Category Archives: Commercial Videography


The human Condition in public places

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The street photography tradition does not, contrary to expectation, require a street, an urban setting or even people. Objects or whole environments can be used to depict something of the human character, symbolically or in actual likeness.

Adapting Environment to Subject
Surprisingly, street photography has a pedigree more than a century old. Early street photographers gave peoples’ impressions of cities like Paris a new lease on life. Taking the ordinary and the incidental in the daily life around us and interpreting the artistic merit in it is perhaps the ultimate freedom in photography, if not in art. It is generally conceded, for instance, that people who happen to be captured in street photography images are not required to give their consent because photography is protected as free speech and artistic expression.

There is an arguable overlap between street photography and documentary photography, however, the latter usually has a predetermined message to convey whilst street photography seeks merely to arrive at the truest depiction possible.

Technically, mobility and ease of setup is what makes or breaks good street photography. Photographers will have rangefinders, digital and film SLRs, and point-and-shoot cameras in their arsenal. Zone focusing is probably the most effective focusing technique – setting a fixed focal distance and photographing from that distance. Unsurprisingly, focal lengths of 28 mm to 50 mm are preferred for their angle of view and maximised depth of field.

Consider that modern wedding photography, with its inclination towards candid views is, in effect, a type of a street photography that everyone understands.


About DSLR Cinematography

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The first DSLR cameras that were capable of shooting good quality, HD videos came to the scene in 2008 and just two years later DSLR cinematography took the independent filmmaking industry by storm. These compact cameras produce high quality videos that give professional-looking videos at a low cost compared to the cost you would have paid using more elaborate equipment.

It is no surprise that DSLR cinematography has revolutionised filmmaking especially considering the state of the global economy. The best thing about DSLR cameras is that they are relatively easy to use and one does not need formal training to use them properly. You can even surf the net for tutorials and start filming amazing, high definition films.

DSLR cinematography was originally more popular amongst those filming wildlife and journalists following volatile situations like strike demonstrations and protests. This is because while DSLR cameras produce high-quality videos, they are also very light, compact and easy to carry around. They are also incredibly easy to operate and that helps greatly when an opportunity to film ground breaking footage arises unexpectedly.

Some popular films that were shot using DSLR cameras include ‘Like Crazy’ which was filmed on a budget of $250 000 but ended up being bought by Paramount for the whopping amount of $4 million after it won the Sundance Film Festival. Another DSLR filmed movie that did well was For Lovers Only which ended up raking in over $500 000 in earnings. DSLR Cinematography continues to grow and with advancements in technology, the possibilities are endless.


Stay ahead of the game: Why your brand needs video marketing

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Four motivations your company will benefit from video as a marketing tool.

Let’s be real. In our digital information age, the easiest, most digestible way to convey a message is favoured. Stats don’t lie; the effectiveness of video is undeniable.

Video marketing seems an obvious choice when wanting to get your company or brand out into the world. You can convey a message quickly and reach a mass audience with expertly produced visuals, sounds and content.

If executed properly your company will benefit from video marketing. Here’s why:

Digestible content

Not many people have time to read lengthy mission statements. Videos are quick, easy and engaging.

People can relate to your personality
Because you are able to express your brand personality, people will be able to identify with your product or vision, which means that they are more likely to spend time on your website and more likely to buy your product.

Free marketing to a wide audience
Videos are shared – a well-produced video with a memorable message has the potential to reach a massive audience, any time, any where, in a short space of time. Best of all? Sharing is not only caring – it’s free.

Improve your rankings
Rich content means interactive images and videos. This type of content is greatly rewarded by Google by improving your search ranking.

Not only that, the second biggest search engine in the world happens to be YouTube. Algorithms on both platforms are similar, but the advantages of YouTube are that you can have your own channel.



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As film guys we have had our eyes, ears and brains gulp down and skim over different genres, styles and subject matter within film. No matter where we are, we’re still just film students at the end of the day.Today we’re taking a very quick look at (two films in particular) one of the most fundemental topics life has to offer: DEATH

The Kill: Famous Documentary Films on Killing and Murders (Joshua Openheimer)

Documentaries deal with real life. And real life deals with the beginning and the end, i.e. life and death.

In a sense all films are about either love, death, or independance in some respect or another, but then you get the more ‘real’ ones that really tackle the issue of death head on…

For years documentary filmmakers have risked their lives and careers to produce films that show the audience the truth, highlight elements of humanity that are dark and twisted, and simply handling the death of large amounts of people.

The Death of Humans

One such film is called The Act of Killing, made in 2012, which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to re-enact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

The film contains some particularly disturbing scenes in which these death-squad leaders candidly talk about the many people they’ve killed (over a million) and how they would do it.

In one scene, in the director’s cut version of this film, one of these death-squad leaders appears to make amends with whoever is listening, back at the location where the deaths were carried out, before he starts violently dry-heaving.

Werner Hertzog, who is one of the producers of this film has spent his career making gritting (low-budget looking) films tackling issues of power, death and darkness. His films have been considered note worthy in the film industry and are studied in film schools world wide. It’s refreshing to see that subject matter will genrally trump producition style when it comes to long lasting value. And also to see he’s still making movies!


