The brand of Jason Magbanua

Cover art Samantha Gonzales

Words by

Digital Reporter

I’m very conscious about the Jason Magbanua brand,” the man also known as ‘the father of same‑day edit videos,’ said during an After Hours event by Clock‑in Co‑working Space at Makati on February 20.

There were cocktails, pizza, and with Magbanua himself as the guest speaker for that After Hours, lessons in grit and longevity in a business wasn’t taken as seriously before he came into the scene and disrupted it. “Branding isn’t about logos,” he said. “It’s the way you present yourself to a client.”

Such is the Jason Magbanua brand: the former Lucena‑based teacher and DJ‑turned‑videographer started in the early 2000’s, and got his big break when he was hired by actress Claudine Barretto to shoot her wedding with her former husband Raymart Santiago in 2006.

Before that, Magbanua did his best to get his name out, burning his videos on cheap CDs (flashdrives were very expensive back then) and handing it out to everyone that passed by in bridal fairs, while getting a measly ₱5,000 per shoot, and recalled feeling ashamed when he would charge ₱17,000.

Eighteen years later, he charges ₱125,000. “No discounts,” he tells clients straight in the eye. This long list includes A‑listers like Solenn Heussaff and businessman Nico Bolzico; Georgina Wilson and Arthur Burnand; Anne Curtis and Erwan Heussaff; Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna; Liza Diño and Aiza Seguerra; and Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo—and that’s just the local celebrities. His name has become so popular in the segment that a local teleserye even had him do a wedding video for its fictional characters. He’s so in demand, he’s put a ceiling on the number of videos he will produce each year (100).

Although he jokes that standing his ground makes him a “ruthless bastard,” the pricing worked for Magbanua in the long run. Aafter years of experience of working with affluent clients, he learned that this niche correlates brand and quality. “Even if I believed that I was better than my competition, people would hire the more expensive videographer,” he recounted. “They look at my price and think ‘Why is he charging so low? Is there something wrong with his work?’” This segment, he later on explained, buy luxury cars even if a cheaper car works just as well. Pricing, he learned, is a part of branding.




What Magbanua is really known for is his same‑day edits, or SDEs. This branch of wedding videography, also called a wedding day edit, is a short, cinematic recap covering footages from the preceremony rituals up to the reception, cut in such a way that scenes are romantic and succinct, weaved seamlessly onto the background music. Prior, married couples were content with video coverage only a notch higher than homemade videos: a moving image documentation of the entire day, not wasting any space on the VHS tape.

The origins of the SDE in the world is fuzzy, but Magbanua is credited here for being the one to make it known, after being prompted by a client in 2001. She showed him a same‑day edit video and asked him if he can do that for her. He said yes and brought his own drama: “I wanted fast cuts and saturated color.” It’s been his trademark ever since.

 

LONGEVITY

After eighteen years in the business, Magbanua went from living and working in a roach‑smelling studio condo unit to having his own Makati office. He has 20 people under his watch.

“I’m still at the top of my game,” Magbanua declares, attributing three qualities to his longevity in the business: relevance, collaboration and inspiration.

To keep relevant, Magbanua continuously updates himself on the latest business solutions, pop culture and tech trends. “When I started, the people who were getting married were my age or older,” he said. “Now I’m older than them. I shudder when they call me tito.”

“I try to be in sync with what they’re thinking, have that aura that I get them,” he explained. “The truth is the only thing that changed is how long I’ve been in this game. Now I can tell my clients, no bullshit, just trust me. I’m the professional. You hired me.”

He also aggressively puts himself out there on the internet. Before it was with blogs, now it’s on YouTube (through some convincing from his son that people watch YouTube more than Vimeo). “I want anybody and everybody to watch my videos,” he said. “When you google wedding videos, I want my name to appear first.”

Recently, he has started diversifying his work to include brand stories, but weddings are still his bread and butter. Despite his high Facebook activity and engagement, he still relies on email when it comes to business inquiries. “It’s so easy to PM someone on Facebook,” he said. “When people email me, that’s when I know that they’re serious about hiring me.”

Collaborations is where Magbanua’s love of music comes to play. Magbanua occasionally contacts composers to compose songs for his videos. He first did this for the wedding of Nikki Gil, working with composer Johnoy Danao for the song “Right Time.”

As an artist himself, Magbanua doesn’t shortchange the people he collaborates with. It also helps that proceeds of YouTube’s monetization goes to him when he uses original music. Another example of collaboration would be the time that he takes to work with and get to know his client. Magbanua will gladly tell you about how Anne Curtis, who has a very boisterous TV persona, is actually a quiet, “deep” woman who likes listening to Nine Inch Nails and pre‑mainstream Sia.

Finally, inspiration. “I make sure that I’m still passionate for every shoot,” Magbanua said.

“I understand that I’ve built my reputation, my brand, and some people hire based on reputation.” he said.

But the ₱125,000 he charges does not just go to a watermark at the end of a wedding film.

As much as he shoots and immortalizes promises of everlasting love, so does he impart his own commitment to his clients.

“If you book me,” he says, “I will give my 110%. Every time.”



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