Hey everyone! I know that I talk about “Making Websites” all the time, but did I ever tell you that I love filming and editing videos? If you’re interested in video production or the technical “post-production” aspect of things, this blog post is for YOU. Or, if you just want to know more about this music video and how it was made, this blog is also for YOU.

Watch “Love On Top” – Bay Area Filming on YouTube.


Location, Intro and the “What”

Downtown San Francisco is where we filmed our own version of “Love on Top” – Bay Area style. We filmed this music video, “Love on Top” for a wedding, and presented it during the reception (as a surprise for the guests). The talented singer and main dancer herself is Leidilyn, who is actually the Bride! The dance crew spent about 6 months to rehearse (once a week), and filming took one full day, on location.

“Love on Top” – Bay Area Style was filmed in the heart of San Francisco, CA, in a spacious venue called “The Ballet Studio“. This music video is based off Beyonce’s “Love on Top”, but our version was sung by the Bride, Leidilyn.

The Bride, The Idea, The Crew

Back in early 2012, the beautiful and creative “Bride-to-be”, Leidlyn and her “Groom-to-be”, Edward, decided to film music videos for each other for their Wedding. Their wedding wasn’t until April 2013, but planning needed to start now!

Dance rehearsals began shortly and by June of 2012, the Bride gathered 4 handsome men to become her back-up dancers, Reagan, Butch, Kristoffer and Nevin. Things started to heat up! Oh my.

One of the first things to do now was get a professional choreographer to help guide and teach the crew how to dance. The Bride contacted Jacqueline Cahayag, a former ballet instructor and former professional cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders. She molded the dance group and taught them the dance moves for “Love on Top”.

Now, the Bride needed a film crew who could work with the dance members. This is where I come on, and when Leidilyn approached me about doing this, I was all for it. But it wasn’t just me, another talented individual named Jeff joined me as part of our filming crew (him and I have tag-teamed in the past on short films and commercials, but we’ve never done a music video before).

Dance Rehearsals & One More Member

The Bride knew they needed one more member to fulfill the dance crew line-up. This is where Alden comes in and brings the spark to the dance group! He may have started rehearsing at a later date, but his dance skills were already up-to-par due to his charismatic and slick movements. What’s not to love?

Dance rehearsals continued for a bout 6 months, and Jeff and I attended a few rehearsals to get a feel for the dance group. We were amazed, and inspired.

The Full Cast and Crew

Every person made a huge impact on the filming of “Love on Top” – Bay Area Style. Here’s everyone who took part of this process:

Leidilyn  – Bride, main singer / main dancer, Co-Director
Reagan, Alden, Butch, Kristoffer and Nevin – Backup dancers
Jacqueline Cahayag – Professional Choreographer, Co-Director, Make-up Artist
Jeff – Videographer and lights
Mark Ammay – Videographer, Post-Production Editor
Josh – Recording Artist (recorded Leidlyn’s vocals)
Irwin – Professional Audio Mixer (mixed Leidliyn’s vocals)
Elizah – DJ for rehearsals and day-of filming
Edward – Groom, Support & Catering

The Big Day, Studio, and Filming

On January 26, 2013 we filmed at The Ballet Studio, in beautiful San Franciso, CA. The studio was well lit and spacious, giving us all the room to move and dance. The whole dance crew was there, as well as a few others to help support us.

Jeff was ready to film with his Canon 7D, DSLR Camera, and I was ready to shoot with my Canon Vixia Handy Camcorder. We both carried mobile tripods and stabilizers for smooth movement.

Filming started way before we got to the studio, and this footage became the “Behind the Scenes” of Love on Top – Bay Area Style!

We had 3 Wardrobe changes, and filming took the whole day. Spirits were high, and energy was very high. We finished around 7-8 pm and enjoyed every minute of it! Afterwards, we celebrated!

Dinner Celebration & Awards

We celebrated at “Elephant Bar” and had a late dinner with the whole crew. Everyone was there, and we were all chowing down on food. Before the night ended, Leidilyn surprised the Dance Crew with a special award presentation, and gave each member a personalized award with a great caricature drawing of themselves! BTW, she’s an artist, too!

Post-Production and Video Editing

I gathered all the footage from “Love on Top” and edited on my 17 inch MacBook Pro, using nothing more then iMovie. Everything you see in this music video was edited through iMovie. Editing took roughly 10-12 hours and included revisions and changes. The key to working with iMovie is to work around the program and know your limits. I knew we couldn’t add strobe lights and special effects unless we came out of iMovie and used After Effects or some other program. But for me, I’m not a professional videographer or even a professional video editor. And I am a huge fan of “no-rendering time”, so iMovie was my weapon of choice for post-production editing.

Things We Learned

You see the final product, but did you know that we had many hiccups and technical issues? Yes, we ran out of battery juice and didn’t even have a backup. Well, I had a backup for my Canon Vixia Camcorder, but Jeff did not have a back-up for his Canon 7D (he has a backup battery, now).

We also realized how hard it was to direct the crew while trying to carry our cameras around and trying to get the right shot. I’m sure many people can do it, but it just wasn’t working for us all the time.

And finally, I realized my Canon Vixia Camcorder was great for moving around, but terrible with lighting compared to Jeff’s Canon 7D DSLR. Also, I could not replicate his depth of field where everything in the background was blurry except the subject or foreground. My take-away… my next Camera will be a DSLR!

The Wedding Presentation

Finally, the day has come, April 12, 2013 at the Black Hawk Museum in Danville, CA. This was an amazing and awe-inspiring moment, especially for the Bride and Groom, Leidilyn and Edward. They presented “Love on Top” during the reception and the music video that we put all our heart and soul into, received a great applause.

We took some time to reflect and realized that all of our hard work… finally paid off!