Impromptu Ninja by Thomas Nguyen

Colton & Adrienne from Thomas Nguyen on Vimeo.

An impromptu dinner led to an impromptu mission to film a proposal for a new friend.

It was a Friday night, and I really had no plans before my trip to Vegas on Sunday.  My coworker, Jonathan, invited me to eat with him and his friends, whom I've met only one of them once before.  His name is Colton, and he is a pretty funny guy.  It turned out, the plans for that night was to eat dinner and to help Colton scope out a place to propose to his girlfriend, Adrienne.  Adrienne, lives in California and was flying into town the next day.

As we were talking about potential locations, somehow the conversation led to the talks of somehow being able to secretly record the whole thing.  DING!  That's when a light bulb magically turned on.  I had access to the gear to make it all happen! DSLR's, different lenses, a wireless mic, Glidetrack!  I knew right there that we definitely had to make it happen.  I teamed up with one of the other fellow bro's, David Beh and we planned it all out.  

All of the us guys went around DC to help Colton scope out a place that would be special for him.  We went to the National Tree, the ice rink at the Sculpture Garden, and eventually we decided that the FDR Memorial was the spot.  The waterfalls were a great setting (but also posed some annoying traits as you will read later)

We headed back to my office and got a wireless mic that we usually use for interviews.  I gave Colton the transmitter, and I kept the the receiver of course. He was to hide the mic on him somewhere, and when they got close, turn it on and it was go time! I was siked to be apart of this mission.

Operation Circus Tent

The next day, David and Colton started texting each other in code.  Operation Circus Tent as they called it, and we even had code names.  I think my name was Tango November or something like that haha.  It was quite funny reading the texts.  The goal was to head down there and capture the proposal right around the sunset. Dave was a little late to pick me up, but we made it right in time.

David's role was to get the wide angle shots, and I was suppose to get the zoomed in footage.  I hooked up Dave with a Canon 5D Mark II, and a 24-70mm 2.8 lens.  I took down a tripod with a glidetrack and had a Canon 5D Mark II with a 70-200mm 2.8 IS USM II lens.  I set it up and had the camera pointing at the right spot, had the wireless mic receiver plugged in with an earpiece ready to go once I heard something.

So you might be wondering.... how was she not going to notice us recording?  Well, it was simple, we used our fake touristy powers.  I'm asian, so it was easy enough for me to pretend that I'm just a tourist haha.  So, I dubbed myself a Ninja for the day haha.  Dave, who Adrienne has met once before, put on his big jacket and snow hat and just pretended to be taking some shots of the waterfall.  Everything was in place!

Go Time

Soon after we were setup, all of a sudden... *crackle... crackle... sssss*.  I heard the static in my earpiece and knew it was game time!  I signaled David and we started to record.  Colton and Adrienne walked by and right to the designated spot.  We started our filming and it was great!  EXCEPT... for one thing.

The sound!  Colton clipped the wireless mic onto his shirt and tried to hide it at the same time.  I could hear how the mic would rub up against his jacket.  The other thing was that because they were standing right next to the waterfall, I totally could hear it as well.  Their voices were a little muffled due to everything.  As he proposed.. I couldn't completely hear everything.. and when he got down on one knee.. I was afraid!  I didn't know if she accepted or not!  However, the next thing I knew, she was hugging him and kissing him.  Operation Circus Tent was a success.  As they walked away, I pretended to be on my cell phone to continue my cover and Dave yelled a great line to them to continue his cover... "HEY! YOU'RE IN MY SHOT!"

I had a nice little laugh.  Afterwards, we filmed some B-Roll footage for the video.  It was then.. a done deal. My day of being a impromptu Ninja turned out very well.  That night, before I left to Vegas, I made a quick draft of the video.  I hope you guys enjoy!  (BTW, the cat is out of the bag.  Colton did eventually tell Adrienne about the filming.)

The music is by Clara C - Offbeat.  I didn't have enough time to give her credit in the first draft.  I'll definitely do it in the final draft!  Check her out at