Weddings, Wanderlust, and Cameras with Oak & Pine Media

At Oak & Pine Media, Chloe and Brendan are wedding and elopement filmmakers crafting unique, genre-blending, music-driven edits that prioritize storytelling.

Brendan & Chloe Simpson - Oak & Pine Media

Brendan and Chloe Simpson (Oak & Pine Media) travel the country crafting unique, music-driven wedding and elopement films. Hear more from the New England-based filmmaking duo on what’s keeping them inspired, their advice for aspiring filmmakers, and how they utilize Musicbed to find the right music.

Musicbed: What sparked your passion for filmmaking/storytelling?

Brendan & Chloe Simpson: We both found our passion for being behind a camera in high school—we actually met through being the photo/video team for our high school yearbook. The spark originated from falling in love with film photography and working in the darkroom in our high school. Wherever we went we had cameras with us—filming our friends skating or playing music, we loved exploring our little hometown and documenting the places and people that surrounded us. We’ve always loved how powerful it is to capture memories and the stories within them.

Filmmaking seemed like the perfect culmination of our combined love of visual arts, music, and our passion for documenting everything around us. We mutually fell in love with how powerful video is as a medium—blending visuals, music, and audio to tell a story. 

What keeps you motivated and creatively inspired?

Looking at the world around us is what we’ve found inspires our work the most—nature, traveling, and the stories of people we meet along the way are all huge inspirations for us. All of these elements are what initially drew us to wedding filmmaking. We find so much joy in the uniqueness and individuality of each of our couples. After filming hundreds of weddings, we are still in awe at how different every couple, every wedding, every love story is. Intentionally representing these stories will always be the driving factor behind our work and we are constantly excited to push the boundaries on how we can tell them. 

We believe having other artistic outlets is essential to staying motivated and keeping our creativity fresh. Making music, film photography, and design are ways we step outside of videography and gain new perspectives that ultimately improve our filmmaking. Brendan is a bass player and music producer in his free time, this allows him to explore audio production, sound design, and the ability to convey emotions and stories solely through sound. It’s powerful to strip away aspects of a medium to explore what you can do with less. He spends his offseasons learning about music theory and furthering his audio knowledge to bring that back into our editing when our busy season begins. Chloe is passionate about exploring different mediums of film photography and development, which allows her to study and gain a further understanding of lighting and composition in its primary form. Film as a medium pushes you to see beauty in the mundane and shifts your perspective on what makes a shot visually interesting—elements that she directly ties into our filmmaking. 

Brendan & Chloe Simpson helping bride fix dress while on dock for photo

What makes a story visually appealing? What role does music play in storytelling?

We believe that visuals are dictated by the story you’re trying to tell. How you choose to visually represent a story plays a massive role in how the story will be perceived. Every visual element from utilizing focal lengths, camera angles, exposure, and movement can invoke different emotions. We’ve had the opportunity to have different clients and shoots that have called for drastically different filmmaking techniques.

For example on a backpacking elopement, where it’s an adventurous experience, we may try to lean into a more stripped-down raw approach. Utilizing handheld shots and keeping the camera rolling trying to achieve a more visceral docu-style feel that allows the viewer to feel immersed in the rugged experience. In contrast, when we’re filming luxury weddings, we take a more polished, editorial approach. Using tools like gimbals and vintage lenses, and spending more time setting up specific shots and movements allows the footage to feel clean and precise. 

Music serves as the backbone of what ties the visuals and story together. We view music as we do visuals, the tone, pacing, and timbre can completely change the feeling of an edit—we always look to use music that best represents the narrative. We try to cater our music choice specifically to embody our couples and their wedding days. This could range from highly emotional, slower more ethereal pacing, utilizing tasteful instrumentation like orchestral strings and piano. Where other days might be high-energy, epic parties with couples who love punk rock—in which case we would opt for distorted guitars with a fast-paced, high-energy attitude. With all of our creative choices, we always try to simply take a step back and make sure they are dictated by the story first and foremost. 

What elements do you think are essential for crafting a compelling story?

Having an engaging opening is essential to crafting a compelling story. We try to begin our films uniquely or interestingly and avoid cliches to draw the viewers in right from the start. Character development is something we really try to focus on in our work, raw and organic moments can add so much depth to telling our couple’s stories. This is where you really get to feel their personalities as opposed to simply showing beautiful shots. 

