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Thought bubble on a fluorescent-lit date with ProQuest

15 Sep

You know you’re this much closer to being a grown-up when journals become works to be cited, and cease to be well-guarded repositories of experiences and feelings.

This clock never seemed so alive

24 May

To say that I am a fan of Lifehouse is an understatement. To say that I would exhaust all means to watch them live again is another one.

The truth is, though, no matter how much you love a performer, there’s just no reasoning with a wallet that has other priorities.

But just the same, there’s no giving up for this persistent fan.

Four years and about a dozen hairstyles ago, here was my 15-year-old self gushing over their 2008 “You and Me” tour — shaky point-and-shoot camera, braces and all.

What has changed since then?

Not my gratitude to Mama for surprising me with that ticket four years ago.

Not Lifehouse songs’ ability to stop me in my tracks, be it heard via iTunes, on the radio, or over the supermarket’s PA system.

Not that overarching desire for Jason Wade’s eyes to meet mine, the way it did for three seconds during their 2008 concert.

Then what’s new this 2012?

If there’s anything of value I’ve learned in the previous years, it’s asserting oneself and always, always finding a way for everyone and everything that matters to me.

So when upon reading Juice.ph’s concert tickets giveaway, I pounced on the opportunity, justifying why I deserved two tickets thus:

Winners were to be announced at 3 p.m. today, but an hour later, no results were to be found. Turns out they announced over at the Juice.ph facebook account that the announcements would be made at 5 p.m.

Mama called a little after five, asking to be fetched from work (another one of our straight-out-of-Freaky-Friday moments) because taxis were hard to come by. Before leaving for the parking lot, I hit refresh on the announcement page one last time and saw this beaut:

The grepa winning streak continues!

Mama was beside herself when she heard the news, gushing: “It’s the first concert I’ll ever watch in Araneta!”

Welcome back to Le Manille, bebeboy!

There are just some things for which a one-time occurrence is hardly enough. A Lifehouse concert is one of them.

And what makes my ear-to-ear grin wider is the thought that this May 26th, not one but two gushing fan girls will be rocking out to every riff and hanging by a moment (and eons more) with Jason, Ben, Bryce and Rick. ❤

To Have, to Hold, to Record: The Aesthetics of Wedding Videography*

27 Mar

Weddings around the world are celebrated as milestones not only for the couple and their families, but also as veritable cultural, social and religious occasions that necessitate documentation. In the days before written communication came to be, people relied on word-of-mouth to hear accounts of such gatherings.

Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride (The Arnolfini Marriage) by Jan Van Eyck

As centuries wore on and human civilizations advanced, art styles like portraiture were employed to commemorate the union of two individuals. Such commissions, however, had a long production time, taking anywhere from three months to two years before completion (Weiss 1-2).

With the advent of photography, studio portraits became the rage for newlyweds. Advancements in technology, however, have made it possible to photograph couples not only in a studio, but right during the ceremony itself. Recent years have seen an upgrade of wedding coverage from on-site photography to on-site videography.

In the early days of wedding videography, the bride and groom were fortunate if either of them had a relative with a video camera or camcorder. The latter was then given the task of documenting the wedding, from the preparations to the ceremony proper and the reception. As might be expected from someone with little or no training in videography, however, the quality of such footage was erratic.

When events planning firms started offering videography into their wedding packages, the final outputs were mere footages of the whole event. There was little non-linear editing, and only sound effects and text labels broke the monotony. At this point in the history of the medium, wedding videos could only be obtained from the videographer days or weeks after the event.

The advent of modern wedding videography revolutionized events coverage the world over. Besides the standard whole-event footage, couples now have the option to avail of their own prenuptial (commonly referred to as “prenup”) and/or same-day edit video. Each video takes anywhere from five to ten minutes, as agreed upon by the videographer and his clients.

Hong Kong, China --- Couple have wedding photos taken in Starbucks on Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong. Image by © Catherine Karnow/Corbis.

The prenup video is shot weeks or months before the wedding, and may feature only the couple or members of their immediate family. Same-day edits, meanwhile, refer to audio-visual presentations of the wedding (including the preparations and the early part of the reception) which the videographer will edit on-the-spot and present before the reception draws to a close.

For Bill Gaff (Merfeld n.p.) of Human Story Films, recent revamps in the practice of wedding videography have the best of both worlds, with “the intimacy of documentary style plus the poetry of the cinematic style”.

