Happy hump day everyone, and today we open the doors of The Study to FWS vendor Robert, from Robert Michael Films, an International Wedding filmmaker
Based in the US, Robert is an International Wedding filmmaker who is always looking to explore new places, so without further ado I am delighted to welcome into The Study Robert:
How did you become involved in wedding films?
I was the kid in class who would always be drawing instead of taking notes. My teachers would get frustrated because I would listen and retain the lesson, pass all of my exams but they assumed I was not paying attention. I guess I’ve always been creative and able to multitask which is basically what you do all day as a wedding filmmaker.
I went to college earning a degree in Fine Arts and another in Digital Media. One of my professors really encouraged me to start filming my own projects during an editing class he was teaching. Rather than using the stock video material provided by the school he loaned me his Canon XL1 (a very nice camera at the time) to go out and film my own material. We shared common tastes in music such as the Police and filmmakers such as David Lynch. He basically gave me free rein to do what I wanted so I rounded up fellow classmates and ended up filming and editing experimental videos that had nothing to do with the class really but were very creative and a lot of fun.
That was the start of my filmmaking journey. I was basically an artist and editor first and then had to figure out the cinematography aspect on my own with real world application. I got into filming weddings probably how a lot of us did when my roommate was getting married and asked if I would film it. I used that short sample to land a job filming with an established company in Los Angeles doing high end events and after a couple of gigs with them knew that I could do it better and with more creativity on my own. I haven’t looked back from there.
I would describe my approach to wedding films as a mix of Cinéma Vérité and fine art fashion cinematography. Karel Reisz’s description of Cinéma Vérité from his book The Technique of Film Editing describes a style of cinema as a “method of shooting and presenting material so as to preserve primarily the spontaneity and flavor of the real event”. It goes on to describe the Hollywood method of over production as intimidating and inhibiting, especially to non-professionals.
I completely relate to this when filming weddings where a discrete, documentary approach yields more natural results that create a higher level of emotion than could be achieved by staging or posing a bride and groom.
Of course, I also have a fine art and commercial background so I know how to find pleasing light and make subjects look incredible and glamorous by guiding them in a way where they don’t even realize they are being directed.
I find very little inspiration from wedding videographers to be honest. Mostly what I see is people just copying each other and producing the same old crap. I do enjoy some wedding photography, especially some of the film photographers. Mostly though I draw inspiration from other sources. Film, music, fashion, photography and art. Often I will go for a hike, put on some music and visualize camera movements or color palettes that correspond with what I’m hearing. I try to catalogue a lot of my thoughts for later inspiration that is applied to my projects weather they be a wedding or anything else.
I’ve been all across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Some specific places that I would like to film would be Bali, Venice, Australia, the French Riviera, Lake Como, Austria and Hawaii.
How does working with a destination couple differ from a domestic couple planning a wedding?
There are a few differences with a destination wedding compared to a local wedding. And even within each of those categories there can be a lot of variety. If it’s a small destination wedding or elopement than typically I film the wedding by myself. Often I will also include some sort of excursion or activity. Similar to what a photographer might do with an engagement shoot. I like to find something that the couple is interested in and include that in the film to help round it out and give more insight into their personality and back-story.
The other type of destination wedding that I often do is typically through a wedding planner. This will usually be a weekend full of activities such as a rehearsal dinner, the wedding and third day with an activity or brunch.
The biggest difference is that there is a lot of emphasize on the locations and the guest experience. A lot of times it is their first time visiting the location as well.
I don’t know if I have a favorite “part” of the day but I do enjoy immediately after the ceremony finishes. There is a relief of tension after the ceremony. The couple can relax and the party usually starts. We also usually get some alone time with just the couple, the photographer and myself. We usually escape with the couple for a few minutes to film them and it’s fun seeing how jubilant they are and sharing that moment with them.
What is the funniest story about being a wedding videographer?
You’ll have to ask me in person…maybe over drinks. I’ve seen some crazy things at weddings that we can’t publish here.
What is the best thing about being a wedding videographer?
Getting paid to do what you love! I absolutely love filming and editing weddings.
5 little known facts about me:
In addition to being a filmmaker, I’m also a musician. Mostly I play the drums but I dabble in guitar, bass and ukulele. Having training understanding song form and rhythm really helps with editing.
I’ve always wanted to live in a cabin by a lake. Maybe in Tahoe.
If I could film a wedding anywhere in the world it would be New Zealand.
I hate shopping but I love buying shoes.
I have two perfect daughters!
I feel that my biggest selling point is that I offer a very personal experience and exclusive service. I am not a studio brand. When you hire me it is because you are attracted to my style, my work and you see that I am offering something unique that can only be delivered by me. I shoot and edit all of my films personally.
I have a few options that I offer but basically you are hiring me to create a short film of your wedding in which I also include a documentary cut of the entire ceremony and any speeches that take place.
I don’t make it complicated with multiple packages and an endless list of upgrades. I offer a few options such as a second filmmaker or an option to customize the length of your film.
VIEW MORE ABOUT ROBERT AND EMAIL HIM TO FIND OUT ABOUT AVAILABILITY AND PRICES FOR YOUR BIG DAY.
Tel : +1 (818) 216-3939
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