by Roger Lavier
These are growing in popularity. They usually consist of short scenes of important high school events, such as sports, clubs, candid "people scenes," still photo montages, and other memorable items for the students. A well edited hour-long video should be able to be sold for $15 to $30, depending upon the editing complexity of the video and the size of the school. The larger the school, the more you can expect to sell.
You should first contact the school administration with this idea. Put together a good presentation for them, explaining your services and how your video yearbook will work with the regular yearbook as an added remembrance. A good idea is to offer to donate a portion, $2 for example, per tape sold to a school fund or student-supported charity. After the administration, you will probably need to speak to the school board, principals, and school yearbook sponsors. This work will be worth it, though.
Try to include in your tape, from time to time, current events or subjects which will remind the viewers about what was going on at the time they were in school. One caution, though. Be careful about including copyrighted items, such as popular songs, in your tape. You will need to get permission from the copyright holders or risk legal action.
The best way to sell your tape is to obtain permission to distribute a flyer to the students in the school at the same time as the regular yearbook information is distributed. Then, follow up later in the year, giving those who haven't ordered yet another opportunity. Finally, give another chance at the end of the school year.
From time to time, go to the school and shoot material. Get sporting events, clubs, quiz bowl tournaments, science fairs, special events, pep rallies, ordinary day-to-day video, and, of course, graduation. If you're ambitious, do a video yearbook for each class! That way, students can end their high school years with a four-video set, documenting that time of their lives from start to finish!
DUBBING AND DUPLICATING
Here's an easy service to offer. With a film-to-video transfer device, commonly available for under $100, and a movie projector, you can put customer's old home movies on video tape. There are a few different types of transfer devices available. The best place to check would be your local quality camera shop.
You should be able to charge around $20 per hour of film for this service. A good idea is to add background music to the home movies. Copyright-free music is widely available on CD. Check advertising and marketing magazines such as Advertising Age for ads.
You can also offer a duplicating service for customer's home videos, so they can give relatives (or America's Funniest Home Videos) a copy. You can usually charge a flat fee for this service, depending upon the length of the tape. Editing together still photos is also a good service to offer, particularly to people who travel frequently.
There are many other areas just starting to be tapped - video resumes, video postcards, even video wills. If you come up with a good original idea, research the market for it. If you find a reasonable amount of people will be interested in your new service, you may just have a winner on your hands!
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