Four weddings and a great piece of branded content

This new documentary film from Nikon, the Guardian and Pi Studios does a great job of turning a product demo into an engaging, emotional piece of film, while examining the stories of four extraordinary weddings.

In case you’ve been trapped under something heavy and haven’t heard the news, there’s a wedding taking place in the UK this weekend. Brands and marketers in their thousands are trying to get in on it, producing merchandise ranging from a china KFC Royal Wedding bucket to, um, an interesting pair of swimsuits.

In comparison to the other wedding-themed fare around, this new piece of branded content for Nikon does a more elegant job of introducing the subject, while avoiding any mention of that wedding at all.

Photos by Will Patrick, using the Nikon D850

The documentary, which is entirely shot on the Nikon D850 with a range of Nikkor lenses by director Matt Houghton from Pulse Films, aims to be a wedding film with a difference. It was produced by The Guardian’s multimedia team and Pi Studios (the entertainment arm of Amsterdam-based creative company We Are Pi) with funding from Nikon through the Guardian’s branded content division, Guardian Labs.

It focuses on the stories of four unusual brides: Emma, who has incurable cancer; Esmeralda, who met her wife-to-be Lindsay while on tour with the US Army in Iraq and was discharged from the army for being gay; Ilanucă, who is returning to her home town of Breb in Romania to marry in front of the 600-strong community there; and Priya, the youngest princess of the Bhinder Royal family in Rajasthan, who is embarking on an arranged marriage.

Running at 20 minutes in length, the film, like many weddings in fact, is a little on the long side. But it does a great job of examining the emotional complexity of marriage, and the importance it has for individuals, families and communities. And it does all that without getting too schmaltzy, and while showing off the great filmmaking capabilities of the Nikon products.