Traveling For Work: Preparation

For our next project, I will be flying out to San Francisco area (Half Moon Bay, to be exact) tomorrow morning to shoot for 3 days.  I had flown out once in the past, but that was for a small wedding, and did not have to carry too much of equipment.  This time, it's a little different story.  And trying to figure out how to carry my gears was one of the most stressful parts of pre-production.  

There are several competing goals when packing gears.  1) I need to pack as light as possible, limiting the number of bags as well as size/weight; 2) I cannot leave behind something and face a situation where I say "I should have brought ____ also"; and 3) I need to make sure nothing gets damaged during transit.

As I was looking through airline's baggage requirements, I figured that it's better and cheaper to rent a tripod leg instead of taking mine, and decided to put all my other support gears (monopod, glidecam, slider, etc) in a suitcase.  But I soon realized there was too much stuff even if I don't take my tripod, so buying a roller case was inevitable.

Tenba Transport 38" Rolling Bag

Tenba Transport 38" Rolling Bag

So, my 2nd configuration was to carry my camera bag and check in this rolling bag full of support gear and all the other stuff including my clothes.  But the problem was the teleprompter, which is basically a huge expensive glass that I don't feel safe to put in this bag with other heavy stuff.  And also there was a bag full of audio equipment.  

Just because of the size and fragile nature of the teleprompter, I will have to carry a suitcase, making it total 3 bags (1 carry-on + 2 check-in).  After deciding to take 3 bags, I had the option to take my own tripod, so had a hard time deciding whether or not to cancel the tripod I reserved at the rental place.  If I do take my tripod, I will have to take all the stuff out of my audio bag and put it in the suitcase individually rather than just putting the whole bag into the rolling bag, which doesn't seem to be a good idea.  

I am not happy that I have to check in 2 bags, but I don't want to think any more about the luggage part of the travel.  I have enough things to worry about on my hand. 

One more thing.  I also have to think about the worst scenario - losing or getting stuff stolen.  So, I just backed up my SSD drive onto another hard drive.  

This is the main compartment of my camera bag, and the other side holds a MBP 13" and other accessories.  I should do a quick run-through video explaining how I'm going to use each of the camera equipment.  Maybe if time allows. 


What it means to produce a wedding video

I tried not to keep a blog on this website, because as much as I enjoy writing, it takes me too long to write each post, especially due to my not-so-perfect English.  And I just don't have time to write because of the workload.  But I felt the need to explain the philosophy behind "what" I do and "how" I do when doing my job as a wedding videographer.  

Nowadays, most people hire videographers for their weddings, because 1) they finally learned that videos have far more value than photos when it comes to helping them revisit their cherished memories, and 2) videography service is more accessible than ever, compared to when it meant carrying a huge camcorder that holds VHS tape on your shoulder.  

You can type in "wedding video" on any search engine and you will be able to find tons of wedding highlight videos.  I learned a lot from other videographers by watching their wedding videos, and I still do.  Although the shooting techniques and quality of the videos vary greatly among them, the style of edited videos is somewhat very similar and follows a trend.  And what's evident to me is that most videographers are concerned more about making kick-ass videos which will make online viewers say "that's amazing!" Honestly, it's very tempting for any videographers, to focus primarily on the aesthetic and artistic value of the video.  

This video is one I finished editing yesterday.  And let me first tell you it is NOT for most of you. What I mean by that is most of you were NOT the target audience when I shot and edited the video. There are some shots that most other videographers wouldn't include. There are some audios from the video that would've been better covered with background music.  And most of all, the bride's wedding vow would have felt shorter and more exciting if it was mixed up with other preparation clips.  (for non-Korean speaking viewers, it must've felt even longer, and possibly boring.)  

Again, the video is not for you.  It's exclusively for Dami and Bo, and their loved ones.  I wanted the newlyweds to be able to watch the bride's trembling lips and watery eyes, and the groom's emotions expressed through his face while listening to the vow many many years from now.  I just couldn't cover it up with other clips.  

I also wanted to include a shot with the groom wearing slippers during photo session because he had forgotten to bring his dress shoes and had to call someone to bring them.   

And this first clip of the reception has some audios of the MC, and if I was going for the artistic value of the video, it would've been better left out and cut shorter, but what the MC said in that short clip summarized how the couple first began to start dating.  I couldn't leave this part out, no matter how awful the lighting condition at the reception was and how smoother it would've been if the volume of the background music didn't have to be lowered so frequently.

Wedding videography, or any event videography, requires much more than basic knowledge and skills of filming and editing videos.  When editing wedding videos, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS imagine the couple watching the video 10 years from the wedding day, probably with their little ones by their side.  If I'm worried about other random viewers online, or only the first time the couple watches the video, I'm not doing my job right.