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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.
I mostly used two lenses: the 24–70mm f/2.8 and 70–200mm f/2.8 IS mk II. I changed to a 15mm fish-eye for dancing at the end cause the lower focal length provides a bigger depth of field. This was crucial, as I had my monopod propped on my waist to get shots from a high angle, and I couldn’t see the viewfinder there so I was just hoping for the best. I’ve decided that I can never use primes cause things move way too quickly when it comes to video to be changing lenses all the time.
There’s something very visceral and nostalgic about the grain in the low-light shots that isn’t the same as grain added in post-production. I’m now tempted to shoot an entire wedding at 3200 ISO.
Everything was filmed in full manual this time. In my experience, the contrast of the dark suits and white dresses really throws off the automatic camera settings. This means that on top of composition, focus, and movement, you have to worry about exposure, but it’s better when you’re shooting against constantly changing backgrounds and environments cause the camera won’t suddenly make things too dark or light.
My investment in the Glidetrack has already paid for itself. Side-pans make great transition shots. Sure, you could try to fake side-panning in post-production, but the edges of foreground objects have certain angles and textures and bokeh that gives each shot a unique look.
- 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. [↩]