Event Videography - Tips for Filming Events and Mistakes to Avoid

Event Videography - Tips for Filming Events and Mistakes to Avoid

Daniel-Hess-To-Tony-Productions-EventBuzz-PodcastPodcast speakers: Savannah McIntosh (Purplepass Marketing Director) and Daniel Hess (Owner and founder of To Tony Productions). Jump to the show notes below. 

 

The EventBuzz podcast: To Tony Productions

presented by Purplepass

 

Show Notes

Topic markers:

07:15 - Advice for videographers filming large scale events 

09:19 - Tips for team collaboration when filming events 

10:50 - Hiring a videographer (finding the right one)

20:30 - Using Zoom to stream events 

22:30 - Tips for videographers just starting out

Links:  

To Tony Productions

Quotes:  

Tips for videographers

"Knowing what the event you're trying to cover is, is going to determine what equipment you're going to need. And then regardless of that event, you should still have at least one other person, if not a few more, because it's just gonna get so crazy, fast. And then that's when things get missed, which is, if you're a videographer, that's the last thing you want to really happen."

 

Finding the right videographer for your event

"I think just little things like just having a good conversation and making sure you're looking at their work. Because even if you can't find it on their website, having them at least send you over some kind of samples, I think that's really vital.

Because that's really going to gauge what you're going to end up with at the end of the day. And any of that conversation is so key, because you want to really make sure you're gonna gel really well with somebody." 

 

Using Zoom to stream

"Zoom is really kind of the most in tune with the streaming because it can automatically kind of like teeter the bandwidth. Whereas, with YouTube, it's obviously the more prevalent platform. But it's actually a little more taxing on the streaming devices and everything.

Because you can go kind of lower quality with YouTube when you're sending the signal out, but they still kind of want a pretty good bandwidth signal to start with. So it's actually been mainly Zoom that we use. And then the other nice thing about Zoom is if you're playing like copyright music and stuff like that, Zoom, obviously, since they're not hosting anything doesn't really care about that."

 

 

Podcast Transcript: Purplepass + To Tony Productions

 

Savannah (Purplepass):

Welcome back to another episode of the EventBuzz podcast. Our guest today is going to be a little different from the past of experts I've talked with in terms of experience. We will be going from the center stage of planning to behind the scenes, someone responsible for capturing the magic.

Daniel Hess filmmaker, writer and founder of To Tony Productions, will be joining me to discuss his experience as an event videographer, his background in large scale events, and things that can make or break how your event is captured.

 

Daniel (To Tony):

Hi, Daniel, how are you doing this morning? Good. How are you doing?

 

Savannah:

I'm good. I'm actually really excited to talk to you today. Because I actually majored in media arts and film. So I'm, I'm super familiar with the world of filmmaking, and I love my job, but I do miss it. So I added an intro for you. But before we get started, can you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and how your company got its start? And maybe if there's a story behind the name?

 

Daniel:

Yes. So my name is Daniel has. Yeah, in 2009, I started To Tony Productions, while I was still in college, majoring in film. And it really got to start kind of from, you know, being a typical college film student needing a name to put behind everything. And I noticed a lot of classmates and friends were kind of just, you know, whatever their name was, that was kind of the name of the production company or something like that. And I wanted it to have some kind of meaning behind it.

So To Tony Productions actually comes from my cousin who were really close growing up, his name was Anthony. And when he was 14, he actually passed away from cystic fibrosis. And I was 10 years old at the time. So it was a big thing. You know, we're really super close. And I don't know, I just had this epiphany while I was sitting there trying to think of things and I thought, you know, why not?

If the goal for everything is to have like, kind of a deeper meaning behind what I'm doing, then why not have that start with the name? So you know, To Tony Productions is sort of like a dedication, like for Tony. But I had to have some alliteration cuz I love that too much not to. So yeah. So that's sort of where the name and the company comes from. And it's been good because it always kind of keeps me grounded and keeps me thinking of trying to do kind of the the best that I can do with every production that I kind of walk into.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, what an amazing tribute. I really like that. And it gives meaning behind your company, like you said, and where are you guys based out of actually?

 

Daniel:

So we're in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Savannah:

Okay, gotcha. And so for your company, you kind of do events around the area, or do you ever travel

 

Daniel:

Yeah, we travel like I travel all over. I'll go up to DC, Northern Virginia, Delaware, Pa. I've even gone up as far as Connecticut, for weddings before. So.

