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 MyEverything.com

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 myeverything.com (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.