Nostalgia Strikes

Someone asked me recently who my inspirations were. In fact, whenever people who wedding film fanatics like myself (as in are addicted to wedding films on Vimeo) see my work, I get asked if I got that idea from this wedding filmmaker, or that filmmaker, etc. etc.

The truth is, wedding cinematography with the use of DSLRs is pretty old news. Ever since Vincent Laforet got his hands on the 5D Mark II in 2008 and showed the world what kind of beast Canon had just created, independent filmmakers jumped on the bandwagon, and wedding filmmakers were a part of this transition.

With the growing popularity of the Canon DSLRs, although completely poor and unable to afford any of the cameras or gears, I began to learn about DSLRs, see videos produced using them, and watch tutorials and rig setup videos. I soaked in as much as humanly possible without actually handling a DSLR camera. At the time my sole interest was in narrative short film (which I still very much enjoy), and didn’t know of professionally-made wedding films. The first wedding film that I saw was inadvertently through a rig setup video done by JJ Kim of Orange Wedding Films:

(Nostalgia strikes…)
I was studying his comparison of the 7D and T2i, and through surfing his vimeo page, for the first time in my life I was introduced to the world of wedding films. It was love at first sight. It was not too long after this that I got hired by Wonton Creations, LLC as a cinematographer/primary editor for wedding films. I used a DSLR for the first time through this company, and honed my skills exponentially, perhaps because the hunger to do so was so great. I never forgot JJ’s wedding films, and after I went through all of his films public on vimeo several times over, I began to search for more. This is how I found Michael Y. Wong, David Robin, and Konrad of Freshsox; I began to follow In[FOCUS] and discovered Jet Kaiser Films, Matt Davis of Life Stage Films, Joe Simon, Lord Calomay, and so on so forth…

Perhaps one of the first wedding filmmakers to use solely Canon DSLRs, and one of my greatest inspirations, is none other than Stillmotion. At the time, Stillmotion had been using 35mm Brevis Adapters to produce the cinematic look; the DSLR replaced that easily with its low light performance and greater dynamic range. I began this nostalgia trip because recently Stillmotion posted a video on vimeo on wedding steadicam operation, and after watching it suddenly remembered the long, long ago moment when it all started…

To all of you wannabe-wedding-filmmakers, this is word of advice from someone still young in the industry. Never stop learning. Don’t ever settle for “good enough.” Always look at someone better than you and challenge yourself to reach his/her level.

– James

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