Wedding Videography @ Healdsburg Country Gardens by Kyle Mikami

It's been three years since I filmed my first wedding at this spectacular location in Northern California.  Healdsburg Country Gardens is a gorgeous wedding venue with beautiful gardens surrounded by rolling vineyards.   The owners, Barbara and Walt, are extremely accommodating and were there throughout the day helping out with whatever was needed to ensure the best experience possible.

Fast forward three years, and I just filmed my 9th wedding in Orange County, California at the beautiful Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel in Huntington Beach, California.  You can see many similarities in editing style and pacing throughout both videos.  

I'm extremely fortunate to have a large network of friends and family that have gotten married over the past three years.  Jon, the groom from the first wedding, was a former coworker at a real estate firm in Los Angeles.  Brandon, the groom for the most recent wedding, is a college friend.

For more wedding videos, visit my wedding page!

West Coast Swing Improv by Kyle Mikami

West Coast Swing is an incredible dance.  I still don't have the basics down yet, but it's a really fun and playful dance.  I filmed this improvisation on a whim at a local dance studio in Costa Mesa - Atomic Ballroom.  Michael Kielbasa  is based out of San Diego and Naomi is from England.  

I remember being nervous before filming the couple dance.  I didn't know Michael or Naomi and knew zero about WCS.  Typically, when I shoot dancers, I know the dance I am filming so I'm able to essential dance with or around them comfortably.  I can play with the musicality, anticipate moves, and try creative angles while shooting.  

This is a great song, and the music video is even better.  Ray Liotta is the man!

What's considered a good Bachata Festival? by Kyle Mikami

I believe there are many factors needed to create a good Bachata Festival.  As a dancer, former performer, and now videographer - I have been to many festivals both good and bad.  I will give you my opinion as to what constitutes a good Bachata Festival.

First and foremost, a festival must invest in a good production - whether it be big or small.  This means they need to have a suitable location, sound system, floors to dance on, stage, lighting, photo/video coverage, and a TEAM.  Having a really loud speaker does not mean it's a good sound system.  Having a number of speakers that are balanced well with the bass and that you can feel while dancing is the more important.

The most successful festivals I've been to have a team of individuals that are all vested in the congress and have specific duties or roles.  They oversee and manage different operations of the festival.  The delegate jobs and deal with problems throughout the weekend.  If a festival is done right, you should see the promoter(s) relaxing and enjoying the event as it unfolds since they have planned for months in advance.

With so many different styles of bachata in today's world- it makes sense to cater to different styles.  These styles include dominican, urban, and sensual.  I'm not a purist and don't like getting in heated debates about the different "styles" or labels of bachata.  Let's just say there are different styles which means the promoter needs to cater to those dancers that dance those styles.

This means, the promoter needs to book DJs and artists that dance these different styles.  Organizers need to look outside of their state or country for these styles.  Going to a local festival only to see everyone that you already know and danced with last Friday night is not fun.  You want a dominican-style bachatero? Book someone from the Dominican Republic who has that style, or perhaps someone that was born there but now lives elsewhere.  Want bachata sensual?  Sure, just look at the long list of dancers from Spain. 

In order to have a good bachata congress, I believe you need to have a good location, great music, and awesome artists.  These three things along with a team of well-liked organizers will attract a variety of dancers from all over.  This in turn will create a great setting for social dancing, shows, and workshops.  I would like to emphasize the DJs.  I believe having good music is truly the most important.  Even if the location sucks but the music is on point- I can still enjoy myself.  Viceversa- no way.

Bachata is alive and strong in California.  Let's keep it going by bringing in top talent and creating an environment that fosters celebration and growth of bachata.  If you're a dancer or performer, be aware of how festivals are run,  pay attention to details, and don't spend money on a festival that doesn't invest in a good production.

This is my most recent edit of a bachata congress in the Los Angeles area - the 2016 LA BKS Festival hosted by DJ Kenny.

 

Wedding at Tivoli Terrace in Laguna Beach, California by Kyle Mikami

I met Danielle and Simone salsa dancing years ago.  As most that are addicted to dancing, I would see them at many of the different dance events throughout the LA area.  One day Danielle mentioned that she was getting married and that she wanted me to cover her wedding.  I immediately knew this was going to be a great opportunity.   An opportunity not just to film a wedding, but an opportunity to film a couple that dances salsa and bachata on their wedding day!  
 

Tivoli Terrace is a beautiful location in the heart of Laguna Beach.  It's nestled into the hillside as you enter the downtown area.  The decor and staging is unique and provides for an intimate wedding.  

This is their trailer.  Keep in mind this video only uses sound from the song I selected.  There is no audio from the vows or speeches.

Immediately after the wedding was over, I asked if they could dance a bachata improv in the terrace.  The lights lit up the terrace like a scene out of a fairytale movie.  Here is the dance video we filmed.

Congratulations again Danielle and Simone!  

Save the Date! Laguna Beach Wedding by Kyle Mikami

This past weekend I met with Danielle and Simon at The District in Tustin to discuss their upcoming wedding.  Initially we got to know each other better and I discussed different options for music selection.  After, we went to their apartment complex 5 minutes away and found some different locations to shoot the video.  Their wedding is this coming Saturday at Tivoli Terrace in Laguna Beach, California.

I met Danielle in the salsa scene some years ago and we've been friends since.  This will be my fourth wedding I've shot until now and the first for 2016.  I'm really excited to be capturing their special day.   They will also be dancing a choreographed salsa dance and possibly a bachata improvisation.

My goal with this last minute "save the date" video was to create buzz and excitement for their upcoming wedding.  This was shot in one hour and took about an hour and half to edit.  I'd like to do more videos like this one and get creative using drone shots and telling a story.