Digital Dream Productions based in Fleckney, Leicestershire is a family owned and run business which was founded in 2008 by Catherine & Lee Gaughan Brown. The idea for the business evolved after Catherine was unable to find a videography company she liked or trusted to film our own wedding after I proposed in 2007.
As with all brides-to-be Catherine spent months planning her perfect day and wished to have it captured on film and made into a DVD that she could cherish for years to come. Disappointingly that was not to happen. After a number of weeks researching it became evident that the videography companies that she found usually belonged to one of two schools. They where either the cheaper part-time, one camera, little creativity, one trick pony with a follicly challenged portly gentleman astride its back or the expensive corporate led directive based film companies that wanted extra cash for filming a cake-cut and smacked of more than a little pretentiousness when it came to the type of film produced.
Catherine quickly determined that unfortunately filming the wedding would have to take a back seat as the idea had been rather late coming to the table. The budget just didn’t allow for what was sought after nor had we found a company we liked. So we did what many, many brides choose to do. We got a friend to do it and ultimately we paid the price for it with lost memories. We were very happy that he agreed to do it, and in no way blame him for what we got, after all he works in an office at a desk. It was the first time someone had asked him to do something that important with a camcorder – and it wasn’t even his! Yes, we borrowed it from another friend and gave him the responsibility of trying to capture our precious memories on equipment he had never seen before. He tried his best, we appreciate it and we thank him for it. However we have 40 minutes of muffled sound and lots of legs and feet. There are a few minutes of decent footage but not enough to remember the fullness of the day’s events (the mother-in-law did a magnificent spread and we had a 21 piece band, the camcorder just couldn’t do it justice!).
The problem is, and most couples will find this to be true if they choose the same route; that the friend you ask to film has no experience of that type of filming even if they have had a handy-cam for a while. Coupled with that they are also there as a guest so they try to be both things at once, which does not work. The reasons for this are simple; they sit where guests sit (wrong vantage point for a camera, usually looking over someone else’s shoulder), they move when the guests move, up and down with the entrances, hymns, applause etc (they generally have the camera facing down as they rise missing the action) and lastly they probably haven’t attended that many weddings and don’t know what cues to look for in anticipation and readiness of something that’s about to happen – they are reactive not proactive and this means many of the important moments are missed and can never be captured again.
After the honeymoon, Catherine pondered on this for a few days (I could hear the low squeal of gears grinding and little dust balls escaping her ears occasionally, so I knew something was afoot). She soon came to the conclusion that there was a gap in the market and that we should exploit it.
I have been a multimedia designer for over twenty years, and hold a B.A. Hons. Degree from De Montfort University in Leicester and my experience encompasses 2D/3D design, Print, Digital Art, Computer Aided Design, Typography, Information Design, Web Design and on and on and on, if it has ‘design’ at the end of the title I’ve probably done it at some point and designed and built the computers that I and my colleagues worked on too, but the one thing that I didn’t think I’d be doing was professional film or photography.
When Catherine came to me and asked if I would like to do it I said “well my love anything for my darling princess” errrr where’s the barf bag!…. Not really, to be honest I said I did do film at Uni but I didn’t listen too well, I didn’t think I needed to! But I’ll give it a go.
I’m a firm believer in if you decide to do something then do it properly, whole-heartedly and without reservation.
We spent the next few months researching, gathering information, deciding upon our needs and requirements and how we should proceed.
We decided upon a name; Digital Dream Productions and began our portfolio building campaign and offered a number of weddings free to get things started, we purchased our first set of HD cameras (Sony HVR HD1000’s), tripods and audio equipment. Catherine and I then proceeded to spend the summer filming. It was fantastic, I truly wish I had chosen this path years ago, not only did I get to spend more time with my wife, working together, I also found a vocation that I am truly suited too and thoroughly enjoy – the wedding days, although long are a blast as every wedding is unique and afterwards I can be creative and imaginative with the edit in post-production. It really is inspiring.
After two years of working together it became obvious that we had too much work and needed a helping hand, our success had outgrown our capacity. As we said at the beginning, this is a family business; so we asked our closest family member – Catherine’s Brother Daniel, if he would like to join us on our journey. I am happy to declare he said yes, he has been with us for a while now and his involvement has bolstered our ranks and strengthened our company. He is a great addition to the team.
Once we had a good number of weddings in our portfolio and a firm understanding of that side of the business it was time to diversify and add the corporate arm to the mix, DDP Studios. Our corporate portfolio is gradually getting stronger and more varied. We have filmed conferences in Oxford, Rigid-Inflatable-Boats (RIBS) on the Thames, Promotional Films in Chipping Campden, Hovercraft Tours in Plymouth to name but a few and we look forward to adding many, many more. We are also focused on adding commercial photography and have begun to offer these services to our clients in addition to film, either individually or as a package.
We have now been in business for a number of years and although our equipment has changed, our expertise has improved and our style has evolved, the way I (we) feel about our business has not diminished, on the contrary, the more weddings and events we film and photograph the more enjoyable it becomes. We hope to continue for many years to come, and perhaps one day we will achieve our goal of being one of the premier film and photography companies in the industry.
With your help we just might get there!
Lee Gaughan Brown.