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Read my ramblings about life as a Wedding Videographer

  • CBJ Films


It's time to announce the CBJ Awards for 2020! As I look back through the footage from all of these weddings I am not only humbled by the sincere beauty of my job but I am floored by our ability to push on with our plans despite everything that has been thrown at us in 2020.


Congratulations to everyone who has managed to get their weddings done. I am so happy for you and you all deserve medals for your positivity and perseverance. To my couples who have postponed until next season or beyond — stay strong! Your big day will come, it will be totally amazing, and I can’t wait to capture all that energy for you.


It’s become a tradition here at Curtis Brownjohn Films for me to cut together a little montage of all the weddings I’ve filmed over the last 12 months and bestow fun little awards to my couples. But before I announce the winners of the awards this year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few very important people without whom my business would disintegrate.


First and foremost to my wife Cashmere. My love, you are an incredible person, a force to be reckoned with and I don’t know what I would have done this year without you. Not only did you get the both of us and our businesses through a global pandemic but you have now filmed a handful of weddings with me and I couldn’t be more grateful or proud of how much you’ve learnt. Thank you for your kindness and empathy for everyone around you and your ability to focus pull like a total boss.


I would also like to say a special thank you to legends of the industry and all-round top blokes Cameron Averay, James Donovan and Stephen Ludwig. My friends, thank you for gifting me with your live stream, drone and camera operating talents and putting up with my terribly confusing direction. You enrich my work in ways I couldn’t have imagined.


To all of the wonderful vendors I work alongside from the photographers and wedding stylists to the musicians and celebrants (you know who you are), thank you for helping me to make these films all the more magical. I wish you all the success and happiness in the year to come.


Last but not least I would like to thank you, my couples, for choosing me to film the most important day of your lives; for your faith and trust in me throughout this sh*tstorm of a year; and for your patience and gratitude as always. You’ve all been wonderful humans and you continue to give me the best job in the world.


And so, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, the Curtis Brownjohn Films Award recipients for 2020!


Kathryn & Ross — Best Music

The tune-age for this wedding was absolutely mental. A brass band flash mob, acoustic duo plus a rocking band for the rest of the night — these guys had it all. Not to mention guest appearances from several members of the family!


Nicole & Luke — Biggest Bridal Party

Among so many other talking points — this was the biggest lineup for a wedding bridal party I've seen to date. To sum it up with a quote from the best man: "I would say congratulations to everyone up here for making the cut, but there's about 50 of us so clearly it wasn't that hard."


Emma & Max — Best DIY Wedding

I love a good country town wedding and this one was next level. Congratulations to Emma & Max and their families for putting on an absolutely incredible show for the big day on the family farm.


Luke & Leighton — Sharpest Suit(s)

What an incredible celebration it was for these two gentlemen and boy did they look the part!


Steph & Cale — "It’s all in the details" Award

For these guys, a beautiful ceremony was followed by an absolutely breathtaking reception at Mandalay House & Garden. Styled by Kiera Blanden Events, the tennis court marquee was an absolute delight from the chandeliers down to the cutlery.


Angela & Chance — Best Love Notes

To kick off another gorgeous wedding day, this pair of lovers wrote each other the cutest of notes to read in the morning. There were tears and laughs at both ends.


Mel & Matt — "Something a little different” Award

My last wedding before all hell broke loose in March was a real treat. Mel and Matt hosted an intimate day time ceremony and reception at Coriole Vineyards with good food, great wine and a trip to the gorgeous cliffs at Blanche Point for sunset shots to cap it all off.


Allie & Matt — Rain Hail or Shine Award

These super troopers hosted one of the most amazing weddings I've been a part of. Not only was everything perfect and immaculately planned by Allie but it all went down under buckets of rain. We had a ball running around the property at Woodburn Homestead getting some truly beautiful shots of the newlyweds and their crew huddled up under their umbrellas.


Rikki & Luke — Best COVID Safe Dancing

Amidst the chaos that was September weddings in South Australia, Rikki and Luke pulled off an absolute corker of a wedding at Barn 1890. Among so many beautiful moments, a highlight for me was the incredible COVID-safe and musical-chairs-inspired dance moves that their friends and family instigated that evening.


