Nora McCormack is the lady behind the lens of SP films
. Read on to find out what makes her love filming love stories so gosh darn much!
How did you get started in videography?
When I was in college, I took an internship at a television station (Resort Sports Network at Sunday River Ski Resort). My major was Sport Management, but I immediately fell in love with everything video-related. Fast forward 12 years and I am now the Station Manager (Sunday River TV, now an Outside Television affiliate), and owner/operator of SP Films. I started my business as a way to stay involved in the video industry over the summer months, and it took off far more than I could have ever dreamed!
What do you love about wedding videography?
My absolute favorite part about filming weddings is to tell the story of the couple. When I'm shooting, I'm not only looking for the beautiful visuals, but I am listening to the natural dialogue of the day. Only so much of their story can be told with imagery, which is why I love to incorporate those little audio snippets--the moment that the newlyweds are walking down the aisle together, chatting excitedly as the reality sets in. Or the cheers from the girls as they see the bride in her dress for the first time. To be able to not only see that moment, but to hear it as well is so incredibly powerful.
What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a wedding?
The biggest challenge for many filmmakers is securing high quality sound. My motto is “Prepare to fail.” With that in mind, I have numerous backups for capturing the important audio from the day. What may seem like overkill (mic'ing up the officiant, groom, podium, musicians, additional readers, microphone stands, and getting a feed from your band or DJ) is actually very crucial to how well these important moments are preserved. It's not as simple as relying on the on-camera microphones, and there are so many variables to contend with (wind if it's an outside ceremony, will the priest allow us to put a microphone on him, will the DJ or band allow us to plug into their board or speakers, etc…). If one system fails, then I will have several other sources to use in the final film.
What should clients know about your style of film?
I take a very hands-on approach to my business. I like to get to know my couples on a more personal basis before the day of the wedding. By meeting at least once before the wedding (in person or via FaceTime/Skype if the distance is too much), the couple gets the chance to not only ask me any questions that they might have, but it allows them to become comfortable with me. On the wedding day, they are going to be stressed and feeling under pressure. Adding a stranger to the mix will not help at ALL. If somebody is uncomfortable in front of the camera, there really isn't a way to hide it. By taking the extra time to grab dinner or drinks with my couples, it puts them at ease and allows them to focus on what's really important on the day of the wedding.
When you're not behind the camera, what do you like to do?
Between my wedding and broadcast work, I feel like I am always behind the camera! In those rare moments when I get a chance to relax, you'll find me snowboarding at Sunday River, hiking around western Maine with my 2 boxers, and spending as much time with friends and family as possible. I used to be really into surfing and am hoping to get back in the water a bunch this summer.
How can the couple help YOU on their wedding day?
The best thing that a couple can do is to relax, be present in the moment, and to trust me. I am extremely passionate about each and every wedding that I film. If my couples and their families give me 100% creative freedom to capture the day as I see it, it will make for an incredibly smooth and fun day.
How has your style changed over the years?
I am my own harshest critic and am constantly trying to improve every time I pick up a camera. When I first started out shooting weddings, the trend was to produce a music video. Sepia-tone was all the rage and using unlicensed music was widely accepted. Now I rely heavily on the natural audio of the day and have gravitated to a more cinematic-style video. I want to tell their story, not just create a linear video of the day.
What sorts of things inspire you when you pick up your camera?
I am constantly inspired by my peers in the wedding film industry. My friend Sarah Pendergraft of Pen Weddings based in Oklahoma has been an incredible source of knowledge and inspiration. She and her husband are not only incredibly talented, but they are open and honest about how they are able to create their masterpieces.
Meg Simone is another constant source of inspiration. She is one of the most open and giving filmmakers in the New England wedding industry, and also has dialed in a healthy work-life balance (which is SO important). She works her tail off creating timeless films over the wedding season, and takes the winter off to travel the country, chasing snow. How can you not be inspired by that?!
Another source of inspiration is the environment that I am in. Maine is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and I gravitate toward the natural environment that my job leads me. If I am shooting a wedding on the coast, I will gladly wake up at 4am to set my cameras up in order to capture the sunrise! My films tend to incorporate shots that reflect the natural beauty of the area, outside of the wedding venue itself.
Where will your business be in the next 5 years?
Hopefully in 5 years families will continue to trust me with telling their story! I am also in the infancy stage of creating a budget-friendly brand that will cater to couples in the Sunday River area. A quality wedding film is an investment that not everybody fits into their budget. I'm hoping that this brand will allow those who might not be able to afford SP Films, still walk away with a gorgeous wedding film...without breaking the bank.