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Oliver Daniel

How is video business in your area/country?

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Seen as there worldwide EOSHD forum users, I thought it would be an interesting topic to see how the business of video production differs for each other across the globe - and see how similar or different it is. 

I'm from Manchester UK, and make music promos, commercial video and offer another pair of hands for other production teams. The city is a media monster, with Media City (home to peeps like the BBC) at the heart of it all. 

There is everything from your production companies, boutiques, one-man bands shooting everyday - video is becoming even bigger with creative agencies and the tender for all the work is fiercely competitive. 

Generally I have found that expectation from the clients is higher, yet the price for video is going down. Music videos especially have gone rock bottom for budgets. Some of the ideology is why pay more when Mr. DSLR can give you something decent for literally nothing but the "exposure"? 

Same goes for commercial and corporate jobs. The price is going down, and it gets more difficult for some of us to competitively quote. 

Clients here come to you for your ideas, content and quality. Unless it's a TV drama or major commercial, they couldn't give a rats ass what camera you are shooting on. As long as the end result is of excellent quality, they don't care. I shot over 100 music videos on a GH3 and no one ever said anything negative. You can get hired as an owner operator, but because the rental price for such cameras is cheap - people who want to hire one can just do it themselves. Or try. Does happen. 

I'm finding that the one to two man bands are the "go to" people for a majority of your lower to mid end video productions. Agencies are actually employing their own "two man bands" so they can save money (salaried earnings and reduced commission), have creative control and oversee the entire process with their own eyes.  My business is generally two-man band with the appearance of a company, as we regularly work with numerous freelancers on every project as a team. So for us it's a bit of a middle man thing. 

As you develop and your price goes up, this has friction with the fact the price of video is going down. The quality, content and service has to be excellent to be justifiable. If Mr. DSLR has better creative work than Mr. Arri Alexa Owner and charges less than half - everybody will go for the cheapest option. Everybody wants to save money, but needs video that's "good enough". 

Video is booming like mad in my region, but everyone with a brain and a camera is after it! It's positive. I try harder. It's fun :) 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Speaking for Chicago, the sky's the limit. We have so many options out here if you're willing to put in the effort. You really just have to choose a path and go for it. A friend of mine has been working his way up to Digital Kitchen and finally got the position. It's possibly one of the highest regarded digital agencies in the country. A lot of shows and movies are shot here so there are a lot of production companies looking for skilled positions. Freelancing is probably like any other big city. Tons of competition but tons of clients looking for help.

I agree with you that the music video budgets have tanked. The days of small/mid-sized artists spending 20k is over.

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Is there really no call for 4K here in the UK? Thinking about camera choices and future proofing, it seems optimistic to hope that good 1080 is enough, even for the most technophobic clients? 

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1 hour ago, Chrisis said:

Is there really no call for 4K here in the UK? Thinking about camera choices and future proofing, it seems optimistic to hope that good 1080 is enough, even for the most technophobic clients? 

Not really. 

Some clients ask for 4K, but they just ask because it's the latest technological buzzword they see advertised. 

Slow motion gets asked for a lot, as does certain styles of lighting. 

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5 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

Seen as there worldwide EOSHD forum users, I thought it would be an interesting topic to see how the business of video production differs for each other across the globe - and see how similar or different it is. 

Thank for bringing this up, I think it is important to have dialogue about how people are making a living in the current video market. To an outsider, it sometimes may seem less achievable than it actually is. So thoughts of those cashing checks, however much they may be shrinking for some, are very encouraging.

I can't give an opinion of where I live as I have just arrived. I have some ideas and assumptions, but that is all they are until I start pitching and networking.

My question for you would be, if you had to start again from scratch in your city today - what kit would you invest in straight off the bat and what would you hire?

I have come to the opinion that buying a camera is the last thing on the list to buy. (edit: given sharp devaluation and different needs for different briefs)

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I was on the east coast of Canada. Not much going on there. Moved to Vancouver. It's pretty solid here.

I do weddings and lower end corporate stuff. There's tons of it around. I was able to move with no contacts and start freelancing right out of the gate, even just through craigslist ads. The film industry is apparently doing better than ever too, thanks to our current crappy dollar. Lots of productions coming here.

I do get the sense that the mid level is being squashed out, and that there's a big gap between the low end (me) and the high end. I'm trying to move up in price but there's lots of competition and it's very easy to get "pretty good" for cheap nowadays. 

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Here on Brazil at Rio de Janeiro the things are really messed up.

I work with green screen to record teachers. The bosses make us export in 480 with extreme compression to save disk space and make uploads faster with the horrible internet they pay. The cameras are very old sony camcorders with 1080i that almost never get WB right and the wage its equivalent to $350. If you find somewhere that pays around $500 you've got the hell of a good job. 