Chris Watson of Watson Videography considers these developments “more revolution than evolution” (Merfeld n.p.), likening their effect on the classic documentary style of videography to the effect of photojournalism on “straight” photography.

Despite these new formats in videography, practitioners still swear by certain motifs to complete the wedding video. Filipino videographer Jason Magbanua shared in an interview: “The conventions I really watch out for would be the priceless, unrepeatable moments – the groom’s reaction as the bride approaches, enters the church and approaches the aisle. Of course, the entrance of the bride herself, the reaction of the parents, of the people around her – these are the unrepeatable things that I want to be caught on film.”

WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY AS ART

For the first level of analysis, let us explore the concepts, constructs and components that abound in the perceptions and practices of wedding videography to determine whether or not it may be construed as art. To do this, we will first review – and subsequently juxtapose wedding videography with – three broad definitions or facets of art as summated by Barry Hartley Slater (n.p.): art as representation, expression and form.

 

Representation

This view of art, promoted by Plato and adapted onto the late 18th century, emphasized the mimetic relationship between art and nature. This connoted that artistic outputs – be it poetry, song, movement, or visual art – were “artificial” and contrived, worthy to be deemed aesthetic only if they draw attention away from their contrivedness by effectively mimicking what exists “naturally” in nature.

Wedding videos, be they prenuptial or ceremony coverage, are at most only five to ten minutes long. To extend the total running time of the output would be to go against the premise of modern wedding videography, which is to zero in on minute details to show and not tell the bigger picture of the ceremony.

Close up of elegant high heeled shoes. Image by © Kyle Monk/Blend Images/Corbis.

Thus, the videos rely heavily on figurative shots. These include the couple sharing a laugh while holding hands, close-ups of the wedding rings, the groom’s shoes and intricate features of the bride’s gown, tightly edited montages of guests, situationers of the church and the reception venue.

By focusing only on fragments of the pre-wedding and actual wedding footage for the final cut, videographers showcase important elements of the couple’s relationship and marriage rites through deliberate visual synecdoche.

 Expression

Not all of Plato’s contemporaries, however, agreed with the representation theory of art. The Aristotelian viewpoint supposes a cathartic aspect to the production of art. With his imagination and tools at hand, the artisan is able to stretch his artistic wingspan as a means to self-expression and, to some extent, self-actualization.

In the case of wedding videography, however, it is not so much the videographer who undergoes catharsis, but his subjects – the couple who commissioned the coverage. For prenup wedding videos, the bride and the groom “perform” as lovers before the camera – looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, locking one another in a tight embrace, sharing a tender kiss, etc.

Bride & Groom. Image by © Fiona Conrad/Corbis.

Such performances may be either or a combination of the following: their natural gestures of affection towards one another, or the result of a conscious effort to mimic (here we see representation at work once more) what two people in love should  look like, as suggested or dictated by what they have seen from books, movies and daily interaction with other people.

It is perhaps the emotional fulfillment and anticipation of immersing themselves into the reel and real role of being each other’s lifetime partner that provide catharsis for the bride and groom.

The second aspect of wedding videography as an expressive art is the role of audience response. Magbanua, who has been in the events coverage business for twelve years, is a firm believer in the emotional pull of wedding videos.

He says, “A decade ago, [wedding videography] was all cheese – a throw-away kind of thing that people get just because everybody else got it. It’s different when you’re affected and when you’re part of it – as a friend, a family member, or, you know, the couple itself. And that’s kind of obvious.

“But when people who have nothing to do with the wedding, people who are complete strangers to the couple, people like students in college or high school, get moved by this – you’ve made something special. So I think that defines the thing that I do as art. I make no assumptions, but if art is something that has the capability to touch something inside of a person on a different level, I suppose that is what we’re doing.”

Form

Events coverage, particularly modern wedding videography, borrows many conventions and techniques from filmmaking; this is true not only for its documentary aspect but also for its more creative facets.

Magbanua stressed that besides the poignant footages of the subjects, excellent cinematography is key to a good wedding video.  But while anyone with a gadget capable of video recording can shoot footage of a wedding, not everyone can effectively videograph it.

