December 19, 2007

Knot Vendor Party Video Launched

In November, we mentioned in this blog that Tim Alan Studios was asked to film the Knot party at Slate on 21st Street held for advertisers and others working in the wedding industry in NYC.

The party- planned by Christine Paul Events- was a huge success. Much fun was had as old acquaintances reconnected and new friends were made. We put the video recap together soon after and it will be featured on the Knot.Com soon via a link that will be provided in the January issue of the New York Metro Issue. You can also find it at Tim Alan Studios in both the 'demos' and 'about' section.

For the highlight below, we essentially put some of the best shots of the night together in a fast-paced manner to emulate the feel of the night set to the music of the steel drum band provided by Jason from Signature Events.

Tim Alan videographer, Adam, filmed most of the night so I could talk with friends, meet new people and even dance. If you look carefully, you can see a quick shot of me on the dance floor with a move that will definitely not win me any contests!

Shari & Neil; December 15, Commack

Shari and Neil didn't let the cold December evening get in the way of a great time last Saturday in Commack, Long Island at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club.

The couple got ready in separate rooms but saw each beforehand as they wanted to take photos and sign the Ketubah before the wedding ceremony. There was a little drama before they saw each other as Neil popped out from around a corner as Shari approached with cameras from Beth Keiser and Tim Alan Studios videographer, Lu K., poised to capture the moment.

The traditional Jewish ceremony under the Chuppah followed the Ketubah signing. It concluded with Neil breaking the glass and giving his new bride a kiss on the lips. The bride and groom enjoyed cocktail hour before heading in for the reception whose highlights included spirited dancing, the Horah, a few toasts and the traditional Mezinka dance to end the night.

December 14, 2007

Engagement on Ice: Ricardo & Ana Miguel

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail inquiring whether or not we could film an engagement at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. I have never filmed an engagement and was excited by the request. Now all I had to do was work out the logistics.

The logistics with this one were a little tricky because Ricardo was writing me from Portugal and he wouldn't be arriving until a day before the proposal! We had to plan everything through e-mail with limited room for error. Forecasts called for rain storms, so we were prepared to reschedule for the next night if it was a downpour.

Ricardo and I planned to meet in the bathroom at the Rockefeller Skatehouse at 9:30 on Tuesday along with Peter, the manager of the rink. Ricardo left his unsuspecting girlfriend, Ana Miguel, to wait in line for skates while he snuck off to meet us. While Peter quickly gave him instructions as to what would happen, I hid a wireless microphone on his jacket so we could record every word of the proposal. Peter took a CD from Ricardo which would play two songs of his choice (one of which is used on the video below) during and after the proposal.

As soon as Ricardo left, we waited a few moments and discretely made our way to the steps overlooking the rink to get a good view. Ricardo and Ana Miguel eventually came out of the Skatehouse and joined the hundreds of skaters circling the rink. At ten, an announcement was made that the skaters must clear the ice. After the last few stragglers left, Ricardo delayed and handed his camera to a rink employee asking him to 'take as many photos as you can."

He then took Ana Miguel to the side and told her how much he loved her before getting on one knee and proposing. All eyes from the restaurant, the side of the rink and the tourists above were on the couple. A cheer erupted from all when Ricardo and Ana Miguel hugged, a sure sign that she said yes!

Peter made sure they did the ceremonial lap around the rink to celebrate and they said a few words on camera for posterity before heading off in to the night, which will be one they won't soon forget!

December 11, 2007

Tim Alan Studios Website Updated

As 2007 comes to a close, we have just finished updates on all facets of the Tim Alan Studios website.

The website should now be a little easier to navigate and the demo videos easier to view. A major part of the update was adding new video demos from some amazing 2007 weddings. All of the wedding demos along with the NYC Knot Vendor part can be seen on the 'demos' page.

In addition, we created a page of NYC wedding vendors we recommend so that brides who like our style will be able find like-minded artists in other fields.

I would like to thank and endorse my web designer, Jason Roberts of Net Fusion Studios. In addition to his skill designing impressive websites, he also possesses a tremendous work ethic. When many web designers take weeks and even months to get back to you on updates, Jason turns things around in a few days or even hours.

If you need a new website, web programmer or just some advice on an internet-related topic, don't hesitate to contact Jason and Net Fusion Studios.

November 13, 2007

Tania & George; November 10; The W Union Square, NYC

The W Hotel in Union Square proved to be the perfect backdrop for the NYC wedding of George and Tania last Saturday. The couple, who had met on an elevator two years earlier while on business in the Republic of Georgia, enjoyed a brisk Fall day with family and friends in NYC.

Tania looked stunning in her gown in the bridal suite at The W when I arrived. Sheila, from Sarah Merrians Photography, was taking her through an assortment of poses in the suite. We then headed to the second floor, for photos and video on the grand staircase with her parents and bridesmaids.

Tim Alan Studios videographer, Adam, was waiting with George and the groomsmen at Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral on 34th and 2nd. The traditional Armenian Wedding ceremony included the crowning of George and Tania along with the customary rings and vows. Tania stole a kiss before leaving- apparently NOT a tradition- before stealing off to a backroom to sign the marriage license. Upon exiting the church, the couple was showered with raucous cheers flower petals from their guests who had lined the steps and walkway.

It was back to Union Square in the waiting shuttle buses for a night of revelry that included an intimate cocktail hour, a greeting line for the couple as guests entered the reception, festive Armenian dancing and 3 toasts....

November 09, 2007

Alyssa & Greg; November 3: The New York Botanical Gardens, The Bronx, NYC

I have worked with Alyssa the last two years on corporate events for Fitness and More Magazines in her job as Group Special Events Director. It wasn't until about two months ago, when we were discussing two upcoming events, that Alyssa slipped in that she was also getting married....

Last Saturday at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, Alyssa and Greg exchanged vows amongst their closest friends at an outdoor ceremony in the woods of the Botanical Gardens. If you didn't know any better, you would have thought you were in the woods of Vermont, not the heart of NYC!

The weather was a bit cold as Novembers tend to be, but strategically placed heat lamps for the ceremony and and a tent for cocktail hour kept everyone warm.

The reception was held upstairs at the Snuff Mill where the couple enjoyed an evening of dancing- highlighted by Alyssa's brother, Jordan- whose creative moves on the dance floor kept both the guests and his sister entertained throughout!

BizBash, ISES Video & The Mystery Bride

Yesterday I attended the BizBash Expo at Pier 94 which is a tradeshow designed for professionals in the event industry to meet and connect.

I assisted ISES (International Special Events Society) by creating a video of their October meeting for them to show at their booth. (Shot by Avenue 5 Films, Tim Alan Studios Corporate Video Site) It was a two-minute recap of all-things ISES from the meeting that played on loop throughout the tradeshow. I also had the honor of being the first person at the tradeshow to sign up as a new member of the ISES New York Metro Chapter!

The highlight of my day, though, was running into a bride from almost two years ago who I had lost contact with before I could deliver her video. Although she had paid in full, she fell off the map soon after the wedding, with all numbers and e-mails I had obsolete.

When she approached me at cocktail hour, I thought I was seeing things: was this just a mirage? I had often speculated as to what had happened to her and even worried about her and her husband. Fortunately it was just life and the craziness it sometimes brings. We exchanged cards- she is now a corporate event planner- and she vowed not to disappear again!

November 08, 2007

Tim Alan films Knot Wedding Industry Party

Tim Alan Studios was asked to participate as a sponsoring vendor at last night's Knot Market party at Slate on west 21st street. Many of the top talent in the wedding business in NYC gathered at Slate to network, eat good food, enjoy the open bar and listen to great music. Tim Alan videographer, Adam, discretely captured the action throughout the evening while I mingled with old friends and new acquaintances from all parts of the industry.

Other sponsoring vendors included music from Signature Events, photography from Barnaby Draper, cakes from Michelle Doll Cakes, and planning by Christine Paul Events.

A write-up and photo spread of the party will be in the issue of the Knot that hits newstands in January. A video highlight will appear in this blog and on the, so stay tuned!

