Our Industry Loses a Giant. RIP David Robin.

Every now and then you’re hit with a bit of news that is so shocking and unbelievable, you don’t quite know how to react. On Wednesday evening, David Robin passed away from complications from a cancer-related surgery.

There may be many of you reading this who did not know David. But know this, he was a giant in the world of event filmmaking. I believe next year would have been 30 years in the wedding and event filmmaking industry for David. But he was so much more than just a wedding filmmaker. He was a feature film documentarian. He had a vibrant corporate video production business. And, perhaps his greatest passion, he was the drummer for the Steely Dan tribute band Steely Jam.

He had won just about every award in the business, several times over. He was inducted into the industry’s “hall of fame.” To our industry, he was a speaker, instructor, mentor, visionary, artist, and savvy businessman. He was also a loving husband, father and grandfather. And to me… he was, and always shall be, my friend.

David epitomized what was best in our industry. He was an avid educator. A selfless giver of knowledge. A man who did not take life or himself too seriously. Open. Honest. Authentic. Love him or hate him, you knew what you were getting when you met and/or dealt with DR.

David was someone always ahead of the curve. Having shot weddings since 1986, he had used just about every kind of camera in the industry through the years. When I first got into this business back in 2002, DR was already a leader and teacher in the industry. I remember when 24p hit the industry in the mid-2000s, David was one of the first to jump in. When DSLRs came out in 2009, he was one of the first leaders to adopt it. Back in early 2011 he had made a switch to delivering his clients’ videos on thumbnail drives when most were still doing DVDs. When many wedding videographers were still wearing Hawaiian shirts and baggy shorts, DR was sporting Buckle shirts and pointed shoes. He was a wedding filmmaker to the stars. For years his studio was the one responsible for filming the Governor’s Balls for the Emmy’s and the Oscars. Yet, whether he was shooting a video for Paris Hilton, or Joe Schmoe, he treated all his clients the same.

It’s still hard to believe. The world is a less happy place with the loss of DR’s laugh, sense of humor, and Brit wit. You will be missed my friend.

Share your favorite DR story in the comments.

Consider a donation to help the family.

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Here’s my old Crossing the 180 podcast interview with David. It’s a clear representation of why he was such an industry leader.

David and his band Steely Jam.

11 thoughts on “Our Industry Loses a Giant. RIP David Robin.

  1. What a beautiful tribute, Ron. I only met David once. It was at WEVA 2010, the first wedding/event industry thing I’d ever been asked to speak at. Imagine being so new to the world of speaking and conferences and getting to hang out with David for several hours! (I have the Von Lankens to thank for that introduction. He adopted me for those couple of days, since I didn’t really know too many people there.) People kept whispering around me how HUGE he was in the videography world. (I didn’t yet know all the big players in this segment of our industry.) He was warm, friendly, and funny… and I remember being struck by how down to earth he was in spite of all his accolades. (I continued getting to know him via social media over the years… but I realize how lucky I was to have met him in person. That British humor is priceless.) What a sad day.

  2. Lovely tribute Ron…..it just doesn’t seem right that he is gone. Like I said in a post…..he seemed like a dude who would live forever. We both will have memories of him that will never leave us.

  3. What a shock – I met Dave a few times at WEVA events. We spoke “video” and also music. He, along with Robert Lebar (remember him?) are innovators, as well as lovely people. ….adding him to my prayer list…seem to get longer and longer..

  4. I met David on Facebook about six weeks ago…I had commented on some Steely Dan gossip about Steve Gadd and the Aja sessions…I knew some specific things about what was going on between Gadd, Becker, and Fagan that I do not divulge in public. David emailed me privately asking for more information, so we messaged back and forth the last six weeks…we became Facebook friends immediately when I told him my son graduated from the AFI film school in Hollywood. David was inquisitive and full of wonder. He was very British in his humor and sense of politeness and respectfulness…I had only known David for 6 weeks and I was just devastated when I got the news he had passed…I was so looking forward to meeting my new friend and hearing Steely Jam this January while in Anaheim for the NAMM show..That great man with a sense of wonder is now gone and I am very sad that we will no longer be able to pick each other’s brain about film and music…R.I.P. my new friend 😦

  5. Sad to see him go. He gave me one of my first jobs out of College. I remember he would make mix cds for me to listen to on my long drive home, he seemed to hate the modern day music I listened to.

    My hopes and prayers go out to his family.

  6. David Robin was a great friend and mentor. He was a selfless, kind and loving person with a huge heart. The wedding industry is in a better place because of David Robin. He was the life of the party and the guy you could always count on to haze someone with his hilarious Photoshopping skills. I still can’t believe he’s gone. Sadly, it will never be the same without him. Thanks for the tribute Ron! Awesome stuff!

  7. I met David Through Ron Mendoza who plays the keyboard for steely Jam. I saw them many times. David was a great drummer and a very kind person and its sad he had to pass on to early. RIP David. My Condolences to your family and the many friends you made over the years. David Nelson.

  8. A beautiful tribute! I was lucky enough to know David through his event work. The industry is pretty small so we all knew each other and all video companies were doing about the same type of style…except for David. He was ALWAYS a step ahead of everyone else whether it be technically or creatively. He had a style of his and he made it all look so easy. Many tried, but his work could never be duplicated. I ended up working for him for a short time before I changed fields. He was like my dad in the sense that when I was working on an edit, I wanted to impress the pants off of him. It pushed me to challenge myself and step outta the box. I wanted to make him proud that he had hired me on. I don’t know if I ever did that though. It was like trying to sing for a well known accomplished singer and sing THEIR songs to them! But through all that, he never made me feel as though I wasn’t good enough. He was a family man, true mentor, creative force, musician and a friend with the best sense of humor and laugh. There are so many great personal memories that he gave people to last their lifetime and beyond with his film work. He touched so many others in many aspects of life and he won’t be forgotten! RIP David

  9. How terrible and shocking. I was unaware David was sick. I did a voiceover job for him a couple of years ago. And I knew something was familiar about him. One of my best friends in the world, Eric Model, a videographer in the suburban NYC area, had told me about him a few years ago and how ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT he was. What mind blowing work he did. David was a major inspiration with his incredible eye and use of 24fps in the DSLRs. Eric was uncontrollably inspired and enlightened by David…and they had spent time together at the big WEVA conventions. Eric had been doing amazing work, only to be even further inspired by David’s genius and generosity.

    Eric got sick in 2008 with an aneurysm, got a bit better, but with damage from strokes….Then last year, while recovering from a major procedure to essentially cure him, he unexpectedly died. At the time I did the voiceover job for David I didn’t realize this was the same David that Eric had told me about. Maybe it was Facebook that showed me we were mutual friends and then I knew. I emailed David about Eric and he had heard the news. Said he was a great guy and would be missed. Then for this to happen is just so awful and sad. Eric and David both gone. Life is so unfair and cruel.

    Just as with Eric, David left a HUGE mark on everybody he knew…and his profession. And will never be forgotten. He brought joy to so many people with his wedding video work (like Eric) and turned these lifelong memories into magical short films. Genius work. A good, honest man. RIP David! You’ll be missed.

  10. The video industry will miss this larger than life pillar of talent. He was always cutting edge and yet humble and always willing to help others. Life is short and he made many ripples in his life preserving precious memories that will last forever in family albums. He was an original, a great person that everyone looked up to. Thoughts and prayers to his family and close friends.

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