Monday, November 11, 2013

JASMEEN & NIN ... The Bride is Heer




Jasmeen said a few times during this wedding that the real bridezillla in this wedding was Nin, not her. And indeed, Nin had a truly epic vision for his wedding. And really, nothing less would make sense for his huge and dynamic family. It's always amazing to be included in such a huge celebration; to be considered an essential component of the couple's experience. And it's truly satisfying to wrap up a wedding by showing the couple their same day edit.

Especially when it's shown on a MASSIVE screen! Jas and Nin were actually seated with their backs to the screen. So we asked them if we could move their chair so that they could watch video in all its glory on the huge screen. Nin had arranged easily the most complex and definitely the brightest backdrop I've ever seen for his reception. This was the part of the wedding he told me about the most times. And truly, my jaw dropped when I saw it.

There were some very familiar faces at this wedding, and we were very happy to see them. It's one of the joys of making a video for an indian wedding, that there is time and good reason to show many members of the families, often just being themselves and not necessarily part of a ceremony or tradition. In other words, it's an opportunity to be a documentarian. That's very close to my heart.

I'm in love with the opening shot; so peaceful and warm, like a perfect fall day. Early fall is my favourite part of the year, and any wedding that happens around this time is tinged with something special.

Let me bring this back to Nin. He is really a remarkeable person. You will not find someone more humble and giving, and someone who quite deservedly has the love and respect of everyone around him. Thank you for making us a part of your wedding!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

「 highlights 」JAYNA & REY




I can clearly remember the first time I met Jayna. It was at Miran and Corey's wedding. Jayna was doing Miran's makeup when I walked in with all my camera gear. It only took Jayna a moment to make me feel like the centre of attention, and also to totally make me blush. Jayna has an amazing way with people, and she can make anyone feel special with just a few words.

Maybe a year later we had a late night Facebook messenger heart to heart, and from that point on we were friends. Jayna has been a dear, dear friend since then. Think of the one person who will always be honest with you, and who will always give you a boost when you are upset, or take you down a notch when you're too high on yourself. And who always puts you first. That's Jayna.

During this whole time, while advising me on all sorts of ridiculous little issues, Jayna had the biggest day of her life in the works. She had found the man of her dreams and absolutely could not wait to tie the knot. But to say that there were barriers would be a huge understatement. It may sound strange but I was happy to be able to be supportive and to listen to everything that Jayna needed to talk about. Given all the support she had given me.

And as the details of the wedding slowly came together, a thought occurred to me and stuck. I knew I had to do it, even if I hadn't told Jayna yet. I wanted to shoot her wedding. It had to happen! When I finally told her, I think I had to repeat myself a few times before it sunk in. Come on, there was no way I was gonna let someone else film her wedding! Again, it was the least I could do. It doesn't hurt that Rey is an absolutely amazing person. It's hard to figure out who's luckier, Jayna or Rey…

So the wedding day arrives and I'm about to head over to the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and I get a text from Alicia Keats that makes no sense. Something about hanging tight and let's see what happens. See if you can drive to the hotel but it's doubtful. What?

On Jayna's wedding day, someone with a GUN decided to walk into the VERY SAME HOTEL and be an idiot. The result being that Cordova and all the roads around were shut down, and no one could leave or enter the Fairmont. You can see a news excerpt in the video. And then a dissolve to Jayna looking stunning. What I'm trying to say is, you can't stop Jayna!

It was such a privilege to be a part of Jayna and Rey's day. One year ago today. Here's to many more crazy days, just not QUITE as crazy as your wedding day.

Monday, October 7, 2013

KIKI & COREY ... SITUATION CRITICAL




There is definitely something cosmic out there. Something that creates beauty out of chaos, like a pair of scissors slicing through the clouds to reveal a blinding sun. It happened midway through Kiki and Corey's day, which up to that point had been pure, rainy chaos. When I started in the wedding industry 6 years ago I experienced many days like this, so it was sort of a throwback. To days when having things work the way you wanted was an impossibility. When you had to throw out your usual approaches and improvise every moment. It was good.

I put this video together quickly as a teaser for Kiki and Corey. Except for a very brief meeting, we had not met before the wedding and I wasn't sure if they at all knew what we'd be creating for them. So before they left town I wanted them to see some of what we had captured. Also, I absolutely had to share the opening time lapses, shot from the Teahouse in Stanley Park right when the sun exploded from behind the clouds.

It was fantastic to work with and especially hang out with Soha and Shar from CountDown Events and the inimitable Jana Vackova.

