Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Flirty Guide

We are so excited to have been selected to be in The Flirty Guide. The Flirty Guide is a brand new online resource for brides which features wedding and special event professionals who share the same high standards, honorable ethics, positive attitude and flirty image.

The editor, Stacie Tamaki, has a philosophy that every couple should evaluate which traditions they want to keep and which ones they want to re-invent with a twist so that their wedding uniquely represents them and honors their guests. Stacie walks the walk and talks the talk. At her own fun and flirty wedding a few months ago, she and her adorable husband John set out two extra place settings at each table. Then, instead of just toasting each table for 30 seconds, she and John actually sat down and visited with the guests at every table. We all felt like VIPs.

There were so many more flirty ideas, most of which do not cost very much money - just a little imagination. Come browse The Flirty Guide site and visit our page.

Monday, January 21, 2008

World's Most Expensive Cell Phones

We were looking for a case for our iTouch and found a few possibilities. As we were looking, we stumbled across the most expensive cell phones in the world, which you might enjoy if you have some spare change.

For the Ladies

The Diamond Cryto Smartphone
Price: $1.3 Million

Designed by diamond encruster extraordinaire Peter Aloisson, The Diamond Crypto Smartphone is sometimes quoted as the World’s most expensive cell phone (depending on exchange rates). Russian firm JSC Ancort has developed a Windows CE-based smartphone ready for Aloisson’s bejeweling that employs “powerful encryption technology” to “provide secure protection of information against kidnapping, technological blackmail, financial racketeers and corrupted state officials” — sounds like marketing speak for a password-protected wallet app. Of course, with its $1.3 million price tag and 50 diamonds (10 of which are blue) you might start to have more trouble with mugging than with technological blackmail.

The Goldvish "Le Million"
Price: $1.2 Million

The Goldvish “Le million” was exhibited at the three-day Millionaire’s Fair in Cannes, France and was bought by a Russian businessman for his wife for 1 million Euros. Created by GoldVish SA, a Geneva based luxury communication goods company, the cell phone is made of 18-carat white gold, mounted with 1800 (totaling 120-carats) VVS-1 graded diamonds and equipped with the latest in mobile technology.

Bucheron for Vertu Cobra
Price: $310,000

Parisian jeweler House of Bucheron linked up with Nokia subsidiary Vertu on this limited-edition series of eight cobra phones, which include a two-carat pear-cut diamond, a one-carat round diamond, two emerald eyes and 439 rubies totaling 21 carats. Vertu phones also link up to a special concierge service with information about travel, entertainment, restaurants and events.

Vertu Signature
Price: $81,000

Vertu, a subsidiary of Nokia, claims that it took expert craftsmen three years of training to learn to make their phones. This classic, the Vertu Signature, contains 943 diamonds on its bezel and 48 more on its keypad, each set in place by hand in Switzerland.

Motorola V220 Special Edition
Price: $51,800

Austrian designer Peter Aloisson, has taken a standard Motorola, studded it with 1,200 diamonds and added a keyboard inlaid with 18 carat gold.

Diamond iPhone
Price: $41,000

The diamond iPhone boasts an impressive 420 diamonds at a total weight of 5.65 carats set in 18K white or yellow gold. It can also be ordered in white, black or pink sapphires. The phone, by UK blingmeister general Amosu, at a blustering $41,000 is sure to not make any “Will it blend” videos anytime soon.

For the Gentlemen

VIPN Black Diamond Smartphone
Price: $300,000

The creation of Swiss manufacturer VIPN, the titanium construction known as the “Black Diamond” is a one of a kind actually a 1 of 5 to be exact, and for generously shelling out 300,000 big ones, you get a Quadband phone with WiFi and Bluetooth, a 2 inch 256K TFT screen, 4MP camera, VOIP and 2 huge diamonds.

Gresso Black Aura Collection
Price: $13,000

Gresso boastfully claims that its Black Aura cellphones are 200 years old - due to the age of the African Blackwood on each phone’s case. Black Aura series ranges from $6,500 to $13,000 with the most expensive featuring an 18-carat gold front panel.

