Last Saturday my stepson Tim Johnston married Alicia Pizzo at the Scotland Run Golf Club in Williamstown, NJ. This is the first time that a family member has wed since I started in the wedding videography business, and to quote my wife (and Tim’s Mom) Barbara, it was surreal. Tim and I have been at a lot of weddings together as he is my second shooter. As I was going to be part of the bridal party, I would not be able to film it. Glen Elliot and Darrell Aubert stepped in and did the videography. I did the formal photos as we didn’t hire a photographer.
Did I mention surreal? It seemed almost like a regular shoot until the ceremony. Instead of being behind the camera, I was in the front row, my 2nd shooter was the groom, and my wife was the Mother of the Groom. The ceremony was short. In fact it was the shortest that I have ever seen (Glen and Darrell thought it might be a record for them too), clocking in at 9 minutes including the processional and recessional. The whole thing was very emotional however, and I admit to tearing up a few times.
Cocktail hour and the reception followed. It was very nice to actually be a guest for once, and it was a thrill to see the couple doing their first dance as well as my wife dancing with her son.
Congrats to Mike and Liz Griffin on their wedding on Saturday. The ceremony was held at Sts. Simon and Jude RC Church in West Chester, PA. Music played an important role starting with the bagpiper who greeted the guests as they arrived at the church. The processional was accompanied by trumpet, and organ, and during the mass there was violin, piano, and a vocalist, all very well performed. After the ceremony, the piper played again for the receiving line.
The reception was held at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA. A jazz trio provided entertainment during the cocktail hour and dinner, while the DJs kept everyone on the dance floor until the last dance, not an easy task these days. Good job!
An interesting note for us videographers. It has been a couple of years since we worked at the Desmond. My memories of the place are that it is a very spacious room with a large dance floor. Actually the dance floor was much smaller than I remembered (although still more than adequate for the guests). I looked at the last wedding that we did there and noticed that I was using a wide angle lens that made everything look more spacious. It shows how preception can be modified by the way that we shoot.
I haven’t been posting on this blog much recently. Work (both video and non-video) and family issues have been keeping me away from here. Well I am going to keep this blog updated on a more frequent basis. Currently I am working on a redesign of the bonnie-blink.com website using WordPress, not just for the blog, but for the entire site. This should go live in the next few days.
We have also made a few changes with Bonnie Blink Productions. For one thing we have started the move towards High Definition production. A Canon XH-A1 camera has been purchased and we hope to add another in the coming months. This will enable us to film an entire wedding in HD. While we will shoot and edit in HD, we will still deliver standard definition DVDs that can be viewed on any television. While it appears that BluRay will win the HiDef DVD format war, most people do not have BluRay (or HD-DVD) players yet. We hope to be able to provide HD video content to those who do however. One thing that the move to HD will do though, is to allow us to shoot in widescreen, perfect for those widescreen televisions.
We are also restructuring our Deluxe Package. In the past we have offered in addition to the Highlights video, a Documentary style video of the complete ceremony and main reception events. This was presented as a single long program, similar to what we deliver with the Basic Package. In the future we will be dividing this up into individual segments (ceremony, first dance, toasts etc.) for easier access. Other than that, it will be the same content.Read More
When planning their wedding, most couples plan on having a professional photographer. A minority (about 25 – 30%) also hire a videographer. While photography is important, it only capture moments in time. While photography can capture an image of you saying your vows, only video will actually allow you to hear them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have a photographer. You should. A photographer can create an album that you can look at anytime, anywhere. But only a video will allow you to relive the day in full motion video and sound.
Perhaps one reason that more couples don’t hire a videographer is that video is a newer medium. After all, weddings are all about tradition. It has been traditional to have photography for decades. Your parents probably had a photographer. But, they most likely didn’t have video. Until the 1980s, the equipment didn’t exist for producing videos at a resonable cost. If there was any moving imagery back then, it was most likely film. And few could afford that.
Even if your parents were married 25 years ago and had a videographer, the experience was quite different than today. Back then professional video cameras were large, heavy, and required a lot of light. As a result, videotaping a wedding often involved rolling the camera around on a dolly, and lighting up the church and reception hall with LOTS of light. The finished tape that the couple got was just the view from one or maybe two cameras, no extras, mediocre sound, and not very interesting. Editing was very limited, as computers at the time were not powerful enough to edit video.
Things began to change in the mid to late 90s. First computerized editing software began to appear. This allowed the editors to do what is called “non-linear editing”. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that this revolutionized how we edit, and opened up creative techniques that up to that time were only seen in Hollywood. In the late 90s the first digital cameras hit the market. These produced a better image, worked well in low light, reducing or even eliminating the need for additional lights, and were smaller. The third big thing was the DVD. For the first time we could deliver a product with the quality of the original camera tape.
So today in 2007, we create a product that is more of a small movie, beautifully photographed and edited, rather than a plain “video”. We use motion, music and sound in sophisticated ways that videographers could only dream of twenty years ago. We also are able through the sensitivity of our camera’s sensors, able to shoot without lighting in many situations (although most of us use a small, low power on-camera light in dim reception halls). This allows us to be unobtrusive. Many couples (as well as the clergy), have told me that they hardly knew I was there when I taped their wedding.
As our industry as matured, we have learned how blend in and record the day without drawing attention to ourselves. I would say that the average videographer as quieter then the average photographer. But that is for a reason. Photographers have to organize people, pose them, and get the formal shots. We want to record things as they happen, without people getting nervous because the camera is on them (although we do pose certain shots at times).
We as a group are very open and willing to share techniques with other videographers. Through local associations (The Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association in my area), and national organizations like WEVA (Wedding and Event Videographer Assn Intl), and the 4Ever Group, ideas are exchanged freely. We have several active Internet discussion boards where some of the legends of the industry are active contributers. This free exchange of information advances the state of the art, and makes everyone better at what they do. It also raises the bar. Every year the winning videos at the WEVA Creative Excellence Awards, are more amazing. If you haven’t seen wedding video in the last few years, you don’t know what can be done. We have some incredible talent in our business. People who could make a mark anywhere in the media, but choose weddings. They choose to do weddings because they love it. Working with real people on one of the most important and happiest days of the lives is a thrill that we never get over. There is also the aspect of being the creator. In Hollywood, no one (not even the director), is more than a small cog in a big movie making machine. We do it all. Camera, audio, editing and DVD production. From start to finish, it is all ours.Well, enough for now.
Until next time . . .