Primal tips

This page is dedicated to how to tips for Videographers, Movie producers, and directors at all levels from the rank beginner to the seasoned pro.   Below are the current featured tips.
Six Quick Tips to keep Your Low Budget Film From Sucking
Essential Film Marketing - How to Generate Massive Interest and PR For Your Film on No Budget!
Some Advice on Props
Shooting Wedding Videos as a Source of Income.  
Uploading Video to YouTube and Google Video
Getting the best possible audio from a camcorder
Writing for Television
How to Find Talent Agents
A video tutorial on building a 12 foot camera jib that really works  I personally made this jib from the video.  I added a counter weight to mine and it works great for between $60-$80. 
How  to shoot in small spaces while adding dramatic " film noir" lighting
Lighting Basics-a quick tutorial
Link To a Great Mask Making Site
Ira Glass on Creativity- If you're feeling frustrated that your best still "isn't quite there" check out this video by PBS host Ira Glass for a pep talk. An external site with some very good tips on creative writing

A Way To Pay For Your Movies Or Eleven Tips For Shooting Great Wedding Videos

So you bought all this expensive stuff to shoot your movies and videos and you're thinking "Man it would be great if I could find some way to get this stuff to pay for itself or maybe even make a few bucks.  Maybe you're already covering some live events like your buddy's band,  or skateboard junkies, or even the kid's little league games.  Well have you ever thought of shooting and producing wedding videos?  Brides are spending billions of dollars a year and a chunk goes toward wedding videos.  Why not grab your share? Whether you are new to videography or are exploring new ways to expand your studio These 9 tips will help you produce professional wedding videos from day one.
'1) Equipment matters!  You don't need really high end gear to shoot weddings, but you do need the right gear.   You'll need a good prosumer DV camera,  two is even better.   Light sensitivity is important.  Weddings tend to be held in churches and the like.  These buildings are usually low light environments and the client won't have patients with you setting up lights, so get cameras with low Lux ratings.  Lux is a measurement of light intensity.  The higher the Lux the more intense the light (brighter)  The lower the less intense the light (dimmer) A camera with a low Lux rating will function better in low light and therefore give you a more professional finished product. You will also need a fluid head tripod for each camera,  A remote microphone (wireless)  A shotgun mic or two isn't a bad idea.   An audio mixer.  Live sound is tricky so more is better as long as it doesn't break the budget.
2)While on the subject of touchy live audio... Have a back up for your audio.   Remember this is a live shoot.   It happens once and if you miss it you're toast.   To that end a good idea is to use a mini disc recorder in the groom's pocket with a lavaliere mic on his lapel.  This is good C.Y.A. insurance  as he's one of the main actors in this show and he will never be too far from the action.  
3) Know your equipment inside and out.  Whether you are using a run of the mill digital camera or an expensive set up that has taken you years to work up, make sure everything is in top-notch working order and that you are thoroughly familiar with every nuance of the machine.  Remember Murphy’s Law.  If anything can go wrong, it will.  So keep Murphy out of the wedding by checking and double checking your camera and related equipment.

4) Have spares of everything possible.  If there are batteries involved with the operation of the camera, have several spare sets on hand and know where they are.  If the batteries go out as the bride and party are posed at the alter, you don’t want an hour delay why you run to the 7-11 to get more.  The same goes for mics and even the camera itself.  Have spares of everything possible so Murphy just goes to the next wedding down the road to make his mess.

5) Attend the rehearsal.  Yeah, I know, what a drag, but remember these people are paying you for a professional job and deserve to get it.  If you can't attend the rehearsal don't book the job.  This is your one chance to work out details like microphone placement, lighting problems and camera placement.  You will also see the flow of the action and have any last minutes conferences with the bride and groom.  Write a rough script of the ceremony, and use it to keep one step ahead of the action, but be ready to improvise if the unexpected happens.  Remember a wedding is "live theater" and anything can and probably will happen.  With this all said it's in your interest to be there.

6) Get"B-roll" coverage"B-roll," (which stands for "Before-Roll") coverage is of critical importance to the professional quality of your wedding video production. To get B-roll footage, simply use a tripod to take exterior shots of the building in which the event will take place, stained glass or other architectural features, the food and flower arrangements and any other special touches you notice. In addition to these still shots, begin videotaping about 20 minutes before the wedding is to begin, in order to get shots of the guests being seated, and audio of the music played before

