes about a scenario whereby the client asks for money off the price of a package and then asks for more and more things that add to the job. The outcome is the videographer actually loses more money on the job than was originally agreed to due to the "extras" involved with the package. This is a good read, the guts of Chapter 7.

Chapters 8, Preproduction Planning, Chapter 9 Wedding Day, Pre Ceremony, and Chapter 10 Taping the Ceremony can be considered the most important chapters of the book, because without the skill sets discussed in these chapters, there would be no wedding business to begin with. Preproduction Planning covers issues such as finding additional camera operators, using subcontractors versus an employee, trying out new equipment, attending the rehearsal, meeting the ceremony coordinator, determining camera positions, microphone placements, and more. Wedding Day Pre-Ceremony covers such things as what to wear without impeding your arm movements, to snacks to take with you as the ceremony goes on, to setting up your equipment. There are tips on what to videotape before the ceremony, including establishing shots, shots of bride and groom getting ready, guest arrivals, and pre ceremony photo sessions. Chapter 10 Taping the Ceremony covers what to shoot, where to place the cameras, what is a good front shot and what is a good back shot, how to capture the readings, sermons, vows and ring exchange, unity candle, how to shoot soloists and singers, etc. There are also tips on shooting outdoor weddings, the kiss, pronouncements, and recessional, what to shoot after the ceremony, posing the couple, and taping the limo departure. Chapter 11 offers tips on shooting the reception, including what equipment to use, acquiring sound from the DJ or band, shooting the entrance, the first dance, the blessing, the toasts, and entertainment during the meal, dancing with the parents, wedding party dance, cutting of the cake, money dance, and open dancing, bouquet toss, and garter toss. Also included are tips on shooting interviews of wedding guests, and other shots such as ring bearers, and flower girls. Chapter 12 and 13 discuss editing the video and packaging the final product for delivery, while chapter 14 covers getting referrals for your next wedding shoot.

There is an included DVD-ROM that includes sample clips from a wedding ceremony and from the reception that you can view to get a feel for what types of videos you can shoot. There are a lot of tips for those who are getting into the business of shooting wedding videos. This book is also ideal for those who have been tasked to shoot for families, as there are many tips that would help the would-be amateur wedding videographer shoot their relatives weddings.

The Wedding Video Handbook
by Kirk Barber
CMP Books
251 pages

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:wedding videos, wedding videography, Kirk barber

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