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Mavil & Cirilo: Renewal of Vows

Mavil & Cirilo’s Renewal of Vows
1.5.13
Highlights Film
Joe Moralez – “Love Will Be Enough”
Licensed by TheMusicBed
1988 Footage by Reflecta Video

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographer – Julie Selnekovic-Lee

When I first met with Cirilo, simply out of curiosity I asked what compelled them to celebrate their 25th Anniversary in this manner. He replied, “Being together with someone for 25 years is a milestone. We want to celebrate it with the people we love and renew the vows we made 25 years ago.” Many of you know I am a recently married man, and for awhile I’ve been imagining what our lives would be like five, ten, twenty years from now. When I heard Cirilo’s words and saw Mavil and Cirilo renew their vows at Our Lady of Peace Church in Edison, NJ before many, let’s just say I found a new role model couple. After so many years they still looked at each other with loving eyes and spoke dearly. The reception was held at Spain Inn in Piscataway, NJ. Mavil and Cirilo’s daughter Camille played “At Last” as their first dance song, and their best man and first son Carlo made a toast to “25 more years.” This wedding was shot with a crew of two, me and my wife/talented cinematographer/partner-in-crime-for-life Julie. Special thanks to photographer JR Pena for being a joy to work with as always.

What also made the editing of this film special was that Mavil and Cirilo had a wedding video from their wedding in 1988 on a old VHS. Originally the VHS was broken, but with the help of a local video specialist I was able to fix it and get it transferred digitally. When I saw the recovered video, I realized that I just dug up a treasure. Reflecta Video from Cebu, Philippines (Yes, they’re still around!) did a wonderful job capturing the day, and seeing Mavil’s father crying and hearing them share their vows from 25 years ago were stark reminders of how priceless my job as a wedding cinematographer is.

What it would be like to show your own wedding film to your children/friends/family many years from now?

Saying “I Do” Unplugged

From Krista Photography (http://www.kristaphoto.com/)

Think of the last wedding you attended. Perhaps it was of a distant relative’s, a friend’s, or a close family member’s. If were to ask you the question, “How do you remember it?” would you:a) Reach for your camera/laptop, or b) Begin telling your story from your own memory?

Then ask yourself, how do YOU want your family and friends to remember YOUR wedding day? From their own memory or through a viewfinder?

Enter, the “unplugged” wedding. In an unplugged wedding, couples politely ask their guests to turn off all electronic devices, including point-and-shoot cameras, cellphones and tablets, throughout their wedding ceremony. Granted, an unplugged wedding is not for everyone. You may be thinking: Why should I tell my guests to turn off their cameras and phones in this day of Facebook and Twitter? However, from the perspective of a wedding videographer and a recently wedded man myself, I feel there is a necessity to strongly consider going unplugged for your wedding for several reasons:

1. If you’re the bride and groom, you’ll be happier with your wedding film if the professionals aren’t obstructed by the heads or bodies of guests trying to capture a shot of the bride walking down the aisle or the couple’s first dance on their device.

You might think that more photographers/videographers the better (the extreme of that is everyone taking photos on their phones), however, this is most definitely not the case. More photos is NOT better. Fellow photogs and videogs will agree that all it takes is one uncle with his newly-purchased DSLR to ruin say the moment of your first kiss. I will tell you too many flashes will interfere with your photographer and definitely disrupt our filming. Additionally, I’ve always asked my couples, and it seems the uncle Bob photographers keep the photos to themselves and not share them with the couple.

2. Guests will be much more present in the event because they won’t be seeing the day through the lens of a camera or be distracted uploading photos to Twitter, Instragram and other social media sites.

If you see this screenshot, the three photographers at the end of the aisle were the photographers for the day from Studio Berry. There is an uncle among them preparing for a shot. A bit more to the right, we see another guest busy looking into the LCD screen of his camera. Then, to the far right we see another guest, but this one is looking right at the bride as she walks down the aisle. Wouldn’t you want all of your guests to have the expression he has, and to be fully present and sharing the experience with you?

3. You’re less likely to end up with embarrassing photos and video if you leave all photography/videography to the pros. Think about it: even if they catch a few photos of you sporting that weird facial expression you hate or nine chins, the pros definitely won’t be posting it on Facebook for all of your friends (and random people you knew in kindergarten) to see without your permission. There’s no guarantee that your friends and relatives won’t post those unflattering shots!

Ultimately, an unplugged wedding allows photographers and videographers do what they came to the wedding to do (photograph and film your wedding) and encourages your guests to do what they came to the wedding to do (attend and celebrate the day with you).

So is an unplugged wedding right for you?

From Shang Chen Photography (http://shangchenphoto.com/)

 

Michelle & Henry: Highlights


Michelle & Henry // Highlights (11.18.12) from James Lee Films on Vimeo.

Michelle & Henry
11.18.12
Wedding Highlights
Secrets in Stereo – “Happy”

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Cinematographers – Mike Huang and Julie Selnekovic-Lee

Henry and Michelle became husband and wife on November 18, 2012. Although I have now done a handful of weddings under the name of ‘James Lee Films’ this first year, Michelle and Henry were the first ones to sign a contract with us.  I still remember our meetings at Jersey City sipping bubble tea, and I especially remember how cool Michelle and Henry were. I knew that it was going to be smooth capturing their wedding day.

