5 Question Interview Series | Syncopated Pictures

Happy happy happy Friday to everyone! Just like every other trend in the wedding industry, one comes in, one goes out. But it seems with videography right now a couple really has lots of choices of styles when it comes to documenting their wedding day because there is a new trend emerging that I personally LOVE and wanted to share with all of you. I won’t bother trying to describe what I’m talking about because I think the team at Syncopated Pictures can tell you better than I can. I will give one spoiler: the team at Syncopated Pictures are also wedding photographers. So if you’re a big fan of still photography then this will be interesting to you because this team approaches this type of videography, which is actually termed cinematography because of its cinematic approach rather than a traditional approach, because it is influenced by still photography. So meet Christina, Randi & Nicki!

Read on!

1. What is wedding cinematography? How is it different than traditional wedding videography?
Christina: It’s like  wedding videography – but it’s shot and edited so that you actually want to watch it again and again because it is short, beautiful, and has a compelling story. While a videographer records all your events in much the same way that a photographer would, documenting all aspects of the wedding day, we focus on the bride and groom and the connection they share. We like to get to know our couples so that we can weave their story into the imagery of their wedding day.
Randi: You will not see a chronological depiction of your wedding day. We don’t chronicle your guests’ experience or have endless shots of your reception details. We do not interview your guests, mingle at your cocktail party or shoot while you’re doing posed formal family pictures. We capture you as you are.
Nicki: We use Canon DSLR cameras – the same cameras that are used for still photography. They’re small and unobtrusive and allow us to get amazing shots without using large, bulky equipment.

2. How did you get into cinematography and shooting weddings?
Randi: After seeing some of the footage that these DSLR cameras could create, I realized that I could make beautiful films with equipment that I already owned. Having the possibility to capture audio and motion really drew me in. A photo of a teary groom during a wedding vow becomes even more emotional when you add the groom speaking the wedding vow.
Nicki: Our clients may not know why we have and use so many lenses, but they are able to sense the difference in mood that those lenses create. Depicting a very specific feeling with the careful use of equipment is what motivates me.

3. What keeps you motivated/where do you get your inspiration?
Randi: I get excited to think about what might types of things might happen during a wedding. Like wedding photography, cinematography requires studying human behavior to know when the best moments are going to happen. Humans are endlessly interesting and inspirational.
Christina: I seem to have an insatiable inner need to create. A couple weeks ago, I was feeling a little tired after several consecutive shoots. After two days of rest, I woke up and felt a burning desire to make a movie. It had been raining almost nonstop for several weeks so with a little cooperation from my 3-year-old, I decided to make a movie about the gloom we felt waking up to another rainy day.

4. What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?
Nicki: I would choose my monopod.  Without it, our camera movement would be choppy and less professional.
Christina: It’s usually whatever I’m using at that particular moment. I can find reasons to love all my cameras and lenses and stabilizers, because they’re all great for one reason or another.
Randi: The clear winner for me is a 50mm lens. The look of the lens is closest to what our eyes see when we look at people. When you look at something shot with this lens, it looks like reality. Really beautiful reality.

5. Do you have any other artistic outlets other than cinematography?
Christina: My first artistic passion was music. I spent my teenage and early college years immersed in all kinds of different musical groups, and still enjoy playing the piano whenever I can find time.
Randi: I love to cook. I find the process very satisfying when I create a meal from scratch.
Nicki:  I enjoy construction.  Stepping back from a basement that you just drywalled, or a kitchen after you’ve finished the trim is an artistic outlet for me.  Music is also very important to me. Listening to music helps me create.

6. Which cinematographers have influenced your work?
Nicki:  I am a technology teacher during the off season. I am constantly influenced by current music videos and shorts that my students show me. I challenge them to figure out how the video was shot, then recreate what they were so impressed by. I find myself incorporating ideas from shorts that my students show me into many of my videos.
Randi: The stillmotion team consistently produces high quality work that is distinct from other companies that shoot weddings. They’re bringing a lot of prestige to wedding cinematography since their wedding work was the reason they have been hired to shoot for the NFL and other national companies.

7. What advice would you give to a budding cinematographer?
Christina: Whether you’re toting a camera or not, watch and examine the light all around you. Look at the people around you at all different times of day in all different light sources. When you’re watching movies or TV, try to deconstruct how scenes are put together. Watch for camera movement, lens selection, light, and sound. Try to piece together why the filmmakers made the choices that they did.
Randi: Practice. Shooting cinema requires a lot of planning since your film should tell a story. Think about what events might happen, how you can create transitions, and tell stories with light.
Nicki: Constantly create.  You can make a cinema out of anything.  30 seconds, 4 minutes. The subject or length doesn’t matter, but the more you shoot, the more you understand, and the better your product is.

8. What other piece of equipment, besides a camera or computer, do you always have on a shoot?
Randi: Water.
Nicki: 50mm lens.
Christina: Scissors.

9. How can interested brides and grooms contact you?
We have very limited availability for 2011, and are now booking for 2012 and beyond. We’re also available for corporate work. Contact us to learn more.

So yes, you guessed it: there were more than 5 questions. But if you read thru all of this then you realize I just couldn’t shorten anything. Too interesting to cut anything out! So make sure to drop by and check out Syncopated Pictures website and blog! Drop a line and say HI.

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