Below is just a short behind the scenes video shot during the days I worked with Calin Manescu (professional videographer) at a Corporate Games event.
There's more to tell
Proper video gear helps a lot!
Not only you will get the best image quality with a Canon DSLR but the versatility that comes with interchangeable lenses is simply awesome. Calin has two of them (Mark II and Mark III): one usually attached to the monopod with a telezoom lens and one on the slider or steadicam with a wide angle lens.
Of course he switches them according to the situation but the point is he always has two cameras ready, each with a diametrically opposed lens-type (wide vs. telezoom). His assistant (Alin) shoots with one camera. When Alin doesn't shoot, he's behind Calin with the gear backpack, ready to give him what he needs: a different lens, filters, the mike, etc.
Another thing – when you show up with proper gear to shoot an event, people will respect you more. You're basically signaling "Hey, man. I’m a pro. I know what I'm doing and these are my weapons." This gives the client peace of mind, like a reassurance that he hired the right guy and Calin is able to charge a premium fee for his services.
I couldn't do that showing up with my DIY steadicam and the scrappy slider… Just the time it takes me to balance the stabilizer or the time it takes me to switch from the steadicam to the dolly (and the clumsiness of it all) would make the client say "What the hell is this guy doing?!". Not the best way to make a first impression.
The life of a videographer seems glamorous
But the truth is you're there working when everyone else is having fun.
And if you're shooting live events where you can't stage or direct much, you literally have to hunt your shots and capture the most interesting things as they happen. This means you're always under pressure because you're not sure which are the best moments unless the client briefed you before.
Oh, did I mention you have no weekends? Since most weddings and corporate events take place during weekends, you're at your day job while your friends enjoy some free time.
Is that a sacrifice? I guess it is if you do it just for the money. However, if you have the creative itch (you must have it if you're doing videos) you see it as a privilege – at least I do even though I’m an amateur. After all, you're not mopping floors so you might as well enjoy it, right?
Then comes the editing which can take even a week for some videos as Calin says. He uses the Adobe Creative Suite (Premiere & After Effects) which is ranked no. 1 for professional video editing software.
Perception distorts reality
You're probably sitting at your computer, watching Calin's videos (or any other cool clips by other videographers) and imagine that these guys are some sort of rock stars.
Well, let me tell you that Calin is a cool dude to hang out with! Yup, his work projects this rock star/high life image but he's as human as the rest of us mortals. Sharing his secret tricks, making jokes and generally keeping an uplifting positive attitude.
I feel compelled to say this because I see beginners being intimidated by the huge success of their idols. Like, people always think the guys at the top have some sort of magic dust on them that make them special. That magic dust is nothing but hard work and passion. The technical skills will come along as you start doing videos but the real secret is JUST DO IT – you'll naturally get better at it.
Then, all of a sudden people will look up at you like you're some sort of rock star but that won't be a big deal as you will then realize it took no magic – it was you just working and working and improving your skill in small but steady increments.
Rule no. 1 – Do your best with the gear that you currently have. You have no video gear? Borrow some.
Rule no. 2 – Be fearless and create freely. Do stuff to be proud of but if you think it sucks and feel you can't do it better, publish it anyway. Any feedback is better than no feedback. Plus, you can't improve something that doesn't exist. Expose your work to the world. Just as Michael Faraday said: Work. Finish. Publish.
Rule no. 3 – Rinse and repeat.
What say you, fellow filmmaker? Leave a comment and let's chat.
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