For some people it’s easier to deal with the death of large amounts of humans conciously but when it comes to animals we live in denial and merely eat our way through our disgust. Animals losing their lives are commonly part of the dark side of the human spirit.

In The Cove, released in 2009, a group of activists, using state-of-the-art equipment, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

This film is so disturbing that it led to an online PSA in order to take action against the illegal act of killing dolphins. This film is a justly made doci that deals with dophin murder and genocide as it’s thesis, but is only one of many important pieces of work that discover our absolute cruelty and commodity like treatment of our animal counterparts on this planet. It’s beautiful to see the impact films like this make on humanity today, and it shows us again that all the tricks and turns used to create a feature film establish a visual and audio demonstration that can expose real issues on any level.

For more about ‘The Cove’ visit

We’d love your thoughts and discussion on this piece!


Video production

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It’s for the pros

The internet is full of “right place right time videos”, taken at a critical time when an inglorious fail occurs. The kind that make you ask yourself “How did he do that?” Like when some amazing wildlife event happens. So how do you best equip yourself for those once-in-a-lifetime moments?
It’s all in the preparation. Got a new camera? Don’t wait for experience to teach you how to use your machine. Read The Manual.

Secondly, be prepared. Fully-charged spare battery and charger/power supply, enough memory to store any potential shoots, lens-cleaning cloth, a tripod. Throw it in the car’s boot, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Duct tape – you’ll discover how useful that is, lighting, filters and microphones, all assure you of a memorable video.

Tripods and lighting make the difference between viral and indifferent. Tripods keep your camera steadier than you’ll ever manage by hand and, the axiom of photography is that it’s all about lighting, lighting, lighting.

Good audio is the second-most important criteria – avoid audio bombs, people using inappropriate comments difficult to separate out from the sound channel in editing. Also be aware of background noise levels which could drown out critical sounds. Don’t frame your subject dead-centre – that’s amateur, so spend time to set up your shots, regardless of editing, compose your image to the edge of your frame.

Lastly, apply a preference for optical zooms – in fact; turn off your digital zoom feature – unless you’re shooting zombies. Then it’s ok.

These few simple rules will go a long way to insuring that you optimise your award-potential video, whenever, wherever you are.


The Perfect Wedding Video

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The Perfect Wedding Video

Let’s face it, every single bride on this planet has either wanted, or still wants, the perfect wedding video. Yes, the fact is the photographer probably gets more time with said bride and groom, but the video is where the actual moments are captured.

Now, ‘let’s start at the very beginning’…

The Gear:
As we all know, equipment becomes obsolete very quickly because of the constant advancements in technology. You don’t need the highest-end gear to shoot great wedding videos, in some cases the basics will do just fine. In fact, many of today’s couples will probably ask for older models to create a vintage ‘feel’. The basic equipment that you’ll need to shoot wedding videos includes a fluid head tripod, remote microphone system and or audio recorders. HD camcorders are always a plus.

The Rehearsal:
It might seem arb, but attend the wedding rehearsal. Start building a ‘relationship’ with the couple. Also, this is essential if you are just starting out. For others, seeing the rehearsal helps you avoid problems with lighting, microphone placement, and blocked views. Any last minute requests for the wedding video that they, or you, may have can be discussed before the wedding day rush is on.

The Bride and Groom:
Keep in mind what they want. This isn’t your directorial debut, get as many shots of them as you can; holding hands at the rehearsal, when they first see each other at the ceremony, walking out together after the vows, the little looks they give each other at the reception, laughing, dancing and enjoying the spotlight. Get other people to talk about them on-camera. Concentrate on getting those once-in-a-lifetime shots… it is an once-in-a-lifetime day after all.


“Write With Me” Music Video – Our Latest Creative Adventure

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Here at The Film Guys our ears jumped gears when we first heard Mad Skab’s “Write With Me”. The clean narrative took us straight into storyboard mode. And for us, story is it – even for a music video. So we’ve had a good season working with ZuluTunes, Shruti Pictures, Kong VFX and other maverick minds crafting this music video in short-film style. And working with Mad Skab, that seasoned Boom-Bap-style hip hopper from Jo’burg’s subverted mental streets has had our synapses snapping.

The What What…

”Write With Me” is a street-level window on the fight Mad Scab has been waging with himself. And he likes a good fight. We see him in ghoulish garb badgering his somewhat bewildered school uniformed younger self. But submission to what? That’s an essential question that the video poses, but it’s not a moral tale about self improvement. The dark images and tension and fast clear lyrics put you right in a battleground. The fight is to be real: and the real fight is to keep motivated and keep alive. So, this video is not the generic “anybody’s” fight, it is Mad Scab’s own fight.

The story plays out largely in the mind of the younger self: the schoolboy who’s been lured into listening to a mysterious disc handed to him by a stranger. Still kitted out in his tie and school shirt he is drawn into a confrontational space that exposes him, the hard way, to what emcee’ing is about.

