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Sneak Peek Trailer – Stephanie + Timothy

**SNEAK PEEK TRAILER** We are so excited to release the trailer for Stephanie and Timothy’s breathtaking wedding at The Springhill Pavilion. Huge props to the incredible @Katalin Green Events for putting together an amazing production, making our job easy and working with quite the team including Avant Floral, Lauren Brown Photography, Joe’s Mobile DJ Service, @Food For Thought http://vimeo.com/britneypaige/stephanietimothy

 

 

Montana Wedding Videographers

britneypaige.com

FILMED BY
Ben Sherman
Britney Higgs
Sammy Higgs

EDITED BY
Britney Higgs

PRODUCTION BY
Katalin Green Events
katalingreen.com/

FLORAL
Avant Floral
avantfloral.com/

VENUE
Springhill Pavillion
springhillpavilion.com/

PHOTOGRAPHER
Lauren Brown Photography
laurenbrownphoto.com/

CATERING
Food For Thought
foodforthoughtmt.com/

And So It Begins

These past couple weeks have been crazy, and I can only expect it to get crazier.  I just got back from Ethiopia doing some media work with Harvest Church.  If you want to see some photos, I will be slowly posting them to my personal website here.  Ever since I have got back, it has been go go go! I have to get all of the video and photos with this done, and also start going on all of our stuff with the business here. Brit and Ashly have been champs, and got a lot done, but I handle a lot of the techie stuff around here, so there is a lot for me to get caught up on. 2 weeks doesn’t seem like a long trip for me, but coming back to 2 weeks off can get to you quick. We are going to be some busy bees around here. We have so many new and exciting opportunities, but with that comes a lot of work. On top of this, Wedding season starts this weekend for us too. We are excited to start getting more work, but we have to be careful in how we manage this. With all the hoopla going on, we have to stay focused, set a schedule every morning, and stick to it.  Obviously, we have to stop for a while, and play some Dr. Mario to refresh us :)

We are about to roll out with some new and exciting features to our business, and I cant wait to start showing everyone this.  It is really fun being able to try and change our market around here in terms of video, and we hope that everyone is as excited as we are.  Its going to be busy for all of us, but its going to be a good summer.

Cheers!

Britney Paige Cinematographers

ben@britneypaige.com
www.britneypaige.com
www.benshermanphoto.com
Co-Owner/Cinematographer
406.672.4907

Just another Wedding Video?

Quick question.  “Wedding video?” What are the first 3 words that you think of when you hear these words?    Let me guess that most of you probably think of boring, lifeless, mundane, long, uninteresting, and monotonous.  You probably think of your Grandma, or your Uncle Bob in the back of their church with their nifty new camcorder from the 80s. Horrible audio, dull picture, half the time, nothing is in focus, or the camera is pointed at something random, like a tree. Or a cat. The video I dont blame you, but IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

There are many new options out there that you can choose.  I am not saying that our wedding videography is right for everyone. Heck, there are plenty of other people that you can get your video done from, and I am sure that it will be nice.  With video though, you get what you pay for, because it takes so much work to get the footage, compile it, and then edit it into your true love story. Something that you, your family and friends, can watch forever, and never get bored.  It is one of the most important days of your life.

I wont lie, running a wedding videography business in Montana is hard. (btw, we like to say cinematography or cinema instead of videography, becuase this is no ordinary video. It is a feature film of your day!) The reason it is so hard, is that many people dont completely understand what it is that we do.  They think of everything that I previously mentioned above. A lame and dull version of your day, that no one will ever watch.  We WANT to change this, because we know how special of a day this is for you.  You deserve it! This is just a small snapshot of what your day could be :)

SARA + MIKE – Moonlight Basin (Big Sky Winter Wedding) | Montana Wedding Videographers from Britney Paige Films on Vimeo.

Montana is a great place for a wedding. Filled with gorgeous scenery and some of the best people out there.  It really is one of the best places on earth.  Whether it is a destination wedding, or you are a local, you dont want to miss a beat.  We don’t ever want to replace photography though. Photography is our first love, but we are not just an addition to this. We supply different niches are are both completely different things that you need for your perfect day.

We have invested in some of the best technology available, from our cameras and lenses, to our brand new tool, a mini helicopter, so that we can get the best shots of your day, from 1000 feet in the air!  We have state of the art audio equipment to capture your story the way it happens right away, and a crew of at least 3 people to make sure that we never miss a moment. All of this perfectly edited together with audio from the day, and licensed music that we spend hours finding to match who YOU are! How neat is that?