 

Savannah:

Gotcha. That's fun.

 

Daniel:

I'm no stranger to the travel.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I love that. And the type of events you guys do. I know you're involved in weddings, but other any other other types of events you've been involved in?

 

Daniel:

Yeah, so I've done different, like, local sporting events, like smaller scale, you know, like high school sports, things like that. I've done, you know, just corporate events as they come to town, like, you know, especially in pre COVID days, when you'd have the big business summits and stuff like that covered those types of things. And outside of that, you know, every every now and again, like I've done, you know, some small like film premiere stuff for like, local, like creative artists and things like that, too.

So yeah, a little little bit of everything.

 

Savannah:

A little bit, everything. I like that. So when you first messaged me, and he first started talking, you mentioned that you've been on sets of some events are pretty, pretty bad. When when it comes to the planning, could you elaborate on this? Because I thought that was funny. Maybe some something about the planning that made those events not so amazing that you can recall.

 

Daniel:

Yeah, I think, you know, sometimes it really, the biggest thing I've seen, especially with weddings is like, I always think there is reason to have a coordinator if you're going to have like a bigger day. Because I mean, I actually just recently like about a month and a half ago, I was at a wedding. And they were two hours behind everything because they didn't have a coordinator. They didn't have a planner. And what they did was they had two ceremonies throughout the day and they had a limo taking them back and forth from the ceremony location to the hotel and back again.

And it was just one of those things where if you would have had a coordinator, maybe they would have stepped in and said, hey, instead of constantly going back to the hotel, maybe we can work out something where you can get changed at the ceremony location, because it was a semi hotel itself. So like little things like that I think people kind of miss when they're trying to do it all themselves.

But even sometimes with coordinators, it can be tricky. I just find that really, when you're trying to condense down so much of a day, you know, there needs to be some leeway. You know, I think when you're really trying to knock it down to like, the exact minute, that's when you're running into issues, because we're human, we're not gonna, you know, make it at, you know, when 315 when we're supposed to have our first dances like, that's probably not going to happen.

And if you're not giving yourself that little bit of wiggle room to say, okay, well, 315 is when we want to, but like, even if we're doing it at 345, four o'clock, like, it's all good, you know, because we have those gaps of time. Yeah and just kind of being accepting of it.

Because I've seen it to where people are just like, when they get behind, they instantly start kind of getting flustered. And I think you just have to realize that like, the worst thing that's gonna happen is maybe the end of the night, you the dance set gets shortened a little bit or something like that. So it's not the end of the world.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I don't know if you're like a friend's fan. But I would remember the episode where like, Monica is the coordinator for I think, I think it's like Phoebe's wedding. And she's just like that, where she's like, okay, this time for 15. Let's go. And everyone's like, what?

I feel like that advice can also work beyond weddings at any other events, too. Like, you definitely need not one person, or a team of people, honestly, that are helping coordinate the day. So whoever's the host, or behind, it isn't like stressing, but also giving yourself that time for mess ups and hiccups and anything that can go wrong, because you're never going to be able to be like, okay, 215 this, and then right after that, 11 or 345 this, like, that's never gonna happen. That's good advice.

And then we have for videographers listening, if we went beyond weddings are there is there any, like tips you can give, when it comes to filming larger scale events for them.

 

Daniel:

Um, I mean, I found that just through, especially video, like the, the more, you always want to have at least a two person team for most events. Um, and on top of that, like, you got to go just multi camera with like setups and things like that, you know, there's, you're not going to capture it all, with just one, even two cameras sometimes isn't enough.

So I found over the years that it's just like, you got to set yourself up with like a team. And you got to have like, the equipment to sort of back that up. And really, like different cameras are gonna lend themselves better to different types of events, you know, you, if you're doing a sports event, trying to use a DSLR, for that is just not going to happen because it's just not designed to, you know, zoom in and out and catch the action really quick. Where you need like something that's more just going to be, you know, a handycam or prosumer type camera that has like the rocker to kind of zoom in and out.

So yeah, so just kind of like knowing what the event you're trying to cover is going to determine like, what equipment you're going to need. And then regardless of that event, like you should still have at least another person, if not a few more, because it's just gonna get so crazy, so fast. And then that's when things get missed, which is, you know, if you're a videographer, that's the last thing you want to really happen.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. So when you do events, you at least go in with one other person, like, almost every time.

