What Would They Know? Marlon Simmons of Onsight Films

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


Polka Dot Bride


Onsight Films is the brainchild of Marlon and Redge who teamed up to offer a personal but professional cinematography service to bridal couples. Priding themselves on getting to know you as a couple, to deliver the most relaxed and natural shots possible, their passion for capturing your emotions on the day shines through in the film they deliver to you. Relive the wedding journey and watch the day unfold with your guests as a same day edit, and then for many years to come. Marlon shares the Onsight Films story with us today.

How did you and Redge team up to get into wedding cinematography?

After meeting him through my beautiful wife Lany, we had become really good mates with a strong passion for film making. In the year 2007 we both started working as freelancers in the industry. I soon worked as a full time editor at a leading Sydney production studio but found the workload overwhelming.

During our journey, we both studied film at North Sydney in the evenings for 2 years whilst juggling family life and full time work which was a lot of fun and helped us learn a lot of technical and creative skills that we are able to bring to our productions. Having both gained valuable experience in film making at respected studios and looking for a change in pace, we decided to team up and offer a truly unique service by offering the choice of a same day edit or a traditional “highlights film” in our standard packages which have proved a huge success so far.

Redge had been involved in filming wedding for about 3-4 years and I had been editing a range of projects for about 6 years before we joined forces.

What made you decide that wedding cinematography is your passion?

I guess for myself, I love telling stories and growing up always had an interest in art and design. I briefly studied IT at uni and when I picked up a camera and got in the edit suite, technically everything just clicked and I just loved everything about film. I realized I could take my love for storytelling and use film to do what I love. What better story to tell than that of two people in love. The amazing feedback we get from our couples time and again reassures us that we are working in the right industry.

What is the aspect you enjoy the most about being a cinematographer?

Each wedding we get to be creative. Although most weddings have similar timelines (morning prep, ceremony, location shoot and reception) no wedding is EVER the same. Our surroundings in the morning are always different, the couples are always unique, the speeches are always giving insight to our couples allowing for a unique story. All these elements make each week exciting and different from the one before.

Do you plan the shots for the day, and/or do a look around the area before the wedding to plan for places to film the couple? 

That’s a good question. It really depends on the day and location of events.

During morning prep, we usually look for an area with beautiful natural light to film details of the wedding dress etc. and make sure the bride is getting into her dress with nice natural light. Apart from that we like to film moments as they happen without being obtrusive and noticed.

During the ceremony, we make sure at least one of us gets there 45mins earlier to scout the area and get a feel for the lighting conditions, potential problem areas (too narrow space to move around) and where we can setup our stationary camera/s without getting in the way of guests. We then pass on this information to each cinematographer to allow them to be ready to film in the best possible conditions.

We’ve been all over Sydney and have shot at most of the top Reception venues so we’re quite familiar with most venues allowing us to confidently film without too many surprises. We know some Reception venues use lighting that may look really bad on film and in some cases we’ll ask if they can tone it down or even turn them off (if possible).

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

Yes both our packages include 2 cinematographers.

For smaller weddings we offer a package that includes two cinematographers until the end of the ceremony and then one will continue until the bridal waltz ends.

Our second package caters for larger weddings and includes two cinematographers for the entire day (up to 14hrs).

We designed our packages based on years of experience and believe there are weddings where it’s beneficial to have 2 cameras for the entire day but other weddings we feel the morning and ceremony would only need two cinematographers. Our first package is priced considerably lower than our second package which has been very beneficial for our couples.

What are the first steps when a bridal couple contacts you? How do you get to know their particular style?

We let them know if we’re available and then proceed to meet with them at a cafe to find out more about their day. In terms of style, our couples feel our films are quite consistent with storytelling and usually they come to us because they love how unique each film is.

Typically when does the filming commence for the bridal couple?

We usually like to start they day off with at least 90mins at the Bride Preps and at least and hour at the Groom Preps (1 cinematographer at each) before heading to the Ceremony.

You do same day edits for the bride and groom. Is this a shorter version of the final film? 

Yes, a same day edit is a 6-9minute film incorporating morning preps, the ceremony, location shoot and the start of the Reception.

The film’s played at the Reception (usually right before the Bridal Waltz).

We offer pre-wedding interviews that can be incorporated into the same day edit which has been quite popular and helped us find our own little niche in the wedding film industry 🙂

What is so exciting about doing a same day edit for the bridal couple?

I guess you could say, “Gone are the day’s of waiting 6 months for your wedding video!”

In this day and age, through the use of social media, people are so used to sharing their lives the moment it happens. Whether it be through Facebook or Instagram, this is slowly becoming the norm.

The same mentality can be said of a same day edit. The bride and groom are able to “Share” their day straight away with all their nearest and dearest on the biggest day of their life.

The reaction is always so rewarding for us. To see the couple smiling, laughing and our favourite, “CRYING” is just pure joy and is as much motivation to film and edit weddings that we need.


What about a couple using a cinematographer for their engagement shoot, (to tell their story) instead of a photographer – thoughts on this?

Great question! This is exactly the question we asked ourselves when starting Onsight Films and have incorporated a few pre- wedding shoots into our films and quite often film pre-wedding interviews that have become extremely popular as our couples can tell more of their story through film.

Do you offer packages, and what do they include?

Our first package includes 2 Cinematographers from Bride and Groom Preps to the End of the Ceremony. 1 Cinematographer continues until the Bridal Waltz. (12hrs max)

Deliverables: A choice of either a 6-9 minute highlight clip or same day edit and an edited documentary feature that runs for about 90-150 minutes (duration depends on days events).

Our second package includes 2 Cinematographers from Bride and Groom Preps to the Bridal Waltz. 1 Continues until the end of the night (14 hrs max)

Deliverables: A choice of either a 6-9 minute highlight clip or same day edit and an edited documentary feature that runs for about 90-150 minutes (duration depends on days events).

We also have an “A la carte” menu that allows our couples to add a few different elements to their package (blu ray copies, pre wedding interviews, screen and projector hire etc).

When ‘off duty’ do you still carry a camera with you?

It depends. I might bring it out for a family outing / vacation, although lately I haven’t as much as I used to. This could be because I have a few terabytes of video footage from holidays that are unedited! I usually just use the Go Pro or iPhone these days 🙂

What do you like to do for relaxation?

Recently we filmed a wedding in Fiji and had two days before the wedding and two days after the wedding to relax and do nothing. So I would say, film weddings 🙂 Seriously though with a young family when we have a few weekends without a wedding to film I try and plan a getaway with the family. On a weekly basis I love to go to the gym, play indoor cricket and watch a few good films to keep the inspiration flowing!

Thank you Marlon for sharing your cinematography insights. To find out more about Marlon and Redge visit the Onsight Films website.

Images and video courtesy of Onsight Films.

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