Happy New Year gentle blog readers. I hope you are recovering well from you December 31 celebrations. As a film and video production company, it seems fitting that we should have a top ten “movies” list for 2007. So, I thought I’d share with you my personal favorite top ten videos we produced in the past year. These aren’t all necessarily the “best” videos from an shooting and editing standpoint, (not that that matters since I personally think all of our stuff is good. But either the situations surrounding these videos, or how I felt when I saw them the first time, or how I felt when our clients shared their feelings about them, all in some way contributed to them making this list. I think you’ll enjoy each and every one. So, grab a box of popcorn, sit back, and relive the magic.
Note: Click on the image to play the videos.
#10: Adobe/AfterCapture Podcast with Bambi Cantrell
Last March we had the honor to produce a series of seven video podcast for RangeFinder Magazine’s sister publication AfterCapture and Adobe. The podcast interviewed top wedding and portrait photographers talking about their use of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Our #1 senior producer (and kick-ass editor) Anton Lorimer edited most of them, and this was about the fourth and fifth one. Anton always surprises me when he submits his work for my review. And this was no exception. I remember watching it and think, “Oh, snap! That was awesome!” It’s a simple head interview combined with just photos and music, but he still was able to make me jump out of my seat.
#9. Our First New York Wedding
Even though last year we switched the focus of our business to commercial work, we still do a handful of high end weddings and events through our subsidiary, Milestone Moment Films. This wedding was one referred to us by friend and client Gene Higa. It would be our first wedding shot in New York. This video was particularly challenging because it was a same day edit. That’s where you take the video footage shot from the morning through to past the ceremony, and edit together a 4-6 minute video that is shown at the reception. It’s one of the most exhilarating, rewarding, and scariest projects an event videographer can do. For this project, Anton and I had to schlep our video gear from the Manhattan Ritz Carlton (where the bride and groom got ready), to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, to the ceremony, to their lavish reception at the world famous Steiner Studios. Gene was kind enough to loan me his MacBook which allowed me to capture footage throughout the afternoon at different stops. I got the video done just in the nick of time (well, it was a tad late, but worth the wait).
#8. Real Women Scrap TV Episode with Me Ra Koh
Last year we launched the video podcast series “Real Women Scrap TV,” an offshoot of the blog for my wife’s book “Real Women Scrap.” She’s become quite the demi-scrapbook celebrity with a huge following. I am really proud of what we’ve accomplished with the show. So, this entry is really a nod to the whole series, but I picked this one because I was so moved by Me Ra’s story and her openness to share. Me Ra Koh is high end wedding photographer located in Washington who speaks around the country and is also author of a book “Beauty Restored” that talks about the tragic event that happened in her life and how she came out of it. She shared her story for RWSTV, and it makes my #8 pick.
#7. “The Groanings” Sermon Accompaniment Video
Highway Video is a leader producer of worship and ministry videos, with clients from around the world. They create videos used by churches to enhance the worship experience or complement the pastor’s teaching with a video related to the topic. They’re famous for their gritty cinematography and editing, funny concept videos, or poignant “man on the street” videos. We had the pleasure to produce a couple of videos for them this year. This one was special to me because this was the first. It was written by a friend of mine who happens to be the creative director of my church (which, coincidentally enough, was the church Highway Video was born from about seven years ago). This particular piece explores the different types of prayers people make in different situations, some shallow, some not. (And yes, that’s me in the opening scene.)
#6. Pictage PartnerCon Promo
Every year Pictage has its PartnerCon tour where top wedding and portrait photographers from around the world come and share what they know with their peers. We had the honor of producing the ParnterCon promo video last year, and flew out to Chicago to film it. It was the first time I had the opportunity to meet and work with some great photographers like Mike Colon, Rob Evans, Sara France, David Jay, Me Ra Koh, and others. Besides that, it was a lot of fun to shoot (and the outtakes were hilarious). Pictage loved what we came up with and it was the start of a great working relationship.