November 02, 2007

Lindsey & Jim; October 27: St. Ignatius & The Central Park Boathouse, NYC

Lindsey and Jim had to wonder if early showers would wash away their wedding day, but were happy to see the sun come out in force later in the afternoon.

The couple got ready at the Marriott on 92nd and First Avenue before taking a limo and shuttle bus to St. Ignatius Loyola on 84th & Park. The ceremony was performed by the groom's hometown priest, Father Joe from Long Island, who added plenty of personal anecdotes and humor.

After the ceremony, the couple had ample time before cocktail hour so they took the opportunity to get photos by Photography By Verdi and video from Tim Alan Studios on NYC streets, in Central Park and near the Central Park Boathouse, where the reception would be held.

The reception at the Boathouse started out with cocktail hour overlooking the lake and the park before the guests moved inside for highlights that included a cigar roller, entertainment by Elite Music, and a candy bar with an assortment of delectable treats.

In addition to a few humorous and poignant toasts and lots of dancing, one of the main highlights had to be Father Joe joining the band to sing two songs, one of which is used along with the video recap below!

October 30, 2007

Nina & Alan, October 13; Gotham Hall, NYC

By choosing Gotham Hall, Nina & Alan picked one of the most amazing spots in NYC for their wedding on October 13. Gotham Hall is an impressive site when empty, but with the interiors done by Stone Kelly, lighting by Bentley Meeker and the planning and meticulous set up by Liz Glover Wilson and her team of eight, Gotham was transformed into an otherworldly space for nuptials and celebration.

When guests arrived, some were escorted to a temporary photo studio set up by Leslie Hassler and her assistant photographers. They somehow managed to get all of the nearly 300 guests by the end of the evening to pose for a portrait, which would then be mailed to them later as a wedding favor from the bride and groom.

Tim Alan Studios set up a time-lapse camera to capture the entire day from 9 a.m. until midnight. (Please see the previous blog post to view this video). For the ceremony we used 3 cameras: one stationed under the Chuppah to capture the guests and faces of the bride and groom, one at the opposite end of the aisle and a third from the balcony for a bird's eye view.

After the ceremony, guests were escorted to the opposite balcony for cocktail hour while a team efficiently transformed the space from ceremony to reception with the dismantling of the Chuppah and set up of all the tables and other decorations.

Nina and Alan were introduced once the guests found their tables and the band Soul Solution from Total Entertainment started them right off with the Horah before the couple enjoyed the intimacy of the first dance.

The dance floor was never empty- with the exception of the toasts and cutting the Challah- for the remainder of the evening. A special dance between groom and daughter and bride and son were two of the last events of the day that made the night truly unforgettable.

October 29, 2007

Fourteen hour Wedding Day in 5 minutes: Time Lapse Video at NYC's Gotham Hall

On October 13, Tim Alan Studios was commissioned to film a wedding at Gotham Hall in NYC. Event planner, Liz Glover Wilson, had the great idea of attempting to film the day- from set up to close- with a time-lapse camera.

We arrived at Gotham Hall about nine a.m. and the wedding set up had already begun. We positioned the camera on a tripod in the main balcony overlooking the reception and ceremony site below. Once the camera was set, it was going to be unmanned, automatically filming snippets of video at preset times throughout the day.

Workers from Stone Kelly (floral and event) and Gotham Hall were busy setting up all facets of the wedding day, which included the balcony where the camera was stationed. This proved to be the only problem of the day with the time-lapse camera. Workers busy setting up the balcony, closed a curtain in front of the camera at some point for nearly an hour, which causes a slight gap in the time lapse (curtain close edited out.) When we returned to Gotham Hall at three p.m., the camera was still operating, but workers informed us they needed to shut the curtain for good. We then moved the camera to the opposite balcony for the remainder of the evening.

Some highlights to look for during the time-lapse include the building of the Chuppah and set up of chairs, the 300 guests filing in for the ceremony, the transformation of the space from ceremony to reception, the Horah, special dancing and toasts as well as the amazing lighting from Bentley Meeker.

October 13, 2007

Tim Alan Featured in Weddings New York

Tim Alan Studios was once again featured as a preferred vendor in the New York Magazine's 'Weddings New York' issue that is THE bible for NYC brides.

Denise Penny and her staff have once again put together a comprehensive issue that lists many of their choices as NYC's best wedding vendors in categories including photography, videography, invitations, catering, music and more. In addition, the issue is packed with amazing photos from real NYC weddings and informative articles related to anything wedding.

The magazine hit the newsstand earlier this week, so be sure to pick one up!

October 12, 2007

Sheila & Bill, Oct. 7; Scotch Plains

Sheila bought her dress on October 7, 2006, not knowing that a year from that day she would be getting married. It was only months later, when she happened to glance at the receipt, that she realized the coincidence.

October 7, 2007 proved to be a beautiful Sunday in Scotch Plains, New Jersey for the marriage of Bill and Sheila.

Sheila got ready with her bridesmaids at the family's home in Scotch Plains, putting on her make up in the room she grew up in as a little girl.

Bill, heavily involved with the church, was given a very personal homily by Father John Paladino, who he has known and worked with for years. The homily was great in that Father John really knew the couple well, so he really had great anecdotes to draw from.

The couple was enveloped in bubbles as they left The Chapel at St. Mary's for photos before heading to Snuffy's Pantagis for an evening reception.

The music was played by A Dash of Class out of New Jersey who helped keep the dance floor packed.

Highlights included a fireshow on the dance floor, a photomontage produced by Tim Alan Studios, the best man's unique toast and Bill and Sheila never leaving the dance floor!

Veronica & Brian, Oct. 6; 632 Hudson, NYC

A former sausage factory, 632 Hudson has been transformed into an amazing space fit for the most intimate of weddings. It felt like being in a private home- five stories high- with beautiful art, furniture and unique design to enhance the unique experience. As videographers, the array of angles, mirrors, staircases and other nooks and angles made shooting at 632 a great way to work out our artistic muscles.

Veronica and Brian made sure not run into one another before the ceremony- which proved a bit difficult due to the openess of all five floors. An accidental bride/groom meeting was prevented due to event planner Valerie, from the Cleaver Company, who did a great job keeping people and events organized and on time.

The ceremony was held on the second floor in front of a fireplace. Tim Alan Studios videographer, Adam, was positioned on that level to film Veronica coming down the stairs and as well as ground level view of the couple exchanging vows. I positioned myself on the fifth floor and shot the ceremony thing from above- almost directly above- to give a real bird's eye view of the experience.

After exchanging vows, Veronica and Brian signed their marriage license and headed out to the street for photographs with Maly Blomberg and super 8 filming done by me. We then headed to the rooftop for cocktails as the sun went down on a beautiful day.

A group toast by Brian's three best men was a definite highlight along with the fantastic dinner, cutting the cake and group photo taken from the upper most level of 632 Hudson.

October 05, 2007

Emily & Michael; September 29; Red Bank

Emily and Michael were wed on Saturday at the perfect spot for a wedding- her family's home in Red Bank, NJ.

The beautiful house was the backdrop for what was an amazing wedding day. The couple took photos beforehand with Cynthia Delconte in front of the house, by the pool and on their dock on the river behind the house.

The ceremony took place on the front lawn, with chairs and a chuppah set up in a few hundred yards from the front steps of the home. Emily was led down the aisle by both her mother and father as Michael eagerly awaited under the chuppah. Beautiful singing by the cantor, words from both the rabbi and a priest and the breaking of the glass were some of the highlights.

The guests moved to expansive downstairs of the home for cocktail hour before spending the night under a tent in the backyard, entertained by the Scott Yanney Band from NYC.

Reception highlights included a group photo of ALL the guests on the dance floor, Emily's dad cracking open a 70 year old bottle of scotch from the movie 'Casablanca', Emily tossing her bouquet from the grand staircase in the foyer and the happy couple driving off into the night....

