Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jewel in the Palace

I have gotten so hooked on a wonderful Korean soap opera, Dae Jang Geum. It, regrettably, is coming to a close. We are at Episode 51 of 54 episodes. I don't know how I came to know about it, except that maybe one night I was channel surfing and came upon it.

Dae Jang Geum, also known as “Jewel in the Palace”, was the most popular TV show all over Asia when it premiered in 2004 - and that's a lot of people. It is set in 14th century Korea and has all the elements of a great story: love and romance (of a chaste variety), treachery and intrigue (the Lady Macbeth-like character is always trying to poison her enemies, and sometimes succeeds), beautiful Palace scenery and court dress. But most of all, it extols classic human virtues of remaining true to your principles, being the best you can be both professionally and personally, assisting all those around you, staying modest, sacrificing personal happiness for the greater good, but finally, standing up for yourself and finding personal happiness.

Of course, our interest is also in the beautiful cinematography. Some scenes are sweeping epics, others are warm and intimate portraits of daily life. It is all the more compelling because it is based on an actual woman who started from humble beginnings, rose through the ranks to head the royal kitchens, and then through one plot twist or another, started as a servant again and became the royal household's personal physician at a time when only men could hold such a position.

With just 3 episodes left, the romantic in me hopes that the man (Sir Min) who has supported, nurturing, cherished and loved our heroine for years will be rewarded by her hand in marriage. That would be a satisfying ending for me and for Dae Jang Geum.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

grace ormonde

We were engaged by Grace Ormonde of grace ormonde Wedding Style Magazine to film some fabulous tabletops for upcoming issues. Before now, only a photographer was selected to shoot these dazzling displays. But, we are the first cinematographer.

We learned so much about what goes into the design, planning and execution of "just a tabletop". The teams invited to participate were all very creative. We traced the construction of a wonderful tabletop environment from start to finish, designed by Nicole Sillapere, and her terrific crew. Nicole shows us how caring for the planet can still look and feel opulent. The biggest surprise was that the tablecloth which felt like a very soft suede was actually recycled plastic. Of course, the design was exquisite. And we were in a beautiful setting at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay and at Calistoga Ranch.

We also filmed a few other tabletops when they were completed. Here's a 90-second piece showing the talents of
Jenne Hohn,
Sasha Souza
the team of Laurie Arons and
Kathleen Deery

The first cut can be viewed at:

Other talented teams included:
Morgan Doan,, and Linnae Gomez,
Lora Horvath, and Nancy Liu Chin,
Joyce Scardina Becker,, and Michael Daigian,
Robert Fountain,
Orna Maymon,

Grace Ormonde just seems to know where the best talent is--in San Francisco and in every city!