Asude: Hello everyone, it’s a big pleasure for us to talk to you so, thank you for giving us the chance to meet you! Could you please give us a little background about yourselves such as when and where you were born?
Carmen: I was born in Augsburg Germany.
Tony: I was born in Stoke-on-trent England.
Charles: And, I was born in Nuneaton, have lived my entire life in a small village in the east midlands, UK
A: Tony and Carmen, it is in fact such a nice idea to create your own digital magazine to bring to life the car stories from around the world in imagery and also video form. For those who wonder about the story of SuperFly Car Magazine, you may also watch it here. But, since Charles is the director of SuperFly Autos, this questions goes to him. So, tell us Charles, how did you get started with videography?
Ch: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about creativity. As a child I grew up with a huge sense of admiration for my 2 grandfathers. One was an avid (no pun intended) photographer, and the other had an interest in film cameras and would shoot lots of home movies of family gatherings. As I grew older, I became more and more interested in the idea of capturing a moment through a lens. The whole process just fascinated me. It wasn’t until my teens that I bought my first camera and began experimenting. Very quickly, it went from a fun pastime to a deep obsession, and I realized that this was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. Since then, my passion for filmmaking and storytelling has grown ever stronger and more complex.
A: Amazing! Could you please tell us about the transition; from pastime to a deep obsession? For example, tell us about the video project you earned your first money.
Ch: The very first project I earned money on was a car showcase film for a friend around 12 years ago. Back then, I had no idea what my time was worth, and consequently I charged him next to nothing. But the process of creating a film in exchange for money was a huge eye opener for me. It taught me a lot very quickly. One thing that I learnt was that it was actually perfectly realistic to make money from filmmaking. Another thing that I learnt was that I needed to step my game up and ultimately establish and increase my rates over time, in order to create a sustainable business model for my filmmaking services.
A: Excellent. And, how about you Tony and Carmen?
T&C: Our first project wasn’t to earn money directly, it was to showcase who we are and our brand’s mission. We collaborated with the videographer, Charles Wren from Wren Films in Leicester England. We had a script for the short film and then sat for 5 hours with Charles coming up with more ideas and planning logistics. It was shot with just Charles and us two over a weekend in England. You may in fact find the finished film from here.
A: So, that’s how the SuperFly Autos team gathered up, then! Well, could you tell us about your background in videography?
Ch: In my late teens, I attended a media course at a local college. The course taught me 2 very important things that would shape my future far more significantly than I cared to realise at the time. Firstly, I realised that I didn’t work well in a classroom environment. This was something I knew already, from my school years, but the college course further confirmed this for me. The second, and far more important thing that I learnt from this course, was that we were living in an increasingly open world of free and accessible information where the democratisation of filmmaking tools and resources were changing the landscape irreversibly. This second realisation would later inspired me to take my skills and begin to build the foundations of what would become my filmmaking business.
T&C: In fact, we had an eye for imagery which allowed us to work with an experience videographer/director to pull off our films like Charles to create the amazing films on story telling of car creator in the automative industry such as “The Fast & Furious - Vehicle Effects Story with car creator Dennis McCarthy”, “Lowriders featuring Mister Cartoon & Estevan Oriol”
A: Since you’re a good mix as a team, I’m sure you have a similar look in terms of shooting style. But, I’m going to ask anyway, how would you describe your videography style?
T&C: Cinematic and storytelling.
Ch: My filmmaking style is deeply rooted in cinema, but with a modern twist that embraces lightweight, flexible kit. I often describe what I do as the process of creating cinematic visuals, in order to help people tell their stories in an organic manner, and to ultimately connect with their audience in an emotive and powerful way.
Tony & Carmen: "This is how we roll."
A: That’s what I thought! So, what are the preparations you make before you begin filming?
T&C: We do a lot of research in first finding the right people with cars, then it’s location finding, scripting and adding in elements from the environment we will be filming. Next, it’s all the plan B elements should things not fully work out, the equipment required and the feel of the film. We then brief all involved so that they are aware of what will happen in the day. We even look for stores that have equipment, should anything break on the day.
A: And, for you Charles?
Ch: The first part of the process for me always involves taking a step back to discuss the reason behind the film. It’s all too easy to dive head first into production without knowing the reason behind (and ultimately the aim of) the film. It’s imperative to be able to understand and associate with the reasoning behind the film brief. The more we can understand the brief and even empathise with the client, the more easily we can make decisions to further improve the film. Once I know enough about the reasoning behind the brief, I move onto storyboarding and location scouting. Some projects don’t allow for this, especially if we’re talking about a documentarian approach. Regardless, I like to do as much research as possible into the concept, talent and location. From this information, I can begin to build my kit list and to visualise my creative approach. As an editor and shooter, I like to shoot for the edit, as this gives me ultimate control over the vision, and once again, the more I know about the project, the more accurately I can make decision beforehand, on location, and ultimately in the edit.
A: So Charles, you’ve told that you build a kit before visualizing everything. Please tell us about the equipment you generally bring to a set.
Ch: It depends hugely on the job and the location. My kit list will differ depending on whether I’m driving to the location or flying. Typically, I shoot a lot on the A7SII, using a GlideCam HD400, Ronin-M and increasingly the Ronin-S. The edelkrone SliderPLUS is always in my bag/care/suitcase no matter where I go though. It’s so impossibly compact that it can travel with me all over the world. What I love about edelkrone’s kit is that it’s always created from a filmmaker’s perspective. Each product is genuinely created to solve a problem.
