A Little Context:
I grew up in the Texas media industry. My father, Robin Flores, has worked in radio all my life, both as an on air personality and as a programming director. My Dad is always concerned about the character of the station in the eyes of the listener, how the listener interacts with the station and what type of interaction that is. That interaction takes place thought media in it’s various forms, TV, Radio, On-Line…. and its a tough industry. It’s fast passed, looks matter and how things sound is key. Media is where the rubber meets the road between the customer and marketing. One of the little nuggets of marketing genius my father was able to pass down to me was, “if you stole it from me, you stole it twice”. Just wait, this is going somewhere…
I have been very lucky. When was being instructed on professional video techniques the company, Border Media, actually hired a professional photographer to come and give me one-on-one sessions for a week at a time spread out over a few months. I was given a Panasonic DVX-100b (awesome cam) to start out with and an unbelievable lighting and audio kit (wireless, lighting, packs to tote it all, the works). I had more tools than I knew what to do with and I needed to use them. The photographer the company brought in was Andrew Hudson. Andrew is one of those special people you get to work with in your life that has an uncanny eye for beauty and skills that reach beyond their years of experience. One of the things Andrew told me was, “Steal from the Best and Make it Your Own”. Along with a lot of other things Andrew said… that line has stuck with me.
What Andrew said reminded me of the phrase my Dad always half jokingly said, “If you stole it from me, you’ve stolen it twice”. I’m no Taratino, but I can shoot some video. Andrew and my father, as media mentors, have encouraged me to look at what the market is doing, take the ideas, parts and pieces I like and that work for my purposes and put them into my own work… and make it better. While shooting video even though I don’t have a million dollar set I have a professional video kit and still reproduce (try at least) the quality and technical beauty seen in well shot and produced TV and Cinema.
You don’t always have to steal. I like to call it integrating! There are good books written on design, best practices, post production techniques. We live in an age of information now and I don’t have much trouble finding inspiration on the web. There are resources like Lynda.com, Kelby Training, MacProVideo.com and many more. One good book is Before and After: How to Design Cool Stuff, you can check them out at Before & After. In this book, and on the site, they give you design tips but always in the context of a larger conceptual philosophy like rhythm, motion, or as I’m writing this I got sucked into an description of the concept of “continuation” and how to lead the viewers eye on a real or imaged path, which is something I need to keep in mind when I take photographs and piece together graphical compositions… did I just steal that idea?
A Final Thought:
One of the things I like most about stealing/integrating good ideas from other videographers and designers is that it requires a lot of planning. If you’re going to attempt to reproduce something someone else did you often have to think about how you can use the tools you already have in a different way. Trying the things I’ve seen has pushed me into what I can only describe as paradigm shifts in the way I produce and design. Before you know it, you’re looking back at your work remembering the techniques that characterized your style of production at the time, whatever type of media it may be.