Thursday, April 15, 2010

Laughter, Tears, and Island Weddings

We're back! Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but we were on a remote vacation/work assignment filming a friend's wedding in Trinidad and Tobago, for the last week and a half. It was a trip full of amazing tropical adventures, some professional successes for El Roberto, as well as one sad mishap. But first the fun stuff. T&T was beautiful, exotic, and hot. So, so hot. We walked out of the airport at 9pm and were smacked in the face with 90 degree weather with 100% humidity. It felt like someone had thrown a hot wet blanket on our heads. But our bodies adjusted surprisingly quick and we had a blast taking boat cruises around the islands, visiting beautiful beaches and eating local cuisine like Bake'n Shark. We would often open our front door to find a wild iguana or rooster chilling on the front porch. And our friend's house literally had a giant tree dripping with mangos. Insane!

Anyways onto the the work part. So we came to attend our friends wedding and also film it for them. This was a big shoot for us, as we planned to produce a high quality wedding video we could also use as a highlight on our in-work website. Things we're going well...we had all the camera equipment we needed, and had written out our shooting directions and marks. Then during the wedding rehearsal at the church, we started having problems with the tripod. It wasn't locking down the camera very solidly. After some fiddling, it seemed to tighten fairly stiff so we began shooting the rehearsal, marking our spots and making notes. Suddenly, the attaching plate connected to the camera slipped off the tripod and our camera went crashing to the floor with a loud bang. You can imagine our horror. I attribute being in a church to the out-of-body experience I felt. We calmly picked our camera up, did a thorough inspection and restarted shooting. At first the camera worked fine but soon we noticed small blips on the camera monitor feed while recording. It was starting to fail. After calling Canon they advised something internal was jarred by the fall and it would need to be shipped for repair. We decided that we couldn't rely on using it for the wedding.
Tragic! Our beautiful camera wounded! Thankfully we had the number#2 Canon S10 which we promoted to our head camera for the wedding. And the Canon S10 worked EXCELLENT! The quality was literally as good as the XHA1. We were thoroughly pleased with the video image and it relieved a lot of our stress of making sure we could provide a quality wedding video.

There was still the problem of having a second camera. It is essential to have two cameras during a wedding a) to get footage of simultaneous events (such as the bride and groom getting ready) and b) to get reaction shots, during ceremonies, toasts etc. Well, we found that there are few things more difficult than trying to find a high quality HD camera in a foreign country. After endless phone calls and emails I found a few videographers who were willing to rent us their high-end camcorders, however, they wanted to charge us $800 plus! We decided it was smarter to just buy a camera. After scouring the entire island of Trinidad for hours with no luck, we stumbled upon a tiny, run down camera store named David's Filmvue that had one Sony HDR-CX100 HD camcorder in stock. So we plunked down our spending cash and bought it.

Eventually everything worked out well. The wedding was by far the most beautiful and enjoyable wedding I've ever attended. The footage from the Canon S10 looked amazing, and the Sony HD cam was a very efficient back up that did a great job. So after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we were able shoot a beautiful quality video of our friends island wedding. When the finished product is available, we'll post a short excerpt for y'all to see how well the Canon works under pressure. We now have to send off our dear little Canon XHA1 for repair. Number one lesson from this experience: Always run rigorous tests of your equipment-especially tripods, and have back-up cameras! Ciao for now, sorry for the long post but we wanted to relay some of our experience. Time for some sleep before work!

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