Monday, November 08, 2010

Hurricane Tomas-The non-event & The Milano Wedding

So as I suspected it would be, Tomas was much ado about nothing. Very little rain, no wind, and I am stuck with the task of moving ten heavy bags of sand to the back of my house.

The wedding on Saturday was a beautiful but taxing event. The minister was almost an hour late(the one time the bride was actually ready on time), he called the bride the wrong name during the ceremony (actually I think it was during the blessing) and we had to shoot in the rain. It was a light drizzle, however the rain kept getting into the lenses of the cameras causing us to wipe frequently. This will make editing the video an unspeakable headache as my hankerchief will be seen frquently blocking the view of the couple!

Lisa & Robert were a fun couple to work with, no worries at all. Their bridal party was made up of easy-going, fun people. Mainly from the USA,(I think they all were) the groomsmen consumed generous amounts of Red Stripe Beer and beef patties to get themselves ready for the ceremony.

The locations used for the ceremony and the formal portraits served to remind me that the recession had totally bypassed some addresses as there were no hints of recession to be found anywhere near these homes. I will include a shot or two. I returned home vowing to purchase some orchids and revamp my water feature with new plants and more Koi.

All in all it was a great event, and we wish Lisa and Robert all the best in their life together.

Now I must get back to sorting their wedding images. BTW, the rainbow at the ceremony was just unbelievable.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Now We Wait - Tropical Storm Tomas Draws Near

So now we wait. I bought ten bags of sand today for use in encouraging water from the road to bypass my house this time. They are awaiting deployment near the gate. My standby generator is gassed up and ready.

I have an outdoor wedding booked for Saturday so this storm has exactly one day to pass. The venue looks fantastic at this point.

Personally I feel this will not be nearly as bad as Tropical Storm Nicole was recently. The fact that the country seems to be in the best state of readiness I have ever seen reinforces this view.

I am busy learning a new video editing program as I have gotten tired of throwing money at the editor I have used for years. (talk about trying to teach an old dog new tricks!) This is hard work!

I will keep you updated on the happenings as long as I have power and internet access.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tropical storm Nicole hits home

Some pics I shot earlier tonight when water from the road invaded my house. All these shots were taken standing on my lawn. The first two shots are of the road just outside my home, the last two shots are of my driveway. I fear the clean-up will take weeks. 8 inches of rain fell in 10 hours today. I think another 8 fell tonight alone! I think all the fish in my water feature have swam away as it was flooded out. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So after two trips to my Dealer in Florida my video editing machine seems to be back online. I say seems, as it seems to be acting up already and I re-installed it on ly Monday this week! We will see how that goes. I was charged U$500.00 for the dealer's tech department to spend 5 hours working on the machine only to have them say they cannot fix it, it needs to go to the manufacturer who charged another U$400.00. Anyway enough of that. My projects are backed up and I have some serious work to do.

By the way, I booked my hotel on and I will always. It was a one night stay in Florida as I was just dropping off or picking up my editor. This trip I got a nice room with a desk, executive chair, cable TV, King bed, breakfast and newspaper in the morning for U$41.00 plus tax, total U$45.00. They had a pool, excercise room and internet area with free use of the computers. Plus a free shuttle to and from the airport!

I could not believe how nice the place was when I got there as I had greatly lowered my expectations due to the price. It was also close to all the places I needed to visit.

I met a guy on the plane who said he had 11 children with 9 different mothers. My mouth fell on the floor! I ensured that he left with my card as he should be having weddings in the family at some point.

Its back to school time, Jonathan and Stephanie did well last term and are adjusting to their new teachers. I have added pics from their last prizegiving. Stephanie was Top Girl and Jonathan got a medal for academic excellence and five other awards.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Accident scenes Holiday week-end in Jamaica

Drove to Montego Bay twice this weekend past. The driving on the road was deplorable. Passed 4 accident sites on the way. Here are two. The car on its top is a JUTA taxi which usually carries tourists. Someone immediately tried to scratch the JUTA off the trunk and was about to remove the licence plates when I took this shot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Masters Weddings - New coverage options

Although the recession is allegedly over in the USA, its not quite the same in Jamaica and the feedback we are getting is that although many brides wish to have us at their wedding, cutbacks have caused them to rethink the decision.

We are therefore introducing a less expensive video & photography package in our signature line called the Deluxe Lite. This applies to weddings of Jamaican residents living in Jamaica.

Use the contact page on our website to get information on whether your wedding qualifies for this special package.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wedding in Jamaica - Giovanni and Peta-Ann

Peta-Ann & Giovanni have been in love from school days, I think. Well anyway for a long, long time. As a testament to the power of modern technology their pre-marital councelling sessions were held with Giovanni overseas and Peta-Ann and the minister in Jamaica with live video conferencing via Skype.

I found this couple really relaxed around each other and a lot of fun to be around.

