Monthly Archives: April 2011

Sarah and Michael — Wedding Day

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I’ve been bleeding for a big project, something to really throw myself into. Luckily, weddings are as big as they come, and at 70.43 GB of footage taken, this wedding was the biggest by far.

It was also the first Italian wedding I’ve experienced, and there was nothing more interesting than observing the customs. It’s a very physical culture, with lots of hugging, kissing, and firm pats on shoulders. And somehow everyone is a natural dancer. How did everyone know to hold hands in equally sized circles and start moving in the same direction? How did everyone know when to stop holding hands and start clapping1? How did you everyone known to step in to touch the groom and mother at the same time?

This is a perfect example of how video takes over the limitations of still photography. A lot of camaraderie and intimacy and confidence only come out when motion is involved, because it’s all in how people move and interact. Trying to capture a bride eating cake out of her cleavage just isn’t possible with a single frame.

This was a very special project for me, and I put so much love into this film, from the camera-work to the editing to the grading to the music. Over three hours of footage was carefully stripped away to create this five minute story. Every moment matters, every frame counts.

Sarah and Mike are so happy with the final product that they’ve now decided to send a DVD of this video out to all the guests in lieu of thank-you cards. For a wedding of 450 people, this is no small consideration. When I first met them, I knew they were going to be a fantastic couple to work with because they were super nice and made me feel very comfortable. They also gave me full creative control, which is always the most important thing for me as an artist.

Production notes beneath the cut

  1. It reminded me of this time I saw an opera in Budapest. When the curtain came down and the audience started applauding, everyone eventually clapped in unison and didn’t speed up. North Americans all clap in an amorphous din, but over in Hungary it’s like they were all clapping to the timing of a conductor. []

dry spell

I was spring cleaning and found a box of condoms due to expire this summer. What’s the lifespan of condoms kept out of the sunlight and in a cool place?

Five years.

Which pretty much means I haven’t been in a relationship in as long, cause I’ve always shied away from anything purely physical. Sex is very mental for me. Someone once told me she thought we were sexually compatible, but I never felt like we were particularly well-matched. We simply loved each other on a very profound level, and that kind of intimacy and connection is what made the sex so good. Without that, it’s not even worth it.

Maybe it’s just my interversion that’s leading me to think that no sex is better than bad sex.

The last thing I did was hold hands with someone after she jumped into bed with me, complaining she couldn’t sleep. She had these tiny hands, with slender fingers. It was nice. But I couldn’t bring myself to take it any further cause I couldn’t see myself with her.

Luckily, I can do dry spells. Easily. Considering I had a 15-year one until I lost my virginity. Now I’m at an age where people want to introduce me to someone, and sometimes they’ll add, “…but she has a kid”, when trying to sell me on the idea.

god I hate myself for loving smoke and drink

The weather has been lovely. It’s the perfect temperature, though the humidity has given my ukulele a much more pronounced buzz on the C string. Spring officially begins when I can take the mittens out of my car and drive with the windows down, my only concern being that my music isn’t too embarrassing, and I don’t get a sudden burst of I BE ON THE HOTLINE LIKE ERRRRDAY when stopped at a red light.

cat on windowsill


I’m still physically recovering from last weekend. I got back to Darren’s late after working a very intense 14 hours, and since it’s been so long since we last saw each other, that was just the beginning of the night. Then we woke up early to see Chris. On the way home, I had to pull over at a comfort station to grab a few winks in my car, but I was too uncomfortably exhausted to fall asleep, and ended up driving home bug-eyed. I’m sure this is why my colitis is acting up.

Probably not good that I’ve been living such a hedonistic lifestyle. I stay up far too late, drink too much caffeine, and indulge in too many sweets close to bedtime. I can’t tell if I’ve stopped caring, or if I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it.

I’ve been going through long stretches without contact from the outside world. It’s forced me to face my own isolation, yet I don’t feel lonely. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s cause I tend to get obsessed with my small hobbies, and it distracts me enough. I worry that I’ve become a little too complacent in this introversion. It makes me wonder how long I can keep going down this path, and whether I even want to be on it or not.

Tiana + Molly (Glidetrack demo)

I purchased a half-metre Glidetrack Hybrid to get some slow dolly shots but with a much, much more portable system. Smooth horizontal camera movements can add a bit of depth to any footage, though the effect can’t be used too often.

So I’ve been practicing with this new piece of equipment for the last month, looking for people to film, and luckily Tiana is always willing to volunteer with one of her offspring. You can see the Glidetrack shots at 12 seconds (the zoom in) and 48 seconds (the horizontal track).

It’s an extremely challenging piece of equipment to use, certainly not something conducive to candid shooting. Things like exposure, focus, and composition change as you’re moving the camera from one end of the rail to the other, and single mistake in any one of those aspects will ruin a shot, so all those things generally need to be carefully planned. On top of that, simply moving the camera smoothly takes a lot of practice, as there’s a certain amount of friction in the bearings, and you need to balance that with the movement speed you’re looking for. At only half a metre (the shortest length you can purchase), the shots all tend to be slow and lingering so you don’t run out of rail.

The percentage of keepers isn’t great (I find it takes me about three takes to get it right), but when it works, the effect is very nice.