Welcome to my first post, I’m Steve from Aperture Films and I intend to use this blog as a place for general things that I sometimes think about, news and events relating to Aperture Films in Geelong and also probably a bit of tech information.
Along side have a passion for video, I have an extensive background in electronics, I’m also a qualified and licensed electrician. As our video work is mostly done on weekends and evenings, I also have a day job as a technical support in a university.
I have been interested in photography since I was quite young, I got my first camera when I was in primary school, I think around year 4, it was a very basic cheap plastic 110 film camera. A year or two later, while still in primary school, I acquired a slightly better 35mm camera, although it was still made entirely of plastic. Again, a couple of years later, some family friends knew I was in to photography and they gave me there old Olympus Trip 35 camera and a flash to go with it, I still have this camera now.
I learnt about photography at Secondary school, I was quite fortunate in a way at secondary school as when I was in year 8, one night the art department got burnt down and it was rebuilt with brand new facilities including a fantastic darkroom. This was only a couple of years before digital cameras started to take off, so I’m sure that if the fire happened a little down later on they would not of bothered with so much darkroom equipment.
In school we did everything for our photos, from rolling the 35mm film into canisters, taking photos with completely manual SLR cameras, developing the film and enlarging the film on to photographic paper. We learnt how to manipulate photos pre-Photoshop and computers and how to work in complete darkness (unlike black and white photographic paper where it is not sensitive to red lighting, film is sensitive to all light in the spectrum so it must be loaded on to the canisters and also developed in complete darkness).
Having this exposure to photography with film has given me a strong understanding of photography and different techniques. It’s easy now for anyone to buy a high quality digital camera and go start photographing weddings and such, and then just touch up all the bad shots with Photoshop. I’m still in to getting everything right when setting up the shot, and even using filters on digital cameras when taking the photos, there is just something about the results which I think beats a photo-shopped photo any day.
On to video, I bought I HI-8 video camera when I started working, it was mainly for when I went on holidays and stuff. When my older brother was getting married, he asked me if I could film it, although I had no experience in filming weddings, or anything important for what it’s worth. He gave me a couple of simple instructions and that was to use a tripod whenever I can, avoid moving the camera and avoid zooming it in and out all the time (like almost every armature wedding video does). Now, I learnt when I was young that to stay in the good books with my brother, I just had to do what he asked and he would be happy.
I borrowed a friends Mini DV camera, as I fancied the idea of using non linear editing software for this as opposed to my camera hooked up to the VCR, I even bought a DVD burner so I could put his wedding on DVD (I didn’t even own a DVD player at the time).I resisted the urged all day to play with the zoom control on the camera (I still zoomed it when necessary), and I use the tripod as much as I could. The resulting video ended up looking fantastic (well, not compared to what I produce now, but compared to all his friends wedding videos) and as a result of this more people asked me to film their weddings.
The first couple of weddings I filmed I would borrow video cameras from friends as more HI-8 camera was far inferior to the Mini DV cameras of the time. Eventually I started hiring a professional video camera (Canon XL-2) for weddings if the couple were willing to pay the hire fee (I wasn’t charging at this point, I was only filming weddings for friends and family) I ended up buying a couple of Canon HV-20’s and after filming a friends wedding with these the results ended up looking very professional (the brides mother and quite a few other people who saw the video, who I didn’t know at all, thought they had paid a professional to film the wedding). This got me thinking about doing it professionally, but that is about as far as it went.
We started professional work when I was contacted by a friend who was on the school council for their daughters school. The were having the school concert in a few days (she rang me on a Friday evening, the concert was on the following Monday) and they decided not to get a video made as the company they were using were charging lost of money for unsatisfactory results. I organised a couple of friends to help, we already had access to some pretty decent audio recording gear with multi track capabilities, and we headed off to this school concert and basically winged it, but we manged to produce results that the school was quite happy with. (they told us what they didn’t like about the previous videos and told us what they wanted, so we just did that). That school has booked us in every year since then.
When I look at that first school concert video I did, I actually cringe a little at the quality of it, but it gave us an opening in to a market we had never even though about. Of course in the years since then we have gathered very extensive experience in filming live concerts along with many hours /days of research and training in video production, we have become much much better at it now. We have upgraded all of our gear and we now have 4 professional cameras, high quality wired and wireless microphones , tripods that cost more than my first video camera etc… The videos we produce now are very high quality as reflected by the samples on our Aperture Films Website.
Anyway, that’s enough about me and my first post. I intend to make my future posts short and to the point to keep things as interesting as possible.