Have you thought about adding videography services to your photography business but aren’t sure where to start? In the 2014 Photographer’s Market article “Adding Video to Your Repertoire,” managing photographer Ric Deliantoni walks you through the entire process, covering the skills you need and filming equipment recommendations and costs. You can read an excerpt from the article below, or read the complete article in the 2014 Photographer’s Market or on ArtistsMarketOnline.com.
Keep creating and good luck!
Adding Video to Your Repertoire: Develop the Skills You Need to Stay Viable by Ric Deliantoni
Over the past few years video has become more and more in demand in our market. Those who considered it a passing fad have lost market share en masse. We might consider the creation of YouTube in 2005 as the start of this trend. YouTube’s initial raw campy posts may have contributed to the fad attitude of many, but Google’s acquisition of the company in 2006 marked the beginning of regular access to video in the social media landscape.
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You’d have to be living under a rock not to see the major changes coming from all the major camera manufacturers. Over the past few years it seem that every new camera captures both still and video with equal quality. The sensor size of most new DSLRs blows away that of video-only cameras in the same price range, and these cameras offer many of the same features. The mid-level video-only cameras seem to be a dying breed. Manufacturers such as Canon have taken this to the extreme with the new EOS C series video cameras going after the feature film industry with a vengeance.
What are the skills you need to add to stay viable?
The good news is that much of what you know as a still photographer can easily translate into video. In fact, I would argue that still photographers who make this transition are better videographers then those that have never learned the craft of photography. Your eye as a photographer and your skills with light are not always a part of the training in a video program. (See the interview with Rowland Egerton, a still photographer who now works as a grip in the motion picture industry.) The story-telling aspect of video adds more to what we now do. Telling a story with moving images—how cool is that?
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Is this for everybody in the photo industry?
This is a very open-ended question and largely depends on your clients and the market you are in. The short answer to this question is yes. As I stated in the beginning, the trends are there, and they are growing. Even if your clients don’t need video now, the likelihood that they will in the future is strong if they want to keep up with their competition. For wedding photographers, this is a significant service you can add. Are you tired of fighting with the video crew in the church and at a reception? Why not eliminate that hassle and offer both services to your clients? For those with clients in smaller markets, with local TV affiliates, shooting their ads and the TV spots at the same time will add revenue to your business. These are just a few of the issues you should consider no matter what market or genre of photography you are in.
What are the costs I can expect to incur?
Most of you with newer cameras already have the first part of the necessary toolset. As mentioned earlier, the DSLR you already have most likely captures the quality video content you need. If you have been thinking about updating your camera, maybe this is the excuse you need to take that step. The costs of these cameras have remained fairly stable and, in fact, have actually come down as quality and features have increased. You can expect to pay $1,500–$2,500 for a new camera that will cover your needs at the entry level and up to $6,800 for the top of the line.
Your lighting requirements will largely depend on the type of video you intend to capture. Shooting with available light is always an option and may be where you want to start. The lower end of lighting includes tungsten or hot lights, and there are a ton of entry-level kits that start around $250 and range up to several thousand dollars. The drawback to hot lights is their color balance, around 3200K. If you shoot in a controlled environment, this won’t be an issue. If you intend to shoot in locations where you don’t have control over the ambient lighting, hot light will require filtration to correct it to the specific situation.
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Audio equipment is the next item on our list, and, again, what you get depends on what you will be shooting. The onboard mics included with video cameras and with DSLRs are improved, but they still have drawbacks. Trying to get clean sound in noisy environments is a battle with these mics.
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The last piece in this puzzle is the editing software. Again, there are many choices depending on what you want to accomplish. Apple iMovie comes with the OS on your machine and is a very basic program to get started. For PC-based machines, there is a basic editing tool included with the OS that can introduce you to the process.
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Video is here to stay, so adding the necessary skills and equipment to your business is a very smart decision if you want to grow. Whether you jump in with both feet or take it in small bites, it is time to seriously evaluate your present clients and where you want to go in the world of photography. My guess is that you will see the viability of adding video services to your offerings, and, once you do, your business will experience the growth in clients and revenue we all want.
Ric Deliantoni is a professional photographer and director with thirty years of experience, with a focus on still-life and lifestyle imagery for advertising, design and publishing. He has developed a unique style that has been described as impressionistic and bold. Ric has also spent much of his career teaching and mentoring students of all levels to better themselves as artists.