Less used to be more (and still is) but when it comes to Highlight Videos More is … well … More! The Extended Highlight video package is for those couples who place a strong emphasis on Narrative Storytelling and Strong Imagery. They want to share their video with family and friends easily, and be able to access it themselves reliving the moments over and over in a relatively short period of time. Continue Reading0
Extended Highlights are quickly becoming my favourite things to edit! So many opportunities to create changes in tone/tempo that you don’t generally find when using a single song! This will be an usually short blurb as I’ll explain the Extended Highlight Video approach in my next post.1
The perfect wedding video is a rare thing. You could spend your whole life attempting to make one, and it would not be a wasted life. From the moment you wake to devote yourself to the perfection of whatever it is you pursue. Regardless of its merit. This takes discipline. Occasionally along the way you’ll reach benchmarks. These rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe appears to make sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. To recreate them. Most perfectionists come to realize rather quickly that they don’t last forever (if at all). To help keep some measure of mental health its important to take that extra minute and reflect on what you’ve learned and where to go next from there. Because before you know it you’ll have new benchmarks to hit.0
Making connections between seemingly irrelevant footage and the actual elements that tell a wedding day is what piecing together a Highlight film is all about. Two parallel lines holding up the chairlift becoming one – a Father/Son catching a fish – juxtaposed with a Father walking his Daughter down aisle. In the past I’ve been lucky to acquire such useable B-Roll – I’m slowly coming to the realization that these ‘Pieces’ are sometimes just as important as anything traditionally accepted as being an integral part of a wedding video.(Putting on Dress, First Dance, Exchanging Vow’s etc). Continue Reading0
Turn around Time! Ughhhh. The end of last year wasn’t pretty. A client recently said to me “There’s always enough time to do something twice, but never enough to do it right in the first place.” Truer words have never been spoken. As much as I pull my hair out worrying and fretting over how long its taking me to complete a project – I constantly remind myself that the quality of the final outcome is what really matters. You learn really quick in this business that rushing through an edit always ends up creating you more work in the long run. (or a bad product). And its really important to me and hopefully all of my clients that I do the absolute best job I can every outing.0
Turn Around Time! The bane of my existence. Every year I try to give myself more time to complete jobs. And every year I take longer and longer to complete them. Believe me its not for lack of trying. I just get better and better as each project passes and unfortunately it requires more time and attention to surpass the last effort. Needless to say looking back at Elise and Christien in retrospect being late providing them their video is the first thing that jumps to mind. Continue Reading0
Alright its been 10 months since I’ve sat down and written anything for this site. My SEO went from being Top 5 across the board – to buried on page 5 of google. Its probably about time I get caught up (although I’m still swamped with more editing work then I know what to do with) In retrospect looking back at Gordon and Lauren’s wedding the first thing that immediately jumps into my head is just how concerned I was that their video wasn’t going to be any good. I really liked this couple and I really wanted to do a great job for them. It was a horribly rainy day in September and as a result they had to ditch their entire Photoshoot. My productions were still pretty fragile at this point in time – and losing such a significant portion of the day had the ability to potentially derail the entire project.0
“You are not required to finish your work, yet neither are you permitted to desist from it” – Pirke Aboth
This particular instruction has resonated with me for years. Its something I think about nearly every day, and I find myself applying to everything: Editing, shooting, my family life, my long-term hopes, even my sense of responsibility as a citizen. Its a beautiful concept. It says you have an obligation to labor, to continue trying and making your way through the world, in essence, making a difference. At the same time the instruction focuses you on the effort, not the outcome.0
… How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate Same Day Edits | A Toronto Portrait Film | Dave Thomas Visuals
For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, a same day edit, or sde, is a video produced + edited on the day of wedding then screened later on that same night during reception. I’ve spend countless sleepless nights over the years fretting over these. Last year I lost my most trusted editor to the big leagues (HBO) and was left scrambling to find her replacement – (which to date has yet to happen.) Naturally during this time everyone that contacted me “had to have a Same Day Edit” … rather than reject them all entirely, I decided to start churning out pre-wedding films instead – that I could then shoot and edit independently the weeks/months leading up to wedding day … and play just as originally planned during reception. No more stress, a few less grey hairs, more energy put into capturing the actual wedding day moments that count!