In his memoir Notes from a Retired Wedding Videographer, CFA Weiss stresses the distinction between an amateur and a professional videographer. He characterized amateurs as non-artists “without the passion and eye for creation”, whose works are “often lame and impotent – thereby more so providing a video record of their own professional inadequacies or mistaken choice of spend-thrift wedding planners than a media-worthy video record of a special event” (3).

Bride and bridegroom smiling cheek to cheek. Image by © Aid/amanaimages/Corbis.

Weiss added that a professional does not just rely on his experience, equipment or knowledge of the craft. Rather, he challenges himself every time by adjusting to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of each event coverage.

“The actual professional documentary style moves in sync with the happy couple throughout their day, capturing the little details as well as the big picture, and is unafraid of using a little artistic motion (not all shoulder shots) – for in the end, that’s what life is all about: motion,” he said.

 

 AESTHETIC VALUE

Having established wedding videography as art vis-à-vis the three broad definitions of representation, expression and form, let us now look into its aesthetic value for the second level of analysis.

When deciding whether or not to buy into the marketed necessity of wedding videography, soon-to-be-wed couples practice what Monroe Beardsley dubs the “point of view” terminology (121).

This selective association entails breaking free from external considerations (such as budget constraints versus the recommendations of the wedding planner) with the purpose of drawing attention to the set of considerations they wish to prioritize and underline (such as the importance of sticking to the budget versus the compulsion to document the wedding for posterity).

Beardsley (122) expounds thus: “I ask myself what I am doing in adopting a particular point of view, and acting toward an object in a way that is appropriate to that point of view; and, so far as I can see, it consists in searching out a corresponding value in the object, to discover whether any of it is present. Sometimes it is to go farther: to cash in on that value, to realize it, to avail myself of it.”

Portrait of newly wed couple holding balloons at wedding reception. Image by © Matthias Ritzmann/Corbis.

More than presenting additional financial concerns, deciding whether or not to commission a wedding video requires the couple to weigh in on the importance of the latter’s aesthetic and functional gratification.

There is a school of thought in aesthetics that espouses functionalism as the root of aesthetic gratification. This variant is known as the “reduction thesis”, and was made popular in 1941 when Herbert Read posed this philosophical question: “We have produced a chair which is strong and comfortable, but is it a work of art?”

To this, he replied, yes – the chair’s perfect fulfillment of its function as something firm and easy to rest on made it art. “Fitness for function,” Read added, “is the modern definition of the eternal quality we call beauty, and this fitness for function is the inevitable result of an economy directed to use and not to profit (qtd. in Hansson).”

From a functionalist perspective, wedding videos appeal not only to the couple’s fancy, but also serves two particular purposes for two distinct audiences: to preserve the participants’ memories of the event and to acquaint those who were absent with what went on in the ceremony (Cubitt 5).

Couples too will someday be able to share their wedding videos with their children. Furthermore, it will help them remember loved ones who are no longer with them. Matt Pines of Life Video, an Ohio-based events coverage company, recalled the story of a bride whose grandmother passed on shortly after the ceremony.

According to Pines, she was initially hesitant to pay the price of the videography services. After her grandmother’s death, however, she told him “the quality has gone on and the price has been forgotten (“Lasting Memories” 169).”

In the case of wedding videography, we see aesthetic dualism at work as its artful form serves to complement its purpose of encapsulating memories. The function of documenting a milestone in the lives of a couple and the optimal use of film elements like mise-en-scene, editing and cinematography combine to make modern videography more engaging – and, to some extent, more effective in its function – than the simpler, chronologically linear videography style of yesteryears.

Sometime after the ceremony, most videographers upload their works in video sharing sites like Youtube or Vimeo. This online presence also serves different purposes for the different parties involved.

For the videographer, keeping an online repository of finished outputs is an effective marketing tool: it provides potential customers access to his body of work, and is an immediate and accessible feedback platform for what he does, what he has done, and what he still can do.

Wedding party. Image by © Matthias Ritzmann/Corbis.

For the wedded couple, web uploads make for easy sharing with loved ones and friends the world over, especially those who were not present during the actual ceremony.

For the broader online audience, the internet becomes a venue for them to view the intimate moments of strangers, share in their joy, or simply widen their appreciation for and perception of what wedding videography could be.

To conclude, modern wedding videography is both documentary and artistic. This newly invigorated branch of art is unique in that it zeroes in on both the universality and uniqueness of a particular couple’s wedding experience. This marriage of the personal and of the universal bridges instead of divides form and function, combining the best of both worlds to emerge on its own as a distinct and dynamic art form.

