By Jon Paul Careless, Shutterstock Footage Contributor
Jon Paul Careless is one of the premier “green” videographers working today. He works with Spotmatik, a video production company that specializes in shooting stock footage depicting renewable energy sources.

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The Renewable Spotmatik Stock Collection

In the early days of my stock videography journey, it was tough to second guess themes and concepts that would yield potential sales. And to think that clients would actually want to buy my random footage seemed to me a long shot… but one I was prepared to take, and I’m glad I did.

I started with Shutterstock in February 2007 and found myself pondering ideas and concepts to focus on, shooting communication towers, cars, and electricity pylons. One weekend I was travelling up to North Wales and discovered a number of Wind Farms on a mountainside which I have always found striking and dramatic, when viewed in certain landscapes with the best light. Deciding to go and shoot them, I finally managed to navigate my car over cattle grids and rough stretches of dirt tracks to get right underneath these silent but towering structures – only to find that after my shoot, the local authorities had padlocked the gate I drove through earlier that day!

So began what would eventually become a collection of renewable energy shots that would be the start of a journey for me across the world, shooting energy and environmental stock footage.

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Shutterstock was instrumental in the shaping of this particular theme for Spotmatik, as they were the first library for me to begin showing sales in this niche. This gave me the incentive and encouragement to build on this theme, looking at not only renewable energy sources, but in contrast to that… energy pollution, fossil fuels and power stations around the United Kingdom.

Over the past few years, this energy collection has grown to over 1,000 clips and has taken me and my team across Europe, the United States, Canada, Norway and Iceland, shooting not only environmental footage but also lifestyle, business, science and medical, health and beauty and travel, growing the entire Spotmatik collection on Shutterstock to over 4,300 clips.

United States Environmental Shoot 2010

I spent 20 days on the west coast of the U.S., where I shot a selection of environmental and concept energy-based footage such as solar farms, wind farms, oil refineries, and dry lake beds. I then spent a further 10 days in Hawaii, shooting wave energy, solar time-lapse, rainforests and volcanoes. In the end, I shot for 28 days of the 30 day trip – intense, but I think trips like these require 110% effort in order to get the most out of the locations, the right light conditions and, eventually, a return on your investment.

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This last trip was primarily based on a lot of research from previous visits to the United States, as well as extensive online research to ensure I crossed as many shots off the “environmental shopping list” as possible.

The trip was a great success and I loved every minute of it – well, apart from the five large equipment bags, airports and excess luggage charges!
As I wrapped up my month-long shoot with a beautiful wind farm sunset at the Southernmost point in the Hawaiian Islands, I reflected back on that weekend trip to North Wales. It formed the basis of our fast-growing environmental collection and how simple that shoot appears now compared to the amount of time and money I now invest in various shooting trips around the world. The journey is only beginning, but so far, being able to place my team and me in these diverse locations is a real privilege.

Equipment

The kit I use in the field is as follows:

  • Sony PMW EX3 for all main shots and timelapse sequences
  • Two Sony Z1s, with a side by side rig for stereoscopic 3D filming
  • HXR MC1P for POV style filming
  • Motion control head for landscape & city timelapse
  • Adaptimax EX3 to Canon lens adapter for shooting long lens sequences/timelapses (as it multiplies the focal length on the canon lens by five)
  • Motion Jib arm
  • Car mount kit
  • Cartoni dutch head for Verticals

Happy Shooting!

View Spotmaik’s Shutterstock Footage gallery here.