A Special Video for Senior Portraits

We've decided to offer a special video for senior portraits. It's something that I don't think any other photography is doing. We are creating what I like to call our Superstar Senior Films. These films are a personalized short that summarizes the session experience and show how awesome they are.

A Special Video for Senior Portraits

So far I've only made one of these, and it was sort of a trial experience. When we shot it, we were aiming more to show off what a session with us was like, so I was in the shoot more than normal. The real video will be focusing on the senior and really aim to create a fun experience.

One cool thing about the video is that it can be shared on Instagram. Most kids these days don't go to other sites, but Instagram is a really quick and easy way to share it with friends. It also is going to have a photos mixed in, so people will be able to see how their photos turned out as well.

Bailey's film

I'm really hoping these Superstar Senior Films catch on and everyone wants one. I know I personally would have loved to have something like this back when I was a senior. I will be shooting more soon, and I'll make sure to post about each one.

WOD Wars 3 2015 Summary Video

It's almost that time again; time for Crossfit 540's WOD Wars. This year's event will be coming up October 29th, so I thought I would finally get around to putting together the WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video. We were there mainly for photos, but I randomly switched things up and would shoot some video here and there. It wasn't the best video job on my part, but it at least shows off the event.

WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video

The 2015 WOD Wars theme was pretty cool. It was Beasts vs. Ninjas, and they even had the wall painted to match it. The events were position around the strong guys (beasts) and the smaller, more endurance based guys (ninjas), so the teams had to choose carefully who did what.

The place was packed. I don't know how many people were there, but there really wasn't much room at all. I bet they sold out the event really quickly. The people and teams were really diverse. You had some that you could tell were really serious about competing, and then some that wore funny outfits and were in it more for the camaraderie.

WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video burpees with teammate WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video speed rope WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video jump rope WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video watching team compete

Out of all the events that I can remember, my favorite involved this structure they made outside. They built this obstacle out of big round PVC pipes. Basically you had to climb over one and then go under the next. This was the end part after running a half mile I believe. I think that would have been my event to excel in.

 

There's a possibility I will have a wedding on the 29th and miss WOD Wars 4. If not, I will be there for sure. Crossfit is an interesting world, and the events are just as exciting. Hopefully our WOD Wars 2015 Summary Video will give you a slight glimpse into this awesome event. If you have nothing else going on or do Crossfit, you need to be there for WOD Wars 4.

2016 Metsquerade Video

One nice thing about doing photos and videos is that we can offer our clients the total package. Back in April we shot the first ever Metsquerade charity gala. It is an event to raise awareness and funds for stage four breast cancer. When we first talked with them about covering the event, we only mentioned photos. In the end, I wanted to throw in something bonus so we ended up creating a 2016 Metsquerade video.

2016 Metsquerade Video

My goal was to create a short summary video that they could use to promote their event for next year. Photos are awesome, but there's something about video that really gets people interested. I think they'll be able to show this next year and the people that went will remember how much fun it is and the others that see it will want to be part of the excitement.

There were lots of good things for us to film. First of all, the decorations were just gorgeous. I loved how they transformed an ordinary room into something special and I loved the all the colors. The theme of the event was also something special. It was a masquerade, so many people wore masks. There were some really interesting ones out there. Probably the most exciting part of the nights was the auctions. They had so many silent auctions and then some extremely interesting live auctions. My favorite was for the puppy. It was so cute.

2016 Metsquerade Video founders in front of backdrop 2016 Metsquerade Video people dancing at party 2016 Metsquerade Video silent auction items 2016 Metsquerade Video decorations of ballroom

I hope this 2016 Metsquerade Video is helpful for the organization. After being at the event and listening to everything, I truly am a believer in the cause and want to help out. I hope they bring us back again next year.

Delivery Formats for Wedding Videos

Brides very rarely know what all goes into creating a wedding film, they only see the final product. For a few years I've really struggled with the delivery formats for wedding videos. There are a lot of options out there, each with benefits and issues.

Delivery Formats for Wedding Videos

I started off giving my clients DVDs, and I still do this on occasion. The quality is good, but it doesn't use all the quality that my camera delivers. We shoot is 1080, but unknown to most people, DVDs are in 720. Five or six years ago DVDs were the main media for videos. Since then, technology has advanced. Blu-ray is now the media of choice. I don't currently own a Blu-ray burner, but I have considered it. Most people now own Blu-ray players, so they would be able to view it. These Blu-rays offer a higher quality video. They are 1080 instead of the 720 of a DVD. I honestly don't know if I will buy a Blu-ray burner at this point. Technology is advancing once again. There are now 4k cameras and 4k TVs, so Blu-ray might soon be a thing of the past.

There are other options besides Blu-ray and DVD. Digital delivery seems like a pretty good option. With digital files, you can deliver the largest file possible. You don't have to adjust the file to fit on a Blu-ray or DVD. This means a 4k video stays a 4k video. Now, these files could be sent a few different ways. One easy way would be on a USB flash drive. These things are cheap and can hold a ton. I think a 32gb USB might be around $15. Another option that I might use to deliver them is Dropbox. I can put anything in Dropbox and send a link. The downfall to this is that you have wait on uploads and downloads. With big files, this could be 10 hours or so. Now the last option that I have been using with these others is a video service like Youtube or Vimeo. You can post these videos and multiple people can watch them about anywhere at anytime.

