Asude: Hi Dennis, thank you for giving us the chance to have a quick chat with you! We follow your work very closely and wanted the rest of the world know you a little bit better, too. So, could you give us a brief background about yourself and how did you get started with videography?
Dennis: I was born in Germany in 1991. I’ve got my first camera when I turned 16 and immediately started to work on artistic subjects to learn more about the basics of photography. A few months later, I won my first award in a competition that hosted multi disciplinary artists from Germany. That ultimately initiated my professional creative journey. Although I only worked as a photographer for the first years, I was constantly looking out for new possibilities to develop my creative crafts. Then, after buying my first DSLR camera that was able to record video footage, I decided to check if videography could complement my portfolio. So, I started producing short documentaries about pretty much everything I was attracted to, including a Christmas market, an independent bakery, musicians ... gradually transitioning my business from photography to videography.
A: I love these kinds of stories and seeing people realizing their interest when they are very young, like you! After that, what had been the video project you earned your first money?
D: My first commercial project was a tour video for an international DJ where I didn’t just earn money but also learned the most important thing about demanding clients: Without reliable equipment, you can’t deliver professional results on a daily basis. So, using cameras, cranes, and sliders that could resist heavy shocks and dense crowds was the best solution for me to keep that footage steady and consistent.
A: What is your background in videography?
D: Although I taught all technical basics to myself, I also studied communication design to learn more about video and the importance of its context, while also adding 2D/3D animation and music composition to my portfolio. At the same time, I realized, that the story your footage is embedded in, is just as important as smart equipment to create outstanding works. So I decided to focus more on the concept, ultimately transitioning my videography from “commercial” to “artistic and commercial”.
A: How would you describe your videography style?
D: I think my “style” is more like an approach to convert knowledge into creative works and evaluate how people react to it. I really love to learn about all kinds of stuff and check if they work with what I already know. For example, when I bought a SliderONE, I wanted to create time-lapses that were different from the ones I’ve seen before. So, to create a new image style, I decided to utilize the coding experience I already had: I developed a custom camera profile that combines elements from infrared and traditional photography and used it for the image sequences captured with the slider, eventually leading to new time-lapse look.
A: So, you have the opportunities to make a difference. What are the preparations you make before you begin filming?
D: As I work a lot with clients and events where it is hard to repeat certain scenes, I mainly prepare timings. That means I focus on exact schedules where I define the positions to capture footage from and the time frame for each automated camera movement. This is especially important when I work alone and have to consider the time to mount and unmount equipment between important shots. To save a few minutes here I prefer to work with tools that are portable. All in all this method works pretty well but to be honest: The best shots in my life were the ones I didn’t plan.
A: What’s the best advice you've ever been given?
D: The woman I love once said, “Just do what you’re attracted to and you will get happy eventually.” That advice still works great for me. It brought joy to my creative work and fulfillment in my life.
A: Well said. Do you prefer buying or renting your filmmaking equipment?
D: Definitely buying because it’s so time-consuming to work with rented equipment that was modified in a ridiculous way by someone else before.
A: What software do you use in post-production for videography and your CGI works?
D: I usually work with Premiere Pro and After Effects with several VFX plugins. Depending on the job, I sometimes also add Cinema 4D to create some surreal elements.
A: You’ve received several awards and also had the opportunity to exhibit your works within multiple exhibitions. What is the best piece of advice you could give to other filmmakers?
D: Try and learn as much as you like. You have to find out what really amazes you, but also what’s just not right for you. Even if that means that you have to change filmmaking, in the way you are practicing it now, to something completely different. For example, when I started doing photography I never even thought about a career that contains videography, music composition, 2D/3D animation, and coding. But, things changed and they continue to do. And, I feel better to know, better than before. And, if that happens to you, just let it happen. Sometimes it’s just a minor shift, sometimes it feels like your worst creative nightmare. But, you will always get through this. And in the end, you will create beautiful art, that contains all your good and bad experiences. That’s your personality. And every sophisticated audience or client will book you exactly because of that. So, never waste your time on fulfilling someone else's expectations and constantly ensures to work in a creative field you feel comfortable with.
A: What’s the equipment you generally bring to a set?
D: I try to be as portable and flexible as possible. So, mostly I work with just one backpack that contains two cameras, 1-2 lenses, 1xSliderONE, 2xHeadONE with Tilt Kit v2, 1xFlexTILT Head, 1xWing, a tripod, and some small gadgets.
A: What do you think about the future of filmmaking with the technology is advancing so fast?
D: I think advances in filmmaking technology can help artists that always wanted to transform their ideas into a film but didn’t have the time, money or other resources to work with complex camera techniques. I remember that I struggled a lot when I was learning about the basics of videography. I actually just wanted to get creative but instead, I had to spend months on learning how to get and operate the equipment. I even built a custom slider back then just to be able to finally shoot some footage. That really crushed my motivation at first and later almost made me give up film-related works completely. So, I hope future artists won’t have to face that technical barrier and can get straight to the point of creating art. I think when we’re there, videography is at its peak.
A: What’s your biggest ambition for the future?
D: I just hope I’ll stay true to myself, being able to explore the possibilities of audiovisual arts. That’s all I need, for now, that’s my guide.