Videography: From Festivals to Fists

I started videography work at the age of fifteen when my grandfather bought me a Canon GL2 MiniDV Camcorder.

Before that I was shooting short films and tinkering with visual effects on a Logitech ClickSmart 310 webcam and the video features on a FujiFilm FinePix A201 and Olympus Camedia C-5050. Technology has come a long way since then.

What I’ve learned from years of videography work is…

– Have a plan but then forget it, let things happen naturally
– Immerse yourself in the culture, community, and topic of what you’re recording
– Create a comfortable space for people to be themselves in interviews
– Capture as much as possible
– Let the story unfold in editing

One of the first short videos I made with my new mechanical best friend was of my grandfather working with my sister on a welded sculpture.

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LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE
I would often walk around the old town in Kranj, Slovenia where I lived at the time. Recording anything that caught my attention. I would edit on an old PC with VirtualDub.

I also took some courses in film pre-production, production and post-production. They helped but in my opinion just making films with what I had was the most beneficial learning experience.

2003 THE MUSEUM OF GORENJSKA
In 2003 I was asked to do a short documentary for The Museum of Gorenjska. At the age of fifteen it felt like a pretty big deal. The goal was to capture the event and make something fun for their archives.

It was winter and extremely cold outside. I recorded the little venue with all the artists and museum guests huddled together. When I got behind the lens and when I sat down to edit everything just flowed. It felt like this is where I was supposed to be.

I was able to get a CD from the musicians who where performing for the event and edited to that. It gave me a rhythm to cut to which I found important in shaping an entertaining story.

TMoG

2004 JAZZ KAMP KRANJ
Jazz Kamp Kranj allowed me to film their entire festival and jazz workshops in exchange for the footage and a DVD. Through this festival I gained a lot of experience and met some amazingly talented musicians.

I was able to dive in and work with weeks worth of footage in the editing room and really play with all the creative possibilities.

I loved working with the music and cutting to some great jazz performances. Capturing the moments, putting it all together and catching the essence of the performances was the most challenging part.

The key to making it work was falling in love with the music. Immersing myself in the jazz culture helped me create an experience and not just a DVD.

2006 ART CENTER KRANJ
I got to work with Art Center Kranj filming their Festival Carniola. I really enjoyed how aware and constantly active I had to be. The festival was divided around town with events in small venues and out on the street. The city was teeming with opportunities for amazing footage. I had to capture it all!

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I was running around a beautiful European town filming day and night for two weeks.  I was able to capture a lot and meet talented artists, performers, and musicians. The difficult part was sitting down to edit it all.

For the short advertisement I had to cut away a lot of the smaller events and focus on the main attractions.

In November 2006 I moved back to the United States to California. I took a long break from any videography work. I began pursuing visual effects and motion graphics design.

2010 to 2014 WORKING WITH SMALL BUSINESSES
I met Pam through a mutual friend. We shared a passion for gemstones, crystals and eastern philosophy so I offered to make some online videos for her business.

My approach to promoting her small business was to capture her personality.

I shot on a  Canon T3i and edited with Apple Final Cut Pro. A welcome upgrade to my Canon GL2 from 2003 and the various open source editing software.

The goal was to have fun and let the business speak for it’s self. While we were shooting we also had tea and chocolate and lots of wonderful conversation in between. I let the experience unfold and captured what I needed.

In October 2008 martial arts become a huge part of my life. I received my black belt in Filipino Martial Arts in 2012. In 2014 my instructor wanted me to create some DVDs and videos for his martial arts business.

Shooting instructional DVDs and videos was a lot different than event videography. It’s all about positioning at the right angles to capture the movements. The result can look static because of how technical it is. We solved that problem by executing the techniques with what Bruce Lee called “emotional content”. Adding a lot of action and intent in the movements. Then in editing I added very dynamic titles.

You can view the DVD here.

THE FUTURE
I’m very blessed to have had all these experiences and met some incredible people. In the future I’m hoping to transition my videography skills to something more story oriented. Maybe get into documentary filmmaking capturing real life stories that fuel our mind, body and soul.

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Stories are everywhere, you just need to capture them 🙂