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Elegant Wedding Videos focuses on niche market

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by Jan K. Allen

SBJ Contributing Writer

Elegance and excellence is what the owners of Elegant Wedding Videos strive for, but the business had its birth in humble origins. In 1990, owner Don Fotheringhame and his wife, Lisa, set up the business in their home. They used a borrowed lawn chair and shelving down one side of the garage to house electronic equipment.

As business grew, the Fotheringhames purchased the property at their present location, 1433 E. Sunshine. It houses three interrelated companies owned by the couple. Action Video Productions, which specializes in video productions for corporations; the Dub Center, which duplicates videos and transfers antiquated film footage to VHS cassettes; and Elegant Wedding Videos share the space.

The satisfaction of committing some of life's most unforgettable moments to permanent record on film drew Dan Fotheringhame to videography in the late 1980s, he said.

He said he has a passion for perfection and a genuine interest in his clients, and though his prices may be higher than the average, the end result is worth the cost.

"To a bride this is the most important day of her life," he said.

The editing rooms are crammed with state-of-the-art equipment to produce the finest quality reproduction of an event possible. With the use of computer technology, it is possible to greatly improve the images on old film. With a wedding or other major event in motion, the videographer can capture the action as it unfolds, then edit the film to flow as a story.

With today's engaged couples, it is becoming increasingly popular for them to go a step further and create a prelude video, acting out an idealistic scene of how the couple first met and fell in love, he added.

In 1998, Fotheringhame won the WEVA International Creative Excellence Competition for one of these "Reflections Love Story" productions. This was the second year in a row he has walked away from the convention with honors.

Fotheringhame's videographers wear tuxedos to the wedding ceremonies, and the staff is trained to capture special moments discreetly, careful not to disrupt the natural flow of events.

The combination of the three related companies makes good business sense, according to Fotheringhame. Action Video and the Dub Center allows the entrepreneur to make use of the equipment in a variety of ways and provides a valuable service to corporations, schools, organizations and individuals in the process.

Recently, Fotheringhame dubbed a copy of film of the Boy Scout Band from 1926 for the Springfield-Greene County Library. The footage shows the background of the public square when streetcars were still in use.

Fotheringhame has both short- and long-range goals set up for his companies. He is intent, he said, upon being the trendsetter in his field for the region. To help promote Elegant Wedding Videos, his first love of the businesses, he recently added Ana Szot, public relations specialist, to the staff.

Szot produces promotional material, writes the text and coordinates the Web site

The owner and crew have shot wedding videos in such locations as Highland Springs, Hickory Hills, Twin Oaks and Chateau on the Lake. Fotheringhame attributes much of his present business to the word-of-mouth advertising generated by these gala occasions. Until recently, most people didn't know the company existed. He plans to change that with some aggressive advertising.

Fotheringhame said he believes there are four elements to the rapid growth of his businesses so far: skill, experience, state-of-the-art equipment and professionalism.

"I've been an innovator in a lot of areas," he said.

Fotheringhame spends between $40,000 and $70,000 each year to upgrade and add to equipment. Many times, having the right lenses or providing more than two cameras, operated by trained professionals, has made the difference between average video coverage and an outstanding production.

"If you missed a shot, you've missed it," he said.

Among the little extras Elegant Wedding Videos can provide is production of a montage of the bride and groom as they grew up to music, or production of a portrait-quality print from any place on the tape the bride chooses.

Intuition is a great aid in filming and editing, according to Fotheringhame. The use of slow motion, cameo shots and other techniques captures the essence of the ceremony and other events surrounding the special day. It creates a record to be savored and enjoyed for many years.[[In-content Ad]]


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