I feel like I’ve been waiting for months to tell you about this project and I am so excited that the time to share is finally here. Many reading this may not know, but some will remember that I played the violin and have been studying music for over twenty-five years. I also started a new journey to pursue professional photography over eight years ago. Now, I don’t want to get too deep into an autobiographical rambling session, but my worlds collide like astronomical events when I get to work on an amazing project like Krisztina Der’s Flute and Light.
By way of introduction, the first video that I’d like to share is a collaborative piece featuring Krisztina on the flute and Erik Schmidt on percussion. The work, At Daybreak, was written by Anna Meadors and calls for a lighting technician to read the musical score and coordinate the changes based on cues in the part. Side note: I have seen the part and it is fascinating.
This first video is one of five that Krisztina commissioned as the main body of work in her doctoral dissertation. When crafting the videos for her project, I specifically wanted to create work that allowed me to shape the narrative with as much creative control as possible. I wanted to produce video that was cinematic, at least as best as I could given the constraints within each piece.
So, what is a cinematic video and how would that differ from any other type of production? For me, the key really is in the degree of creative control that a cinematographer holds over the narrative. As an audience member, there is nearly nothing that can be done to influence the unfolding story. And, placing the camera in the audience and recording the event would have achieved very little. Producing cinematic video is about expressing one’s artistic vision through a fundamental understanding of the media and making informed choices that influence the audience’s perspective.
I made so many choices. I can’t even begin to list them all, but I’ll cover the bases: camera selection, which lens to use, and even where to place the tripods… all the way to how to best cut between different takes and color-grade the scenes, decisions made during the beginning were influencing the kinds of choices I could make near the end of production.
One constraint in play during the entire production was that the musical composers were responsible for their own lighting design, which is really not as terrible as it might sound from a film-production perspective. There may have been particular aspects of the lighting for which I would have made different choices, but having someone else design the lighting did force me to use that limitation as a creative springboard.
Thankfully, the smartest decision that I made during pre-production was bringing Ben Singer on to the project to handle the audio production. I’ve known Ben for years and felt completely confident in his ability. Ben was able to work within a very small footprint, which allowed us to get really great audio and video without a lot of clutter in the scene. I am exceptionally grateful to Ben for his commitment to the project and for making my job much easier.
There are more videos to reveal, but for now I’d like to close out this post by congratulating Krisztina Der and Erik Schmidt on a fantastic performance of Anna Meadors’ piece, At Daybreak. Krisztina has written a blog post on the production from her perspective and you can find that on her website. Here’s a link:
Thanks for reading, and for all of your continued support!