Update: Of course after all of that – the Video file wouldn’t play off its usb drive. The DJ’s Macbook Air had no DVD drive to play its backup off that – and he couldn’t get an internet signal to stream. Resulting in the video getting frozen half way through. #embarrassing. From now on I’ll have to setup and play these myself using my own equipment. At the very least force test runs on actual operating equipment.0
For every story there is an optimal structure, one that best presents the content and best delivers the films underlying purpose. Arriving at it will always involve deciding how to handle “time”. As with all designing, the simplest solution is often the strongest. Less is more. Rules however are meant to be broken as was the case with Adina + Paresh. 10 Minutes is the longest Highlight I have ever produced. Thankfully 2 days worth of footage helped to create an overall flow which in my opinion never gets overly boring. But its not really my place to judge – so watch and decide for yourselves.1
I recently met with a couple who brought up the descriptions I write for each video – they mentioned that I spend a lot of time talking about things that aren’t relevant to the couples themselves. I wanted to defend my decision to not give significant details about each bride and groom I work with – or express a desire to maintain some semblance of privacy in an age of… but quickly realized that it wasn’t exactly a conscious decision on my part to omit anything. The truth is – the majority of the time, I don’t get to know my couples. Sure I meet them once or twice. I ask a lot of questions. I understand the general tone of who they are (usually falling into either the Drake or Cat Stevens catagories ). But as far as actual information about who they are, that I can then convey to the world (jobs, dreams, desires) – I’m afraid I’m often extremely lacking.0
Storytelling has become quite the buzz word of late within our industry. thrown around with terms like cinematic, film like, or hand-made. Of all of them, storytelling is the one i really feel the need to defend and would like to give my take on. To me a story isn’t showing up and covering what happens, it isn’t just an emotional film (though that certainly can happen when it is done effectively), and it certainly isn’t a handful of cliche moments paired with a top 40 soundtrack and shots that are all too familiar.
Personally, storytelling is about something much deeper, and much more thought out. It involves approaching your shoot with a fresh set of eyes. It involves not just capturing things as they happen but also finding a way to weave them together in a way that really reflects the essence of the people, the message, or the story you are trying to convey. it means being selective, it means being subjective, and it means interpretation.0
They say that audio is half of everything that you see in a film…
That couldn’t be truer with a film like Andrae and Cherisse’s. Take a moment to watch it with this in mind, see how long it takes before you feel like you know them or care about them. Personally I don’t last very long. Admittedly I am a quite biased – not only because I produced the video, but because Andrae + Cherisse are two of the nicest people I have ever met! Cherisse’s mother described Andrae in her speech as “…the man every mother dreams about their daughters finding and falling in love with …” Preceded by “You have not only won my daughters heart, but you have won my own” – In a business centred around LOVE – its rare to find two people who are more in it than Andrae and Cherisse!0
Guns, Fireworks, Accordians & Alot of Dancing!
Serbian Weddings are quickly becoming my favourite to shoot. They’re so full of ENERGY! Very little about the wedding day is “Static” or “Still” everything is in constant motion. Their’s a real fluidity to them. Which make’s for great shooting / editing options.
Not too long ago I had written on here about wanting to focus less on “Weddings” and more on the “People” involved in my productions. While Tanja and Velimir’s Highlight strays quite a bit from that original sentiment, the idea of individuality in a world of standard wedding video cliches remains … as wedding and event filmmakers (or photographers) we are given such an incredible opportunity to tell stories. Each couple is a chance to dive deeper, learn more, and explore a whole new way of thinking.0
it’s pretty amazing what technology allows us to do these days. but right now, i’m not talking about fancy cameras or handy contraptions. i’m talking about the phone, Skype, and even something as simple as email. it’s amazing how talking through these mediums with someone you’ve never met in person, or someone half way around the world can still allow you to build a great relationship. Charles lives and works in Toronto. Jenny lives and studies in California. They met in Korea. And have for years have maintained a long distance relationship. Their warm welcoming smiles felt like old friends seeing each other for the first time in a long time. I’m often asked how much time I spend getting to know my couples. and while it’s different with everyone I work with, I believe that’s it’s not necessarily about how much time you spend, but how you spend it. How you listen, and what you get to learn about them in the process… with Charles and Jenny though handicapped by distance it just came easy.0
Ale + Raymond :: The Estates of Sunnybrook | Toronto ON | A Chinese / Spanish Wedding Highlight Video
People More. Weddings Less.
