Member Feature | Swell Productions
Chris Hannant of Swell Productions has merged his love of artistic storytelling with his passion of travel and capturing natural beauty into the way in which he films weddings here on the Outer Banks and beyond. Chris and his team are able to bring a fresh and modern approach to filming and editing your special day and the end product is nothing short of a mini-cinematic masterpiece. Read more about Swell Productions and watch a few of their films below.
How long have you been involved in weddings on the Outer Banks? How did you get started?
I shot my first wedding on the Outer Banks in 2011. Because it was my first attempt, I did it for free under the condition I could shoot it in the way I felt like wedding videos should be shot (this was just as the more "cinematic" style of wedding video was starting to take hold.) The couple ended up loving it so much that they sent me a check for $200! I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed shooting it, so I started finding gigs on Craigslist until I felt confident enough to bring on a second shooter and try to turn it into a proper business.
What makes the Outer Banks special to you?
I grew up on the Outer Banks and it's always been special to me. After graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design, most of my peers went off to New York or Los Angeles, but I just wanted to come home! The natural beauty of the Outer Banks is what got me into the visual arts to begin with and totally shaped who I am today. Growing up, I was always captivated by the way the light would fall on the dunes in the evening, or the shifting colors of the water, or even the clear, starlit skies we have at night. I wanted to capture these things to preserve and share them. I've traveled all over the world but there's really nowhere else like the Outer Banks.
Do you have any advice for a couple booking your services?
Breathe and enjoy your day! Your emotions will translate through video, which is what can make our medium so powerful. We're documentary filmmakers by trade, so we are not only there to capture what's happening visually, but also the raw emotions of the day to an extent that it's actually FELT by the viewer, not just seen.
What trends are you most excited to see in upcoming weddings?
We love the more minimalist style that many of our couples have been adopting, where the attention isn't so much on the details but more on the couple.
What makes your business different from others on the Outer Banks?
There are so many amazing vendors, and such a variety of styles, which is what makes the Outer Banks such a cool place to hire local teams. I like to think our work, like I mentioned above, is not just visually attractive, but emotionally captivating as well. So much effort goes into our editing process to achieve this. We want people who don't even know a couple to watch their video and get goosebumps or, best case, shed a few tears! The greatest compliment we receive is when someone watches one of our videos and cries.
Is there anything new with Swell Productions we should be looking forward to?
Ohhh yeah. Major equipment upgrades coming this Fall that are going to make 2021 and beyond next-level. It's amazing where the technology with filmmaking is going, constantly bringing proper cinematic, Hollywood level production capabilities into the hands of smaller production companies like ourselves.
What do you think are the benefits or smaller micro-weddings and elopements?
We're actually so down with the micro-wedding movement and would be thrilled if it continues on in the future despite what may happen in the world. The greatest benefit is that it is so much more about the love and the couple, not about the wedding itself. This is what we strive to capture. You don't need the most guests or biggest cake or flashiest decorations to express your love, seal your vows, and certainly not to tell your story. Micro weddings allow the true meaning of a marriage to surface and give us the opportunity to document it in the most creative and artistic way we can.