K&L BTS – Photographs & Years

I thought I’d share a little behind the scenes of what went into this video and how it came to be.

Ed Sheeran – “Photograph”

The first time I saw Ed Sheeran’s music video I was inspired to emulate it for our wedding video. It’s interesting that Sheeran’s song about photographs would be depicted in his music video almost exclusively through videos. I guess you could make the point a video is but 24 or 30 photographs a second. I’ve always felt that photos capture such compelling stories but miss such a critical aspect of personality and motion made visible through videos. Around the 1:46 mark you begin to see this transition from stills to motion pictures as K transitions from a young girl into womanhood.

As K and I went through her pictures we found so many gems. We decided to choose a select few to make this video, the rest would be shown on loop on the side in a separate video.

Lukas Graham – “7 Years”

I vividly remember driving and this song came on the radio. I’ve never connected with a song so thoroughly, by the time the song sings about turning 60, I was in tears. The song walks through life first looking up to his parents and hearing their words, growing up and experiencing life, and later hoping to live to 60 where he will have hoped to live a good life.

A week before my dad passed, the last voice message I received from him was on my 25th birthday where he wished me, “happy birthday son, find yourself a good girlfriend. Love you“.

Lukas’ father passed at 61, mine at 60.

I watched the music video with K and was in tears again. She encouraged me to use this song and make this video. Fortunately, my family is all about preserving memories, it’s a trait that has passed down to me. Over the past few months I digitized all our VHS home videos, distilling what I could to capture my life through the years.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the last clip in the video. The video is from a graduation gift one of my groomsmen (TH) and 3 great brothers (ML, CD, EL) made for me. They had secretly driven up to the bay and recorded a ton of clips of my childhood places and a few precious words from my family and my dad. I am forever grateful for that gift and for that memory. While K never got to meet him in person she got to see what he was like and hear his words.

Few people knew that Oct 31st is the anniversary of my dad’s passing, it would be 2 days after the wedding. This would be a tribute to my dad and his words would resonate once again with me.

On Oct 29, 2016. I married that girl, dad. Love you too.

Nadia & Joby: behind the scenes

This was one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. It started with a 6:30am direct flight from San Diego to Chicago. An arson fire knocked out a flight tower that knocked out Midway airport in Chicago. No matter, rerouted to go from San Diego – Reno – Chicago and landing later that evening. Would miss the rehearsal dinner but at least get in on time.

By the time I landed in Reno the nation had figured out just how bad this was becoming. The fire had effectively knocked out both airports in Chicago rendering all east-bound flights into Chicago futile. Roughly 2500+ flights would be canceled that day. Unfortunately my time in the air rerouting through Reno also meant the rest of the nation had booked most of the available flights into near by airports (St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Urbana all out). The next best thing they could do was fly me back to San Diego and fly me out to Chicago on Sunday, effectively missing the entire wedding on Saturday.

In a frantic 3-4 hours in Reno, I buried away at my laptop looking for another flight and any other option. At one point I realized how crazy this was and my last ditch effort to get on a flight was sidetracked by an epic meltdown of another customer in front of me. I called the bride and informed her the news and wished her the best. I couldn’t image dealing with such a thing a day before getting married…Nadia and Joby had some serious calm.

I remember sitting down and thinking just how fruitless this all seemed. I sat defeated and uttered a prayer. In all the chaos, I had tried everything I could with my own hands. I wasn’t even praying for a miracle, but that the couple would have a glorious day and that the people that really mattered (bridesmaids, photographer, and bride’s family) would make it.

I decided to look one last time and found a flight. Could it be?! United had a criss-cross nation flight…and it would arrive in Chicago at 9am on Saturday. With the wedding at 10am…un-believe-able!


The journey which started at 6:30am Friday, detoured through Reno, would land in SF with a red eye to Philly and land in time for the wedding. I I purchased the last tix and boarded the flight. The next morning I landed in Philly and ended at the gate to Chicago. The gate boarding screen displayed “FLIGHT DELAY 30 MIN”. Cutting it beyond close but still possible.


“FLIGHT DELAY 90 MIN” my heart sank. 3200 miles later and I would land 30 minutes into the wedding. I couldn’t come this far and have this happen!

The delay ended up ~75 mins and they made up some time in the air. Divine providence would have it that my new flight was with United and having traveled to Singapore a few times last year my silver premiere status finally came in handy as my luggage was one of the first off the plane. My sister’s friend Esther gracious picked me up and got me to the church in a hurry.

As I entered the church I dropped my luggage in a corner and got to work. It was already near the later half of the ceremony and I knew I’d have to make up a ton of footage of the reception to make this worthwhile. Adrenaline carried me through most of the day. At the end of it, I was extremely bummed I had missed key moments in the ceremony. Not that anybody could have done anything, but I still felt for the couple.

As I was unwinding, my mom nudges me and says “hey, look what I captured on my phone”. Now if we can pause right here. This was an asian wedding…and so yes there was invariable an ipad, a few phones sticking in the air taking pics. it’s the bane of every photographer and videographer, but I was so tired at the end of the day I humored my mom.


footage courtesy of Mom and Kam K

I jumped out of my chair. This would be a crowdsourced video! At this point, I have to give a huge shout out to my mom who realized I was going to be late and asked the guy next to her with a camcorder to record a few clips. Between my mom’s footage and a family friend with a camcorder, I had the vows, the rings, and the bride’s entrance! No joke here…my mom’s smart phone is a Nokia 521, that goes for about $65 unlocked. It’s quality should be no where near usable footage but it’s there in the final cut! I still can’t believe it!!

At the end of the day, I could not be any happier how this video turned out. It’s one for the ages for me.

God is so unpredictable.


King Of The Swingers (The Swing Ninjas) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

A few weeks back I was approached by my coworkers J.Wong and R.Patel about a quick shoot that could help promote the swing dance club at work and potentially be used for talent acquisition purposes. Most of the people in the club were in my old group so I thought it’d be fun. Totally blown away when I went to one of their lunch meetings to do some scouting but once the beat dropped they really started doing their thing! It was really impressive!

Concept-wise I went back to an commercial from way back in the day. I remember being in 8th grade when this commercial hit and around this time my core teacher started up a swing club at our middle school. Never was any good at it and I remember more than a few close calls with my arm being bent in different directions. Still, I always loved the vibe and feel of swing so I was looking forward to this.

Here’s some of the test footage for reference. The dancers were all improving and so it was a bit tricky but necessary to get them used to the idea of repeating improved movements since I’d be shooting with a single camera on the day of the shoot. They all went back and brushed up their moves and threw in some new ones!

On the day of shooting, SD was a little warmer than usual, hitting highs of 95*C. Even though we were indoors the heat made the floors a little sticker but everyone was still super excited. It’s super apparent they’re having fun and I’m just there hitting record. Finally, a little color correction warmed the shoot a little. I tried to emulate a little of the eye popping red that is in the music video for Cissie Redwick’s “Gimme that Swing” (link)

Couple more videos coming out soon in quick succession. stay tuned!

TBT: Louder feat. Vision [Double Exposure Remix]

It’s throwback thursday!  A week ago I experimented with double exposures and I tried it out on some old footage. Here I got to mix it up with some clips from a music video back in 2011 and from new year’s eve/day in Australia on 1/1/11. That footage shot on the first DSLR (canon t2i) that I got just a month or so before the trip. Great memories.

Are you listening?!