How did you get started in the business?
I started filming and editing really crappy films of my friends skateboarding when I was about 13. It was one of many hobbies of mine for a long time but I only started taking it more seriously after having lots of free time while studying computer science in media. I then got to know Vincent Urban at a snowboard film premiere he did with his production company “Isenseven”.
After making my first travel film I asked him if he’d be willing to take me as an intern. He didn’t really want to but I think he was too polite to just send me away haha. He taught me a lot and I was hooked. I’d say I was a natural but Vincent still reminds me on a regular basis that I wasn’t. I probably wasn’t. I half-heartedly finished my university degree while I tried to learn as much as I could doing other internships and making shitty films. I became self-employed mainly as a video editor but I also produced a lot of smaller projects on my own. It was always very important for me to at least have a good understanding of all parts of production. Three years in the business as of now.
What are your essential pieces of gear?
As my main camera I use the Sony a7sII. It’s small, relatively easy to use and still produces very nice images. Enough for most projects and when it’s not, I’m probably not the right guy to film it. A big bulky camera might hinder you from maybe finding a more interesting composition. Especially for travel films it’s not only the perfect shots you want to have, it’s getting the scenes that randomly happen around you. For that we always have an a7s with a zoom lens around. I use the Sigma 24-105 4.0 Art.
My drone to go is the DJI Mavic Pro. The picture quality is not perfect, but after some fiddling in the settings and in post you can get a lot out of it. Most of the drone shots from the Lufthansa series were shot with it.
I use Adobe Premiere to edit.
What is your approach the sound design and editing?
I’m very music oriented in my editing and sound design helps me to break or support that structure sometimes. I also mostly do it while editing, because some cuts only work with sound design. As I’ve touched on before the music plays a big role in my editing. It helps me form the film in my head. After listening to the song the first few times I try to remember which part of the song evoked which kind of emotion. Then I’ll try to recreate these emotions with the shot selection, pacing and sound design.
Where do you source your audio?
I’ve built a rather big archive over the years from existing libraries you can buy online and sounds I recorded myself. I still try to use as much camera sound as possible to make it more authentic.
Once I couldn’t find a sound of a guy breathing that I liked. I searched and searched and something was always wrong with it. Too fast, too slow etc. Then I remembered that I am a guy who breathes, felt really stupid and recorded myself breathing.
The little macro time lapses in Lofoten really add an interesting effect, how was the setup?
We ordered some clear blocks of ice from a local sculptor, some dry ice and rented some lights. Clemens, the DP, set up the lights and we took macro timelapses of the blocks melting. Then we had some fun with dry ice, which is -80° C. One of the shots that ended up in the edit was actually a spoon that I sprayed with water and froze with dry ice. Clemens got a really cool shot which was just a lid of some Tupperware filled with water that he put on dry ice.
What do you do differently from other filmmakers?
We try to make stuff as simple as possible. This allows us to be quite spontaneous. For example the shot at the end of the Lofoten film where Markus jumps the “The Svolvær Goat” wasn’t planned in the beginning. Markus, our fixer, just told us about it and we shot it the day after that.
What is currently the hardest part of doing what you do?
A lot of hard work goes into making these kinds of films. My friends think that I’m just chilling in the nicest places all the time, whenever I have time to take a quick snap while shooting. But it’s not like that. I mean it’s nice and I love it, but it’s not for everyone. Some people comment on how great my job must be, but would probably jump off a cliff two days into production because of sleep deprivation and burn-out. You have to really like it to take this kind of hard work.
What is currently the best part of doing what you do?
I get to travel a lot, meet lots of interesting people, but still get my needed alone time in the edit bay.
You can get in touch with Max at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are some of your favorite web videos/ stories?
Apart from my friends Vincent Urban, Oliver Würffell, Simon Reichel and more, who all produce great work on a consistent level, I love Daniel Koren’s stuff. He combines comedy with music and philosophy. Also love his editing.
I guess Matty Brown was my biggest inspiration in terms of sound design. But I’m not really up to date anymore in the Vimeo world. I’m sure there are a lot of really talented people out there I’ve never heard of.