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The Video Show: One Minute With Jordan Eberlein

How does the co-owner of Paperboys make people’s special days even more so?

According to the wedding planning website The Knot, “a videographer combines the skills of a documentary filmmaker with the eyes of a movie director” to capture the big day. A quick look at the videographer vendor page on the website shows there are 183 listings for wedding videographers in the Washington, D.C. area. Who knew?

Filmmakers Simon Cook and Jordan Eberlein, co-owners of Paperboys, will delve into ways to grow a sustainable wedding videography business in this competitive field during their presentation “Stop Acting Like a Videographer” at The Video Show, a two-day event in Washington, Dec. 4–5. Attendees will also get their take on video vs. cinema and what they’ve learned about equipment and camera choice.

The Video Show caught up with Eberlein for just a minute ahead of the show.

The Video Show: You’ve been making wedding videos together for quite a while now. How did you settle on a combined Paperboys “style,” and was it difficult to mesh together your individual techniques?

Jordan Eberlein: I wanted to make wedding videos a la Wes Anderson, but, as Simon would argue, that’s not what most people are looking for in a wedding highlight film. He was right. Since most weddings within a given culture follow a similar progression and usually contain the same key events, he worked out a super-effective editing formula. The formula uses parallel narratives throughout and capitalizes on each musical swell in a song. When the cuts perfectly mesh with the crescendos, dips and bridges of a song, it’s the stuff of goosebumps and misty eyes. Finding a formula that works has been a critical factor for our business in terms of efficiency and consistency in quality/punch/epicness. For the last five years, it’s been a matter of refining the structure and tailoring the edits in subtle ways to the particular couple and their culture. 

TVS: You shoot weddings using movie-style kit. Why do you choose to go so high-end with it and how does your choice of equipment affect the look and feel of the films you produce?

JE: Shooting weddings with heavy cinema cameras (we shoot with the URSA Mini Pro) that require heavy V-mount bricks for power does two things: One, chronic back pain. Two, an unrivaled cinematic look and killer dynamic range. I’ve seen some awesome wedding films shot on Sony and Cannon. But for us, the log mode that Blackmagic offers and the dynamic range on its larger cameras, gives our image a certain depth and tons of room in post to create precisely the look we want. We’re going for a classic, filmic look and these cameras and lenses help us achieve precisely that. While a custom LUT can go a long way on DSLR and even footage captured with other mirrorless systems, we’ve found the dynamic range to be well-worth the extra cost and weight.

The Video Show will feature more than 100 sessions on nine presentation stages, as well as a dedicated screening room, demo areas, streaming studio and dynamic exhibit floor. Want to hear more about this topic? Visit the The Video Show website to learn more and register.