What Would They Know? Brad Smith of GMTMT Films

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
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There is a beauty that wedding films bring to your story. Our wide brown land with pockets of colour from leaves, the oasis of green lawns dotted with majestic trees, a campfire’s blazing flames, the bark and leaves on the ground in a paddock. All give a sense of place and time, and adds another layer of atmosphere to the film of the wedding day. Brad of GMTMT Films uses the landscape and surrounds to give context to the day and a cinematic quality to his work. There is an authenticity to his work, reflective of the man behind the lens – real emotions, the eye contact between the bride and groom, the words of a speech that says everything – with Brad telling their story through his eyes and thoughts. Let’s join Brad as he tells us his story.

Interesting name for your business – what do the initials stand for and how did you think of it?

When we were growing up we’d listen to my Dad on the phone and at the end of every conversation he wouldn’t say “bye” or “see you” he’d always say “Good Mate, Thanks Mate, Tah” so the acronym GMTMT was born.

Where are you based?

Lucky to be based in Newcastle NSW.

In a creative sense, what do you love about making films?

For me it’s about the endless possibilities our couples provide me. Each wedding has its unique set of characters, locations and stories, so on the big day I’m inspired by these components. I’ve always been given creative license to bring it all together which is vital for me, and it gives our couples the freedom to be themselves by not worrying about what I’m capturing. It’s a dynamic.

What techniques do you use to give a sense of grandeur to your films?

A mixture of movement, stillness and audio would probably best describe my approach. It’s not just the filming but also the editing which makes my films stand alone.

Do you have a style of film making that defines you – or do you prefer not to be confined by a ‘style’?

I think all filmmakers have an approach to filming and will already have the story in mind. I never expect the same from every wedding or how the day will unfold. I anticipate. We can’t script a wedding, but we can adjust accordingly. My films are cinematic, romantic and honest. Some areas may be tweaked to suit the feel of the day, but the approach will always be the same.

Image by Gez Xavier Mansfield.

Has your style and techniques changed over the years?

I’m now into my 7th year as a full time wedding filmmaker. Styles and techniques have changed along the way with the introduction of stabilizers, drones and 4K. At this stage we have an award-winning format which I’m absolutely thrilled with and enjoy.

The landscape, aerial shots and the sky feature in your films. Is there something about the Australian landscape and light which attracts you – and how do you use it to tell the story of the day?

I’m always imagining our couples will have family or friends who weren’t able to make it to the wedding, and they may watch the film. It’s so important to describe the location and the weather in a creative way. I want the 4th and 5th dimension in my films – feel and smell. I will do whatever I can do to describe it. I’m a licensed RPA Pilot and Chief Pilot, which means I know the airspace above and am legally flying my drones. It also means I am insured for the use of drones. Very important!

Image by Gez Xavier Mansfield.

Do you work with a team and multiple cameras to ensure that you get shots from different angles?

Generally, it’s a 5-camera setup for Ceremony and speeches because I’m looking for reactions. Instant, real reactions. For example: My films will switch angles the very moment Bride and Groom first see each other. Eye contact is an amazing thing. Being a true creative I’ve never had a second shooter. I want the story told through my eyes and thoughts. Just as a writer wouldn’t have anyone else write a paragraph or a painter wouldn’t have anyone else add to their painting.

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

Firstly, I visualize the shot. Secondly, it’s anticipation. Thirdly, a little planning. And finally, …… you wing it!

How do you get your couples to relax in front of the camera?

In a sense, I don’t want them relaxed, I want them to be them. You can’t force anything unless you want an awkward shot. Most of our couples have an amazing connection and my work seems to attract that kind of person.

How do you work around the photographer taking shots at the wedding? Is it a collaborative effort?

Obviously, we want to get our couple the best shot or angle but remaining professional is paramount. Never block each other and understand each other’s needs, easy!

What do your wedding packages start at – and include?

As a filmmaker I need everything, so we have just one package which covers the entire day. This allows me to create a 90-minute feature film and a short 3-minute teaser. My 2019 prices start at $5000 and at this moment have only 3 positions remaining. I shoot a maximum 25 weddings per year.

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

Never take the same footage twice. Have no expectations.

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

Being alone, observing people. Anywhere on this planet.

What’s next for your business?

In March 2018 I launched my photography brand, Chasing Bears Authentic. As my film bookings are limited to 25 per year this is a less demanding outlet I also love. We’ve taken a bunch of bookings already and looking forward to what it brings. Like GMTMT Films it’s dedicated to Weddings only!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Save your money!

What do you like to do for rest and recreation?

It’s all about Family. Being together with my Wife and Twins grounds me. Being a Papa to them is the most important thing in my life. Love riding my motorbike! It’s an incredible feeling when there’s just you, the bike and the road ahead. Nothing else matters.

Image by Gez Xavier Mansfield.

What is special about Newcastle and the Hunter Valley?

I’ve lived in Newcastle my entire life, and although I’ve travelled the World, this place always feels like home. The City is changing everyday and has so many pop up bars, café and restaurants it’s never difficult to find a little nook around here.

Films give us a lovely peek into the atmosphere and love of the wedding day – it’s almost as good as being a a guest! Thank you Brad for sharing your story. To find out more about GMTMT Films visit the website.

Headshot by Gez Xavier Mansfield.

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