Friday, September 27, 2013

「 sde 」RUBY & ANSON




I've used the word "authentic" a lot lately when speaking with couples about my work. I truly believe that the truth is more interesting than anything anyone could invent. But it's a bit of a paradox given what I do for a living. I create entertainment. And if you've watched the videos on this blog, you know how stylized my work can be. Am I really interested in being authentic?

I'll answer that right away with a yes, since nothing inspires me more than real people being absolutely themselves. But when Ruby told me her preferences for her video, that it be stylized, slick and almost commercial; that it emphasize imagery over story, my eyes lit up. What she said meant I had total freedom to create images rather than capture moments. One result is the many "cropped" shots in the video, where you don't see someone's entire body when you would expect to. There's also the moment of what Hitchcock would call "pure cinema," where the girl's ribbon is tied. There is no shot of Ruby tying the ribbon, only of the ribbon being tied, the girl's face, and Ruby's face. But when you watch those three shots together, you then put together what's happening in your head.

This day was a joy to capture, not least because it was one of the many "surprise good weather" days we've been having lately. Ruby is wonderful and Anson is an amazing person. Both a ham and a "true gentleman" to quote one of the bridesmaids. This entire group of friends was great to be around and work with. They all cooperated and contributed to make this wedding happen. And we were happy to contribute something as well!

Monday, September 16, 2013

「 sde 」CARMEN & SIMON




One thing I've tried to practice in my life of late is to live in the moment. To not hang on to the past too tightly, and not live in anticipation or fear of the future. It's only the present moment that is ever real, and by drawing all your attention to it, you can live it fully. So what of all the millions of moments that are passing by as we speak? What happens after they are gone?

A wedding is often the most important day in ones life up to that point. In this video, the concept was the passage of time and how it can make almost any event seem trivial. At some point, what was once the most important day of your life will be decades into the past. So it's worth reminding yourself to stay in the moment, to embrace it and feel it and notice everything about it, before it's gone. This is the time of times.

Friday, August 23, 2013

「 sde 」CINDY & GARY




We never run out of cool things to do with our cameras. Full credit for the opening and closing shots of this video to Amish. He'd been on the hunt for a good slomo shot all morning, and when the rice came out he flipped a switch and got a gorgeous shot. This umbrella tradition is one of my favourites in all weddings. It's visually striking and pretty powerful... even if no one seems to know what it means. It's also cool that every family has their own "spin" on this tradition.

I also love that the rice/umbrella tradition happens outside! Where there is a lot of light and often a cool breeze. Inside the Sapphire Ballroom of the Fairmont Pacific Rim? Not so much. The ceremony was hot hot hot. You can see the sweat in the video. And the light! It's a challenge for sure. Unlike photographers, who can just blast with their flashes, we have to make the available light work. With a combination of in camera settings and colour correction in post, we got a result I'm pretty happy with. And honey, we learned a LOT about honey.

And the closing ring shot? Amish took some ice, arranged it on a light, and placed a ring on the chunks of ice. The ice melted so the rings actually became embedded into it. And he shot it against a moody, blue background. Love it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

「 surprise sde 」EMI & STEVEN




It's always fun to make people happy. Even better if it's a surprise!! We had a great morning filming Emi and Steven's prep and door games. Then we had a break. Although I was really sleepy after a busy weekend, including a wedding on Saturday, I decided to start editing! I knew I could do it: produce a surprise SDE for this sweet couple. Then after editing for a while I felt confident enough to tell Judy the wedding coordinator that I'd be showing a video that evening.

We raced around all day capturing beautiful images. Perhaps my favourite are the "foot shots" during the morning and the butterfly shots captured before the ceremony. It seems that after a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it can then transform into a helicopter. Neat!

Emi and Steven are extremely accommodating and cheerful people. They had a lot of fun during the day and were very excited to work with us and with Leslie and Mark from Sakura Photography. They also had the shortest ceremony we have witnessed, clocking in at 4.5 minutes. Somehow that was still a lot of time for us to capture great footage.

Please enjoy this video, as well as the happy couple's reaction on seeing it for the first time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

「 sde 」MARILYN & SHUN




My favourite scene from my favourite film, La Regle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game), is a full grown man excited as a small child, presenting his latest acquisition to his friends: a huge automated village band, with mechanical musicians actually performing music. I decided to come early to capture the prayers that the couple had originally wanted to have captured. I had a bit of spare time and filmed a collection of chirping birds. I also discovered the clock you will see in the intro to this video. The clock reminded me of the movie scene and also visually connected to the carousel which was one of the photo locations.

