Sunday, September 23, 2007

Find the perfect video producer

Earl Chessher, owner of California Wedding Cinema, offers points that help tomorrow's brides and grooms pick the right independent video production services provider for their wedding event. Avoid common mistakes by using the following information when selecting your wedding video producer.

(Huntington Beach, CA) September 22, 2007 -- Amateur wedding video producers enter this business daily, making it even more difficult for the discerning bride and groom to wade through the crowd in an effort to find the right professional for their wedding day.

The number one reason for getting stuck with a poor quality wedding video is not taking the time to properly screen your prospects. Screening on price alone can often generate a field of inexperienced players. you do not want to invest in a beginner video producer's education when your special day calls for a great video production.

Or, if you do make your selection based on price vs experience, at least be aware of the potential difference in quality you might have to accept. In all fairness there are amateurs and beginners who give a great production for the money, but that makes your screening process all the more important to ensure finding the diamond among them.

In many cases this is your first wedding planning experience. you are entering a world of mixed signals, overstated claims and unsure consequences. Referrals help, and so does research to identify vendors conveniently available to you. But you still must make the time to screen your prospects.

Key elements to consider, in addition to price and experience, when interviewing a prospective wedding video producer are how she approaches lighting, sound and overall production. You also want to be comfortable with the person who videotapes your wedding day, so during your screening, make sure you will meet and talk with that person.

These are your first steps in finding the right service provider. But what about while you are trying to narrow the field from the hundreds of potential producers that show up in your web search?

Stick with these points during your first cut: Presentation, price and product. Is the web site easy to follow? Are critical contact information, complete "about us" facts including experience, some idea of general pricing, and sample clips available?

The following tips will not always save you a bundle of money, but certainly will save you a bundle of grief.

Tip No. 1 - go beyond web site sample clips and the demo reel.
Those just getting started in the business may not have clips, or even a demo reel, but they should at least be able to provide you with a copy of a complete wedding video production they've produced, even if it was their first or only production. If she is reluctant to share something with you that represents her price vs quality position, move on to the next one.

While flashy demo DVDs are potentially a good way to judge a wedding video producer's general approach to videotaping, and creative style, always demand a full wedding production just as it was delivered to the client. It takes time, and you certainly do not want to spend hours upon hours watching complete weddings, but viewing enough to get a solid appreciation for the producer's work is important.

If experience is more important to you than pricing, within reason, then the quality of the actual wedding production will bear this out.

Tip No. 2 - go beyond getting referrals.
It is imperative that you get names and contact information of previous clients. Get at least three. I personally recommend five.

Any reluctance or hesitation to provide referrals, move on to the next prospect. And, when you call them you want to ask two specific questions if you ask nothing else: Are you happy with your production? How long did it take for you to receive it? Anything beyond 90 days is unacceptable.

Tip No. 3 - see Tip No. 1
Many, many independent wedding and event video services providers talk about broadcast experience, working television or cable production. That experience can be a solid factor supporting the quality and professional level of their work.

In and of itself, however, it may not be enough. While you might be impressed with long lists of awards, columns of corporate and business names you might recognize on the posted client list, and the fact that your prospect has a fleet of Humvees with blazing sign work on the side, you STILL need to view something that represents her wedding video production work. This is why I said see Tip No. 1.

Tip. No. 4 - after you have decided that experience, satisfactory full production quality and several good referrals take priority over price, toss out any service provider on your list whose highest priced package is less than $1,000!
That's right! Use the same valuation you found acceptable for your photographer! Again, while there are exceptions, you will have to look long and hard to find a producer who can give you the professional quality, assurance of experience and an acceptable product delivery time for such a low price. When she is often doing video as a side business, holding down another job, and struggling just to deliver her inexpensive videos, it is virtually impossible for this person to compete against the full time seasoned pro.
Again, if price takes precedence then be prepared to look long and hard until you find a low budget producer who meets minimum standards for quality wedding video production.

Tip No. 5 - unless you are absolutely positive you want to take the risk, make sure this one is a RULE and not just a "tip." ONLY continue the screening process with a potential service provider if she can show you a full wedding production that is less than a year old. If you settle for price without some proof/guarantee that your prospect even knows what a wedding is like, you will not be happy with your video!

Tip 6 - take it all into consideration.
Product, Professionalism, Personality, Price and Enthusiasm! Anything less is represented, move on to the next prospect. Just so you know, Robert Gordman, president of The Gordman Group, and author of best seller, "The Must-Have Customer: 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven't Got," in an article in Wedding & Event Videography Resource Guide, said:
"Another way (for a video company to gain customers) is to become known as the company to go to every time you need a video."
He further suggests that video companies offering a diversity of products and services may be well-equipped to offer experienced professional service.

Tip No. 7 - Keep in mind that numerous surveys conducted by participants in the bridal industry note that brides who do not have a video production of their wedding regret it after the fact. Use proper and informed active screening to identify the kind of professional wedding and event video services provider you want, and hire her today!

Earl Chessher is president of California Wedding Cinema, providing professional wedding and event production services for hundreds of discerning brides for more than 15 years. He has been involved with the preservation of family events, history, stories and weddings in photographs, publication and video production for more than 30 years. For more information on this award winning video producer, go to; or