There isn't exactly a shortage of videographers at the moment, so you have to have a bit of something extra to stand out. Back in June we were on the look out for someone who could operate camera and edit video to a broadcast standard, and also raise and maintain Ember's already high technical standards across our production cycle. During an exceptionally busy period, I needed a camera operator to work with on a freelance basis. I managed to get one, and after working with him for a day that I knew he'd be a great fit for Ember. His name is Alex Dewhirst, and when it comes to making videos, he's got game.
Sam: What inspired you to want to make videos?
Alex: I have always been a very visual person. From a young age, I would always man the home video camera at family gatherings. I love watching films, and this led me first to join a local film club, and then to study film after leaving school. I studied Film Production Technology at Staffordshire University, achieving a first class honours and winning first place in the film category at the annual graduate exhibition. Whilst at university I focused my learning on camera language and lighting.
Are there any projects you've worked on which stand out as a learning experience?
I was the director of photography on a feature film called Place & Time. It was an experimental piece where two actors meet for the first time in character, and the action was filmed in real time over 90 minutes. The director then manipulated them by texting or calling each of their phones during filming. This was a real challenge as we had no idea what the characters would do next, but we still needed to shoot the film in a cinematic way. I treated the film like a live event, setting up cameras for different angles and distances, and made sure I had extra cameras if the action moved away from the main locations.
You're originally form Newbury. What was behind the move to our fair Birmingham?
My home town is a great place, but I wanted somewhere bigger and more exciting, with more opportunities to collaborate. I could have gone to the big smoke but I chose to move to the motor city because it's up and coming, it has a great history and it's fun. There's nothing more exciting that being a part of something whilst it's growing and I think a lot of people are realising that about Birmingham.
Are there any cinematographers, directors or filmmakers who particularly inspire you?
Larry Smith is an incredible cinematographer, as is Roger Deakins. David Fincher and Paul Greengrass are two of my favourite directors. What I find truly impressive about them is the way that they can tell a great story efficiently, using a relatively small number of shots.
Give us a breakdown of your work setup. What do you use to get things done?
My favourite tools are lenses and lights. I think this is where my experience with a range of equipment really pays off. I'd better not say what cameras I'm using right now, technology moves so fast that if someone reads this next year they'll think I'm behind the times. It's safe to say I love the technology side of things, and I make sure I stay up to date with the latest kit.
What impact do you want to have for Ember and our clients?
I have very technical high standards, and I want to ensure that the videos we make are at the highest quality possible for our clients. I also want to create content that is visually engaging and beautiful to look at, and I believe that commercial video can be just as creative as feature films. Nothing pleases me more than creating moving images, so I'm lucky that I do it for a living. Everything I do is to enhance the story, and that's the same whether it's a feature film or a promotional video.