Richard Porter

Utah (Previously from Chicago)

How long have you been a videographer?

I started working as a film cameraman at the age of 16 shooting religious documentaries (not LDS). I have since worked in the corporate community for more than three decades.

What got you interested in filming?

I consider videography/photography one of the most variety-filled professions out there. One can experience (via camera) a variety of people, products, and situations without ever having to take on those occupations full-time. When you have clients who want you to tell or document their story, or help sell their products and services, you often get to do a lot of learning in the process. It helps to be curious and to like learning. You’ll better appreciate the variety, and it may assist you throughout your profession when you are constantly asking questions—sometimes the obvious ones—hopefully the right ones.

 

 

What is your filming specialty?

Generally it’s people. People are more important than products or services. People are literally the heart and soul of any company or organization. So photos and video programs that are people based always seemed to be the most rewarding to me. But I have also specialized in fire/emergency medical services (EMS). Amid my many years of dabbling, I became a part-time firefighter/EMT and was always among the first on the scene. Eventually the agencies I worked for let me put down the hose and medical kit and let me do what I had more talent for—documenting fires, accidents, and people (often on the worst day of their life).

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

As one matures (grows older) you start to wonder just what it is you will leave behind. It would be a shame if the only people to see the best I ever created were those who knew me or had paid for it. I’d rather have my images out there, even if I don’t get money or credit. A hundred years from now, I hope there are a few photos of mine on someone’s mantle or in a scrapbook or in a book. It won’t matter to them who the photographer was, but it will matter to me. I’d be very satisfied to know that a part of me survives, a part of my talent yet flourishes and performs a function in documenting a place, a person, or a beautiful thing.

How do you feel you can use videography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?

Everyone has talents and abilities. I think we can all do a little better in sharing them. It’s a part of accomplishing what we are here for.

How do you decide what and how to shoot?

Usually it is related to the natural course and activities of my week. If I find myself out and about nature, it helps to have my cameras close by. If I take the family on vacation or go camping, there’s the possibility of capturing some scenic or nature shots. If I had a client project, I’d probably be able to shoot some additional footage for myself or stock. Generally, you don’t have to change your life very dramatically to find great images everywhere. There’s a couple of philosophies about finding great things to shoot. One is to wait for it—that it’s all a matter of opportunity and timing. The other, which I subscribe to, is that there is so much beauty all around that it is almost impossible not to find it right in front of you if you have the eyes to see.

How would you describe your shooting style?

Ready, fire, aim! I’m usually shooting before I even think through the situation. Sometimes that’s good, especially when you consider that things hardly ever repeat themselves, and if you don’t get it the first time, usually there isn’t a second time.

What advice would you give to someone new in videography or photography?

Shoot lots. You can always tell an amateur—amateurs shoot only one picture, and then they think they have it. I’ll usually shoot a dozen photos in the same amount of time they take to get one, and then get it in several different ways, angles, and perspectives. There is a constant wondering going on in my mind if it might look better from this perspective or from over there, maybe with the light coming from the side, or the back, and so on. That goes for video as well—shoot extra just to ensure you have something usable. Your chances of great images go up with every additional shot you take.

If you could take a video of anything, what would it be?

I do a lot of video interviews with people. In fact, we developed a one-hour personal history we call a “Visualegacy.” Forty minutes is spent on capturing the chronological parts of a person’s life; the remaining time is spent on what they learned because of those experiences. Why did they choose the life they lived? How did life mold them into the person they are? And what advice can they give to those just a little behind them on the path of life? It’s amazing how much you can capture of a person’s life in just a one-hour interview. And for them to do it in their own words so that their posterity can hear and see them. It’s very simple and very rewarding and is the least that should be done if the large five-year personal history book project seems too intimidating.