The film industry can be exciting as well as challenging. Today’s filmmakers need to be at the top of their game in creativity and efficiency to compete in a media saturated world. There are 5.97 billion hours of YouTube videos watched per day, and over 95 million Instagram photos/videos posted per day.The film industry can be exciting as well as challenging. Today’s filmmakers need to be at the top of their game in creativity and efficiency to compete in a media saturated world. There are 5.97 billion hours of YouTube videos watched per day, and over 95 million Instagram photos/videos posted per day.
With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to share some insights from Chicago native filmmaker, Josh Tallo, as he gives some experiences and practices that he finds helpful. Josh has worked for over 13 years in the film industry with companies like Discovery, Travel Channel, Nike, ABC, TLC, Oprah, CNN, The Weather Channel and many others. He’s obviously no stranger to the industry, and he has been a great resource for many aspiring filmmakers already.
1. How Do You Keep Your Content Relevant in a Media Saturated World?
Keeping content relevant can be extremely difficult if you’re catering to one type of production style. I think the way to keep your content relevant is to keep yourself relevant. You have to keep learning. Whether that’s new equipment or new lighting and editing techniques or just watching lots of other people’s content. I think there are some great young shooters out there that are doing cool things and you have to learn how to borrow and adapt what they may be doing to your own work, because they are doing the same thing. It comes down to learning and not being complacent with what you are doing. I always want to be learning new things.
2. You create everything from hype videos to documentaries. How does your preparation differ between video types?
When it comes to video type or style I tend to try my best to adapt to what the genre of the video needs to become. The techniques I use to create one video or another are not that much different overall. In industrial video or documentary videos there’s usually very little time to come up with a creative style. You sort of have to find it as you go. The more you shoot that kind of video the easier it becomes to make on the fly decisions.
3. How long have you been in the film industry and how has your career progressed?
I’ve been working in the film industry since 2005. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a bachelor of arts degree with a concentration in Cinematography. I started out working under a cameraman who was working in the TV / Documentary arena. I interned under him for many years soaking up everything I could about lighting, camera techniques and field audio mixing. Once I felt I had learned enough to venture out on my own, I started shooting more for my own clients and gradually building up an arsenal of camera and lighting equipment. I knew that If I could make my living honing my craft at the same time that I’d be on track to one day start creating my own content. That’s the goal. Creating original material. I am constantly improving and critiquing my work. This business is ever evolving, so I’m eager to learn new techniques and skills. I’m always up for new challenges and opportunities. I pride myself on being well rounded in all aspects of production. My passion for imagery and lighting, however, continues to be the basis for everything I create. I love making videos but I ultimately want to make movies. Anything original content with creative control excites me at this stage of the game.
4. What do you wish you knew as a filmmaker when you first started?
I wish that I had the knowledge that is readily available to young filmmakers today because of the internet. The digital revolution had just begun when I graduated college. I was still shooting 16 and 35mm film in school. A High Def cinema camera was hard to come by in those years. It was a totally new medium.
5. How do you keep creativity fresh when inspiration dwindles?
I find a lot of inspiration in music and in younger creative people who are coming into the business with eager and very wide eyes. It reminds me what it was like to make videos or films for the first time. It definitely recharges your spirit and gets you excited again to create.
6. Do you have a process for sifting through raw footage to find the clips you’ll use in the final video?
Yes, I call it creating a selects timeline. I throw everything into one long timeline and drag through it looking for the best shots in each clip. Once I narrow it down to those selects, I have a lot less footage to choose from when editing. It actually saves a lot of time and I never have to go back to the raw footage unless there’s something very specific I’ve missed.
7. At what point do you feel your work is finished on a particular video?
Probably never. There’s usually always more you could do to a project. The client is the one who makes that decision for me thankfully. If it’s my own work I’ll have to have a motivating deadline like a festival or a screening date to get me to stop working.
8. Why do you use F&V Lights? What products do you use?
F&V Lights are a quality product at an affordable price that don’t compromise on the most important features in LED lights today. Those being High CRI, High output, versatility of color temperatures. I own lots of F&V products. I have ring lights, 1×1 bi-colors, 1×2 bi-colors. My favorite lights are hands down the 1×1 and 1×2 Soft lights. They are brighter and the ability to dial the color temperature to the exact kelvin number is super helpful and convenient.
View Josh’s work here: http://www.tallofilmworks.com/work/