Onyx KNOWs

It begins!

The people behind Onyx Cinema as well as its sister wedding film company Alumiq Productions, has always enjoyed sharing knowledge with others and learning from great people within the filmmaking industry.

The Onyx Cinema Team signed up to the one-day KNOW workshop held by the Emmy Award winning filmmaking team, Stillmotion. Stillmotion revolutionized the wedding video industry with their above and beyond cinematic storytelling and now apply it to commercial work. They are, in a way, the birth of the independent filmmaking revolution that empowered filmmakers with a low budget. We are also happy to have them as teachers and mentors.

The members of Onyx Cinema have always marveled at Stillmotion’s artistry and have been influenced by them while finding out own voice and style. Our attending their 11/11/2012 workshop was definitely a treat for us.

This blog post is populated with the voices of Onyx Cinema team members and what they took away from the workshop.

Marcus and Anthony looking very studious

Joseph, Charlice, Marcus and Michael just shot a wedding the day before so they all came in with a need of coffee, but excited to learn. Signing in, we were immediately given the KNOW Field Guide to Filmmaking. This book is just chock full of information for both beginning and advanced filmmakers in an easy-read package.

The field guides, packed with knowledge

Before the crowd enters

Ray and Amina in the house

We sat down in the ballroom, which had a bunch of filmmaking toys around and a couple of projections screens – and then the masters/instructors came up. The primary instructors where Amina, Ray and Joyce, all pitching in with their experience and viewpoints.

The editing section.

What each of Onyx Cinema’s members had to say.

Anthony – Cinematographer/Editor:

We are seasoned professionals, so to be able to be around like minded people was great. Stillmotion shared a lot of WHY and HOW they did things as well as covered technical aspects of filming. It is a great beginners course for someone who isn’t too familiar with filming. We cover a lot of events and from time to time we get corporate, narrative, and documentary shoots. KNOW gave us some inside tips and trips that are helpful. Their wealth of information was well thought out and their willingness to share provides great motivation to just get out there and shoot to improve an art form that is growing in this digital age.

Maria – Latest and greatest Post specialist:

The workshop was a peek into the level of care stillmotion took during each stage of crafting their stories. It makes me more self-aware of the decisions I make in editing and their potential impact on the story. I think stillmotion has nailed their method of making decisions that represent their style and inspire us to make our own.


The brothers, Anthony and Joe Vu

Joe – Senior Cinematographer/Editor:

What an inspiration to meet the innovators of our field in this ever changing techno-laden landscape. Stillmotion’s focus on story and character, though, only support the notion that the people we meet, their beauty, laughter, pain, struggles– their stories–are the muse that inspire our work. Push on! Create! Find truth!


Marcus – Editor:

KNOW provides a fresh take on wedding cinematography and provides amazing insight into Stillmotion’s filmmaking philosophy. Don’t call Stillmotion videographers because they take a deeper approach and bring a methodology to their filmmaking that surpasses my initial expectations. They emphasize a style of storytelling that is not only meaningful to their clients, but to the general audience as well. Their desire to go above and beyond sets Stillmotion apart from many other studios, and makes them great role models for the rest of the community.

Georgia – Cinematographer:

The KNOW workshop was motivational because SM shared the reasons for why we should go above and beyond! They presented what it means to push yourself. It means to capture meaningful imagery over “cool” or epic imagery. It means knowing why and how to capture each moment. Little details in lighting, color, movement, focal length, frame rate, audio, and composition shape the story we want to tell. We have an opportunity to evoke the feeling we want the viewer to experience with the film. SM has always made filmmaking a storytelling mission.

To successfully tell a story, we need to know what we want to say about the couple. A wedding film is not about the wedding event- it’s about the couple. So, how can we learn about the couple and how much can we research about them in order to tell their unique story? How can we learn about our our couples and show them that we care? DO we care about our couples?

“When we can predict 80% of the film before you even show up [to a wedding], that’s your voice!” Alumiq has a style of shooting and in capturing beautiful imagery. We know how to tell a story through our images but are we telling the “right” story? Patrick said it very well in that we get stuck in telling stories that we think we need to tell when we don’t have a voice. So, what can we do to further develop our voice?

Charlice inhales caffeine after a fun shoot the night before.

Charlice – Cinematographer:

Besides hanging out with fellow geeks in the industry and checking out some cool gadgets, the inspirational team at KNOW reminded me things that have been buried deep in my memory bank… other than the knowledge, the tools, and the techniquies I learned waaaaaay back in my school days, I was reminded my love and passion for the visual media. Why was I in it and doing it in the first place?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “trending styles” and cool gears and gadgets that we forget to be creative. Instead of catering completely to the popular likes and tastes, we need to follow our hearts and voice our thoughts. Why follow when we can lead? Why settle when we can advance?


Michael – Cinematographer/Editor:

As a filmmaker who has gone through film classes and one who has filmed many events, weddings, and narrative/commercial pieces, one would think that I had little to learn from another filmmaking team. Not true at all. Stillmotion inspired me to really think more about how to create more meaningful stories and to tell the stories of others in a much more impactful manner. Sometimes as filmmakers, we do a fancy shot “just because”. Amina, Ray, Joyce and the rest of the team pointed out how important it is to ask ourselves “why???”. Not only in asking ourselves “why” to tell a story, but to remind ourselves why we were inspired to make films in the first place.

Stillmotion continues to inspire filmmakers all over the world. We look forward to learning more from this team, and to learn how to find and shape our own voice.

With all that being said, some random other pictures:

Maria, Marcus and Charlice give the obligatory silly-face shot

We found a ballroom named after us! Yay!!!

A prototype steadicam cage for DSLRs! WANT!

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