Up & Coming: Greg Darkics.com
With the launch of the new Badger Beam LED we thought it would be a good idea to see what life is like as a freelance videographer. We had the opportunity to have a chat with Greg from Darkics.com.
Q1: Hi Greg hope you’re doing ok? So, what first made you want to get into video production?
Hey Interfit, thanks for having me! I think first and foremost, I’m a graphic designer who slowly crept through different mediums as and when the opportunity arose, I think that’s probably the case for a lot of creatives. I went to Saint Martins art school for their graphic design degree, which is known for its diversity (and pretentiousness), and I had access to dark rooms, editing suites, print shops etc. I grew up on a diet of cable TV, MTV and print mags and the birth of the internet, the big bang of independent film production. I was inspired by stateside agencies that were pumping out fast paced motion graphics blended over film, names such as Team Heavy and 2Advanced Studios. If you can picture the motion graphic stuff in Minority Report at 1000 mph, that’s what did it for me at the time, try looking up The FINN Movie. I used to play back agency’s show reels at super-slow-mo to be able to work out how they were constructed. By today’s standards it’s a bit hectic!
Q2: Is there any particular type or style of video production you specialise in, if so what is it?
As you can imagine, a fast-paced style lends itself naturally to action sports and the like which is where I really started in film. Obviously by being in the great outdoors that tends to include landscapes in the equation and then of course aerial drone footage is a huge factor thrown into the mix as well. Since meeting my partner NEWO I’ve started focusing on studio based alternative model work with behind the scenes shoot videos, enabling me to start playing with the idea music video-esque edits and narratives.
Q3: Video production can have a lot more post production than photography. Do you think that this can be off putting to people getting started, and what can they do to make their workload easier?
I think it can seem a little daunting for many reasons, video production used to seem a very exclusive area but now it’s obviously opened up exponentially. I certainly found getting into film daunting at university, it almost felt like an unobtainable dream back then, primarily because of equipment cost but also because of the increased complexity. I personally think the best practice is to just get your hands dirty and dive in. It can seem a never-ending task and I certainly have a long way to go. There’s an awful lot out there to aspire to and to feel you’ll never be as good as, but that’s the whole point isn’t it? Keeping faith and following your passion. There are a lot of ways to achieve the same result, but you don’t always realise that when starting out. Workload wise, a simple yet important point is that it’s very easy to shoot tons of footage for any project and become swamped when it comes to editing. As with anything creative, ruthlessness and a ‘less is more’ attitude helps dramatically.
Q4: Your website shows that you’re into extreme sports. Is this something you just film or do you get more involved?
I’m into mountain biking, snowboarding & skiing, wakeboarding, kiting.. you name it. I lived in Austria for many years employed as Mayrhofen ski resort’s photographer & videographer where I used to shoot pro skier/snowboarder athletes and the tourists. Mayrhofen’s snow park, Vans Penken Park was at the time Europe’s legendary mecca for freestyle snow sports. The shots I took were used for all of Mayrhofner Bergbahnen’s content across web, print and even huge billboards around town and video screens on the buses. It was awesome, I basically rode before and after shoots, and made mates with the best riders in Europe. When it comes to sport photography and videography, I think to some extent it’s great to be part of that scene in order to understand the image you’re trying to punch out there.
Q5: Have you ever had any strange request or requirements when creating a video?
I suppose filming whilst launching off kickers (jumps) behind an athlete could be classed as a bit out there. Followcam on kickers involves the filmer skiing or snowboarding just a few metres behind the athlete whilst you both ride over the kicker. It’s epic footage but it’s higher risk for both you and your equipment. If the rider falls you don’t have many options to avoid crashing into them. Another requirement of my mountain videography was when I would shoot skiers on the Harakiri run, the steepest run in Europe at 78% gradient. Snow doesn’t stick to gradients that steep, only ice. To access the shoot spots you would have to ride down the off-piste to the sides because the piste, being solid ice, was just too risky. You had to be absolutely confident you wouldn’t fall because the result of a fall would be to slide at high speed and collide with the avalanche barriers some distance below, something that had killed a skier in the years previous.
Q6: With an ever-increasing amount of video and image content being required for everyday life, from video calling to social ads. What’s the one thing that can make you look more professional?
The majority of my filming has been based outside so the weather more or less dictates everything. If it’s overcast, white snow against a white background and a white sky doesn’t work! Lighting really is key. When I’m shooting video in studios alongside NEWO, lighting equipment is of paramount importance. A continuous light, rather than just a flash, is a necessity with video and the Badger Beam LED allows me to shoot anywhere, powered by battery on location or by mains power in the studio. They’re great bits of kit, durable and compact. It will be interesting to see how I combine my outdoors filming with the lighting equipment in the future.
Q7: Is there a director that you admire and would love to work with?
I aspire more to individual solo creatives that do everything rather than directors within production houses as such. I follow what @blumepictures, in Laax Switzerland, does quite closely, that guy has my dream job! @bluemaxmedia in Serre Chevalier is another. I’ve met and helped Colin Zitt of @zpointfilms and @rowanbiddiscombe with work on the mountain, I think their commercial work now is awe-inspiring.
Q8: With cameras getting smaller and more powerful, how do you think this has affected video production?
Smaller and more powerful kit means further mobility and accessibility. I used to get on ski resort chair lifts with several huge bags of kit, to the point where I had to be careful not to fall off! Another aspect to think about is, if you’re working solo, there’s only so much you can carry, so for me I had to choose whether it was a DSLR & Ronin-M day or a drone flight day, it couldn’t be both because of the time it took to access the mountains. Ever shrinking size means more capabilities and options.
Q9: What is your money is no option dream camera setup and why?
An Arri Alexa Mini or RED Dragon-X would do me fine! There’s always going to be those ridiculously high-end cameras to lust over but with that comes increased size/weight.. Something a little lower on the spectrum that captures that extreme high-end level of quality but in as small a form factor as possible is, for me, the best compromise. You want to be able to hike with and take this thing into some remote places.
Q10: With the launch of the new iPhone 12 Pro, do you think mobile phone cameras will ever truly replace dedicated film and stills cameras?
No, I don’t think phones will replace dedicated cameras for industry use. To some extent phones already have replaced any other type of camera for influencers or the ‘prosumer’, there are now gimbals that do as good a job at stabilising phone cameras as they do for pro cameras. However, for industry use, the physical aspects of a camera are never going to be able to fit into something that also fits into your pocket.
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