We always have interviews with popular photographers, and this interview below is the first one with video shooter. Had great opportunity to invite Nitsan Simantov to attend our interview.
He is innately gentle and full of nice ideas in shooting videos. Do you want to become a charming video
shooter? Let’s check here, you can also follow Nitsan’s youtube.
1. Why do u like taking videos? Do u think video is better than stills?
I like shooting video because I find it can be more challenging than stills, so it pushes me to learn new ways
to improve myself and the production techniques. I then take those same skills and equipment and apply
them to my photography work. for example, I currently light all my photography work using video
lights (Including some Aputure lights, of course. My 528 lights have got as much use in my recent
photography work as they did in videos.) with the exception of live events and some situations where
a flash’s power or portability is needed.
I shot for a client’s new album art (www.DavePress.co.uk)
using my Aputure Amaran 528s, 528w, a 300 LED ring light, a bit of sunlight
from that back window, a big silver umbrella and a reflector.
Shot on the 5DIII and Samyang 35mm at f1.4.
2. What do u often shoot videos with? How do u think about DSLR videos?
My way of shooting is “shoot compact”. I keep my setup as lightweight and compact as possible. This
means that every improvement to my equipment is important to me. My main setup is a 5D mark III
with prime lenses. I’m always wanting to take lots of lenses to a shoot but I force myself to travel light
whenever I can.
The lenses that almost always come with me are the Samyang 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4 and
Nikon 50mm f1.2 AIS. Most others stay at home or get sold on eBay. My backup camera is a sony NEX-6.
3. If u could shoot anything/anywhere/anyone, what would it be?
I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I’d love to shoot a feature length comedy, and then progress into
action film production.
4. Do u think shooting skills are more important than contents of video? Why?
I think it has to be a mix of both. In the end, ‘content is king’, as they say. You could use an iPhone to shoot
a simple scene featuring Tom Cruise Sean Penn, and then use an Arri Alexa camera to shoot the most
amazing video of a tomato, which one do you think people will want to watch?
At the end of the day it comes back to using your time, effort and resources efficiently to maximise your
5. Could u share some about your video making process? Which software do u use most?
I’m a huge fan of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. This is a great time to mention I am not a ‘fan boy’, I just love the
speed I can get stuff done with that program as a one-man crew.
My workflow is usually something like this:
● Find out what’s needed. Talk to the client, etc.
● Receive a signed contract. This is very important.
● Prepare for the shoot. Make phone calls if needed, pack bags, pack some healthy food (most people
forget this is important, junk food on a job won’t do you any favours).
● Travel. As light as humanly possible while knowing I have what’s needed for the shots.
● Shoot. My setup is very ‘bare-bones’ –
No fancy rigs, just a camera and a lens. The important stuff to me is the lighting and the camera’s stability,
not follow focus units, matte boxes, monitors, etc. –
Not that I am against that stuff, just that it slows me down, especially because I have to have a bare
camera for flying on the glidecam.
● Return, then back up the footage/images. I usually leave the data on the cards until the project is
completed. Sometimes the backup happens while on the location. This can be important.
● Edit. I love FCPX for video, and I am in love with Photoshop. Lightroom is also a fantastic tool, especially
for big photoshoots like weddings. I find it’s important not to promise the completed project faster than you
can do it. I usually say ‘up to a few weeks’ even if I know it’s much less. Remember to always under-
promise and over-provide. Don’t oversell yourself and then have disappointed clients –
instead, undersell yourself and have surprised, happy clients. For example, your wedding portfolio should
show what you can consistently do in a wedding shoot, come rain or shine.
6. What’s the best thing about being a video shooter? The worst?
The best thing is creating something amazing and being proud of it. And traveling.
The worst? Some would say the work hours, personally, I dislike paperwork the most. Luckily
my job doesn’t have too much of that.
7. Is your video mainly about commercial or interest? How do u balance the both?
Well, when choosing individual jobs or projects, money has to come first, that’s what pays the bills. Luckily,
most of this business is pretty interesting, there’s always new challenges, new places to travel to, new
people to meet, so the interest joins the money.
At the same time, when looking at it in a broader view, I followed my interest (photography and filmmaking)
and money followed much later.
8. What’s your most famous, dangerous or funniest shooting experience? Tell us about it.
I’m really not sure. Shooting with friends is usually a great laugh.
One time, after shooting a small TV interview with rock band Alter Bridge, the band invited us to watch the
show, which was extremely loud, but that didn’t stop me from falling asleep right in the middle of London’s
Hammersmith Apollo theatre during the show.
9. Your videos are always very popular in youtube and vimeo. What would u say are the attributes that make u a success in video work?
Well, the basics of it is communicating with the world in a positive way, for example, giving valuable
information, or being funny. Then it’s all about persistence. Just keep on shooting!
10. Words of advice for aspiring video shooter?
First of all, study, practice, then rinse and repeat. (It’s a shampoo joke).
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