October 04, 2007

Tim Interviews with Bridal Guide Magazine

On Monday I had the opportunity to interview with Bridal Guide Magazine writer, Elaine, for an upcoming story about wedding videography.

I love the chance to speak to writers about wedding video because there are always new developments in technology as well as advances in video techniques that we like to share with brides.

Many couples have misconceptions about wedding video and reading a well-written article goes a long way to clear them up.

A few points I touched on in the interview that I think were pretty important included the importance of photographers and videographers having a good working relationship, the emergence of widescreen HDV videography and how small cameras and minimal light use dominate modern-day videography

The magazine hits the newsstands in January, so to learn more, check it out!

September 28, 2007

Kara & Dev, September 23; Oheka Castle

Kara and Dev come from different backgrounds, so they decided to mix parts of both their Irish/Italian and Indian cultures in a daylong celebration at Oheka Castle in Huntington. (New York Times Above)

Photographer Roberto Falck and Tim Alan Studios videographer, Adam, arrived early to capture the bride getting ready in her amazing suite that overlooked the ceremony site and gardens below.

I arrived a few hours later from Julie and Garrett's wedding in Montauk to capture more of Kara getting ready as well as the arrival of guests, family photographs and the ceremonial march of Dev to meet Kara's family in front of the castle.

The ceremony was great, and Adam's view from the balcony in the bridal suite captured the amazing views below to complement my footage from the ground.

After the ceremony, the guests enjoyed cocktails and limitless food on the expansive grounds before all entered the grand ballroom for an evening of great food, moving toasts and spirited dancing....

Julie & Garrett, September 22; Montauk

Julie and Garrett prayed to the rain Gods last week, and they listened. Much of the wedding revolved around being outside and enjoying the views and landscape that the private beach at Gurney's Inn in Montauk would provide.

When I arrived, Julie was getting ready in Gurney's spa, before heading to the bridal suite to change into her dress and apply the finishing touches to her make up. The footage of the bride and her bridesmaids is a Tim Alan Studios specialty, and Julie and her friends natural banter and excitement were a joy to capture. While the girls got ready at Gurney's, Garrett and his groomsmen hung out on a yacht before heading to the beach for the ceremony.

When Julie walked down the aisle, Garrett practically fell out of his shoes with excitement as she neared. The ceremony ended with all the guests posing on the beach with the bride and groom for a group shot from photographer Beth Keiser. They then flooded the top-deck of Gurney's to enjoy cocktail hour before filing into the main room for the reception. The ocean was the theme, with sand, starfish and shells at all turns and ocean views plentiful for all.

When the band played the last dance, there were no tears shed as most of the crowd spent three more hours on the beach enjoying coolers full of beer and acoustic performance by a guitarist who seem to know every song they wanted to hear. A day to remember and a night that will be hard to forget....

September 27, 2007

Ondrea & Mark, September 22; St. Patrick's Cathedral & The Metropolitan Club, NYC

Ondrea and Mark started the day getting ready at one Manhattan landmark, The Metropolitan Club, before heading over to another in St. Patrick's Cathedral for the ceremony. This was the second Tim Alan wedding of the year at St. Patrick's, both shot by Lu. Mark awaited anxiously at the front of church for his bride to be gracefully escorted down the aisle by her father. Throngs of tourists lined up in the back of the church to catch a glimpse of the bride and snap photos as she walked down the aisle.

After the amazing ceremony, the couple was greeted by a New Orleans Jazz band that serenaded them and the crowd. The couple was then whisked off in a limo for NYC photos. At the Metropolitan Club, the decor was incredible and dancing non-stop as
Ondrea and Mark enjoyed a night they won't soon forget.

Janell & Drew, September 21; Naragansett

Janell and Drew knew from the day they met in college at the University of Rhode Island that they had a special bond. Even before Janell and Drew met, she knew that she would someday get married to someone at the Towers in Naragansett, where she witnessed a wedding from the back of the family car soon after arriving on campus.

On Friday, Janell and Drew's initial attraction proved to be on the mark and Janell's prediction of her wedding day equally on point as the two wed. The ceremony was held in a beautiful church just off URI's campus before the party headed to the Towers, whose views of the Atlantic Ocean were awe-inspiring. Jared Charney was once again on hand to capture the day and the beautiful backdrops that both the ceremony site and reception provided.

Janell, who I have been friends with for ten years,looked beautiful in the gown her mother Susan wore down the aisle 40 years before. The reception highlights included the clam shell table cards created by hand by Janell, a phone call from Drew's good friend serving in Iraq, a toast and blessing from Janell's father Gary, bridal party performances on stage with Boston band Men in Black, and the first dance to Queen's 'Best Friend'.

September 20, 2007

Alex & Kate, September 15; Garrison, NY

Dave & Jess, September 15; Bay Shore

Living in Washington D.C. and planning a wedding in Long Island probably wasn't the easiest thing for Dave and Jess, but everything clicked on Saturday as friends and family convened in Sayville and Bay Shore for a day-long celebration.

Dave and Jess booked photographer Roberto Falck who then referred them to Tim Alan Studios for video. Demonstrating the importance of photographer/video compatibility and a good referral, the couple signed on soon after. Tim Alan shooter Geoff arrived at St. Lawrence the Martyr in Sayville to capture the guests arriving and a beaming Jess being escorted down the aisle by her father. After a lengthy ceremony and greeting line in the lobby, Dave and Jess were given a shower of flowers as they exited the church to their waiting vintage car.

The wedding party, traveling in a trolley, followed the couple to Bayard Cutting Arboretum where photos and good times were had. The groomsmen showed off the pocket watches they received as gifts while some of the bridesmaids helped Jess touch up her make-up in the trolley before taking photos.

The group then headed to the Southward Ho Country Club where the grounds proved to be a perfect backdrop for photos as guests enjoyed cocktail hour, bagpipers and the personalized 'Jess & Dave' drink holders.

Dave and Jess were introduced to a warm reception and then the festivities commenced. To simply say their friends liked to party, would be like saying that most brides take some interest in planning their weddings. The highlight was probably a group of 30 holding candles and singing Elton John's "Ballerina" as they swayed to the beat.
A night to remember to be sure....

September 18, 2007

Risa & Michael, September 15; The Westchester Country Club

Tiger Woods has had his moments at the Westchester Country Club over the years, but one thing he will never experience there is the amazing experience of having a wedding on the lush grounds nestled in bucolic Harrison, New York.

Risa and Michael were lucky enough to have this experience on Saturday with weather that was near perfect and good times that were non-stop.

Risa hired two separate photographers- Jared Charney and Bruce Plotkin- to ensure all aspects of the day were covered and to enjoy the unique creativity and photojournalistic eye each possesses. The three of us entered the bridal suite at the same time and captured the excitement of Risa and her bridesmaids as the ceremony approached. Risa was busy getting her hair and make-up done and even admitted out loud a couple of times that she was getting very nervous.

Michael and the groomsmen were relaxing outside and also did a quick rehearsal to make sure all locations were set. Her parents escorted the beautiful bride down the aisle and Risa's tears flowed soon after as she exchanged vows with Michael.

Photos on the lawn of the country club followed the ceremony with cocktail hour in the Country Club. Banquet manager Richard Smith guided guests into the main room for the reception. When the bride and groom were announced, a raucous standing ovation welcomed them into the room.

After the first dance, Risa's father provided a touching and humorous toast. He was followed by Michael's two best men who each toasted the couple with a special emphasis on roasting Michael.

The band from Synergy Entertainment played a nice mix of Motown, contemporary favorites as well as traditional wedding songs to keep the dance floor packed most of the night. The excited crowd did not want things to end when the lights went up at 11:30 so a spirited chant of 'one more song' took shape. Unfortunately, like all good things, the night had to end but the memories will last forever....

September 13, 2007

Marci & Mark, September 8, Milford, N.H.

I found myself in New Hampshire last Saturday for the wedding of Marci and Mark, because Marci, who lives in Boston, had seen and loved the Tim Alan wedding video of a friend of a friend (Katie and Brad, July 2005) while on a trip to NYC last year. Thanks Katie!

