Today we're chatting with Humdrum Films. Say hello to Jared and Jacob~
We see that you and Jacob met while at University. How great! How did your friendship turn into a business venture?
Correct, Jacob and I met while studying Film and Digital Media at University. The university had a fully-fledged TV studio, and we worked together on a number of shows for our local community television station. It was here a beautiful bromance formed, and I ended up recruiting Jacob to join me at a wedding video company I was working for at the time. 5 years later we left that business to start our own thing.
For me, the value in University was the people I met and the experiences I gained through those friends, rather the textbook learning. I made some life-long friends, met my business partner, and my girlfriend. I never finished Uni, and consider myself self-taught. Jacob is the same.
In terms of how we came together in business, as the saying goes, if you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs. So we made the decision to go out on our own and start a commercial production company.
The plan was not to do any weddings and actually focus on higher-end corporate films and other short form content. And so, We Are Standard was born.
We actually took 9 months off from weddings and started focusing on higher-end corporate films. Whilst we’ve had great success with our commercial clients, we’ve always loved shooting weddings, and the constant referrals from friends in the industry, as well as previous clients meant we were almost forced to start our own wedding film business.
And so, Humdrum Films was born – it was a chance for us to do things on our own terms and make the sort of films we’d always wanted to make. We feel so incredibly blessed that people connect with what we do, and appreciate the love and care we pour into each film we make.
We’ve always placed huge importance on the relationships we build both with our couples and other suppliers in the industry, and we think this shines through in our work. A little piece of our heart goes into everything we do.
How do you delegate tasks? Do you both shoot at each wedding or does one person focus on assisting and post-production?
I guess after working together for almost 8 years, we’ve been able to hone our working relationship into the symbiosis that defines our businesses today. It’s hard to articulate but it ‘just works’.
We’ve learned to play to our strengths and on the wedding day we’re able to know what the other is thinking without actually speaking.
We do tend to focus on different things, but they happen in harmony – we believe we couldn’t create the films we do without us both being there, and that is why we are so adamant that we’ll never turn into a ‘wedding factory’ with multiple teams – we want to keep it bespoke and hand-crafted.
Jacob is an incredibly talented DOP with an amazing eye. His primary focus is on making the best images he can. But this is where that harmony comes into play – take the ceremony for example, he might focus on getting the over-the-shoulder reaction shots of the bride and groom exchanging vows, while I’ll be getting a two-shot of them from the aisle.
He might be looking for emotion when the bride enters, while I’m focusing on a glidecam shot from behind etc etc – when you put it all together it works.
I’ll also take care of all the audio and make sure we have multiple sources that are clean and of high quality. There are no second chances on a wedding day; we’ve only got one shot to get it right.
So whilst we both share creative duties, Jacob probably executes the role of Creative Director more so than I – he’s overseeing the creative output from go to woah.
I however take care of all the back-office duties, inquiries, client meetings, emails, logistics, travel and all the other joys that accompany small business!
It works for us, and I get to go to work everyday with my best mate. I can never understand when I hear friends complain about their boss, or dread going into the office – we absolutely love what we do and the freedom it affords us.
What’s in your bag?
Gear. We take a lot. I’m always envious when photographers can get on a plane with just their backpack and we’re struggling with trolley tetris trying to get our 7 cases of stuff out to the rental car.
Unfortunately working with the moving image requires a few more bits and pieces to help us create amazing films. Of course, it’s not all about the gear, and we use some of these tools sparingly firstly so we can remain unobtrusive, and secondly because telling a great story is always secondary to shooting in 4K or whatever the next tech fad may be.
2 x Canon 5D Mark III’s
1 x Canon 5D Mark II for Timelapses
2 x Manfrotto Monopods
2 x Zacuto Z-Finder
2 x Rode Video Mics
Canon 24mm f1.4
Canon 35mm f1.4
Canon 50mm f1.2
Samyang 85mm t1.5
Canon 100mm Macro f2.8
Canon 70-200mm II f2.8
Sachtler FSB8 tripod with Speed Lock legs
Canon 1014 Super 8mm Camera
Kodak Vision 3 film stock
Enough batteries and memory cards to last the day.
Plenty of audio cables and adapters
Timer remote for Time Lapse
Manfrotto Pistol Grip tripod for Time Lapse
2 x Zoom H1’s
Sennheiser ew100 G3 wireless lav kit
Countryman B3 Lavalier
Manfrotto BAC1004 light stand
Manfrotto magic arm
Phillip Bloom Pocket Dolly
What do you think makes you stand out from other cinematographers?
We’ve always put the work first – we are 100% committed to delivering the best finished product we possibly can. Nothing goes out the door without us being happy with it.
It’s about taking an artisan's eye to every process in our business, from client interactions, through to shooting, colour grading and how we package our films. Our films are unique, handcrafted and full of our love and passion.
How we present ourselves on the day of the wedding and our client interactions are a massive part of what we do.This goes a long way to helping us get what we need and telling the best story we can. If our clients are happy and trust us, we can get the best content.
We want to keep our small and boutique feel by limiting the number of couples we work with. By doing this, we can keep our focus on making the best films we can.
We’re also really proud that we are personally invested in each film that we create. We say it’s handcrafted because it is. Our couples deal with us directly from the initial consultation right through to the delivery of their film.
Ultimately, we want to be proud, as artists, of the work that we create. That’s our driving force.
You use a ton of wonderful music for your videos. How do you match a song to a couple?
Music is something we labour over – and it can take AGES (I’m talking 1 or 2 days) to find the right track. But it’s a corner we never cut. We mainly use Marmoset Music and The Music Bed to license our song choices.
We get to know our couples from our pre-wedding consultations and by spending their special day with them. Because of this, we are able choose music that we think not only reflects them as a couple, but also works best with the visuals and helps us tell a great story.
Music is a big part of what we do.
Anything else to add?
Jacob and I feel incredibly blessed that couples choose to include us in a really special day in their lives, and trust us to tell the story of their wedding day. We truly love what we do, and the people we get to meet.
We’re so stoked that couples are now flying us around the world to tell their story and we can’t wait to continue to grow the destination side of our business.
Humdrum Films is Jacob Williams and Jared Kettle. We met in 2008 while studying Film & Digital Media at Deakin University. We’ve been co-conspirators ever since.
Together, we have over 10 years of wedding experience behind us, and we feel incredibly lucky to have couples invite us into what is a very special day in their lives. It’s an enormous privilege that they have trusted us to capture that memory for them. It’s not something we take lightly.
Humdrum was born as a creative outlet, a way for us to tell unique stories through the moving image. We love what we do, and the people we get to meet.
Dear Ashley and Graham circa 2008,
Your business will not live and die by social media. You're going to be tempted to put more time into Facebook and Instagram than you do into in-person relationships because it will feel like that's what everyone else is doing; it will feel like the only way to keep up. Resist that temptation. Resist the urge to jump on the ever changing hamster wheel of social media. When you get on that hamster wheel it will feel like you're running as fast as you can and getting nowhere. And that's exactly where sinking unscheduled, unintentional time into social media will get you: nowhere.
Next to framed art, albums are a favorite, no-brainer product you should be offering every client. Albums are the one product that truly stands the test of time and will be treasured for generations to come. Not long ago, album design went a bit “photographers-gone-wild” with acrylic, metal, and even fur covers. Remember that panoramic ultra-wide album fad?
Luckily the tide has turned back to favoring a classic, luxury presentation.