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....

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