But it didn’t start as a smooth day for Henry, as him and his groomsmen had to battle through a slew of vicious door games Michelle’s bridesmaids had prepared. After a few wasabi-induced tears and missing hair strands, Henry finally got see Michelle, and ultimately shared vows with her at the beautiful Westmount Country Club.

This was also a special wedding for me in that it became a reunion of sorts. My wife Julie ran the day as main cinematographer along with my good friend and partner-in-crime Mike Huang of ZHCinematography, who flew in from Wisconsin to help shoot this wedding. When hearing Mike was coming, Scott Tsai offered to help out as our assistant for the day. Not only did the three of us work on weddings and video projects together before, Mike and Scott also shot Julie and my wedding video and photos. What a day.

It was a wonderful privilege working alongside photographers Wayne and Angela to capture Michelle and Henry’s story. Liked our discussions on how to deal with the rise of Uncle Joe photographers (planning a blog post on “unplugged” weddings).

Congratulations, Michelle and Henry! 😀

Karl & Hasook: Highlights

We were hit with superstorm Sandy here in the east coast, and were out of power for quite a while. I’m glad I was finally able to get back on my editing workstations. (which I now understand take up power, and a LOT of it…)

Karl & Hasook
10.20.2012
Wedding Highlights
Mike Schmid “To Show You My Love”

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Shooters – Julie Selnekovic-Lee & Joshua Lee

Karl and Hasook got married October 20, 2012 at Hope Presbyterian Church in Teaneck, NJ. Though a shy couple, their love for one another was visible through in their small gestures and expressions, which I hoped I’ve captured and presented in this film. They began their day at Studio Berry in Fort Lee where they got ready and took some studio photos. I had a great learning experience with Studio Berry, as their style was very traditional Korean and not something I was exposed to before. Luckily, we contacted the photographers prior to the wedding day as is our standard procedure and we were able to communicate comfortably throughout the day.

Our crew for this wedding consisted of my talented wife Julie as our second shooter, and my Joshua Lee as our assistant and occasional shooter. Overall, we had a fun and blessed experience.

Congratulations again, Karl and Hasook!

Michael & Angela: “Love Never Ends”

For awhile I had planned not to post this highlights films publicly; at first because the New York Times forbid it until their story was published, and later because Michael Olexa, the groom, lost his battle to colon cancer on August 15, 2012. After I finished editing this piece on the 10th, I had uploaded it privately for Angela, Michael, and their families to watch. Now watching it over, I am touched again and again at the amazing love they had for each other, and I realized that the world needed to see, through Michael and Angela’s story, that love truly “never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:8, as read during their ceremony). Before watching, please read Michael and Angela’s love story as published in the New York Times.

Michael & Angela
8.2.2012
Wedding Highlights
Natalie Grant “In Better Hands”

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Shooters – Youmin Woo (designtowoo.com) & Joshua Lee

On the sultry afternoon of August 2nd, 2012, Angela Sclafani and Michael Olexa proclaimed their love for one another before 30 close family and friends at the beautiful Knob Hill Golf Club in Manalapan, NJ. What was particularly special about this wedding was that the venue and all services, including that of James Lee Films, were donated through the non-profit organization Wish Upon A Wedding, whose mission according to their FAQ page is to “[provide] weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness and serious life altering circumstances.” At the time of the wedding Michael had Stage 4 colon cancer, but that did not stop him from saying his vows while standing before the witnesses and kissing his lovely bride to seal the deal. It was a joy getting to know someone as kind and loving as Michael, and I know that he will live on in the memories of many.

Photography was provided by Janice Celeste of c2 Photo Video, audio and DJing by Entertainment Xtreme, and planning/coordinating by the wonderful Agnieshka Burke of Pumpkin Coach Events. Everyone was a delight to work with, and I am so glad that our crew had the opportunity to participate in this wedding. Thank you Youmin, for giving your time to shoot yet another awesome wedding with me, and thank you Josh, for helping us out. Youmin and I couldn’t have done it as smoothly as we did without you.

James

Janet & Jay: Wedding Highlights

Janet & Jay
6.30.2012
Wedding Highlights

Sara Bareilles “The Light”
Ending performed by – Jay Kim & Shandon Campbell

Director/DP/Editor – James Lee
Shooters – Youmin Woo (designtowoo.com) & Julie Selnekovic-Lee

Janet Yang and Jayoung Kim became Mr. and Mrs. on June 30th, 2012, at Bethany Korean United Methodist Church in Wayne, NJ. The hot and sticky weather was somehow fitting for the goofy yet utterly romantic couple. Props to photographer and friend JR Pena; I’m always glad when I get a chance to work alongside photographers especially who share the vision of capturing the day in the most genuine way possible.
Our crew consisted of Youmin Woo (designtowoo.com) who returned as our second shooter, and my new wife Julie as another shooter. We were so blessed to be a part of Janet and Jay’s Wedding.

Congratulations again, Janet and Jay!

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Aftermath of Janet and Jay’s Wedding

I personally am leaving for my Honeymoon this week, but the following week a Highlights Film Edit will be up on Vimeo soon. Stay tuned…

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