Freelancing you can get around $100 a day or per edit, but people generally have zero knowledge about image quality here (720p barely arrived at or tvs, mushy 480p its a norm and its by air with tons of noise depending on where you live). Its a pain having a G7 and losing the job to someone with no idea of what hes doing and is asking $50-$100 to record and edit the footage,  just because he has an old DV cam that looks more "pro" or a T2i that is a canon and for being a canon its obviously great.  People talk about Canon here like it is some kind of god, but i never actually seen anyone who heard about ML or got courage to use it. Panasonic even quit our market because of this and got no official seller here now. 4k? People talk about it as some kind of ultra pro high end stuff that is totally useless. Our taxes are also pretty abusives (a7rii are around $4500 and even the G7 its $1000). 

Fortunatelly there is still some hope and with some good quality footage you can get some nice jobs as the TEDx im gonna cover next month and keep growing. But my advice its to stay away from here. It is almost only Stress and there is only one giant company ruling the high end market of Radio,  TV, Newspapper and even Cinema. And they dont like the kind of things we like. If you dont wanna do some kind of comedy for the masses they dont want you. There are many people doing great stuff here and there always has been, but its up to creativity to make good stuff with little to no resources. There has been an Brazillian animation at the Oscars. Never seen anyone out of my film schoo who ever heard about it. It didn't even make it to the theaters and was there with a nominee.

Its a pretty bad place to live with cinema stuff... But if you guys look at movies as the one that Rogerio Sganzerla, Glauber Rocha, Eduardo Coutinho or Kleber Mendonça did, there is still hope. 

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12 hours ago, HelsinkiZim said:

My question for you would be, if you had to start again from scratch in your city today - what kit would you invest in straight off the bat and what would you hire?

I have come to the opinion that buying a camera is the last thing on the list to buy. (edit: given sharp devaluation and different needs for different briefs)


Depends a lot on your location and what you want to do.

But I'd suggest buy two cameras: 
A bigger one for those benefits such as XLR inputs and ND filters, and just looking bad ass to the client. Sony PMW-F3 gives maximum bang for your buck here! (US$1.5K ish secondhand, plus US$495 BMD Video Assist gives you 10bit 422 1080 60fps). A Sony FS700 is also reaching very low prices these days, so maybe consider that. Or a JVC LS300.

Plus a smaller camera for when that is more appropriate (such as on a gimbal, or when you simply need to go multi cam), for this I recommend a Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera. But a Sony A6300 / A7s mk1 or Samsung NX1 would also all be solid choices. 

Then get a set of lenses, either Sigma ART (Nikon F mount), or Nikon AF-D, or Rokinon Cine DS. 

http://ironfilm.co.nz/rokinon-cine-lenses/

Buy a Tascam DR-70D + MKE600 + RodeLink + Zoom H1 + Aspen Lav + Boom + Rode Blimp v2 + Senal SMH-1000 headphones + Samson C02 mic + Rode WS6 windshield.

For lights get a basic kit of:

http://www.came-tv.com/3-x-800w-pro-red-head-redhead-continuous-light-lighting-stands-p-158.html

http://www.came-tv.com/1%C3%83%C2%97650w2%C3%83%C2%97300w1%C3%83%C2%97150w-fresnel-tungsten-light-video-spotlight-p-318.html (plus dimmers)

http://www.came-tv.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_23&products_id=503

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Singapore. Here nobody gives a rat's ass about quality at the mid-low end corporate/commercial/events level, as long as you're cheap and own a Canon with an L zoom (perceived to be the industry standard by most small medium business owners). these guys often start out doing photography until they realise they can enter the video market because their camera can shoot video too. you usually end up seeing tons of videos with the high shutter (using shutter to expose), oversaturated look with plenty of meaningless sliding movements because "hey we've got a slider let's use it in every shot!"

thanks to these guys flooding the market, buyer expectation for a corporate video is usually three to low four digits (i've had someone asked me to do a corporate video for $200, that's about USD175. obvs I declined).

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2 hours ago, Ak Ns said:

In india, mostly from south. People ask for what equipment you have, rather than what can u do. India has tons of jobs, as long as u do it for cheap. 

I recently had a client who traveled from Dubai and one from Hong Kong. 

They both said that there are plenty of people who own a RED, Arri, Canon C300 II - but it's rare that any of these people have any actual talent. The ideology is different in that it's what you own, rather than what you can do. 

They came to the UK to get "different, creative lighting" as they can't get it where they are. 

The UK is a definitely what you can do, rather than what you own kinda place. Everyone wants quality. 

