If you are looking to hire a videographer, you’ll get the best results by hiring a videographer that specializes in the type of video that best matches your project. They’ll understand your needs as a client and have the right equipment to do the job.
I live in the midwest, right between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio. If you are in the video industry and reading this, you may find my descriptions differ slightly from your part of the country. Here’s what we have:
- These are the folks that work for the local stations, mostly producing the news and local talk shows. I find these people are “lifers” by working for a station or bouncing around from station-to-station for bulk of their career. Most of the cameras at the stations today are robotic. Even the reporters are shooting their own spots, but you will still find a few videographers around. Other jobs are producers, talent, editors, directors and audio technicians.
- This group is made up of freelancers that work on the crews for the broadcast feeds like ESPN and Sports Time Ohio or on the crews for the Jumbotron inside the stadiums. Whenever a big concert or political debate is broadcasted for a network, these folks usually get called. Jobs include camera operators, tape ops, graphics, audio, stats and other jobs you can find within the production truck. Each person usually specializes in one area and most do not own their own equipment. They are usually hired by the a crewing company or by the trucking company that provides the gear. It’s a good gig because you can get hired to do an entire season. It’s also a dangerous one for the videographer because you can get run over by a professional player.
- Back in the 80’s and 90’s, corporations had their own video department. Now days, most businesses outsource their video projects. Corporate videographers usually do it all. They produce, shoot and edit. Quite often, they have some corporate experience in their backgrounds. They can work on all aspects of the video from the script to the delivered product. Projects include web videos, marketing videos, training videos, health care video, surgeries, customer testimonials, some ads or commercials and other business-type videos. This is where I fit in. The bulk of my work is for corporate and small business clients.
- There’s only a handful of this type in our area. These folks have very high-end broadcast equipment with numerous cameras (some costing over $80K), tons of lights, grip equipment and audio packages. They can handle any need that a Hollywood client would require. Their clients are usually producers from major networks like NBC, CNN, History Channel, Food Network and A&E. In the Cleveland area, we don’t have original programing except of a show or two. So, whenever there is a story in the area, the network usually flies in a producer to work with the local broadcast crew for their story.
Weddings and Events Videographers
- Brides are a whole different breed of clients. This may be the first time they had a need for a professional videographer and don’t know what to ask when hiring someone. I find that there are two levels of professional experience in this group. There are some wedding videographers that do beautiful, stellar, cinematic work and others that are new to the whole video business and just document the day. You get what you pay for. If you are looking to hire a wedding videographer, have a realistic expectation for your budget. Check out the videographers work and tell them what you expect and the look you like. There will be a cost difference with a movie-like production from an experienced videographer compared to someone just capturing the event with a camera they bought from Best Buy, which could have questionable audio.
- I hesitate to put this one on the list, but I’ve met young videographers fresh out of local schools that tell me they are filmmakers. The reality is , if you are a filmmaker living in Ohio, you most likely have a second job that pays the bills. I know of only one filmmaker in the area that actually makes money selling DVDs of his documentaries. Most filmmakers do it as a passion. If you want to make a living making films or music videos, you need to move. Go to Los Angels, Cleveland is not the town for you. We just don’t’ have the clients for it here. Even when film is shot here, like the Avengers, most of the bigger jobs on the production crew is hired from out-of-town. For what it’s worth, the term “filmmaker” is also a pet peeve of mine. Film is film, video is video. If you are using a film camera and developing the film, yes, you are a filmmaker. If you use a video camera, you are a videographer shooting in a film-like style.
While it’s not unusual for some videographers to cross over into different areas throughout their career, they will usually will specialize in one area. I’ve staged managed for local TV and sports games, work as an audio and lighting tech on broadcast shoots, and even shot a few weddings. Great experience, but I like corporate work. I understand my clients because I used to work in one of those corporate video departments now long gone. Plus, I really enjoy the variety.
So keep these different types in mind for you are working on your next project. To have a successful video, hire a videographer that best meets your needs.
About the author:
Deborah Shapiro is a producer, videographer, and editor for her Akron – Cleveland based business, Montrose Video Productions where she specializes in web videos for large and small businesses. She likes to hike, has two dogs, two cats, is a part-time vegetarian and loves really good chocolate.
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