ONE HEART FILMS

Toronto wedding videographer

Love in All Colours / Happy Pride

Christian PetersonComment

This morning, I was reading NOW Magazine's coverage of Pride and it struck me that, while I have always been open about my own support of the LGBTQ community, I had never publicly spoken about One Heart Films' views on this matter.

OHF is firmly in support of LGBTQ rights, from freedom of speech to washroom access, from protection from police brutality and systemic marginalization, to the right to equal marriage rights for all.

Dear LGBTQ neighbours, I want to keep this post short because this weekend is not about me or about us, but about you. I want you to know that while we haven't really worked together yet, we are in your corner, and you can count on us to be allies and friends. Happy Pride!

Truly yours,

Christian Peterson
Creative Director
One Heart Films

 

My wife’s the reason anything gets done.
She nudges me towards promise by degrees.
She is a perfect symphony of one.
Our son is her most beautiful reprise.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play.
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers,
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story.
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda

Friends Friday: Ferré Sposa bridal boutique

Friends FridaysStirling MylesComment
Ferré Sposa Bridal Boutique
Wedding Dress at Ferré Sposa

The dress a bride chooses to wear as she walks down the wedding aisle says a lot about her as a unique individual. So many styles, so many gowns, so many ways for brides to express themselves! That’s why it’s always best visiting stores where shopkeepers really value the decision-making process, not just the process.

Our friend Jennifer Dang is that kind of shopkeeper. Both Toronto bridal boutiques, Ferré Sposa and Elizabeth & Beau, are stores she's involved in that promote a culture of positivity, with dress consultants that provide pressure-free support; because buying a dress doesn’t have to be stressful.

We caught up with Jennifer to talk about some different ways brides can put their own unique twist on their wedding outfits so that their personality shines through on their big day, no matter what they’re wearing.

Jennifer Dang at Ferré Sposa

STYLE /  The traditional white wedding dress is by far the most popular choice for brides, but it’s not the only choice. As a buyer, you see a lot of different designs on bridal runways and in magazines. What are your thoughts on the spectrum of more creative or alternative choices for bridal wear?

JH: I like to label myself as a modern/traditional bride consultant. I do a combination of traditional looks, because ultimately when people are getting married, it’s their first time. Unlike someone who might be in the industry, they might not be as daring. However, because they’re into fashion and style, they might want to do something a little different. A little tradition with a touch of modern. I look for something modern and useful when I work with brides.

PROCESS /  When a bride comes into on of your shops, where do they start? How do you and your team help them start the process of looking for their wedding dress? Every bride is so unique, from her tastes to her personality. In what ways can you help a bride choose a wedding dress that best reflects her?

JH: A lot of people come in asking “what do you think works for me based off my body type?” I’m actually trained not to go off body type. Ultimately if you’re able to rock a look, that’s all that matters. So whatever the bride is comfortable with based off her personality is the most important thing. I figure out more who the bride is to give them more of an opportunity to look like themselves. Although they may not know what to choose, I start to pick up what they’re selecting and start making mental notes. If they’re picking something more simple, or extravagant, I start to go with the process of talking them through what they like and don’t like. I formulate a look that suits their personality. It has very little to do with their body type.

Ultimately, I showcase what brides are comfortable with. I find what they feel good in and hone in from there. Once I start to narrow down, it makes it a lot easier to pick the right wedding dress.

Wedding dresses at Ferré Sposa

TIPS & TRICKS / Being wedding filmmakers in Toronto, we see many original looks and know that anything is possible, but a lot of brides don’t always realize that there are other choices beyond the dress that can really make a difference in their bridal look. From shoes to jewellery, headpieces to clutches, there’s a ton of ways to express their individuality. Do you have any tips and tricks for brides in terms of accessorizing, whether it be through purchasing, renting, or even DYI-ing?

