Category archives: Miscellaneous

Someone reached out to us on Instagram (follow us!) the other day and asked a few questions about starting a videography business. I gave them our email and sent a response today. I pasted some of the response below. Perhaps it will be helpful to some of you as well.

My MacBook is very outdated about 6 years old and even then I didn’t add anything to upgrade it. I have had multiple people tell me to switch from FCP X to Adobe didn’t know what your thoughts were on that? I love FCPX, but it takes some getting used to. Many people switched to Adobe when FCPX was first announced, but I think that was a bit reactionary. I dig the software and think it is a super helpful tool if you learn it. I don’t like the monthly payment setup that Adobe uses for its Creative Cloud. I think FCPX is powerful and intuitive. That’s my suggestion.
My parents have a Canon T3i so I thought I could use that on some beginning projects to get some money coming in. Didn’t know what you thought about staying with cannon In the long run I saw you using Sony some. The Sony is powerful in low-light situations, but unless you invest in the proper gear for it (a cage, rails, matte box, monitor/external recorder), it doesn’t have an advantage over most Canon DSLR’s. I use a Canon 5D mark iii, C100 mark ii, and Sony A7S. I think you should use the T3i and eventually invest in a used 5D or a new Canon 6D. Both are great.
Was considering buying a slider from Rhino and some type of stabilizer?
I love Rhino’s products. Creative, affordable and great customer service. Their slider is incredible and I’m especially excited about their new Evo +Motion systems. Their Rhino steady is nice, but like all stabilizer systems, it can be tough to balance and use well. That being said, it is a great value and you can learn it if you put in the effort. They have great tutorials online.
Just wanted to know your advice on me starting out and maybe what you learned when you started? My biggest recommendation would be to shoot and edit a ton, as basic as that sounds. Make videos for your family, experiment with ideas, do fun videos, etc. The more you edit, the quicker and better you will become. I would start out by taking small jobs and charging a minimal amount. For example, the first 5 weddings I shot I did for the same price. After that, the next 5 weddings I did I charged $500 more and I kept increasing the price every 5 weddings or so until I got to my goal. This year we had over 100 inquiries for weddings. I also think it’s important to invest in the creative community around you. Do that through social media, going to events and networking, etc. There will always be work for creatives, but it is essential to make relationships with other professionals along the way so you can share work. I have a handful of videographers than I send work to when I can’t do it and vice versa. I also network with photographers, wedding venues, and event planners to share my work and to help promote theirs. Although it’s a competitive business, it pays to be kind and thoughtful. There are always things to learn and people to learn from. It keeps me humble for sure. Also, YouTube is your friend. Watch tutorials and learn from people who are better than you. Especially when you start using FCPX (or Adobe) tutorials can be super helpful.
Basic Starting gear:
– Canon Camera
– Monopod
– Lenses (50mm 1.8 is awesome for starters and a 18-35 is great too.
Don’t go crazy on gear just yet. This is a great start.

Jessica Swenson is an infant and family photographer based in the Bay Area. She reached out to us last month to create a promo video for her business and we are quite happy with the results. The combination of bright colors, cute models (I am biased!), and Jess’ fun personality made for a great shoot. If you need family photos, check out her website here. She’s great!

Monterey from the Sky


We had the chance to go to Monterey twice this month and were able to film some pretty cool stuff. Check out this clip we shot at a world-famous golf course on Pebble Beach. We experimented (in post-production) with 2:35.1 ratio (cinema style) for the first time and we’re pretty happy with the results. We are on the eve of wedding season insanity. Excited for what lies ahead.

We were recently contacted by TheDroneInfo.com requesting an interview on drone videographer. Naturally, we obliged. It was a lot of fun discussing the current state of drone videography and how we apply it in our work. The interview can be found here. You can also read it below:

Q. Daniel, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Could you tell us a bit about your business?

I officially started Matter Video in 2011 and have been doing it full time since then. We create wedding videos as well as projects for non-profits and businesses. We love telling people’s stories through a visual medium. We primarily work in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we also on projects around the world.

Q. How did you get started in using drones for your business?

In 2013 we shot a wedding in Santa Cruz with a photographer named Philip Lima. Philip happens to be one of the best drone “pilots” that I know. He brought his drone to the wedding and captured some video for me. It was the first time I saw a drone used at a wedding. I knew I had to get one. We purchased a DJI Phantom 2 and a GoPro, and used it for about a year (20+ weddings and various other projects). It completely changed the way we approached videography. It sounds cliche, but suddenly every type of shot was possible. The drone was a dolly, jib and provided perspectives we had only previously dreamed about. We sold our Phantom 2 at the beginning of the year and bought the DJI Inspire 1. The Inspire is yet another game changer. Its functionality is insane. The fact that you can completely control the video controls in the air is amazing. It is so smooth and fluid. We used it on a wedding last week and it provided some of my favorite drone footage to date. It is insane.

Q. How have your customers reacted to the use of drones?

Customers love the drone footage. I have several wedding clients who have booked us based solely on our drone footage. To be honest, only a small percentage of the footage in a given wedding video is of the aerial variety. I primarily use it for establishing shots and unique accents. I try not to overuse it. That being said, it gives our videos a unique look that our customers have raved about.

Q. Do many other videographers that you know use drones in their work today?

I wouldn’t say there are many, but there are a handful whose work I love. Philip Lima, as I previously mentioned, is one of the best drone pilots I’ve seen. Vinny Minton from Imperial Productions (Bay Area), White in Revery (Florida/Colorado), and Aqua Vivus (San Diego) are some of my favorite videographers using drones today. They push the limits on what is possible, without over-saturating their videos with aerial footage. It’s easy to go overboard, but they have great balance and creativity.

