In Conversation With Rob at Curious Robin Films

by Michelle

Your wedding day is such a special moment in time, so you’ll want to capture as much of it as possible.  Photos are lovely, but adding  a video element to your wedding day adds that extra dimension,  cue Curious Robin Films who will help you savour every moment.

In commissioning  a video of your wedding  you’re creating a timeless treasure, the opportunity to  tell the story of your day in a lively animated form,  and to savour and  re-live not only the sights but the sounds and emotions of our big day well into the future.

The ethos at Curious Robin is to blend in with your guests and shoot a natural observation film to capture both the formal and spontaneous moments of your wedding with an equally relaxed charm.  We’ll pass you over to Rob, owner of Curious Robin as we tap into his wealth of knowledge.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

My name is Rob and Curious Robin Films is my wee creation. Based in Edinburgh I film weddings all over Scotland and beyond. I’m a fairly rustic type, liking the simple things in life; the great outdoors, books read by a roaring fire, that sort of thing.

What motivated you to start your business?

I had dabbled on and off with making films as part of my previous career in overseas development. Before leaving on my first overseas contract I bought the cheapest camcorder in the shop and badly filmed the day to day activities of the organisation.

Looking back, it was cheesy stuff, but it helped raise funds for the organisation and connect people in the UK to the projects they supported overseas. I also bought one of the very first entry level DSLRs at the time and built up a large stock library of images, but I’m no photographer.

But at the time, there was no middle ground between the functions of a DSLR and a camcorder, that didn’t cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Fast forward many years and technology advances suddenly meant that anyone with cinematic vision could easily afford the tools to unleash that creativity. I was hooked back in. Still, it was just a hobby until a friend saw a wee souvenir film I had made of a round the world honeymoon my wife and I had been on. Even though it was only filmed on a GoPro, they had the confidence to ask me to film their wedding. The rest is history in that sense.

But the driving motivation is the chance to tell really good stories in a cinematic way. It’s a creative high that is hard to beat.

Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business

Editing mainly. I spend a lot of time editing. Filming is really a tiny proportion of making films. The real hours are spent sifting a massive amount of footage into a semblance of order and then distilling that down and down and down until only the best version of the story is left.

It’s amazing how obsessive you can get over the timing of a cut, down to a fraction (well, 1/25th to be technical) of a second. If the timing isn’t there, it’s the visual equivalent of hearing a wrong note played in an orchestra.

Aside from that, there’s the housekeeping to be taken care of; accounts, contracts, marketing, etc.

If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?

The essence of one of the most important days of their lives, distilled into a handcrafted, truly unique, timeless film.

On the day, we’ll barely be visible, blending into the crowd as best as possible, In more intimate settings, for example bride prep, where you may be nervous and uneasy having someone filming, I am good at putting you at ease and then just melting into the background to capture moments as they happen.

Afterwards, I will work doggedly to create a unique story that absolutely reflects everything unique about your day. I don’t have a template in mind, which would make things easier for me. Instead I film everything that moves so that in the editing process, I can start to pull together the threads to weave a perfect story.

In terms of style, we are fairly classical in approach, think 1960s cinema rather than swooping aerial magnificence.

How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?

I am really keen for couples to know that they are making the right decision when they book me. I make sure they’ve seen samples of my work so they know exactly what they are signing up for.

I’m never going to hustle anyone into a sale and I think it is equally important that both parties, supplier and couple, are just as happy working with each other, It’s so much more than buying a service.

But basically, judge them by their previous work and  also have a chat with them. If you get on well, it’ll make the whole thing much more likely to work out for everyone.

What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?

I’ve had a bride who literally danced her way through the wedding which lifted everyone’s energy levels through the roof. Working overseas presented its own challenges (tripods are heavy things to carry in 30C heat) but the hazy warmth of a Mediterranean evening almost infused the film.

My favourite bit of weddings is usually in the early morning before anything really happens, there is an excited calm around the venues for example I shot recently at The Byre at Inchyra and in the morning it was just me, the rain and the horses in their paddocks, but it felt like a great lead in to the day.

The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more

Yes. Weddings are only part of our offering. We also produce films for charities and social enterprises; as well as commercial work.

Ideally we’ll find a balance somewhere around 30% each to weddings, commercial and third sector work, and the last 10% for personal projects, as it is these which afford the time to experiment and learn.

What have you got planned for 2017?

A mixture of weddings, commercial work and personal projects. Throw in two small children and training for the Marathon des Sables  and it’s going to be a busy old year.

And finally, what or who inspires you and why?

Filmmaking wise, I love the tonal values and sweeping landscapes of the 1960s cinema e.g. Lawrence of Arabia, Zulu, the African Q, etc. In terms of story telling, Ken Burns is a complete master.

I also love the BBC Natural History programmes, which prove you do not need any fancy effects, transitions, etc to tell stories, just beautiful footage, expertly put together. Having said that, they hired Rob Whitworth for Planet Earth 2 and he is some sort of filmmaking wizard.

Like all modern digital filmmakers, I probably owe huge amounts to Phillip Bloom, who is a pioneer in the field who devotes a lot of time to sharing his knowledge. I have also been inspired and mentored by John Duncan, an award winning filmmaker from Scotland.

But finally, certainly in terms of weddings, the inspiration always comes from the people involved and their stories. Everyone is unique and that’s why I can never predict how an edit will turn out in advance.

All images and videos courtesy of Curious Robin Films

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