Again I feel blessed to have such wonderful people come into my life and wish for them every success in all their ventures and adventures.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

i phone 4 short film

The following short film was shot and editied entirely on the new i phone 4. Simply amazing.

"Apple of My Eye" - an iPhone 4 film from Michael Koerbel on Vimeo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jamaican Wedding Video

Jamaican Wedding video. I'm trying out a new video share service. Please take a look at one of our videos.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Excelling at Wedding Videography Part 2

Now that you think you have the technical competence to videotape your first wedding you need to think about equipment. In my humble opinion a basic kit would include the following:

1. A good camera. (the latest trend is using a DSLR to shoot video. I am old school on that; I use a DSLR to shoot stills and a video camera to shoot video, but its up to you). Be sure to check the low light performance of the camera you are considering buying, as the days of roasting your clients with 300 and 500 watt lights are long gone.( or so I thought; I recently saw a videographer with a 300 watt light on his camera standing 2 feet from the couple. Needless to say, they were all sweating profusely) Modern cameras give remarkable images with minimal light. I often use no additional light for my ceremony coverage and if I do need light I use a 10 watt cool light on my camera. This ensures no discomfort for the couple.

2. A firm tripod. Ensure that the tripod you use is made to hold the weight of the particular camera you are putting on it. I use commercial grade Manfrotto tripods with fluid heads as they are fully adjustable and give no camera shake even with heavy cameras.

3. Lights. Your use of lighting at the ceremony should be minimal, however at the reception venue it is OK and usually necessary to use brighter lights. Get professional lights mounted on a light stand. If you use a very bright light mounted on your camera you will likely make it very uncomfortable for anyone to whom you direct your camera. If you have a light on a stand, raise it above eye level and point the light slightly downward. If you keep it a practical distance from your subjects they will be able to see comfortably even when the light is directed toward them.

4. Microphones. Your audio capture is as important as your video. Get a wireless lavaliere microphone for the groom to wear so that you can capture the vows without the external noise at the venue(sneezing guests, crying babies etc.). At the reception you can use either wired or wireless microphones for the toasts if they will all speak from a podium. I do not ususally plug into the DJs mixing board for audio as most of them will introduce unacceptable levels of hiss and distortion into the feed.

5. Miscellaneous Stuff. Extra tapes(unless you use a tapeless camera), Gaffer's tape(to tape over your cables to avoid a trip hazzard), a surge protector, batteries, microphone cables etc.

I started out renting my equipment from another videographer and you may be able to do the same. (sorry, currently I do not rent equipment)

You will also need an appropriate outfit (a good suit is prefered), clean and comfortable shoes, decent bags/protective cases for your equipment and a pleasant demeanour.

Next we will look a bit at your actual coverage on the wedding day.

I have posted a shot of myself in the very early days.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Excelling at Wedding Videography Part 1

Greetings to all! Now that I have a bit more time on my hands (I thought someone told me this was a recession-proof business...ah well) I am turning my attention to a project which I have wanted to work on for some time, helping aspiring wedding and corporate videographers and photographers benefit from my experience.

I will speak mainly to those aspiring to the lofty calling of covering weddings, capturing the actions and emotions of what may well be the couple's most important event. Let's start with videography(I can hear the collective sigh from the photographers. Don't worry, we will get to photography eventually)

Before you even buy your first camera you should have fixed in your mind why you want to do this and what you wish to accomplish ie, how great do you really want to be. It may be just to earn a few extra dollars, as was the case when I started out as an apprentice, rolling up wires and carrying tripods and lights many years ago, or it may be to create beautiful wedding movies, family heirlooms to be enjoyed and treasured by your clients, my current motivation. As you can see, it is OK for your motivation and goals to change over time, but if you are not passionate about your craft, you will never excell at it.

Learn the basics. When I started out the internet was nothing like it is now, a global resourse for knowledge and training. I was actually the first wedding videographer in Jamaica to have a website, and I paid dearly to have that privilege. Now there are tons of websites with tips and advice for videographers. Make use of these. In Jamaica there are courses at CPTC and Carimac which didn't exist in my earlier days, to train videographers in the art of shooting and editing. I had to do it the old fashioned way, learning first by experience, being called fool and slow and stupid by my boss.

I have found training videos and going to seminars in the USA a great help in honing my skills and I strongly recommend these avenues of learning.(be careful, accept information from those actually making a living at wedding videography)

After learning the theory, what next? Try to tag along with an experienced professional on a couple of jobs. Offer to work for free, just to get the experience. For the wedding videographer our job can be one of the most stressful experiences. Commercial shooters of advertisments get numerous re-takes, sometimes doing one 10-second shot ten times. We do not have that luxury. If we miss the vows when they are said, we are sunk! Observe how the professional moves through the wedding day and learn from him or her.

