We were so excited when Robby and Joti got in touch with us last year to see if we’d be willing to spend a week with them in Edmonton to film their week long wedding celebrations. Its not often that you get to spend so much time with a couple and this was a fantastic opportunity to produce some really unique content for them. As well creating their wedding films we decided it would be great to come up with something that they could play at their wedding reception. On one of our Skype calls Robby and Joti suggested a movie-trailer/perfume commercial type video which would compliment the classical oscar party style reception they were throwing.
So away I went to have a think about how to make something that felt high-end that I could shoot and edit within a few days (quite a challenge!). The plan was to shoot in a variety of locations to make our “world” feel as big as possible, include multiple people, sets-ups and emotional moments along with some beauty shots. Our main location was the stunning Fairmont Hotel MacDonald which really added a sense of grandeur to the video along with some more intimate moments in the River Valley. I also had the opportunity to shoot some great footage from a few of the events that took place earlier in the week which were full of moments of complete happiness and joy. From the beginning I knew that we would need a great narrative to tie everything together. The original plan was to interview a few key friends and family members but in the run up to the filming I felt that we might need something a little more scripted, just to get that movie trailer (rather than documentary) feel. And so I came up with the idea of “what is love?” and how do Robby and Joti epetimise that? The script pretty much wrote itself during the first few days I was there, after getting to know everyone a little more and seeing how the footage was coming together it became very clear what Robby and Joti were all about and I had one of those amazing 10 minutes when words flew out of my brain and onto the keyboard!
When we discussed the idea of this short film I have to admit that I felt a little nervous! I wasn’t sure if we were setting the bar a little high and if we could pull it off in such a short space of time. But in the end we were lucky to have such a great couple to work with who really threw themselves, along with their friends and family into the project. We’re so happy with how this little video turned out! And we can’t wait to create some more unique projects with couples in the future!
WE’RE COMING TO TORONTO!
I can’t get over Tamara’s smile. It doesn’t stop! Tamara and Andrew’s wedding was one of warmth, family and crazy fun. The day started a little grey but as you can see the sun popped out and gave us the most beautiful lighting conditions and some of my favourite all time wedding-film shots. Check out that sunset and those clouds! This wedding had such great energy with so much personality. Tamara and Andrew put a lot of effort into representing themselves and their cultural backgrounds through the details and activities present at the reception. The bag-piper-entrance was definitely a unique touch and was a great surprise whilst Tamara’s Pilipino influences brought music, dancing and good times!
Danielle and I were married a few years ago now but I still remember how nerve wracking it was trying to come up with the “perfect” words to say to her in front of our closest friends and family. Not only are you making promises for life but you’re likely opening up emotionally in front of people that you might not have done so before. I would estimate that in around 75% of the weddings we film couples read their own vows to each other and it is such a great way to make your ceremony a little more personal and meaningful. I’m so happy that we wrote our own vows and I’m positive that when a couple watches their wedding film and hears the emotion in their voices they are too.
HOW TO WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS (The Kismet Method)
So what is the best way to come up with your own vows? I believe the worst thing you can do is sit down with a pen and paper. You’re trying to climb a mountain of emotion! You’re beginning the process with a blank piece of paper and all you can think about is how badly you don’t want it to be blank! And when you do finally write something down it looks a little cheesy. This is a process that requires baby steps. First of all, just concentrate on trying to come up with some content, good or bad.
Think about what state of mind you’re in when you come up with your most creative ideas. Maybe go for a walk and clear your mind or lay back on the couch and close your eyes. For myself, I went for a drive and set the “voice memo” app on my iphone to record. I played our favourite music on the stereo and thought about our relationship. After a while I just started talking to myself about how I felt, not just in the present, but how I felt when we met and how I hoped I would feel in the future. I talked about my favourite things about our relationship ad about Danielle. When I got home I listened through everything I had said and wrote down my favourite lines and phrases. At that point I had all the content I needed and it was just time for a little editing and tweaking.
You want to think of your vows as a mini story. And by that I mean structure it with a beginning, middle and an end. Take a look at all the lines you wrote down and group them together. The beginning stuff might be phrases that talk about how you felt when you first met or even something like “I can’t believe I’m standing here today”. You’re looking for phrases that set you up get you into the main part of your vows. The middle will likely be the bulk of your vows. These are your promises and commitments. Just like a hero faces a series of “trials” in the middle of a story think about what “trials” you might face together as a couple. How will you overcome those? What promises will you make so that your partner knows that your relationship can take on life’s ups and downs.