Delivery Formats for Wedding Videos First Dance
There are many Delivery Formats for Wedding Videos like DVD, Blu-ray, or digital files

Wedding season is going strong and I will be shooting several wedding videos in the next month, so this is something I will need to consider. There are a lot of Delivery Formats for Wedding Videos, and I've tried several of them. I guess the real question is what do my clients really want and what works best for me.

What Lenses to use for Wedding Films

Lens choice is one of those things that is highly debated in film just like it is in photography. Some people swear by one lens while others swear by another. Today we'll talk about what Lenses to use for Wedding Films.

What Lenses to use for Wedding Films

There are really two different things that people have to decide about when choosing lenses for film. The first is whether they want to use a zoom lens or a prime lens. The second is what focal lengths they want to use. I honestly don't have a right or wrong answer but let's look at each side of the debate.

Honestly, I think most videographers, at least in the wedding world, use prime lenses. Prime lenses tend to be sharper, which is good because if you're using a DSLR there isn't much room for editing. It's better to get it right in camera. Primes are also much lighter, which is important in video because you are having to make sure the camera is stable so your footage won't be shaking. On the other hand, zooms are nice because you can easily shoot tight and then zoom out to get a wide shot. With a prime, you'd have to run backwards. With either type of lens, make sure you have a good ring for the manual focus because with most DSLRs there is no auto focus, or at least not a good one.

Now, whether you use a prime or zoom, you will still have to figure out what focal length you want to work with. There are some zooms that go on from super wide to tight but these aren't the best quality lenses. There are wide lenses, normal lenses, and telephoto. For primes, that would be like a 24mm, a 50mm, and 85mm or longer. For zooms that would be a 14-24mm, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm. I tend to stick for the normal lenses. I've found that going too wide or too zoomed in is difficult for weddings. A normal lens tends to work pretty well for most situations.

Most people that shoot wedding films would choose a 50mm if they had to pick one lens. Now like with most artists, everyone has their own style. People have their own way of shooting and with this comes different lenses. What Lenses to use for Wedding Films really will depend on the person and the situation. I'd suggest trying out a few different ones and seeing which works best for you.

Best Stabilizer for Video: A Comparison

The title of today's blog might be a little misleading. I am not claiming to know the best stabilizer for video because truthfully, I don't think there is a best stabilizer. I think there are a lot of options out there and the best one will change from situation to situation.

Best Stabilizer for Video: Options

Tripod

I would say the most used and known about stabilizer would be the tripod. If you want complete stabilization, this is the way to go. With a tripod, you just put the camera on it, and unless someone bumps into it, you get completely still video. This is probably the simplest to use and that's why you see these everywhere. We use tripods for most of our cameras during the ceremony, and I will also set one up for dances and other events during the reception. I can just put it there and I know I'll get whatever walks in front of the camera.

The problems with a tripod come from their legs. The legs are needed to create stability, but they create problems. One, tripods can't be put just anywhere. You have to have a good amount of space for the legs to spread out. The legs also keep a tripod from really being mobile. To move from one place to the next, you have to push the legs in, move without hitting anything, and reopen the legs. Tripods do not do well for chasing the action.

Monopod

The little brother of the tripod is the monopod. Instead of having three legs, a monopod only has one. The monopod can sometimes stand by itself, and this gives you stable footage, but a simple bump would knock it over. I wouldn't trust it. You can hold onto the monopod and the one leg will help you keep it steady, but I still find some movement in my shots. The great thing about a monopod over a tripod is that you can move with it. It is very easy to pick it up and just go. This is what I use for about 90% of my shots during a wedding. It allows me to move quickly, and a monopod can fit in tight places, unlike a tripod.

Flyers

Flyers are devices that allow you to balance the camera while hand holding it. When you see footage from a flyer during movement, it really looks the camera is just gliding along and flying. This allows for some really creative shots that would be difficult or impossible with a tripod or monopod. The big benefit of a flyer is that you are able to move with your subject and still get stable shots. You can walk beside him, go backwards, or go around him. I like to use our Glidecam for creative shots. I usually bring it in during the portrait session of the bride and groom and then again during dancing. I like to either go toward them or do a circle.

There are some issues with a flyer. The biggest one is that balancing one can be difficult and take time. You will usually have to balance it again every time you make a change, whether it's putting the camera on or changing a lens. They are very sensitive, so the slightest change throws things off. Personally, I'm not very good at it, so I limit my use of them. The other issue is fatigue. You're holding a camera and device up with just your arm. This can wear you out pretty quickly. The other two options are supported by the ground, so you really aren't holding the weight of the camera.

Like I said, there really isn't a Best Stabilizer for Video. It all depends on who you are, your style of shooting, and really the situation. I use all three during a wedding, while other videographers might prefer just one. My suggestion would be to try each one out and see what you like, but make sure to keep your options open to all three.

