Talent Feature – Arnaud Blin

Talent Feature - Arnaud Blin

As part of our aim to strengthen the connection between us and our readers, we decided to try something new and give the many passionate talented people out there a stage to express themselves and share their success stories in our new weekly TALENT FEATURE. In this new initiative, we will feature a guest post written by you every week. We hope that with time, these guest posts will become a source of inspiration and point of information to our colleagues wherever they are. (Intro by Johnnie Behiri).

This Sunday, we are featuring Arnaud Blin

Arnaud is a freelance filmmaker based in the French alps who specialises in shooting sports, outdoor and tourism events. He works as a shoot & edit cameraman for his own productions, as well as with other production companies in projects such as sports events (mountain bike, trail running, ski) and sports TV shows like “Carbon Zero” on Eurosport France. He is also no stranger to shooting commercial clips for the web and TV, mostly for brands, ski resorts or customers who would like to feature their outdoor activities.

From Arnaud: “I started a part-time job as a cameraman around 4 or 5 years ago, but only decided to try my luck as a full-time freelancer a year ago.  My “workhorses” are the Panasonic GH4 and DJI Ronin-M, with a complete set of Panasonic/Leica lenses. I love working with this kit because it allows me to be lightweight, get anywhere quickly and get great footage. Since I am relatively new in the business, it is not so easy for me to find enough assignments to make a good living, so I try harder! I am just in the beginning of trying to make a name for myself, and the video above is featuring my latest work.

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Name: Arnaud Blin.

Age: 30 years old.

Based in: France, located in the Alps.

Language spoken: French, English.

Occupation: Freelance filmmaker, camera operator, editor, director of photography.

How did you get started: I bought my first camera to film downhill freebording with my friends and make videos for the web in order help grow the community of freeborders in France.  As a representative for those guys in France, making videos was only part of my job. You can see a sample of my work by clicking here. That video was shot handheld with a Canon 550D with battery grip while riding my board with the guys. We call this a ‘followcam’…..

In the winter of 2012 I started to work as a part time cameraman for an action sports show on French cable TV for Gomera Production. Parallel to this job, I also started making videos for brands or events, as well as selling sports goods and being a snowpark shaper in the winter.

When the DJI Ronin came out, a producer let me try it out and it was a revelation! “Now I can do smooth traveling like on my freebord, but anywhere!”

Current assignments: Since mid-2015 I do full-time freelance filmmaker work.  My latest assignment was a 2-minute commercial for an area hosting the Tour de France, and will be aired on TV and web.

Usual types of production: Most work I do is for sports events (MTB, ski, trail…) and tourism films where the client wants to showcase outdoor sports. 

Dream assignment/job: Anything that involves traveling and filming outdoor sports in beautiful locations. That’s what I am passionate about!

What is done differently in work you’re presenting?: What I’m currently presenting is a compilation of my latest work, but I should have probably shown a wider variety of shots, more portraits, more classic/crane style shots.

Current equipment:  I shoot with my Lumix GH4 ever since it came out a couple of years ago. I only use m4/3 native lenses. For me, gear weight is essential, because I sometimes have to run with all my gear for a while, and also because gimbals work better with a lighter load.

My Panasonic Lumix Zoom lenses are: 7-14mm; 12-35mm f2.8, PZ 45-175mm f/4.0-f5.6; 100-300mm f/4.0-f5.6. Leica prime lenses 25mm f1.4, and 42,5mm f1.2.

For audio, I use a Shure VP83F. It is similar to the popular Rode but it also has integrated recording on a microSD. It is a very convenient tool. I also own a Rode lavalier with a Zoom H1 for “sit-down” interviews. 

Favorite lighting equipment: I only shoot with natural light because I never have time to set up lights during sports events. 

Drones or gimbals?: Gimbals are essential to me. It makes it so easy to simulate a crane or travelling shot. Also, it makes it possible to be in the heart of the action when I follow a mountain-biker or a runner on the trails. I run pretty fast, so thanks to the gimbals I can create shots that were pretty much impossible before.

I balance my DJI Ronin or Ronin-M gimbal just by squatting and holding the top with my legs. That way I don’t have to carry the stand and can balance anywhere quickly. The most important thing to get great results are settings and training, not balancing for hours ;-)

I love flying drones too, it offers a very interesting perspective, but I only fly drones on projects where I work alone.

Editing: Final Cut Pro X. It’s very fast, very reliable and I never felt limited by it. Since my old MacBook Pro died on me, I edit on a desktop Hackintosh I built from second hand parts. I maxed it out and overclocked it (i7 [email protected], 32GB ram, r9 280x, internal SSDs and HDDs, thunderbolt SSD, and a high end Corsair power supply). It is perfectly stable, reliable and very fast.  It is a grey area if Hackintoshes are really legal or not, since I own the licenses for all the software I use, including the operating system from my dead MacBook Pro. An original Mac Pro is too expensive for me right now. 

Colour Correction and Log: I never shoot Log, always shoot Natural.  We often need to make a raw video for TV news only minutes after the competition has ended.  When I edit the recap videos, I send them the next day after the event, so I do basic grading on FCPX and sometimes apply a little bit of LUT to make it look nicer. 

Travel/Packing Tips: I travel a few times a year. Here is my advice:

  • Always be a tourist, especially to customs. Don’t start saying you’re a professional photographer, filmmaker or journalist. It will keep you away from some trouble.
  • Take all your expensive and essential stuff with you on the plane.
  • Always take two chargers! Take one with you and one in your checked-in bag.
  • I mostly use microSD instead of SD cards because if/when the plastic connector starts to fail you just replace the adapter and you can avoid a lot of stress.

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If you want to learn more about Arnaud’s Creative’s work, head over to his homepage.

Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.

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