The photo shoot with the amazing amazing Jana Vackova was a pleasure. Marilyn is an extremely calm person, while Shun seems quite shy and self-effacing. He delivered quite a few thank you's during his speech, after being supplied with a bit of extra alcohol as he made his way to the head table. Hats off to this beautiful and so in-love couple! And it may be appropriate to thank the many couples in Marilyn and Shun's huge circle of friends that have booked us for their weddings in the past. Thank you!

Hats off as well to possibly my favourite ceremony location: Hycroft Manor. It's just a fascinating, beautiful space. The light is always soft and flattering. Always filtered through windows or leaves, or bouncing gently off the building's architecture.

Friday, July 5, 2013

「 highlights 」SARAH & JAS


Here's a video that took pretty much FOREVER to reach the blog. It began as a same day edit and my editor and I polished it to its current form. I love it and I hope you'll watch it.



This video embodies the detail and lavishness of Sarah and Jas' wedding, as well as it's emotional undercurrent. You could make an entire video just shooting the costumes and accessories, and that's pretty much what first ten seconds of the video is. It's also easy to get buried by all the events that take place. So we were selective about using only the most striking shots.

One of the fun challenges of this wedding was making the most of available light. For most parts of a wedding, we don't try to control the lighting but rather use what's available in the setting. It was quite difficult for the ceremony, with the pool of daylight falling on the couple with the rest of the room having much dimmer, artificial light. But I cannot complain about what is basically a spotlight for whenever the couple happens to be right under the skylight. It really separates them, makes them pop out against the background.

No complaints about the light during the pre-reception photo shoot. It was the most amazing "magic hour" lighting you could find, in and around the Olympic Village.

Big thank you to Amrita (of Amrita and Vik fame :) ) for getting her brother to hire us. We loved to be able to hang out with her amazing family again.

Friday, June 7, 2013

ANNIE & SIMON "Here goes nothing."




In the best stories, the whole tale is told right at the outset, with the rest of the story functioning to bring that tale to life. In this video, the opening shots and the poem are a metaphor for Simon's journey to Canada, and his meeting Annie. The sun rises over Australia and brings a blinding whiteout to snowy Canada. In their travels, Annie and Simon journeyed to Whistler to meet their destiny: each other.

Soha of Countdown Events had described Annie and Simon simply as "very much in love." I had to agree after meeting them a few days before the wedding. They seemed perfect together. They were also a joy to talk to, sharing their story and giving me the insight I needed to film their wedding. I'm sure anyone whose life is touched by this couple and their amazing families, cherishes them.

I combined three different songs to create the soundtrack for this video. I tried to present a variety of moods, from epic and ethereal, to exultant and off-beat, to impassioned, and finally to glee. With this amazing couple, just one mood would not have been enough. It's a day in the life, a very complex life, with the different strands of experience somehow combining into a unified story.

One of the most meaningful things to Annie and Simon was the totally customized ceremony readings and vows they created with Celebrant Michele Davidson. They were quite touched and certainly Michele's voice and words run through and enrich this video as it did Alden & Steven's. Hats off to an inspired and passionate artist!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

「 engagement 」KIRAN & PERDEEP




LSM has now filmed MANY Indian weddings and have learned a lot about the traditions. And we never ever get tired of capturing them. The engagement ceremony is a mini-ceremony unto itself. I used to cover so simply, just myself with two cameras. Which is perfect for many of the pre-wedding events, but not quite enough for an engagement. Two videographers, three cameras, and a lot of movement are just right.

It's interesting to compare this video with Crystal and Andy's. Both incorporated traditional ceremonies, but Kiran and Perdeep were I think more interested in spending time with their families and having the maximum amount of fun with the traditions as a backdrop. Actually, it took some convincing for them to let me use Indian music with the video. I think it's perfect but we are still open to a different song. Suggestions welcome!

It was also great to have so many foreground elements, to enhance the motion of our steadicam and slider shots. Candles, photographers, whatever it takes. Dynamically linking each shot like a tapestry where everything in the finished product is unified is one of the joys of videography. I also had fun designing the closing title, overlaying, blurring and warping the text against one of my favourite shots.

「 sde 」CRYSTAL & ANDY




Some people seem so calm - almost too calm. They take everything in stride and are always able to make decisions internally, consulting some inner world that they are secure in. Crystal and Andy got engaged only two years after they met, and got married just over two months later. Certainty is a wonderful thing.

One way to make choices is to consult the traditions of your culture or your family. It's so interesting to see how people incorporate these into their weddings. Some push against them and others welcome them. Some pick and choose what suits their vision, others take on tradition in its entirety.

