On August 28th, 2015 Ivory Sky Media’s Allen and Tori joined Sophia and Kevin in celebrating their wedding at Willow Height Mansion in Morgan Hill, California. Allen covered the Bridal prep with a Sony a7s in addition to operating the drone camera for stunning aerial shots of the countryside while Tori used a second a7s with a 70-200mm macro lens to capture footage of the Groom.
The day began with our duo arriving on location to set up and film the couple’s preparation. Since our team was small for this shoot, Tori and Allen had to improvise in order to acquire shots. Tori was able to get several great angles as Kevin meticulously repeated his vows over and over. He was still reciting them to himself up until the first look, where Sophia made a stunning entrance through the mansion’s ornate double doors.
After the initial photo session, the team joined the couple at an eastern tea ceremony - a first for us here at Ivory Sky. For those unfamiliar with this tradition, a tea ceremony before a wedding is a commemoration of family, in which the bride and groom are able to honor their parents, who in turn welcome the couple into their newly unified households. Our team had previously observed similar ceremonies for Indian weddings where the bride and groom are served by the rest of the family, so they were a little surprised by the reversal. After a few impromptu adjustments with positioning however, Tori and Allen were able to get some great shots of the emotional event.
That emotional energy carried over to the main ceremony where Kevin’s perfectly memorized vows brought Sophia to tears, although the magic of the moment was marred by an unexpected obstacle. Since the venue is situated atop a hill, constant wind interfered with our audio equipment, which can be heard even through the groom’s lav mic. This provided a challenge for Tori during post production, who was able to significantly improve the audio quality from the ceremony, with only a few noise remnants remaining.
Allen also dealt with weather problems while he operated the drone throughout the day. Wind made maneuvering difficult, while the harsh glare from the sun made operating the control module nearly impossible. Despite literally flying blind, Allen acquired excellent footage of the golden California hillside.
During the reception, Allen tried a couple new techniques that worked out quite well. First, he used a camera on a tripod dolly instead of the usual gimbal, which allowed for more controlled focusing and height at the cost of speed. Second, he filmed some time lapse shots, one of which on the DJ, giving Tori more transition tools during post. Tori’s macro lens enabled her to really capture fine details on the couple’s beautiful cake.
Overall this wedding was one of our best. Sophia and Kevin were in terrific spirits which translated exceptionally into the highlight. Their emphasis on tradition also brought a strong personal feel to the occasion and gave our team new insight and experience.
Written by Nicholas Troughton