Shutterstock is a proud sponsor of the DSLR Dynamics: Video Visuals Tour, featuring Barry Andersson and Mitch Aunger (aka planetMitch), two of the most sought-after educators on shooting DSLR video.
One of the early pioneers of DSLR video, Andersson has trained and consulted with numerous companies worldwide, including major-league sports franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. His commercial work features a variety of high-profile clients (Dell, Tom’s, Old Dutch, Baylor University), and he co-authored The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook, a top-selling filmmaking and video book on Amazon.
Over the last five years, Mitch Aunger has become a leading authority in the world of HDSLR, writing over 2,000 articles and blog posts covering the latest cameras, software, and innovations in filmmaking for his blog, the highly influential planet5D. Having interviewed over 40 of the most successful names in DSLR production — including Vincent Laforet, Shane Hurlbut, and Gale Tattersall — Mitch has perfected his ability to share the lessons he absorbs with professional filmmakers and casual shooters alike.
Barry took the time to chat with us last week from one of the California stops on the pair’s current tour, which runs through November 29 (the complete list of dates is here).
Shutterstock: You guys are a few weeks into the tour now. How’s it been going so far?
Barry Andersson: It’s actually been going very well! We’ve been getting very positive reviews, and people really seem to like it.
That’s great news. So, how did you and Mitch first start working together?
I was in the process of co-writing The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook and I met him at NAB — I knew of his website. We struck up a friendship there, and since that point we’ve periodically done things together.
You’re covering a very wide range of DSLR video-related topics in these workshops. How did you decide on the areas of focus?
We get a mix of people — some who have never done any of this before, as well as a lot of artists who have started working more seriously as videographers — and for each person, there are different parts of the day that they milk. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but I think, in general, we give people enough exposure to different areas that there will be some things they know well, and other instances where they realize, “I really need to go find out more about that.”
One thing that really seems to differentiate shooters going for a more professional approach from people just getting started is camera movement. A lot of people are comfortable setting up a tripod and shooting, but then it seems like that that first step — getting acclimated to using jibs and sliders — can be daunting. Do you see that as a hurdle or a major point of development for shooting with DSLRs?
I think photographers in general, if they don’t come from the video-production world, are not initially looking at how a shot will hold together over a period of time — over the next 10 seconds, say. So it’s kind of like training a new part of the brain. Videographers might be used to motion, but many of them come from editorial backgrounds, where it’s primarily about tripod panning and tilting. I think one of the reasons that it takes a while to get there is that the tools aren’t inexpensive. So, by the time they’ve amassed the lenses and all their other stuff, they don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on rigs.
I think most people that are going to move on from the tripod should start with some sort of a manual slider, with the goal of eventually investing in a motorized one. You can also get a basic jib for a few hundred bucks and start using that, while working your way to more expensive gear. I always tell people to start with cheaper gear that can help you start moving — that will get you familiar with the language of moving the camera effectively.
Do you feel like you’re able to address things that would help both beginners and intermediate shooters?
Yeah. I’ve been somewhat surprised. I figured that the bulk of people coming would be beginner-to-intermediate, and I think that we’re getting more people that consider themselves intermediate-to-advanced. I always try to make sure that there’s two or three things throughout the day that will enable anybody who comes to get their money’s worth, so that even if they’re not getting 100% out of it, they’re not feeling they were cheated. Sometimes people just don’t anticipate which things are going to be the most helpful. For example, we have a section on framing where we do some analysis of TV shows and movie scenes that directly relate to all of the things that we talked about throughout the day; a lot of times, this kind of review opens up a whole new area of people’s creative brains. We’ve been getting lot of positive comments on that section.
That sounds very interesting. There are always ways to improve and explore new creative avenues, regardless of what kind of shooter somebody might be. It’s great you guys can bring that out.
Whether you’re going to make your living doing it, or you’re just going to it as a hobbyist, another big thing we do for people is talk about key decisions involving investing money in new gear. What gives you that best shot for the value, and will hold its value long-term? If you’re spending money, you want to spend it so that it maintains value and/or earning potential for you. I think a lot of people like seeing the state of where things are, and hearing our opinions on where things are going.
Have you had people come up and say things that made you feel that the workshop is having a positive impact?
One woman said that, although she went to two years of film school, she felt that she got more practical inspiration in one day with us than she did the entire time in school!
Which probably also means she didn’t go to a very good film school. But seriously, I think a lot of people who do come and might be a little bit cautious, or think, “I’m not going to really learn anything,” realize that we now live in an environment where people are being asked to do everything and nobody can be an expert in everything. It’s just nice to see what other people are doing, how things are being done, and how things are changing, so that they can best prepare themselves to keep making money or put themselves in a position to make money.
Thanks so much for your time, and best of luck with the remainder of the tour. We’re looking forward to catching up when you guys reach New York City on November 17.
You’re welcome. Sounds great. We’re looking forward to meeting some Shutterstock contributors during the tour too. See you in NYC!