Saturday, March 12, 2005

Photo? Video? Ice Sculpture?

I hear a lot of people claim they live in the moment. When I hear this I often wonder if they really know what they are talking about - live in the moment... for the moment.
What moment?
And, after the "moment" is that it? The moment never to be revisited or called to mind? Never to have a high enough value that it is worth recalling, remembering, reliving?
The ice sculpture soon melts, gone forever. Unless, of course, it was captured on film or memory chip, or videotape.
On film that sculpture can be captured forever in all its frozen glory. Its once wonderful, glistening detail can be reaffirmed at a glance...
...a memory of what once was and is no more.
Another photo can freeze the results of its demise, capturing virtually forever that melted masterpiece's remains - what was and is no more, but for the photograph, the memory.
Yes, photography captures the moment doesn't it?
But video, ah yes, video captures the event, the passage, the occurrence, the story like nothing photography could hope to achieve. The video of that melting ice sculpture can be long, excruciatingly boring; like real time.
Or, in the hands of a talented editor, the passage of time, while depicting the painful passage from reflective, diamond-like art to nothing more than a puddle awaiting the cleanup crew, can be a beautiful thing. There's a story here. Is the story of the ice sculpture reflective of the story of the marriage celebration where it gave its life?
Like the sculpture, will the wedding and reception that followed, the marriage that resulted, soon melt away into nothing?
A pause for thought, huh?
Can the photographs do that? After a fashion. Say, one of the sculpture's delivery - solid, hard, defined. Another of the sculpture sweating out its midlife, rivulets cutting lines into its once solid facade. Then a photo of its half-life, less than it was, still showing some of what it must have been, a series of moments rapidly fading. A final photo of the puddle, nothing to reflect on what that shapeless body of water had once been.
Sure, photos can do that, leaving much of it to the mind to recall.
But video, ah yes, video captures every moment, every fading of reflective glory. It conveys passage of time in a reality show. The drops move, the ice diminishes, the shape of things change until there remains only that body of water. Music enhances, highlights the event, underscoring a change from something to nothing.
What do most care?
They, after all, live for the moment, in the moment.
Like the marriage.
Life would, then, have to be a series of moments to live for, live in. Something a mere photograph cannot convey, provide.
Video is more about life, what it was, what it is, what it has become.
It is more artistic than a painting, more reminiscent than a photograph.
After the event, the video remains.
But what of the ice sculpture? the wedding? the marriage?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Good, Fast and Cheap

The best you can hope for is two out of three.
Take video production for example. Independent wedding and event video producers are all over the board with this one. Are the majority of them good? Probably, but that is subjective and from the perspective of the service provider, the client and/or her relatives and friends.
There are a lot of cheap video services providers out there. The technology is certainly affordable, providing a great starting point for newbies. Working out of home generates low overhead, start up costs...and that's good to a degree. Inexpensive is a relative term. It sounds a bit better than "cheap" still giving the impression that a video service provider who is "inexpensive" might be somewhat more credible than one who is cheap. To a certain extent, unfortunately, you do get what you pay for.
Fast. What's that? What's fast? One or two months? Less than one month? Two, three weeks? Ten days? The fewer days spent on editing a video product, depending on length, complexity and content, can result in omission of quality. A lot depends on what the service provider charges. What equipment, technology, creative resources does she have at her disposal? Today's tools can help be fast, and good, but it isn't likely your service provider will be cheap.
There are a few things you must do whatever your budget may be for video production.

• Set your budget, but make an effort to be flexible a few hundred dollars either way

• Make it a point to interview a minimum of five video production services providers

• Make every effort to obtain a minimum of two of them via references from people you know and trust

• Do preview samples of their work

• Do follow up on references: liked work, liked the people, performed as promised, any surprises good or bad

• Do establish how long (how many weddings or events actually produced) they've been in business

• All else being equal, what are your instincts telling you - run? Are you comfortable? Do you like them?

• Good instincts, a comfortable, agreeable feeling is one thing, but is she going to be there behind the camera

• You might have 12 months to get everything locked down, but give yourself more than a couple of months

• Wait til the last minute and availability (see above) diminishes, potential for making a bad call increases

• Whatever the promises - get it in writing. For your own protection you simply must get a definitive agreement

Follow the above suggestions and you might just be able to find a video services provider who is affordable (based on your flexible budget) - avoid "cheap"; fast - anything under four weeks can be considered so; and good - you saw their work, right? They've been in business for a few years, produced several similar events - right? The references were positive, you did contact them, right?
Keep in mind that while there certainly is an abundance of talented individuals out there who started producing yesterday, experience plays a major role in the positive outcome of a video production. People who have been in business for a few years, with a number of productions under their belts, tend to understand Murphy's Law that if anything can go wrong it will. They are prepared for equipment failure, with sufficient backup resources to get the job done, and get it done professionally.
You will pay for that experience but, more than talent, looks, production samples, production content, contract inclusions, or even personality, the premium for experience will be the single most significant portion of your investment in a professional video services provider.