 

Daniel:

Yeah, if I can help it, there's going to be another person. I mean, sometimes the budgets are tight, but like, you know, that's, that's the part that you kind of got to work out with the client to say, hey, like, I know, we're trying to swing for this. But like, if you spend, you know, maybe like $500 more or something like that, it's going to be exorbitantly better on the on the back end of everything and just look much better.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. And do you have any suggestions when because it can be I mean, I've done this before, it can get a little frustrating working with other people if you're not on the same page, or, you know what I mean? Do you have any suggestions when it comes to like team collaboration on on a set?

 

Daniel:

Oh, well, I think it's like, really, it comes down to before even kind of like walking into the situation. I've always found it like, a good phone call, or at least a good series of emails to really say, hey, this is like what we're trying to do. This is what we're going to need, you know, are there any issues on your end or any questions you have for me? Because the more you can just outline that before you're going into it, the better things are going to flow because everybody will be on that same page, and you know, inevitably like things do come up. And that's going to happen. But as long as you have that good foundation, you can kind of work around pretty much anything that's gonna pop up throughout the day. And you might even have some semblance of like figuring that out just through a conversation with someone, because sometimes because you've been doing it for so long, maybe you're overlooking something that they're like, hey, you know, I saw this time we're doing that, but like, aren't you supposed to be here or something like that?

And, you know, you actually come up with a better plan, just because you've had that conversation

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I do think when working with a team, there always has to be that one person that's a little more of a leader figure or kind of calling more of the shots, or else you have two people butting heads, that think like they're both ideas are amazing, and stuff. So that's a good tip.

And since we have a lot of like event planners that listen to this podcast, you have any suggestions for them, when the roles are reversed, and they're looking to hire like a videographer or someone to capture their event, what do they look for, because there are a lot of options out there. I mean, the internet is full, you type in videographer, I'm sure you're going to find a list of people.

So what attributes do you think or would you recommend that they kind of look for when scoping out the talent?

 

Daniel: 

Um, I mean, I would say, you know, for me, if I don't know who the person is, and I'm trying to look for somebody, like, it kind of almost starts with, like, the website and the web presence. I feel like if somebody's out there, and their websites, maybe kind of badly put together or, you know, you see some of the videos, and they're not looking too great. That's sort of your first kind of maybe red flag as to not want to go with a certain videographer.

And then just, you know, I think the next step is, again, kind of maybe having a conversation, you know, if you send this person an email, and they don't get back to you, within, at this point, in the way, everything works within a couple of hours, I think that's kind of another red flag.

Because I know, you know, when I'm with it, it's just like, you're there, you're getting email, you're sending them back as soon as you can. So I think like, really looking out for somebody who's gonna is communicating with you, well, is sort of maybe jumping on the phone call really quick and sounds like you know, they know what they're doing.

And then, you know, maybe asking about, like, what equipment they use, or things like that, even if you don't know it 110%, if they're kind of walking you through everything they have and it all, you know, it's I mean, let's say a certain camera, you can just do a quick Google search. And if it's like something from 2009, there might be a little bit of a problem with how the quality is going to end up.

I think just little things like that, just having a good conversation, making sure you're looking at their work, I mean, because even if you can't find it on their website, like having them at least send you over some kind of samples, I think that's really vital.

Because that's really going to gauge what you're going to end up with at the end of the day. And any of that conversation is so key, because you want to really make sure you're gonna like gel really well with somebody. Because I've seen it from all aspects of the event, video, and event world where it's just, sometimes I've worked with photographers who just think they're like, the king of the castle for the day.

And they're really tough.

And I've seen it on the video side, too. So I think like, you can kind of start to surmise, like, maybe that's the approach that this person is taking. And you can kind of decide if you want that. Or if you feel like maybe that's a little too much. For what you're trying to do because it is it's a team effort for everybody.

 

Savannah:

Mm hmm. And maybe check out their reels, or if they have anything like, you know, on YouTube samples, because too, they could be amazing. But then also if they don't match your brand, or how you want, like, you know, their style. I think that's really important. There's everyone's not everyone's style is so different. So looking through their video samples, to make sure that that's how you want that's how you want the layout done, because it's probably going to be similar to how they end up presenting it.

 

Daniel:

Exactly.

 

Savannah:

And have you I mean, since we've had this last year and a half of, you know, virtual events you have experience with virtual events now in streaming?

