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)
Ben Hamner and AJ Aguirre are two filmmakers from Texas working to make a living doing what they love. Their shared passion for film led them to create their own production company, Round III Media, in June of 2015. They set out to create the highest quality travel, lifestyle, and action sports on the web. Their first video together was viewed over 36 million times, and their YouTube channel Round III now has over 110,000 subscribers. Over the past year, Round III has made videos for Mercedes Benz, Samsung, Goose Island Brewery, and more.
Name and age: AJ Aguirre (25) & Ben Hamner (20)
Currently based in: Dallas, TX
Language (s) spoken? English
Occupation? Full time filmmakers with Round III.
How did you get started in our industry? Ben and I both got started making videos at a young age and were mostly interested in filming action sports. We both filmed a variety of wakeboarding, wakesurfing, skateboarding, etc.. That is where we learned to shoot and edit.
Fast forward many years, I had just graduated from Baylor, and Ben was finishing his freshman year when his brother introduced us. We quickly found that we had similar passions and filming styles, and decided to invest everything we had to form Round III Media.
Our first video together was “BSR Super Slide The Royal Flush in 4k” which launched in June of 2015. It went instantly viral on YouTube, getting over a million views in its first 24 hours and being featured on news and entertainment shows around the globe. That gave us the confidence that we were really onto something, so Ben decided to take time off from school to pursue Round III full time, and we have spent that last year traveling and filming with our friends.
Current assignments: This summer we’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with Samsung to experiment and create content with their new prototype 360 VR camera. We’ll be launching a skydiving 360 VR experience on Facebook and Youtube later this month.
We’ve also been working very hard on a new project for our channel that we’ll be releasing in the next few weeks. We can’t say very much about it now, except that it’s unlike anything we have done before and we’re really excited for everyone to see it.
What types of productions do you mostly shoot? We focus on high quality 4K travel/adventure and extreme sports productions. Skydiving is starting to be one of our specializations, as there aren’t many people in the world jumping out of planes with Red cameras. We’ve since added Nicholas Lott to our crew, who is our highly experienced camera flyer and capable to fly it. We hope to someday film for Hollywood and other large productions in need of skydiving videography.
What is your dream assignment / job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about? We are very passionate about filming unique experiences and capturing them in a way that isn’t your typical GoPro video. We would love to make an “Art of Flight” type movie someday: that is our main goal and dream right now. BrainFarm is a huge inspiration for both of us. We are always writing down ideas for things that have never been done before, and we’re working hard to get the funding and resources needed to make them a reality. Fingers crossed!
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? We would have planned the video out somewhat beforehand! We literally just booked travel with our close friends and filmed EVERYTHING we got into. We are very against making fake experiences or fake emotions for the camera so there was never any directing really. “Action” is not a word in our vocabulary. We just shoot. Which is why we ended up with a little more than 15 hours of footage that we had to sort through for our Summer Dreams video. Sitting down and editing that into a story was the biggest puzzle of our life. I can’t even begin to calculate how much time we spent editing and picking through different versions before finally settling on the edit that we released.
What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use?
- Red Epic
- Canon 14mm f/2.8
- Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 (my favorite)
- Canon 85mm f/1.2
- Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II
What’s is your favorite light equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? For the type of shoots we do, we generally stick to natural lighting as we are always on the move.
Do you use drones or gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found to deploy them? In the past, we’ve used the DJI Ronin, but recently upgraded to a MōVI for weight and headache savings.
Over the last year we’ve worked our way through several DJI Phantom 3 Pros, but are looking to upgrade to an Alta soon. For deploying, it just depends on the situation, usually we have someone hold it as we take off, as that is more fun and gets others involved.
What editing systems do you use? Premiere Pro, After Effects and DaVinci Resolve.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? We shoot everything in RAW, and color grade starting with the RedLog color profile. Color grading is my absolute favorite part of editing.
How frequently do you travel, and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? In the peak of filming, we are traveling weekly for a couple of months. Currently we are only traveling maybe once a month while we are working on our current projects locally.
When we do travel, we LOVE our Pelican carry-on cases. Our main tip would be to really consider what needs 1-2 inches of foam around it and what doesn’t. That space adds up quick and when you’re on the move, you can’t carry multiple cases and bags efficiently or cheaply. We initially underestimated the benefit of traveling as light as possible.
If you want to learn more about Ben Hamner and AJ Aguirre creative’s work, head over to their home page.
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