James: Today on the show we are talking about money for video equipment. How do you properly budget for your churches media and video creation needs.
James: All right Jo so as video people, this is me. We're always wanting new shinier equipment. Yeah there's always a lens that I could buy. There's always another camera that I can add. How many cameras do I need? I don't know. There's no limit. There's always something fancier right?
Joanna: Right behind you right now there's a whole shelf of all your fancy gear.
James: There is. And it's hard to budget properly for these things and especially as a church you can't be spending tons of money always upgrading new equipment. But a lot of stuff breaks and it goes out of date obviously, they will always become obsolete. You know maybe let's say five six years as well as the more people you have handling equipment the higher likelihood it is that it's going to break. I know I've been at our church and we've gone to grab something and you're like "when did this break?" And like I don't know. Well you know this person had it, this ministry person had it, this ministry person had it. It was in five different hands throughout the week. And that's just what's going to happen when it's getting passed around a lot. It's not that these people are mistreating the gear but it's going it's going to get broken eventually. So let's talk about some of your experiences with budgeting for camera gear because I know the church was in a different mindset five-six years ago. Let's talk about that.
Joanna: Yeah. Well we've talked to another episode about contractors versus staff for video. And we in the past had staff based video people at our church and where we are at currently is we do contractors for our video maybe in the future we're going to move back to staff role. But one of the things that we found is we couldn't keep up with all the gear that we needed for staff. So not only do you have a staff member or multiple staff I don't know depending who's being paid a salary to do video but then on top of that when they're a staff member the church has to own the gear and or rent the gear every time you use it some stuff you're going to want to own because you use it regularly maybe specialty items special lights or special I don’t know, special lenses and stuff. You want to rent for a project but when you bring a contractor in part of the contract is that they're showing up with the gear to do the job you've asked them to do. And so it means that we don't have to keep on top of you know the latest ten thousand dollar camera upgrade because we assume the person we've hired for that project has that stuff.
James: And the problem with doing that is if you have a person let's say that's a really skilled and they come in and they say hey we need this this and this and you're like Okay great we'll spend 15 grand. Well then what happens if six months later that person leaves and the new person comes in has no idea how to operate that new gear. It's now it's now wasted gear right. Because maybe you've had to hire someone less experienced and they really don't know how to handle it so that you know what they're actually more comfortable with different gear and now they're saying I've never really used Panasonic and I'm more of a Sony person so I think the church should now by Sony gear well now you're just you're flip flopping back and forth and you really you're wasting money and you're wasting budget because you're buying equipment usually specific to tastes and even just project needs like you may have an idea we want do this thing or it can require super slow mo so now it's my camera that is super slow mo and then it sits on a shelf for six months because we don't have any slo mo projects. So yeah that's the danger of the church buying too much gear as opposed to finding the right person with the skills to meet that creative project.
Joanna: The other thing is that people are thinking of it's a maybe a different conversation for another episode but if you're thinking of hiring a video person don't just budget their salary you have to also budget for a lot of gear if you're starting from scratch. So ultimately when it comes down to budgeting I think for you and for your boss to keep in mind is that probably about every four years you're going to you're going to want if not sooner but every four years you're going to be wanting a new basic camera setup stuff's going to break along the way so every year you're going to be wanting to budget a few thousand dollars to get some new lighting some new. I don't know. Some new backdrops whatever it is stuff breaks, stuff rips stuff gets used and obsolete so every year you want to be budgeting for it.
James: So let's talk about some real numbers so let's say a church says hey we're going to start our own little video department. What kind of money should we be talking about for start up costs and then ongoing costs? So I'm going to throw some ideas and you tell me whether or not you agree or disagree. So based on some previous episodes I'm going to say that the absolute minimum you should budget as a startup cost is three grand and probably closer to five. So that means camera, lighting, audio and lenses. So that's enough to kind of keep you going so if we use the GH5 as an example you know spend 1500 bucks on the camera plus 400 bucks on a lens plus an LED light plus some audio equipment. You're gonna hit around probably thirty five hundred bucks that's enough to get you going and then the other thing as well than ongoing costs like you're going to add things. Also like the editing software, you've got a budget probably 70 bucks U.S. a month for the Adobe Suite. So that is also a cost that's going to be added in. That's almost 900 bucks a year. So you have to add that in and then I think the biggest thing and the biggest advice I would want to give to people is come up with a spreadsheet of some kind and start writing in the things when you have ideas and dreams of the things you want to get. Write it on a spreadsheet and keep coming to that spreadsheet maybe once a month because what happens is you can kind of get caught up in FOMO sometimes with the "fear of missing out" where you see someone post a video that did something awesome you like oh I need to be able to do that. It's good to kind of put that down on paper right. Write the cost associated with it and then sit on it. Yeah. Like here at VMC we never just buy gear because we saw something we like we're gonna to do it. I always will write it down I'll put it on a sticky note in the wall and I sit on it for usually at least a month if not three months because I don't want to get caught up in the emotions of it. Because buying gear, it can it can be a bit addicting because you always think that by buying something you're now making something better and that isn't always the case. Yeah it's good as a creative to be stretch to not have all the resources and try to problem solve and that's where some of the best work can come out.
Joanna: Yeah. And the other thing to keep in mind too is you can rent stuff and there are local and even national companies you can rent something in a ship it to you for the week and if it's a special project where you just don't have the right gear then rent that lens, rent that light, rent that camera. Figure out how to do the audio that way and just for that. If you're not going to be using it for the next few years and maybe it doesn't make sense cost per use.
James: Or better yet become friends with someone who has it. A perfect example, this very timely is one of our Stokhub producers Jay who lives out about an hour from from the VMC studio texted me of their day and say Hey we got this Easter project coming up. I'm wondering if I can borrow your RED camera right. Like he's just kind of leveraging that relationship but that instead of saying to his church hey we need to spend this amount of money or even be hey we need to also go rent all this camera gear we have a friendship. And he was able to text me say Hey can I borrow for a weekend. I said sure I would love to help your church out. So that's another avenue to go down instead of buying, think of people who maybe are in your church that might have some of this gear who might be on to lend some stuff to you to help you out right.
Joanna: Yeah definitely agree. We have people in our church. People like you people like others who have gear they're generous it's part of the church. We hope that people who are part of our church communities the Christian community are people who want to be generous. See the bigger picture. And so with you know with trust they're going to lend you maybe some gear that you don't have.
James: Or maybe even then volunteer for that process has but there's a few times where I said Yeah I want to help out with this project I'm willing to come film that video as part of my volunteer part of my serving in the church like that part of that gear is part of the value that I bring and I want this is what I can offer that other people can't exactly. And God has given me a lot of gifts and a lot of blessings. And this is the way that I can give back is by bringing my skill my expertise in this gear to help with the church and in turn the church didn't have to then pay someone rent and do all kinds of things.
Joanna: I mean you can't do that for all your stuff because somehow you do have to actually pay for your house and your life and the gear that you use for your work. But but again that's what I am. I mean just speaking I love working with you because that's the way you think about it. First it's like how to serve the church and then it's like okay how do we make the business work. Thanks James.