The day started at the home of Marci's parents in Derry, where Marci told of how she started dating Mark on September 8 of 2002, got engaged on September 8 of 2006 and finally was getting married on the date this year! All coincidence, no less.

Marci also spent time in the room where she grew up before getting joined by her bridesmaids who had spent the morning at the salon. The beautiful scenery of the backyard was a great way to start off the day for me and Jared Charney, the photographer. Jared and I will be working together the next two weekends, as well so it was good to catch up.

While Marci's limo took her and the bridesmaids to The Mile-Away Restaurant, Mark and his groomsmen were making the trip from the Hilton Garden Inn in Manchester. The Mile-Away proved to be a beautiful, rustic spot in the heart of New Hampshire. The scenic views, old-fashioned charm and excellent service make it the perfect location for a New England wedding.

Soon after arriving, the ceremony began. The heat was oppressive, but that did not stop anyone from enjoying the beautiful ceremony that included poem readings by an aunt and uncle, a special song from Marci's cousin and a unity 'flower' ceremony.

The cocktail hour took place on the deck outside the restaurant before everyone moved under the enormous tent out back. The tent was key as the beautiful day gave way to a rainstorm towards the end of the reception, but all were dry due to quick acting staff that put up the walls on the tent as the rain came down.

Marci and Mark enjoyed a first dance, a comical speech by Mark's brother and a wild dance by Mark's friend with the bride, before retreating for an evening of drinks and fun in Manchester with any guests who still had energy to party!

September 12, 2007

To Cocktail or not to Cocktail, that is the question.....

In my years filming weddings, I find many of my clients agonize over cocktail hour ideas and options. This is especially true if their ceremony and reception are at different locations.

How long should cocktail hour be? Should they take photos during cocktail hour and miss the entire thing? Should they take a few photos and make part of the cocktail hour? Should they skip posed photos entirely? Should they break tradition and get some photos/video as a couple before the ceremony so they can enjoy the cocktail hour in full? What should they do if the reception site won't let them start ANYTHING until seven and their off-site ceremony ends at three?

These are all valid and important questions when considering the logistics of your wedding day. The wrong choice can make the difference between a fun, stress free day and one in which your cocktail hour becomes an instant hangover.

My first piece of advice would be to go to your cocktail hour. All of it. If that's not possible, for whatever the reason, at least make it to part of the cocktail hour. It is your wedding day, so you can do what you want. If you don't feel like taking formal pictures and missing cocktail hour, don't do it. If you want to get all those amazing photos AND go to your cocktail hour, you can control that as well.

Many couples dread the three or four hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of cocktail hour that is sometimes mandatory due to church restrictions on ceremony time and reception limitations on start times. Where will grandma go for 3 hours? Will my cousins from Minnesota get lost in Manhattan and sucked into the tourist black hole called Times Square? Will guests get mad that there is so much time before the party? What will my new spouse, wedding party and immediate family do with all that downtime?

Valid questions? Yes. Something to REALLY worry about and stress over? No. Embrace the space and gap that you have been given. Give your guests a list of touristy things they can do in between or suggest a bar they can meet to pre-cocktail before the cocktail. As a guest, I once had seven hours in between the ceremony and reception in a town that was definitely NOT NYC. Did I get mad at the couple and wish I had never come? No! I took time to take in the sites, watched a movie, had a nice lunch, bought new shoes caught part of the Yankee game on TV and then had an amazing time at the reception.

I recently filmed a wedding with a large gap in between the church and the reception. The couple had the reception at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park and decided to spend nearly two hours of that extra time taking photos in Battery Park. They were able to relax and get all the photos and video they wanted knowing that they would still have the full time to enjoy cocktail hour. The photographer (Nelson Hancock)and myself were able to get all the coverage we wanted without worrying about having to rush. I was even able to use the Super 8 camera to catch some candid moments of friends and family hanging around, enjoying the weather and scenery while waiting for their call to be formally photographed.

If you are getting married in NYC and you have that large break, take advantage of the city as a backdrop. Take the limo and get some shots in Times Square, Central Park, a botanic garden, the South Street Seaport or even your favorite places in your neighborhood. Do this and STILL get to your cocktail hour (or hour and a half, which I recommend) and stay in full.

A cocktail hour that is longer than an hour is actually a good compliment to the long break in between. It's really the only time the bride and groom can really mingle and get around to see a lot of the guests that have made the effort to come to the wedding and who will appreciate any time they get speaking to you on such a hectic day.

As a videographer, I LOVE a longer cocktail hour. It gives me a chance to get some really creative, artistic shots in a non-stressful atmosphere as well as a chance to include many if not all of your guests in at least one shot. You took a lot of time planning the wedding and choosing the guests, so it's nice later on to see a lot of them when you're watching the video. With a longer cocktail hour, this is more likely to happen.

After this extended cocktail hour, you will be able to relax and enjoy the flow of events at the party, knowing you've already taken amazing photo and video, enjoyed your full cocktail party AND actually had the time to enjoy conversation with most of your guests.

You will ultimately do what you feel is best for you, but I just wanted to give you some finger food for thought!

August 30, 2007

Melissa & David, August 25; The Lighthouse

Melissa and David were lucky last Saturday to have a beautiful day. Although the sun was a bit too hot for some, their arrival at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers had them looking as cool and relaxed as if getting married happened every day.

The bridal party arrived at Chelsea Piers close to 5:30 after a few stops for photos and spent the next hour touching up, taking photos, rehearsing the ceremony and signing the Ketubah.

When it came time to go down the aisle, Melissa had her bridal walk down perfectly and Dave eagerly awaited her under the Chuppah. The Rabbi led the intimate ceremony that concluded with Dave breaking the glass and joyfully kissing his new bride.

The events of the evening were coordinated masterfully by Randall the banquet event manager at Pier Sixty along with planner Tom Desmond from Tom Desmond Weddings. Highlights included the festive horah, non-stop dancing, three toasts, the mezinka, guest photographs by NYC Photobooth and great covers by the Kenny Ford band from Hank Lane.

August 29, 2007

Avenue 5 Films...Tim Alan Corporate Video

I am pleased to announce in the blog the recent launch of Avenue 5 Films, a corporate video site connected to Tim Alan Studios.

Avenue 5 is a actually a by-product of brides and grooms that have sent non-wedding video work to Tim Alan Studios over the years. Many clients have called us or referred friends for jobs that have included filming in the home of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit as well as events for the United Nations, Fitness Magazine, L'Oreal and the Torino region of Italy.

Tim Alan Studios is still dedicated and focused on producing great wedding videos, but we also realize that there is a weekday market in NYC for corporate events and promotions.

Avenue 5 Films specializes in unobtrusive/photojournalistic videographers and photographers for corporate events. The final product is normally a short edited piece that sticks to the heart of our wedding philosophy- capturing the essence of the day!

August 24, 2007

Sonia & Lewis, August 18; Wave Hill

Sonia and Lewis, doctors who met while working together in NYC, decided to embrace the outdoors as part of their August 18 wedding by choosing Wave Hill, nestled in a beautiful corner of the Bronx. The outdoors was a great host- providing amazing weather for a mid August day, so that Sonia, Lewis and all their guests could fully enjoy the beautiful gardens and their majestic views.

The day started with Lewis and Sonia arriving early to get ready in a few of the rooms of the main mansion at Wave Hill before exploring its never-ending gardens both alone and with their families and wedding party.

The Hudson River proved a perfect backdrop while Lewis and Sonia exchanged vows. The guests enjoyed an impromptu dance on the back patio from the couple during cocktails that followed. After their dance, Sonia slipped out of her beautiful white gown and into a traditional Indian dress while Lewis changed his tie to match his new wife's dress.

The reception began with the introduction of the couple followed right by the first dance- which was a remix intended to acknowledge their diverse backgrounds and cultures. The dance floor was rarely empty during the evening, with traditional Indian songs dominating, interspersed by some of Lewis' hard rock favorites from Bon Jovi, Metallica and Guns & Roses. A special dance by some bridesmaids, a few poignant toasts and a slideshow by Sonia's nephew were just a few of the highlights from what surely will be a night to remember for the lucky couple.