 7) Check your audio.  Checking your audio before the ceremony is the best way to avoid common audio problems. To test your audio, make sure to arrive at the wedding location at least two hours early, in order to set up your equipment and check it out, and have time to fix any problems that you find and you will find problems. Another good tip is to monitor the audio with your headphones to be sure that it has a professional quality. 
8) Concentrate on close-ups. It is extremely important to get close-up shots at the wedding. Close-ups make your images look sharper and they allow you to capture emotion in your wedding video. Be sure to get close-up shots of the bride and groom, the wedding party, and the parents throughout the wedding and the reception, and use them frequently.   Remember a wedding is about the people involved.   Closeups allow the client to see facial expressions.  Expressions equal emotions.
9) The shot is about more than the bride and groom.  If you are used to “staging” your shoots you may not worry that often with activity in the room.  After all, if everybody is posing, the environment is controlled.  This will not be the case during a live action shoot like a wedding or reception.  So keep a keen awareness of the room, the activity around the subjects, the lighting and background props.  You don’t want to produce the perfect shot of bride and groom kissing only to have Cousin Ned gagging on the cake in the background.  Be aware of glare from windows, lights and eyeglasses.  These can sneak up on you.  Anticipate and follow the action. In order to shoot a professional wedding video, you must anticipate and follow the action throughout the wedding, especially if you're doing a one-camera shoot. You only get once chance to capture the action at a wedding ceremony, be prepared for whatever is coming.  Talking to the couple and attending the rehearsal ceremony will help you to know what's happening next, and your camera moves will be more fluid.  This is where the rough script comes in handy.   Anticipating and following the action is key to shooting a professional wedding video. 
10) Focus on capturing the event, not creating a special effects film. A wedding  video is more of a  documentary then the latest hollywood blockbuster.   There are many opportunities and options for special effects when creating a wedding video. However, special effects such as slow motion, layering graphics, and editing backgrounds work well in wedding videos only to a point. It is very important to remember that shooting a wedding video is all about capturing an important event, not creating a video with the most special effects. Remember to keep your focus on the couple, the ceremony, and the emotion of the wedding, and use special effects wisely. 
11) Finish the job on time. After you've shot the wedding ceremony and the reception, it's time to produce the finished video. Make sure to allow at least a week of postproduction to finish the job on time. A week should give you time to transfer footage to your system, catch up with other possible clients, editing the ceremony, the reception, and the pre-and-post ceremonies, as well as transferring to tape or DVD and preparing the packaging. Remember that the MOST important part of post-production is delivering the finished video ON TIME. The married couple will be eager to see their wedding video, and are depending on you to deliver it on the date and time that you promised. Your reputation, and your future clientele, depends on your ability to finish like a pro by producing a professional wedding video on time and on budget.
For more tips on shooting wedding videos click



Insider Tricks to Create a Great Wedding Video.

If you have been hired to create a video of someone’s wedding and reception, it can be a really fun job.  Not only is there a lot of joy, laughing and fun moments during a wedding celebration but it is really gratifying to know that the video you are creating will be part of family celebrations of these people for decades to come.

Naturally, you want to do a good job.  But whether you are just getting started or have been shooting video for years, you know things can sneak up on you and make your job more difficult.  So there are some “insider tricks” that you should keep in mind especially on the big day so the wedding goes off like clockwork and you get that great video without disturbing the joy and fun of the family.

The first few precautions actually happen long before you drive up to the church and that is a thorough equipment check.  Check and double check your equipment and then check it again.  It can’t hurt to be a bit compulsive about this.  Also, check that all of your supplies are new, in good shape and that you have back ups of batteries, bulbs, tapes or whatever recording media you are using.  If you know your equipment is in good shape, you can walk in there like the professional you are.

Next, be everywhere early and well prepared.  In fact, it can’t hurt to scope out the church and reception hall the day before to check the lighting and do some planning on where you might plan to get your best video from.  If Martin Scorsese can preplan all of his shoots, so can you.

Now be sure everybody knows who you are.  Meet the bride, groom, the wedding party and others close to the planning.  If there are security people, be sure they know who you are as well.  If there is a need for passes or badges of any kind, be sure you have one well ahead of the wedding day.

Part of networking with the key players includes getting some face time with others who may be supporting the wedding.  Many weddings have a wedding planner who must know everything that is going to happen.  Be sure he or she knows who you are and what you are going to do before you start disturbing their domain.  It is also a great idea to meet the other photographers and do a bit of preliminary choreography so everybody can get their shots.  Be aware that you really don’t want to do such a great job of videotaping the wedding that you damage the experience of the wedding guests.  This all takes lots of planning.

If they rehearse, you rehearse.  The rehearsal is one of the great missed opportunities that wedding photographers and videographers have to step through the wedding with the party and plan where you are going to be.  Now secure permission to be there as you never want to surprise a nervous bride or her mother.  But if they know you are working as hard as they are to get ready, they will be thrilled and you may find them giving you directions on shots they want included in the video and where they want (and don’t want) you to be at strategic moments during the wedding.  This information is gold on producing a high quality video for your customers.

Once everything is ready, jump in there and enjoy the wedding right along with everyone else.  You know you are ready and you like what you do so you can celebrate this big day and produce a top-notch video that will be a treasured memory for this bride and groom for many years to come.