For several years now, my Tokyo studio has been offering video services in addition to photography. Whether it’s shooting IKEA events with famous designers like Virgil Abloh, or blackcurrant farmers and scientists in New Zealand, I try to bring as much technical expertise and creativity to the project as I can. Please see my answers to some common questions below.
What’s the first step in making a video with you?
Please tell me some of the following things: what the content of the video should be, how long it should last, and what the cinematography and overall style of the video should be (any references would be useful). How are you planning to use this video, who is meant to see it? Are you trying to inform, explain, sell, or something else? Once I know these things, I can begin to create a quote.
What are the various steps involved in making a video?
Once we have agreed on the basics (the points covered in the last question), there are several steps to take: assembling a crew if necessary, storyboarding, creating an itinerary, casting, looking for good locations, shooting, reviewing the footage together, making a first edit, fine-tuning that edit with each successive video, choosing the right music and making sure the video ‘flows’ properly, and finally, deciding on the right output format and size.
Do you have a crew, and if so, how many people are in it?
I often shoot entire videos solo, handling the shooting and audio, and being both the director and gaffer. For best results, however, I always recommend having a crew: a fixer (i.e. production coordinator), gaffer, makeup artist/hair stylist, second camera person, and audio technician.
Can you combine photography with a video shoot, so we get both types of media?
Yes, definitely! This is certainly possible, but needs to be discussed in advance, since the fee would obviously change, as well as the itinerary of the entire shoot.
What is involved in the editing process?
First, I review every clip and decide whether or not to use it. Then I assemble all the best clips and create a first, rough version of the video. Next, I create shorter and shorter versions, cutting as many clips as possible, and altering the rhythm and pacing of the video. I look for ways to signify the beginning, middle and end, both to create a sense of musical rhythm and also to tell a story. I try to make the video feel consistent but with an unpredictable quality, too. As early as possible, music is chosen and I arrange for certain moments to coincide with the beats, rises and falls of the music track. Throughout this process, the client gives their feedback, usually focusing on what needs to be reinforced, versus what is extraneous.
After the video is delivered, do you keep it?
Yes, I keep all the video files, including audio, music, graphics and other ‘puzzle pieces,’ backed up on a high-end RAID 5 hard drive.
How do you tell a story in a unique way through video?
I look for the human element, and try to find a thread of emotion that winds its way through the video. Perhaps it’s a particular sentence one of the people speaks, or even a single word, or a smile or gesture.