Epic Films Imphal talks to ManipuriWeddings team about their concept of Wedding Photography and Videography, breaking the unwritten rules and bringing in new flavours to wedding photography and videography in Manipur!
Epic Films, Imphal is a team of young dynamic photographers and videographers telling stories since 2016. Lead by the brothers’ duo Robin Seram and Ronel Seram, the team has broken some unwritten rules in the Manipuri Wedding Photography scene. Always fascinated by the narrative styles which goes into film-making, it was Robin’s idea to apply the same in their photography and videography. Capturing intimate details, getting up close with couples and their family and narrating their stories through images is what best Epic Films does.
Their work is as epic as their name suggest. ManipuriWeddings decided to drop by at their newly acquired office and studio at Konung Mamang. The infectious enthusiasm for photography got us staring at each and every picture they had taken. Robin Seram the Director Cinematography and Photography introduced us to the entire team and sat down with us for a long enthralling chat.
Excerpts from the interview:
ManipuriWeddings: So, finally we are here. It’s been a hell of a season and we are yet to decide which is your best work so far.
Robin Seram: Thank you for your encouragement. We have been really busy too.
MW: Yes. The market seems to be growing and you guys are bringing in some new flavours. What’s your take on it?
Robin: As a young man, I was always fascinated by the films and how it worked to express the emotions of a person through the way a scene is shot. I am a movie buff and watch movies to study how it was shot and not the storyline of the movie. As time goes by I developed the taste of photography and I decided to form a team of photographers and videographers to cover weddings and by wedding photography our team tries to tell the story of the couple and their family; hence the name Epic Films!
MW: That’s an interesting story behind the name.
Robin: There’re so many with the name Epic but I loved it and wanted to make our team an epic one and stand out among the ‘Epic’ in our own unique way. In all these, my brother and his friends helped me a lot in establishing what Epic Film is now. It’s like handing me the right weapon to shoot when I got the target.
MW: (laugh) So, the Epic team is your weapon? And what are the services you offer?
Robin: Yes, they are. Ronel is our front-man in photography and Jayananda takes charge of the videography. And we have a bunch of others who contribute in a big way.
As for services, for us photography and videography go hand in hand. Most of our package go together. But there are times when some clients wants only photography. In that case we look at our schedule and try to adjust. We also get hired for videography only. But personally I think it’s always better to go for the package since our photos and video goes together. There is coordination and a story which is woven into images as we are capturing it.
MW: So tell us about your break-through. When, how and all that?
Robin: When I decided to start this team, I started with my own wedding. It was a suggestion of a good friend of mine, Yanglem Manimohan. He’s been the force behind Epic Films and we are really thankful to him. Also we had a team of good friends and people work hard to give the best, from pre – wedding to post – wedding. I used my wedding video as an experimental video for my project and it basically started off the Epic films journey.
Our first assignment was for my friend Jayanta’s wedding. He was cool enough to give us the job but I would say our team got the breakthrough when we did the video-graphy for Sanah and Ikram’s wedding. That way we started out through wedding films and Jayananda was instrumental in the success of Epic in that early stage. He is like family, we just happen to share the same wavelength since he is Ronel’s childhood friend!
MW: I guess social media played a major role in spreading the word about Epic Films. Your page is very different and engages the visitors so well.
Robin: Yes. Social Media is like a boon for us to reach the public. About the engagement, we try to give a little detail of the couple. The story of the couple along with our carefully selected photos makes it easier for the visitors to relate to the pictures. The story substantiate the pictures and vice versa.
MW: So, who writes the story on your social media pages?
Robin: About the story, when Epic Films takes up a project there are certain things that we take into consideration. Like once we confirm with an assignment, we request our clients for a meeting or two. We talk to them, listen to their stories, interact with their family if we get an opportunity.
After we meet them we sit down and decide on a storyline. The entire teams sit and discuss how we should capture their story in the photo and videography. So there’s a really long process.
