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 weddingfilmsnyc.com 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!