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)
I started filmmaking as a hobby just a couple of years ago, but I quickly realized how passionate I was about it and that it could be more than just a hobby to me. I was studying civil engineering at the time, where you obviously don’t learn much about filmmaking. Therefore, I soaked up every bit of information about filmmaking I could find on the internet and improved my work. I just finished college in early 2016 and I’m still at the beginning of my filmmaking career, but I’m pushing hard to make a living out of it.
Name: Tobi Schnorpfeil
Currently based in: Germany, Country side (Koblenz)
Language(s) spoken: German, English
Occupation: Freelance Filmmaker, Editor and Cinematographer.
How did you get started in our industry? It all started with videos from family trips. During my civil engineering studies, I realized how passionate I was about creating visuals. The internet provided me with the information I needed to improve myself – and of course lots of practice. Last year I got my very first paid assignment.
Current assignments: I’m currently working on travel destination videos for a German start-up film production. We travel to different countries to produce commercial videos for tourism. I’m doing cinematography and editing on those projects.
What types of productions do you mostly shoot? I find myself shooting travel videos the most, as I’m doing it as a hobby as well as a job. During recent years I figured that I’m very passionate about traveling to countries I haven’t been before. I’m always trying to do something I haven’t seen on the internet before – something off the beaten path. Of course, that’s very hard nowadays as almost everything is documented in a photo or a video, but I keep looking for those secret spots.
What is your dream assignment or job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about? I still have to figure out what my dream assignment would be as I’m very new to this industry. At the beginning it was all about creating cool images. Now I want to create films that move the viewer. Great images, cinematic sound and a touching story in combination give me goosebumps. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish.
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? As I traveled the whole country of Vietnam in just 30 days, I really had to rush through places which sometimes didn’t leave enough time to get to know local people in every location. Next time, I’ll try to make more time for those moments as the stories you hear are truly inspiring.
What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use? Sony A7s (mark I) with Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f4 and some old Canon FD primes via an adapter (I still use a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 from my dad’s hobby photography days). I also use a GoPro camera when it’s necessary. They come in really handy when you have to shoot action, POV or simply where a bigger camera is not usable. To match the footage of different cameras I try to shoot as flat as possible and dial down the sharpness a lot. GoPro cameras and Phantom drones sharpen the image way too much in-camera. Turn it all the way down, you can always add it in post again!
What’s is your favourite lighting equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? I mostly use natural light. For travel videos, it’s certainly the easiest way to light your scene. I’ve only worked with a lighting setup once. It’s great how you can change scenes with different lighting, but be sure to plan lots of time for it.
Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective why you’ve found in deploying them? I recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 Pro, which I used for the first time on my current project. I still need to work with it for a while longer before I can give any advice. I prefer a Steadycam on my travels, as it’s way easier to transport and carry around all day!
What editing systems do you use? This project was edited, graded and mixed in Final Cut Pro X. Some of the transitions are made in Adobe After Effects. I recently started to also use Premiere Pro, although I still prefer FCPX for usability and performance as it’s much faster than Premiere pro. I like PremierePro for it’s more advanced features in keyframes and the dynamic link to After Effects.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? I don’t shoot Log because I’m using the A7s and its Logs’ base ISO (3200) makes it hard to use in daylight. I prefer to shoot in a cine profile. I love to grade inside FCPX as it runs so smooth and you can easily extend the functions with plugins. I’m really starting to like the Lumetri color panel in Premiere Pro as well.
How frequently do you travel, and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? I’ve been traveling quite a lot lately, and packing my gear is always hard. My tip would be to strip down the gear to the absolute essentials. Don’t bring any lenses you’re not sure you’ll use – they are heavy and take lots of space. I keep my batteries in a small orange bag which is easy to find in my backpack. In there full batteries have a rubber band around them, empty batteries don’t.
Last but not least, whatever you do, if you are really passionate about it then you should keep doing it. If you can’t make a living out of it, keep it as your hobby! Following your passion is the best thing you can do – but way too few people dare pursue their dreams.
Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.