As part of our aim to strengthen the connection between us and our readers, we decided to give our talented audience out there a stage to express themselves and share their success stories in our new weekly TALENT FEATURE. We hope that with time, these guest posts will become a source of inspiration to our colleagues wherever they are. If you are interested in participating, please upload your video to our VIDEOLOG and follow the rest of the submission process by reading the information here. (Intro by Johnnie Behiri)
My name is Matteo, and I’m an Italian filmmaker based in Southern California. In October 2013, I left Italy and moved to the USA. My first Visa was denied and I had to go back to Europe, so I moved to Dublin, Ireland, where I worked for a local video production company. In the meantime, I thought I had to shoot a short film. Don’t ask me why. It was one of my goals. After working years in corporate and music videos, I thought it was time to shoot a narrative short film. We shot the film in two days and then we submitted the film to several film festivals. We won in Ireland, Montenegro and USA. It was a great experience. I learned so much and I can’t wait to shoot my next one.
I have a Youtube channel where I usually upload my travel videos. People always ask me how I ended up here in LA, working for a marketing agency as cinematographer. I would love to have an answer, but I don’t. I can say something, though: all the video I uploaded on Youtube that people love are personal projects. Whether it’s travel videos, camera tests… it doesn’t matter. Do what you love and what you feel. I realised that of all my videos online, there are only a couple that were paid jobs. All the rest are personal projects and things that I shot for fun, and people love those videos. So if I can give one advice to all young filmmakers out there is to shoot your story, doesn’t matter if it’s paid or not. If you feel it’s gonna be a great story, just shoot it. Cameras? They’re just a tool. I shot my most viewed video on the iPhone 6s Plus.
What else? Enjoy life and keep your camera ready! :)
Name? Matteo Bertoli
Currently based in (country/town)? Laguna Hills, CA
Language(s) spoken? Italian/English
How did you get started in our industry? I started as freelance camera operator and editor for a local TV station in my hometown Brescia, Italy. I was studying to become a DJ, but during the second year of college I came across video editing and I fell in love with the video world. From there, I started editing for a local TV station in my hometown. Then I started directing music videos, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to be totally independent, so I did a lot of research and started playing with my 5D Mark II. I love to give my videos the film look.
Current assignments? I currently work as cinematographer, colorist and editor for a marketing agency based in Irvine, OC, CA. I also keep working as freelance cinematographer and colorist for various projects.
What types of productions do you mostly shoot? I usually shoot commercials and corporate videos, but I love to experiment with new things on short films and documentaries. I also love wedding films, and I try to achieve the best cinematic look as possible for all my projects.
What is your dream assignment / job in our industry and what are you really passionate about? I’ve always dreamed of being a cinematographer for a major feature film. I also love commercials and TV ads. I would love to travel the world and shoot as many commercials and films as possible.
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? I would love to have been able to plan the entire film better. I think the most important thing for a narrative film is pre-production, although people usually don’t really care about this step. I would love to be able to travel to locations a week in advance and see the places where I am going to film. I think the location is the most important thing for a cinematographer. If you have the right location, sometimes you won’t even need lights or art department. Everything is there.
What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use? I am in love with BMPCC, Metabones Speedbooster and Sigma 18-35 f/1.8. I also have a Panasonic G7, but I love RED. I think it’s the best camera out there. Can’t wait to own my first RED camera. To be honest, cameras are just a tool. I saw tons of amazing videos shot on a 550D and a lot of garbage shot on Alexa. So… the camera doesn’t matter. If you’re a good cinematographer you will be fine even with an iPhone.
What’s is your favorite light equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? I am a fan of natural light. I know sometimes it’s not enough, so I love using Kino Flo. I like fluorescent, tungsten too, but there is nothing as powerful as natural light. It’s simply amazing. I hate LEDs.
Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found in deploying then? No, everything was on a shoulder rig. I think DJI did an amazing job with their gimbal but I am a fan of handheld footage. Of course, it depends on the job, but so far I am pretty happy with my bare hands.
What editing systems do you use? I use Premiere Pro at work, but I also use FCPX. Again, it’s just a software, it doesn’t really matter. You can edit an amazing film on your phone.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? When I can, I love to shoot LOG because it gives me a lot of freedom in color grading. BMPCC is one of the best cameras out there for the price range because it allows you to shoot RAW 12bit. I grade everything in DaVinci Resolve. I think color grading is one of the most important steps in the film process. Why? Simply because you’re going to give the right look to your film. I am a great fan of color grading and am a colorist myself.
How frequently are you traveling and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? I just love traveling. I’m currently based in Southern California, but my dream is to travel around the world and film all the beauty out there. Our planet is amazing and it deserves to be filmed. I think traveling is a very important step for a filmmaker. If you don’t travel, your mind is going to be closed. You won’t see a lot of things. It’s the only thing that gives me inspiration. When I travel to a new city I usually bring my camera with me and I film everything. Why? Because my point of view is going to be completely different from someone who already lives in that city. The first impression is the most powerful. That’s the reason why I keep traveling and filming things. I just love to do that.
If you want to learn more about Matteo creative’s work, head over to his homepage.
Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.