Drones, they are the cool new thing that everyone is playing with to make cool video clips, cut away shots and making money. But don't be so quick to ask for a drone shot for your wedding cause there are some things that you should really think about.
Even though drones are fairly in expensive these days, and you seem to see them everywhere, there are actually a lot of regulations surrounding them. Chances are many of the drones you are seeing flying around don't always meet certain requirements or are breaking the law. Example, this 4th of July, I was enjoying a nice day at the beach with the family when all the sudden someone decided to fly a drone of the crowd. Some people thought it was cool, some were annoyed cause they do make noise, and well it has a camera that can take pictures of all the people sun bathing. First thing I thought of? Unless he for a waiver from the FAA, he is breaking the law. What law? The one that says you can not fly directly over a crowd of people. Actually, you can't fly over anyone that is not directly part of the filming unless you have prior authorization from the FAA.
Another big point is that all drones over a certain weight, which almost all that have a camera on them, have to be registered with the FAA and the rPIC (Remote Pilot in Command) must have a Part 107 Certificate from the FAA. This is a fairly new law this year, but it was put into place to prevent the skies from filling up with people that don't know how to fly a drone safely.
Why am I taking the time explaining all of this? That's because I am on track to be a certified rPIC. Next week, I will be sitting down to take my exam, and will hopefully pass and have my official Part 107 Certificate. Then when you come to higher me to do a drone shot for your video project, you will know that I can legally fly the drone, know the laws regarding flying the drone, and will of course get a great shot.
Thank you to Creative Concepts by Lisa for having me on wedding therapy show "Teal Couch Tuesday". I was invited on along with Arnold from Barnberry Productions to talk about wedding videos. We talked about our philosophies for recording weddings, and answer Lisa's questions. It was a fun time and I hope to be on again in the future.
Over the past decade, both photography and videography has been making a digital shift. When digital SLRs first came out, I knew pro photographers that were completely against using them over their film cameras. Now, those same people are taking 1000s of images at a wedding without the worry of running out of storage cause memories cards are so cheap these days. And with video, a similar shift happened. When I first started in this business, I would have 5 pre labeled MiniDV tapes ready to go. Had to manage video time with the tapes and so on. Now, I use 1-2 memory cards per camera to capture hours of video without worry. I have invested rather heavily in hard drives though.
Now that is how the experience of the pro has changed as far as capturing the video and photos. But what about delivery? Let's take a look at the photo side of things. Photogs used to give 4x6 prints of all the photos, then the couple choose what they like for an album and the photog designs an album and has it printed and charge a nice fee for it. Fast forward to now, and I can choose from sites like Pixeset, PASS, and Smugmug, just to name a few, to deliver my photos to my clients. These sites make beautiful galleries, easy sharing options, print options for the clients and their family and friends and so much more. The printing option might be the best because it off loads the print work from the photog to the printer. Even full image delivery is made easier because the entire gallery can be downloaded by the client. No more printing every image, no exporting to a disc or usb drive and mailing. Everything is online, and people love it.
But what about video? Well, for the most part I am still making DVDs. The best thing I did in this regard was to start using a DVD printer to do the finishing after I publish it. Since I started doing that, not one failed disc. But I'm tired of making DVDs. It downgrades the resolution of the video I recorded to SD, and DVDs don't last. DVDs have a shelf life of about 25 years. I want to go completely digital, so what do I do? Yes, YouTube has been around for decade now, but up until recently you could not put long form videos on there. And even then, most clients don't want their wedding day on a public platform used to share cat videos. There are private share options within YouTube, but let's be honest, when a couple spends good money on a professional video, they don't want it delivered on a free streaming service.
For the past couple of years I have been using Vimeo, which is great cause it's more private that YouTube, and I can put a lot of different privacy options on my videos. And I can also allow clients to download the video on their end. Now I have a true delivery system! Except there are couple of things I don't like. I still like having the menu structure of a DVD, giving people the chance to skip around the chapters. The only way to do chapters in Vimeo and YouTube is by putting them in the comments which although does work, I don't think it looks clean.
Well, after this long winded backstory, I am pleased to say I found my answer. And to be honest, I only found this by reading and watching other people's blogs and they have been talking about this. I am talking about MedialZilla. This site will allow me to delivery a rich DVD like experience to clients all on the internet. No DVDs to mail, and lose or get broken. Everything online, and the client can share and download the video. And unlike a video sharing site, there are no distractions or recommended videos when done watching. Today, I will be sending my first ever online DVD to my first wedding couple of 2017. I think that this will be a great experience for all of my future couples and for me as well. Embrace the digital age everyone!
Another new item on the market that everyone is raving about is probably the smallest thing in my bag. The Tascam DR-10L is nothing short of a life saver. What is it? Why do I love it?
At every wedding, I put a wireless mic on the groom and have that send it's signal back to a camera or other recorder for the ceremony. I have gone through a couple different ones over the years, but they have their limitations. They can have wireless interference, and during a live event like a wedding, you can't stop and change settings.
The DR-10L is a lapel mic without the wireless part. It is a microphone and recorder in one. It is powered by one little AAA battery and records to a microSD card. Since it is it's own recorder, I can turn it on, start record and put it in the Groom's pocket and know I'm good. No more worrying about wireless interference or being out of range.