Erin & Elijah — Best Venue

It is always a pleasure to film a wedding at Longview Vineyard and I'm so glad my brother and law and his wife chose to host their special day there. As always everything is cosy and close, and on this particular occasion decorated superbly by the happy couple. Not to mention they always provide me with a delicious vegan meal!


Demsey & Andrew — Best Stack & Recovery

I'm so sorry Demsey but I just have to give this award to you!! Your wedding day was so incredible with so many amazing moments but the way you stacked it on your reception entrance and recovered with such a big smile on your face(s) was truly something special.


Garreth & Julie — Best First Dance

After a beautiful wedding ceremony in Kuitpo Forest, we were treated to a wonderful evening at K1 Wines featuring a mesmerising first dance from the newlyweds.


Mahima & Kym — Cutest Couple

The Cutest Couple Award is pretty self explanatory and I think a good majority of my couples are pretty gosh darn cute, I like to think I reserve it for the couple that makes me say "awww" the most during photo locations.


Brittany & Jamie — Most Flower Girls & Page Boys

There was soooo much to say about this incredible wedding but hands down I've never seen so many little ones walk down the aisle. They all did a fantastic job of it too! As well as showering the aisle with petals they provided many moments of comic relief cackling away to everyone's speeches and dancing up a storm.


Jaslyn & Jed — Third Time Lucky Award

My dear friends, I'm so glad that you were able to finally host your beautiful wedding after 3 postponements!! Well worth the wait.


Congratulations to all recipients for 2020! And honourable mentions/awards to my live stream couples:


Michael & Alicia — Best Shed Wedding

Edward & Karolina — Best Disney References

Adriana & David — Best Beach Wedding

Danny & Katrina — Best Dressed

Megan & David — Best English Accent

Alex & Nick — Best Cathedral


Thank you for reading!

Curtis



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  • CBJ Films


This particular set of rambling is about part two of Curtis’ genius ideas to keep his business afloat in the face of coronavirus: Live Streaming.


Background: as you would know, live streaming has been readily available to the average person for years. Social media giants including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook began introducing live stream platforms as far back as 2014 and since then it has steadily evolved into a huge part of how we share video content with the world.


While everyone is well versed with live television broadcasts and vision switching (talk shows, sports, event coverage, etc) what’s really exciting now is that AV equipment manufacturers have recognised the need for pro-sumer level creatives to be broadcasting events for their clients in highest possible quality — and I don’t just mean in High Definition but more specifically a super sharp video feed from a DSLR camera and high quality audio. A piece of equipment that won’t break the bank, but can give the operator the ability to live stream HD video to any online platform whilst switching between multiple cameras as well as having control over an array of audio sources is exactly what wedding videographers like myself are thirsty for.


Enter stage right — standing 7 feet tall and wearing a billowing velvet cape — my good friend and fellow wedding videographer Cameron Averay. Amidst the chaos that was our friends in Victoria dropping the ball on their Covid-19 management, Cameron rings to tell me the exciting news that he and his wife have just welcomed their first baby into the world, but more importantly that he’s invested in a beauty of a live stream switcher and now we can offer some pretty advanced live streaming to our wonderful clients.


The piece of equipment in question shall remain nameless at this time, but suffice it to say will enable Cameron and I to broadcast a wedding ceremony live to the screens of our clients’ loved ones who are stuck interstate and unable to attend the event.


More information can be found at www.curtisbrownjohnfilms.com/livestreaming


I rejoice at this development and so should you, dear reader. If you’re in the process of planning a wedding or even a school concert, a conference or musical performance — get in touch with me and I will help you live stream all those precious proceedings to the world.

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A couple of years ago — around about the time our spineless prime minister was making everyone else decide whether or not LGTBQI people should be allowed to get married — I decided to make an engagement video for my friends Ella and Steph. I told them to come over to my place one afternoon where I sat them dow


n on the couch, lit them nicely and arranged some flowers on the coffee table before proceeding to ask them a series of questions that would facilitate a discussion between the two of them (and the camera) about how they had got to where they were: newly engaged and waiting for Steph’s visa to get approved so they could fly back to the states and to get married.

It was so much fun.



