Filming a Wedding in Cyprus
Well, I've just returned from filming an incredible wedding in Pafos, Cyprus. In the rather short amount of time Rowe Films has been officially up and running, my new venture has already taken me as far as Cyprus, and what a time I had!
One of my closest friends invited myself and my partner as guests to the wedding, but after seeing my work, he asked me if I could find a way to get my equipment out there to film the wedding. Needless to say I jumped at the chance of not only attending a friend's wedding in a beautiful country overseas with a great bunch of people, but also for a taste of destination videography and a 'working' holiday. It truly was a fantastic experience, and I even enjoyed filming in 32 degrees (I'm usually too hot in 15).
After many hours of research I was slightly apprehensive about the prospect of carrying thousands of pounds worth of equipment onto an international flight. All the expensive bits were carried on, split in hand luggage between me and my (extremely understanding) other half. The subject of carrying a drone, DSLR cameras, lenses, chargers, audio recorders, an iPad, multi-tools, tripods, a steady cam, and most specifically several Lithium Ion batteries onto a commercial flight really is a bit of a minefield, and understandably so.
We flew in on the Wednesday, two days before the wedding. I travelled with the minimum amount of equipment that I could get away with to shoot a wedding. Even so, my partner had to sacrifice carrying on her handbag in exchange for two rather weighty Canon DSLR cameras, four lenses, an audio recorder, three chargers and several batteries, which she was really pleased about...
Despite my concerns, Bristol airport were fantastic - myself, my partner, and my equipment, all made it to Pafos in one piece. I followed official regulations, airline guidelines, as well as advice from other destination videographers, and the trip was subsequently all but hassle free.
This was my first visit to Cyprus and I can absolutely see why it is such a popular tourist destination. The weather is hot, food is fantastic, and the people are incredibly friendly. That's without mentioning beaches, crystal clear water, and skies that are to die for. Our transfer driver was absolutely nuts, but very passionate about her home and spoke for 15 minutes, only stopping to breathe, about what we should do and where we should go. She was fantastic, so we instantly booked her for the ride back to the airport in a few days. After finding our hotel at approximately 10.30pm local time and quite literally dropping our bags, we took the opportunity to meet some friends who were out and about, and tried out a few of the local cocktail bars. Why not? The following day, the day before the wedding, we met the lucky couple to check out the wedding venue, go over plans, timings, and have a general catch up. The wedding was held at the stunning Almyra Hotel. It's a truly beautiful hotel, located right on the beach. I took the opportunity to get the drone up to shoot some footage of the hotel from the sky. My first drone flight overseas - done!
The day of the wedding arrived and the ceremony was scheduled for 4pm (It's far too hot to get married in Cyprus before then). We arrived at the hotel around 2pm and I proceeded to grab some shots of the venue, bridal prep, and as the lads were also getting ready elsewhere in the hotel, I even managed to get some groom and groomsmen prep too. By prep, I mean buttoning shirts and swigging cold beers! After a slight delay due to a missing registrar, the ceremony went ahead perfectly and it was genuinely out of this world. What a stunning place to get married. In truth, filming conditions were challenging due to it still being extremely hot (32 degrees), lots of glare from the sun casting harsh shadows and making people squint, and on top of that a high wind too which made capturing audio very challenging. Videography conditions were not perfect, but it really did not matter. The ceremony took place on a large glass sided platform, overlooking palm trees and crystal clear seas. Just perfect. The rest of the day flew by, with drinks under a veranda and a superb meal. Without a doubt the highlight of the day from a videographer's perspective was grabbing the bride and groom for 15 minutes by the sea, to catch the last of 'The Golden Hour' and the sun going down below the horizon. I cannot quite describe the light down there - just wait until you see the footage! The speeches were done, cake cut, and first dance shot. I took one last opportunity to grab some drone shots over the empty lit up swimming pool, and packed my gear away. Job done. As our hotel was a 5 minute walk from the wedding hotel, we took my gear back to the room, freshened up, then rejoined the party. At some point in the early hours of the morning we got back to our hotel room and crashed.
As our flight home was not until the Monday, we had a couple of days to chill and enjoy ourselves, which was amazing. I had one last videographer's treat, when the groom and bride's step father took jet skis out into the bay. How could I resist putting the drone up and getting some mental action shots? The resulting footage genuinely looks like something from a Bond film!
All in all it was a fantastic trip. I had fun with a great bunch of people, my wonderful girlfriend, some of my closest friends, and as an added bonus got a taste for filming weddings abroad. I learnt a huge amount from this trip - what I need to do to get my equipment overseas, what assistance I need, a few tweaks to the equipment that I carry with me, and what it feels like to shoot all day with heavy cameras, whilst running around under the intense Cypriot sun. It was an extremely valuable experience - now I know I can do it! The trip was well worth it, and I cannot wait to show my good friend and his new wife their completed wedding film. It really is going to be very special!
I'm now very much looking forward to the next time I get the opportunity to do what I love in a new and exciting place. Bring me that horizon!