August 16, 2007

Live from Las Vegas: The Wedding & Event Videographer Convention

I am writing a short note as my week in Las Vegas winds down after attending the Wedding and Event Videographer Association Exposition (WEVA) Convention at Bally's Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Videographers from around the world convene in Las Vegas once a year to share ideas, technology and samples of their work. There is also two days of trade shows in which we can test out the latest equipment, speak directly to manufacturers and discover things that ultimately improve upon both our business and the finished products we deliver.

I have picked up a few new lenses, a small camera and a few other items for my studio at the tradeshow. The new camera will be offered as an option to couples who want to take it along on their honeymoon to take photos and video. It's small and produces high quality photo and video. Most important, though, is the camera does not need tapes and is VERY easy to use.

For me, though, the most exciting thing has been to talk to other videographers and hear the new exciting things that are happening at weddings around the country. Every region and area does things a little bit differently, so it's always interesting to hear what new ideas I can bring back to share with my brides.

We also are able to hear speakers from other industries such as wedding planners, photographers and DJs talk about what they do and give their insight on the wedding day.

I just came from a seminar given by an entertainer from California named Peter Merry. Peter has done a lot of research on what brides like and what makes a reception and wedding day a success. As a result of his research- in which he quoted a Knot survey in which fun and elegance tied for the two most important thing a bride wants in her reception- Peter has written a book- ''The Best Wedding Reception....Ever!'. It can be found on-line and in bookstores and will be promoted by Peter later this year on an appearance on the Today Show.

I have a few more seminars to attend and friends to catch up with, but will be back in NYC tomorrow with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm for the year ahead!

August 01, 2007

Going Vintage: Super 8 Film

In my last blog entry I wrote about how Super 8 film was used in the 50s and 60s at some weddings because it was the only option available.

It has many downfalls- lack of good coloring sometimes, shaky footage, over and under exposed film, no audio, hard to focus, expensive to produce and the list goes on. These very reasons and more are why many brides today WANT some Super 8 footage included with their wedding video. Many of today's cameras produce a pristine image with sound straight from the set of a Warner Brothers movie- amazing technology to document the wedding day. However, they lack a certain nostalgia for days gone by and simpler times that many couples want- if only for a few moments- on their own wedding video.

When I produce a wedding video, a major part of my goal is to evoke appropriate feelings throughout. A nice song or a beautiful shot placed at the right time goes a long way towards achieving this. Due to its unique, nostalgic look, Super 8 evokes feelings of old television documentaries or family home videos, which becomes an immediate and powerful way to tap into emotions.

When I'm shooting with a Super 8 camera, it's much different experience for me as well. There isn't a viewfinder for me to see and check my work, there is no sound to monitor, and each film reel lasts only 3 minutes to name a few. The camera I use doesn't have batteries, instead relying on a hand crank to provide the power. It makes that 'whirring' noise that many are familiar with and associate as another added charm of the Super 8 format. Hearing that noise and seeing the old-fashioned camera probably makes the bride feel like she has gone back in time- connecting in this special moment with the experiences of her own mother or grandmother.

Super 8 is not ideal for all parts of the wedding day, especially much of the reception, as it relies on excellent lighting.
The bridal suite is iffy sometimes, but in the demo below it was a beautiful day and there were plenty of windows letting in light. Outside the church or reception hall is always a safe bet as well for good footage. If the wedding is shot in NYC, a walk through the streets before the reception or a trip to Central Park in between are good ways to make use of natural light as well as to capture a vintage NYC look.

Shooting with Super 8 is definitely something I think is personal preference, which is why I have it as an a la carte option. I don't think it is necessary to have in order to get an amazing wedding video, however if you love that look and have dreamed of your wedding day in Super 8, it's really something that is hard to beat!

My Parents' Wedding: 40 Years later....

I've always thought how great it would be to be able to see video from my parents' wedding from June of 1969 at the Manor in West Orange, New Jersey.

They would have that glow of new love in their eyes and more importantly their voices- as they said their vows. All of my grandparents would be young, energetic and alive- their laughter and conversation a treasure for generations to come. I would get to hear what I imagine was a very interesting best man's speech by my Uncle Rob- my dad's twin brother. There would be relatives I know well and others I've never met- all dressed their best and enjoying the day with dancing, drinking and conversation.

Unfortunately, my parents don't have a wedding video. They have a good excuse, though, which is that filming weddings at that time was a rarity. And if it were filmed, it most likely would have been with a Super 8 camera, not capable of recording sound. To me, those sounds of the day- vows, toasts, conversation and more are what make getting a wedding video indispensable. Moving images without sound are nice, but hardly an adequate substitute for the real sounds that will bring your wedding to life in a way photographs never can for future generations. A lot of times people don't want a videographer at their wedding because they don't like video or think it will be annoying or obtrusive. With the right company, video is neither obtrusive or annoying, but instead a way to create an enduring legacy and memory for generations still yet to be born.

So while I will never have the chance to watch and enjoy their wedding video, it was with great excitement last week when I booked the wedding of Tenesha and Eric at the Manor in June of 2008- almost 39 years to the day my parents were married there. I have never been to the Manor, but next June will most certainly flashback in time as I film the events of the day and imagine what it would have felt, looked and sounded like on June 15, 1969....

July 20, 2007

Tara & Matthew; July 14: St. Patrick's

Tara and Matthew had the good fortune of being one of the very few New York couples that were able to book St. Patrick's Cathedral to host their wedding ceremony. They also had the good fortune of having a glorious day last Saturday, making things even better.

Tara got ready with her bridesmaids at the Sherry Netherland Hotel a few blocks north of St. Patrick's while Matthew arrived early at the church to speak with the priest about final details before claiming his spot at the alter to see his beautiful bride come down the aisle.

When Tara arrived, not only was she going to walk past her closest family and friends, but a throng of tourists and New Yorkers packed the back of the church as well to experience a wedding in one of the most famous churches in the world.

Tim Alan videographer, Lu, took position up front to ensure he got that excited look in Tara's eye as she approached the alter as well as the all-important exchange from the bride's father to the waiting groom. The ceremony was beautiful and the smiles and Tara and Matthew's faces never stopped, especially when Matthew placed the ring on her finger.

Tara and Matthew greeted their guests in the shadows of St. Patrick near Fifth Avenue before taking a limo to Central Park for photos. After the photo session they headed to the reception at the Harmonie Club, conveniently located close St. Patrick's so that guests did not have far to go. The couple arrived in time to enjoy most of cocktail hour before heading to the main ballroom for a night of dancing, toasts and overall fun.

July 18, 2007

Dan & Danielle; July 14, Tarrytown House

The Tarrytown House in Tarrytown, New York has a certain old world charm to it, which makes getting married take you back in time a little bit.

Dan and Danielle, a couple from New York City, decided that's exactly what they were looking for.... Geoff, A Tim Alan Studios videographer, spent the day with the couple starting from when Danielle shed tears while putting on her dress to the end of the evening, when the festive and emotional Mezinka dance honored both mothers.

In between there was a lot of time to take photos and make great use of the lush and expansive grounds. Dan and Danielle saw each other before the early evening ceremony, so that they would have time to take the very important photographs without cutting into their party time later on.

The 'Reveal' or moment when Dan saw Danielle for the first time was truly special, and an emotional one for the couple. They whispered intimate words to each other while basking in the site of one another in their wedding day clothes.

The outdoor ceremony was beautiful- helped by the amazing weather, beautiful landscape of the Tarrytown House and the well-decorated Chuppah that covered the bride and groom. A second camera discretely placed at the end of the aisle captured Dan's face as Danielle approached him as well as a quick kiss from the couple as they exited after their vows.

The expansive lawn of the Tarrytown House made for a great cocktail hour and gave Geoff plenty of opportunity to be creative and get artistic shots of both the landscape and people.