JH: When I shop for wedding gowns, I always tell brides “don’t take at face value.” That means that whatever brides see on the rack, they can still modify. So let’s say they’re looking for a long sleeve dress, or they’re looking for something with straps, they’ll tend to look at dresses that already have straps or long sleeves. This is very limiting because what’s been working for years is strapless gowns. So using a broader canvas, and finding something based on the silhouette and adding in accessories will allow them a variety of selection. They don't have to look at the five dresses that have spaghetti straps or long sleeves. They can look at the other 20 gowns that are in the selection of the silhouette, and if the budget allows, adding those accessories. That’s the first thing brides can think of.

The next thing is that once they’ve purchased their gown and want to add more personality to it, they can get really creative in how they shop. One great tip is that you can look at hair pieces to be added as a belt for a very unique look, it might be more of a dainty hairpiece. So that’s a really creative way to save money. Hair pieces tend to be cheaper than belts.

I also find that a lot of brides take an opportunity in their shoes to bring them personality. Your shoes don’t actually show that much when you’re walking, but it’s in your detailed shots that gives some personality. I actually have a bride that had taken pieces of her moms wedding dress and asked us to incorporate it. It’s all about creativity. It might be as simple as taking the lace of your moms wedding gown and incorporating it into your own lace. Or taking and adding buttons to your gown. There’s lot of ways to have that homage to your mom. I think that’s a really cool, fun detail. I think it’s in thinking about what’s important to you. I always tell people that whether it’s your wedding gown or your wedding day in general, it’s bringing a piece of who you are in your wedding day style that’s a really nice touch for everyone to see.

Wedding dresses at Ferré Sposa

WILD CARD / You do a lot of traveling! Have you picked up any cool wedding traditions, customs or unique looks that you loved along the way? Anything out of the box that might inspire our Toronto brides?

JH: Bring your personality. I get so many couples that are mixed from different cultures. I love when they take the opportunity to allow their guests to experience the combination of the two cultures. It’s super unique to Toronto. It’s a beautiful thing. What a lot of these brides like to do is incorporate their culture so they have their roots in their wedding. It doesn’t have to be a huge part of the ceremony, but partaking in small traditions are a fun and meaningful way to have something that is a part of who they are so the guests can experience that.

Last year a southeast Asian bride I worked with wanted to wear a wedding gown. Typically, she would have worn a sari that is mid-drift and can be a ballgown, or a slim dress with a scarf over top. I found a gown that looked similar to that: it was a t-shirt lace-top that was cropped... and it was a ballgown. I think she had incorporated a scarf afterwards. It was such a beautiful mix of the western and southeastern cultures. As a consultant, I love being a part of that mixing process.

Suzanne + Alan / Graydon Hall Wedding Film

Christian PetersonComment

When Suzanne and Alan reached out to us to craft their beautiful Graydon Hall Wedding Film, we knew instantly they were not your average couple. Suzanne told us that her vision for the day was to keep it beautiful but simple: things would start in the afternoon rather than early morning, the menu would consist of hors-d'oeuvres only, with no formal dinner, speeches would be given in a cocktail hour setting, and then we'd be done. Wait, what? A half day... without a reception or a party?

Suze and Alan's plan was simple: a quick but lovely wedding day and, in the evening, a friends-only night of partying. At first, we were worried. With such a short wedding, we felt there wouldn't be enough footage for the film. A few discussions took place around whether or not we should tag along to Suze and Alan's evening party (at a lovely bar downtown), but the couple decided to keep things intimate. Ultimately, we really appreciated their desire for a more private celebration. We came to shoot the daytime portion of the festivities only, and got to witness so many industry superstar friends walk down the aisle alongside Suze.