Q. Do you have any tips for others trying to use drones for photography or videography?

My 2 basic tips would be to practice a ton and don’t go overboard in the amount of drone footage you include in your projects. Because the drones (especially of the DJI variety) are essentially ready-to-fly when you buy them, it’s easy to get a false sense of confidence. It’s vital that videographers practice flying their drones in open spaces a ton before using them on projects. Learn how to fly without GPS and FPV aide. Learn how to safely follow subjects and how to pan smoothly. Practice is essential, not only for safety reasons, but to ensure that you are creating the best video content possible. When I edit, I try not to over use the drone footage. It’s easy to get carried away with sweeping landscape shots and captivating skyscapes, but I think that the cliche “less is more” is quite apt when editing. Use drone footage as a a creative accent in your videos, but focus your content of the video’s subject (a wedding couple, business, etc) rather than the cool aerial footage you captured. People value story over sweeping drone footage.

Q. How does the accessibility of drones to the average consumer affect professionals?

I think that talent and creativity will always rise to the top. That’s why practice is essential. Learn how to fly safely, while capturing content in the most creative way you can. Look at other people’s work online. Allow others to inspire you (excuse the pun). I think competition is great. I welcome it. It makes me better.

The DJI Inspire 1 Review

We have been using the DJI Inspire for a month now and it has completely changed the way we approach aerial videography and cinematography. I used the Phantom 2 for almost a year. It allowed me (us) to be creative in a way that we were previously unable to imagine. That being said, the P2 had its limitations. The HD-3D gimbal was steady, but our FPV setup left something to be desired. It was a pain (and a bit of a gamble) using the GoPro as well. Having to press record prior to taking off often resulted in a mixed bag of footage. In my experience, the Inspire is much smoother for panning shots and is much more steady in the air (you can even pull of timelapse clips and long-exposure photos). For me, the biggest advantage of the Inspire is the ability to adjust video exposure and recording settings while the device is in the air. The iOS app is fairly intuitive and helpful (I’ve only experienced a bit of lag). With the TB48 battery I am able to get around 20 minutes of flight time (the standard TB47 battery gets around 15 minutes). That means I can switch between photo and video, adjust frame rates and exposure settings, shoot in multiple locations without bringing the “bird” down. It’s a game changer. I have read on multiple forums about fly-away issues (I had a fly away with my P2) and software errors, but I haven’t had any major issues. I use the GPS and Attitude mode often, but have yet to use many of the auto functions (auto-takeoff, “return to home,” etc). I think the best way to avoid major issues is to read DJI forums regularly (ie learn from other’s mistakes), practice in open spaces, and be in control of the craft manually as often as possible. I feel like my creativity has been taken to the next level with the Inspire and I’m excited to incorporate it into our 2015 projects. Here are some recent samples.


We purchased a DJI Inspire 1 this week and took it out for its first test flight yesterday. We have been using the DJI Phantom 2 and a GoPro Hero Black 3+ since May and it has become a staple part of our video projects. From weddings to non-profit videos, we always seem to find a way to sneak it in.

One of the reasons we purchased the Inspire was its ability to shoot 4K video and the seamless FPV integration with DJI’s iOS app. The iPhone (iPad Mini on its way) allows for sharp 1080p monitoring up to 2km, which is crazy. Our FPV setup on the Phantom 2 (P2) only allowed for a clear (non HD) picture at around 500ft.

The P2 and GoPro setup was nice, but having an all-in-one unit like the Inspire is a game-changer. I love the GoPro, but the image on the Inspire’s 4k camera, and the ability to modify the camera settings while it’s in the air, makes this unit about 10 times more useful for us.

 

 

We primarily use the drone for weddings and it produced some amazing images for our couples last year. Here are some highlights from 2014.

The Inspire is much larger and more aggressive than the P2, which means there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. We took it out for a spin yesterday, but the rain cut things short. Here is a quick take of our first flight.

I can’t wait to master this amazing piece of technology. Connect with us on Twitter and Instagram and share your thoughts.

A Christmas Together Tour Video


I have had the opportunity to work with the lovely folks at A Christmas Together several times over the past few years. On December 6th I had the opportunity to film the tour’s stop at Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, CA. This year’s iteration of the tour featured Tim Timmons, Jadon Lavik, PawnShop kings, and newcomers Sarah Macintosh and Micah Bournes. All of these musicians are crazy talented and are worth checking out.

Check www.achristmastogether.com for more details.

Aerial Videography Highlights

In the Spring of 2014, we purchased a DJI Phantom 2 and have since incorporated it into most of the videos we produce. Needless to say it has added a unique element to our wedding and corporate videos and has become a staple feature for our clients. One of the producers we often work with asked us to put together some highlights from this year.


Back in May, we had the opportunity to work with New York Times bestselling author, Danielle Walker, to create a promo video for her upcoming cookbook, Meals Made Simple (pre-order here). The book is going to be released next month and her publisher just posted the video on her site this weekend. This video was a lot of fun to shoot and we are looking forward to collaborating with Danielle again this year.

We teamed up with Monvera and Rosa d’Oro to create this video-our third in the “Beautiful Bottle” Series. Here is what Monvera had to say about the video:

For this installment of Monvera’s Beautiful Bottle, we are excited to feature an old-world-meets-new-technology wine collection from Rosa d’Oro Vineyards.

Designed by Kerri Green Design, the goal of this elaborately illustrated campaign of labels was to reflect history and grandeur of the ancient mosaics of Constantinople in 400 AD. The general idea is to bring Old World Italian grapes and winemaking with New World packaging technology in a way that respects both the Old Tradition and the winemakers location in warm-climate Northern California.