Imagine you’re a wedding cinematographer. You’re capturing the essence of someone’s most personal experience. Not only are you tasked with capturing beautiful footage, but delivering these precious assets to a client efficiently and safely. So, how do these creatives ensure that they’ve protected their work?
WPPI 2023 is an annual conference hosted in Las Vegas geared towards wedding photographers and videographers. In honor of this event, we sat down with Queens-based wedding cinematographer Thomas Bencivengo of Vengo Films to discuss his creative process and workflow.
Interviewer: How did you get started in wedding Cinematography ? And why did you choose to specialize in weddings?
Thomas: Growing up, I've always had a camera in my hands - ever since I was twelve years old. When YouTube first started, I was fascinated by it as a totally new platform. For high school, I applied and was accepted to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and I really began cultivating tools for a career in the industry. I attended film school for college and originally began shooting music festivals and DJs. I was asked to shoot a wedding for a family friend, but I was hesitant about it at first as it felt so far beyond my realm of experience. I wanted to make the process fully my own, so I leveraged my skillset and love of cinematography and incorporated that into my work. That’s how I discovered my style. Shooting more weddings, I realized how rewarding it was to film such a milestone event for others, capturing moments I know will be treasured forever.
Interviewer: When did you decide to build your business?
Thomas: I never intended to start my own business, but then I began filming events on my own. It was right around the time when instagram first launched, so I began to showcase the work that I had done on the platform. I remember setting up my instagram handle, shortening my last name from Bencivengo to Vengo (@vengofilms) simply to have an account to document my work. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had just made the logo and name of my company. Thanks, Instagram!
Interviewer: Who were your earliest influences and inspiration?
Thomas: I have always been a huge Martin Scorsese fan, along with David Fincher.
Interviewer: How would you describe your Cinematography style?
Thomas: I would describe my style as modern, sexy and playful with moody undertones. I’m big on choosing the right music for the couples I work with.That way, the film takes on their its own life while at the same time showcasing the couple’s unique story and essence. For some, it may be an emotional, pure and intimate experience. For others, it’s a sense of pure excitement to be surrounded by the people they love in celebration. It comes down to the couple, which is so important when capturing my client’s joy and showcasing their love on film.
Interviewer: From loading up your computer to delivering videos to your clients - what does your workflow look like?
Thomas: After I shoot a wedding, the first thing I do is transfer my footage to my main storage drive and then once more to my backup drive. Once I've got my two copies of the media, I transfer the footage to a SSD to edit a 1-minute teaser, which I showcase mainly on Instagram. The Atom EV has become my go-to SSD for editing because it's so fast, and the turnaround for this is relatively short. I always want to provide my clients with a little something right away as I know they are eager to relieve their big day. Four of five months after their wedding date, they receive their final deliverables.
Interviewer: What are your biggest challenges as a wedding cinematographer regarding gear?
Thomas: Definitely having reliable hard drives that won’t die in the midst of shooting.
Interviewer: Since a wedding is a very important one-time event, how do you ensure that your files are safeguarded?
I always make sure I have two forms of backup for every client. This ensures that while the footage is being edited, there are three copies of their event - two on my big backup drives and one on a working SSD. I've been loving using my Glyph Atom EV as my edit drive. The build quality alone assures me that my footage is secure. It's also extremely quiet which allows me to be fully focused as I edit. It's small details like this that allow me to create my best work. I will definitely be picking up the new Blackbox Pro RAID with Thunderbolt 3 really soon for my backup needs.
Interviewer: When choosing a hard drive, what specs are most important to you?
Thomas: Speed is critical as a wedding cinematographer. Some weddings will reach up to 500 gigs of space. If you don’t have a powerful hard drive that can handle multi-tasking, your workflow will suffer. Again, that's why I love using my Glyph Atom EV Portable NVMe SSD. It's super powerful and has lightning quick read and write speeds, allowing me to work quickly and efficiently. It's also small enough to easily fit into my pocket, so I can take it with me anywhere - which is extremely convenient.
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