Thursday, February 04, 2010

Start a Montage & Projection Business Cheap

Those of you interested in entering the montage & projection video services business can probably find cheaper start-up equipment, and you can certainly spend MORE depending on the degree of service, quality of equipment and company positioning you wish to establish.

Upon researching, using Google primarily, I estimate that the minimum investment for moderate-to-best quality equipment needed to successfully start this business model will come in well under $5,000. Actually, your montage production equipment/software investment could be $1,900 or less, likely not more than $2,000. Likewise, video projection services could come in under $1,700, certainly not more than $2,000.

Of course, you can seriously shop around for the best deals of the moment - save a little, save a lot.

There are obviously other, more and personal incidentals that can come into play, jacking your investment costs upward of $10,000 or more, but these costs are totally optional and totally not necessary to establish a lucrative startup business that should generate R.O.I. (return on investment) in 90 days or less. Where else can an enterprising individual invest $4,000 today and start making money next week in this economic climate?

Key to getting business, making money and a 90-day R.O.I. is marketing!

The following suggestions/recommendations are slightly north/south of my own brand/model investment, but since I started in this business costs have come way down. My replacement costs, and funding a second complete set-up combined, at today’s prices, will still run me significantly less than my initial investment. I did invest more heavily into audio reinforcement, using a Samson powered/slave speaker system, and my original projector cost me more than $2,000.

Here’s what I found:


• iMac 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo, 21.5 screen, 4GB RAM, 1TB HD, SuperDrive

(you could up the RAM, or go with a larger screen model but...) = $ 1,449.00

• Epson Perfection Scanner, model V30 = $ 90.00 (or, V700 Photo = $550, optional)

• Epson printer, any of several models (get one that prints disks) = $ 100.00

• Photo to Movie software = $50.00

TOTAL = $ 1,700

• Optional software, PhotoShop Elements, etc. = $ 250.00 total for various

GRAND TOTAL = $ 1,950.00

NOTES: The Epson V30, at 4800 x 9600 dpi is certainly sufficient for photo-montage scanning needs. There’s also the V500 at under $200 - lots of options, but budget limitations speak loudest.

This is the same for projectors: do you go wide? SD? HD? or what? Those choices are yours, but my experience is that something similar in a 2000-to-2200 lumens unit, with connectivity options for players, decks, computers, and/or more, has enough utility to accommodate most personal event situations. If you want to enter the commercial event arena look for MUCH MORE competition from services and rental companies, higher levels of technical savvy and a huge boost in investment costs.


• Epson projector EX50 = $ 649.00 (The EX50 is discontinued, but look for 2000 lumens or better)

• Screen 6x8 min. 8x10 suggested = $ 400.00 (screens start at $250 and go to thousands)

• Player = $ 50.00 (more, or less, depending on if you start out HD, or SD, etc.)

• Speaker, PA system = $ 259.00 (for Fender Squire, 80 watt system, on up)

• Projector table = $ 150.00 (Gigant Folding Table, or Telemaster 2-shelf, DA-Lite, etc.)

• Projector table skirt = $ 80.00 (black felt, heavy cloth with hook-and-loop strip)

TOTAL = $ 1,588

Any number of these items (table, skirt, player, speakers, scanner, printer, software, etc.) can ring in lower by shopping around or compromising, or simply aiming smaller, more economically or selectively and keeping a tight leash on your spending - wants VS needs.

Search and shop by brands: Fender, Samson, DA-Lite, ScreenWorks, Epson, Mac, Photoshop, Photo to Movie, Toast, etc.; or search and shop by product - video projectors, projector tables, screens, skirts, scanners, printers, photo editing software, etc.

I suggested the iMac primarily because it comes with pretty much everything you need to start out, with the included iLife '09 software for movies, photos, sound and more; also the affordable iWork 09 software will get you what you need to design DVD case inserts and DVD graphics, etc. Or, go PC and do something similar. Your choice.


Photo to Movie Photoshop Elements

Just remember: If you market, you will make it! © Earl Chessher


Anonymous said...

Hi Earl love your bloggs. I have beeen thinking about starting something like this for a while I just dont know how to price it. I would like to know how you go about pricing such a product do you do it by picture by minutes of video...its a bit confussing ¨:)

CorElAnn said...

Hello "Anonymous" ;-) thanks for reading and for your question/comment...

A lot of people in the video business do everything they can to discourage this business, saying it takes too much time, isn't profitable...

...that much more business for me :-)

My prices are reasonable, but they're certainly NOT for the average independent video services provider. My basic price is for a package that includes up to 150 images, up to three songs (fourth optional), an opening/closing title and one DVD = $125.

Because I package them professionally (something most clients cannot copy as easily as they do the disks) I get an average of five copies @ $25 = $125.

I often pick up a projection job, at present I'd say 3 of 5 montages result in a projection. So, one-time projection, up to three hours on premises, all sound, player, projector and screen, and operator provided = $350.

The majority of my productions bring in $600, and I almost always get MORE business and referrals as a result.

The montage images are "as is" with the rare color correction, but otherwise what-they-provide-is-what-they-get. I charge $1 per extra image, and I have fees for cuts-to-the-beat, photo/video/audio edits, extra titles or graphics.

Other articles on E.C. Come, E.C. Go provide much of this information, and more. Let me know if you have more questions.