MW: It’s fascinating how you guys work. So my question remains, you write the story?
Robin: No. It’s our sister whom we have bribed to write for us. (Laughs)
We are three siblings; me, Ronel and Rabina. Rabina works with Times of India in Bangalore. And she is the one who writes for us whenever necessary. We just give her the details and don’t even need to explain what we want. So she picks it up and weaves those magical words. I guess she understands her brothers really well.
MW: It really does make a huge difference.
Robin: Thanks. Well, there’s another thing. We try to maintain: a professional code with our clients. We sign a contract which talks about photo and video delivery, about copyright, unfortunate circumstances, etc. We also have a delivery time we always the to stick to which is 6-8 weeks. And we store the clients photos with us up to 6 months. After which we delete them. You see we have some space issues here.
MW: Considering the number of shots you will be taking, it must consume so much of your system space.
Robin: Yes. That’s precisely the reason. And we already have so many hard disk and yet we are always running short.
MW: So how many pictures do you take and how many do you deliver?
Robin: We take about 3000 or more photos for those three days in a Meitei Wedding. However, we also make sure that we deliver at least 450-500 photos in soft copies which I think is very essential and our clients are happier.
In the photo album though, we deliver up to 70-80 pages of photos and sometimes runs to 90 or 100. Our photo album works on the concept of the flip comic book which when you flip through you can get the entire story. So sometimes it’s difficult to condense the entire thing in 70 or 80 odd pages but we choose narrative over pages.
Then we make the delivery on time most of the times but there are certain clients who likes to choose the pictures they want on the album. That’s when things get a little delayed.
MW: Apart from that what are the other challenges?
Robin: There are two kinds of challenges that we face. One would be the shortage of our equipment and another one would be the problems we faced on the spot, about payment and the lack of respect people give to us. Of course, there are families who are so respectful about the team of photographers, but sometimes we do encounter disheartening situation. We have experienced some serious consequences due to misunderstanding like that.
MW: Now going on to the creative part. How do ideas for the photo frames or themes come about?
Robin: Of course, most of it is suggested by clients; if we’re to direct it, we research about the types of shot suited for the different body types to make it look better and beautiful. We research and discuss a lot before every project. And yes the venue and an understanding of the decor or certain elements of the venue make a lot of contribution to our story telling.
MW: What kind of changes have you noticed through the years of photography?
Robin: There are lots of changes through the years. Earlier it was more of the people and faces. The focus was in capturing the sequence of event and beautiful faces of people but recently it has changed to a more elaborate story telling. The ambience and the ceremony is as important as the people attending. It’s now more of a story, candid shots and reality which is refreshing for both photographers and videographers. There is some creative liberty now.
MW: What are the unique features of Epic films?
Robin: In photography, I feel there’s no difference. Each and every photographers and videographer are unique and doing a great job; however, if there’s anything apart from the technical point, I’d say we connect more with the client. We make sure that we go and meet the client and their family before the shoot day. This way we get to know more about the family and it makes our work easier.
MW: What is the starting Budget for wedding photography of Epic Films?
Robin: See the pricing of our packages depends on a lot of different factors. Like the type of weddings, the number of days to cover, distance of the venue and most importantly it’s seasonal. Our charges start at Rs. 80K and goes upto 1.5 lacs
Then we have the complimentary services like the customised wedding calendar/ miniature replica book, free outdoor session, wedding welcome board. This comes with different packages and changes from time to time.
MW: Do let us know in advance about that. We would love to spread the word.
MW: Robin it’s been wonderful talking to you. We had a really good time and look forward to your pictures and videos. Good Luck.
Robin: Thank you for dropping by.
You can find out more about Epic Films Imphal and their work on Facebook and Instagram. They have a huge range of services and their state-of-art studio at Konung Mamang is just the perfect studio to get that frame-worthy family picture!
Sanjeeta Aheibam and Nikita L Sharma conducted the interview on behalf of ManipuriWeddings. You can find out more about the interviewers in our About Us page.