Works cited

 Beardsley, Monroe. “The Aesthetic Point of View.” Contextualizing Aesthetics: From Plato to Lyotard. Eds. Gene Blocker and Jennifer Jeffers. Canada: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999.

Cubitt, Sean. “Videography: The Helical Scan.” Videography: Video Media as Art and Culture. Hong Kong: Macmillan, 1993. Print.

Hansson, Sven Ove. “Aesthetic Functionalism.” Contemporary Aesthetics 3: n. pag. 17 Oct. 2005. Ann Arbor: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library. Print.

“Lasting Memories.” Cincinatti Wedding. Winter 2003: 168-169. Print.

Magbanua, Jason. Personal interview. 23 Mar. 2012.

Merfeld, Elizabeth Avery. “Meet the New Doc.” EventDV: the authority for event videographers 21.1-12 (2008): n.p. Print.

Slater, Barry Hartley. “Aesthetics.” Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy (2003): n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

Weiss, C.F.A. Notes of a Retired Wedding Videographer: From Proposal to Reception. Bloomington: Author House, 2006. Print.

###

Disclaimer: T’was submitted as a final requirement for Philosophy 181 (Aesthetics) under Prof. Perseville Mendoza.

Refresh meant

7 Feb

I tried accessing 9gag a couple of minutes ago, but the page was unresponsive.

Good job, universe – you did a fine job of keeping the time vortex at bay.

Now, F5 button, go do yours.

 

Once upon an internet post

16 Jan

Commenter 1: I really think they should get together.

Commenter 2: I second emotion!

 

GO ATE. Dami mong emotions to spare, eh.

Twittiquette, for better or for worse

21 Nov

1) When a celebrity asks a how-to question, a handful of their eager followers from all over the world responds with a solution. When someone else in your timeline asks the same thing, 1 or 2 of their friends will reply, and those who didn’t are probably thinking, “Just Google it.”

2) If you must use a hashtag, at least add to the pool of discussion. “[insert subject here] is trending” may be a legitimate reaction, but please don’t degrade other people’s intellect by assuming that they haven’t figured that out for themselves.

3) So you’re part of the 10% (Note: Percentage estimate may change depending on the economic climate, the film’s release date, roster of stars, Rotten Tomato rating, etc.) of the population who gets to watch a certain movie ahead of everyone else. Now do everyone else a favor and shrug off that cooler/richer/better-at-finding-quality-torrents-than-thou vibe by engaging your fellow 10-percenters in lively film critique in private.

4) You can hint at your frustrations through obscure-but-targeted tweets for as long or as often as you like, but there’s nothing like resolving issues the grown-up way, IRL.

5) Ditto for retweets.

Uhm, suuuure you do.

16 Oct

Lelz. I love Audrey Hepburn, but what gives?

Reel life shifts

25 Jul

Watching a movie used to mean planning days in advance, buying popcorn and a large soda, showing up 15 minutes before the screening to watch trailers (or sneaking in 15 minutes late) and watching the whole thing again if you liked it enough. It meant keeping your ten-year-old chin up and feeling so bad-ass after sneaking into a — le gasp! — PG-13 movie.

Ten years ago, films came in orbs called VCDs/DVDs. I discovered the convenience of subtitles and memorable movie quotes started accumulating in my head. The pause button on the player remote became my bladder’s new best friend. The additions to my collection through the years and the constant need for rigorous alphabetizing  ensured that the OC part of me would have a sufficient outlet.

Now, watching a movie means having my laptop plugged for x hours (and subsequently forgetting all about the charger), loading a torrent file on VLC, sliding on earphones and amping the volume to drown out Mother’s saxophone music CD playing in the same room. Then I pause so very often (deviation from expression intended), watch the movie’s trailer on youtube after seeing the opening credits,  and check my e-mail, facebook, twitter, etc. The result? Three hours after opening the file, I’m only 43:24 minutes into the movie.

Whoop-de-doo.

Twitty

15 Jul

Because sometimes, one letter makes all the difference.

In other newsss, congratch Fighting Maroons! UPKERIGOFIGHT o/*

Formspring and this function

24 Jun

 

A hard-hitting cause.

It’s fascinating how people utilize social media to advance their advocacies.