We are Britney Paige Cinematographers, and we are wedding videographers for the fearless bride!  Please contact us here, so that we can setup a meeting with you. We cant wait to hear how you met :)

Britney Paige Cinematographers

ben@britneypaige.com
www.britneypaige.com
www.benshermanphoto.com
Co-Owner/Cinematographer
406.672.4907

 

Sometimes it’s a good day to die, and sometimes it’s a good day to have breakfast!

I hope that you all had a happy Easter weekend. I know I sure did.  Its always good to just be mindful, and enjoy what we have been blessed with!

The title of this post is from one of my favorite movies of all time, Smoke Signals.  If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this post, and go get it now! Do it. You wont regret it! I’ll wait…Heck, you can watch it here if you want!

smoke signals

smoke signals

Ok, If you have seen it, please keep reading, because this post has nothing to do with that movie at all, except that I made an awesome breakfast this morning, and there is a foodie pic below for your enjoyment and jealousy!

Ok, so this isn’t part of my normal techy blog posts, but I feel that its good to just sit down and write every once and a while. So I guess its that time right now.  (Who would have ever thought that I would want to sit down and write?  Eww…) Forgive me now if this jumps all over the place

Today is a bit of a weird day for me.  I am feeling a bit overly positive today, which definitely is not my style :)  I will have to make sure that Britney doesn’t find this out!  Fortunately, I have a bit of time before she gets in today.

I went to bed last night at 10pm, which is probably 3 hours earlier than normal.  Then I woke up at 5am. Had a killer workout at 6, and made a bomb Easter leftover breakfast, consisting of ham, eggs, potatoes, and a yummy mixed bean salsa on top.  Such a great way to start out the week and feeling energized.

Eggs, Ham, potatoes, and some Texan caviar!

Eggs, Ham, potatoes, and some Texan caviar!

Like how my only photo on this post, which is on a wedding blog, is of breakfast?  Typical me and my food :D  But sometimes it is just a good day to have breakfast!

Enough of all of that mumbo jumbo, and on to the topic at hand.  Staying focused, getting energized, and staying in the moment. Being mindful, and really appreciating what we get to do here at BPC, and enjoying what I get do.  Heck, I am 25 and co own a business. How cool is that?

We get to film weddings of amazing couples, shoot commercials, and just have fun doing it. Not many people can say that!  Not at my age.  Who knows where we go from here, but there is potential to do some great things!  We have some cool ideas, and I hope that we get that chance to see them happen.

Lately, I have been spending so much time in the office though, and it is easy to justify, since we are still getting up and running and the weather has been horrible, but now that the weather is getting nice again (I know that i probably just jinxed us for eternity here, but this weekend was so nice), its going to be hard to always sit in an office chair. Nor do I want to spend my life editing away all the time. There is to much in life to be glued to a screen.  The bad news, is that this business also requires me to do so. I love technology, and fiddling with new software and ideas, but I need to take myself out of this sometimes, and just sit down and relax.

Its easy to get lost on the computer, on Facebook and other social media, editing, and forgetting that I can take a moment and enjoy life.  Getting rid of FB was a great start, but now I just focus on finding other things to waste time on.  Its a vicious online circle that is hard to break, but I have seen the results of getting rid of this.  It leads to a more authentic life. One where I feel that I can ask more questions, and stay in a conversation, because I don’t already know the answer.

Our office is conveniently located on one of the best streets in downtown Billings. Its a great place to just go for a stroll, grab my happy hour beer at the Brew Pub, and really see the community in action.   Even if its for 15 minutes, I believe that I am going to need to force myself to get up, and enjoy my surrounding. Go on a photography hunt, and capture the moment.  Really take in what is happening in my life, and be mindful, that we are living a blessed life worth enjoying.

So here is to the beginning of the season with slightly better weather, family, friends, love, peace, music, travel, being mindful, and good beer. Never forget my beer (especially homebrew!)  Oh, and Taylor Swift. Lana Del Rey, and John Mayer!

Cheers!

Britney Paige Cinematographers

ben@britneypaige.com
www.britneypaige.com
www.benshermanphoto.com
Co-Owner/Cinematographer
406.672.4907

 

Pixifi: Staying Organized

A major challenge every business faces is staying organized. It takes a lot of organization to keep a business running smoothly. One of the tools we use that helps to streamline our business is Pixifi. This is a great tool that allows us to accomplish many tasks in the office in minutes, that could potentially take hours or days otherwise. It is also a great tool to help keep everyone on the team on the same page and organized in our day-to-day events and tasks. Although we have not mastered the entire program by any means, the tools we do use in our day-to-day operations are extremely useful. I would highly recommend getting a subscription to this online program to help organize any studio. It helps us keep all of our important documents safe and in one place. It allows us to send and receive contracts, invoices, payments, and questionnaires. And it helps us keep track of our daily schedule, tasks, and even our finances. All of this, all in one place.

