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Hi Natalie! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What was your road like to becoming a cinematographer?
Ola! I run The Auburn Hour Film Co. We’re all about creating modern, energetic and fun wedding films. After graduating university and bouncing around aimlessly for a few years (yes, I have a useless arts degree hanging in my home!), I found my way into the fashion and event scene, and eventually wound up second shooting wedding videos for friends I had gone to uni with. I had heard from a number of sources that I should never get into wedding films if I could help it. I would hear tales of bridezillas, endless stress and and backlog of overdue films up to my ears. And I was starting to believe it!
After second shooting for my friends where I was carrying around tripods and sliders and gimbals all day, getting shots of tacky details and awkward poses - this petite young woman was traumatised enough to be convinced that weddings were not her thing!
Of course, after a series of twists and turns of the story I eventually had a photographer friend ask me if I would help him out and shoot a family friend’s wedding video as a favour, which I agreed to on the provision that I could film it the way I would film a fashion event - no tripods, no gimbals and NO awkward poses! He agreed, the couple loved their video and I discovered my niche in wedding filmmaking!
How does capturing film/video differ from snapping photos? What goes through your mind when you’re capturing a video?
To me, film and photo are so incredibly different and it all boils down to their purpose. Photos are a wonderful way to capture details that are great as stills (like rings, decor etc) and moments that translate as a still frame - more for historical purposes and for the few photos chosen to live in frames around the house - whereas film and video is all about looking for emotion, action and moments! I almost never even bother getting shots of the dress hanging up or the rings in the box (don’t even get me started on the cake cutting!!) - these serve no purpose in my films!
For me, the overall purpose of a wedding film is to capture a feeling. Why not use that precious time in the video to show a moment of the couple and their loved ones, where they’re actually, you know, wearing the dress!
What do you love most about creating wedding films?
Oooh, hard one. It’s difficult to say only one thing - probably being able to hear all the different stories of all the different couples who are together. How they met, who they are, what they mean to each other. I can see it all better in the editing suite as well when I look over the footage. All the cute glances at each other, the beaming smiles, the awesome love stories. It’s pretty magical.
Do you have a favorite film that you’ve produced? What makes it your favorite?
I honestly couldn’t choose! One that stands out is one of my first films for Kate + Darren - I still love it (although I do cringe over some editing choices as I’m sure we all do). I think maybe because it was one of my first ever weddings and boy, was it a good one. They had ALL THE THINGS. It was a half Jewish wedding, they literally hired out a pavilion at the showgrounds, there was a TWELVE PIECE BAND, I had the greatest photographer and stylist on it with me and the couple and their family were just so humble and loving and hilarious. I just can’t even.
The greatest thing is that we get the best couples and we basically get to re-live that feeling over and over with new clients!
What are your 5 tools you wouldn’t be caught without at an event?My sparkling personality! Haha but seriously - attitude is everything, especially at a wedding! These are ordinary people who aren’t used to being the centre of attention and in front of a bunch of cameras, so making them feel at easy with a bright smile and an approachable attitude is key to being able to get the best possible shots :) Hint: drink lots of coffee!
How do you decide which clients you will take on? Who is your ideal client/what are you looking for in your clients and prospective projects?
We look for couples who are stylish, genuine and easygoing. Couples who don’t just want any old videographers, who want something special and who love our work so much that they have decided they specifically want us there to capture it because of our unique perspective and passion.
We’ve been lucky enough that lately we don’t find ourselves having to knock people back all that much! What we’ve done is set up a bunch of barriers to entry for clients to try and make sure 8/10 people who get in touch with us are going to be our ideal clients or close enough to. This includes plastering our website with as much personality as we can to really show what we are all about. We also have a few lines on the contact page about what we are looking for (non-traditional, adventurous) to deter anyone we think won’t be the right match, and we also list our starting price point. This was actually a great move because instantly we cut out all the enquiries we were getting from couples who were just fishing for the cheapest option!
We also have consults with the couples before they can book just to make sure we definitely gel in person, that we are on the same page with what they’re after, and what we actually offer, and to make sure we are only taking on the couples who completely trust us with the edit.
What’s your workflow like? Take us through your whole process from shooting the video to delivering the final product to your clients.
On the event day we try to stay super chill and low maintenance - as long as we have the timeline for the day with locations listed we basically rock up at prep and then just shadow the couple all day!
If we are recording audio, whoever goes to groom prep heads to the ceremony early with the boys and puts a mic on whoever needs it. The rest of the day is pretty cruisey - I don’t always have both of us at the photo location shoot if I think it will crowd the couple too much. We won’t compromise the experience the couple has on the day for the sake of getting a second camera angle.
After the wedding, everything gets backed up to two hard drives - I haven’t had one crash on me yet, but better safe than sorry!
Then it’s the process of sorting through the footage, getting the best bits, choosing the right audio grabs from the speeches and putting it all together. We used to email music options (from licensing sites) to clients once we were at a second-draft stage, but I’m trying to phase that out and instead get clients who trust our ability to choose the right music to subtly enhance the atmosphere of their film.
After we get approval from the client we upload the highlight video for them to share with their friends and family, and mail out a (Design Aglow!) USB drive if they had the vows and speeches recorded, or any other extras.
What products do you use to help ensure your workflow goes smoothly?
I have a number of preset LUT’s that I use for grading which helps cut down on my editing time, and I’ve just signed up for Studio Ninja which is supposed to be lifesaving for organisation!
Make sure you actually like weddings - it took me a really long time to actually start doing wedding films because I had several wedding filmmakers telling me about what great money it was, but that they had bridezillas every week, they were 8 months behind in editing and they absolutely hated their jobs! But I think this comes down to those guys not really producing something they loved, but instead were making what they thought the client wanted, or how they were told wedding films were ’supposed’ to be.
My approach from the start was to make wedding films the way I wanted to, and to just wait and see if there was a market for it. And it’s paid off. So stay true to who you are as a filmmaker and you’ll reap the rewards!
Howdy, I'm Natalie! I started The Auburn Hour as a way of bringing a new energy to wedding films. I'm always looking to create films that feel authentic and fun. If you're looking for a team with a fresh approach, a casual demeanor and the desire to create the best goddamn wedding film you've ever seen in your life - you've come to the right place.
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