My next post will go into what to do when you think you are ready to shoot your first wedding.

Monday, May 03, 2010

"My mom always told me that happiness was the key to life.
At school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I said “happy" and they told me I didn’t understand the question.
I told them they didn’t understand life."

I read this quote today and reflected on how few people are truly happy these days. So much anger, so much divorce, so many financially challenged individuals.

Could we perhaps slow down the frenetic pace at which we live and take the time to focus on the truly important stuff? How about the things and people that truly make us happy? How about doing things that we are really passionate about? I recently added some Koi to a small water feature I have at home and enjoy watching them especially at feeding time.

Now while there is not necessarily any financial benefit to this excercise, I feel such diversions add to the quality of life we enjoy. (of course cooling out on a personal yacht or in a vacation home in Aspen would be preferable, but getting to that level is a different ball game entirely)

Find a diversion. What is the point of working yourself to death only to pay bills? Where is the fun in that? Think about it...

Monday, March 29, 2010

The simple life

For some reason I decided to cut my lawns instead of going into office this morning. After completing the necessary activities, like taking the kids to school and checking my e-mails(yes, I still do that the old-fashioned way, on my computer, as I do not have a blackberry or I-Phone) I donned my cap and headed out into the yard...

After completing my first lawn at about 9:15, I sat on my home-made bench which is anchored to my Mango tree, and in the shade of my Mango tree drank my first glass of ice cold water. I listened to the birds singing in the trees, enjoyed a cool breeze that passed through the Mango tree and smiled as I remembered all those people hard at work in their offices. This, is why I do what I do, I thought, and smiled some more.

I was jolted back to reality by the gargantuan sneeze of a pedestrian on the street nearby and as I headed inside for some more water I felt that at that moment, despite everything, my life was perfect...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One of my brides has started a company to cater to brides. her website is She is really a fantastic person to deal with with an eye for detail and the unusual. I encourage anyone getting married to visit her website.

You can view some images from her wedding on the Knot here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anniversary Reflections

As I approach my 14th wedding anniversary I have been reflecting on the changes and experiences we have seen as a couple. We have had our ups and downs together but I feel that our view of marriage as a permanent bond has helped us work successfully through stressful situations.

As I consider the couples I have the privilege of working with, my best advice is this: forgive each other, try to make each other happy and realize that you are both different and will never be exactly alike. My wife still hopes that someday I will learn to cook more than eggs, rice and porridge. I still hope that someday she will learn to edit video as well as I can; until then, she cooks and I edit. Life is all about compromise.

I wish all my couples long and happy marriages, I thank my wife for loving and supporting me these fourteen years and I thank God for his blessings and the principles in the Bible by which I strive to live.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gary Masters thoughts for 2010

At the begining of each year I take a little time to reflect.(emphasis on little as there are tons of work waiting.) With all the turmoil of the past year(my condolences to Tiger Woods), many seem to view 2010 with some trepidation.

While this is understandable, I feel it is both unnecessary and counter productive. Live with moderation, think creatively, and recognise a higher power in the universe, that is my suggestion. I you have difficulty with thinking positively, read a book on the subject. Start by writing down all the reasons you have to be thankful, and use this as your launching pad for making 2010 your best year yet.

I wish to thank all my clients for availing themselves of our services during this past year. I wish all my brides and grooms and their families health, wealth and happiness as they make their lives together. I wish to thank my fantastic wife for her unwavering support and hard work in making our company a success. I wish to thank God for the health, strength, creativity and other numerous blessings he continues to bestow on us.

I wish to thank my parents for the education and background they gave me. I always had a very stable family life growing up, and I have inherited my Dad's disdain for mediocrity.

I pause here to mention a photographer, Collin Reid, who in my estimation is the top PR photographer in Jamaica today. My mentor in many ways, Colin shares everything, his experience, his trade secrets, his time and his cash. I seriously treasure our association and thank him publicly for all the valuable insights he readily shares with me.

As we move forward, remember that our life is what we make it. Don't sit down cursing your life, your boss, your government or the economy and getting depressed, do something. I genuinely enjoy my life and my lifestyle, my job and my family and resolve to continue to do so regardless of the economy, the government or bad-minded people(and there are plenty of those). May you be similarly blessed...

Life's Lessons(Colin Powell)

My wife sent me the following e-mail this morning which is attributed to Colin Powell. I think it is an excellent way to live. While not easy, it is how I live my life. I share it here for your benefit:

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that dont help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that dont increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this: Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.

Don’t follow anyone who is not going anywhere. With some people, you spend an evening. With others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

"A mirror reflects a man's face. But what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses." The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate- for the good and the bad. BE NOT MISTAKEN! This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes, do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family- for they will always be your family. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.

"In prosperity, our friends know us. In adversity, we know our friends." "Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them." "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, develop the habit in little matters." - Colin Powell