The Intimacy of Getting Ready

Amanda getting ready - vintage text
Today I wanted to write about something I have been capturing on video a lot lately and which seems to be a must have for a wedding video, the ‘Getting Ready’.

A lot of my clients recently have been asking me to capture the pre-ceremony activities surrounding their wedding day. The getting ready – the moment when the bridal party and in particular the bride and groom are putting on the finishing touches to their wedding outfits – presents a level of intimacy that is absolutely amazing to capture on video.

From a visual stand point, it is a great opportunity to get the little details, such as the couples wardrobe, the bride getting her hair and make up done, the groom and his groomsmen joking around and the setting they are in of course.
From an audio point of view, you are guaranteed to capture some funny jokes or moments between the bride and her bridesmaids and between the groomsmen and groom.
As I mentioned before, the level of intimacy during this time is like no other. In terms of a dramatic moment for editing, it couldn’t get any better. Music can be laid over the video during this sequence, however, the things that are said and the level of emotion stand out on their own in most cases.

Capturing the getting ready is great because of that dramatic build up feeling before the ceremony but also because the bride and groom have no idea what is going on on the other side. It is so special for the couple to be able to witness how each other’s getting ready went as they watch their wedding video. Gifts are sometimes exchanged between the bride and groom at this time and capturing their expressions as they open each other’s gift is priceless!

I personally think that the getting ready is one of the best times to really capture the personality of a couple and the wedding party. It draws you right into your wedding video and brings you up and close to that emotional build up of the day. This footage always makes my highlight cut because it is so intimate and powerful by nature.

I love this part of the wedding day as it allows me to get real close to a couple and get a better understanding of their style and personalities. This in turn will help me during the editing to tailor the video to the couple’s personality whether through the use of music or the way the shots are cut together. Also, I just plain enjoy interacting and getting to know my clients and their loved ones better. It’s what makes part of my work so enjoyable!

It almost feels weird now when I am not asked to film the getting ready as I don’t have that wonderful footage to work with and create that intro into the ceremony portion of the video. I feel a huge part of the wedding day is missing. Having your wedding on video is really all about being able to relive those special, intimate moments and all the hard work that went into making everyone look at their best for your wedding.

So please! Don’t pass on having a videographer present during the getting ready. You will be so sad not to see you and your loved ones be together, laugh together and celebrate the magic that happens before your ceremony.

To see some samples of getting ready videos, please check out my wedding gallery on my website
(Special thanks to Amanda for allowing me to post a photo of her during her getting ready session).

The Sound of Emotions

Memories and emotions can be triggered by so many different things in life. Our senses have the ability to awaken an old feeling, an emotion from a specific point in time.

As I mentioned in one of my previous entries, the ability to relive and explore past emotions through watching an old home video, is what initially drew me into the world of video documentation. I have always been fascinated by the magic of moving images combine with sound. They both trigger emotions felt on that given day or part of ones life. I believe it is important to revisit the past, whether a joyous or painful experience. Remembering is the key to a joyous present and future.

I have already talked about the magic of moving images to a certain extent. But I would like to now focus on the other side of video documentation and the equal importance that audio and sound have in complementing the moving images.

Sound is so often neglected when producing a video. It may be because we are so transfixed by what our eyes see. However, our ears are picking up another set of information from the video, or at least should be. That audio information is equally important and also triggers past emotions and feelings from that particular time in life.

Over the years, I have realized how important sound is and how I should treat audio with the same degree of importance as I do with the framing of an image. It was only once I started editing video with editing software that I realized how I could treat and mix audio in order to enhance the entire final product. The use of various microphones also helped me work and experiment with audio editing.

I always recommend to my wedding clients the use of a wireless lavalier microphone during their ceremony (usually clipped on to the groom’s lapel or the officiant) so that the audio during the vows is loud and clear once edited with the video from the two cameras I normally set up. Once the recorded audio from the microphone is edited with the video captured, it creates a feeling of being right up there at the alter rather than from the point of view of the cameras which might be at some distance. Every time I have used this microphone, I thank myself and the client for using it while I’m editing and mixing audio and video together.
This is just one example of the use of a microphone of course.