Lastly, having a strong story arc is super important to creating a captivating film. Building anticipation is a huge part of our films and having a clear climax and resolution helps to make the film feel well-rounded throughout. 

How important is music in your work?

There’s no exaggeration when we say, music is everything in our work. We’ve always felt that filmmaking is 50% visuals and 50% audio. Even if you have the best, most cinematic footage, it would be impossible to tell a compelling story without solid music and audio. Utilizing great music can completely elevate a film. In our work it’s important for us to intentionally represent our couples—using music is imperative to showcasing their personalities and energy. 

The quality of the music is a huge consideration for us too. One reason we are such huge fans of Musicbed is their library is full of music that we actively listen to ourselves. The artists in their catalog are making music that they believe in—it’s never intended to be stock, and that shows. You can feel the passion in the music and that translates directly into our films.  

What advice would you give other filmmakers/creators just starting their careers?

Finding your voice and leaning into that. It’s great to take inspiration from other creatives, but at the end of the day, no one can tell a story like you. Your perspective is the heart and soul of your work! The more you represent that, the more your work will stand out from the rest. Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail, we’ve learned so much from trying new things whether successful or not. We’ve also learned that cultivating a supportive, creative community is often overlooked but can be incredibly valuable to push your ideas and gain new inspiration for your work. Most importantly don’t give up! Each project is an opportunity to learn and grow, you’d be amazed at how far you can progress over a year by simply trying to improve slightly with each shoot. 

Brendan & Chloe Simpson filming couple in front of mountainscape on their wedding day

How do you balance pushing boundaries creatively and delivering what your client wants or audience wants to see?

We’ve been really privileged to work with clients who value our creative take and trust us to push boundaries where we see fit, knowing that every choice we make is intentional and made with them in mind. Because each of our couples is unique in their personalities and stories, it allows us to explore new creative styles that cater to them. Exploring creative music choices, editing styles, and filming techniques that represent them individually allows us to continuously push creative boundaries intentionally. 

What is the most challenging aspect of being a filmmaker/creative?

The most challenging aspect of being a filmmaker/creative is probably the consistency for which you have to be creative. Creativity is difficult to force and doing so can definitely lead to burnout. Trying to cultivate a balance and allow space for inspiration is really important and something we’re continuously working towards. Creating workflows has really helped us when we get stuck on a project, which combined with allowing ourselves room to solve creative problems and trying not to get too caught up in the grind. This is an ongoing process for everyone but going easy on yourself is incredibly important. Take your time and don’t be afraid to take a break from a project if you are feeling creatively drained. Sometimes coming back with a clear head can open up so many new ideas. 

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

It’s very inspiring for us when we get the opportunity to film in new and beautiful places. We have more of a documentary style of filmmaking, and being able to capture the essence of a location to better tell the story is something we’re very passionate about. One of our favorite projects was a two-day, 24-mile backpacking elopement in the backcountry of Yosemite. It was one of the most challenging, yet inspiring experiences we’ve had in our career. From intensive hiking with all of our gear to gorgeous sunrises, to even encountering a mountain lion, it’s certainly something we’ll never forget! We were really honored to have the film be nominated for elopement film of the year and we hope to get the chance to do something that immersive again. 

How do you search for music on Musicbed? What are some tips that you’d give other filmmakers to search on Musicbed?

We absolutely love Musicbed’s interface, it allows us to easily narrow down our searches to find the perfect songs by genre, mood, and key. We always go into searching for music with an idea of what we’re looking for—each couple and film is unique, and Musicbed’s vast library makes it easy to find the perfect fit for any scenario. Finding multiple songs in the same key allows us to keep an edit feeling fresh while easily being able to blend songs based on the pacing of the film. Musicbed’s search functionality has truly streamlined our workflow, saving us so much time in the post while allowing us access to diverse, high-quality music. Because of this, searching for songs has become a part of our creative process that really excites us!

Why do you utilize Musicbed in your work?

We highly value the quality of the music that we use and realize that it adds value to the products we deliver to our clients. It’s become an indispensable resource for us—we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without it. We truly feel it’s just as important as our gear, or editing software. Having access to Musicbed’s library has improved us as filmmakers and allowed our creative process to grow. Their intentionality of connecting musicians and filmmakers has allowed us to grow personal relationships with artists on their platform. They’ve done an amazing job building community between creatives all over the world, something that’s truly special and unique to their brand.

Explore a curated playlist of Brendan and Chloe’s go-to songs for their beautiful films—all available to license only on Musicbed.