Thursday, August 30, 2012

Candace ♥ Wayne ... Highlights

Location, location, location. Just after the start of Candace and Wayne's ceremony, Ryf the events man at the Vancouver Art Gallery led me on a game of snakes and ladders up to an untouched vantage point in the building. The Occulace. To use Ryf's words, we were "going rogue." Looking over the edge of this decorative balcony and down on the ceremony was just eye popping. In the end I really had to rush, and there is just one quick shot from this point of view in the video.

But this amazing venue also inspired a complex filming plan involving four videographers strategically placed and with specific instructions on how to move the camera and when to pick up and move to a new vantage point. It was such a fun challenge to get the most out of the stunning rotunda with staircases, railings and geometry begging to be framed and captured. I have to say I've never felt so far away from the actual ceremony itself, since I was running around so much. It's wonderful to have a professional, creative team that I can trust with getting the majority of the coverage.

Oh and the wedding? The morning was a little crazy with a couple changes in the plan. Got some perfect exteriors of Holiday Inn but was then told nothing would be happening there. I do actually enjoy a bit of chaos, unpredictability, lack of control. It's the randomness that is so interesting in life, the feeling that anything can happen. Just like Ryf, I enjoy going rogue.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sarah ♥ Carson ... SDE

This was one of those gorgeous and fun weddings we look forward to. Sarah got ready at a lovely suite at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, with her bridesmaids flitting around and helping us with her amazing dress and accessories. Sarah luxuriated in pink Valentino flip flops while we shot her incredible Louboutin shoes. Sarah says they were very difficult to get a hold of, and I think everyone fell in love with them.

For this wedding, we took along a special motorized tripod, which allowed us to get the two opening shots at Vancouver Club. We captured the set up of the ballroom, that you don't see completely put together until the end of the video. I really love this shot of Sarah and Carson dancing, with their guests and the beautiful decor arrayed behind them.

The ceremony was just perfect, definitely a CountDown Events wedding. You just can't ask for a nicer setting to get married in. It is a bit of a tight space, and I spent some time working out how we would get awesome coverage of the ceremony while being invisible. We hid in doorways and behind draped tables and got some lovely shots without being in the way.

Soha and Shar from CountDown were SO lovely to work with, and we absolutely can't wait for our two upcoming Countdown weddings this year. They are always highlights for us. Getting another opportunity to work with Leanne Pedersen was a treat as well. It's always good to rub elbows with someone as obsessed about the perfect image as I am.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Amy ♥ Zev ... Salt Spring Island

It is really enjoyable to create a video for someone we don't really know, at least until the day of their wedding, and to show them our vision of what their day was. We're fortunate that brides and grooms trust us to capture the most important day of their lives, often without having met us personally. Amish Solanki referred Amy and Zev to us, and to be honest I knew almost nothing about them or their wedding before getting on the ferry to Salt Spring Island.

I did some filming on the ferry, though it was rainy and getting dark. Amish tested out a polaroid camera he would use for Amy and Zev's guestbook. I captured a soundbite from the ferry's loudpeaker, and combined it with some footage shot in slomo. This moment is a great example of the Love Story Media style, combining the banal with the abstract, to create something strange but inviting, like a door that hasn't been shut properly.

The following morning Amish and I got up super early to capture Amy doing her morning Yoga. She is a yoga instructor so it was a must for us to be there. The intro music was a piece I shazamed that morning, being one of Amy's go to yoga pieces. Hearing this music and being between a fireplace and two very intense yogi put me in a bit of an altered state that morning. And I tried not to judge myself too severely seeing the healthy, wholesome organic food being prepared. Everything was so "of the earth," then suddenly out came the dress. What a piece of art. That's when I realized, yes it's a wedding.

Zev is very obviously a man who has lived life, questioned it, and lived it again. "I am a man who walks with integrity, truth, honesty and trust," he says in his vows. He has journeyed. We attempted to render his journey in the video, using among other a shots a timelapse shot from the ferry on the way back to Vancouver. For Amy's "freezing cold oceans," I chose a shot of Zev holding Amy, her tanned arms covered in goosebumps.

Weather played a big role in this wedding. The wind pushed around perfect timelapse clouds in the morning, but then a different kind of cloud, which washed out the ceremony. You can see the wind at work in the video. In my mind, wind operates like a mysterious agent, making decisions for us and altering our fates. The ceremony was moved indoors and it did make for a tight squeeze and dim lighting, but somehow everything unexpected just ends up making sense and fitting perfectly. Instantly the weather broke after the ceremony, and we passed the wreckage of the rustic decor on the way to a perfectly lit photo shoot. It is Salt Spring Island after all.

The video closes with two traditions: the Jewish chair dance, and a handheld camera with on-camera-lighting. The latter is something you will never see in an LSM video. It's 80s old school videography. But somehow it's perfect. It's like, genre.

