It’s a difficult decision to decide if it’s worth the cost to hire a videographer for your event. In the effort of making things simpler, I made a flow chart! (Ooh! For the record, if you’re wondering about a photographer for your event, this flowchart works the same- just exchange for the right lingo.)
I’ve broken it down into three outcomes:
- You forgo having any media coverage
- You locate a volunteer or encourage attendee content
- You hire a professional videographer (in any range of skill)
It would be inaccurate and quite leading to say “hiring a videographer is the answer in every scenario”. It just isn’t!
However, there are a lot of benefits, both obvious and not-obvious that comes from doing so.
Let’s go through the flow-chart:
1. Do you want this event to be filmed?
This seems like a silly question, but there would be reasons to “film” an event, even if you didn’t particularly care about having it filmed. For one, perhaps you don’t see the uses for the film right now but it could be of great use later on. Or, maybe you think the event will just be so-so, not necessarily worth filming, yet it could still be filmed and used to impart your group’s message while being worthwhile for someone to see. OR, just having someone there “filming” gives the impression to those attending that this is an important affair WORTHY of being filmed. Oftentimes value is not finite, and if someone BELIEVES something is of greater value, it really is.
If you’ve gone through these first few, and really don’t think your event benefits from having someone there, nor do you care about filming or even think this would be worthwhile to anyone now or the future, rest assured, nobody is needed.
However, if any of these are affirmative, we move to the next level. Do you find a volunteer/ get attendee footage OR bite the bullet and hire the pro?
2. Is the quality of the video and the quality of the experience important to you?
If you’ve decided that either having someone there to film, or having the event filmed (sometimes the same, sometimes different) WOULD be beneficial, the next question is, how important is the quality? If you don’t care about the skill level of the person, you just want someone there to increase your event’s notability, go for a volunteer! You might be pleasantly surprised if they give you awesome results, but you won’t be upset if the results are subpar because their reason of being was just to LOOK the part.
If you don’t care about the quality of the video but just want something, again, a volunteer would be the way to go, OR, make it a big priority during the event to get your attendees to take video and send it somewhere. Post it themselves online, or send it over to someone you know who could put it together in a montage or a meaningful-to-you way.
If you DO care about the quality of the experience, the person behind the camera and the results they get…
3. If you end up with absolutely NO video footage from your wedding / fundraiser / festival / convention / party / meet-up etc would you be sad?
If you reeeeeeeeeally want this event filmed, you will have to face the trade-offs that come from either going volunteer/attendee filmed vs pro. Because if you are not paying someone for this, there is NO GUARANTEE you will get video.
I don’t want to knock anyone’s skill. I have done free work that I delivered promptly on and was super proud of the quality. I have seen user generated content that made me wonder why anyone would pay for something ever.
I’ve also seen organizers strung along by a volunteer photographer/videographer who has no incentive to give them the footage. OR, maybe, they had no idea what they were doing and didn’t press record OR lost the footage OR set it all up in a less than ideal way.
I’ve heard horror stories of people who took volunteer family friends to film or document their weddings, and those people got drunk at the wedding instead of doing their due diligence.
I’ve seen the most persuasive people try to drum up activity when it came to user generated content and seen it come up short.
When you utilize “free” there is no guarantee. At least if you paid someone that you looked into and was reputable, you can reasonably assume you’re getting exactly what you want.
4. Do you or could you see this video as an investment?
Will this be something you will watch in the future? Is this a once-in-a-lifetime event that you want documented (When I went skydiving, I paid the cost to have a person come up and film me with their go-pro. I’m so glad I did. Even if I just got the ONE photo out of it, it was worth it. See below)
Will you be happy you will always be able to watch your spouse cry the first time he saw you on your wedding day? Will an epic video of your festival pave the way to more people buying tickets to next year’s event? Is there knowledge you’re presenting that other people would pay to know?
(Remember, as with any investment, don’t invest anything you’re not prepared to lose! Even with our best guesses, we can’t just drum up “viral” videos or videos that 100% always convert)
5. Do you have the money to put to the cause?
If quality of the video, quality of the experience (as in having your videographer keep in contact with you, be respectful of you and your event respectful of your time and attendees etc), quality of the person, knowledge that you will get what you pay for is all important to you, this is THE question to ask. It’s okay if you’ve made it this far and realize, it’s not all that important to get quality documentation. If it’s not, go for that volunteer!
But if you feel like recording is what you need to do, there are so many ways to find the budget other than checking in your wallet. (If that’s what you’re hung up on – if you’ve gotten this far, realize a videographer is what you want and you have the money, GO FOR IT!)
Some companies will pay to sponsor a video, some videographers will work for reduced budgets if they are given perks like admittance, gear, access to people they value, paid travel etc. If you work for an organization, there might be no money left in the event budget but there might be some in the marketing or advertising budget.
If you feel like filming this occurrence is worth it, find a way to do it, because you can always make more money to replace that which you invested, but you cannot always relive these moments in time.
I paid someone to film (but not edit) my wedding. Even though I have no visible product for the vast amounts of money I paid, I don’t care. I feel so relieved that day was filmed. And even if I never edit the footage (I will! I will!) it was still worth paying to have it captured just to have videos there as an option.