The average final run time of my produced wedding video package is about 2.5 hours of finished footage. Each second of that video contains 24 individual images. If you do the math, that adds up to over 215k images minimum! (Food for thought when waiting for your download to finish 😊).
Lets talk about this one.
Joe and Claudia lucked into a warm and sunny March 2017 day in the south suburbs of Chicago. Preparation coverage was fantastic, and everyone was in lovely spirits.
When I arrived at the Joliet Bird sanctuary, the first thing I saw was this bench, and I fell in love that visual instantly. My first thought was, "I hope I can get that shot". I envisioned a wide shot, 90 degrees angle, and framed in the left one-thirds for the focal point. I imagined Joe and Claudia walking into the frame, sitting down, relax and then walking back out the frame the same way they entered it. I also decided the camera would not move, no tracking pans or zooms at all. I wanted the frame and the subjects to tell the story. All I had to do was hit record, and hope my vision was worth a dam.
After about an hour and half of photography portraits, where a few hundred ants introduced themselves to Claudia's dress, exhaustion and frustration was understandably setting in. This happens often at weddings. A couple plan and prepare for months and years, then the day comes, you get your fancy and borderline uncomfortable outfits on, and all of the sudden you never felt closer, while at the same time further from that big ceremonial first kiss. It can, and often does, temporarily drain a couple before the wedding has even officially began. How often this happens, irrelevant, it was clearly happening on this day. I have seen a bride nearly faint on more than one occasion.
The photographer was setting up for the last series of portraits, and we were well ahead of schedule. I pitched my idea, and politely requested to have them to myself. I told Joe and Claudia what I was looking for, and strongly emphasized that I needed them to relax, be comfortable, be themselves, and enjoy the moment. At one point while sitting on the bench, they looked at me, and asked, "are we doing it right?", and I shouted out, "no worries, I just thought you needed a break, enjoy it, you can't do that wrong". Honestly, if you are getting married, you are gonna worry about a lot of stuff, and I can't tell you not to, but I can tell you that at some point in the day, you deserve a break! I think this was the first time they sat down in 2-hours of photography, as well as the first time they were alone together on this day.
I love their matching posture, and the hand on her thigh. When I look at this frame, I'm wondering what they are watching on Netflix on a Friday night of staying in (Stranger Things?). I also feel like this frame has a, "Pixar-like", quality to it, I can picture them silently relaxing on this bench in 20-years, after having a long walk and talk about life. I feel all of that when I look at this single frame.
The other fascinating apsect of this frame, is to consider their point of view, as the most important friends and family are about 100 yards away (off camera-right). I had my frame of Joe and Claudia, and they had their own frame of everyone else. Perspective of a perspective.
This one frame embodies everything that draws me to filmmaking. It's never just a still frame or a series of frames containing objects and people, that's the surface of what gets captured, that's the easy part of the job. The hard part is creating an observable thematic connection to how something feels within a unique space and time of our existence. That is what evokes our imagination, and in turn, a dream like reflection of the human experience.
If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed and/or disconnected from yourself or each other, wedding day or not. Find a nice bench in a quiet park, listen to the wind and take a load off.