The reception was nonstop fun, starting with the introduction of the couple and first dance (to Al Green's 'Love & Happiness' which is used in the video recap below). A wild Hora, four toasts, more dancing, cutting the cake and the end-of-the-night Mezinka with the mothers made July 14, 2007 a day Dan and Danielle will not soon forget!

July 16, 2007

Tim Alan Studios Featured on

I spend so much time documenting the special days of other people, that it was quite the table-turner when a company approached me about documenting a day at Tim Alan Studios.

My first thought was that it was a company trying to get me to advertise with a new, slick technique. However, after some cursory research into (a cross between AOL and Youtube they say) I found it to be a very interesting and informative website with a lot of potential to educate and enrich the public.

Last Monday, a producer, cameraman and hostess (Who are all getting married this year!) came to Tim Alan Studios to document a day with me and to learn more about wedding videography in general. Their hope was that the uninformed bride would get a behind the scenes look at the work of a wedding videographer as well as to hear inside tips on what to look for and how to choose when faced with the videography question.

We moved to different parts of my studio as the hostess, Lilliana, peppered me with questions ranging from how I got started, to my personal style, favorite venues, tips on choosing a videographer as well as my thoughts on the importance of outtakes in a wedding video.

We watched wedding clips from Katie and Brad (July, 2005) whose wedding was filled with those unscripted yet priceless moments that really make having a video documentation worth its weight in gold after the event.

Within a week of our meeting, the highlight was on-line and ready to be viewed. They cut down the interviews and footage to a quick 4 and 1/2 minute feature that hit on the most important points that we covered. For a person who shoots and edits every day of my life, I have to say that they did a pretty good job!

July 11, 2007

Something Cute & Something Sad: Video's Presence Beyond the Wedding Day

Tim Alan Studios is well known for shooting weddings, but this doesn't mean that we don't get other requests within the video realm or that we don't have an eye for moments that are far more important than even sacred wedding vows.

We have filmed corporate events, created photo-montages for anniversaries and birthdays, filmed graduations, family history projects and much more. One of the benefits of having clients that like your work is that they want to use you again and think of you when these milestone events come along.

Recently I had the opportunity to do two unique and very different video projects.

Two weeks ago, the parent of a pre-school child called me and asked if I would be able to film the Thursday morning 'graduation' ceremony of her child's class two days later. I have filmed graduations, but never one where many of the students hadn't reached five yet. There were caps and gowns, diplomas and pomp and circumstance but there was also a clown, silly songs and Shel Silverstein poem readings. It's not hard to make four year olds look cute- they just are. I panned the classroom and the outdoor ceremony looking for reactions on faces, fingers rubbing tired eyes or messing combed hair and the poking and pushing of the kid next door. I found it all and more. At a wedding, some of my favorite footage is capturing the flower girl or ring bearer out of their natural element but still doing what little kids do. This graduation was like filming 25 ring bearers and flower girls at once. I had struck video gold! It was a fun event and something the parents will cherish for years to come and the kids will someday come to appreciate as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, I filmed something this year that was not uplifting or fun but will become even more valuable as an heirloom. Six months ago, my good friend Scott was blessed with the birth of his first child, Diana. His excitement was soon tempered by the news from his parents that his dad had been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. Scott and his wife Anita immediately flew east from Chicago to spend time with his father as he battled the early stage of the vicious disease. They also brought Diana, not even a month old, to meet her grandfather and spend time with him. I had a feeling that Diana wouldn't get too many moments with her grandfather, so I brought my video camera to the house to capture some family moments and conversation. I made them a short video along with photos I took that day. I said it was for the grandparents to remember Diana when she was back in Chicago. But I really knew it was for Scott, Anita and Diana to have when Mr. Shrum was gone.

Two days ago, Eugene R. Shrum passed away. He was very sick and it was probably for the best. A few days before, when the end was imminent, Scott indicated that the video is now one of his greatest possessions. It gave me chills and made me realize the lingering power and effect of some projects long after I have forgotten about them. The grandparents and the parents at a wedding- who might not be there a year or two after the wedding- live forever on the wedding video. This is not something people even think about when hiring a wedding videographer, but becomes a huge side benefit years after the person has passed as wedding videos are sometimes the only video the family has of that person. In Scott's own wedding video- which I filmed four years earlier- Mr. Shrum was quite the ham and played up to the camera often. These moments of real life from his father in good health, will now always be within arm's reach for Scott.

May Mr. Shrum, a great father, grandfather and man, rest in peace. And may his spirit live on in Diana and all children like the pre-schoolers that put a smile on our faces every day....

July 03, 2007

Lamor & Ieshah; July 1: The Sands

I met Lamor and Ieshah for the first time at their office in the Empire State Building. While having their office space in the tallest building in NYC makes them used to being pretty high, I'm sure it didn't compare to the top-of-the-world, happy feelings that were prevalent throughout their wedding day in Long Island on Sunday.

I met with Ieshah and her bridesmaids at the Fox Hollow Inn in Woodbury Long Island, while Adam walked the few blocks from his apartment in Brooklyn to film the early part of the day with Lamor and his groomsmen.

The girls did typical bridesmaid things including worrying about being late, fixing hair and make-up and wondering what the men were up to. Lamor and the groomsmen hung out and had fun while taking a limo ride around Brooklyn to some of his favorite places before heading to the Sands in Lido Beach.

Ieshah arrived at the Sands about a half hour before Lamor and took great pains to keep her beautiful dress and self out of view of both him and guests. She took refuge in the bridal suite for over an hour and expressed her eagerness for the ceremony to start as we got close.

Lamor was all smiles and was kept loose by his younger brother and best man who couldn't stop smiling and making everyone laugh. He promised me that he would book me in his projected year of marriage: 2035.

The outdoor ceremony had only a slight threat of bad weather and went off without a hitch. Lamor, a minister himself, was pleased that his pastor mentor was able to officiate. After the ceremony, the wedding party went to the nearby marina for photos with Jirel and Sandy from A Raisin in the Sun Photography while the guests enjoyed cocktail hour.

The reception was started off with the introduction of the entire wedding party before Lamor and Ieshah finally made their entrance to raucous applause and cheers. They moved right into first dance before a few toasts by the wedding party as well as emotional words from the groom. Dancing was non-stop except for the breaks to enjoy the delicious food and wedding cake.

Boris & Neha; June 30. The Bourne Mansion

I had never been to the Bourne Mansion, but was impressed right away with the beautiful tree-lined roadway that led to the awe-inspiring mansion on St. John's campus in Oakdale, Long Island.

I actually beat both the bride and groom to the Bourne Mansion so I had plenty of time to get shots of the exteriors. As I was filming the gate outside, Neha's limo pulled up behind me, which led to the second shot of the video below as it passed by me.

After an initial inspection of the reception and ceremony locations, Neha spent her first hour in the upstairs bridal suite getting her make-up and hair done before putting on her dress.

Boris arrived about 45 minutes later with his groomsmen, which Adam captured while I spent most of my time with Neha. Upon a quick visit downstairs with the groomsmen, I realized that one of Boris' best men, Mitch, is a teammate of mine on a recreational NYC kickball team (don't laugh please!) I play for. I have to say, we were both quite surprised to see one another!

Boris and Neha planned to see each other before the ceremony in order to take advantage of the lush grounds and beautiful landscape for photos before the ceremony. As Neha exited the bridal suite to descend the sweeping staircase to meet Boris, Adam and photographer Dan Loh were discretely but well positioned to capture the excited look on the face of Boris as Neha approached. The couple spent a few moments in private conversation before heading to the back garden and rooms for photos and to sign the marriage license.

A few stressful moments with flowers and chair covers quickly were forgotten once the ceremony began in an intimate downstairs room. Garlands were exchanged along with rings and guests opened a symbolic cookie to symbolize the 'sweetness' of life and relationships. The crinkling of over 100 cellophane wrappers opening at once put a smile on the bride and groom's faces but made me wonder if I was getting interference from the sound I heard through my headphones!