A: That seems about right! And, how about you Tony and Carmen?
T&C: An edelkrone slider, a rig, 3 dslr cameras, lights, mics, stands. By the way, besides many other works, we did “Fast 8 - 'Ice Charger' from the 'Fate of the Furious' Movie” as a simple piece based on the original car Dodge Ice Charger as featured in the Fast8 movie. We used the edelkrone slider here!
A: Thank you for sharing it with us, amazing work! I also wonder if you prefer buying or renting your filmmaking equipment?
T&C: It all depends on the job as we travel all the time and need to have small/light items we have all the time and then hire for larger or higher grade items for specific jobs.
Ch: I like to own certain pieces of equipment, especially when I know I’ll use them frequently. But I also choose to hire certain tools when they’re either infrequently used or prohibitively expensive to own.
A: True. And, what software do you use for post-production?
Ch: I now edit exclusively in Final Cut Pro X. I find X’s metadata driven workflows give me far more control than the traditional bin based method of logging that I was used to in FCP 3-7. I also love the flexibility and power of the trackless magnetic timeline in X. It’s a big learning curve, and often feels counterintuitive initially for seasoned editors. But once it clicks, it allows for a great deal of creative flexibility and experimentation in the editing process. It’s actually hard to imagine going back to a track based paradigm now. I grade most of projects in FCPX. but for bigger projects that need a more complex grade, I send the edit to Davinci Resolve to make use of the tracking and matte tools. I also use a whole host of other post production software including Nuke, Fusion, PFTrack, Mocha and Apple Motion.
A: Thank you for the detailed explanation! You create fun and exciting projects that’s why there is one question I’d like to ask: have you ever received an award before?
Ch: I’ve won an RTS (Royal Television Society) award for “best new talent” for my work as VFX Supervisor (and lead artist) on a promotional film for a national sports team. It was an incredibly proud moment stepping on stage to collect the award with the team that I worked with.
A: Congratulations! Then, would you mind sharing with us the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Ch: It’s hard to pick one single piece of advice, as I’ve been given so many incredible nuggets of advice that have shaped me as a professional over the years. One statement that’s had a profound affect on me recently though comes from YouTube personality and filmmaker Peter McKinnon - “Done is better than perfect”. It’s one of those statements that gets better and better the more you think about it. At firs,I hated this statement. As self proclaimed perfectionist, it went against everything I stood for. But ultimately it’s true. I mean, the concept of finishing something and moving on is infinitely more powerful than spending an eternity tweaking something that the world never sees. And as creatives, we all battle with perfectionism and must strive to overcome it. “Done is better than perfect” isn’t for a moment to imply that we should rush our art. Instead, it says that we should be focused on sharing our vision with the world, rather than holding it so closely to our chest that the impossibly unrealistic expectations of perfection only hamper and ultimately cripple our vision over time. “Done is better than perfect” ultimately inspired my own tagline as a creative - “Think, create, share”.
Charles: "Think. Create. Share."
A: We, as a team, believe that it is the only way, too. And, how about you Tony & Carmen?
T&C: Best advice was to always ask, even if they say no...as they may say yes and then you have a great opportunity.
A: Yes, it is also so applicable. And, what would be the best piece of advice you could give to other filmmakers?
T&C: Reach for the impossible e.g. the best you want to create and then work backwards as to how to achieve it. This way, you will always make a better film.
Ch: THINK. CREATE. SHARE. Keep developing your craft in every way possible. Find an area you’re passionate about, and pursue it. There are so many resources online now, both paid and free. Literally anything is now possible in the independent filmmaking world, whether you want to shoot better interviews, improve your editing skills, or create a 3D fluid simulation. The tools and learning resources are all there now. One thing I would also say is to take a moment every now and then to appreciate how good we’ve currently got it in today’s modern society. We have a world of information at our fingertips. Join some Facebook groups, or a forum, or connect with people on Twitter or Instagram. Learn from others, and find a mentor (or several). If you show genuine passion for your craft, then people will often share a vast amount of experience and information with you. And in return, you can pass that information on over time. Ultimately though, as human beings, we learn through doing. So get out there and “DO”! Have fun. Create. Share your work with others. Be proud of what you create, and be unrealistically ambitious with where you want to take your talent and your skills over time.
A: As you’ve highlighted, almost anything is now possible in the independent filmmaking industry. That’s why I felt the need to ask your thoughts on the future of filmmaking while the technology is advancing so fast.
T&C: From our point of view, it will become more art focused with technology allowing to capture greater depth and emotion. More equipment will assist the videographer making filming less stressful on the body.
Ch: I’m a huge believer and supporter of the democratisation of tools in the creative world. I believe that money shouldn’t be a pre-requisite in order to create and share your vision with the world. I firmly believe that the process of democratising the tools and resources in the creative world is an imperative step towards creating a truly open world of creative possibilities, where the only thing that defines and limits the next generation of filmmakers is their own levels of passion and work ethic.
A: And before saying goodbye, could you tell us your biggest ambition for the future?
T&C: To create a short feature film.
Ch: In 2020 I aim to have a short film at Cannes film festival. Past that, I want to ultimately share my experience and knowledge with the world, and to encourage and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.