#5. Jules Bianchi Promo
I first had the opportunity to meet and work with Jules the summer of 2006 at a wedding in Wine Country of Northern California. She jokes how the “same day edit” we showed that night kicked the butt of her slideshow, but nonetheless, she continued to refer clients to us and we’ve worked with her a number of times since. We also got to work for her in making this promo video. As I my responsibilities turn more towards running the company, I’m doing less and less editing. Of the few projects I personally edited last year, this was one of the most fun. And as anyone who knows Jules will tell you, this video really nails her personality and what it’s like to work with her.
#4. “Superman” Wedding Movie
One of the things that sets our wedding work apart is that we dare to tread where many others would never even consider when it comes to producing a wedding movie. The groom in this case is a huge comic book fan. So much so that we made two videos: a more traditional, “chick flick” style video for her, and this gritty, “Graphic Novel” inspired opening to his video. This was another marvelous editing job by Anton, and another time when he had me jumping out of my seat. It was so different and unique, that the exclusive wedding magazine “Here Comes the Guide” featured it in one of their blog posts. As a wedding movie, it clearly lives up to our slogan, “Unlike Anything You’ve Seen.(tm)” The groom was thrilled.
#3. “Disgruntled Joe”
Last year we produced the WPPI 2007 Recap video. It was an intense challenge. Little ol’ me was running around from Paris to Bally’s, getting footage of all the activities to put together in a recap video to be showed at at the awards ceremony. After staying up all night editing, I finished the DVD just in time for the WPPI team to queue it for the show. As much as I loved the recap, the video that makes this list is the Joe Photo spoof we created that played at the beginning of the show. It was a rough script idea about Joe not getting over the fact he wasn’t asked back to host the show (he and Michele Celentano has hosted it for four years in a row prior to 2007). The shoot was a blast. What I like about this video is that it doesn’t have our signature, cutting edge cinematography and editing. It even has a somewhat film school feel to it. It’s just plain, old fashioned, entertainment.
#2. Gene Higa Promo
I affectionately refer to this as “the video heard ’round the world.” The promo video we produced for San Francisco wedding and destination photographer Gene Higa was the first of our series of photographer promos that set the stage for our signature look. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, “Oh, are you guys the one that did Gene’s video? That rocked!” Or, “Hey, I just saw Gene’s video, can I get one?” Etc. It was really the impetus for us to launch our promo video services. Kudos once again to the brain child behind the killer editing, Anton.
#1. Dane’s Photo Minute – “Just Stop”
This was a close call. Gene’s promo came close to being my favorite Cinematic Studios video of the year, but in the end, top honors go to the “Dane’s Photo Minute” we produced in New York. Dane Sanders is an Orange County based wedding and portrait photographer we hooked up with last December. Two years ago he started a weekly video podcast called his “Photo Minute” (ironically, most of them are much longer than a minute). We’ve worked a lot with Dane and have produced a number of his “Photo Minute” shows. But this one (which Dane himself called his favorite ever) was something special. We were in NY filming for the PhotoPlus Expo promo, as well as Dane’s promo. On the last day there, Dane had an idea for a photo minute inspired by the hustle and bustle of New York. There was no script. No preproduction. It was guerrilla filmmaking at its best. But, the shot that makes the whole video is that last one. To be in such a hectic place like New York, right across the street from Madison Square Garden, and get that shot was, well, providential. It was like all the cinematic stars came in alignment. The ultimate compliment was a comment on Dane’s blog post about it that compared the video to Nooma. So, without further ado, my top pick for CSI videos of 2007.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of a company that gets to work with such talented artists, both in our company and as clients of our company. Each year we try to “up the ante” and the work we create, adding one or two specific things to our productions to kick them up a notch. As Anton and I continue to shape the creative vision of our work, and bring on more artists to support that vision, we’ll continue to push the envelope and set a standard. I want to wish a sincere thank you to all of our clients and colleagues who helped make 2007 the most successful for Cinematic Studios yet. Here’s to 2008!