Next you want to round of your vows with something fitting. Take a look through your content and see if anything jumps out. You could reference the future (“I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you”) or it could even be some kind of giving of thanks (“thank you for making me the person I am today, I love you”). OK, those lines aren’t exactly corkers, but you get the picture.
Finally you’ll need to edit those vows and trim the “fat”. Honestly, your vows don’t need to be 2 pages long. And you don’t need to say “I love you so much” seven times (they already know that!). Is there anything you’ve said twice? Are there any words you put in just because you thought you should? Remember, this is a genuine statement, coming straight from the heart and often simpler is better. Show the vows to a couple of friends and see what they think. Having a set of fresh eyes is so important (by the way, make sure to do all of this at least a few weeks before your wedding!).
READING YOUR VOWS
Whether you’re reading your own vows or traditional vows it doesn’t hurt to practice so that you can deliver your lines with confidence and be heard. No matter what, you’re going to get emotional and a little forgetful. So write them out nice and clearly and give yourself the freedom to glance at the words every now and again. In an ideal situation you’ll know everything by heart (very difficult!) but at the very least memorise your final line(s) so that you can look straight into their eyes deliver some of the most meaningful words you’ll ever say.
In the end there is no real “magic bullet” answer to writing your vows but I hope that our advice helps someone out there. Take a look through our films and see who inspires you. What sounded good to you and what wasn’t your cup of tea. As I said above, its all about baby steps. Start early and take your time. We’re always happy to help and we wish you the best of luck!
Its always the audio that drives the narrative of our wedding films and in most cases its a combination of letters, vows and speeches. But Indy and Sanj didn’t have any of those! So what do we do? We talk, listen and pay attention. We spent a little time with them during their reception casually chatting about their relationship and recording what was said. We’re so grateful that these guys were willing to take a little time out to do that, when you watch you’ll see it was totally worth it!
We really love this film. Indy and Sanj were such a joy to be around because not only were they very personable and easy going but when they talked about their relationship it reminded us so much of our own experience when we were an ocean apart. Hearing Indy say that his days didn’t feel complete unless he’d head from Sanj really put a smile on our faces. We know exactly how that feels! You can tell how their relationship has been built on such a solid foundation just by seeing how at ease they were around each other. They were constantly playing, joking and enjoying each other’s company, and it was a real pleasure to be able to capture those moments.
Oh and one other thing, check out the colour in this wedding! I love the bold red and blue, its so punchy and complimentary to the decor of the venue, especially on a bright sunny day. Anyway, enough talking, time to watch…
You might have gathered from the title, that this is not a wedding film. It’s actually a short film/trailer produced for a video game, called “Deus Ex, Mankind Divided”(made by Eidos Montreal). The trailer was made by the talented folks at Goldtooth Creative in Vancouver and I (Mark) was brought on board to help write, develop, shoot and edit.
This was really an incredible project to be a part of. I spent several years working as the Supervising Editor at Goldtooth Creative and so it was a real pleasure to be back in the studio, working alongside the Director, visual effects artists and management team. All of us working on the film were really invested in the project having also worked on other trailers for this game and and the previous title “Deus Ex, Human Revolution”. We all worked together to develop the story and come up with creative ways to bring a science fiction dystopian future to life.
Working on a variety of projects like this really helps us to develop our skills as film makers, and I think that is something that helps us at Kismet Creative stand out. There’s always an element of feedback that un-intentioanlly goes between different film making scenarios or working environments. For example, every week in the summer I am filming Weddings in Vancouver and Toronto, capturing couples enjoying their wedding days and feeling completely in love. This was something I could apply to the happier moments in this film. Conversely, working at part of a visual effects pipeline on a large-budget project teaches you so much about paying very close attention to detail. That, of course, will make our wedding films better for the future. We’re lucky that in both Toronto and Vancouver there are such a variety of projects to get involved in. The independent film and commercial industries are strong in both cities and it only makes sense to work with as many creative people as possible!
Anyway, I would love to write and write about this project, but the NDA I signed prevents me from saying any more! There’s a couple of cameo appearances from myself and Danielle in here so watch out for those, but most of all enjoy!
We like to think of ourselves as story driven film makers and we’re always looking for ways to make each wedding film different and stand out against other wedding videographers in Toronto and Vancouver. I find myself wondering, should I change the structure of our edits? Should I change the way we film? Maybe we do something different with he colours?
