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What Would They Know? Kara & Brad Melick of Way Up High

by | Cinematography Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Way Up High

As I see more wedding stories unfold on Polka Dot Bride, I am reminded time and again, that standing right next to a photographer should be the cinematographer. A cinematographer brings to your day a completely different way of seeing your wedding. Kara and Brad of Way Up High embody the spirit of this – with the team’s ability to capture in moving images the little details and emotions of the day. A film will compliment the photographer’s images, but there is nothing like bringing alive the emotion in the voice of the bride’s father, the groom pledging his love, or the shimmer of the light on the gown as the bride moves across the dancefloor. It’s these seemingly little things that you will love being reminded of, in the years to come.

What inspired you to start a cinematography career?

I have always loved film and knew from a very young age that I would be involved with it somehow. I studied film at university and worked in the industry for many years until I took some time off with my two beautiful children. Getting back into it has been wonderful!

Way Up High is a cute name for a business – why this name?

We wanted a name that was a little different and reflected the way we feel about everything we do. Way Up High refers to always striving to reach for better results for our clients and for ourselves. Oh, and we do live on a mountainJ

How long have you been a cinematographer?

I have been filming things since I first picked up a camera at Uni and my skill set since then has grown! I now wear many hats in this business, from cinematographer to sales person, editor to counselor, admin chick to wedding guru (after so many years in this industry I am an encyclopedia of wedding know how!). Way Up High has been up and running since Jan 2015 and we have been really happy to have been so well received.

What do you especially enjoy about making wedding films?

My passion is actually editing. I love being able to translate those special moments into a story, giving them meaning and knowing that this memory will be treasured forever. I also love that every wedding is so different and everyone has such a unique story to tell. This is what I love about film in general, that there are an infinite amount of stories just waiting to be told.

Does a cinematographer ‘see’ (and capture) the details of the wedding day a little differently than a photographer?

Absolutely. We are all about movement and sound. There is nothing quite like hearing the emotion in peoples voices and watching tears roll down facesJ

How do you ‘know’ what makes a great film shot? Is it instinctual?

We believe great footage comes when our couples are relaxed and natural. With this in mind, we tend to blend into the background on the day.

Do you use a ‘fly on the wall’ approach to your filming, or do you plan everything in detail?

We certainly do a lot of planning but there is also a lot of thinking on our feet to get the best light, the best sound and the best shot. In terms of our interaction with the couple on the day, we keep it to a minimum, allowing the events to unfold naturally.

Do you have two people filming on the wedding day, so that you don’t miss a thing?

Generally we do have 2 people filming on the day, but as every wedding is different, we try to accommodate.

How would you describe your film style?

Natural, relaxed and very personal.

What is the process when a bridal couple contacts you to talk about filming their wedding? How do you get to know their particular style?

I tend to ask a lot of questions about their wedding (mainly because I really love weddings!!) and I find out who their photographer is. This really helps us to understand our client’s personal style and we try to reflect that in the way we film and edit.

Do you offer packages? What is your most popular package, and what does this include?

We do offer packages as a guide because everyone’s wedding is so different! Most couples go for our “mid range’ package at $2800 which includes 8hrs of coverage, a beautiful Wedding Film and the Complete Footage from the day.

Do you travel to film weddings?

So far our weddings have been local (Southern Highlands, Sydney, South Coast) but we would love the opportunity to film in far flung places!!

Creatively, where, and doing what, makes you feel most inspired?

Beautiful design, be it in nature, architecture, fashion, graphics, photography… I love it all!! I think that may be another reason I love what I do so much – I am constantly surrounded by beautiful things. I am also very inspired by words.

In what ways do you regularly challenge yourself creatively with your film work?

I have to say, I watch A LOT of wedding films. I love seeing what others are doing in the industry, and trying new things.

You live in a stunning area of NSW. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

We feel quite blessed to live in the Highlands. We have Sydney on our doorstep if we ever need a city fix, the South Coast’s stunning beaches a short drive away and the ski fields are just that little bit closer now J Generally our weekends (if we are not working) are spent watching our kids play sports, going to the markets, bushwalking, or keeping warm in front of the fire!

A favourite place for a honeymoon or short break is…..?

We are both snow bunnies so spend as much time in the Snowy Mountains as we can over winter. Summer usually sees us squeeze in a trip to Byron Bay, as I grew up on the North Coast and have lots of friends still there. It is a truly special place J

Thank you Kara for sharing your story. To find out more about Way Up High visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Way Up High. All films from Way Up High.