I believe every film, wedding or otherwise, should be a reflection of those in it. Every decision should be inspired and relevant to those characters or that story. For a while my wedding features were long, 45+ minute pieces that were very much driven by soundtrack. Sometimes I would let a classic bridal hair and makeup montage go on for several minutes, or the duration of an entire song. They were great quality, but they used the same old wedding film paradigms and, for lack of a more pretentious term — they were boring.
This season more so than any other I am driven to break through, and steer my productions away from some of these paradigms. By focusing my attention on getting to know the couple and what makes them special, and focusing less on the wedding. Whatever it is that makes them special, it’s my job to use it to make a well-documented reflection of what their relationship is at this point in time — on their wedding day. In the simplest terms: find what makes the couple different, and throw everything else out the window.0
I am behind with blogging, but I do have a good excuse, promise! Additionally the upcoming 2013 season has shaped up to be the busiest I have ever undertaken. So today I am bringing you a shoot that is already 6 month old (!) – I always love it when clients bring their own ideas and vision to the table, but still completely trust my creative feel. These are the times, when it just works. Julia and Gene specifically wished to have the games portion of their morning play a prominent role throughout the entire video. Which ended up being a little difficult trying to juxtapose everything seamlessly together in post – but in the end worked really well for their feature edit. (Not sure if the idea is as clearly defined in Highlight?)0
Boris + Jelena Autumn Wedding Video – I feel like I’ve known Boris + Jelena , their family+friends for years. Maybe its just a byproduct of spending so much time working on their edit (well over 100hours!) or maybe its just that they have an uncanny ability to make everyone around them feel incredibly comfortable and appreciated. Either way I’m so glad I got to know them! It was a great wedding for me personally to be a part of. One of those weddings that time almost ceases to exist. It was jam packed with such a variety of great shooting moments that as a vendor you almost didn’t want it to ever end!
Their Ceremony was held at the beautiful All Saints Serbian Orthodox Church in Mississauga Ontario. A Photo-shoot at Village Centre Place shortly followed – aside note: It was -10degress Celsius! Which is extremely uncommon for the first week of October in Southern Ontario but watching their Highlight you’d probably have a hard time even noticing. The entire wedding party were such awesome troopers in the cold – I was able to wear a jacket and still nearly froze my butt off! Thankfully everyone and everything about their wedding was unbelievably warm and welcoming.
Reception at The Bellagio alittle further East in Vaughn didn’t disappoint. A lot of tears, smiles, drinks and of course dancing finished off an absolute perfect wedding day. Thanks to everyone involved. Especially Boris + Jelena for allowing me the opportunity to take part in such a special occasion. It was truly an honour.0
I’ve been trying to come up with a ‘BuzzWord’ to describe Marek + Grace for quite some time: Quirky? Fun? Passionate? Sweet? They’re all applicable but the one that has really stuck for me personally is AUTHENTIC. Nothing about either of them or their wedding day felt Applied – nothing overly Posed or Staged. The smiles were Genuine. The Excitement and Energy Honest. Often I notice couples getting swallowed up in the details, the schedules, the budgets of their Wedding Days – So much so that they forget to Celebrate. To Celebrate their joining together and to Celebrate their love and commitment to one another. Rarely is this Philosophy more evident in a wedding than Marek + Grace’s.
Marek and Graces big day was literally … Big – Not that there were hundreds and hundreds of people, or because Marek is so tall! (1foot2inch height difference!) But because there was so much ENERGY! The ENTHUSIASM really was unparalleled – and when everyone is enjoying themselves that much – it really is contagious – and makes my job that much easier!0
I have finally finished my new wedding cinematography brochure detailing information on my wedding packages and products going into the 2013 season. It’s designed in a clean and colourful layout explaining just what to expect from me for your special day. If you are interested in my wedding cinematography service and would like more information regarding my Wedding Cinema pricing/packages please view it here: Wedding Cinema Packages + Pricing
Michael & Oresta had a beautiful wedding day. There were tears (not naming any names…:)), there was laughter, there was sunshine, there was dancing, and of course, there was Ukranian music!