But the thing is I like the way we structure edits, the way we film and the way we manipulate colours. I don’t want to change things just for the sake of making something different. When you deliberately stylize your wedding films before even meeting a couple, you’re setting yourself up to look dated, one dimensional and “canned”.
So then we think about the story, how can we that different? When the main plot of a wedding day is essentially the same for the majority of people (two people get ready, get married and party the night away) it can be a real challenge to present it in a way without wondering if you’re just going through the motions.
The word “story” gets thrown around a lot. And personally I feel that its used without much thought because the word “story” is such a general term. “I went to the store and bought a packet of chips”. There we go, a story! I’m a story teller! But is it any good? No. Its dull. What really makes a good story?
Recently I had a bit of an epiphany. And it was right after watching Star Wars the Force Awakens for the second time when we were in Toronto for the winter. Yes, thats right, Star Wars just became a big influence on our wedding film making.
…..Possible plot spoiler coming up….
If you’ve seen The Force Awakens (I’m just gonna assume that you have OK?) you’ll know that the plot is essentially the same as Star Wars: A New Hope (plus a bit of ESB and ROTJ too). And Star Wars a New Hope is essential the same plot as a bizzilion other fairy tales and stories told over time. But when I watch these films I just don’t care. And its because I love the characters. Not only do I love them but I find them really interesting. And the characters don’t just include people, the characters are also the places. I left the theatre, not really caring so much about what happens next in the plot, but wanting to know more about the people and places. Who were they, where did they come from and how will they develop? When I think about my favourite films, its ALWAYS the characters that I’m drawn to. Its so simple, but such a revelation will really help us progress as wedding film makers.
It doesn’t matter if weddings are often same because the characters will ALWAYS be different. Its up to us to find out what makes you, your guests and your venue’s interesting. What are your motivations, your fears and your hopes. One of the biggest compliments we receive about our work is when a stranger watches a wedding film and feels like they got to know the couple. This is the aspect of film making that we want to take further because if you can empathize with characters you can also share their journey.
So now I’m not going to think of ourselves as story driven film makers. We’re character driven film makers.
Take a look at Paul and Andrew’s wedding film. For me, the most interesting part of their story is Paul’s journey, from being someone who didn’t think he could find happiness to meeting someone who changed everything for him.
I’m so lucky to have the most amazing wife in Danielle. She makes me incredibly happy and I’m still a little giddy when ever I wake up net to her. Her greatest gift to me is our daughter Isla. I will never know the pain and discomfort that Danielle went through to bring Isla safety into this world and I will be eternally grateful for that. Last year I made a short film and this year I have done the same. This is literally my favourite project ever! Looking back through all the moments we’ve shared as a family is a fantastic experience and one I intend to keep doing every year. I can’t believe how much little Isla has grown….
For anyone that is interested, the footage was shot on a Sony A7s and a Panasonic LX100. I bought the LX100 to have a more “pocketable” camera that I could carry around and film little snippets as we go. I’ve been super impressed by this camera! Image quality and usability are top notch and if you’re looking for something that takes great pictures, superb video but doesn’t have the baulk of a DSLR I would encourage you to check this little guy out.
I really felt a connection with Ruby and Armand. I think its really just that they reminded me of my and Danielle’s relationship. Just like us, they met at a time of their lives when neither of them had absolutely any desire to be in a relationship and they were completely happily single. I read once that you can only truly love someone when you love yourself and I think its this state of mind that gives you the foundation for being a great partner. When you just happen to meet someone who is in the same state of mind you can’t help but be drawn to each other. Its your secret club of happiness and it quickly evolves into a state of love. Ruby and Armand soon found themselves spending day after day with each other and realized that they were meant to be.
This video is a little different to many of our films because we incorporated some interview footage. Often interviews can feel a little “rigid” to me but I wanted to just film a conversation that I had with each of them. I felt that I wanted to learn more about them and present a glimpse into their experience of meeting which could compliment the great best man’s speech. It co-incided with some thinking I’d been doing recently about character development (all to come in the next blog post) and how I can expand the story-telling process by revealing some more details about a couple’s personality. I’m hoping you like it because I think we’ll be doing more of it in the future!
Anyway, back to the wedding. Awesome couple with amazing friends. A beautiful fall day, stunning location and best of all……..a smoke machine!!! (seriously, can more people have smoke machine’s at their weddings please?)