At the end of the day, as you can see in their Highlights Film, Suzanne and Alan's wedding was action-packed and full of emotion. In the span of a few hours, everything from ecstatic moments of waiting to uncontrollable tears and laughter, was shared and captured on film.
We love when couples hold true to their vision because at the end of the day, it's not about the photos or the film, it's about you. When you let your wedding unfold the way you imagined it, even it means a little pushback from your family or your vendors, you'll enjoy it so much more.
Here's to Suzanne and Alan. We wish you to live your married life the same way you breezed through your wedding: with joy, in love, and on your own terms!

Wedding Planner : Love Kristine Events
Bridal Gown : Truvelle
Bridal Shop : Sash & Bustle Boutique
Groom Suit : Topman
Photographer : When He Found Her
Hair : Suzie Kim Bridal Hair
Make up : Aglowbyjoan Makeup and Hair Artist
Hair + Make up : Windy Chiu Make-up + Hair
Florals : Secrets Floral Collection
Venue : Graydon Hall Manor

If you loved the film, check out some of the best moments of the day in the slideshow below.

'All That Shines' Berkeley Bicycle Club Wedding Film (Editorial)

Styled ShootsChristian Peterson1 Comment

What makes a wedding unique? How does one express individuality when planning, confronted with the task of choosing from a myriad of bridal gowns, seemingly identical wedding venues, or too-similar, overly ornate plate options?

In 'All That Shines', an editorial collaboration with event planner Jessica Hoang from Bisous Events and photographer Alyssa Wodabek that was recently featured in Australia's Hello May Magazine, we tried to create a bridal editorial film that, while showing what a Berkeley Bicycle Club wedding might look like, would reflect our personal preference for simplicity in all things wedding-related. (In that, Jess is very much a kindred spirit!)

Building on the venue's inherent qualities, such as beautiful wood panelling (and a magnificent alcove), gorgeous stained glass windows, and spacious rooms, we invited our models Alyssa & Justin to connect intimately but softly, to make themselves comfortable in those nooks of rainy-day light, to inhabit those moments of quiet contentment. Thus, we kept the motion simple, allowing them to simply 'be'. The resulting film is meant to inspire brides and grooms seeking a sense of respite in their wedding. Be it at dinner, hands intertwined as they listen in awe or in more abstract spaces, alone or together, we made everything about pace and soft breaths, withholding any kissing to focus on how the way he looks at her - and how she looks back at him - carries so much weight, so much truth, so much love.

With a dedicated team of Toronto wedding vendors crafting every detail of this bridal editorial, whose working title was 'Copper and Linen', we had the opportunity to create a collective vision that included a stunning gown from Maureen Patricia Bridal and a veil from Posh Veils, set into a beautiful hairstyle created by Puzzle Creations and accented by a sparkly headpiece by The Loved One. Our bride Alyssa, whose makeup was done by The Look Bridal, elegantly handled flowers provided by Ashley Elaine.

Meanwhile, our groom Justin was clad in an Indochino suit, accessorized by Tytan Ties accents (custom tie & pocket square).

Table-wise, Plate Occasions made magic happen, while stationery was designed by Castlefield Design Co. and Crumb & Berry provided us with succulent, delicate cakes.

We hope you enjoy watching 'All That Shines' as much as we enjoyed making it. Here's to the simple things in life.

Wedding Filmmaker's Planning Tips: The Morning

Christian Peterson2 Comments

With wedding season fast approaching, I thought I'd share some of my top wedding videographer 'planning' tips to help make your film - and your day - amazing. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will also include tips for all parts of the day, but for now, I'll be focusing on the morning routines. I'll go over: 1) choosing a well-lit room; 2) preparing details ahead of time; 3) keeping things tidy; 4) making sound choices, and; 5) why love letters are awesome. Let's get started! 

Tip #1: Go where the sun is

I can't tell you how many times I arrive at a couple's gorgeous home, so excited about what the getting ready images will look like, only to find out that the makeup and hair stations have been set up in the basement. This. Breaks. My. Heart. With many modern, candid style imagemakers, having well-lit rooms is key because it allows us to focus on emotion and interaction, the things that matter.

