5 Tips for Videographers... from a Wedding DJ
Lately I have been able to work some really great Videographers. I thought it would be advantageous to write 5 Simple Tips when it comes to DJs and Videographers working well together. Enjoy!
This might seem really silly to most people, but having an open line of communication BEFORE & DURING the event makes things go sooooo much easier. Communicating doesn't mean that you have to get together for Tea and Cookies every week either, it just means making the effort to call or email the DJ to say something as simple as... "Hey, this is Ben from Rewind Documentaries and we will be working together for Jack and Jill's wedding at The Barn On The Hill! I thought I would introduce myself and talk about how the day will play out." - See... simple.
... If you don't call me, why should I call you?" - Legit. I totally can see why you wouldn't want to take the time to reach out to a DJ that doesn't take the time to reach out to you. However, your case is normally different. If YOU want to use part of MY system, YOU need to reach out to me, not the other way round.
Reach out to the DJ or Band at least 1 month before the event. That way you both can plan on having everything you need for the big day!
If you are going to get audio from our system, make sure that you bring the correct cabling and adapters YOU need in order to make it happen. Most DJs are happy to help out a Videographer that has reached out to us and talked through what is needed, and then that Videographer shows up with the cabling needed. A good Videographer friend of mine, Shaun from 3 to 1 Video is AWESOME about having the right cabling for what he needs! The struggles come from the Videographers that show up 10 minutes before we are "go", and then demand that they plug into our system... note there was never a phone call to introduce themselves, most of the time they bring one cable they happen to have and then complain to us that the audio isn't good, when in all honesty that isn't our fault. Come early, bring your cabling you need, test and you'll have great audio. Trust me, 99% of the time it's golden audio if you do those three things.
... Aren't YOU supposed to have all the cabling we need?" - I am supposed to have all the cabling, music and equipment I need for MY job. I am happy to help you if I can, but you can't RELY or EXPECT the DJ to provide anything for you, that's irresponsible on a professional level.
Invest in cabling, even if you think you will never use it, because one day you will. A $5 cable now, will save you hundreds dollars and stress down the road. Amazon has great cables for awesome prices!
One of my personal biggest pet peeves is when I get to a venue 2-3 hours early, take the time to sound check and make sure that everything is working perfectly, finishing up with cable management and making sure that everything looks beautiful (from my end) to then have the videographer run in at the last moment and throw their stuff in front of my set up, or under my table (which has actually turned off my system in the past) or even stack their cases on TOP of my equipment! Needless to say, it's a bad first impression to me. I actually take the time to make sure that everything looks great, and then a tornado of cases comes through and destroys everything. Now don't get me wrong, I know that most of the time you are on a time crunch, but that is no excuse for un-professional behavior. A majority of the time when I ask for cases to be moved, this is the answer that I get... "I don't have time, and I won't be recording you at all anyways.". Kind of a punch to the gut right? It doesn't matter to me, or most DJs, if you are recording us at all. What matters is the disrespect. I have enough respect for you and your gear that I won't touch it unless I ask first. Why? Simple, because it's not mine, and you have it set there for a reason. Take a look at some examples below to see what we see.
... How are we supposed to get cleaned up when we only have a few minutes to get in the door?" - That's a tough one, but it's a simple answer. Bring an assistant. If a DJ needed to set up in an area, and we know that we can't do it alone in the time allowed, we have to bring an assistant, so should anyone in this industry.
Something that I do is get a second table for my area. This is normally set up behind my main table, and literally is used for nothing other than a staging area for Videographers, as well as keeps the area clean!
Gonna be honest folks... this is the worst one out of everything mentioned so far. I honestly feel that DEMANDING for needs is what puts the biggest gap and distance between DJs and Videographers. I recently had a conversation with a local Videographer and I was extremely surprised that they honestly felt that they deserved an audio feed from my system. Again, don't take that out of context. If I am able to provide a feed, and we have the ability to do so, I ALWAYS provide it, however, how that end result comes is only after they have ASKED. Sadly, I have worked with Videographers that have walked up to my booth, or found me walking around speaking with guests and said "I need to speak with the person that is in charge of sound"... my response "that would be me, how can I help?"... Videographer "I need to plug into the audio now, because I need to go to XYZ." (note: remember #1 communication... most of the time this never happens with Videographers that DEMAND vs ASK) This one, and initial interaction with a Videographer already turns me off to helping. Why? Because they DEMANDED I do something for them with no communication beforehand, and then EXPECT that I will comply 100%. If you never took the time to introduce yourself through a phone call or email, and then expect me to drop everything I am currently working on to address your needs, you need to re-evaluate your approach.
... We are normally the last thing that is booked. We don't have time to call or email before the event!" - Regardless of when you got hired, you have time to call or email. 5 minutes, that's all it takes.
The day as a whole is extremely crazy and hectic for everyone. We, DJs, know that we aren't the center of the world... well, MOST of us know that... but we are VERY REACTIVE. If we are approached harshly, MOST of us will put the defenses up really quickly.
A simple "thank you" will go a long way. This is true. However, sometimes we as DJs don't even get a "thank you". One thing that has been mentioned several times to me is that Videographers aren't there to record the DJ. That's fine, we understand. However a true Wedding DJ, Emcee and Host will take time to get to know the families on a personal level and when a Wedding Day comes, our desire is to be "part of the family, meaning that what we say and how we say it is a direct reflection on who the Client is, and how they would like for us to present their story to their families. Grabbing a few shots of the Emcee doing an announcement or a few shots (less than 2-3 minutes) of people dancing with the DJ in the background and then sending them that raw footage to use as promotional material is a HUGE THANK YOU! This is never required, but it would be an amazing gesture of gratitude for using our professional audio gear to make your life a little easier. I've been in the industry for 13 years now, and that rarely happens. DJs understand that you are busy, we are too, and working together we can make each others "jobs" easier.
... I don't see a reason why I need to record you, or your services, since you are not my client!" - That's true, the DJ isn't (normally). However, what I am asking/proposing is a good will offering. An actual physical Thank You Item.
Next time you work with a DJ, ask them at the beginning of the night one moment of the night that they would like to get footage of. Surprise them with it! Best Friends Forever!
There are many many ways that DJs and Videographers can work together, and the first step is making sure that we understand what each other is desiring. Knowing that, is the start in making sure that working together is not only enjoyable, but also a long term friendship. :-)
Have a comment or question? Feel free to post below, and I would be happy to answer them!
Jared Wade is a Wedding DJ and Professional Event Host based in Indianapolis Indiana with more than 13 years experience in the Events and Wedding Industry. For more information on Jared and how to connect with him, click here for his contact form. #ProfessionalEventHost