Directed and edited by Mark Relf
Additional cinematography by Daniel Brand
Photography by David Cho Photography
Co-ordination by Weddings by Mia
Flowers by V&J Plant Shop
DJ’d by Brent Faddies
Featuring Vancouver Flipbook
In all the time we’ve been filming weddings in Vancouver, we’ve only shot 2 weddings in the rain. Pretty unbelievable huh? That might seem lucky but I’ve always found the grey days to be lovely to shoot on. Everything is a little softer, quieter, the clouds linger over the trees and it all feels very BC. Which was very apt since this was a destination wedding for Jennifer, Kevin and their guests. This wedding was our last of the year (kinda funny how we began and ended the year at UBC Boathouse) and a really great one to finish with. Jennifer and Kevin really are some of the nicest people you could meet (a BIG thank you for the 5 star review!) and they put together a beautiful wedding, complete with tons of personal touches which brought their venue to life. My amazing wife Danielle (All Dolled Up Studio) provided some stunning makeup and hair styling and we worked with Matt and Carissa Kennedy (mattkennedy.ca) for the first time which was a fantastic experience (especially watching Matts sparkler wizardry). We also bumped into Darian Kovacs (Vancouver Officiant) yet again which is always a pleasant surprise.
We wanted to have a slightly different tone for this wedding film, setting the scene with some gentler music and a softer look to the shots. We used a lot of vintage lenses and a slightly shallower depth of field than we would normally do. Its hard to explain why it feels natural to do something different when it comes to being creative, but I think it just comes down to communicating a feeling of what a wedding day was like. As mentioned above, this was a destination wedding and so it felt right to begin with a shot that revealed Vancouver in its rainy glory and so a few days after the wedding I headed up to Cypress mountain and flew the drone up into the clouds….hope you enjoy!
Directed and edited by Mark Relf
Additional cinematography by Brooke Lotzkar
Event co-ordination and florals by A Day To Remember events
Photography by Matt Kennedy Photography
Make up and hair by All Dolled Up Studio
Officiated by Darian Kovaks
Cake made by When Pigs Fly
Stationary by The Social Page
DJ’d by A Day to Remember DJ
Catered by Savoury City
Dress by Haley Paige
The best aspect of working in the wedding industry is that you’re able to build up personal relationships with your clients that you might not get a chance to in other jobs. As a Wedding Cinematographer you’re an important part of a very personal experience and so to be asked to document another milestone in someone’s life is a real honour. Andrea (of Andrea and Austin) floated the idea of capturing Austin, Amanda (bride’s maid) and Curtis’ (groomsman) joint 30th party back on their wedding day and it sounded like a great plan to me. We talked a little more over the next few months, put together a nice little package and made it happen. It’s really fun to see your clients again, to catch up and continue to document their lives. Its a fun little video and I hope we can make many more in the future!
We were so spoilt by the first weekend of October here in Vancouver. Not only did we have the most beautiful weekend but we were also very fortunate to film two of our favourite weddings of the year. Gi and Joe chose to get married at Hart House (if you’ve read our previous blog posts you’ll know its a top-5-for-sure location for us), they picked Whitney Lane and her husband Kal to photograph (absolutely one of our first choice photography teams to work with), had Wedding Design Studio provide decor (you’ll see plenty of them in our films, and for good reason) and the lovely Paige Petriw took care of the co-ordination. In short, it was one of those everything-coming-together type of weddings. The best thing was that we got to do a Same Day Edit! I don’t know why but I love the pressure of Same Day Edits (SDE’s), maybe it comes from my days editing sports highlights in Sydney or the crazy tight deadlines of my BBC News days, but having the team on site, throwing (not literally) footage at me throughout the day, frantically editing, gulping away at what ever caffein is within arms reach and finally hitting the “export” button just in time really gives me a buzz. Of course the best part was seeing the faces of Gi, Joe and their guests as they were able to re-live so many moments of the day, especially one filled with so much colour, beauty and wonderful moments.
Directed and edited by Mark Relf
Additional cinematography by Alvin Keung, Laurent Danis and Daniel Brand
Event co-ordination by Spotlight Events
Photography by Whitney Lane Photography
Make up and hair by Fay Smith Makeup
Officiated by Victoria Lyon
Cake made by Sweet Nom Bakery
Flowers and decor by Wedding Design Studio
DJ’d by Girl on Wax Entertainment