Low light

For the longest time I told couples we didn't need to put up extra lights during toasts or dances. I loved using the phrase "I shoot with available light" because it made me sound resourceful or something. Truth is...even with "available light", especially when there is none (like this picture), it looks SO much better to put a few lights on the toast -giver and the couple. It adds dimension and shape to the image. The videography investment is too large to have the images look muddy or dull. Added bonus: guests pay more attention to the toast-giver instead of talking during the toasts. Photo: Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron on hacked GH2 body, 50% Torch LED on Tungsten for light.

Eva & Franco

Eva & Franco

Michelle and Robyn's Kitchen

This morning I hung out with Michelle and Robyn. We drank coffee, ate bagels, and played with cameras. Here are some screen shots.

2016 State of the wedding film union; new stuff, same stuff, a request

2016; new stuff, same stuff, a request

With 2016's shooting season right around the corner from us, this is an update of what's going on at the ole HQ. It's like that long, narcissistic christmas card/letter that one person always sends. THIS ISN'T MEANT TO BE THAT, but it kind of is. 

New friends: For 2016's wedding season, I'm mostly excited about the couples. People who started as normal inquiries ended up being friends I hope to keep forever. Duloc, Pierce, Mannino, I'm looking at you. I'm also excited to film my longtime friend Melissa's wedding, which is technically in 2017, but only a few days into it.

Editing becomes such a bear sometimes, so I have a dedicated editor/second shooter/all around logistics person named...my wife. It was time for me to focus on gear and day-of filming. Kristi is going to handle a lot more of the BTS stuff; and of course I'll still be in charge of the final edit. 

New Gear: We're stepping up our gear game. Some people are bonkers about 4k these days and I'm just not there yet in mah brain. I don't like 4k file sizes and Final Cut rendering times. I do like 4k quality though...SO, I reached a compromise. How about a 4k sensor that internally downsamples to a 1080p image? The Canon C100 mkii was the answer. It's a little heavy for handheld work, but a monopod is an easy fix. 

New Audio: If I had a dollar for every time a DJ's sound board has failed me, I wouldn't be making wedding films. I am taking audio into my own hands this season and the DJ gets to use MY microphone for speeches/toasts, not the other way around. Boomdiddly. Credit for this idea goes to my wise friend Larry Marshall. As usual, ceremony vows and ring exchange are clearly heard through that nifty hidden little lavalier microphone on the groom's suit. For the bride and groom, this means perfectly crystal clear audio every time.

Dronez!!! Everyone loves a good aerial shot. This year's wedding films will have plenty of them. And legal ones too...neither the FAA nor City of Chicago are joking around with drone restrictions. There won't be shots like THIS from this wedding. I was all warm and fuzzy when I started watching it, and then I realized there are too many drone shots and THEY USED A DRONE ABOVE THE GUESTS WHEN THE GUESTS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING THE COUPLE. The cardinal sin of wedding filmmaking, the ultimate distraction, the failure of failures, THE GREAT BAMBINO. That last one didn't make sense, but whatever. The guests are supposed to be watching the couple...not the drone in the sky. So I promise some exciting, awesome, non-distracting drone shots. 

New name: With a growing team and new direction, Charlie Hilbrant Films is taking on more than wedding films. We're angling toward corporate, commercial, aerial, and documentary filmmaking. Because my dog is awesome, and his name is Maverick, I am changing the name of our film company to Maverick Films, of which Charlie Hilbrant Films is a part (the wedding part). Some genius already owns maverickfilms.com so I need to figure out a URL...taking suggestions. 

Request: I am horrible with marketing, and thus far I've relied on word-of-mouth. If you know any awesome couples getting married in Chicago, I'd love to be their wedding filmmaker. I can't offer much other than some good beer, a thank-you, and a promise to make them the best wedding film possible. ALSO, if you know of a unique person or small company doing amazing things, and their story must be told, let me know or tag them in this post! Here's a link to some recent work, and here's a link to how they can get in touch.


TL;DR: Got some new gear, new people, new name; need your stories to tell.



Sarah and Eric's Save-the-Date Video

7.23.16 is going to be here before we know it. Eric, you might have been a faster swimmer than me in high school, but I can still beat you on a Divvy bike. (while riding in a car)

Liz + Blair | 10.03.15 | GIF collection

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