A thousand years ago

Late summer in the year 1011 the Vikings plundered Southern England and proceeded to burn Canterbury Cathedral.  The Norman conquest of Southern Italy was ongoing and would last another 27 years.  The rein of emperor Ichijō, the 66th emperor of Japan, came to an abrupt end in 1011.

For me, 1011 in the Julian calendar is a remarkable year for another reason. On January 1st that year just 2 numbers appeared on the date.  O and 1.  The occurrence of just two numbers in a calendar date would not occur for over a thousand years.

Here we are on that cusp of that unusual date, forty generations after the Danes invaded Canterbury.

February 2nd 2020 when viewed in a double digit format is 02.02.2020 — just 2 numerals

Feb 2nd was also my dad’s birthday.

Kauai Style Episode 1 “Officiants”

Episode 1 in a series of videos related to the event industry in Kauai, stories about wedding officiants, hair and make-up artists, coordinators, caterers and other artists. If you are having/ planning a wedding in Kauai, this video might be a valuable tool in your research, as you’ll see in action the best non-religious officiants on Kauai, ideal for elopement weddings, vow renewals, and events that require official services by a licensed officiant.

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World’s Best Wedding Photographers

Yeah! So I was reading some boring stuff—I often do that— and then I came across this nifty article on the world’s best known wedding photographers. While I’m not one of the world’s best known, I wondered how I’d compare. I looked at their shots and I certainly saw some fantastic stuff; I saw big budget locations and big budget houses with spreading lawns and designer wedding gowns with stunning brides and more designer wedding gowns and more breathtaking locations.  Yes, I was impressed. But you know, I seriously believe that my talent, skill, and experience would keep me in a level playing field with the very best of them. Each photographer in the article was asked some specific questions, so I’ve decided to ask myself similar questions.  These are my answers.

What do I think about aesthetic? As a filmmaker, I strive for the impact shot. In Kauai it often means looking for dramatic backgrounds to frame an authentic moment with the couple. Sometimes it means finding a background that doesn’t overshadow or steal from the moment. Light and shadow is never out of my mind.

Specialties:  Hybrid photography —  a merger of stylish video and photography to tell a more complete story for weddings.

Ideal Client:  Unique, a bit quirky, loose, lively, daring, coy—this pretty well sums up virtually every client. We’re all unique and I’ve never met two identical couples. Each has their own special qualities. By identifying at least one of them, I can style my photos to match the best of the client.

How many weddings per year?  As I do more than film weddings you might find the number low: 20-25 per year.  As a percentage of my other creative endeavors, it’s about 20%.

What makes me different?  I hate this question. Number one, it makes for a bloated ego. Two, almost every photographer says stuff here that doesn’t make them different. But here it is: I’m game. I’m happy to get into the ocean to get the shot. I’ll hang out of a helicopter—I actually have! I’ll scale the mountain—hopefully  won’t lose one of my lenses, as once happened. So there you have it.  I’m an original!

IMG_0279Photo by David Marsh,Kauai Video Productions, on the grounds of the little green church, Wai’oli Hui’ia, Hanalei, Kauai. 

Wedding Trends in 2020

All indictions point to pastel hues like pistachio green, lavender, and butter yellow will be full blown in 2020 with minimalist wedding dresses and edible flowers—at least that’s what websites like Weddingwire tell me. Specifically to my profession (photography and video) the overwhelming opinion is this: don’t get boxed in with fad because in 5 years when the bride looks at her wedding photos, chances are those “fad” colored filters will be old news. So the fashionable brown look/  muted colors (big on Instagram in 2019) might not be the best way to go. Admittedly, digital photos are easily doctored, but if you’re going to be having a print wedding album, it’s fodder for thought. At Kauai Video Productions you can see oodles of trending filter examples, plus amazing new film style color correction for wedding videos.     Subdued tones 2

