And the lessons I learned
One of the most solid and amazing humans I know, and am honored to call a friend, invited me to partner with her in her Photography business to see how things go. Taylor has over 8 years of experience taking photos, so there is a lot for me to learn.
Seriously, Taylor is massively talented. Head over to taylordavidsonphotography.org and browse the gallery and then reach out to her.
Yesterday was my first wedding and it was a challenge. I have been practicing at home, watching videos, reading books, and generally felt prepared. I was not. I ended up leaving after dinner due to exhaustion and being overwhelmed with the day.
- I learned that I am not proficient enough with my gear.
- I learned that things break and you have to be able to roll with it.
- I learned to bring less stuff with me.
- I learned to pace myself and lean on the experienced master.
- I learned that the day is really long and to bring more H20.
1. Proficiency with gear
My gimbal. I want to kill my gimbal. Even after practicing at home, I am just not great with it. It constantly tries to do things I don’t want it to do. I lock it on my subject, yet it wanders away … and my shot is lost.
Changing lenses. I almost want to buy a second camera just so I can float between the 35MM and the 85MM without constantly changing my lenses. Thankfully tt was rare that I would want want to use the 16MM, but dang, the amount of effort to change. I also learned quickly which lenses to use.
Working with other people around is hard. I get a scene going, it’s going great, someone walks in and boom, it’s gone. That happened so, so many times. I need to lower my expectations and learn the dance. There is not call for action on the set, it’s happening in real time and it’s chaotic. For an introverted perfectionist, this is pretty much hell. But it’s also a challenge and I won’t be happy or rest until I have the absolute most perfect cinematic wedding reel ever seen, and that might take years. Post is awesome, but I want awesome on the front end with skill. Again, I can’t believe the blessing that Taylor is here, I am learning from the best. Did I mention that Taylor planned and executed my wedding? I wish she had done the photography as well.
The drone was the only thing that went smoothly. Easy peasy. Fly over stuff, position the drone here and there, etc. Lack of experience here was obvious as I rushed it a bit. My shots are good, not great.
Audio, this was almost totally smooth, almost. I plugged my Zoom F3 into the DJ’s sound board via one of the many cables I have, thanks to Justin Porter who helped me with an audio solution. That went off without a hitch. The audio is not great because it was outside and the DJ’s gear was not awesome, but with 32 bit float, I can clean it up.
2. Things Break
My R6 started overheating! During the ceremony when I was filming non-stop, I got flashing red lights and threats to shut down. My reaction was panic and I did not get some footage. I did not handle this gracefully. Curse my perfectionism!
My external screen also stopped displaying. I rely on this when I use the gimbal, and it really helps with a histogram and RGB parade. I think the cable, which is brand new, started having issues and I only have one HDMI to Micro HDMI.
3. Needed Gear Only
I took two backpacks crammed full of stuff, and a shoulder bag with the drone in it. NEVER AGAIN. Lugging these things all over the place and babysitting them was stressful and exhausting. I needed just about everything though, so I am not sure how to handle this. I am just going to have to not be as prepared as I want to be and use less stuff.
I had a ton of ideas in my head, and in the end executed almost none of them. I should have just followed Taylor around and learned. I captured what I could. The good news is that I am a decent camera operator in that my exposure is overall, really good. The scenes are okay as well, framed and timed. I record in clog3, so it’s raw. After applying the Cannon LUT, and then color correcting, the 4K footage looks good. So what I got, is good.
I think for the future, I’ll need to communicate more with the folks around my and my team. Let them know what shots I want and speak up. After all these years I am still quiet and reserved, so this is difficult. But I do want to capture certain things, and so I’ll have to do it.
5. More Prep Work
I spend most of my time sitting behind a desk either coding, troubleshooting or in zoom calls managing my team at work. Spending a day on my feet, using a gimbal, out in the elements, (it was so hot! Central California!) it was all a shock to me. I went from 0 to 100 and my body was mad at me. I recently lost 60 pounds, but did it though a lifestyle not centered around food. I have not been in the gym since last year. So I did not have weight to carry around in the form of fat, but I also have a body that’s not condition to do what I was doing. I plan to head back to CrossFit this month, so that will change. Today, the day after, my back hurts, my abs hurt (maybe lack of any ab muscles). I was super dehydrated when I got home and crashed on my bed. So thankful for an encouraging wife who listened and then reminded me to follow this passion and that this was a good learning experience.
I’ll be mentally prepared next time, as well as having more water and food.