 

Daniel:

Yeah. So, you know, in March, everything sort of just stopped. And by the time June came around, I actually work with a pretty solid team people. And one of us in the group got all the live streaming stuff put together. And by June were able to start doing that. And, you know, even now, even just two weeks ago, I mean, we're still doing some live streaming for people, for weddings.

And then the crazy thing is I mean, you know, not to dampen the mood, but I mean, we did do a lot of funeral live streaming last year as well.

 

Savannah:

Oh, I wouldn't even think about that. But I know so many people that actually missed funerals. Wow.

 

Daniel: 

So yeah, we're, you know, it's it's a tough day to film. But I mean, you know, it was important because I, especially early on, I mean, you really couldn't have that many people in these spaces. And so it was, it was an interesting time.

But um, yeah, it was, it was great to see the feedback because it was able to keep people so connected. So like, it was very rewarding in that sense that, you know, after we do the events, the amount of just like thank yous and outreach from people that we would get was was pretty remarkable.

It wasn't with today's world, it's not that I mean, the setup is so easy compared to what it was even just five years ago, that it just was kind of a no brainer to jump into it. 

 

Savannah:

And any mistakes you might have made along the way that you could kind of give people tips or suggestions on so they can avoid.

 

Daniel:

I mean, the earliest stuff was really just figuring out like, okay, you know, what's, what's the Wi Fi going to be like? location? Like so really asking those questions like, hey, do you have a Wi Fi router? Can we hardwire into your CIG like your wife or not your Wi Fi, but your internet? See, I just taking that next. So that's sort of the next iteration of conversation to have, if you're going to do live streaming, is really just figuring out what that's going to be and where you're at too.

I mean, because you can bring out your own routers and stuff like that. But if you're in the middle of nowhere, it's good to just be really tough to have any kind of servers out there. So you just have to be aware of those certain things.

 

Savannah:

Oh, yeah. Have you ever done any streams that were kind of tough like that, where you were like out in the middle of nowhere?

 

Daniel:

Yeah, I mean, we've had to do it, where, you know, the, the signal was so rough that it was like we were using, you know, like, we have like little MYFI type card. But then we were also like, tying our cell phones into at all and I mean, we're still only getting like, I think, five or six megabits per second. So it was like, it was there's there was some tough ones like that.

But you know, luckily, with the way the streaming works, and everything, you can set the quality kind of lower to sort of make up for that. So there's a lot of leeway that you get with everything. Again, which was kind of hard to come by even just a couple years ago.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. And do you ever go? Do you ever go on site like beforehand, just to see how it's gonna be with that, or it's just always when you get there, and you're kind of just figuring it out?

 

Daniel:

If we can, we definitely like to do like a site survey beforehand. Because that way you can you can pull out the laptop, you can sort of test it, just do some some quick run throughs and really get a feel for it. So if there's time for it, and it's not too because some of them like last year would be, you know, we get a call Tuesday, and they need something by like Thursday. So it'd be tough to do it then. But yeah, if there's the timeframe definitely want to do a site survey because that way you can just fill out any of the hiccups or things that you might run into. Because you don't have to be running around on the day of trying to figure all that out. It can get stressful really fast.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. And then on site during like one years or filming, especially if you have a team or you guys communicating through like walkie talkie headsets, or how does that work?

 

Daniel: 

So it's usually the walkie talkie route works kind of the best. It's like a little like the connected into the headset type. Yeah. Yeah, that just makes things way easier. Because I'm, you know, if I'm running the camera, I can. Hey, like back off a little bit or zoom in on that a little bit more. Yeah, it just makes the day so much smoother when you're just using the little headsets.

 

Savannah:

Okay, yes. Oh, this is all bringing back so much memories, because I used to be like part of some like film teams in college. And it's so fun. I enjoy it. I enjoyed it so much. But it is it's a it's a lot if you I didn't realize it when I started doing it. And it's a lot of work because you like you said you don't like the worst thing is missing that one thing on film, especially if you have multiple people and you miss it like, Okay, great. Now we look now like really bad. 

 

Daniel:

Right? It's like, can't can't just say hey, can you do that again? real quick.

 

Savannah:

No, yeah. So it's stressful. But it's fun. And I enjoyed it. That's so fun. And I mean, I think that's I just wanted to talk to you a little bit and of for videographers, but also our event planners that were looking, you know, might be looking for people to come out and film their event. Because film is an event, the event industry and film is growing so fast, because like you said, we have streaming now, people don't want to miss it.