All hail…here comes royalty

When you get married in Hawaii, ukulele music might fill your ears, or maybe your musician will play the ukeke or maybe even the pahu. You’ll probably have a lei placed around your neck.  Leis are tokens of love and aloha. Grooms often wear a garland of green leaves (manly) rather than Kika or jasmine blossoms.  At the beginning of your ceremony, the conch might be blown, especially if it’s a beach elopement—a Hawaiian tradition that dates back to the time when the conch was blown to announce the arrival of Alii or Royalty.  Your officiant might smash open a coconut and spill the milk on the sand, and then ask you to rest your forehead on your partner’s forehead.  But you’re unlikely to experience a wedding tradition in Hawaii that will shock you. If your breath is taken away, it’s probably because you’re standing on the most dramatic beach you’ve ever seen, not because you’ve been punched in the gut for good luck or because your guests have suddenly gone berserk, yelling and laughing and banging and rattling pots and pans.  This pot banging business is an actual wedding ritual that was once commonplace in parts of Europe, especially in the middle ages. It’s still practiced today at some weddings. They call it Charivari in France, In Northern England, skimmington.  Family and friends gather outside the house of the newly weds and make pot-and-pan music or the din of a lifetime. The wedding couple has to bring out food and drinks and endure the racket.
How about this tradition: in some parts of Korea a groom can expect to be slapped about with a dead fish, apparently to prepare him for his first night of  marriage. The connotation is darn right unspeakable.  In Scotland, there’s the old Scots blackening ritual. Wedding gatherers throw all sorts of black and brown vile things at the couple before the wedding—if they can accept the disgusting, stinky mess they can endure anything.  Then there’s Chinese tears training — the bride-to-be spends a month before the wedding learning how to weep like a professional. They smash dishes in Germany and Swedes aren’t just noted for their meatballs, they’re known for kissing and spitting on the bride and groom—yup, a very Swedish thing, I’m told.   So if a young man places a whale’s tooth in your palm, I’m guessing that you have to be a father, and the young man is asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage—a Fiji thing!
If you know of other slightly strange wedding traditions, I’d love to hear from you—Mahalo— David. See my website for more stories about weddings, especially in Kauai where I spend much of my time filming brides.IMG_7613

 

Shipwrecked

She walked slowly, her thin shoes not completely shielding her feet from the hot sand. She was nervous… and excited in the same breath. Shore waves, about three feet tall, were crashing along the shoreline. Misty sea-spray was in the air. She took a deep breath,   tasting the briny elixir that was on her lips.  There wasn’t a shipwreck in sight.  But she could see her man, faced away from, as he was meant to at this moment.  He was waiting for her. Her heart began to beat even faster.

Not that I really knew what was going on in the bride’s mind at that moment; I just guessed it.  I had been hired to capture these moments on video.  It’s a typical scene that is experienced by thousands of wedding couples at this particular beach: Shipwrecks Beach. My mind drifted off for a moment, and I wondered, how many ‘shipwreck beaches’ are there? I know that in Greece there’s a Shipwreck Beach that some call Smuggler’s Cove. And I’ve heard that Oregon has a Shipwrecks beach, as does Washington State. In Hawaii there are at least two that I know of, the one at Lanai, aptly named Shipwrecks because it really does have mangled sea vessels littering its shore, and the one that I was on at that very moment: Shipwreck Beach, Poipu, Kauai. But here you wont actually find a shipwreck, not anywhere along the beach or along the spectacular coast. You will, however, see the iconic rock face—Makawehi Point—a sandstone landmark which the bride was presently heading to, and where her groom was waiting. You might have heard about this particular beach for another reason: This is where locals (and some brave tourists) leap thirty-five feet off the rock into the turbulent Pacific. Notably, Harrison Ford and Anne Heche jumped from it for the movie, “6 Days and 7 Nights.”  It’s just a short walk along the sand from the Hyatt Regency and other Poipu resorts, which might also be why so many wedding couples choose this location.  Waves smash again the cliff and when it’s really hot, wedding couples can move twenty feet from the water’s edge and find shade under the canopy of lush ironwood trees. It’s idyllic for dramatic photography and videography. The image below is pulled directly from the video, filmed by me at Shipwreck’s on November 11th 2019.

