Terracotta Films

Ian MacDonald — Staff Writer

A camera zooms in on Brennan and Lauren with their names and the date of their wedding. The song “The Endless Story” by The Light the Heat starts playing in the background as they get ready for the big day.

The dark green fields of Nebraska are shown, and just over the foothill there’s a chapel. Lauren appears in her eggshell-white dress for the first time as she starts to make her way down the aisle.

Brennan’s face is priceless as he smiles uncontrollably and his eyes get glossy. Their excitement muffles the words of the pastor as Brennan and Lauren smile, staring into each other’s eyes.

Then, for the first time, the Myers become husband and wife. The video fades to black and reads “By: Terracotta Films.”

Ella Veldkamp is a sophomore business major at Dordt University and already has her own business. Because of her love for videography, she is able to use this business as a side hustle.

She started her business the summer before coming to Dordt, building clientele, upgrading equipment, and gaining experience.

This year alone, Veldkamp has traveled to Nebraska, Florida, and Michigan to shoot and edit wedding videos for couples.

One aspect challenging Veldkamp is that she is the only employee in her company.

She occasionally brings an assistant to her different jobs but hasn’t in the last couple of trips.

“Creativity is a very important thing when it comes to videography and when you don’t have anyone to collaborate with, you lose that aspect of creative input,” Veldkamp said.

Along with creative input, she also has to deal with taxes, her income, editing, and whatever upgrades her equipment needs.

All of this added up makes a very time-consuming side hustle.

It all starts with travel. Veldkamp only charges for travel if the trip is over an hour long, and if it is a three-hour trip, she will ask them to pay for her hotel as well.

After that is all settled, Veldkamp shows up to the wedding 30 minutes before the photographer to set up her equipment.

“There’s a lot more detail-oriented things when it comes to the videographer, little things that the photographer doesn’t have to worry about,” Veldkamp said.

Once the wedding is over and Veldkamp has all the shots she needed, she then heads back to her dorm to start the editing process.

One of the bigger problems she runs into for editing is music. Sometimes she has a song in mind before she even shoots for the wedding, but other times, she doesn’t know what song she wants until she starts editing.

“You really need the music to fit the vibe of the wedding and vibe of the couple,” Veldkamp said. “Once the songs are picked, then you can really start to see the video come together.”

After picking the song, Veldkamp then chooses the footage she wants and tosses the rest.

She lines the shots up with the music then color corrects. She uses a color LUT (Look Up Table) to adjust the color, then fixes some lighting issues and cleans up any other details she finds in the footage.

After the editing process is complete, she sends the video to the couple and receives payment.

Despite all this, Veldkamp has no desire to expand her company. She does not want to do this as a full-time job, but rather do this along whatever job she may have at the time.

“I feel like if I would have this as a full-time job, then I would put too much stress on being creative, which isn’t a good thing to me.” Veldkamp said.

The job is also very stressful to Veldkamp. She has had to take mental days while working on a project to get her “creative juices flowing.”

Veldkamp usually spends times at coffee shops during these creative breaks. Listening to smooth jazz in the background, she usually catches up on her business homework, scrolls through social media, and sips on some coffee.

Then it’s back to work for Terracotta Films.

Photo credit: Ella Veldkamp

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