As the 21st century rolls on into 2016, the world of online video continues to mutate into a dominating force that engulfs a third of the world’s internet users. YouTube has a billion monthly users, with vlogger ‘Pewdiepie’ topping the subscribers chart with 40 million subscribers. However, with 300 hours of content added to the site every minute, it’s the not-so-famous uploaders that are the real driving force behind the growing success of online video.
In an interview with Toby Jones, 21, a film student and videographer from Bournemouth University, I’m able to lift the lid on what it’s like to be a devoted vlogger without the glitz and glamour of viral fame. Being a videographer is a full time occupation, with hours being devoted to filming and late nights spent editing to make sure every last detail suits its intended audience.
I wanted to find out what it’s like to be a videographer in an era where online video has never been more popular. When asked about what inspired him to become a videographer he said:
“Well when I was growing up I was always involved in a lot sports, and growing up on the coast I started to develop more of an interest in extreme sports; surfing, skating and skim-boarding. I’d seen a few videos online from famous brands like ‘Ripcurl’ and ‘Quicksilver’ so one day I picked up my Dad’s old camera’s and started shooting my mates. It all began with photography at first, then I eventually got into film and ever since that point, I knew I was going to be perusing a career in film.”
In an era where technology is developing rapidly, it was interesting to find out whether a particular piece of technology helped progress Toby’s career in film:
“If I had to narrow it down to one piece of tech, it would have to be my first ‘GoPro’. Bought from a small surf shop in north Devon, it created a whole new aspect of film for me. Having the ability to take a camera out both on and off land, with the mentality being ‘this camera is almost indestructible’. It encouraged me to go out and film the most outrageous things possible. I was also able to attach this GoPro to almost anything I could, creating an array of new angles and shots. I finally had a camera that could film all of my hobbies, which could also fit in the palm of my hand.”
This nostalgic reminiscence of Toby’s first proper camera seems a far distant memory. As he sits on the stool with his camera bag slung over his right shoulder and his laptop computer open on the table top, he expresses the difficulties of video as a career, and how there’s been moments where he’s questioned his career path:
“There’s been a couple of difficult situations. I remember one in particular where I was shooting some corporate work for a nightclub, and the clients were being extremely difficult. They briefed me on what they wanted, so after 2 shoots and a couple weeks of editing, I delivered exactly what they wanted. They then started to explain how they had more aspects to add to the project, but more aspects means more shoots and more time in postproduction, which means more money. This was a concept they didn’t grasp, and the whole situation started to become extremely difficult, but eventually after more negotiations both the client and myself were happy. There have been difficult situations, but nothing to put me off the video industry.”
“At least not yet” He laughs.
After hearing of this experience of his, Toby jokingly expresses how he hopes to steer clear from the commercial side of video in his career:
“I know it’s very cliché, but I’m not doing this for the money, so the world of advertising isn’t one that appeals to me. Even though I’ve been doing this for over ten years now, my passion is still extreme sports. So I hope to one day own or run a production company, or be part of a video team within an extreme sports franchise. Something professional, I guess Red Bull would do nicely!”
It is clear to see that the life of a videographer is a busy one, in between questions Toby takes the opportunity to edit between frames of his latest project. Encouraging me for an insight into how much time is devoted into filming and editing:
“Too much. Shoot days take twice as long as planned and things go wrong. All the time. Hours are spent scheduling and planning. People underestimate the amount of time that goes into pre-production; location agreement forms, release forms, risk assessments, filming schedules, the paperwork is never ending. Then the shoot, post production begins, which essentially means extremely long evening shifts, staring at a couple screens for over 7 hours at a time, just to finish the first minute of the piece. I would like to think how much time I’ve spent working in film, but at the end of the day, if I’m still passionate enough to pursue a career in film after all the late nights and stress, I think it’s safe to say I’ve made the right career choice after all!”