The groom turned…and gasped as he saw her for the first time that day. His heart was   galloping at a hundred miles an hour.   In his prepared vows, he told how she’d so profoundly changed his life, for the better; that God and destiny had made it so.  When it was her turn, her eyes turned watery and her voice trembled lightly; this also made his eyes glisten.

Fifteen minutes later, the officiant proclaimed them husband and wife and they fell into each other’s embrace. There weren’t any violins but if there had been they wouldn’t have been out of place. Nice ceremony.

A footnote:  there used to be an old weather-beaten boat lying at the water’s edge. It sat there for many years, and that’s where the pirate-like name came from, I guess.

If you know of another Shipwrecks Beach, I’d love to hear about it. Shoot me an email at davidm617@me.com and visit my website: Kauai Video Productions edit 1 Max

 

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Surprise “will you marry me?”

In movies and television commercials we see it all the time: the proposal that brings on instant tears of joy and the most passionate kiss in the history of kisses. In real life, I’m sure the moment really does brings on tears of joy—when it really happens. Reality is less than one in three proposals really come as a surprise, not that getting engaged is something less because the couple has had numerous candid conversations about marriage or that the decision has developed slowly,  sometimes over a period of months or even years and it’s not really a violins and tears singular moment.  But when it is a surprise, when it is a jaw-dropping, knees-shaking earthquake of a moment, it’s magical, not just for the couple but for any bystanders who get to witness it. As a photographer, wedding cinematographer, I often shoot engagement couples. Rarely am I asked to help plan the moment,  “will you marry me?”  When I am asked, I find myself acting life a covert agent, hiding behind a tree or lurking in the shadow of a building—after all, I’ve got two professional cameras on me, slung over my shoulders.  I must not be seen until the exact moment; I have to watch for the special signal and then emerge and fire off my shots quickly so that I don’t miss anything: him kneeling, the ring, her shock and tears. It’s like a TV commercial moment, a Zales or Jared Christmas commercial only it’s real. IMG_6959-compIMG_6970IMG_7051IMG_6978Can I be a part of your magical question and capture the moment in photos or video? Please visit my website: Kauai Video Productions to see much more of my video and photography portfolio.

Mahalo

—David

Cutaway, Reversal, and Don’t Cross the Line.

I’m David Marsh, a wedding cinematographer in Kauai and this piece is basically about me, what I do and why I’m different.  So what’s “Cutaway, Reversal, and Don’t Cross the Line?”  If you are a professional filmmaker, it’s everyday spoken nomenclature. Perhaps many wedding pros know these terms, although I’ve met plenty that don’t. But…ostensibly, film production protocols aren’t necessarily needed to film a wedding, right? That’s not what I believe! I believe there’s a story to be told in every wedding. On the HOME PAGE of my website I write: “I imagine first then shoot—having a script is how I produce high-end wedding videos that are crafted for originality and paced to be entertaining.” I also say, “a story has to have a story, you can’t call it a story when you show up at a wedding with a video camera and shoot some nice looking footage!”

These film philosophies run through me veins, as taught to me many years ago when I was a supernumerary/ apprentice at Pinewood Film Studios in England. Seventeen at that time, I’d quit school early because I hated school. My training started with brain fodder: knowing the difference between emulsion and celluloid, the difference between key numbers and reel numbering, to know butterflies, HDMIs, scrims, tying in, and a million other things—a training that  lasted ten years. I worked my way up the ladder, becoming a  film and TV editor, then a director of independent art films, before I decided to DP and write. After three decades in the film and TV business, I decided I wanted to be a writer of fiction. To facilitate my dream, I segued into wedding cinematography and wedding photography so that I could still earn a living. What I learned is shooting is shooting, however big, however small, it has to be done right or not at all.

To this day, I get really excited to go out and shoot. For photography,  I like to use two cameras, one strapped over each shoulder, so that I can easily switch focal lengths without changing lenses.  For video, I mostly shoot with three cameras, but sometimes four of five.  You might be surprised to know that complex video shoots require fewer cameras.

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wedding photography by David Marsh.

More about me at Kauai Video Productions