Like I said, we have by no means mastered this program at Britney Paige Cinematography, but there are many tools that we have discovered and use every day. One of my favorites is the contact section. We categorize individuals from submitted contact sheets into leads and clients. You can also convert a lead into a committed client with just a click of a button. This keeps all of the information for all of clients and lead clients in one place ready to go. You can add any information you have from the client and even send them an email link to their own client portal account to update. The client portal then allows them to make any changes to their information and saves it for you on your Pixifi page. No more missing information, lost addresses, phone numbers, emails, misspelled names, EVER! Great right! This client portal system is also great for clients too. They are able to access any of the information you have sent them, from contracts to invoices, all in one place.

This brings me to another favorite tool, contacting clients. Once you have a client inputted, you have the option to send contracts, invoices, email reminders about events or payments, and even questionnaires to get more information. There are many more contact options, but these are the few we love to use. It only takes a few moments to create a contract or invoice to send. These are made using templates, and can even be made to automatically add names, and invoice totals into the contract. Clients can view these easily on their personal client portal. They can also sign contracts electronically, or make payments to invoices with a click of a button. This is a great tool and we can easily see who have made payments and see if anyone is past due.You can also see upcoming or past due payments on the built in calendar, another great tool to help organize your life. Pixifi will alert you of any other events on a new submission when adding a new client or event. You will never double book a day when using this tool.

Although we have started to use Pixifi on a daily basis, it has taken us a while to get to that point. It can seem like a pretty complex system, and has taken us a few days of messing around with it to discover some new features and truly understand its tools. And we continue to learn new things all the time. I think this is a great program however, so I would highly recommend it. If you aren’t super tech savvy, it has a great online support system and step-by-step demonstrations for many tools on the site. As I come across some new and exciting tools to use, I will post it on the blog and keep your updated!

Ashly

Destination Weddings

Montana can be an amazing place to get married. There is a wide array of venues for brides to choose from that all offer a unique experience at each destination. Whether you want a wedding with a big city feel or a laid back country wedding, Montana has a venue to fit almost anyone’s dream. From high end resorts, to country cottages, Montana offers many venues to suite many needs. Gleaming mountains, towering forests, and vast valleys, can offer amazing backdrops to any wedding. But some brides want to get away and are turning to destination weddings that offer an even more unique experience than a more traditional Montana wedding venue.

Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular with brides today. Stepping outside the borders of small Montana towns, and traveling to destination resorts can be rather exhilarating. Your wedding is a great excuse to travel and get away from your everyday lives. Traveling is one of the most amazing experiences to me. I love to see what new places have to offer, learn about the history, and even stop by a few tourist destinations while I am there. Although costs, such as plane tickets and hotel rooms, can get pricey, there are many ways to cut costs and have the wedding of your dreams in an amazing destination. If you are still undecided on whether or not you want to have a destination wedding, my advice would be to try to make your dream come true. Do your research first. Decide on your budget and try to find a way to make it happen. This will be the most memorable day of your life, and if you can make it happen, go for it!!

On another note, Britney Paige Cinematography loves to travel too! And we love to film destination weddings! Whether the destination is on a beach in Hawaii, in the Big Apple, or on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, we want to film your wedding! Check out our Pinterest page to see some of the destinations we want to film.

Micro Adjust your lenses

So I know that I was supped to write about our backup process this week.  I figured that I should write about how to micro adjust your lenses this week though, because I just spent the whole weekend doing this to our 4 camera bodies and 7 lenses.

If you have not heard of micro adjustmentment, the basic premise to it, is that all lenses and bodies, are relatively the same, but there is a very small margin of error for they connect to your camera. They may be front or back focusing more than you would want, which can throw off your photos. They should all be very close, but if your camera has the capability to micro adjust, you can really fine tune these to your camera.  This allows you to make sure that your lenses are as sharp as possible.

Note:  If you dont know what you are doing, I really recommend either buying a program, such as FoCal, which is made for doing this. Otherwise, there is a chance that your camera and lens combinations may be less sharp than you want.

This is really the best for photographers, as us filmmakers, normally use manual focus for everything that we do.  I cheat sometimes though, and turn on my autofocus, have the camera get me in focus, and then override that and go back to shooting manual.  I find this lets me get my scene in focus quickly in run and gun situations.

Ok, so on to micro adjusting your cameras. This is not a tutorial in any way, but a guide on what products that you can use.  I hope to just spread the light on the subject.  If you want to learn a lot more in detail, there are plenty of blogs that cover this subject.