Gold Edition Nokia 8800
Price: $2,700

One phone bitten by the Gold Bug is the exclusive Nokia 8800 which will now be available in 24K gold. By owning one of these babies you'll no doubt be the talk of the town. However the features found on the Gold Edition are the standard 8800 features (bummer). It includes a 0.5 Mega pixel SVGA camera and a 2, 62,000 colors, TFT (208 x 208) display. Connectivity options include EDGE, Bluetooth, Infrared, Java, MMS, SMS, USB, WAP and it has 64 MB of internal memory. Some other features found on the phone which may now look standard include, 64 polyphonic, FM Radio, MP3 Player, Video Recording and 180 mins talktime.

Mobiado Professional EM
Price: $2,200

Made from ebony wood, hard-anodized aluminum and titanium, Nokia driven Mobiado Professional EM handsets are individually unique due to the variations in wood patterning per instrument. It features a 1.3 MP camera, music playback and an FM radio.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Life Well Lived

Sadly, our friend Tim, who valiantly battled ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, passed away last week. When we started out as videographers, Tim, a fellow-videographer, was the only one who extended his hand to us and gave us advice on how to prosper. He was among the top videographers in the Bay Area at the time. How lucky we were to have him as a friend! And, as his star was waning and ours was ascending, he took so much pride in our achievements, as though they were his own. His brother said at Tim's funeral, "I never understood why Tim so freely shared his trade secrets with you. You were competitors." But the brother did not realize that first and foremost, Tim was a good man, and we were good friends. Only after that, were we videographers.

Tim's memorial service was an extension of the courage and grace he exhibited during his life. So many things that his three devoted sons said had a depth of wisdom that belied their 20-some-odd-years. Here is a sprinkling:

1. What is the value of happiness? Without happiness, life is meaningless. You can subsitute the word love for happiness, and it would also be true.

2. Bring humor to every life situation.

3. Tim was truly the most wonderful father. He was actively and lovingly involved in his sons' lives every day of their lives. These were the happiest moments of his life.

4. Tim never complained - not once. He lived a life with gratitude. Even after he was diagnosed with ALS, Tim said every day, "I'm the luckiest man in the world."

5. Tim showed by example how much more you could learn from sympathetic, non-judgmental, non-manipulative, patient, compassionate listening. He listened with an open heart.

6. First you must accept a thing before you can deal with it. By his acceptance, he made it easier for all of us to accept his fate.

7. Although Tim was not a simple man, he often had simple answers to the troubles plaguing those around him. It was as simple as the zen philosophy of, "When you are hungry, eat. When you are thirsty, drink. When you are tired, sleep." When a son called on the phone and cried how homesick he was at college, Tim said simply, "Then come home."

8. Acknowledge the presence of others in your life - often. He thanked his sons 10,000 a day for taking care of the most intimate needs, and for giving up their lives for him. They responded that they didn't give up their lives; they found their lives and the meaning in their lives from being with Tim.

9. What he wished for us all was the peace and bliss he had come to know during his illness, but without having the illness.

10. Tim said that if God gave him the choice to live out a normal life span of 80+ years, or to have only six months to live, but in that six months he would be cared for and loved like no one before had ever experienced, he would choose the later. And that was his fate, so do not feel sad for him.

11. The clergyman said to the many, many people gathered at the funeral, you have given Tim a favor he cannot return. You are here today to honor him. Because he cannot return it, it is the highest form of a favor you can give.

12. Despite his passing, Tim will always be connected to life so long as one person who knew him, or knew of his gentle soul, still remembers him. We already miss him very much.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cork Chair Competition

Since so many people liked the One Sheet of Paper contest, here's another. The retail store, Design Within Reach, just held their annual DWR Champagne Chair Contest™. The rules are to create an original miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage and cork from no more than two Champagne bottles. See

World's Largest Plasma TV

Once you've bought your new Blu-Ray HD player, what HD TV should you buy to view your wedding movie on? Why the 150" high-definition plasma Panasonic TV, of course! Its screen is the equivalent of nine 50" TV sets, with an effective viewing area of 11 feet. This is a step up from the 103" version which cost $70,000 when it was launched.

If that's not quite your cup of tea, there's always the 42" Panasonic HDTV which uses half the energy but stays as bright or the ultra-thin 50" panel which is less than 1" thick. We're seriously considering the Sharp Aquos.

