I have the privilege of traveling the world as part of my job and covering stories of children and communities that have been changed with the help of Compassion International. It’s an amazing job that let’s me see the world and be a part of different cultures. As I’ve traveled I’ve noticed that we are all unique in our own ways. Whether it be what we do for a living or what we choose to wear everyday. As a human race we are all unique, but in many ways we are also very similar. Just watch children play around the world and you’ll notice that kids are kids no matter where you are. Yes they may look different but they all smile, play, scream, need love and yearn for attention. As I listen to parents talk during interviews I notice that they all want the best for their children and work hard to provide for their families. And so I decided to make a short film how thankful I am that we are all unique.
I decided to start by gather all the footage first. No easy tasks and I learned I need a better system to stay organized and be able to pull footage quickly. You’ll see footage from the riots in Greece, which were crazy to observe and film. There’s footage from my time in Ghana following street children and pounding some fufu. The beauty of Indonesia is in there a few times and is one of my favorites for sure. Latin America is where I feel most at home and you’ll see Colombia and Ecuador. There is also some portrait shots from Bangladesh and even Texas.
Then it was time to figure out how to tell it. I knew I didn’t want a lot of me talking but wanted the footage and culture to speak for itself. So I needed to get some rocking music to help me out. Music is a huge part of telling a story for me and helps set moods and bring emotion to the images. I enlisted the help of Moby, The Cinematic Orchestra and Mumford & Sons.. You’ll also hear a small piece I captured on the streets in Hong Kong as a street performer was playing.
Lots of different cameras and lenses represented here, from the Canon 5d mark ii, Panasonic af100 to even the little Panasonic GH2. My favorite combination has been the GH2 with the little voigtlander 25mm F 0.95. So small and easy to blend in and still get great footage. I took that one out for the Greece riots for sure as I just wanted people to think I was shooting stills. My other favorite is the Canon 5d with a Zeiss 35mm, it helps me stay steady hand held and get close with the Rode Mic. But looking back through the footage I didn’t think about what camera was this shot on. It was all about the image captured and the story I was telling. Yes you need the right tool for the job but in the end it is all about what’s in front of the lens that really counts.
Here’s a link to my gear page to see what I am currently using. http://www.jafilm.com/in-my-gear-bag/
I’m really looking forward to making more of these and am thinking about making one a longer piece based on music and musicians over the next year.