How long have you been a videographer?
My very first time doing video filming was during the funeral of my grandfather many years ago as a teenager with a Hi8 camera. Later on I did occasional filming at some weddings and at several different family activities. Three years ago I started to make funny films for family members, shown during their birthdays and wedding celebrations, with animated still images, short video clips backgrounded with music, and narration and sound effects, which the viewers enjoyed a lot.
What got you interested in filming?
A good family friend, Peter G. Czerny, who worked for BYU (now LDS) motion pictures, visited us several times in the GDR (former East Germany) and showed us his works as a film editor, which aroused my interest in filming at a very young age. Even though I didn’t have a camera back then, my desire to film continued till I had the chance to buy a digital video camera. I enjoy collecting images and scenes of nature, people, buildings, etc., which depict different artistic moods and beauty.
How did you get interested in submitting your videos to the Church’s International Video Contest?
I wanted to share my talents with members of the Church, to uplift and inspire people who go through similar trials in their lives. I think everyone can make an impact and help by sharing the things that have improved their lives or helped to ease their burdens. I also wanted to see how my video would received by the public.
How do you feel you can use videography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?
Video portals like YouTube and others attract millions of people every day all over the world. Videos can be shared on every digital device with a screen. The principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ can reach everyone with Internet access. People are sometimes too lazy to read, but they will usually watch a video. I'm hoping that these short videos get people interested in the gospel and the Church and inspire more of the members to read the scriptures and to ponder the teachings of the prophets. Most importantly, I made videos that would help to clear up misconceptions about the gospel and the Church. A video message that tells truths invites the Spirit and conveys these truths to the minds and hearts of the viewers. I use my own YouTube channel to share videos from the Church and also a number of self-made videos reflecting gospel principles based on the holy scriptures and words of the prophets. I always get questions from viewers of the channel. Answering them has helped to clear up misconceptions and to refer people to the missionaries, and it has strengthened my testimony and improved my gospel knowledge.
What about videography inspires you?
The art of capturing the beauty and the reality of the moment from different perspectives and angles, people’s stories and experiences, light, colors and forms, music, and the process of editing the film. It is like sculpting or painting, where you add and remove parts till they form the story you want to convey. I find videography a very enjoyable and uplifting activity. It’s very rewarding to create something helpful and artistic.
How do you decide what and how to shoot?
I shoot depending on the occasion. For example, when I film during a wedding, I shoot scenes that are interesting, relevant, and worth capturing. When making a film conveying a special story, message, or theme, I take time to brainstorm what the film would be like. I imagine relevant scenes, which guides me during the actual shooting. I pray for inspiration before filming.
What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your videos?
Shoot as it happens; that means being spontaneous and realistic. Shoot in different angles and views. It’s also important to consider the technicalities, like the lighting, sound, camera settings, and good editing software.
What advice would you give to new videographers?
Learn from the best videographers, google for video tutorials, search on YouTube, and look at the tips, tricks, and training videos on create.lds.org. Watch good movies, ask yourself what you like about them, and analyze how they did it. Then try it out. If you shoot inside a room, use halogen light spots with 400-500 watts (which you can get at any hardware store). Music should always support the emotions of the story.
If you could take a video of anything, what would it be?
A story of an LDS pioneer in East Germany during World War II.