If you engaged us to film your wedding movie in January, 2006, right now, you'd have a beautiful reminder of one of the best days of your life - in high definition. It might not have seemed important 2 years ago, but right now, while sitting in front of your 52" hi-def TV, you've got to be silently congratulating yourself on your foresight. We didn't charge any extra for HD at that time, and we still don't. Back then our clients engaged us, in part, to advise them on realistic options based upon our assessment of where technology was likely to go. They still trust us to advise them well so that their wedding movie will be viewable for 50+ years into the future, no matter what technology changes occur. And because we "hold the cheese - no cheese, please", it will still be a classic with style and not a laughable relic of the early 21st century.

We were ahead of the pack then as now. What's the latest? We offer live internet broadcasts of ceremonies from areas with poor internet access. We are the only wedding cinematographers, to our knowledge, who offer true surround sound. And we are continually scanning the horizon for technology that will improve the images and sounds of your wedding movie, yet remain within a realistic price range.

Blu-Ray Poised to Win HD Player Wars

The war is all but over. Warner Brothers may have started the domino-effect last week by announcing at CES that they will offer their titles on Blu-ray disc, not in the HD DVD format. But it was Toshiba that may have finished the job today by slashing prices on their HD DVD players, apparently conceding defeat.

It's about time for the wars to end! During the several years that the marketplace was holding its breath and waiting for the knockout punch, no one was a winner. Not the movie studios who couldn't sell DVDs, not the equipment manufacturers who couldn't sell HD players, and not us. We could film in HD but couldn't deliver until the stalemate was broken.

At this point, Blu-ray has sewn up 70 - 75% of the market with all the titles from Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and Sony. Only Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation are still releasing their movies exclusively on HD DVD. Paramount and Universal may well jump ship when their agreements expire later in the year.

Then today, Toshiba announced they were slashing prices on their HD DVD players by 50%. Even so, who wants to own a piece of equipment that will be obsolete within the year? This could be the death knell for the HD DVD format. Last time Sony was engaged in a format war - Betamax vs. VHS - they lost. This time, however, the technologically superior format has won. Fortuitously, last week Sony announced the debut of a Blu-Ray player under $200. To the victor go the spoils.

So what does this mean for the average consumer?

Q: Can you use a Blu-ray player if you don't have a hi-def TV?
A: Yes, but there's not going to be much of a difference in the picture between hi-def and standard def until you get a new HD TV.

Q: Does size matter?
A: Yes. The bigger the TV (>40") and the closer you are to the TV, the more it matters.

Q: Do you have to replace all your standard-definition DVDs?
A: No. Blu-ray players will play standard DVDs, but some will do a better job than others.

Q: What does a Blu-ray player cost?
A: Prices will most certainly be dropping in response to increased demand and in response to Toshiba's price slashing on their HD DVD players. In the meanwhile, prices are $300 - $1000. Or, buy a PlayStation 3 which is basically a Blu-ray player AND a gaming console for $500.

Q: Which Blu-ray player should I buy?
A: Depends on what quality you are seeking in picture quality, design, load times, sound and extra features. See product reviews on C|NET, Consumer Reports and HD Guru. Here's a summary:
The player with the highest ratings was the Pioneer BDP-94HD ($1000).
In the next tier were Samsung BD-P1200 ($800), Samsung BD-UP5000 ($800), Samsung BD-P1400 ($300); and the Panasonic DMP-BD10 ($1000) and Panasonic DMP-BD30 ($450).
The Sony BDP-S1 ($400) and Sony BDP-S300 ($450) were rated a fraction lower.
Or you can buy a Sony Playstation for around $500.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Sheet of Paper

<-----Holding on to Myself

You would think these are just papercuts, but once you see Danish artist Peter Callesen's unique form of art, you will be saying that this is the kindest cut of all. Oh the cleverness of the human mind! See more of his remarkable work at his website:

<--Tower of Babel

Many of the artist's pieces are inspired by fairytales. Others explore the relationship between 2- and 3-dimensionality. There is an aspect of the tragic in some, the ironic in others. But no matter what the underlying thought, each piece of art is precise, clever, and incisive, sometimes provoking thought long after we've stopped looking.

Looking Back