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  • Thom Baker

Getting Started in Video Production

Last week I was shooting footage at the local farmers market. A very nice young lady working behind a table ask me what I was shooting for. I informed her that I was working with an organic farm that had a very unexpected problem when their well ran dry. Water is the backbone of a farm and even though it wasn't in their budget, they had no choice but to have a $30,000 well dug. She informed me that she wanted to produce videos. We talked about what equipment she had in her possession and I informed her that she had the basics needed to do the work and recommended a few things to save up for. "But how, how do you get a job?", she pleaded. "The answer is easy", I said, "The hard part is getting paid for it".

Every community has an abundance of nonprofit associations that don't have the money to produce a video for their cause. Most of them would love to have a video for their web site or for social media posting. Go meet some of the association's directors and be frank with them. Let them know that you are learning but willing to produce a video for them at no cost or perhaps for a small stipend for gas or meals. Just make sure you have the basic equipment needed to do what yo have promised and know how to use them. You have to have a decent camera, tripod, some lighting and a decent system for audio capture. There is nothing worse than lousy sound. Don't rely on you camera mic. Our eyes are much more forgiving than our ears when it comes to produced videos. Learn the basics of lighting and you can do quite a lot with stuff you pick up at a hardware store, just don't forget about color temperature. Gimbels are pretty cheap now and it will allow you to take dynamic moving action shots that aren't always shot on a static tripods. And I kid you not, a GoPro camera can come in handy. The picture quality is great for internet use and you can achieve some great shots without messing around with focus and overexposure. Doing what is called "run and gun".

When I started over thirty-five years ago there wasn't a market for social media. I did everything I could to become better because I wasn't going to be able to walk into a

business and convince them to give me a budget to produce a television commercial without any experience. So I took court depositions, did wedding videos, shot traffic pattern studies. I would shoot anything that paid something and allowed me to learn my gear and editing. Honestly, you got it easy today as the demand is out there. Build up your reel and if you got what it takes, paid gigs will follow.

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