Some people recommend setting up objects in a row or using a tape measure, and manually taking photos and adjusting your camera.  If you are confident with this technique, here is a little tutorial.  Personally, I have tried this myself, and was not confident in the results. I feel that there is to much margin of error setting up something like this.

There is a free piece of software out there called DotTune, which allows your camera to do this itself. I have not used this myself, but I have read good reviews on it.  If you dont mind installing 3rd party software on your camera, you can find this in the Magic Lantern build. There are some other really cool features in these programs too!  Check it out if you are looking for some exciting and free features!

If you have the time and patience to sit down and really take your time doing this, you can always go with products such as the Lens Align or a cheaper alternative like the Focus Pyramid.

These are great alternatives to the diy options above, but do take a lot of time, and they rely completely on you.  I dont always trust my own eye, so Im not completely comfortable allowing myself to make any errors. If you are very careful, and take your time though, these might help you come up with some of the best results that you can find. There is a very good article on how to use the Lens Align system here.

Last, but not least, is the program which I use, called FoCal.  This works by having you connect your camera to your computer, mac or windows, and it does the work for you!  You tape a target on a wall, and it goes through many different focus points, and micro adjusts your camera for you!  I found that this works best with our cheaper lenses, but it worked well for our expensive L series lenses too!  Here is an example of how out of focus some of our lenses were. You can see the before and after images that this program shows you, to make sure that its settings are correct:

micro adjust

micro adjust

micro adjust

micro adjust

These are just a couple of the more drastic results that I was able to get out of doing this. I have yet to do any real image testing, but if all goes well, our images should be even more tack sharp!

I hope that this gives you some insight on how to micro adjust your lenses. If you need any help going in the right direction, please dont hesitate to ask.

Cheers

Britney Paige Cinematographers

ben@britneypaige.com
www.britneypaige.com
www.benshermanphoto.com
Co-Owner/Cinematographer
406.672.4907

Happy Friday

It should be illegal to get up before sunrise.

I can count on my hands how many times I have been up that early.Today was one of them. There are only a couple things worth getting up that early for… Fellowship and coffee. Both of which I had planned for this morning. So, I drug myself out of bed and headed down to the local City Brew to meet a friend at 6:15 this morning. Torture, yes, but well worth it. After our meeting and being completely hyped up on caffeine, I decided instead of heading home to crawl back in bed for a couple of hours before work, I would just head straight to the office and get a few things done. I cleaned, organized, did a little editing all by 8:15. Come to find out, it’s actually quite boring at the office early in the morning.. All by myself. So, obviously.. I had to keep myself entertained… Check it.

Happy Friday Everyone.

 

Montana Wedding Venues

There are some amazing Montana wedding venues and brides are taking notice. Whether you want a wedding with a big city feel or a laid back country wedding, Montana has you covered. With a wide array of venues, brides can find the exact venue that fits their vision. From high end resorts to country cottages, everyone can a find a venue in Montana that suites their dreams.

We are getting excited for this upcoming wedding season and want to highlight a few of the awesome venues we will be shooting. These weddings will be very fun and we cant wait to capture our clients’ big day!

320 Guest Ranch is located in beautiful Big Sky, Montana in the Rocky Mountains. If you want a venue with breathtaking views, this is a great venue to choose. Historic ranch settings and luxury log cabin accommodations make this venue unique.

Springhill Pavilion is located just outside Bozeman, MT, and is known for its breathtaking views. Nestled at the base of Ross Peak and the Bridger Mountain Range, you can only imagine the stunning backdrop that awaits every wedding. With sweeping views of the Gallatin Valley and gorgeous mountain peaks, this is an amazing place to say “I do”.

Rock Creek Resort is a great mountain wedding destination. The Beartooth Mountains set an amazing backdrop to this destination and as the name entails, is nestled along Rock Creek. With many outdoor and indoor location options, and space for up to 300 guests, this can be an amazing venue to invite the whole family.

Montana Bride is a great resource to help you find even more venues. There is a great list that has been created on the site that will link you directly to those venues websites. It is also a great resource for any other wedding question you may have.

If you know of any other amazing venues, whether they are in Montana or not, we would love to hear about it! We love discovering new places to capture memories and love traveling to great destination venues. Future brides, where is your dream venue? Photographers and cinematographers, what are your most memorable wedding venues?

Ashly

BACK IT UP! What hard drive to use

Storing your images and videos might be one of the most important things that you can do in your business, but it is one thing that I feel most people do not invest much into.  In the world of photography or video, if you don’t back up your work, you are liable to lose it all, which could essentially create an awkward situation if your client comes back to ask you for it.

