My First Wedding As A Videographer

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 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.

The Lessons

  1. I learned that I am not proficient enough with my gear.
  2. I learned that things break and you have to be able to roll with it.
  3. I learned to bring less stuff with me.
  4. I learned to pace myself and lean on the experienced master.
  5. 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.

4. Padawan

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.

First Song In Ableton Live

*holds breath*

It’s about 80% there. There is a lot I am not happy with, but I am proud of it. Every beat, every note, every sound is mine. Playing with synth, a drum pad, getting it all to mesh. It’s way more difficult than I imagined! I think the first thing I’ll be doing is cutting some sections out and making it shorter. The more I read and learn, the more I see my mistakes and I want to start all over again.

I am releasing it here because, well like 2 people visit this blog, but also, I can’t improve if I don’t ever put stuff out there and take feedback. So here it is version .09 of my song. Stay tuned for new versions. I’ll keep adding them to SoundCloud.

I used a photo of the stacks in Morro Bay I took about a month ago, they are from the old power plant. I managed to get a bird in the photo almost directly in between

Lumi Keys

Return to creativity

Music is probably one of the most influential forces in my life. Whether I am creating it, listening to it, or writing it, it’s something that brings me peace and fulfills that creator drive inside.

Music has always been a part of my life. I learned guitar and piano when I was 6 and have always had a keyboard and guitars around. In college I studied classical guitar and music for me was initially a way to connect with my father. That and programming. Through the years I have grown in my love for music as access to it became easier. (Thank you iTunes) Remember the days of having to time the radio just right and press record on a boombox to get a mixtape created? No DJ, no ads, just music. It was almost impossible.

When My dad passed away this year he left his guitar collection to me. It’s a rather large collection which I donating most of to a local school, but the ones I am keeping are very special. Something about losing my mom and my dad in the last 2 years has brought back my love of creating music. I think it’s how I am dealing with the loss. Long story short the creative part of me pretty much died in 2010 thanks to some very painful events. But it’s coming back. Even at work I am finding that I can improvise and that fear of failure is dissipating. Creativity is returning.

Creating with a DAW

Three months ago I purchased Ableton Live 11 and started creating music. Along with the purchase of a cheap midi controller (Arturia MiniLab MKII Deep Black). It’s been fun! I have been learning how to use Ableton and how to approach using a DAW overall by trial and error and a few courses. Udemy offers some pretty low priced courses. I started with Ableton Live 11 – Music Production in Ableton Live and moved on to Music Theory for Electronic Music COMPLETE: Parts 1, 2, & 3. My music theory could use a lot of work, so when I can’t sleep at night I have been slowly going through Your Music Theory Comprehensive Complete! (Levels 1, 2, & 3)

This has all been well and good, but I hit hyperdrive when I picked up a LUMI Keys Studio Edition and Equator 2. This thing is brilliant. It allows you to express so much emotion, you can bend notes and it’s pressure sensitive. You can also learn with it as the keys are lit. It’s a little pricey, but then again all this music stuff is that way. The quality is through the roof. Then there is Equator, a synth and so much more. The video below talks about using Live 11 with LUMI. It’s pure creative magic and I am going to lose spend hundreds of hours using it.

I can’t wait to finally have something I am confident enough in to publish here. I have some cool stuff, and even one complete arrangement, but I don’t love it. I love parts of it, but overall … it sounds like a noob created it. Because one did. 🙂 Stay tuned!

If you are at all interested in this stuff, let me know. I have done hours of research and would love to talk about it. YouTube is also really great for learning more. Taetro is great and so is ANDREW HUANG.

Coming soon … there is too much music related equipment for my work desk. It’s time for a Studio Desk. I think I am going to attempt to make my own!

Odyssey Blacked Out

Just to see how it would look, (and an attempt to make a lame and practical van look cool) I decided to black out my minivan. This van is eventually going to my 18 year old as soon as she has her Driver’s license, which we are waiting on the DMV for, thanks to the lock down. It turned out okay. I did all the work at my parent’s house in the Bay Area. All the badges (removed the “Odyssey” badge all together) and a bunch of trim were all chrome and took some effort to get just right. The wheels were by far the easiest part.


Livermore Photos

I took a few photos during some trips with my kiddos around Livermore. Del Valle and Sycamore Grove.