On another note, the use of music can accentuate a mood or a feeling when combined with video. This is very effective and powerful in creating a personal touch to the final product. I have gotten into the habit of asking my clients to give me some suggestions of songs that mean a lot to them. When appropriate, I will use it with a certain part of the video and then the magic really happens! Something about moving images and music transports me to another place of pure beauty. Must be the romantic in me 🙂

All this is part of my pre productions research I engage in when consulting with my clients. My goal is to give them a video that is as personal to them as possible and truly represents their special day. When I get reviews and feedback from delighted clients, I know that I succeeded in this task. Having them relive their emotions from their unique celebration is what give me most satisfaction in doing what I love to do.
This reminds me of what one restaurant manager once told me when I was younger: “Do what you love, love what you do”.

Image: Me setting up my wireless microphone kit before a wedding ceremony (photo by Becky Fowler – my loving and supportive wife).

Turn It On!

It really all started when I was about 4 years old. I still have an audio cassette to prove it to. My parents had this audio cassette recorder that they brought along on our Summer 1984 home leave to California to visit my grandparents at their house in Claremont. The cassette we have is a recording capturing a conversation between my parents, sister, uncle and grandparents during cheers outside in their patio. Shortly into the recording, you start hearing this tiny, parrot-like voice, repeating over and over “Turn it on mommy!” That was me of course already obsessing over the knowledge that I could rewind the tape and listen back to myself and others talk. To this day, I’m amazed at how passionately crazy I was about being able to document something on tape and replay it later. It seemed like magic to me at the time and it still does today.

Of course now, I use this feeling of wonder and passion for documentation as an artistic means of expression. Over the last 30 years, I have slowly fine tuned my craft in editing recorded events into a final product that is both representative and entertaining to revisit.
For my 15th birthday, my mom bought me the present that would really begin my professional endeavor. My first VHS camcorder! As soon as I got it out of the box, I went straight to the seaside promenade in my hometown of Cap d’Ail, France and went berzerk, filming everything in sight. Mostly yellow flowers and surrounding Mediterranean sea and mountains. From that day on, I just had to “Turn it on!”
From 1994 until today, I have shot and captured everything on video I can think of. Family trips; school projects with friends (see photo above, yes that’s me with blond hair behind the camera); sporting events; stage performances and more, mostly for fun. It wasn’t until after I got my bachelor’s degree in Visual Media and American University in Washington, DC that I started to make a profession out of it. Starting off with short movies; documentaries; travel documentation for educational trips for Universities; and International youth summits. Then, in 2005, I discovered the world of social events. Things really started picking up from there. Contracting my services for a couple local video production companies, gaining professional experience and observing the joy surrounding such events. It made me want to fully explore my potential as a business.

Now, I am representing my own video production brand and enjoying every moment of it. Seeing it grow over the years as I start to connect more and more with the community around me is just delightful. The sense of pride and satisfaction I get from getting to know each of my clients, witnessing their special event and providing them with a record of their magical moment in time is wonderful. To see how happy they are once they have seen the finished product, priceless! What I am starting to love most about what I do, is really connecting with individuals and the community at large. When I feel connected, I feel a sense of responsibility towards my clients to deliver my very best work. And when I achieve this, I feel like all the hard work and faith I put into my craft has come together and turned on the light inside my soul.
A big thank you to all my loved ones for supporting me and my vision over the years. You helped in making this little light shine bright! May the good work continue on…

(Photo by my awesome high school friend, Nicolas Ragni)

The Power of Videography

Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog!

Here, you will be able to catch up with the latest news and follow the latest work that I have done. I am excited to share with you my experience in video production.

For as long as I can remember, I was always amazed at the power of images and especially moving images combine with audio. I remember getting my first video camcorder for my 15th birthday and have never looked back since. From that day on, I filmed everything from my trips overseas, activities with my closest friends and live performances for my mom’s dance recitals.
I see videography as a form of art and self-expression. I like to think that what I do also provides a sense of entertainment as well as being educational.

When I film an event such as a wedding or a bar/bat mitzvah for a family, I want to capture the emotions of each celebration and edit the footage in a way that makes it entertaining to watch. Having video documentation of your celebration is the best way, I believe, to relive all the excitement and emotions you felt that day. This is the power I saw from a very young age. The ability to relive the past through audio and video and feel what you felt in that specific moment in time is amazing. I want to bring that powerful experience to all my clients.

Come and join me on a visual adventure! And remember, make sure to always book a professional videographer for all your big life events!

(Photo by Gary Law Photography)