 

 

Adding Video to Photo Shoots

One thing that I think really makes us different from so many other people out there is that we can offer photography and videography to our clients. There are tons of photographers out there and a decent amount of videographers, but very few do both. This has worked out well for our wedding business. We probably shoot about 10 weddings a year where we are in charge of both photography and video. Today it hit me though; I should be adding video to photo shoots, not just weddings. It would something that could really boost my business.

Adding Video to Photo Shoots

These videos wouldn't be the big production that a wedding video would be. It really can't be. At weddings, we shoot for 4-8 hours, but a shoot would be more like an hour, so there wouldn't be as much footage. I'm also thinking the final video would be much shorter, maybe 2 minutes instead of our 6 and 15 minute videos. It's enough for them to remember and share their experience and not be overwhelmed by a long video.

I'm not positive yet on how I would pull this off. There are really two options: one, I shoot the photos and the video, and two, I bring along a videographer. Both really are options with positives and negatives to each side. If I shoot it myself, I won't have to bring much more equipment, I won't have to depend on a videographer being available, and I don't have to pay anyone. The down side is that switching between photo and video might be a real hassle and cause both the photo and video to not be the best quality. If I hire a videographer, I can focus on the photo side and the video should be much nicer. The biggest issue I really see is having to pay a videographer. I'd either have to raises prices or just lose money.

Adding Video to Photo Shoots Senior by Waterfall
Adding Adding Video to Photo Shoots would have been nice for this senior shoot

Adding Video to Photo Shoots photographer and videographer waiting

My goal is to bring this into the senior market. I'm going to be the new guy, so I need something to really make me different and attract the seniors. Adding Video to Photo Shoots could be that thing that really makes me stick out. I'm probably going to have a shoot next week, so we'll see how this goes.

Upcoming Videos and Behind the Scenes

We just finished up another big day of shooting with a styled shoot at The Ravington in Centerton. I've been focusing on this one for several months, so I'm pretty relieved that it's all done. Now that it's over, though, I realized how much editing we have ahead of us. There are a ton of videos that need to be put together, so be on the look out for our upcoming videos and behind the scenes videos.

Upcoming Videos and Behind the Scenes

Right now I think I've got three or four wedding films to finish. These will probably take the most time because they have a good 6 hours of footage from multiple cameras. Our films for weddings also are more involved so the editing will be more complex and we create multiple films.

I've got a few other random projects on the back burner. We shot our first ever quinceanera, so that should be fun. About a month ago, I helped my father create a tutorial for woodworking. It should be pretty straightforward, but it's still a day's worth of footage to look through. Then there's the Metsquerade event. We went around and shot footage of all the things happening. My goal is to create just a 2-4 minute summary of the event. The oldest project might be the most interesting. Last October I was at Crossfit 540 for their Wod Wars. I really need to get it put together so they can use it to promote this year's event.

Besides that, I've got some personal projects left out there. I've had one of our videographers come to a few of our shoots to capture some behind the scenes action. Today was a big event for us with our styled shoot, so I had him there the whole time capturing the process. I think this will be a good summary of the day so all the vendors can share it. I'm also just looking to create a quick summary video for our photography site, so we can show people what a shoot with us is like.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but this stuff is pretty exciting. I can't wait for us to finish these and show off all these Upcoming Videos and Behind the Scenes. We'll still be shooting new stuff, but I plan on knocking out a good chunk of this stuff during the weekdays. It's a busy life, but it's how we like it.

 

Our Arkansas Wedding Films Website

Well here it is, I've finally made a wedding film or wedding video website. We've been shooting video for around 3 years now, and it has grown quite a bit. I'd always just posted my videos to Vimeo and had a few on my wedding website, but I never really had a place just for our Arkansas weddings films. After messing around with this website for a month or so, I finally feel like it's at a point where I can share it with the world.

Our Arkansas Wedding Films Website

Making this website was more of a challenge than I expected. First I found it hard to find a template made mainly for wedding films. There are plenty of sites out there for photography or blogs in general, but I could only find one template that really had what I wanted. I found it on templatemonster.com. It looked cool, but modifying the template to have my information and look the way I wanted to was a pain. I actually had to go in and even do some coding. I think I've got it figured out now and can change things if I need to.

On the site, I have several different sections. The most important ones to me were where I can show off films. I was able to make categories for each thing we shoot and each year. All I had to do to get the films up was put in a link and there it was. Easy. Another section that I think is important is the FAQ section. This has good information for people so they can know about the business quickly. Of course, they can still use the contact page if their questions aren't answered. The last section that really matters to me is this blog. I honestly am not sure how this is going to look, so I might have to make some adjustments. It is extremely important to me though to be able to blog about our experiences.

Honestly there are still some things that I need to change to make the site perfect. For one, the intro video on the front page is something  I just threw together quickly. There are a few other small things as well. Overall I'm really happy our Arkansas Wedding Films Website with what I've been able to accomplish with the time I've put into it and the money spent.