From when she put on her qipao until the end of the tea ceremony, Crystal was covered and surrounded by red fabrics and patterns, even under her feet. Everything she touched was red, from her gloves to the tea cups to the red envelopes. To me it seemed like a metaphor. The individual is surrounded by tradition and yet is free to grow within it.

I personally am not a fan of rules, but in creative work there is often too much freedom. Having rules forces you to direct your creativity, forcefully, in one constructive direction. It's like having a room in which to construct both a ceremony and a reception. Restriction spurs growth. Perhaps it is the same in life.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SFU YWiB Women's Day Conference




Life is full of contradicting truths. For example: There is no greater priority than empowering yourself and seeking your own happiness, no matter what others may think. And, there is no higher calling than serving others, than making their lives better. I think as an entrepreneur I have the opportunity to serve both of these truths. So when Shonika Narayan of SFU Young Women in Business contacted me about the International Women's Day Conference, I knew exactly why I would say yes to the project.

YWiB SFU strives to engage emerging female leaders within our community by providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. It didn't require a lot of thought to realize this was something I wanted to support. Shonika tasked me with capturing the event and producing a same-day-edit to cap off the afternoon. What better way to spend a Sunday! I hope you enjoy this video and find it inspiring.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jasmine & Jae ... To Build a Home



Every building needs a solid foundation. And building a building is hardly proof that a foundation is in place. Time is a powerful tester and only the strongest home or relationship can stand up to it.

For me Jasmine and Jae epitomize what an ideal couple look like. I've never met two people more self-assured and yet more flexible; more secure and yet more fluid. They prove that once you are happy in yourself, and have reached that point of maturity where life is pure joy, you are ready to give yourself 100% to another person.

For them, I broke the rule of never using the same piece of music twice, and donated a few (joyful) hours spending time with them at the site of their new abode and at a few of their favourite West Van locations. And with them and with Chermaine Wu and thanks above all to Harumi Suzuki, we put together a beautiful wedding film I'll always be proud of.

We've had to hold off on releasing this one, but here it is in all it's directness, openness and glory: Jasmine & Jae's wedding.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Edith ♥ Kelvin { Highlights }




Weddings are such an amazing place to meet people and experience new things. This video begins with Kelvin's mom playing a traditional Chinese instrument, the Guzheng. It was quite the surprise for Kelvin to see this kick off the same day edit, as his mother very rarely plays. We only asked her to play for a few seconds, but she blew us away with her dedication and focus. She played an entire piece, beautifully, though she was bashful and asked me to not use the actual sound of her playing. But she had turned what I thought was just a touch of home decor into a living, breathing piece of culture.

Edith and Kelvin chose Hycroft Manor for their ceremony, truly the ideal setting for their wedding. In addition to my favourite of all ceremony settings, it features gorgeous old world rooms, with windows opening to reams of ivy. These became the background for most of the detail shots, including one of my favourite ring shots. An old window slowly opens and pushes aside the ivy, as the camera comes to rest on Edith and Kelvin's rings. A sweet and gentle ending, for a sweet and gentle couple.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dorothy ♥ Ken { SDE }




Something familiar, but with a twist. That's the basic recipe for creating something interesting. Not too weird, but not too normal either. Same thing makes a fun wedding, too! I could never get tired of this industry, considering the one-of-a-kind, envelope-pushing talent I get to capture. It was awesome to capture Debut Events transforming the Four Seasons, to watch Harumi Suzuki be invisible and yet everywhere, and to watch Steve Bebb get the most out of a photo shoot that was cut short.

Dorothy and Ken definitely have a twist! Theirs is a very unique relationship, extremely humorous and, even more so, sarcastic. On the surface it's hard to see any romance... but of course it's there, as is very deep emotion. The point is, they do not try to blend in. It takes courage to be yourself, to not care what people think, and Dorothy and Ken have courage to spare.

The morning was chaotic. No, actually it was crazy. I don't understand Chinese but based on Sofia's doubling over with laughter, there was some super funny stuff going on. I did pick up on the "perfect man" joke involving an oversized sausage that was prominently displayed to everyone's approval on a plate of crackers and cheese. No, it was not the standard bridal prep. It was also interesting to see the father of the bride show that it's never too late to be gangsta.

As a videographer, I like to keep evolving. In this video and several from this year, I've tried to shoot footage that is not as polished, on purpose. Footage that feels raw gives the video a more unpredictable feeling, as though you are watching something that is happening NOW rather than something perfectly packaged and served up like a frozen slice of prettiness. I'm not sure if what I'm trying to do comes across; that I'm intentionally including "flaws", and if I should allow this to be a bigger part of my style. It takes courage to be yourself, for sure.