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We do events/weddings mostly here in the UK, no one cares about gear or 4k really. People like slo-mo and reasonable quality work. Reasonable market for high quality but mostly mid-low.

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On 5 April 2016 at 9:51 PM, Oliver Daniel said:

I recently had a client who traveled from Dubai and one from Hong Kong. 

They both said that there are plenty of people who own a RED, Arri, Canon C300 II - but it's rare that any of these people have any actual talent. The ideology is different in that it's what you own, rather than what you can do. 

They came to the UK to get "different, creative lighting" as they can't get it where they are. 

The UK is a definitely what you can do, rather than what you own kinda place. Everyone wants quality. 

Here people brought Reds like chickens. Biggest problem is lack of style or a method 'you' follow to create a certain visual. Its all random. 

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On 5 de abril de 2016 at 6:21 PM, Oliver Daniel said:

They both said that there are plenty of people who own a RED, Arri, Canon C300 II - but it's rare that any of these people have any actual talent. The ideology is different in that it's what you own, rather than what you can do. 

This has been true for the whole video world until 2009 or so.

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Italy is a disaster as you can immagine. There few really talented people have jobs all over the world or in the north of Italy (lot's of industry). To work in Rome os south you have to accept low wages/peanuts even for broadcast work. In fact I quitted faking that I work and started a personal project!

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On April 5, 2016 at 5:56 AM, IronFilm said:

A bigger one for those benefits such as XLR inputs and ND filters, and just looking bad ass to the client. Sony PMW-F3 gives maximum bang for your buck here! (US$1.5K ish secondhand, plus US$495 BMD Video Assist gives you 10bit 422 1080 60fps). A Sony FS700 is also reaching very low prices these days, so maybe consider that. Or a JVC LS300.

Is this true? I thought you needed dual SDI, or an SDI/HDMI converter for 60p on the F3? 

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On 04/04/2016 at 9:57 PM, Chrisis said:

Is there really no call for 4K here in the UK? Thinking about camera choices and future proofing, it seems optimistic to hope that good 1080 is enough, even for the most technophobic clients? 

Clarksons new "Top Gear" is being filmed in 4k currently (chum is Post Production manager on it) as is, AFAIK, all of Amazon's new output. So yes UK wants and is going down that route, although mostly all the terrestrial stuff I've been on in the past year or so hasn't been 4k shot (Sky, Warners, Shine BBC etc) Missus's company did "Muse Live in Rome" in multi camera 4k in London also, and recently mixed the Quentin Tarrantino record of Ennio Morricone at Abbey Road which was 4k.

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I have formed an opinion over the years that humans are dumber than ants. Ants will religiously find the shortest possible route to food. I know this from my many years in Africa waking up to lines of critters leading to the smallest crumbs in our house. If you move the food you see, they will form a new path to something you didn’t clean in a corner. This can go on for days. Humans, on the other hand, will continue to go to the old source of food until they die of starvation. We are horrible at adapting to change.

I feel our industry is smack in the middle of our own mini industrial/ agricultural revolution. We struggle because logic says you either go cheap (quantity) or go bespoke (quality) - but with todays kit you can seemingly do both. It defies the logic of everything we were taught at film school (if any of you got the lecture about the triangle with points of time, quality and cost - you can only choose two?). We are basically being Uber’ed.

The question for me is, what new path should we be following to ensure we are all earning money in 10 years time? Specialise or diversify? Owner/ operate or rent? All of the above? Hmmm….

For those doing weddings and events in London, I would love to hear how the industry has developed. I filmed weddings and events in London circa 2005 and found that the sweet spot for securing clients was around 800 pounds. This was okay for me as it was a part time business as I had a full time job, but from all the folks I knew who were doing video, they either dissipated or moved to photography. With editing and filming the amount of time invested was crazy for the money, especially as you needed 2 cameras and at least an assistant to make anything cohesive and enjoyable to watch.

There were a few players who demanded fees in the thousands, but for the average videographer I would guess its a zero sum game unless you can deliver the goods with SEO. I was on page one for a few months and got around an enquirer per week - one out of 2 turned into a meeting and most meetings turned into a booking.  How are you folks coping these days with bookings, time management, marketing and profit?

edit: FYI at the time I was all ego and no skill, and was basically learning as I went along. I would NOT advise this for anyone getting into filming peoples special day. Many successes but also many upsets (I remember coming home from a 'consultation' and having to google what a Jib was - the shame). I guess 10 years, many shoots and a masters degree later, my business competition is now who I used to be.

edit: I also think I may be building a rep for verbose posts, my apologies, but its in my head and it must get out. I have no other industry friends in this city yet.

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