In “Write with Me” Mad Skab is essentially being brutal with himself about his own creative process, about creating the track itself. So the whole thing is operating on two levels of unrelenting self scrutiny. We love this, and feel it’s something all artists can relate to.

Creative Underbelly

Mad Skab is an elusive mcee who ground his teeth among Joburg’s freestyle battle rappers. He started young and has been honing his pen-game for over 15 years. Mad Skab is produced by Dr. Bops of the ZuluTunes record label. He fuses classic Boom Bap style hip hop with modern electronic influences. His lyrics can be described as highly technical dark poetry with a distinct battle rap influence and a twist of twisted humour.

Making the Video

The scripting process was driven by Michael Jaspan (writer, director, editor) in collaboration with Gavin Pincus (cinematographer) and Mad Skab himself. Along with being a lyricist Skab is a talented visual artist and offered to put together the story boards. Once we had this image sequence in place we worked with Thiru Naidoo (screen producer) and Camilla Pontiggia (production designer), both contributing their talent out of pure passion for the project. After the storyboards were complete, we held castings through which we secured Nick Lai, the talented young actor who plays the boy in the piece.

It’s not always the case, but for this particular production it felt like everyone’s efforts gelled perfectly and moved the project forward. During the shoot we had a lot of help on set from the other ZuluTunes members, all for the love of the label and the project.

We had an unexpected partner with Kong VFX who added in their ten sense and completed the final video grade.

You be the Judge

For The Film Guys, using the short-film style for a music video was gratifying and a lot of fun. It gave Gavin Pincus scope to flex his D.O.P. muscles behind the lens, and Michael Jaspan a chance to again direct something narrative based. It has been a privilege to be able to do this video and we can only hope for more like this.

It’s truly been a labour of love and we hope you enjoy it and much as we have!
The Film Guys

Directed and written by: Michael Jaspan
Assistant director: Mad Skab
Screen production: Thiru Naidoo
Cinematography: Gavin Pincus
Production design: Camilla Pontiggia
Make-up: Cynthia Hager
Editing: Michael Jaspan
Grading: Kong VFX
Photography: Sheldon Windrim
Cast and crew for “Write With Me” music video
Music Production:
Dr. Bops
Lyrics: Mad Skab
Child actor: Nicholas Lai

  • Camilla Pontiggia
  • Tim Hooper
  • Nick Hooper
  • Julian Van der Heever
  • Lio Mihos

Special Thanks To:

The Lai Family, Debbie Hooper and all the ZT crew and friends involved.

Contacts and Links

The Film Guys:
Shruti Pictures:

Music: Follow Skab’s work on Dr. Bops’ soundcloud:


Video Your Wedding Day and Create Lasting Memories

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Video and film have fast become one of the most widely consumed and popular entertainment mediums. From the by-gone era of classic black and white films, to the groundbreaking talkies of yesteryear, nothing quite beats the thrill of film.

The technological advancements have made it even easier for ordinary folk to capture timeless memories like their weddings, christenings and holidays. You don’t have to be a professional videographer to enjoy filming your best friend’s wedding and all the antics of the bachelor’s party.

There is also an array of easy-to-use video editing software suites available that will make your amateur video look like it was produced by a professional video production company.

Of course, you get what you pay for and although there is nothing wrong with asking your best man to film your wedding, it is recommended that you do a little investigation and choose a professional company that specialises in weddings and corporate videos. Getting married is something you ideally would like to do only once and you’d like to look your best.

As with most weddings, the bride often steals the show and with the right lighting and a little creative video editing, the nuptials will be one that no one will forget. Wedding videography is fast becoming a booming business so always ask to see an example of their work, before you commit and don’t be afraid to ask them to pull out all the stops for your special day.

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Beacon Allsorts ‘It’s Uncredible!’

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In collaboration with 7DKS we just did an advert for Liquorice Allsorts with SA comic actors Corne and Twakkie (Rob van Vuuren & Louw Venter from ‘The Most Amazing Show’).

7DKS gave the creative direction and the bucks to make it all happen and we did the producing and DOP work.

The ad was freakin’ hilarious to shoot as Rob, Louw as well as Bevan Cullinan ,director, came with a non-stop comic creative energy. Pretty much the whole thing was shot on green as didn’t really make sense to fly all over the world to get the scenes we needed for the production to work.

Check it out!

A first of its Kind (and probably the first of many) so thanks to the help of a great team we made it happen!

Script: Nas Who
Story Boards: Kyle Baillie
Direction: Bevan Cullinan
DOP: Gavin Pincus
Lighting/AD: Michael Jaspan
Sound: Nick Williams
PD: Imke Nina Gehring
Make-up: Sonya Bester
Post Production: 7DKS (Jonathan Corns, Kyle Baillie)
Produced by: 7dks, Gavin Pincus & Michael Jaspan
Behind The Scenes shot by: Lubabalo Wilson

Special Thanks to:
Brad Devine
Studio Revolution
Debbie Hooper

Beacon Allsorts
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