The Cuban sun burned especially bright on the day Katie and Seth got married, but the wind kept everyone comfortable while unlimited drinks made sure sobriety was never an issue. There’s something to be said about the exclusivity of destination weddings, cause they leave little room for strangers or acquaintances. Only the closest people will commit to plane tickets and accommodations. The celebrations are all the more intimate for it, and I’m always glad when I have a chance to be part of the that.
You never need to make a special effort to find the wildlife in Varadero; even on the resorts, birds will bravely snatch food at your feet, while stray cats toy with lizards and mice alike before eating them. And being surrounded by other people on their own holidays, whether they’re tanning on the beach or letting pretty girls cheat at limbo, brings a warmth to the atmosphere that even the sun can’t provide.
Allie and Eric had a picturesque wedding at South Pond, a quant little farm in Bethany Hills. Their day was filled with delightful details, like carriage rides to the ceremony, dove releases, and paper lanterns. It all made for a wedding film that never loses it’s momentum. Even though I’ve been working with a composer to score my most recent films, I still take special requests from couples who want me to use songs that have personal meaning to them, and in this case it was Such Great Heights by The Postal Service.
I cut my teeth on filmography and discovered my personal style when spending time on Eric and Mark’s farm in Bancroft. Back then, I had a cheap camcorder but needed a subject, they had the snowboarding skills but needed a documentarian. That’s how I gained crucial experience with editing, composing, and grading, though it would be years before I got a real camera and finally understood aperture, shutter speed, and ISO as well. Filming Eric getting married was like coming around full-circle, where I could apply all the things I’ve learned through the years since those weekends spent in the country with his family and friends.
Shot at a Jewish sleep-away camp at the side of the Ottawa River on a perfect day.
This film is one of the highlights of my 2012 wedding season. I had to end it on a scene during the first look, when Dave’s face reveals how anxious he is to see Heather in her dress; those are the moments that speak for all the years in a relationship. They’ve known each other since grade 7, along with most of the wedding party. You can easily tell how close everyone is from the way they touch and dance and embrace.
I worked very closely with Adrian from Five Stripe Studios in scoring this film. The wooden buildings and outdoor setting made me think of summer camp, so I wanted the first section to sound like an old tape you’d find in your dad’s glove compartment as he’s driving you there, the ribbon warped from heat. Adrian did an amazing job of creating that mood, the careful melodica being a very nice touch. There were also important details I asked for, like the slide guitar going from note to note exactly when the focus zooms from a leaf to the sun, which he ingeniously built into a repeating theme.
Having complete control over the music is great for perfectionists like me, but the best thing about working with such a talented composer is being able to give each couple a set of songs that have been created just for them, something that makes each film particularly unique.
I’ve been having a lot of fun making these little animated gifs, each one a moment from a wedding I shot last season. Not all my footage makes it into the final cut of a film; occasionally, something has to be sacrificed for reasons of pacing or timing or…appropriateness, and it seemed like such a pity that these clips would end up on the cutting room floor.
The tricky part is not making a gif too long, otherwise it becomes a scene, and loses the repetition that makes us believe the moment goes on forever.
Continue reading “looping: forever”…
While studying this Carcassi étude — and analyzing as many version as possible in aid of that — I realized that classical music is like wine. They’re both based on a central theme or taste, and it’s the subtle differences between the interpretation of each performer or wine maker that make them unique and interesting. That’s why you need to listen to a lot classical music (or drink a lot of wine) to develop a palate. I bet two different musicians (or even the same musician at two different points in their career) playing the same piece would sound the same to some people for the same reason that two different merlots would taste the same to others.
This is supposed to be played allegro, but I’ve yet to hear a version above 105 bpm that didn’t feel rushed to me, so I prefer to play it andante. Luckily, I enjoy classical music, and I can tell the time I’ve invested in developing that foundation translates over to non-classical songs, not only in the extra finger precision but in practicing techniques too.
I’m still using electric strings, which I’ve had on longer than any other set, cause I love how crisp and brassy the tone is throughout the range. For a piece like this where the melody switches between bass and treble, that becomes really important.