I feel like i have tried almost everything out there on the market. Not backing up (bad choice), having a single harddrive, having multiple harddrives, multiple harddrives without an enclosure and a docking bay, and a network.  There are pros and cons to all of these, and I will try to touch on all of them. Please let me know if you want me to go into more detail into these.

This is a blog on what equipment we use to back up, and not how we backup our work. If you are interested in that, I will probably be writing a post on that soon!

We have no affiliation with any of the companies below. These are all personal preference of what I have found over the years. I do prefer Western Digital and Seagate hard drives over others, but that is all personal preference. You are free to try and use what works best for you.

The first choice, and the one that I do not recommend, is that some people will store all of there work on their computer. This is a disaster waiting to happen. The moment your computer crashes, you can lose everything in an instant.  Im not going to go into anymore  detail with this, because I feel this one is common sense.

The next option, and probably the cheapest thing that people do, is get a portable hard drive or desktop hard drive, like the ones below.

With the price of technology these days, the price per gigabyte of these harddrives are plummeting, making storing your work a lot cheaper. This does go with some problems though.  Each of these are great to have, but in order to completely backup your files, you need to get at least two of these hard drives that are the same size, and clone one to the other.

I enjoy having the small portable hard drives, but you do need to be more careful with these, as they are not meant to be moved around to much, unless they are Solid State (SSD) drives.

Another option is to go with a hard drive such as the one below to the left. This is a WD My Book Duo. Another popular option like this is the G Drive.

The great thing about this type of hard drive it allows you to configure the hard drive in a RAID format.  If you do not know about RAID, I would consider reading the link above. This simultaneously allows the hard drive to copy the files to a second drive within the enclosure, allowing it to be stored on two separate drives, in the event that one fails.  This is also valuable, so that you can move these around with you. If you have one drive at your office, you can bring this RAID drive back with you, so that you have backups in multiple locations!

We were OK with using these drives for a long time, but the time came that we needed to work on a lot of projects at the same time, and we couldn’t store everything on one drive, since we have more than one editor. We tried to keep costs as low as possible, so we went with the bare desktop drives below, and used a hard drive dock. This saved us a lot of time, but we found out that we were not a fan of the separate harddrive bays. We ended up using this Newer Technology Drive Dock. At first, we thought this was a great idea, as we had the fast speed of Firewire 800, as well as the option to swap drives quickly, so that we can access drives quickly. We were also able to use this to have archive drives that we could store in a safe, but sadly, these drives started failing. in total, we had 3 crashed harddrives, and I have countless sleepless nights having to recover everything from them. I can not recommend this, because it has caused us such a headache. Fortunately, no data was lost, and we had it backed up in other areas.

The great option about using bare drives, is that it really frees you to choose what you are using to store your work on.  We primarily use WD Blue and Green drives, as they are cheaper.  Many people in the tech world recommend using the Red or Black Drives for better performance.  I have not had any problems with these other drives for now. If we were to move into cameras with higher resolution, such as uncompressed raw footage from the RED or Black Magic cameras, we would probably be forced to go with faster drives. With DSLRs, we find these provide great performance for the cost.

This leads us to our final experiment into the best drives types.  We have recently invested into a Drobo 5N. The Drobo series is a great system, and allows you to drop up to 5 hard drives into the bay. You have the option to have these in RAID system too, so that you can backup massive amounts of data!  We opted for the 5N over the other options that Drobo has as this allows us to network all 3 of our office computers. The box on top of the Drobo is a Netgear 5 port ethernet switch.  This allows me to hook up all 3 computers, as well as an additional two, if I need it.  There are some workarounds that I have had to create and search for in online forums to get this to properly work with FCPX, but for the most part, I find that this is the best situation out there.  We can have everything backed up in one place, and if we need to, we can also backup one of these to another external hard drive, so that we can keep this elsewhere.

If you are editing alone, and do not need the networking capabilities i would recommend going with the Drobo 5D as this allows you to use thunderbolt and firewire capabilities. I know that Drobo has also come out with some more portable options that use SSD drives, and a smaller 4 bay drive. There are all great options, depending on what you need.

I hope that this information helps you see the different options that there are, that we have tried. There is always going to be other options, and some may work better than others. These are what we have used, and what we can recommend. This should be a good starter to help you start backing up properly!  Please let me know if you have any questions on this blog, or any questions for another blog that I can write!

Cheers.

Britney Paige Cinematographers

ben@britneypaige.com
www.britneypaige.com
www.benshermanphoto.com
Co-Owner/Cinematographer
406.672.4907