Today La Bride wedding Blog is happy to be interviewing the director of one of the most influential wedding cinematography studios in Australia and Asia, Susanto Widjaja (AKA Santo) from Paper Cranes Productions .
Santo and his industry-leading cinematography team, is not only beloved and praised by many couples around the world, but is also a model and idol among their peers in the wedding film industry. It is a rare opportunity to sit down with Santo to have this little chat. We’re very thankful to Santo for sharing the story of their success with us.
Q: Santo, can you tell us how the inception of Paper Cranes Productions came to be? For example the origin of its name.
A: It is the hardest thing to find a name that you know you will be happy with for a very long time. We definitely wanted a name that is meaningful to us and after a very long process, we found the name Paper Cranes, which came from the title of the first feature film we ever made together. The name itself speaks a lot about hope, which is very fitting to what we want to do, to infuse hope in the society about how beautiful life is.
Q: Can you please introduce yourself? What made you step into a career of a wedding filmmaker?
A: 4 years in an IT university course taught me one thing, I don’t like IT. I remember it was the last year of uni, while I had the opportunity to help out in a friend’s film project and I never looked back since then. I was initially working in the corporate video industry before another friend introduced me to wedding videos. After reluctantly accepted her invitation to film one of her client’s wedding, I was hooked. I fell in love with how close and personal you can be with the client. Most of all, I love the fact that my work will never be dated. Ever. It will always be kept secure, treasured and re-watch for generations and generations to come.
Q: Unlike traditional wedding videography, nowadays wedding films are getting a bit more expensive, a lot of our couples would like to know why.
A: I think it is quite simply because wedding films have caught up with the rest of the industry. For a very long time it hasn’t been in the bride’s top priority list because people haven’t seen the value just yet. As the quality increases more and more, the demand becomes higher and prices reflect upon the market trend just like any other services such as photography, make up and hair styling etc. It is also important to acknowledge that wedding filmmakers invest a lot of time and effort in honing their craft and updating their gear to keep up with the rest of the industry. So rest assured that we are well aware of our competition and we will always strive to give the best we can to our clients.
Q: What advice do you have for couples choosing a wedding cinematography service?
A: It is important to know that no two wedding studios are the same. Everyone has their different levels of skill, different taste, different style and different standard. It is important to identify these things to choose the right one for you.
I have 4 steps or suggestions:
1. Do your homework, understand what “wedding cinematography” is. Now with the Internet, you can look at the works of many studios online, and at the same time recognise what your favourite style is.
2. When choosing a studio, I have to stress to everyone that it is important to notice the consistency of studio’s work. Make sure you’ve looked at a variety of their work, instead of making a hasty decision after watching one or two videos. Verify that this studio has delivered consistent work and not just one or two “lucky” ones.
3. After listing your favourite studios, it is best to set up a face to face meeting. At least you’ll have established a better relationship with them and see if you have that chemistry that is very important as well.
4. Make sure you understand what deliverables you will get in the end and set your expectation correctly and ask questions so you know exactly what you are in for. When you’re satisfied, make the booking :)
Q: You are quite famous and highly regarded in the wedding film industry. Many couples, especially Asian couples, view you as an idol. In light of this what advice do you have for those just starting out in the industry?
A: Like being in any other industries, you always have to ask why you want to be in this particular industry. What is your purpose? What is it that you want to contribute to this industry? Why would this industry NEED you? I think if you can answers these big questions well, you will be on the right path to an exciting journey.
Q: Paper Cranes has made its name in wedding cinematography, in the recent two years it is also responsible for bringing wedding filmmaking to new heights, here we’d like to ask what are your plans in the coming year?
A: We want to keep developing our business to be more sustainable, a more fun and exciting platform for our team to work together, to take on more commercial and short film work and to contribute more to society through our storytelling capabilities.