Christi + Seth
by Blue Kite Cinema
First Place in Wedding Filmmaking
When Colin Rieser and Nick Wilson—the dynamic duo behind the cinematography company Blue Kite Cinema—first moved to Los Angeles to start their business in 2012, they met and befriended Christi and Seth. “We were camping outside at a music festival and had set up a tent next to them,” Rieser recalls. “We partied all weekend with them and hit it off with their family,” so when Christi and Seth got engaged a few years later, the Blue Kite boys were their first pick to be the official videographers for their nuptials.
The film Christi + Seth would ultimately win first place in the Filmmaking Division’s Wedding category of WPPI 2017’s Print Comp.
Having an established friendship with the couple before the wedding was a major component to the film’s success. “We knew that they love nature, love camping, love being in the trees,” Rieser says, and that helped lay the foundation for their video, giving them a guideline for what type of B-roll to capture—vignettes of the rustic venue, flower garden and the sun shining through the clouds in the sky.
The film begins with the sound of Christi reading her vows, which Rieser and Wilson asked to get a sneak preview of several days before the wedding. “Early on, she talks about how Seth pulls her back down from the clouds,” Wilson notes, “so on the rehearsal day, we got a great drone shot coming through the clouds down to the venue,” to make that visual connection in the film. It’s detailed planning like this that “made this film come together easier than most,” Wilson says.
It also helped when the couple made it known to other vendors that the wedding video was a priority. “This almost never happens,” Rieser points out. “It’s a totally different game when you can take control and pose the couple how you want. We typically mirror the photographer during the portrait session and jump in to record right after them, but for us to take those initial poses was a big help.” It wasn’t make-or-break in terms of winning the award at WPPI, “but it allowed us to get some stunning portrait shots.”
Audio was another key component. When it comes to picking a song, “it has to move me,” Rieser says. The video incorporates the dialogue from the speeches and vows throughout its 5-minute duration. “But making a good wedding film is also about testing and revising. This wedding had a lot of great dialogue, so I’d start editing the first minute and then I’d find something that worked better and start over. We always make sure we focus on what serves a film best. We’re not trying to cram as much of the day into the film as possible.”
Camera: Canon EOS C100 Mark II
Drone: DJI Phantom 4 Audio: Sennheiser EW 100-ENG G3 lavalier packs into Tascam DR-40 recorder, Countryman B6 Omnidirectional lavalier into Sony ICD-SX1000 recorder (for the bride)
Music: Licensed through Musicbed
NOTES FROM THE JUDGES:
“There is a nice mix of subtle and appropriate camera movements, clean, honest color grading, and the film conveys the fun and emotion of the wedding well. Time is condensed, I am able to get into the story, and I feel like the makers stay out of the way and let the story live through the film. The chronology is also spot-on. The epic video portrait of the couple in their venue shows us why they chose it and even gives us a glimpse into who they are as a couple. I connect with them right away and stay with their story the whole way through—exactly what any good film should do.”
“One of the most impressive things about this film is that, in an era where it’s easy to go overboard with technical wizardry, the film stuck to telling the story of the day with some—but not too many—technical manipulations. The opening shot, for example: The camera doesn’t just pan down from the ceiling to reveal the bride, but it moves in on her, which opens the narrative. Later, there’s an aerial shot that zooms out and away from the couple, which tells me that the story is winding down.”
“The film is very comprehensive—from the hero drone shots to the details to the candid moments. The filmmakers knew how to masterfully document all aspects of the wedding-day experience. There’s also great integration of the speeches within the film. It was fluid, engaging and easy for the viewer to become immersed. You laugh, you get teary-eyed and you really feel the love between this couple.”
“The film is fresh, clean and fast. It was well edited and has great color grading. Plus, it has great music which, combined with the speeches, makes for an amazing film.”
A TIP FOR…
Exposure and color-grading
We use our zebra stripes setting to make sure we aren’t clipping any of the highlights. We also constantly yell temperature settings at each other throughout the day to make sure we are consistent in terms of color quality.
Mic anything and everything, including the brides. Redundancies and constant monitoring help us get the best audio we can.
Choosing the right song is typically a multi-hour process. Be patient, feel the emotion of your subjects and make sure the music helps drive the film.
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