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Guest blog: why vintage film?

10 May

Bouquet on vintage film
Over the years we have been so lucky to work with Ottawa’s boutique wedding planning agency Marry Me Productions. These fabulous ladies cater to the stylish and discerning bride with a focus on experience and innovation. So in 2009, when we first met Principal Planner Stacey Price, she immediately “got” what vintage cinematography is all about.

But even when someone loves what we do, there are often questions about what, how, and why we create vintage lifestyle films. Just recently, the team at Marry Me asked us to be a guest blogger to explain the differences between shooting digitally verses on film. We were thrilled to share our thoughts and have the opportunity to talk about something we are so passionate about.

Visit the Marry Me Productions blog and read the guest post here.

Preserving your memories

26 Apr

We are in the middle of a move (more on that in a few weeks!) and have been busy delivering the original 16mm and super 8 negatives to our clients. In the past we have offered to hold-on to the archival footage from the events we capture but are quickly running out of storage space and feel the best home for these family heirlooms is with the stars of the film.

So to help all past, present and future clients understand why film negatives are important and how to care for them, here are some answers to a few of the most common questions:

What are original film negatives?
Film negatives are the raw footage from your event as captured in the original filmmaking medium. Just as you keep and carefully store photographic still negatives (remember those?) it is also important to keep and care for your original motion picture negatives as well. Years from now you will always be able to make additional copies using the original source materials.

Why should you preserve them?
It is the film negatives themselves which will last for generations, not the DVD. Your negatives are archival and your wedding day footage will remain as beautiful as the day it was captured, 10, 50, even 100 years from now – if they are properly cared for.

How do you store these family heirlooms?
Heat and humidity are the enemies of photographic materials. Store your film negatives in a cool, dry area. In case of fire or flood, never store originals with the copies in the same location.

By capturing your love on film and following these tips you can rest assured that your memories will last a lifetime.

Instant love on instant film

21 Feb

We shoot everything on film. And we love it when other artists choose this classic medium as well. Other artists like Ben.

Ben owns byfield~pitman photography and specializes in shooting candid wedding pictures and edgy editorial portraits. Ben & I went through photography school together and even back then his work always stood-out because he would try things no one else would even think of. And now more than a decade later, he continues to trailblaze by launching a very cool new service called Polaroid Weddings.

Ben explains how this service came to be: “A couple of us at byfield~pitman have really been enjoying working with Fuji’s Instax cameras and film, so we thought we’d see if the medium would lend itself to wedding photography. In the fall of 2011 we had our very first couple, Susan & Alex, agree to have us photograph their entire wedding with instant film! We were overjoyed with the results, and in 2012 we’re looking forward to hopefully a few more couples seeing value in this timeless way of capturing images.”
It seems that Ben might have stumbled upon an emerging trend. Just last week BRIDES published an article about wedding photography trends mentioning the retro, grainless beauty of Fuji instant prints for couples looking for a completely unique way to capture special moments. According to Ben, the recent interest in this format may be because of the popularity of iPhone apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic. He says they have “become incredibly popular since the demise of Polaroid in 2008. While you may not have heard the names of those apps before, you’ve undoubtedly come across pictures that your friends have posted online which look remarkably similar to Polaroids. Basically, this is our response to this phenomenon. We think that it can be done better. And it turned out that Fuji agreed with us!”
The new service can be done as an add-on to any of their wedding photography packages, and the only increase in price will be the cost of the instant film itself.  (These guys obviously love working with film). And byfield~pitman can photograph an entire wedding on instant film or if you prefer just part of the day such as portraits of the bride and groom, first dance or detail shots.
I love that byfield~pitman is offering real film photography, not a post-production trick.  You have to be technically proficient and brave to shoot with film and they’ll do it right with professional lighting, selective focus, and multiple framing formats. If you would like more information about Polaroid Weddings write or call Ben at 613.PICTURE.

Don’t let film fade to black

22 Nov

Whenever I am out filming with my antique cameras at least one curious onlooker will come up to me and ask, “Wow, you can still buy actual film?” Yes you can. At least for now.

It’s been a rough year for motion picture film. The rapid shift from analogue to digital technologies threatens the future of this distinctive medium that I so dearly love. A major film lab in Montreal shut down without warning this past July citing “the rapid shift to digital since 2010” required them to restructure. And last month after 123 years ARRI announced it won’t be producing motion picture cameras anymore. I’m not anti-digital, but I adore film and do not want to lose my ability to create with it

Source: Pinterest

Other artists are starting to publicly declare their fears of the future of this medium as well. Tacita Dean, a British artist shares her distress stating film is about to die through an exhibit that opened last month at the Tate Modern. It’s both an homage and requiem to the medium itself simply called “Film”. She says, “this beautiful medium, invented 125 years ago, is about to go,” unless fast action is taken. The language of analogue filmmaking, said Dean, is as important to her as a painter’s canvas and paint. I absolutely feel the same way.

