Don't Let Your Camcorder Scare off Your
Imagine that you are very
reputable videographer who specializes in legal video. You show up at a
conference room at one of the town's most prestigious law firms and set up
to video tape the deposition of a witness, something you've done many times
before. This particular day, however, you've got a brand new video camera-a
nicely compact minidv camcorder, instead of that monster AG456 s-vhs camera
you had just last week. The image quality is a real step up and the camera
is smaller and easier to handle, and the features first rate. It feels really
good, and you are sure that your client will appreciate the improved video
quality. You client arrives, a young attorney, one that you've never actually
met before, but from a firm that you've done work for many times. Large law
firms have a lot of attorneys, and this isn't the first time you've seen
an unfamiliar face. You introduce yourself and hand him your business card
as you always do. The young attorney raises an eyebrow and for a moment doesn't
say a word. Then he says, "is that the video camera?"
"Yes," you say.
"Get out," he says.
"I asked for a professional,
not home video. Get out. Now."
"Oh, the camera. It's small,
but it's broadcast quality. I assure you.."
"Do I look like an idiot?
Get out. Take your home video camera out of here."
As you're headed out the
door, the attorney is dialing his cell phone, and flipping open the yellow
pages. He's looking for a "professional" videographer to take your place.
You're out on your ear. This is a disaster.
Although I've asked you to
imagine this tale of videographer woe, I didn't make it up. It was related
to me by a fellow videographer. This actually happened to him. And what impressed
me most about his telling of his tale was how shocked and blindsided he said
he was by this incident. He never saw it coming. So, what did he do afterwards?
Well, at first, he went back to his old AG456. It looked the part, no doubt
about it. It looked like a big studio camera. And he didn't want to take
any more chances. But he didn't want to give up his new camcorder either,
nor the improved production value that came with it.
That's when I suggested that
he accessorize, that he add outboard video gear that would give his modest
looking video camera that professional look. I pointed out that the outboard
video gear would also add features that would further help him to achieve
professional results, and that he should probably have them anyway. Just
keep adding them, I said, until it gets that look. What look? he said. You
know, I said, that complicated look. Add xlr adapters, audio meters, zoom
controllers, microphone mounts, hotshoe brackets until it looks like an erector
Therein lies the basic rule
of the video camera look. Make it look big or make it look technically
complicated. Or make it look both. Your video camera should look completely
intimidating to any amateur, and it should look unlike any video camera that
clients or their friends or relatives own or have seen at the local video
store. Customers want to get what they pay for, and for many a customer,
a camcorder that looks amateur, is amateur. Never mind the reality.
In addition, I told him to
add context. Set up a light stand, and hang a flag on it, right over the
camera to shade the lens, even if it doesn't need it. Stack a few equipment
cases around, even if they are empty. Add gear wherever possible.
Most important, though, I
said, add outboard accessories to the video camera. You can do the same thing,
of course, and here are some accessory suggestions to help you along. They
happen to be accessories that we make here at Sign Video, of course. They're
also very useful.
© 2003 by Garry Hood
SignVideo is a trademark of Sign Video Ltd.
©2010 by Sign Video Ltd.