In January we attended the InFocus conference in Charleston SC. The InFocus group was formed not too long ago with the idea of taking wedding videography in a new, artistic direction. While I have been to a number of conferences for wedding videographers over the years, they too often were rehashes of the same old ideas. InFocus was completely different. There wasn’t a single session that I didn’t learn from. The focus was on creative wedding cinema. Just as good photographers have broken out from the old mold of the same (often cheesy) poses, wedding filmakers are moving away from “just recording the day”.
This is where we have been moving for the past few years. To me, making a plain record of weddings isn’t making use of our creativity. We are in the business of conveying emotion. Isn’t that what good fimmaking is all about? A film that is memorable is one that moves the viewer.
One thing that I noticed at InFocus was that it was a much younger crowd, and that there were a lot more women present. This is a good thing. Even though I was probably one of the older attendees, I felt invigorated by being with a group that looks forward, not back.
I came home with a lot of very good ideas. While not every couple is looking for an artistic wedding video, those who do have something truly special. Not just for them, but for anyone who sees it. It is like an email that I received a couple of yeras ago from the mother of the bride in it she said:
There’s not a person who has watched who hasn’t told me it moved them to tears. . . . The way you brought it all together is just stunning.
That is what InFocus and Our Focus is all about.Read More
There is always a temptation to shoot for the “beauty shots”, that is to make every image gorgeous. I admit that I often spend way too much time trying to achieve the perfect look. I always remind myself however, that what our clients want most in their wedding video is the story. Having many beautiful shots without the underlying story is like an empty gift wrapped box. Pretty to look at, but nothing inside. No matter what, we always put the emphasis on the story. The story is told through the words spoken on the wedding day. These words may come from the officiant, the person delivering the toast, the bride and groom’s family, or even the couple themselves.
Every wedding is different. Sometimes there is a beautiful sermon or a moving toast. Other times the ceremony is uninspired and the toasts perfunctory. So not every event will be equal emotionally. It can be a challenge to the editor when we don’t have much to work with. There is always something though. Eye candy is pretty, but words are profound. And it the words that will be remembered. That is our goal in telling the story.Read More
It has been awhile since I have posted on this blog. Things have been rather slow and at this time I am only editing one wedding. That will change in the coming weeks as the wedding season starts up. What changes are we looking for this year? For one thing, digital SLRs (single lens reflex) cameras designed for photographers are becoming a must-have item for videographers. We are not trying to take business from our photographer colleagues, rather we are using the full motion video capability to produce gorgeous imagery. Since these cameras have such large sensors and since they use photo lenses, they give us a beautiful shallow focus image that rivals what you get from Hollywood. It is truly making us “filmmakers” rather than videographers.
We are planning to add at least one DLSR this year. At this time I see it more for “beauty shots” rather than as a primary camera. there are still too many limitations for us to eliminate our camcorders.
Another area of change will be to continue to emphasize the short Wedding Story video. I believe that the most important aim of our work is to capture the feeling and present it in a way that will be as powerful 20 years from now as today. Our wedding stories take time and money to produce. While we don’t do anything that is way over the top, we also don’t want to price ourselves so high that only the wealthiest couples can afford us. Our price point and product are definitely upscale, but we are not the most expensive videographers in the Philadelphia market by any means.
In our wedding stories, we will continue to use a non-linear editing style, i.e. we don’t always start at the bridal prep and end at the last dance. Telling the story does not always mean putting things in order.
The changes that we have made over the past year have been warmly received by our clients. We want our clients to be thrilled with their wedding film and that we are accomplishing.Read More
There is one thing about wedding videography, for many of us (myself included), it is a passion, not a job. I love what I do and most of the best names in the business feel the same way. Recently I came across a blog post by Laura Moses, who along with husband Steve, run one of the top wedding videography studios in the country. This is the way that Laura sums it up:
We work with music, hearts, and dreams. We’re the keepers of the flame for future generations. After we’re gone there will be pieces of us ”little bits of our hearts ” scattered across the globe, telling stories about love.
That says it all. It isn’t just about documenting the day, it is about keeping the flame, capturing the emotion, seeing things in a way that will forever commemorate that one day. Great wedding cinema is beyond “just video”, like great movies there is an emotional connection that spans generations.
Well said Laura!Read More
On Wednesday I attended the New Jersey Videographers Association’s meeting which featured two seminars, one by Patrick Moreau, Konrad Czystowski and Casey Warren of Stillmotion in Toronto (Patrick & Konrad) and MIND|Castle Studios in Seattle (Casey), and the other by Chris Jones of Mason Jar Films near Austin Texas. Both were outstanding and both gave me a lot to think about.
Chris gave an excellent seminar on the editing workflow and how to organize the edit for more efficiency. What I learned was that the way things are done now just wastes time. Modern non-linear editing software is designed with the idea that there will be a well organized shot list of scenes and takes. In the film world there is a script. In event videography there isn’t. As a result the standard editing workflow isn’t necessarily the best method for us. In addition to improving our workflow Chris also talked about focusing on the task and how we too often let distractions cut into our editing time. There were some good lessons there.
The Stillmotion/MIND|Castle presentation featured some of the most incredible wedding videography that I have ever seen. As I watched those clips I wondered how could I ever even approach that level of artistry. But that why we (as wedding videographers) were there. Even if we never get to that level, we are still raising the bar on our own work. For myself when I look at what I did last year compared to this, I see a significant change. That is because of people like Patrick, Konrad, Casey and Chris who are willing to share their expertise. Those of us who are willing to put aside what is comfortable and familiar, and are willing to push the envelope are the ones who will excel.Read More
A couple of posts ago, I talked about the Wedding and Event Videographers Association (WEVA) Expo that I attended two weeks ago in Orlando. One of the highlights was meeting with members of the Video University forum. VU as we call it is a forum devoted to professional wedding and event videography. While I have met some of the attendees, most were people who I only knew online. It really was a pleasure to put faces to names. What is most important though is the wealth of knowledge in this group. Some of the top videographers in the world are regulars on the forum. And no one looks down on a newcomer. When I started out VU was an invaluable resource and now as an experienced professional I am still learning. As a group we are very willing to share techniques and business methods. There are few “trade secrets”. This makes us all better.
Video University is not the only online forum devoted to wedding videography. There is also WedFact, a forum that concentrates on artistic wedding filmmaking. While I spend more time on VU, I enjoy WedFact too.
Then there are the local videographer associations. Here is the Philadelphia area it is the Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association (GPVA). As a group GPVA has a lot of talent. Almost every year there are members winning national awards such a the WEVA Creative Excellence Award or being named to the EventDV 25 list of top videographers worldwide. And like VU, GPVA members share and benefit as a result.
I never want to stop learning and improving my craft. Online forums and professional videographers associations are a wonderful way to keep on top.Read More