After shooting with my new setup this past week, I am super excited about shooting more weddings with my new gear.
It is currently 32˚ and raining outside while I write this. It's a cold bitter day, and maybe not the time you are thinking about your wedding plans. But this is the best time of the year to get in touch will all your vendors to start planning your wedding. For us, this is the time of the year where we have finished up the work from last season and have a month or two before the weddings start up again. This leaves us with plenty of time to talk with you.
Want to save on stress, then try planning way ahead, I mean like more than a year. Now is the perfect time to plan for your 2018 wedding. Get all of your vendors lined up and then relax... as much as you can until your wedding day. This will also give you more time to budget and maybe find some extra money for that one extra thing you want on your wedding day.
Getting married this year? No problem. I still have dates available for this year, and I'm sure other vendors do as well. I find that most people tend to find their videographer near the end of their planning (I have even been booked on the same day!).
No matter when you are getting married, this time of the year is great for talking with us. Time to get on the Internet, do your searches, make your lists and start setting up some meetings.
It is true that I do not update this blog or my website as often as I would like to. I am a very busy person. Aside from building this business over the last 11 years, I also work full time in higher education getting the next generation of videographers, photographers, and broadcasters ready for the world. And I have a wife, son and a dog. Free time is a rare thing for me, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
What I want to talk about though is that no matter how busy I make my own life, that will never compromise the time spent, and attention to detail for the wedding videos I create. And this post is somewhat inspired by some recent events. At least once a month, I get an e-mail or facebook message from a company that is offering to do the editing for me. Some times they are from Russia, sometimes they are from New York. Every time I tell them no thank you. That is because when a couple entrusts me with their video, I want them to know who is behind the camera and who is responsible for the editing. The buck starts and stops with me. That is how I built my name up over the past 11 years. I am a one person shop and that is how I like it. I have made the active choice to not grow to big because I do enjoy spending time with my family as everyone should.
In conclusion, when you come here to this website and ask for me to record your wedding video, then you will get me to record and edit your wedding video.
The 2016 wedding season has begun! And the first wedding video of the season has already been edited and delivered to the happy couple. I wish them all the best in the future.
Technology and video quality have changed a lot in the 10 plus years I have been in the wedding video business. It wasn't until 2010 that HD cameras were available at a price point that allowed for myself to start recording weddings in HD. Before that time, everything was recorded on tape in SD. At the time it still looked great. I had a good quality camera, and couples were watching their videos on SD TVs with their DVD players. But then everyone started buying HDTVs (myself included) and that had one downside. The SD video I recorded didn't look as good on and HD display. There are many reasons why this is (pixels, stretching, etc), but the point is those pre HD videos just don't hold up over the years as well as we would have hoped.
About a year ago, a couple whose video I recorded during this time asked me (while I was recording their friend's wedding) if there was anything that could be done. Initially, I had said no for the reasons I mentioned above. But after seeing her again at another wedding, I really started to think about it. Not only have cameras and TVs gotten better, bus so has my software and computer that I use to edit the videos. I was inspired to give it a shot. I found the old tapes (cause I still have every tape I ever recorded) and I loaded them onto the computer and did an entire re-edit of their wedding. And it worked. I increased the picture quality of the video and was able to send her a digital copy of the video online.
Now that I have done this first one, I am ready to perform this job for other couples who videos I have recorded in the past. For a nominal fee, I will re-edit the wedding video from scratch and have a video with improved picture quality. It is a re-edit because it will not be exactly the same as the original, and I will be using some newer editing techniques that I have picked up over the years.
I meant to have put more of these up during the year, but family life takes up a lot of time. Better late than never, here are a couple of videos from this past season.
It's 2016, and it is looking to be a great year and I want to share some things I am looking ahead to. But first, I would like to reflect on 2015.
Last year I celebrated 10 years of being in business. That is no small feat these days with so many small business opening and closing, especially through our economic down turn that we experienced over the past couple of years. But I am proud to say that 2015 was probably the best year for Keith Michael Productions over the past 10 years. Other big news of 2015, my son turned one in April, and in July I went back to having a full time job in addition to this company. I have a new title of Studio Manager at Sacred Heart University. I work for the School of Communication and Media Arts maintaining the brand new TV studios as well as all the camera gear that students use for their projects. I also teach some media production classes where I get to share my knowledge and passion for videography and photography with college students.
In the coming year, I am looking forward to another great year for the company. The one big addition is the new Photo Booth setup that I have invested in. It is an open concept photo booth, meaning there are no walls. I can set this up anywhere, and your wedding guests will have a blast with it.
The other big change I have made is that DVDs are no longer a standard option for wedding videos. We live an world of iTunes, Netflix and Hulu. There is no space for the physical disc anymore. Two years ago, I started hosting every wedding video online, and now that is the standard for how I will deliver the video to you. It cuts down on production time, letting you see the video sooner. You will be able to download the video file right from the video page. And the video is higher quality than what you can get on a DVD. For those that still want DVD or BluRay discs, those are now an option that you can add on.
I hope you are as excited about 2016 as I am. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year everyone!