What Would They Know? Rowan of High Tea Films

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


Polka Dot Bride

 Rowan of High Tea FilmsPreserving the memories of your wedding on a moving image is becoming just as important as have a photo album of beautiful still shots. High Tea Films aims to unobtrusively document your wedding day, with a good helping of fun and laughter to set you at ease. Being the star of your own movie is a new experience for most of us, but with High Tea Films you’re sure to enjoy the process and come away with a beautiful memory of your wedding day to reminisce over.

When did High Tea Films start as a business and what made you decide to collaborate to open it?
Starting High Tea Films was a really pleasant, career changing experience. I’ve been a TV producer and camera operator for almost a decade but when I filmed the wedding of two close friends and saw just how happy it  made them, I knew this was a service I wanted to offer to other couples. I started to collaborate with other camera operators and hire editors who I’ve respected for many years and it’s been a very natural progression since then! There are now three principals- myself (Rowan), Ron, and Natalie, and I like to think we’re a very happy team here who love what we do.

What are the reasons a couple should hire a videographer (as well as a photographer) for their wedding day?
Well, I do hear that videographers are much better dancers but if that isn’t enough to convince you, I’d say the ability a wedding video has to capture the words as they’re spoken, the tears as they happen, and the pure emotion as it unfolds, is the main reason to consider hiring a videographer. There’s definitely something unique in that.

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How is videography different to photography?
We’re big fans of photography and think both play very different roles in capturing a wedding.  Photos are really great at capturing beautiful and dramatic shots of your day. They’re that special millisecond captured in time that you will hang up on your wall and will trigger memories of your amazing wedding. A video on the other hand records everything as it happened so rather than that millisecond, it’s many seconds or minutes. You can hear your partner say their vows and you can watch your faces react as you see each other for the first time. We are often told by couples that when they want to show people what their wedding was like, or they want to live through the moment again, they watch our highlights video because it’s the best way for them to remember their day. Our video’s get around 8000 views with the couple watching it over and over again and family members that couldn’t make it getting the chance to see what happened.

What skills do you each individually bring to the business? Does this add to the strength of your business?
We’ve been fortunate enough to expand our business and have some great new editors and shooters on board and everyone brings a lot of creativity to the table.
As a principal shooter, I love to bring a lot of dramatic shots to the edits. I love focusing on the groom’s reactions when he stands and waits or sees his partner walk down the aisle and I love capturing the energy of moments like the speeches and bouquet toss. They’re high energy moments and I love moving on the dance floor with couples to document them. I’m also prettttty awesome with an excel spreadsheet so I like to be involved in the logistics of the day and making sure things run smoothly.

The second principal shooter is Natalie and when she joined, she added something that I can only describe as a woman’s touch to the films. I’m sorry for all the guys out there, but women just know that something special they want to see. She blames it on her sappiness but Natalie just has an eye for special, intimate moments and will make sure that look shared between the couple  when they share a silent joke, is captured. She came on board as the editor but I steal her for as many shoots as I can.

Another thing that I feel we all bring to the business, that doesn’t have all that much to do with what we provide, is our approach to the day. Your wedding should be fun and exciting, you shouldn’t be worrying about the photos or the video or what the flowers look like, you’re about to have the best day of your life, and your suppliers should be just as happy as you are. So with that in mind we like to joke and play and laugh with you because weddings are great and we love being a part of them.


How would you describe your style?
Our style aims to be fun and observational. We often say that your wedding shouldn’t be about the photos or the video, you should be focusing on yourselves, let us worry about capturing it all. Because of this, we don’t tend to get overly produced and stylised shots, instead we focus on natural moments that happen as they happen.

Do you expand the boundaries of your creativity when filming weddings, or do you have a ‘tried and true formula’?
Every wedding is different and unique and so we approach each one differently and with equal care. Some brides want certain shots, while others are happy for us to do what we want so we make sure we are able to provide what is requested and from there we let our creativity flow. With video, you always have to have a rough script in your head so that you can tell the story, we can’t really show you walking down the farewell tunnel right at the beginning of the video because it would be a little jarring when you watch it. (unless you had a time travel machine at your wedding then it would fit right in!) So in a way we kind of do both. A lot of the creativity in our videos comes from the couples themselves as well. Every couple has their own unique and amazing ideas for their wedding and that often provides the spark. At the end of the day, the video is about the couple, so it is apt that their own creative flair is part of the video.

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What is it about filming rather than still photography that you love?
We love both and we think that both are really important for a wedding. For us, our skills lie in film and we are able to use those skills to capture a wedding. We love that film offers us the chance to capture a moment exactly as it happened so that our couples can watch it back and laugh, smile and cry as they can watch and hear themselves do the same.

Do you have to have an eye for detail (and eyes in the back of your head) to capture the essence of the wedding day?
Detail is crucial when it comes to weddings. All the small things are often the most crucial. That is why we spend the whole day, often 16 hours, at a wedding to make sure we are there to capture it all and focus on all the little things, as well as the big things. Having more time at a wedding enables us to make sure we are there if something happens. We often find the best parts of a wedding can be right at the end of the night. We also have little tricks that enable us to capture everything. I don’t want to give them all away, but if you watch us closely during a wedding, you’ll see that we have one eye on the lens and the other roaming around to see the crowd reacting to what is happening. We can also look through the eyepiece and if we angle it just right, we can see the crowd behind us in the reflection, so we can look in two directions at once!

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Do you travel, (Australia/the world) to film weddings? If so, can you name some favourite wedding destinations?
We have travelled a lot and filmed a lot of the world, but unfortunately it hasn’t been for weddings. We’d love the opportunity to do some international weddings, so if anyone is getting married in, say, the Maldives please give us a call!

If you could gaze into a crystal ball, where would you like to see High Tea Films in five years time?
I would like to see High Tea Films amongst a lot of very good and successful videography production companies because I strongly believe that videography is crucial in capturing a wedding and I would love to see this side of the industry grow.

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If we could give a gift to people of the world, it would be…….
This is a very tough question, there are so many things that could be given, but I would hope to give understanding to everyone in the hope it would end hostilities between people which would solve a lot of problems in itself.

If you were marooned on a desert island what would you like to have with you?
Hm, that actually sounds like a holiday to me. Throw in an unlimited supply of food, shelter and TV shows and Movies and I’d never look back!

Thank you Rowan for sharing your thoughts. You make being filmed, sound painless and a lot of fun! If you would like to find out more about High Tea Films please visit their  website.

Images courtesy of High Tea Films.


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