Styled Spotlight: Dave Williams, CinemaCake Filmmakers

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It is time once again for our monthly series, Styled Spotlight, where we are asking one creative wedding professional a series of questions so you can learn how they got started, why they love what they do, what they love most about Philadelphia, and more. Today we talk withDave Williams, Cinemacake Filmmakers, about wedding cinematography.

1) Let’s get to know you!  Tell us a little bit about your background.  

Filmmaking had always been a hobby for me and I spent a lot of time capturing family events on my dad’s Super8 camera before the 80s and then with VHS in the early 80s.  The first wedding I shot was for a colleague, back in 2001 when I was a pharmaceutical sales rep.  I used that video to book several more events and within two years, left my sales position to start CinemaCake Filmmakers along with my wife, Sheryl.  We have now been in business for more than 15 years and have loved every minute of it!  

2) How did you know that the wedding industry was the right fit for you?

I knew this industry was right for me when I started hearing our clients’ feedback.  Our brides will often comment on the films and say things like, “Our film looks like a movie” or “Your work is completely different from everything else out there”.  This motivated us to work even harder at creating artistic and creative films that told our clients’ stories in a unique and beautiful way.   

3) Why do you feel video is such an important part of a wedding?

A couple’s wedding day goes by so quickly and many times, they feel like they missed a lot of moments.  Photos do a great job of helping them look back on the day, but they don’t move or allow them to hear what was said.  In fact, we hear that one of the biggest regrets couples have after the wedding is not having it filmed.  Although our own wedding film is 22 years old and a bit long and boring by today’s standards, we can’t imagine not having it.  20% of the guests aren’t even alive anymore.  It’s priceless.

4) How would you describe your aesthetic?

We are story tellers and we utilize the most important elements to create the story of the couple’s wedding day.  A film combines the visual beauty of a wedding with what I think is the best part of a good film: the sound.  It may sound trivial, but sound truly triggers memories and emotions.  For example, seeing a father and daughter dance together at the reception, while hearing his voiceover as he reminisces about his little girl, is just so touching.  We strive to create beautiful moments like that throughout our films! 

5) What is one piece of advice you like to impart on brides and grooms?

If it’s in the budget, work with a planner from the very beginning of your planning process.  Not only will your planner help make the entire process smoother, but they will introduce you to the best vendors who will work together and ensure that you have a beautiful wedding day.  Good lighting in the reception is extremely important as well!  Why would you spend time and money creating beautiful center pieces that ultimately can’t be seen because they are not highlighted with pinspot lights?  A lighting company will design a lighting scheme that will make the room look beautiful and highlight all the best decor.

Five Favorites…

1) Element that always catches your eye?

One of the first things that I shoot at the beginning of any day are the rings.  It’s a beautiful testimonial of the couple’s love and it’s a detail that too many times is overlooked.  When our crews capture rings and any other sentimental details, we make them the star of the shot, just like the shot we included in Hope and Nick’s Coming Soon Trailer: http://www.cinemacake.com/video/hope-nick-trailer

2) Favorite trend or application in video you are seeing?

There are so many different ways to capture beautiful, creative footage of an event and the technology available to cinematographers has grown exponentially over the past few years.  We often set up time-lapses at an event to capture the moments when the room is flipped from the ceremony space to the reception space or we have set them up for several days to show all the work going into creating a larger event!  

Aerial cinematography is the newest and coolest trend in wedding cinematography!  Drones have the ability to capture beautiful and cinematic shots from the air and offer high production value that could not even be purchased for any amount a few years ago.  We work with the best drone pilots in Philadelphia and have captured beautiful shots around the city.  

We recently utilized both of these skills in this film, which we created for the Perelman School’s 250 Anniversary Gala: http://www.cinemacake.com/video/art-museum-timelapse

3) Moment at a wedding?

We pay special attention to capturing anyone’s reaction when they see the bride for the first time.  There is nothing more touching than a father seeing his daughter on her wedding day and it creates a truly impactful moment, like when Kim’s dad came into the bridal suite in her Coming Soon Trailer http://www.cinemacake.com/video/kim-and-randys-coming-soon-trailer  

We usually get some amazing reactions from our grooms as well!  The more emotional and honest they are when they see their bride, the better!  Michael could not have been more excited to see Ariel on their wedding day and his reaction was nothing short of perfection: http://www.cinemacake.com/video/ariel-michael

4) Love Stories?

As storytellers, we love a good story.  Going beyond the day of the wedding and telling the backstory that brought our couples together is one of the things we love the most.  A well told story often serves as an ice-breaker at the wedding reception as it unfolds on a large screen to cheering (and crying) guests.  I used to believe that only couples who have been together for a while were candidates for creating a love story, but we have learned that time together is irrelevant if the story is good.

5) Hidden gem in Philadelphia

Recently, we were filming a photo session in Fairmount Park and the couple asked to capture some footage of them in the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.  The groom’s mother is Japanese, so it was a beautiful way to celebrate their heritage and created some great shots!  Not too many people know about this spot but it’s definitely worth the drive!  You can check out some of the beautiful aerials we captured at the Japanese House in Alison and Erik’s Coming Soon Trailer: http://www.cinemacake.com/video/alison-erik-trailer

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