Archive - August 2011

Philip Chesley


How long have you been a videographer?

I have always enjoyed photography and taking pictures since I was a young man. When our children were young I tried to document with pictures and then later with video all the important events such as vacations, birthdays, and whatnot, but it wasn't until videography became a digital medium and the advent of video editing software did I discover how much I enjoyed putting together my video clips, with music and titles, to tell a story or experience and convey the feelings of those events.

How did you get interested in submitting your videos to the Church?

I don't even remember exactly how I found out about the contest; I just remember thinking “that's the kind of challenge I'd like to take.” The theme was “Make Your Own Mormon Message,” and I have always admired the talent used in the Church's Mormon Messages. I wanted to see if I could create something that could impact others the same way.




What has been a favorite experience or memory while filming?

My favorite experience while filming was the interview portion of our Mormon Message. I talked Kelli, the interviewee, into taking time out of her busy schedule to come to my makeshift studio and be filmed. She felt some reservation about sitting in front of a camera and sharing her life experiences, but nonetheless she was willing to share her testimony. I had never recorded anything quite like that, and the equipment I rented was only available for that afternoon, so there was a little pressure for everything to work out, especially in a situation with which I was unfamiliar. We started our session with prayer asking Heavenly Father for success in our efforts. That set the tone for the interview and even though I made a few mistakes, I was able to present Kelli's experiences in the way I had hoped.

How do you decide what and how to shoot?

The “what and how” I learned from photography and lots of practice. Memory cards last a long time, so I don't feel bad if I take a lot of video clips. Except for rare instances, I try to keep my clips between 15 and 20 seconds—anything longer than that is hard to hold people’s attention. Shutter speed and aperture are important principles to learn, just like in photography, to control motion and depth of field effects along with frame rates, but these things can be easily learned with practice and as one becomes familiar with the equipment.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your videos?

A video or film, or whatever you want to call it, has two components, and I have found that you have to put as much effort into capturing the best audio you can as well as the video or visual portion. My camera is very basic with limited audio controls, so many times I record the audio separately, especially if there is important dialog. I also spend a lot of time in the editing portion of my projects matching the best music I can find to the theme and feeling of the piece I'm trying to convey.

How much do you edit your videos?

A bunch! It's actually my favorite part of the whole process. For me it's like taking all the raw materials and assembling them into something you want to create. There are all kinds of software available, from free and simple to expensive and very complex, and everything in between. Just like a camera, editing software is a very important tool to use and to master.