I also believe that a moment becomes more precious when it is captured on film and one of the reasons our work resonate with so many people. Film is a physical medium – you can feel as much as see the difference between a film and digital recording….just as you can hear the difference between music recorded on a vinyl record and a CD of the same performance.

Steven Spielberg, one of cinema’s best storytellers of all time, still chooses film and has said, “I will remain loyal to this analogue art form until the last lab closes.” So, like Spielberg, myself and other film artists choose film not because it is easier to use or less expensive, but because it evokes a sense of intimacy that can be felt by the viewer. And the image it creates is simply breathtaking.

My personal fear is that my medium of choice will one day be a thing of the past. So, if you love film, I urge you to use film or support artists who choose to create with this incredible medium…otherwise, the choice may not always be ours.

Long live film,

A wedding workshop presentation

5 Apr

In the process of planning your wedding? If so, next week is your chance to attend one of the wonderful Wedding Workshops hosted by STARFISH. In one evening everything you need to know from etiquette to essentials will be covered to help you plan the wedding of your dreams – on time and on budget.

The exciting workshop theme is “Ideas to Reach Beyond your Imagination” and I will be one of industry professionals selected to speak next Wednesday evening. The workshop will be held from 6-8pm at the Details Ottawa showroom (1010 Polytek, Unit 4). Reserve your spot at

For those of you who may not be able to make it to the workshop, here’s a taste of what I will be covering:

How is vintage cinema different from traditional video?
– Vintage cinema is captured on motion picture film stock, not digitally
– We film discreetly so do not use lighting, tripods and large cameras
– Sound is only captured if requested allowing the images to speak for themselves therefore maintaining the magic of your special day
– We believe less is more so the highlights of your day are condensed into a short and sweet final film (5-15 minutes) and each frame is shot with great care and awareness

Why shoot on film?
– Film is breathtaking and other formats often want to mimic it’s dreamy, flattering & timeless qualities
– Guests love to see vintage cameras in action
– Film is truly archival and will remain beautiful for a lifetime

5 ways to share your engagement film

22 Mar

The time spent as an engaged couple is short and sweet. Capturing your love on film before you tie the knot is the perfect keepsake from this short-lived and often innocent time in your lives.

Did you know there are many creative ways to incorporate a love story film into your wedding? Here are five ideas to get you thinking of how some of our clients have shared their concept film with the people who are nearest and dearest to them:

1)  Mail a copy of your engagement film along with your save-the-date or wedding invitations as the sweetest introduction to who you are as a couple. Your guests won’t be able to wait to watch your love film and find out all the details of your upcoming nuptials!

2) Post your film on your wedding website. Adding a custom, multimedia element to your website that will leave all your guests oohing and ahhing. A film that captures your life and love is a sweet introduction to your soon to be Mr. or Mrs. as some friends and family may not have a chance to get to know your fiancé before the big day.

3) Screen your film at your reception. Everyone loves to be entertained, and timeless footage of you and your fiancé is guaranteed to be a hit. Project your film on loop at the cocktail reception or grab everyone’s attention at once by dimming the lights and screening it during the reception.

4) Give a copy to each of your guests as thoughtful favours to thank them for sharing your special day with you. { First Kiss Films } are beautifully gift packaged so that can fit into the theme of any wedding. Give your guests a thoughtful parting gift they will treasure and enjoy for years down the road.

5) Keep your film for you and your fiancé’s eyes only. Knowing you may be the only ones to watch the film allows you to be as lovey-dovey, silly or as sexy as you like. Start an annual tradition to snuggle up on each wedding anniversary to watch and reminisce on what your lives were like before you officially said “i do”…

The sky is the limit when it comes to creative ways to share your love story film. Custom film packages start at $500 and require a minimum of four weeks to produce so please inquire early.

The power of film

26 Oct

“If you want to shoot something that has real beauty, something that makes you think and feel, you’ve got to shoot it on film… Film connects with my audience.
It feels lush, warm, and real.”
– Ted Royer, Executive Creative Director, Droga5

I have hung this poster on my office wall just above my computer screen so anytime I gaze off in thought, it is what I see. It’s part of a Kodak Campaign sharing the many reasons why pros from all over the world choose to shoot on film. There is some great information on the Kodak website and here are some of the facts that I particularly found interesting:

Film is the only true archival medium. While my clients receive their final film on DVD, there is always a permanent, eternally legible backup copy (the film itself).

We can’t even conceive of a medium yet, that can preserve as much information as a piece of motion picture film. Film is still the highest density data capture medium we know of. There is no other medium with more information capturing capabilities currently known. What does this mean? The final image is subtle, beautiful and feels very real.

You often hear of people wanting to make HD video look like film but you never hear of someone wanting to make film look like HD video.

I adore film.  But shooting on film alone does not make for a great film. Good filmmaking is not just about the medium you choose to work with but how you shoot and edit every frame you capture.