Let's get (slightly) technical for a moment: because of their relative light temperatures, overhead 'tungsten' lights, chandeliers, lamps, etc. in rooms that also have windows will create an unpleasant orange color cast (since daylight is 'bluer'); on the other hand, neons / fluorescents (often found in basements) generally yield unflattering greener skin tones. Meanwhile, sunlight is beautiful and complex, allowing me to render skin tones faithfully and explore the complexity of shadows for enhanced visual effect. It creates catchlights when you look out a window, and beautiful silhouettes when you stand in front of it. Sunlight, as far as imagemakers are concerned, is almost always the best option.

So, take some time to think about where your getting ready will happen: pick a big, bright room and re-arrange furniture a bit beforehand if necessary. It'll make a huge difference in your images.

Tip #2: Prepare the details

The day before the wedding, move all of the details you want your photographer and cinematographer to capture (earrings, invitation suites, shoes, perfume bottle, veil, dress, etc.) in one area of the house or hotel room. That way, when the imagemakers arrive in the morning, everything is ready and you know nothing will be forgotten. I also recommend leaving the rings with the girls in the morning as the lead imagemakers tend to be with the bride at the start of the day.

Tip #3: Keep things tidy

While I discussed the importance of big, bright rooms earlier, it's important to keep in mind that a well-lit mess... will still look like a mess! So when the day rolls by and you and your bridal party get done up in the morning (or play video or drinking games for the boys), make sure to keep things under control. As a group, try to ensure that leftover food, drinks, clothes, accessories, etc. aren't left all over the space where your imagemakers are working to create candid portraiture. With a clean room, we can shoot 360 degrees without having to selectively avoid corners that we may otherwise have used creatively in composing your images.

Tip #4: Sound matters (kill the music)

I know: this tip doesn't sound fun. But following it can have a huge impact on your wedding film. Why do I recommend turning off the music? Because it will allow you (and me) to focus on the conversations and the people around you.

I love the morning routines, largely because it's such a great opportunity to get to know your friends and family. It isn't just about recording you as you move through the motions, but also about talking and listening. If you do want music, by all means; but please consider, at the very least, turning it off for the moment you slip into your dress, or say a prayer together, or give or receive a gift, etc.

The music playing in the background might not seem like it matters in the moment, but once I start stitching the pieces together, having one verse of a song back to back with another from a completely different one is distracting. One of the big advantages of wedding films is their ability to bring you into the moment. And you know where that starts? With the sound of the doorbell ringing, your dog barking at friends arriving, their voices as they see you for the first time, the contagious energy of honest laughter. If an image is worth a thousand words, then an image along with words is a thousand and one. Sometimes, it's that 'one' that turns simple beauty into pure magic.

TIp #5: Write a letter (for someone) that matters

There are few things sweeter than reading a card from your future spouse in the morning. Those words, a reflection on the past or an enthusiastic look at the future, give perspective to the day to come. Card receiving and reading moments allow you to stop in the midst of all the action. While you certainly shouldn't feel forced to read your letters on camera, know that they are the backbone of many of my favourite edits. Why? Because in making your wedding film 'about you', those genuine, private words to each other are my go-to building block to shape emotion and rhythm with.

And if you don't think you can read his/her letter (some people know ahead of time they likely can't contain the tears), consider writing to your bridesmaids. They'll really appreciate it, trust me.

That's it for my wedding morning tips.

Do you have anything you did or plan on doing to make things run smoother on the day of? How have or will you create moments of magic on your wedding day? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Paola + Oliver / Fairmont Royal York Toronto + Regency Palace Calgary Wedding

Christian PetersonComment

Every now and then, a couple comes along that you know is as excited to work with you as much as you're excited to work with them. Paola and Oliver were, from the start one of those couples.

