Community Spotlight | BTS With Austin Newell
Q & A: Austin Newell - VIDEOGRAPHER
Within this past year of starting my business, I have met some truly remarkable like-minded individuals. People who love to teach and learn, people who welcome change with open arms and people who value personal connections. I have gained incredible knowledge and wisdom from my wonderful community, and I can't wait to share it with you!
Austin Newell, an independent filmmaker from Fresno, CA, was the first creative connection I made. We met at a mutual friend's party and quickly bonded over our entrepreneur and creative ambitions. It didn't take long for me to realize Austin's vast knowledge of photography (he even helped me select my first professional camera) and cinematography, so naturally I asked if he could teach me the basics. I could only imagine his initial confusion, but to my surprise he spent hours answering each and every question I had about video and photography. To this day we occasionally ask one another for our opinions and/or knowledge of certain topics, and as luck would have it, he yet again answered all of my questions.
Q: What made you want to pursue a career as a videographer?
A: What originally made me want to pursue a career as a videographer was watching TV shows as a kid. I used to notice the special/visual effects and was immediately interested. I started learning editing programs on my own to imitate what I saw on TV. Once I got comfortable with basic photography settings on DSLRs I knew I wanted to be a videographer.
Q: How would you describe your production style (documentary, cinematic, vintage)? Is your shooting approach direct or more journalistic?
A: Describing my production style is be a bit tricky. Every project comes with it’s own unique hurdles and should be treated as such. I’ve had projects where I had to shoot a kick boxer during his first competitive event. In this situation I don’t have time to carry around lights and stands to get a perfect cinematic shot. Instead, this project would benefit from a gorilla style of shooting. It is very run and gun with my camera in hand following people to get the shots. If it is the type of project where I have time and isolated space I will set up lights, stands, cords, microphones, etc. to get the best outcome while I can make creative choices on how things look.
Q: What kind of camera equipment do you use? How do you handle lighting and audio?
A: The main camera I use for videography is the Sony FS5 and I primarily use Canon Lenses on it. For photography I use a Canon 70D that also uses Canon Lenses. Audio depends on what the project calls for. I have a Shotgun XLR mic on my camera at all times and when I can, I will attach a wireless Sony Lavalier audio pack to my camera and put the receiver on the more important subject in the project.
Q: What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
A: I am always researching new techniques and tools to stay organized while working on projects. Currently my biggest asset is Dropbox because of the flexibility I have to work on the same project on separate computers. Along with that, every project has a specific file structure I keep on my computer. So if I ever need to transfer or archive the project, I am only moving one single folder instead of multiple and when I open the projects up months later all the media will still be linked in the projects.
Q: How long does the editing process take?
A: The editing process is another beast on its own that I feel a lot of people don’t understand. There's the couple days it takes to shoot a project, but then there's the couple weeks to months to edit. Just think, every hour of footage shot is at minimum an hour of footage that has to be watched, and when you edit you don’t watch a clip once and move on. You watch it over and over and over and over until you feel the edit fits right. Not to mention the other steps such as, color correction/grading, audio engineering, and creating a final master output file that changes wherever it's going whether it be social media or a video embedder.
Q: What was your last project?
A: I think my last big project I worked on was for a local non-profit called Fresno Skateboard Salvage. A not-for-profit organization that provides skateboards and skateboard accessories to underprivileged kids in the city of Fresno, CA. Their purpose is keep kids from going down a destructive path in their young lives and to provide a positive outlet and family environment with other skaters. When I heard about this program, I contacted Rodney Rodriguez and told him I wanted to volunteer my services any way I could. So another local web designer and I put together a website and filled it with promotional photos I took and a promo video he could use to promote his program.
Q: What input do you wish to hear from your clients, and what do you prefer to have the final say on?
A: Generally, I hope to hear that the clients love the final product when I share it, but a lot of times that doesn't happen. I would say if there are small things like not using a shot or a photo because they are unhappy with the way they look is fair example of changing the edit if possible. If a client says they think footage should be moved around and replaced with another piece and so on. I would have to draw the line there, when you hire someone to shoot and edit a video and truly create something great that tells the story, that is the editor’s job to do it and to make that edit they have stared at and re watched the same footage repeatedly for weeks or months so the best person to decide on the edit is the one you hired to edit in my opinion.