Woodstock Cinema Blending the Traditional with the Modern

Many businesses thrive on creating something beautiful out of their customers’ experiences – after all, everyone has special days to commemorate.  Photographers, caterers, event planners and many other entrepreneurs can really make a living by beautifying and memorializing events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like.  But in a sea of businesses all catered to this niche market, how does one special business stand out?

Sam Mante of Woodstock Cinema has the answer.  As the owner of a new but steadily growing business, he’s found a way to provide a fresh and innovative take on wedding videography.  Woodstock Cinema prides itself on creating beautiful yet candid wedding videos, seamlessly combining the traditional art form with a more modern and unexpected touch.

Sam Mante of Woodstock Cinema on Making a Business Stand Out

Back in 2013, Sam procured a video camera so he could capture his mother’s journey through Stage 4 cancer, wanting to document her fight as well as her eventual victory against the disease.  After the ordeal was over, he was blessed with a healthy mother as well as the camera she gave him, so Sam decided to make full use of the gadget and its functions by starting a videography business.

Gaining inspiration from professional wedding photographers and getting help from a fellow videographer, Sam was able to work freelance for a few months before creating his own brand.

“In my mind, I wanted to do something different in the community, in the wedding videography [industry],” he shares.  The inspiration for the business, in fact, came from Sam’s understanding that the new generation likes the concept of freshness and individuality.  “Being young, we want something new, something that isn’t the usual.”

Starting from scratch and doing all the work himself, he began shooting low-budget weddings before moving on to bigger and more grandiose events.  More than anything, he targets couples who want candid, undirected wedding videos where he can best achieve the ‘classy and timeless’ look he aims for.

In his first year, he found these couples through bridal fairs, which are the prime marketing location for any startup focused on weddings or similar events.  But all through the years, he relies on online advertising through blogs, Facebook and Instagram.  Sam also makes most of his connections through mobile communication, stating that, “[It’s my] primary source of communication because notifications (text messages and calls) are easier to see on the phone than online.”

Using these digital methods to its advantage, Woodstock Cinema has not only launched, but boomed.  At some point every business hits bumps on the road to success, but for Sam, the challenges were welcome and appreciated, however stressful they were.

“We had a rush of couples – we didn’t expect it to be that fast,” he says, after stating that in 2016 alone, Woodstock Cinema had already shot over 100 couples.  Their demand remains strong for 2017 as well, as they have more than 90 weddings planned and are aiming for 130.  With a new but strong team of nine videographers, Sam is well on his way to growing his business much further.

So what makes Woodstock Cinema’s videos unique?  To begin with, they’re very personal and catered specifically to the couple.  Sam says, “Even if you say that every wedding is the same, the couples are really different from each other.  So each couple’s wedding has its own strength, [and we] tend to focus on the strength of each wedding to make it unique.”

Sometimes, they can even add trends and quirks to the videos.  Sam cites how at one time they filmed a couple doing the mannequin challenge.  He also prioritizes the couple’s comfort over getting “the perfect shot” that looks stiff or unnatural onscreen.  Basically, he feels that modernity comes from being unscripted and straightforward, and that this in turn gives Woodstock Cinema its edge over the competition.

“We want to have the feel of the day,” he explains to sum it up.  “We want the couple to feel, when they watch it again in the future, that they’re returning to that day.  We don’t want our videos to be a template.”

When asked about how he keeps the delicate balance between traditional and modern styles of videography, he answers, ““There needs to be a mix of traditional and modern styles.  If there are no modern shots, people might look for them in the future.  Traditional shots, on the other hand, are there because they really work.”

For more inspiring stories from our SMEs, subscribe to Globe myBusiness’ myBizKit