Laid back and united, they immediately gave me an impression of knowing where they stood on most issues as they organized the details of our collaboration from their home in Calgary. I was to shoot their big day here in Toronto, where Paola's family is from, and then head over to Calgary the following week to shoot the reception they would hold there for Oliver's relatives, and for their friends. I'd never been to Calgary before, so that was exciting.

And so a few weeks ago the adventure began, with me meeting Paola, her sisters and family at their home in Etobicoke, while my second shooter Andrew went over to meet the boys at the Fairmont Royal York Toronto, where their Toronto wedding reception would take place later that day. In a few hours with Paola and her gang, everything fell into place as I got comfortable with everyone and she got ready for the big moment. Everything went smoothly, including collaborating with the incredible Lisa Mark, a photographer with whom I had common friends, but had never worked with. We worked so well as a team, helping each other throughout the day, which is incredible given how hard it is to actually stay out of each others' way on a big wedding day like Paola & Oliver's. But Lisa and her team were incredible wedding photographers to work with [insert approval stamp sound here ;) ].

Then it was off to St. Basil's Church on the University of Toronto campus. I had never been there before, so I was absolutely in awe, being an architecture aficionado, when I saw the incredible ceiling of the church, and the incredibly photographer and cinematographer-friendly light and layout of the space. It would be so easy to shoot there. And it was. And so over a beautiful, flawless ceremony for which they actually walked in together (that was a first for me, and I liked it!), Paola and Oliver officially became Mr. and Mrs. H.

By the time they became official, we already knew their bridal party pretty well, so the photo shoot at Osgoode Hall went by in a breeze and in good spirits. We pitted the boys and girls against each other in a walk-off (the boys won, by the way), and captured many laughs and smiles before splitting from the party and bringing P & O to one of TO's quintessential landmarks: Nathan Phillips Square, just in front of the Toronto City Hall. I guess Lisa and I figured we might show the good people of Calgary what the Toronto weddings scene (ry) is all about too! ;)

Last stop for their Toronto Wedding: the Fairmont Royal York. Wow! I've shot in lots of beautiful spaces in the city (including many at this same hotel), but the moment I walked into the ballroom where their party was to be held, I was amazed: it was so richly decorated, and what gorgeous lighting! I knew the images were going to be special right away. And they were: the bokeh (for you photo geeks) was incredible. And beyond the 'I love the space' stuff, many super unique moments happened, from the expertly choreographed first dance to the beautiful get-together spirit of the crowd as the couple showed a musical video Oliver (and his groomsmen) prepared as a surprise for Paola (you can see her initial reaction in the getting ready section of the highlights film).

The night came to an end, but it was only 'partie remise' as we say in French. We were to resume the festivities the next week in Calgary at the Regency Palace Restaurant. But that's another story...

For now, please allow me to share with you the story of a wonderful woman who moved to Calgary to further her career and went from knowing one person only (her sister) to finding that one person. The story of P & O's first date at Phil & Sebastian's that was cut short because neither of them realized it closed kind of early. The story of how they liked their date anyway. And how they came to love each other.

Paola & Oliver, to me your story isn't about extravagance or big gestures, but about effortless serendipity, things falling into place. As per your card, Oliver, I wish you to cherish this as a record of little precious things, of stolen glances and candid smiles, of imperfections that make life unpredictable of beautiful. A record of how meeting each other, and of how allowing me to look at your wedding from the outside, will ultimately have made lifetime memories. As per your card...

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

This is the edit that was shown at their Calgary Reception (full highlights edit in a few weeks!)

(vendors list at the bottom of the post)

Wedding Professionals List -
Planner: Kate at Devoted To You
Photography: Lisa Mark Photography
Décor: Creations by Gitta
DJ: Impact DJ
Limousine: A Celebrity Limousine
Cake: DT Bistro
Make-Up: Na-na Hong

Venues -
Ceremony: St. Basil's Church
Photoshoot: Osgoode Hall, Nathan Phillips Square
Reception: Fairmont Royal York Toronto