Cocktail hour on the beautiful back lawn with the backdrop of the ocean made for a memorable time before guests headed into the main ballroom for a night of fun. Boris and Neha, both video game buffs, had each table labeled by a different game to go along with beautiful floral arrangements. The reception flew by and guests left with a bottle of port wine to remember the special day in Oakdale.

June 29, 2007

Lucia & Massimo; June 22, NYC

The day started at the W Union Square- a beautiful space on a perfect day. Lucia got ready in a suite that overlooked Union Square while Massimo got ready at their apartment in Hell's Kitchen. My assistant Adam was with Massimo, capturing all the moments between him and his family while I stayed with Lucia at the W.

I navigated the room with Annabel from Belathee Photography, as we both took turns getting some close-ups of Lucia getting her make-up applied. I also took out my Super 8 camera to get some footage of Lucia in the well-lit bedroom. The Super 8 camera is a wonderful extra if you like the look and feel of vintage film.

The main drama in the bridal suite centered on the need for a steamer to de-wrinkle the bottom of the wedding dress. When the steamer finally arrived it did not work, but a couple of resourceful bridesmaids were finally able to figure it out and fix the dress!

The ceremony at Old St. Patrick's was beautiful and Lucia and Massimo made great use of the picturesque courtyard afterwards to take beautiful photos and to greet their guests as they exited the church. I also took some great Super 8 footage here, as the lighting and atmosphere were perfect.

After photos at the church, everyone headed uptown, back to the W Hotel for cocktail hour and the reception. Annabel and I took Massimo and Lucia on a quick walk alone through Union Square to make use of the excellent NYC backdrop.

A sweeping staircase took the wedding guests to the second floor where cocktail hour overlooking Park Avenue took place. The relaxed feel of cocktail hour was a nice way for the guests to relax and the bride and groom to mingle before the evening of festivities ahead. I was pleased to see Eric from A Starry Night providing the music once we entered the main room for the reception. I had recommended Eric to Lucia during our initial meeting and did not realize that she had hired him.

The highlights of the reception included the diverse music- both Italian and American hits along with a beautiful first dance to Coldplay's 'Yellow', spirited dancing by Massimo's friends and a touching speech by the maid of honor.

June 21, 2007

Old St. Patrick's Cathedral: SoHo

There are probably thousands of places to have a wedding ceremony in and around NYC: myriad churches, temples and chapels for one thing. You also have parks, reception halls, apartments and houses that are popular spots to say "I do". Some people exchange vows while submerged in the ocean in scuba gear, skydiving over the country side or on top of the Empire State Building.

The reason I bring this up is because I am shooting two weddings this weekend, and both of them happen to be at the same place: Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in SoHo.

I have to admit that I didn't make the connection right away. I knew I had two weddings there this year, but didn't realized until going over my wedding notes last week that they were both this weekend! This is definitely a unique experience in that I have never shot in the same location on back-to-back days in my career as a wedding videographer.

Old St. Patrick's is a beautiful church with an incredible history. A beautiful brick wall with an ornate Iron Gate entrance surrounds it. Many SoHo shoppers will recognize the sidewalks that surround the church as a weekend market where some of SoHo's most unique goods are sold.

I have shot at Old Saint Patrick's before so I know the best place to stand, the lighting situation (very tough) as well as some other intricacies specific to working there. The last wedding I shot there- John and Mary in May of 2006- was a beautiful affair with a unique twist at the end. After the ceremony, John and Mary were greeted by a New Orleans Jazz Band in the church courtyard that led a festive parade of wedding guests and gawking tourists to the Puck Building, only a few blocks away.

If you are looking for a beautiful NYC Catholic Church and an amazing reception site close by, the combination of Old Saint Patrick's and the Puck Building is hard to beat!

As far as my weekend, I'm pretty excited for the challenge as well as the uniqueness of the situation. I guess with all of the possibilities of places to shoot when working in NYC, it's cool to see the world is still a small place once in a while!

June 12, 2007

Wedding Films NYC has linked to Technorati....

Wedding Films NYC is pleased to announce it will be featured and promoted on the premier blog listing site, technorati.

This will be a way for the to be found by those interested in weddings and wedding films anywhere in the world.

June 06, 2007

July 7, 2007; A Wedding Postponed

I never like to answer the phone and hear the following: "You were SUPPOSED to film my wedding on....."

The moment I got this call on Wednesday, I wasn't sure where it would lead. Many times bookings are made months and even years in advance, so the eventualities of time leave open the possibility that things can happen that might alter when and if your wedding actually occurs.

In this case, the call was from one of my brides-to-be whose husband-to-be had suffered a knee injury. This injury needed surgery and sufficient recovery time. There would not be enough time, unfortunately, for him to be ready for the long wait at the alter, the first dance and many other wedding day activities in which having good legs would be essential.

They decided to try and postpone the wedding until November, so she was making calls to see if vendors and venues would be flexible to this change. Fortunately, I was still available on the new date so a change on my end was not a problem.

Other vendors might not be so accommodating.

It's important to be aware of what will happen if you find yourself in a similar situation. Will there be additional charges? Will the vendor already be booked at another event? Will the reception site or church you love be booked through 2009? Make sure to go over these possibilities even though you are sure YOUR wedding day will go off without a hitch. Family emergencies, weather disasters and even relationship roadblocks are just a few of the possibilities that could postpone a date that you had set in stone in your head and heart. Have the vendor include in the contract what would happen if you had to postpone or even cancel the wedding entirely. It probably won't happen to you, but it's better to be prepared in case it does.

So I am now available to shoot on July 7, the most popular wedding day of 2007. I started receiving inquiries for the date well over a year in advance. It seems that many people like the idea of a 07/07/07 wedding date on their marriage certificate, as I received an abnormally high amount of inquiries for the date.

So now, unless I get a last-minute call from a bride who didn't book a videographer yet, I will be spending the most popular wedding date of 2007 at the beach!

Unobtrusive? How about invisible....

Many brides and grooms are hung up about the videographer being unobtrusive, but they still want amazing shots of themselves coming down the aisle, saying their vows, exchanging the rings and all that goes into a memorable ceremony.

Sometimes getting that footage from any angle is a difficult task.

At the rain-soaked affair on May 19 at the Church of Heavenly Rest on 90th and 5th, I was told that the church had very strict video rules. The rules essentially meant that I had to shoot the entire ceremony from a balcony in the back of the church, about 200 feet from where the nuptials were going to take place.

In a dark church from a distance like this, the challenge can be quite daunting. Fortunately the bride had asked the church in advance to turn up the lights, knowing the difficulties I would face shooting from the balcony. This was a tremendous help, and shows why such pre-wedding communication between vendors and bride/groom can be so important.

I met with the groom after setting my tripod and camera in the balcony. A crucial part of shooting from so far away was for me to get impeccable sound. Putting a wireless mic on the groom was instrumental in achieving this. He was hesitant about having any wires or mics show as not to ruin or disturb the immortality of photos, so I tucked the mic under his lapel so that it would not be seen by anyone. Clothes do not alter the quality of sound with the mics we use, so making the mic completely invisible was not a problem.

Many people ask why we even need to use a mic at all if the church has a PA system. The reason is that the quality of the church sound system when recorded to film is muffled at best. If I choose to use my on-camera microphone to record the vows through the church PA system, your "I do's" on the wedding video might sound more like the conductor of the six train telling you that you are arriving at 59th street. Wireless mics on the camera allow the best sound from the most important part of the day to be transmitted unfettered directly to my camera, so every word and inflection is crystal clear. Even at two hundred feet away and thirty feet in the air, I could still hear the bride and groom whisper their greetings to each when they met at the alter. No one else in the church- not even the priest or best man- could hear these words. When the bride and groom watch the video later, not only will this moment bring back a flood of memories, but it will also be a nice surprise.

