From Philadelphia to Toledo, wedding videographer Steve Staffan, owner and operator of Ohio-based 7th Floor Media, has been helping couples capture their forever moments for the past six years. As ‘The Knot’s 2019 pick’ for wedding videography, Staffan has built a positive reputation based on the quality of his cinematic wedding videos.
“Wedding videography has gotten very competitive. It would be easy to get comfortable shooting the same shots in the same way, but I always try to do something different. Of course, there are certain shots you always need to get like the bride walking down the aisle or the first kiss, but I really pride myself on creating something custom for each couple at each wedding. My goal is really to have each wedding film touch someone,” explains Staffan.
Far from the camcorder and grainy footage many might expect from generations ago, 7th Floor Media’s films capture the couple’s big day in gorgeous 4k cinematic video. They produce films with fully licensed music, and professional off-camera audio to capture vows, toasts, and more. As a result, 7th Floor Media’s films been featured on The Knot’s How He Asked and Love Stories TV, their work has received countless awards from The Knot’s Best of Weddings and Wedding Wire’s Couples Choice.
“The awards are important because more often then not when couples are searching and preparing for their wedding they are going to visit The Knot or Wedding Wire. It increases my visibility and also shows that I have a perfect track record in working with couples to help capture those special moments. I have people say that I create great work and I really appreciate that but I also really like working with the couples. I try to build some kind of friendly relationship with the couples that way when they are comfortable with me being there and they are not acting uncomfortably in front of the camera,” Staffan says.
Not surprising, to compete in this ultra-competitive marketplace, Staffan has both studied what the leaders in the field have done and outfitted his own skill set. Staffan has become a licensed drone operator and often uses the drones to create a sense of place and drama.
“The drone footage is great to have and creates a movie-like experience for wedding films. Just a few years ago, it would have cost thousands of dollars to get this kind of gear or to get these kinds of shots.”
Staffan has also gone to great lengths to ensure he uses the highest quality of gear in his kit, including 2 Sony A7 Mark III, 1 Sony A7 S II, a variety of Sony lenses, and two lavalier microphones.
Also included in this unique kit is a pair of Kinotehnik Practilite 602s.
“Lighting can make or break your wedding film. To have a professional, polished looking video, you absolutely need to know how to use light. Not having good light in a scene can make scenes look flat and unflattering. I look for large windows, or some kind of natural light during bridal prep in order to have soft, beautiful lighting. During the reception, I use a pair of Practilite 602s that create beautiful, dynamic lighting that takes shots to the next level. These lights open new doors to what is capable in tough light situations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without them.”
The Kinotehnik Practilite 602 is a compact, bicolor LED Fresnel light with a variable beam, capable of an impressive spot-to-flood spec of 15-75 degrees for variable field coverage. Small and lightweight, the Practilite 602 also offers wide color variability from 3000 to 6000K to match existing light conditions or for creative effects. The Practilite has a CRI of 96 to ensure faithful rendering of colors down to the subtlest of hues and is designed to work with a smartphone app for remote access. The light has gained a following in the wedding film industry due to being color true, flexibility in spot to flood light and being easy to control remotely through a smartphone.
“I first heard of the Practilite 602 from facebook wedding film groups that I’m in. I found that some of the top pros were using the 602. I knew it was an investment and I ended up buying two. The first time I fired them up at a wedding, I was amazed at the perfect color temperature and the great throw the lights have.
Also, using the mobile app to control the lights at a wedding is an absolute lifesaver. It saves you so much time and energy. The wedding photographers I work with are always amazed because the light is perfect and they don’t even need to use their flash.”
Using the Practilite 602s has helped enable Staffan to focus on the most important thing on a shoot- the storytelling.
“At the end of the day, storytelling is king with wedding films. Having couples be able to relive the perfect day and tug at their heartstrings is the ultimate goal. The couple isn’t going to know if you are shooting in 4K, but they will notice bad lighting, bad audio. When you move up the ladder as a wedding professional, you have to focus on your storytelling and using great gear that allows you to focus on your story.”
For more on the Kinotehnik Practilite 602, visit maniosdigital.com or join us at NAB 2019. Register for free by using code LV2933. Manios Digital is the exclusive US distributor of Kinotehnik, Cartoni Camera Supports and Hawk-Woods batteries.
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