The Reopening of The George Ballroom

by | Event Reviews, Wisdom


Ms Fleur De Lys

George Ballroom Launch-30

The George Ballroom is back! The newly restored space, which sits on the first floor of Fitzroy Street St Kilda’s landmark George Hotel, has risen from the rubble after a sad nine-year hiatus.

George Ballroom Launch-4

The opulent building, originally named the Terminus Hotel, was constructed in 1857 to accommodate passengers on the new train line in an era when travelling was often a luxury. The hotel was a destination in itself, similar to taking a jaunt down to Portsea back in the day. The ballroom was added in 1886.

George Ballroom Launch-19

To say the room has a rich history is an understatement! Since its inception, the space has been a tea room, a main dining room and the premier ballroom for society weddings through the 1930s. In the 1970’s it was transformed, with the help of gothic red velvet and drapes, into an infamous hard core punk rock venue called the Crystal Ballroom. Punters crammed in to see Nick Cave, Inxs, Simple Minds, The Cure and allegedly Blondie perform here. The 1980’s rock movie ‘Dogs in Space’, starring the late Michael Hutchence,  also filmed within these hallowed walls. Post-punk, the ballroom enjoyed stints as the Seaview Ballroom nightclub as well as an offering by St Kilda hospitality visionary Donlevy Fitzpatrick of Dog’s Bar fame.

George Ballroom Launch-3

And then, like Willy Wonka’s factory, it mysteriously closed for almost a decade.

George Ballroom Launch-31

Like many inquisitive minds, Georgina Damm of Damm Fine Foods wondered what was going on. The catering maestro recalls the situation was “similar to the mythic Flinder’s Street Ballroom – the one you keep hearing about – but no one gets in”. But with perseverance Georgina did get in…only to find rubble, dust and crumbling plaster. Six large ceiling panels had fallen in.

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (1)

Renovations took six months (the ceiling alone took four of those) with artisans working alongside Heritage Victoria to restore and hand-paint Victorian features such as ornate rosettes, pilasters, brass and etched-glass gasolier lighting, mosaic tiles and satin-glass windows. “This room represents such a varied history. Right here someone had their first dance and some punk rocker probably head-butted someone. I love that kind of juxtaposition, that you can sit in this space and so many things have happened and that there’s a history here,” muses Georgina. As such, rather than making the perfectly shiny and new, the current owners have opted for an antique, aged look for the interior which lends the space a broken-down kind of glamour that speaks to the room’s heritage.

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (8)

In the new George Ballroom, Damm Fine Food’s head chef Glen Davies will serve evocative dishes such as golden quail eggs with volcanic salt on a seaweed bird nest, poached marron and black truffle risotto with saffron broth and anise-scented duck with liquorice-lacquered grapes. Thousands of future dinner and cocktail party guests (the space can host 150-200 at once) are in for a sumptuous treat. A Salon Room off to the side can host more intimate gatherings.

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (10)

Georgina is pleased to breathe life back into such a grand space. She soon hopes to introduce the icon to “a whole new genre of guests who haven’t been here before and the ones who have can revisit”. And no doubt reminisce.

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (21)

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (17)

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (14)

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (18)

The George Ballroom relaunch by David Cook (12)

Images by David Cook


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Another beautiful event space for Melbourne  – so wonderful to see it re-opened with so much love and care!

Hair and Make-Up Master Class 2 – The Classic Chignon

by | Hair and Make-Up Master Class, Wisdom


Ms Chinoiserie


For our second Hair and Make-Up Master Class, we look at creating an elegant low bun – the classic chignon!

This style is an elegant and timeless bridal look and would suit a more formal wedding or a bride wanting to achieve a chic style. With images by Kate at Quince and Mulberry Studios, Beck from Step ‘N’ Out Hair and Body shows you how to create this look in a few easy steps.

1. Wash and dry hair.


2. Curl hair using any desired hair curling tool.


3. Clip hair in sections as shown. With bottom section, tie in loose ponytail and loop through itself.



4. Using foam insert, from ends to roots roll hair upwards into bun position.




5. Once bun is rolled, secure firmly with bobby pins.



6. With top section, tease at the base of the hair.


7. Smooth over the teasing and secure with bobby pins.



8. Remove clips from side sections. Wrap one at a time across the top of the bun and secure with bobby pins.



9. Use hair spray to secure style.



10. To attach a veil, push the clip into top/centre of bun.


11. Use a small amount of pressure to ensure the veil is firmly secure in hair.


12. Horizontally push bobby pins into the clip of the veil to firmly secure and support veil. Repeat on both sides.



13. The finished look.



Thanks Kate and Beck  – the classic elegance of a chignon never goes out of style!


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