The morning was so laid back and fun, the girls spent the entire time getting their hair & makeup done, drinking champagne, and just enjoying themselves. The Ceremony was held at St. Nicholas Ukranian Catholic Church – one of the most beautiful places you could hold a Ukrainian wedding ceremony! Reception at the Liberty Grand shortly followed. I had a great day with Mike & Oresta, and felt truly welcome by all of their family and friends.1
Slowly they trickle in! Today is all about Hendrie and Andrew. The ham in my wedding sandwich of a couple of weeks ago. If you’re wondering what I mean its all about a wedding the day before, a wedding the day after. Some say that wedding videography is just the “same old thing week in and week out”. They say “seen one Bride you’ve seen them all”. I say refer to Messrs Bachman, Turner and Overdrive who will tell you “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. All life carries an element of familiarity. But then each of us have something that makes us unique…0
Step right up to the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL CIRCUS FESTIVAL!
Experience eye-popping acrobatics, side-splitting comedy and mind-bending daredevil stunts – featuring lunatic unicyclists, world-class acrobats, unflinching fire eaters, sky-scraping stilt walkers, brazen chain saw jugglers, genius balloon sculptors and harebrained clowns & characters everywhere!
I am super excited to share this wedding with you for several different reasons. 1. It was the last wedding I did in 2011 and it was an awesome one! 2. Monica and Ben are SO MUCH FUN (and gorgeous on camera, right!?) 3. Baltimore (and its suburbs) really isn’t as bad as ‘they’ say. And lastly this is easily the best set of wedding photographs I have ever taken! Here are some of my favourites from the day.
It’s been a few years since I’ve shot Jodi+Marks wedding and thought no better time with the inception of my new website/blog to go back and reflect. Most of the time I get the chance to get to know all of my awesome couples well before their wedding day. Sometimes though, time and geography just don’t allow that to happen and I end up meeting the couple very close to their wedding day. It is especially challenging trying to portray the love and uniqueness of two people after just meeting them, and I think that is where instinct really kicks in. Jodi + Mark live in California but had their wedding in Toronto. I travel to California so many times every year; it was great that a couple from California traveled here this time.0
An assignment I shot back in January for 4000degrees. I thought it was a really unique concept, kinda reminded me of the Google Earth Paintings. FRIEND ME: PORTRAITS OF FACEBOOK is Carole Freeman’s exhibition of 200 portraits sourced from Facebook profile photos, is the launch pad to inspire and engage the 800 million member Facebook community in painting their friends through Friend Me Projects. A global initiative to promote connection and friendship through art, social media, education and technology. You can find more info here: http://www.friendmeprojects.com
A man holds a sign during the “Occupy Toronto” movement at St. James park in Toronto, November 21, 2011. Ontario Superior Court Judge David Brown upheld an eviction order for protesters camped in downtown Toronto on Monday, giving the Occupy Toronto movement until midnight to vacate the park they’ve held for more than a month.
A man walks by as protesters stand out front of the TSX building during a small “Occupy Toronto” rally in Toronto, October 17, 2011.
A man holds a sign reading “Freedom” at St. James park makeshift headquarters for the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, October 17, 2011.
A man sits with an a “Evict Me” sign beside him during the “Occupy Toronto” movement at St. James park in Toronto, November 22, 2011. Ontario Superior Court Judge David Brown upheld an eviction order for protesters camped in downtown Toronto on Monday, and although some protesters have left the park, many are staying until they are forced out.
A protester screams during the Occupy Toronto movement in Toronto November 19, 2011.
People play music inside St. James park during the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, November 19, 2011.
A woman stands in front of the boarded up library as police walk through St. James park after they moved in to evict protesters during the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, November 23, 2011.
People lay on a hammock in St. James Park as part of the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, November 7, 2011.
A protester raises his fist in behind police officers after they moved in to evict protesters at St. James park during the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, November 23, 2011.
Police arrest a woman at St. James park after they moved in to evict protesters during the “Occupy Toronto” movement in Toronto, November 23, 2011.
See the whole gallery here
Not too long ago I was looking for a product that I could use for marketing and packaging. I wanted it to be as eco friendly as possible,attractive, but simple as well. So I started surfing the web and looking at companies and also what other photographers were using, recommending and so forth. After going back and forth with several companies and products, I found one that suited my wants and style and which provided me with a product I could use for different applications. This company was Kraft and Jute.