It is always a blast working with Amish, and we ended the night with one more collaboration: a ring shot filmed on a developing polaroid of Amy & Zev's hands. Chermaine put the icing on the cake with a carefully chosen font; not to mention her perfect "foley" work here and elsewhere in the video.

This is our most beautiful and expressive video of the year. I hope it means something to you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lauren ♥ Jason ... SDE

“It really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Then at some point I noticed my eyes growing moist: tears began rolling down my cheeks...” - Arthur Rubinstein, upon hearing Sviatoslav Richter play piano for the first time

I was touched in so many ways by this wedding, and the emotions I was feeling translated directly into this video. I feel like the quote above applies: nothing out of the ordinary, but somehow an emotional current is present in the images. Even the mundane opening scene with people gathered at a backyard party communicates a lot. My favourite shot is a visual rhyme, with the metal tongs being used to scrape the naan out of the oven looking like the bow of a string instrument, as the violin on the soundtrack hits a high vibrato.

And then the connection to the engagement party: Lauren's sister taking the dog for a walk, cut to black, boy in street clothes walking across the frame, and steadicam into the hall where now everyone is dressed in suits and saris. Moving between times and spaces with overlap and rhyming so that the overall structure is seamless. I also enjoy how the video returns to the backyard party, with another shot of naan being served. This time a man refuses, and pats his belly. So time has passed: the naan has been eaten and we are ready for the actual henna to begin.

This section shows off Lauren's natural, cheerful personality. Effortlessly happy. It was her family that hired me to create this video, and Jason's side hired a separate company that you can see in this video. Jason is the most relaxed person, upbeat like Laruen and a lot of fun to hang out with. I love how he is totally unfazed by getting ready at his family's palatial mansion. That's a big house.

The ceremony consists of a series of telephoto steadicam shots. I am obsessed with telephoto steadicam now. It's not an easy shot to do. I zoom in all the way on my 24-105 lens, or in the case of a shot from the bride prep of this video, throw on my 135 f/2.0 lens for a super tight and shallow look. There are three shots beginning with Lauren and Jason rising that I'm quite proud of.

After Lauren's doli I played this video for her aunt. She was beside herself with emotion, and wouldn't let anyone see it. I was really happy that I was not the only one who got so emotional watching this video!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nita ♥ Sheldin ... SDE

This video is the perfect example of how a wedding can mean different things to different people. What does a wedding mean to you? If you are married or are planning to be, what is it about the wedding that excites you most? There is no wrong answer. For Sheldin's family, I believe what they enjoyed most was the togetherness and family reunion aspect of this wedding. And they must have loved to be able to see their son get married in both the Catholic and the Hindu tradition.

Nita's mother was extremely emotional during the ceremony, so I'm sure she was overwhelmed by taking part in her daughter's transition to the next stage of her life. Mother and daughter stayed very close during the much of the ceremony, eyes full of emotion.

For Sheldin, I believe he wanted to celebrate, and even more, to make Nita happy. In fact, this video was Sheldin's gift to her. That's quite the amazing gift.

What about Nita? In her own words, "My entire wedding was about the video." Wow, pressure. I'm glad I didn't find out until after finishing the same day edit.

And for me personally, nothing excites me more than a wedding with the time, space and variety to allow me to really enter my creative zone. And to top if off, a couple like Nita and Sheldin. They were so perfect to work with and really made this video fly. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lila ♥ Ray ... SDE

"Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the hottest day of the year." This is how Brent Sheppard started Lila and Ray's ceremony. Yes, it was a very hot day, and shade was hard to find. It reminded me of Michelle & Aaron's wedding, where I was so hot and groggy that I wasn't sure if I'd survive the day. Also I was coming off a big Indian wedding and SDE, which I will be blogging next. But I told myself, that was one of the best videos of 2011, so why can't I make an amazing video today?

"And you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun" is my favourite line from Simple Song by The Shins. It's a great song about letting down your guard and allowing yourself to be loved. I like how this lyric pops up right when Ray kisses Lila after putting on her necklace. She chose to open this gift after Ray arrived, to his surprise. It made that moment even more special.

It added extra fun that two of my favourite vendors were working this wedding with me: Jayna Marie and Jackson from Red Flash Photography. I've mentioned Jayna over and over, and she has a couple super quick shots in the video. Jackson also appears, in a super cool shot of him snapping a huge group shot. This is a very very high energy and creative photographer that will take your wedding into a different dimension. Inspiring person.

Ray told me that he and Lila would have a "typical Chinese wedding." He is a very down to earth person, that took time to work with Mohammed and Aaron, the wonderful AV people at Hotel Georgia, and all of the vendors to ensure the reception would go smoothly. And with the amazing staff and food at Rosewood, it absolutely did. Can I mention that I love the drop down screen, on which our SDE looked amazing?

I'll close with a special word used by Lila and her bridesmaids, after snapping pics as they so frequently did during the morning: "Memories!"