Hello! This is Pei, Seaglass Cinema’s social media manager. The end of the year is always a good time for reflection so I thought it would be nice for us to take a look at Seaglass behind the scenes. Below is my interview with photographer Anna Wu, who owns and shoots with Seaglass.
Pei: Hey Anna! Let’s jump right in. Photographs are a great way to capture the bride and groom at their best, but videos have become more popular as well. What are some of the benefits of having a wedding video?
Anna: I think the greatest benefit of cinema is its ability to tell an immersive story. I love seeing that more and more couples are considering it for their weddings. A great wedding video can draw you in and make you a part of the day, whether you were there or not. Plus, with video, we are able to capture the vows, the speeches, and the dancing for posterity in a way that you just can’t get with photography. It adds a whole new dimension to documenting your story. So often, we hear couples tell us they weren’t initially planning on video but are so glad they got it or couples who didn’t get video and have that as their number one regret.
P: For those who don’t want the regret of not having a video and are looking for a videographer, how would you describe Seaglass’s style?
A: I love the notion of sea glass– old glass tumbled by the ocean– for its rough edges made smooth or the ordinary made extraordinary. Our style is polished, with a simple elegance. It is not glossy or manufactured to perfection, but instead, it is beautiful in a raw and seemingly effortless way. I hope that each film we create is a unique piece that can be treasured for years to come.
Mairin & Nikhil, June 2013
P: Every couple and their story is unique. How do you ensure that important moments are captured? What is the client experience like when they work with Seaglass?
A: It’s so important to me to get to know each of my couples, and I think the key to that is asking questions and listening. Before we book each wedding, I start asking about who they are and what they love. It isn’t all about the wedding day itself either– to me, I want to reflect who they are just as much as I want to capture the details of this one special day in their lives. In preparation for the wedding, I also send clients a detailed document with questions asking about what is most important to them– for example, the flower girls are their nieces and it’s really important that we capture them! Or their grandmother was unable to travel to the wedding, but the bride will be wearing her grandmother’s pearls. These are some of the personal stories that we might easily overlook if we just didn’t take the time to ask about them. We can then transfer these thoughtful details into layered final films that not only capture a single day but create lasting journals of a love story
P: Seaglass recently turned three. Congratulations! You have 31 videos under your belt and have been featured multiple times on iconic wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty . What were some of your thoughts and feelings on the first day, and how have they changed since then?
A: We started Seaglass as three friends who loved videography, and we grew the company very rapidly, from shooting two weddings that first year to shooting eleven the next. The business has changed from year to year, and I am now the sole owner of the studio with multiple videographers, but I have learned so much from day one. Since I come from photography, I learned a lot of video-specific skills on the technical end too. I think the best thing about Seaglass is that we have always remained very flexible and have had the luxury of working with our clients for the love of it. We shoot a very limited number of weddings each year so that we can always keep our priority on telling each story well. In that sense, the core of Seaglass hasn’t changed much at all, from wedding number one to the future weddings we’ve yet to shoot. But we continue to hone our craft and get better every year.
P: Wow! Going from two weddings in your first year to eleven the next is a huge jump! What would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about weddings from your unique point of view?
A: I think the biggest lesson would be an overall mindset that weddings should be about the experience of the day more than the stuff of the day. We have filmed such a diverse array of weddings, from huge, expensive galas to intimate DIY affairs, but it’s not the budget that makes the wedding. I think our best weddings films are the ones with the most emotional content– it’s the genuine reaction we get when a groom sees his bride for the first time, or the father that tears up at every turn, or the hilarious flower girl who’s making ridiculous faces during the first kiss. It’s hard to sit down and watch a generic montage of wedding scenes, but it’s a joy to watch human emotions unfold.
Emma & Phil, July 2013
P: With Seaglass Cinema you’ve had the opportunity to go all over the United States. Of those venues, which is your favorite and why?
A: It’s really hard for me to pick favorite venues since traveling is one of my biggest loves. It’s such a joy to shoot weddings in places that I would never have visited otherwise. Our first Seaglass wedding was in a gorgeous theater-like ballroom in Indianapolis. We’ve visited so many beautiful ranches, gardens, and vineyards in Northern California, and one of our weddings this year was set in a modern building right on the beach in San Diego. I love them all!
P: Any wedding tips you’re hanging onto for when your own big day comes? 🙂
A: This is a question my friends ask me a lot in conversation, haha. I have definitely seen a lot of different weddings, and I think it’s shaped both my overall philosophy about weddings and also the little pragmatic considerations that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
I think my biggest tip on the practical end would be to design a good timeline. The schedule of the day is more important than most people realize. Allot enough time in the day for everything, and then add buffer time. Weddings are so much less stressful when there’s just extra time to enjoy the day and people aren’t running around frantically. And for your videographer, more time also means more room for creativity and depth in their storytelling.
I’d also want to hire vendors that I trust so I don’t have to worry about anything on the day of. Basically, I would do everything I could to ensure my guests and I can have a great experience without getting mired in all the details of the day.
Karen & Sam, September 2013
P: Last question. Anna, you always carry a pouch labeled “wedding emergency kit” in your camera bag amongst all the lenses and extra batteries. How prepared! Did something happen that inspired you to create the kit? What do you keep in it?
A: The wedding emergency kit is awesome! It basically started because I’m always around when someone yells out, “does anyone have scissors?” The funny thing that people don’t realize is that it’s us photographers and videographers who are always around when things are happening (it’s kind of our job to be there, anyway). So after a while, I just started collecting useful items and keeping them on hand. The things that get used most often are definitely the scissors– there are always tags or strings to be cut. Other things in my kit include tissues, a stain remover, double-sided fashion tape, mints, bobby pins, and Tylenol. I’m usually the one using the Tylenol because I always forget to drink enough water and get dehydrated throughout the day. Oops! But it’s always nice to be thoughtful and prepared, even down to the fine details!
A big thanks goes to Anna for doing this interview! For those of you who don’t know, Anna is also a wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but always willing to travel. I hope this interview was as fun for you guys to read as it was for me to interview Anna. Feel free to return to the main page to watch some wedding videos! Seaglass Cinema has also done a few side projects for fun. Check out a “Second Thanksgiving” video about Friendsgiving and music video for There’s Talk. Happy holidays!
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