Monday, May 17, 2010

Overlooked Money Maker

Anyone in the video business who isn't taking advantage of the available montage business is overlooking a solid money-maker, especially during downturns in regular wedding and/or other event production work.

In spite of the multitude of photo montage services, drug- and discount-store photo booth offers, do it yourself software often included free with a computer purchase and even on-line website montage creation services, only a small percentage of the potential client base is into creating their own. Many have concluded that the above-mentioned options are not always as easy as they say, and do not generate the desired results easily and quickly.

The economy may still be slowing down a lot of service-oriented production work, but quality montages can be created easily, relatively quickly and affordably, generating cash flow on those slow days when the phone isn’t ringing and the info@ incoming e-mail basket remains empty.

In my association with many video services providers around the world I have come to realize that many of them have no desire to “deal with” photo montage work, going out of their way to discourage it from their wedding and event client base. They will charge exorbitant prices per image, restrict images to puny 25-35 limits and clutter up GREAT montage production potential with all sorts of distracting moving backgrounds and/or cheesy graphics and overlays, often making the image itself a stepchild of the project.

I have seen production work using entirely automated actions and additions that wind up with decapitations, missing body parts and truncated framing - all because the do it “yourselfers” as well as many self-proclaimed professional service providers are too lazy to put in the time to do manual adjustments, avoiding these all-to-frequent poor results.

This is where YOU come in - the independent professional video services provider who is willing to take the time to create a unique, quality-driven product that doesn’t have to cost the consumer a ransom. How?

Take advantage of your scanner’s auto editing that compensates for some degree of color correction, red-eye removal, scratch or dust removal, etc. Set it on automatic and let your scanner software do its (limited) job - often good enough for a basic service price.

Gang scan: put more than one image on the scanner plate at a time, hit preview, then select, crop and scan each image. The time you save having multiple images per preview, keeping you from raising the cover, removing the single image, replacing and centering the next, then previewing, cropping and scanning really adds up.

When you gang scan, be sure to not place pictures of multiple grades together. If you place four-to-six images on there, make sure they’re close in coloration, quality and exposure. Of course, if you individually crop and select each image from your preview scan, and use the scanner software auto functions, that isn’t as much of a concern.

Take advantage of the plethora of software available to you to automate such things as movement, square-to-rectangular pixel conversion, even high-energy creative elements. Many of these programs also allow you to shrink or stretch the images to accommodate the length of your music selections.

But, do not use the “auto” settings of ANY of these programs as they are NOT 100 percent accurate. You MUST commit to going in and perusing each image, making necessary hand adjustments to ensure a satisfactory outcome. In time your familiarity with the programs will help you speed up this process and keep the perceived production value of your montages high.

Double check, render and burn. Package your DVD professionally, using a custom color insert in the plastic library case sleeve, and custom or personalized graphics on the DVD itself. Sure you’ll use a bit of ink and paper, but the end result will get you something else...


Clients might well be able to copy your production after they get it home, making copies for friends and family, but they often cannot duplicate the packaging. And if that packaging is quality, color, personal and unique, they’re going to come to you for additional copies. They often prefer to hand out your GREAT looking packaged DVDs as opposed to paper sleeves with silver disks and a back marking pen label. Just price your duplications reasonably, based on your actual costs for ink and paper.

Keep in mind that those extra GREAT looking copies are high quality business cards, and will impress the eyeballs that fall upon them, bringing you additional business opportunities. I’ve even developed what I call a “Party Package” giving event clients additional copies if they go with my production and projection services, knowing that if those copies are handed out or used as prizes for games played during the party, celebration or what-have-you, I will get more jobs.

Watch for more on this and many other video opportunities in my upcoming video marketing and production book, coming to market in 2010. It will have updated information from ALL the E.C. Come, E.C. Go blog articles and a huge amount of useful material never before published - here or anywhere.

Remember: “If you market, you will make it!” © 2010, Earl Chessher, CorElAnn Video Productions. All content of this blog is © Earl Chessher, and may not be used, reprinted, distributed, published or sold anywhere in any form without my express written permission.

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