As far as the video quality from far away, I was able to zoom in close enough to see the bride's face light up during the vows and see the excited anticipation in the groom's face as he hung on every word from his bride-to-be while she placed a ring on his finger. From my lofty perch, I was also able to pan the line of bridesmaids and groomsmen standing up at the wedding to catch their expressions and reactions while also getting some beautiful shots of the interior of the church.

Given the limitation of shooting from the balcony, the only shot I needed to get that would be impossible was the face of the bride coming down the aisle. This is the moment many brides have imagined since they were a little girl.

I needed to get this shot.

From my spot in the balcony, a back-of-the-head shot was all I could get. So once the tripod was set and the camera was rolling, I took my small but amazing HD handheld camera to a pew in the back and caught a few moments of the beautiful bride coming down the aisle before returning to the main camera in the balcony.

With the small size of the camera and the stealth of my shooting, the priest would have just assumed I was a friend of the bride!

May 31, 2007

Rainy Day? No Problem!

Last Saturday I shot a wedding in which rain was our constant companion. The church of the Heavenly Rest on 90th and 5th provided a sanctuary from the rain, but the rain also provided some memorable moments. When the bride arrived, her father was there to greet her with a beautiful white umbrella. The footage I got was priceless: father grabbing the hand of his daughter while carefully sheltering her from the constant drizzle with an umbrella right out of a fairy tale.

Following the ceremony, the groom took over the role of valiant helper, guiding the bride from the church to the waiting limo, making sure that she was covered every step of the way.

As they made their entrance into the beautiful glass enclosed Power Station at the Museum of Natural History, I even thought the groom might take off his coat and lay it over a puddle that stood in his way. Fortunately good sense won out over chivalry, but it would have made for excellent photos and video!

The footage of the impressive Power Station at the museum was even more beautiful because of the water on the 40 foot high all-glass structure. The high quality image I get using an HD camera enabled me to zoom in on a single rain drop on a window with great detail and then pull back to show the entire room and area surrounding it.

My purpose in writing this is not to have brides flipping through The Farmer's Almanac and planning weddings on "100% chance of rain" days. I too hope for sunny wedding days if only to make it easier on my equipment and to have a more well-adjusted bride to work with. However, when rain does come, I don't let that dampen my spirits or creative energy and you should not let it effect how you feel about your day and the passion you put into planning it. If rain is inevitable, use that same energy you used while choosing the cake, flowers and favors to buy umbrellas, ponchos, and other rain essentials that are as equally in sync with the wedding theme and style you worked so hard to create!

May 23, 2007

Telling Your Story: Inside the Wedding Edit

If I don't write a very interesting first line to this blog entry, you probably won't want to continue to read. You still there? Well, I passed that test. Are you still reading now? Good. I've still got you interested in what I am writing and you are anticipating the next sentence, hoping it keeps moving this blog and story along.

Well, the editing of a good wedding video is done much the same way. Many people hire a videographer and assume that as long as that person knows every detail of their camera and owns top-notch gear, the wedding video should turn out great.

That's not necessarily the case, however.

While it is very important to have a videographer who owns the latest equipment and who knows how to use it, what's more important is that once that footage gets back to the studio, the editor knows what to do with it.

If the editor doesn't get a feel for your wedding day and you as a couple, the finished product can sometimes feel like somebody else's wedding. It's all about choices: what music to use, how long to keep a shot on the screen, whether or not to use transitions, natural sound or music, all of the toast or just the parts that won't embarrass people upon video viewing....

As much as I love to film weddings, it pales in comparison to the joy I receive when I get to edit that footage into roughly a one-hour movie that tells the story of YOUR day. I am a painter and the footage from the videotapes is my paint. What I do with those tapes and that footage will determine if your video is viewed as a priceless Picasso or a $5 painting from the flea market.

Telling your story involves more than just putting the footage on the computer and adding a few songs. It's about getting a feel for what makes you tick as a couple, understanding the ambiance and mood you established for your wedding, grasping your style and flair, knowing your preferred musical tastes, knowing what details are important to you and more. It's about knowing certain conversations with bridesmaids and groomsmen before the ceremony are better served NOT to be covered by music while other conversations due to content SHOULD be covered!

Before I even got into filming weddings, I was a writer and storyteller first. At the University of Michigan, I minored in Film but majored in English with a special interest in creative and expository writing. Upon graduating I wrote two manuscripts (one of which is getting published in 2008) and worked as a reporter at Sports Illustrated. One of my greatest challenges at Sports Illustrtated was to come up with a lead line so compelling that the editor would not only want to keep reading, but that he might comment to me later that he enjoyed the story. If this were the case, then I knew that the readership of the magazine would most likely also be just as riveted.

It's the same feeling I take to the editing bay when I sit down with your video. You are that editor from Sports Illustrated who I want to win over and your friends and family are the general readership who I aim to please just the same.

When you play the finished DVD, I want the story to grab you and those you are watching it with. I want you to anticipate what is coming next without thinking about how terrible the music is or that the 30 second dance sequence with Aunt Doris is on screen for 29 seconds too long. I want each moment to move to the next and each part of the day to come naturally, all the while telling your story in a style that suits you. When the video ends and the credits roll, I want people to be disappointed that it's over already but at the same time feeling that they didn't miss a moment.

And like a good writer who starts with a good lead line, I make sure your video ends with a powerful close as well. Once the credits roll and the excitement and the enjoyment sink in, I just might throw on a few outtakes- perhaps even that forbidden conversation mentioned above- a memorable close in the most important movie you will ever own!

You still reading? Great! Glad to see I took you to the end!

May 11, 2007

Allegra & Josh; May 5, The Puck Building

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived at Josh and Allegra's apartment on 61st street was a chalkboard near the kitchen in which Allegra had left Josh a message kindly reminding him A) when to get dressed B) when to leave for the ceremony C) not to forget to the rings and D) to not even think about having more than one or two cocktails!

Josh was busy putting on the finishing touches when Adam and I arrived, and we filmed his last minute primping as well as nervous conversations with his groomsmen and a quick message to Allegra. We followed them a few blocks to Patsy's Pizzeria, where I promised Josh I would tell Allegra he was just drinking orange juice.

Allegra was getting ready a few blocks away at her parent's apartment. When we arrived the hairdresser was busy fixing up one of the bridesmaids while Allegra was in the bedroom getting her make-up done. Allegra's mother and two bridesmaids then helped her into her beautiful Vera Wang dress and Jimmy Choo shoes before we headed outside for the waiting limo ride to the Puck Building. Fortunately there was enough room in the limo for me to come as well, which allowed me to get some great shots of Allegra as we headed downtown.

The Puck Building is one of my favorite places to shoot, and when we arrived Allegra's father met us outside to help his beautiful daughter out of the limo. We had called ahead to tell him to clear Josh out of the bridal suite so that he would not see Allegra before she came down the aisle. Inside I found Josh nervously pacing and talking with his groomsmen and family as the guests found their seats near the beautifully arranged chuppah.

The service was interfaith with both a minister and rabbi alternating throughout, and incorporating pieces of both Josh and Allegra into the ceremony. When Josh broke the glass and it was official, they retreated back to the bridal suite for the ketubah and license signing as well as a celebratory toast.

One of the nice things about getting married at the Puck Building is the beautiful opportunity for photo and video both inside and outside of the building. Husband and wife photographer team (Weddings by Two) took Josh and Allegra out to Houston Street for some quintessential NYC street shots. I tend to follow the couple and photographers documentary-style trying get some artistic footage while also trying to catch snippets of conversation. The cocktail hour at the Puck building is also one of my favorite to shoot because of the beautiful views, angles and glass walls that help make creative, artistic shots come in bunches. We were also lucky to get a beautiful sunset with spectacular colors that allowed for some amazing photo and video.

The reception was fantastic, highlighted by an amazingly choreographed first dance by Josh and Allegra, a rowdy hora and and an inspired performance from the Hank Lane Band on hand. My parting words to Josh and Allegra were to make sure they logged in to my blog at the end of the week to enjoy their video at the incredible Four Seasons in Maui. I also reminded Josh that once in Maui, he was free to enjoy the Mai Thais!