They produce personalized packaging for photographers and most recently, brides. They originally started with CD sleeves and now have moved into all types of packaging. Did I mention they were eco friendly? That was a big selling point for me and their products are produced on recycled card stock. The other cool feature is that many of their products are hand stitched! They will assist you with logos and art work and are really helpful and prompt to work with. I just placed my first order…in the meantime here’s a few shots of their corrugated keepsake boxes until mine arrive!
You may follow them on Face Book at http://www.facebook.com/KRAFTandJUTE. And also follow Jessica Lewis, @kraftandjute on Twitter.
Last year Vimeo increased the video size requirements for all pay users from 500MB per video to 5GB. This made it possible to begin uploading longer form projects to the internet – so as to be viewed internationally by my clients without the shipping costs. Less hassle. Financially more rewarding. Greener.
This year I have decided to do away with hard media entirely. No DVD’s or Blu-Rays will be offered with any package I produce. Instead I am saving all my final project files to Hard Drives which will be delivered to clients around the world. On average 15 DVD’s were purchased per wedding. One Hard Drive drive = 15 DVDs. The energy to put files on a Hard Drive is minutes vs hours. And a lot LESS material. I already do all my wedding correspondence, questionnaires, and contracts online, cutting paper and printing. I am finding new homes for, or recycling old packaging materials, cases, etc, and now welcoming in a newer method of delivery that will save hours and hours of energy and post production materials for delivery of final wedding films. The end result is a lot less energy consumption to burn.
I am so proud of the work I GET to do. I love what I provide my clients. And I try to provide them something different. Out of the ordinary. I don’t want it to be the same as everybody else. This season its all about ENERGY! An adjustment in visual attitude. A little edgier. A lot more kinetic. I hope you can FEEL the difference.
Every wedding cinematographer will say that they are constantly learning, and I feel that same mantra applies to me. My style is evolving, my approach is evolving and I feel that there are still additional goals to meet.I hope you will continue to be a part of something so special to me. Thanks to all of the people who have already entrusted me with your memories. And here’s to many more in 2012 and 2013! Enjoy the film, and let me know what you think!
Modern Wedding Videos
If you would have asked me a few years ago, would I ever consider filming a wedding? I would have laughed out loud. In fact, some people did ask, and I did indeed laugh. The thoughts of it were horrifying. Not because of the challenge or the technical aspect, but purely because my own pre-conceived ideas of wedding videos were that they were just pure rubbish. This changed somewhat when I discovered the results that a handful of new wave film makers were producing, not with camcorders, but with professional photography cameras switched to video mode. The ability to change lenses and to control depth of field meant that a truly cinematic look could be achieved without the million dollar price tag. The moment Canon added video functionality to their photography cameras was a moment that changed everything. The wedding video world would no longer be limited to the flat one dimensional videos that had been around for the previous three decades. With the ability to create visually stunning footage that wouldn’t look out of place in Hollywood, the possibilities would seem endless and the wedding industry could now prepare itself for an explosion of fresh talent, providing brides with their own cinematic masterpieces.
A New Direction
However, three years on, I find that the internet is still full of modern wedding videos that appear to have two feet firmly fixed in the eighties, weighed down by a giant camcorder permanently fixed to their shoulder. For far too long, wedding videography has been seen as a medium with debatable value and little artistic merit. I think a wedding film should be fun, quirky, romantic, and really reflect two people and their coming together. It should grab you in the first few seconds, shake you throughout, and leave you with a lingering impression. I only accept 15 Wedding Videos per season. Less clients means more attention to each client and their specific needs. Dave Thomas Visuals is a boutique studio, which means that every package produced is tailored to suit each individual clients needs. Creating an experience that feels like it was made just for you. I hope you enjoy the new website. But since it’s brand new, if you find any bugs or mistakes, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
WOW! Dave Thomas Visuals first blog post. Yes, ever. Welcome to the 21st century eh? First, I want to thank all of my clients for being so supportive over the years. It has truly been such a joy to be able to work with all of you. Thank you for letting me play this role in your business and lives. I am unquestionably honoured.
In just 3 years time this little business has grown into a resounding success and I have you amazing clients to thank for that. You’ve brought my passion to a place that I never imagined possible. I simply would not have believed anyone who told me, when I first took on this incredibly intimidating endeavour, that it would get to a point where I’m simply too busy to help everyone that is interested in my services. WOW! And thank you all again.
Thank you all so much for reading my first blog post. There will be more posts coming very soon so stay tuned.0