Monday, November 17, 2008

"Life is Like a Movie"!

I would love to take this opportunity to introduce you to Jewel and Chuck Savadelis of Savadelis Films. This wonderful husband and wife team is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and their work is just AMAZING! Just see it for yourself...

Here are some notes from Jewel of what it took to make this 3-minute movie trailer:

1. When we saw their logo, we thought it was very nice. So we asked for and received the Illustrator files of the logo from the graphic designer and animated Emily and Danny's logo.

2. Emily's Mom and Dad were at the second story window looking out. The window was too blue, due to the reflection of the sky and ocean. Chuck masked the window and color corrected it so their skin tones looked normal. He then gave a different color correction to the area outside the window so it matched the other images of the exterior of the building. Then, he did the same thing for each FRAME (there are 30 frames per second). We color correct pretty much every clip in the entire wedding movie. This adds 2-3 weeks of effort. We also modulate and "sweeten" the sound throughout a wedding movie.

3. At the last minute, Emily and Danny asked us to do a time lapse of empty to full seats. Since this was the weekend of the women's golf tournament, we could not leave a camera outdoors unattended. So, at our own expense we hired someone to "camera sit" just to get that 3-second shot.

4. After the bridesmaids walked down the aisle and Emily was waiting alone in the foyer, we finally see a bit of her nervousness. It was charming.

5. By coming to every rehearsal (no extra charge), we know what is going to happen and when. So, we were in the best positions to catch Emily hugging her in-laws and Danny hugging his in-laws.

6. Chuck caught Emily's favorite uncle sketching at the rehearsal. He finished the drawing during the ceremony. We were able to scale the sketch to create the maximum impact when we dissolved from the sketch to real life. This impact can only be achieved in a moving picture medium. A photo would not convey the same dynamic feeling nor the emotions it creates. This unexpected event inspired the opening and closing scenes of this piece. Chuck bought a special piece of software to create a look that was similar to the Uncle's art style.

7. During the table toasts, we wanted a specific look. It was very dark in the ballroom, so we needed small (20 watt) lights. Instead of having them mounted on the camera which would light people from the front, giving an unflattering flat look, our assistant was lighting each scene from the side, for a softer and more sophisticated look - still using only a 20-watt light. We aim to be unobtrusive. In fact Emily's parents thought Chuck was the only cinematographer there. They never saw me or our assistant! And the only reason they saw him was because he was in the foyer with them just before they walked down the aisle.

8. We went back to the Ritz and filmed the ocean scenes on a non-wedding day.

9. The scene where the camera pulls back from a couple standing at the window watching the sunset? It was shot much earlier in the day when the sky was blue. Chuck color graded it to look like it occurred at sunset to match the other images immediately prior.

10. Because Emily and Danny are real foodies, we made special arrangements in advance with the staff at the Ritz to be able to film the food preparation without interfering in the flow of their work.

11. The second course was burned on the top, so Chuck lightened just the burnt tops so they looked more appetizing. (No need to mention this, as it's a poor reflection on the Ritz.)

12. We knew the photo booth would be a centerpiece of the reception. So, the week before the wedding we spent several hours experimenting to determine the best combination of strobe flashes per second, direction of supplemental lighting, and a few other factors which matched the photo booth flashes best. So, on the wedding night, we were able to flash our strobes for less than 3 minutes total time. Everyone thought the strobes were the band's mood lights.

13. We asked for and received the DVD of all 663 photo booth images. We combed through every one of them to find the ones that matched our footage and found some additional ones that had a lot of energy.

14. We strongly suggest couples engage us until the end of the evening because you never know when great moments will happen. The bride's cousin started break dancing. This occurred well after the end of our contracted time. We had packed up and were ready to go. Nevertheless, we grabbed a camera and shot this scene.

15. In order to know what images we need, we storyboard a short piece like this. That takes hours. We allow for whatever will happen at a ceremony, but we need to think through transitional elements in advance to give a sense of movement. For example, we knew ahead of time that we would need to film a steadicam shot entering the front of the Ritz and a steadicam shot following some couple, any couple, out to the gazebo area. So, we put these shots into our schedule for the day.

16. In general, we have close-up and wide shots, camera angles that are on the ground and way overhead. There are small camera moves and steady shooting. It is a matter of knowing which of these techniques to use and when to restrain your movement for maximum effect.

17. And, we need to know who are the key people and capture them without fail.

18. We looked at over 500 pieces of music to find the one that had the right beat and mood to match Emily and Danny's personalities AND match the images we brought back.

As you can see, it requires at least 100 to 200 hours of editing time to create each of their wedding movie. Every little detail and emotions are captured on film. In fact, I cried watching a few of them because I was so touched by everything... and I didn't even know the people who were at the wedding!

If you are interested in seeing more samples or hiring them for your wedding, please send me an email.


Everett Peacock said...

WOW< that is so cool! Inspires me to move beyond what I am doing at


J Sav said...

Thank you Evonne for always being such a great supporter of wedding movies and for inspiring the best and most creative work from everyone with whom you work.