Along with the timeline questions such as “when did you meet?” and “how did you get engaged?” I asked them things like “who’s got the worst taste in music?” and “what do you love about each other?”. What unfolded was a really beautiful and open conversation between the two of them about their relationship. They agreed on most things, but had different opinions on other things including how certain important events in their relationship transpired. After a while I wasn’t even looking at the list of questions I’d written and we basically all three of us just laughed and talked about how in love they both were.

After the interview, Steph and Ella jumped in the car with me and I took them up to Mount Lofty where I filmed them traipsing around the beautiful gardens — I even got them to do a little reenactment of Ella’s proposal! On the way home I suggested we stopped in at a nursery so I could get some shots of them hoarding pot plants, something they had talked about them both loving during the interview.

That evening my wife Cashmere and I joined the two lovebirds for a drive-in movie at Gepps Cross and this was perfect as they’d also mentioned in their interview never having gone to a drive-in movie before — so of course I filmed that too.


I got them to send me a few of their favourite photos of each other and assembled a 10-minute film for them to show at their engagement party the next week. I was there on the night when it got played for everyone and I was so excited to see how much people laughed and cried at it. I was like, “yep, I’ve got to make more of these.”


Nothing happened for two years.


Then one wintery day in 2020 I’m slumped at my desk having survived 4 months of anxiety and depression thanks to Covid-19 when I remembered Steph and Ella’s engagement video. I sat up straight in my chair, dusted the cookie crumbs off my onesie and realised that this could be a chance for me to contribute the next big thing to the wedding videographer sphere: engagement videos. But not just engagement videos — because love as we all know comes in many different forms. But films about how people met and fell in love. Because everyone loves a good love story. And I mean weddings will tend to touch on this part of a couple’s relationship whether it’s during the ceremony or speeches, but it’s usually glossed over pretty quickly. And while a couple will have plenty of chances to tell each other how they feel on the day, from personal experience as both a videographer and a groom myself, there are so many time constraints and other pressures on a wedding day that you often might not be able to say all the things you want to say. Not that this is a pre-requisite of a healthy relationship but the chance to truly share your feelings about each other in a public setting is, I feel, really valuable. Not only does your partner get to hear those lovely things from you but the people watching can also benefit greatly and enrich their own relationships with a piece of knowledge they learned from you.

So that was the basic thought process behind it. That and the fact that I may never get to film another wedding ever again as long as this virus keeps ruining everything! Of course, I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case for everyone’s sake — but it couldn’t hurt to get prepared for a shift in the focus of my work.

I toyed around with a few names for the film concept and landed on “How We Got Together”. I love it because firstly I’m a huge ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fan and secondly because it perfectly summed up the thesis of the video without making it appear exclusive to engaged folk. I scrubbed up Steph and Ella’s video with the new title and showed it to my brother-in-law and his fiancée who jumped at the opportunity to have one made in the lead up to their big day. I also visited one of my favourite past wedding couples Sarah and Adam, who were more than happy to catch up for another filming session and it was great to make a HWGT film for a couple who had already been married a while.



There are so many things I have loved about making these films so far. For one, they allow me to slow down and be a little more creative when I’m so used to the fast-pace filming of live events; I’m enjoying the opportunity I get to think about how to set up, light and decorate couch interviews in people’s homes; I love getting the chance to actually TALK to couples and have a laugh when usually I need to be quiet and film everything candidly; and the thing I love most of all about these films is seeing people open up to each other, express their feelings and discuss their experiences with each other in front of the camera. While the concept of discussing a relationship may seem daunting and at first it may feel so, after two or three questions I find that we are relaxed and comfortable in each other’s presence. Once this happens, those amazing stories and tidbits start flying, and it’s truly wonderful getting to capture that.


It’s only the beginning but I’m so excited to have this new phoenix of a film idea to work with. Not only is it a glimmer of hope for me (and hopefully soon other filmmakers) in the wake of an uncertain time ahead, but also I expect that ‘How We Got Together’ films will serve as a fun and just as romantic alternative to wedding videography if and when couples need to make that difficult call about their special day.



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Curtis Brownjohn Films

16a Neville Road Thebarton SA 5031

hello@curtisbrownjohnfilms.com

+61 (0) 437 294 941

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Cinematic Wedding Videography & Love Stories by CBJ Films

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