Asude: Welcome Julien, we’re so glad to have you with us! We’ve been following your content for a while, but we haven’t had a chance to get to know you personally. So, tell us a little bit about yourself! When&where were you born? How did you get started with videography?
Julien: I have always lived in the south of France, in this beautiful area made of the sun, the sea and the snow. I was born in Nice in late 70’s, at the end of June when the barbecue time and parties start. I used to spend the summer holidays in my small village Guillaumes. One day, I discovered a shooting team by giving them some help. This is when I understood that I will work in the film industry. At the time, I was their 9-year old local fixer. Only many years later, I came to the realization that the serious 6-guy team was actually made of students :) From that day, I decided to be a filmmaker because of the beautiful pictures that can be filmed.
A: So, you have found your inspiration at a quiet early age! Then, what happened? What was the video project you earned your first money?
J: My very first project was a cycling race around Nice. I was 15 or 16 years old. I was filming from the back of my father’s car. I was shooting in 8mm… Does anyone still know that? Edited on linear system and duplicated on VHS. What a different time it was!
A: It was, indeed! After deciding to be a filmmaker, how did things go for you? Could you tell us a bit about your background in videography?
J: After studying Corporate communication and marketing, I started working as an editor for different TV formats about Formula 1, WRC, MotoGP; Truck race, aqua biking etc. I would edit 2 hours of fresh content per week for French, Polish, Canadian and Asian TV. Then, I worked for a technical event production and discovered another side of content production and project management. I had the chance to work on Motocross and Supermoto World Championships for more than 4 years. First, I was an editor, a cameraman and then I finished as a journalist, creating a 52’ voiced program broadcasted in 50 countries. I created my own business in 2010 which consists in providing my knowledge, my ideas, my view of producing contents to small and intermediate businesses. The consistency and rigor that I acquired in the TV production had a great influence on my professional development and consequently to my today’s work style. Since that time, I have always worked hard and done my very best to satisfy my customer needs. My knowledge and my capabilities as well as my team and equipment have evolved greatly.
A: Sounds like a long but a quite intense journey! We watch your videos and actually have our own idea on this, but how would you describe your own videography style?
J: Creating great pictures is what I find the most joyful in my work! I love to take my time to create the perfect shot, with the right light, the right movement, the right angle, the right action. It’s very important for me that my pictures tell a story. They are not only beautiful shots all stuck together with a great track, they have to make you travel.
A: To create those great shots, what are the preparations you make before you begin filming?
J: Prep is probably the most important step in filming. If you don’t know what your client wants exactly, you can’t translate this into your words. If you don't plan each shot you need to film, if you don’t project the full story you’re telling, it will go wrong most of the time. I perfectly know my project. I build my crew with skilled people. All logistics, authorizations are recorded in a simple file, printed if needed, always available to the client or authorities. The script is also printed so that it’s available to read and write any comments on it. The equipment is listed, prepared, checked and organized in fly cases. It’s important not to worry about details that can be handled before the shooting. My head, my heart and my soul are 100% devoted to the pictures.
A: Could you please share with us the best advice you’ve ever been given?
J: "Don’t be simply a cameraman, be a journalist and have the wider point of view about our industry.” I was 14 years old and this advice was given me by a TV cameraman who is now the producer for some of the biggest sports events in Europe. This simple sentence shows that it’s important to be curious, to open my eyes and my mind, to look, to listen and do everything possible so my career can develop.
A: So, let's talk about more fun stuff! For example, what’s the equipment you generally bring to a set?
J: My camera! Sony FS7 is definitely a great tool to produce awesome pictures. Very often, I bring a second unit being a DSLR, My DJI Osmo, Mavic Pro. On many occasions, we need to shoot several aerial shots to make our productions more cinematic. Basic kit also includes some lenses (Canon L-series), Audio kit (Sennheiser G3 and Tram mic), Shotgun mic, a very good headset (Sennheiser HD25). Without lighting, you will create flat lifeless pictures, so I bring 3 point lighting unit with all accessories. I always have my MacBook PRO, Samsung T5 portable SSD, Lacie rugged drives, my iPhone, and my sunglasses! Finally, remember to take a steady shot: my tripod, the new Sachtler Flowtech with FSB8 head, it’s just incredibly convenient ! My tripod never leaves its edelkrone SliderPLUS. It’s very useful to create short and powerful slides with the FS7 or with Alfa 7 or A6300 with motorized head and track. I work a lot with chefs and such movements are perfect to show their talents, I love that!
A: Is there any specific equipment you rent or do you prefer buying?
J: As a geek, I love to own my equipment! As soon as I receive a camera, lens or a slider, I need to order the next useful tool! There is never enough space in my office. For some of the shootings, we have to rent equipment. Last year, we filmed an ad for a car protection treatment, we needed to shoot 1000f/sec footages, I rented a Phantom Flex 4K and about 10K HMI lights for 2 shots.
A: In terms of post-production, what software do you use?
J: I used to work with FCP 7 at a time. I hated FPCPX at its beginnings and finally love it because it’s fast, powerful and lot of plugins allow to finalize some projects quickly. Last year, I invested in Davinci resolve and I must confess that I really like this software. I also use the Adobe CC with its plethoric range of softwares that every filmmaker needs.
A: In fact, DaVinci is really popular these days. While we’re on that, what are your thoughts on the future of filmmaking with the technology is advancing so fast?
J: I love to talk as an old man : “20 years ago we were worrying about digital cinema”. But actually, it created many new opportunities for our industry, it was a positive move forward! The technology progress has made the equipment more accessible and user friendly. Today, the filmmakers are able to do so many things which were impossible to imagine when I was a student. The downside is that you need to own the latest equipment as soon as it’s available in order to be competitive. Keep going!
Do more things that make your heart smile.
A: Our readers must benefit from your experience! So, tell us, what is the best piece of advice you could give to other filmmakers?
J: Be your worst critic! I used to be not satisfied with anything and would always check if my idea, my shots, my editing are ok. I usually take time to create, write, shoot or edit. Then, I leave it for few hours/days in order to empty my head. I watch it with fresh look and I’m able to change what needs to be changed. As a bonus advice, I would say “Cut, cut, cut!”. Do not hesitate to be short: Not only nowadays the formats are short, but also it’s better to give the feeling to want more than to be tooooo slow.
A: Are you into contests or awards? For example, have you ever received an award before?
J: When I was in my 20s, a team I was a part of, produced a short movie, that was awarded. I haven’t presented any movies or projects for many years now, maybe I will change this. My best award is a satisfied client who comes back for another project as well as seeing my company growing!
A: That is the best feeling. And, last but not least: what’s your biggest ambition for the future?
J: My biggest ambition is to make films on the world’s best chefs’ work and their restaurants. My first biggest ambition is to produce a series of documentaries about the culture and architecture in the Mediterranean region. I have a chance to be born and live in an area that is extremely rich in terms of history, traditions, architectures, gastronomical tastes and habits and it deserves an exposure with a new look. The “art de table” is my favorite subject and I still want to create great motion pictures for world's best chefs and traditional “mama’s food !