Encouragement and Tips for Filmmaking ft. The SANDMARC Media Team

An interview with the SANDMARC Filmmakers.
In the below interview we learn more about the SANDMARC filmmakers, their inspiration, tips for filmmaking and their favorite SANDMARC gear to pair together.

1. How did you get into filmmaking?

Gabriella: It all started with my love for movies, of course! From a really young age I was fascinated by films and constantly watching the behind-the-scenes features and interviews. I loved seeing how the cast and crew worked together to build a movie from scratch and how much skill went into the cinematography, directing, and acting! I remember stealing the family camcorder all the time to make short videos with my friends and siblings, recreating movie scenes and commercials. From there, I just kept practicing, learning to edit and experimenting!

Michael: I started writing when I was ten, and wanted to show what I was writing visually. I was further inspired by watching behind the scenes content for a few different feature films. Around this time, I started out by videoing skits with my siblings, and later, music videos. During these learning stages, I gained a proclivity for music videos because they allowed me to experiment with cinematography and editing technique without being hampered by my lack of audio-recording capabilities.


2. Did you have a mentor who gave you advice that encourages you till this day?

Gabriella: I had a professor at UCSB, that really encouraged me to make bold choices in my work! He said art is meant to inspire and investigate- and that I should create from a place that electrifies me. Whatever medium I am working in, I try to push my creativity to the limit and see past the obvious choice, opting for a more courageous, unique, and exciting vision.

My first internship and film related job I ever had, I worked at a broadcasting studio run by a friend, who was probably the only person in my life outside of film school who gave me advice relating to film. He encouraged me to keep pursuing my filmmaking goals, regardless of how challenging it might be in that field. That internship was also the beginning of my ventures into the technical side of video, and I learned quite a bit.

3. Is there a filmmaker on social media that inspires you? What is one question you would ask them?

Gabriella: I am really inspired by Michael Gray’s Instagram and YouTube! I think his work is stunning and I love how he films around the world in beautiful locations! He captures such intimate moments with his subjects in nature but can also create high-octane action sequences with his drone, filming motorcycles, ATVs, and even military vehicles out in exotic locations. His color grading is also incredibly impressive and pulls you into the scene by capturing the beauty and epic majesty of the world.

IG Handle: @mikevisuals
Michael: Phillip Linnik has been an inspiration primarily on Instagram Reels, for his ability to convey strong emotion within simple but beautiful locations - characters either framed under the expansive arches of old cathedrals, or on a grassy hill, against a stark contrast of gray or golden sky. If I could ask him one question, I would ask where where he finds his locations.

IG Handle: @iphilgood

4. What do you do if you are in a creative rut?

Gabriella: Whenever I am in a creative rut I always go outside and relax in nature. Whether it's a hike, stroll on the beach, or even just a bike ride, surrounding myself with the beauty of nature energizes me and awakens my creativity! Being outdoors allows my mind the space to brainstorm and day dream, which oftentimes leads me to a new concept to try. Once I’ve gotten that, I am then ready to dive into Pinterest and create mood boards for the upcoming project.

I take as long a break as I need for ideas to happen spontaneously. Often this happens while working out or driving; another alternative is watching movies or TV shows and noticing what I liked or didn’t like, and then being inspired to write something channeled through that process of creative criticism.

5. What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone who is just starting out?

Gabriella: A piece of advice I would give to someone starting out would be to get into the habit of finishing projects and posting them online! Sharing your work with the world is going to greatly encourage you to improve your skills, connect with a filmmaking community, and build your confidence with each new project. Practice leads to mastery, so if you want to make beautiful films like the pros, you have to always be practicing, being curious, and learning!

My advice would be to create consistently, and resist the urge to wait until you have more experience, better gear, actors, or even “better ideas.” This is a struggle I personally continue to go through, but what I realized from these recurring experiences is that you can only have creative or technical growth if you initiate despite not being “prepared” - however you’ve defined that word. If you wait till you are completely ready to film something, you will never end up filming - so just do it. This is not sponsored by Nike.

Filmmaking Tips

6. What is your favorite editing program?

Gabriella: My favorite editing program is Premiere Pro! I absolutely love all the tools and features it has to transform footage and also how easily it integrates with Adobe Creative Suite.

My favorite editing program is DaVinci Resolve Studio! While the editor itself is enough for me to recommend DaVinci, it comes embedded with its industry standard color grading system, as well as dedicated tabs for sound engineering and visual effects.

7. How do you scout locations to shoot at?

Gabriella: Scouting location is so much fun for me! I usually use google maps, Pinterest, or Instagram! I ask a lot of my photographer and videographer friends for suggestions, as well.

Typically I try to dig up locations from my memory, if I’ve been there before. If not, I google locations, consult google maps, and drive there beforehand if necessary.

SANDMARC Gear Advice

8. If you had to choose ONLY one SANDMARC item to shoot with for a month what would you choose?

Gabriella: I would choose the Telephoto 58mm! It just delivers such clear, sharp images and I feel like it can adopt to any location seamlessly. From landscape to portraits, it really does it all.

I would probably go with the Telephoto 58mm, because it delivers natural bokeh resulting from its optics, avoiding the typical smartphone quality look in video. It punches in close enough to get detailed close-ups on a character's face, or focus on a particular movement, which is a capability I love having for shooting short films or athletics videos.
Telephoto 58mm

9. What’s your favorite SANDMARC gear to pair together?

Gabriella: I love pairing the Telephoto 58mm Lens with the Cloud Diffusion Filter. I’ve gotten some amazing portraits with that combo and also love to go out at night and use that lens and filter to take photos and videos of neon lights!
Michael: I love pairing the Film Rig with the 1.55x Anamorphic lens. The Film Rig adds extra stability when filming a scene, and if handled correctly, can eliminate the wobble that results from an unstable anamorphic lenses. The anamorphic lens makes everything look more filmic on the iPhone, particularly with the horizontal lens flares.

10. If you could choose one famous person to be featured in a SANDMARC video who would it be?

Gabriella: It would be incredible to have Benett Graezer featured in one of our videos! He makes incredible videos on the iphone and frequently shoots with SANDMARC lenses, filters, and gear. I would love to make a vlog where I join him on a shoot and have him explain his creative process, his iPhone settings, what SANDMARC products he likes the best, and his views on filmmaking in general! It would be amazing to see how he sees the world, and how he translates that into a cinematic video!

IG Handle: @BenettGraezer
Michael: It would be awesome to shoot a music video for Josh Groban because he’s my favorite vocal artist and would fit perfectly for a cinematic music video that’s centered around not only impressive vocals but also the opportunity to craft cinematic iPhone footage to complement the talent.