YouTube and I mean, video is just like the preferred method of communication right now. So even if you did, like little clips of your, like highlights and stuff, you know, it's all good.

 

Daniel:

I mean, it's just like and a lot of times now it's, you know, if the budget isn't super high, like a lot of people will just do the ceremony, you know, just come out from a ceremony. send it out to everyone live and then that's kind of it. Cuz Yeah, it's just it's, it's just made everything 10 times easier and the expense can kind of go out a little bit because you know it, for one thing, you know, of course, everything that happened last year, it was hard to travel. But I think now people are realizing that like, it's just easier for certain family members, and the cost is just a lot less. Yeah, you don't have to fly in and take all the steps if you don't want to, you don't have to or want to.

 

Savannah:

And is there just out of curiosity, is there a certain like, streaming platform you use?

 

Daniel:

So mainly, it's really been through Zoom, it's, it's really kind of the most in tune with the streaming because it can automatically kind of like teeter the bandwidth. Whereas like, with YouTube, it's obviously the more prevalent platform. But it's actually a little more taxing on like, the streaming devices and everything.

Because you can go kind of like lower quality with YouTube when you're sending the signal out, but they still kind of want a pretty good bandwidth signal to start with. So it's actually been Yeah, mainly Zoom. And then the other nice thing about Zoom is if you're playing like copyright music and stuff like that, like zoom, obviously, it's since they're not hosting anything doesn't really care about that. Whereas YouTube will like they can get your video flagged or it can get removed after it's done. Yeah, so you're fighting that kind of, too, if they're playing songs from like, top 40 artists during the ceremony or something?

 

Savannah:

Oh, okay. I did not know Zoom, Zoom does everything I didn't know that streamed too.

 

Daniel:

You just basically changed like the like, what I'm doing right now is like it's connected through like an OBS type of thing. It just basically makes it look like oh, this is the computer and but it's you're really using like a nicer camera. Oh, you're like a converter.

 

Savannah:

Okay, I was gonna say I was like your, you look great!

 

Daniel:

I don't have the most amazing webcam ever designed.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, I'm like, this is a great setup. Mine does not look like that.

 

Daniel:

Yeah, I was I was doing online classes for a little bit there. And I was like, you know, if I'm gonna do this, I might as well get to the nice setup going and just have this in the home office. So.

 

Savannah: 

That's a good idea. Okay, well, I'm thinking of that. Okay. And then I guess my last question or piece would be, again, for like people trying to break into the video world or becoming a videographer, if you have any tips when it comes to starting out, and like getting their foot in the door and trying to get noticed by these events, whether it's weddings to larger scale events, like conferences.

 

Daniel:

Yes, I mean, so for me, my entry point was actually through a photographer here in the area, and he wanted to add video to his services. And I was doing that for a little bit. And that really kind of showed me the ropes on like, not only what the events entailed, but also like the business side of things. So I think, you know, trying to find someone that can be like a mentor type is always great.

I was lucky that I had a couple of those when I first started out, and it taught me a lot. But even without that, I mean, it's really just about kind of like starting small, you know, maybe a friend or a co worker, or something that like a day job is having an event. And you say hey, like I'll do it for pretty cheap. And that can be like your starting point.

Um, so just kind of like, I think it's really about just having that like drive to just kind of keep pushing with it. Because, you know, if you do that, then the next thing you know, it's like, they might know somebody else who's doing a bigger event or something that leads to another opportunity.

And I think you just be surprised that like, the more you just kind of put yourself out there, the better you can kind of do with finding events and sort of building up the business if that's what you want to do.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, it's all about connections at the end of the day, like you could do ads, you can do all this paid paid stuff, but at the end of the day, it's word of mouth is like the literally the most powerful thing. And who, yep, who you know who they know, you. You can go for a while and not put anything on the internet and they could just keep referring you and that's it.

Daniel:

Yup! You can you certainly can, you know, really kind of push yourself really hard with that.

 

Savannah:

Okay, well, I think that's all I had for you. And thanks for I mean, talking to me on Monday, right after a busy weekend.  I did not I don't know why I didn't realize I was like, Wow, I made him meet with me on a Monday after everything. 

Daniel:

This is just a chill out day and Okay, good. No big deal.

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