Monday, April 21, 2008

Heavenly Sounds at Grace Cathedral

We just filmed a commitment ceremony at Grace Cathedral. What a magnificent house of worship! Everyone we worked with was so wonderful: Mary Wood, the wedding administrator, Jayson Kincaid the Production Director, and Elaine the verger.

The Gregorian chants and the 1273-pipe organ echoed and reverberated magnificently in every corner, calming and uplifting our spirits. We were all transported to another realm. We wanted our couple to be able to feel this same spirit every time they watched and listened to their ceremony, so we recorded it in surround sound. Now, when they listen, the sound will be as close as possible to the real thing.

The 275 guests then walked a block to the
Mark Hopkins where they were treated to a fabulous cocktail party and 5-course dinner. Lisa Tomasi, Catering Manager, really pulled out all the stops and treated our couple and their guests like royalty. Rebecca Reategui, the wedding designer, and Karen Axel of Tapestry Flowers, designed a ballroom that made you think you were in a rooftop garden with bowers of orchids and twinkling lights everywhere. We were delighted to be working with Michelle Walker of Michelle Walker Photography - always so pleasant, and soooo talented.

A big hit of the evening was the chocolate tasting and favor-making provided by Cocoabella. Each guest was invited to select 10 chocolates from among 50 choices. The hand dipped chocolates were from the best chocolatiers in the world such as Michael Cluizel, Christopher Elbow, Knipschildt. The chocolates were then carefully arranged in little blue boxes and finished with ribbon to take home as a favor.

There were energetic performances of Phillipine folk dances from the Hiyas Dance Group , a photo booth provided by Red Cheese, and so much more.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On Film Editing

I've been reading a good book lately. A real page turner. Well, at least it is to me. It's "On Film Editing" by the film director Edward Dmytryk, most famous for directing The Caine Mutiny and 50 other movies. He started out as a film editor, and has some insights that are as relevant today as when he wrote the book 25 years ago. Here are some of his pearls of wisdom.

Dmytryk makes a distinction between a cutter and an editor. A cutter is a technician who merely assembles the pieces, mostly in the order they were shot. An editor is a thinking, creative person who carefully juxtaposes cuts to obtain the greatest audience involvement, to allow the viewer to be caught up in the mood, to arouse the viewer's own emotional responses. And a good editor senses the viewer's attention span, holding a shot long enough to deliver its desired effect, but never so long that interest fades, and never repeatng a clever shot.

Dmytryk notes:

o Film is the most dynamic of all the arts and is the most popular art form in the world.
o The development of film technique has been primarily the development of editing.
o Without film editing, the best movie would be only a photographed stage play.
o Film editing is the art of filmmaking.
o By means of a "cut", a filmmaker can fly through space and time, and can intensify emotions.
o A film's first viewing should evoke an emotional reaction.
o Substance first, then form.
o Reactions are essential to a good movie. Cause and effect, action and reaction.
o The "human situation" is what good films are all about and technical skill counts for nothing if it is used only to make films which have little to do with humanity.

An editor...

o ...Improves a film by eliminating redundancies, by creative manipulation of the film's pace and the timing of reactions.
o The finer the editor's technique, the less noticeable is his contribution.

Here are some movies that are beautifully edited. Through careful arrangement of images and sounds, they create strong emotions such as joy or sadness, desire or revulsion, compassion or anger, confidence or fear, triumph or despair. And they make you feel that way every time you watch them. They make you care.

Apollo 13
Citizen Kane
The Color Purple
Field of Dreams
The Godfather
High Noon
It's a Wonderful Life
Joy Luck Club
Mr. Holland's Opus
Ordinary People
Rear Window
The Verdict
You've Got Mail

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Yesterday I attended an event at the newly renovated Bently Reserve. I am reminded of what a beautiful venue this is! In this 85-year old majestic and stately structure, Jon Retsky of Got Light and Neil Adams of Blueprint Studios designed a very contemporary, airy, fresh feeling. Hot lighting punctuated with cool, white leather seating areas surrounding a custom-made 360-degree bar in the center of the room created drama and intimacy. McCall's fabulous catering added to the opulent and festive mood with groaning boards of sushi, caviar stations, passed hors d'ouevres- one tastier than the next. A fun time was had by all. Thank you Vivian Perez, Events Manager, for your kind invitation!

But what is so noteworthy is that such a beautiful place, with all of the latest technology in the conference center upstairs, is GREEN. This doesn't just mean that the floors are made from sustainable Brazilian cherrywood forests. Being certified Green entails a deep commitment to use 75% recycled materials in construction, to reduce energy consumption, to diligently recycle, and to serve local organic food from local green caterers.

I had a chance to speak with the modest, nattily-dressed Chris Bently, owner of the Bently Reserve. He is youthful, cultured, has a droll sense of humor, is unpretentious and has a great joie de vivre. He owns several historic properties around the Bay Area, all operating under strict green business practices. It is refreshing to see that what's good for the environment can also be good for business. It may not BE easy being green, but with a great sense of style, Chris Bently makes it LOOK easy.