I still remember our first meeting at a great Japanese restaurant about a year ago. Since then, I’ve seen and hung out with Carmen and Elton many times. It’s such a pleasure to be present in their life even after the whole film process.
Without a doubt, we had our best time in Florence…
Carmen is a wedding planner (devotedtoyou.ca) so, as you can imagine, the organization of her destination wedding in Italy was perfection.
The nature however was far from perfection as volcanic ashes forced many flight changes/re-routes and non-stop rain threatened the wedding ceremony outdoors. Finally, the rain gave way merely 5 minutes before the ceremony.
And what a majestic wedding ceremony it was, thanks to custom vows, italian accents everywhere, and of course the magnificent backdrop of Florence; allowing me to shape a rich and cultured tale that, I am embarrassed to admit, I personally have relived tens if not hundreds of times already.
I would like to also quickly point out that I killed myself shooting this wedding by myself. First time in three years, I had to tackle a 3 camera shoot on my own. Lot’s of sweating and stress, but I survived!
Thank you Carmen and Elton for the honor of filming your wedding.
Thank you Joee Wong (jwphotography.ca) for making it all happen and putting us together long before my official launch :)
Speaking of which, watch out for the new blog on February 6th!
As I mentioned earlier, I shot this solo, which definitely wasn’t easy.
2 days before the wedding, I shot the couple hanging out and walking around the city, as well as their last meeting with a planner.
Here’s how I shot it:
7d with 24-70mm f2.8 - locked on a tripod, moved a few times during an hour long meeting
5d mark II on a monopod and slider, moving around, shooting mostly with a 50mm f1.2 and 24mm f1.4
I put lapel mics on the couple and the planner. Two were wireless with a feed to zoom h4n and the planner had an iriver on her.
This setup allowed me to change positions and get different angles as I was still getting a static angle and good audio of the whole conversation.
The B&G were getting ready at the same villa, on two different floors, which made it easy for me to shoot both of them in the morning. I had to run up and down 2 floors, which seemed more like 10 after 2 hours of shooting, lol.
The hardest thing to shoot was the ceremony. 3 cameras, 6 microphones and monitoring audio is not an easy task for a one person during 20 min ceremony.
My setup was as follows:
70-200mm f2.8 on a 7d, on a tripod, on the right side; throughout the entire ceremony. First, I had it set up to shoot the groom’s reaction during the processional. During the remaining of the ceremony, that was a bride’s angle and officiant’s angle camera.
24-70mm f2.8 on a 5d mark II, on a tripod, placed on a terrace up the stairs. It was first set to shoot straight down the aisle for the beginning of the ceremony. I run up during a reading to reposition the camera. I placed it in a far left corner of the terrace to get a better master wide shot for the end of the ceremony (first kiss, release of the doves etc.).
I was moving around during the processional, shooting with a 5d mark II on a monopod, mostly with a 50mm. During a reading or the officiant speaking, I would shoot complimenting angle of the couple on a monopod, go reframe other cameras or shoot some cutaways.
For the vows, I switched to 135mm f2 to get a groom’s angle.
The reception was fairly easy to shoot, I must admit. Everything was pretty laid back, only 2 short speeches, nothing formal.
This was an all EOS shoot. Lenses used:
50 f1.2, 24 1.4 II, 135 f2, 70-200 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8 and 14mm 2.8
2x sennheiser wireless mics
tascam DR-07 with a lapel mic on a reader
Two tripods, atlas 30 and manfrotto monopod
I tried something new with the color grading to boost the dynamic range even further in post. My goal was to give the location its justice (mostly dynamic range in wide shots) and keep an overall warm tone throughout the piece, yet still keeping the colors very natural, not overly saturated.
I especially love how the meeting with a planner became almost a Story Clip shoot. Federica, the planer, started asking Carmen and Elton about their relationship, how they met etc. I really love that part, as it feels very natural. I got a lot more of it and it definitely made the main feature that much better and richer.
Since sightseeing and typical tourist activities were such a huge part of Carmen and Elton's experience of Florence and their wedding there. I really wanted to emphasize that in this piece.
That's why you'll see them walking around Florence admiring marvelous architecture, trying traditional Italian gelato and having coffee, Italian coffee :)
They're both true explorers and love to travel. It had to come through in this clip.
I particularly enjoy the moment, where Elton says: "I choose now to walk this path with you, wherever it leads..." and you see them both looking at a map. Very literal and metaphorical message at the same time.
The closing shot was filmed with its use in mind. I remember the entire shuttle bus waiting for me for 10 min, after I jumped out of it when it was about to take off, yelling that I had to get this one last shot. I knew where it was going...
For those seeking international education in 2011:
Michael Y. Wong
in a workshop:
Running on a Tightrope - Mastery of Modern Day Event Filmmaking
Honolulu Hawaii, Mar 1-4 2011
This is going to be an comprehensive, insightful but simply AWESOME learning experience.