5 American wedding traditions it’s okay to break

While planning your wedding, you may find yourself asking etiquette questions regarding traditions. Which wedding customs are acceptable to break, modify or replace? While you may get pushback from friends and family, you don’t have to explicitly follow standard wedding traditions – it’s acceptable in today’s culture to sway from the path and find alternative ways to make those traditions more personal. It’s ultimately your day; so you get the final say in how the event goes. Continue reading “5 American wedding traditions it’s okay to break” »

Revenue Growth is important: Why employees need to care

There’s a famous business quote: If you’re not growing, you’re dying. 

In 2015 Vanilla grew approximately 35%. This year we are currently trending at 17% growth. That’s still pretty good since the average growth rate is somewhere around 5% for most private businesses. So while we are still in a healthy uptrend, we need to be careful as Vanilla’s growth begins to plateau in the Chicago market. Our local geography is likely approaching carrying capacity; which means further growth in Chicago comes from taking competitor market share. In turn, this means overall future growth must come from alternative sources. If we want to grow, we must begin looking beyond Chicago. If we do not expand beyond Chicago, or alter our scope of services, it’s likely Vanilla moves down into the average 5% growth range for 2017. This is not good, because remember – if you’re not growing, you’re dying.   Continue reading “Revenue Growth is important: Why employees need to care” »

When purchasing used goods, exercise prudence and caution

With the recent break-in and theft over at LensProToGo we thought it would be helpful to write a post regarding purchasing used photo and video gear, and how to best protect yourself from sticky legal situations. Buying stolen goods is bad, and unfortunately you could take some legal responsibility if you are caught with products that are registered in stolen goods databases. While this is not legal advisory by any means (speak with a lawyer), we offer this as prudent precaution for newcomers to the photography and videography fields. Or any industry, business or individual that purchases second-hand, used goods for that matter. There are a few simple steps you can do to protect yourself when buying used goods! Here are some recommendations; Continue reading “When purchasing used goods, exercise prudence and caution” »

Every Website Needs these Pages of Content (Outline)

In our previous post, Making a Great Website: Focus on Content, we went over the importance of original, high-quality content. The next logical question for many is likely, “What content should my website contain?” Or rather, what pages does every website need? This post is a comprehensive list of must-have sections on every single website. Again, we take an all or nothing approach to website content. If some of this information is missing, it all may as well not even exist. Continue reading “Every Website Needs these Pages of Content (Outline)” »

Best Video Production Website, According to a Web Dev

Our website receives a lot of attention and gets a lot of complements. In our opinion, it still needs a lot of work. But we regularly receive comments from customers, competitors, vendors, and armchair experts (including other blogs.) Since we are the one behind the website, we can probably offer insight for other video freelancers out there. Continue reading “Best Video Production Website, According to a Web Dev” »

Advantages of transparent pricing listed on your website

Transparent pricing is an all around win for service professionals. This may not have been the case a decade ago, but it most certainly is true today. We so often hear seasoned professionals advising others to keep pricing secret until a customer contacts you directly. I’ve even heard of some businesses issuing warnings to customers not to share pricing information, and even full non-discloser agreements before offering prices!

Continue reading “Advantages of transparent pricing listed on your website” »

Getting started with storage. Understanding SAN vs NAS vs DAS.

Trying to wrap your head around advanced storage solutions for your home office or business? Not sure where to begin, what the differences are, or even heard of our friends SAN, NAS, and DAS?

I was there many years ago and share your sense of overwhelming anxiety. Storage is a complicated topic. It requires planning. Long term thinking. It’s a slow decision, so don’t get too eager. Designing a storage solution should not be taken lightly, especially by business users with important data at stake. Bad decisions can not only be costly, but extremely devastating. In fact, many businesses never recover from storage mistakes!  Continue reading “Getting started with storage. Understanding SAN vs NAS vs DAS.” »

Videographer dress code at Vanilla Video

Vanilla Video has no official dress code for office based positions, e.g., editors, customer support, engineers. Employees based entirely in-office can generally wear whatever makes them happiest and most productive. We like working in a friendlier and more laid back work environment, it’s just less stressful and keeps politics out of the way. However, we do have a dress code for on-location personnel. Our standard dress generally applies to videographers, production crews, and any team member conducting official business on behalf of Vanilla Video (meetings, logistics and backup, purchasing, etc.) Continue reading “Videographer dress code at Vanilla Video” »

How depth of field (DOF) occurs in optics

In film, photography and videography, depth of field is the distance between objects that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Creative professionals use depth of field as an aesthetic tool; making use of shallow or deep focus for various applications. Shallow focus allows subjects to be isolated from the background, while deep focus can be nearly infinite. Continue reading “How depth of field (DOF) occurs in optics” »

Refresh rates explained: 60Hz, 120Hz & more

A refresh rate is the number of times per second that a monitor draws data. This is not to be confused with frame rate, which is the rate at which a device produces a unique image. Rather, a refresh rate is how many times per second an image is displayed. Refresh rates are usually measured by hertz (cycles per second). So, a monitor that produces an image 60 times per second has a 60Hz refresh rate. Continue reading “Refresh rates explained: 60Hz, 120Hz & more” »

The Difference: Videography vs Cinematography

Many have asked: what’s the difference between a videographer and a cinematographer? Distinguishing between these two terms has many buyers understandably confused and frustrated. There’s a discrepancy between the actual definitions of the terms and how they’re being re-defined in the marketing of video companies and freelancers. The unfortunate truth for customers is that, depending on how each company / freelancer uses the terms, there may or may not be a difference. Continue reading “The Difference: Videography vs Cinematography” »

A DSLR won’t make you a video professional

Due to advancements in CMOS sensor technology, DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras developed video capabilities with the release of Nikon’s D90 and Canon’s 5D Mark II in 2008. These cameras created a tidal wave in the video industry because they gave users the ability to film 1080p HD video on large image sensors—something only capable with infinitely more expensive, pro-grade equipment. DSLRs also opened up videographers and filmmakers to decades of SLR-mount lenses previously only available for photography. Continue reading “A DSLR won’t make you a video professional” »

Shutter speed and shutter angle explained

A shutter is a mechanical device inside of a camera that exposes film (or an electronic sensor) to the light passing through the lens for a controlled period of time. Shutter speed primarily refers to a focal-plane shutter, found in professional-grade photo cameras, while shutter angle refers to a rotary shutter, found in motion picture cameras. Continue reading “Shutter speed and shutter angle explained” »

The history of frame rates; why speeds vary

As a filmmaker or videographer, you’ll need to understand why some frame rates are more common than others and why there are so many varying speeds. Frame rate, commonly referred to as frames per second (fps), is the rate at which a device, such as a motion picture camera, can produce unique, sequential images called frames. Continue reading “The history of frame rates; why speeds vary” »

Why 100% upfront payment is better for both parties

In the early days of our videography startup we had a 10% down payment, with the remaining 90% due a 7 days prior to the service date. We then slowly began experimenting with 25% down, then the classic 50/50 split payment, and finally 100% upfront payment at the time of order. Overall, we’ve found full upfront payment to be both the most convenient for customers and the most efficient for our company. Continue reading “Why 100% upfront payment is better for both parties” »

The high costs of freelance videographers & photographers

Many consumers wonder why photographers and videographers are so expensive. Since Vanilla Video is one of the most affordable videographers in Chicago, I thought we could share some insight into the costs associated with videography and help explain why the photo and video industries are so expensive to do business in. Continue reading “The high costs of freelance videographers & photographers” »