Where are you based and how did you first get into this line of work?
I was born in India, but now settled in Dubai from quite a long time.
I always had an interest in multimedia and arts, but back in those days (year 2000) there were not many institutions teaching multimedia or any kind of post production work, so I had to go with the trend of doing engineering. I chose to major in Electronics & Communication Engineering because I thought that was best from all the other options given to me.
Back in those days, while other boys read and concentrated on their academics, I spent my time in the library looking for books related to multimedia and creativity. I was kind of a multimedia guy in college, designing websites, brochures, logos and every possible thing I could do with a computer.
I always wanted to get into media and the creative industry. In fact, I never even searched for a job in my original, nor another field. Even though my bachelor’s could get me a job easily; I couldn’t imagine myself sitting in a corporate office and doing a regular 8-5 job. Hence, I started to work as a web designer, then editing and compositing, to 3D animation and VFX. And now after having enough post production experience in almost all departments, I went on to doing cinematography and directing. And…Yeah… I’m enjoying it so far.
How did you get the Little World project?
Besides my commercial work, I like to do one personal project each year. Something where I am completely free to do what I want.
So after finishing my first personal project “Varanasi – Beyond Life” which had over a million views–in all social media platforms combined, I wanted to do a simple and beautiful personal project which had no client. Because these personal projects are the ones that pushes your career forward.
This particular story-line was always in my mind from long time, which I wanted to shoot with my 5 year old son, so there wasn’t anything such as a pitch.
Last summer, when we decided to have a break and head to Scotland for a vacation, I thought this was the right time to shoot this. This way “Little World” was born.
What gear/cameras did you use and why?
Along with this trip, my goal was to create visually stunning short film with great production quality with absolutely minimal equipment. So in terms of gear, I used easy and lightweight Sony A7S2 and A6500. These cameras has made life so much easier. I can stick almost any lens to it, shoot from day to night without worrying about low light performance. Great for run-and-gun all with clear and sharp images. And for the aerials I used DJI Mavic Pro which again is a very travel friendly drone to combine on a family vacation like this.
Did you plan out the story structure from the beginning or did it come out in post?
This particular concept was always in my mind from long time which I wanted to shoot with my son before he grows up too big. But I didn’t plan out that much of the story. Just that the idea was in my mind. So went on shooting whatever I could relate to this concept. Then I sat down with my writer explaining everything I could. So the script was later developed as per the shots I have, which I kept on tweaking and improvising until the last moment.
What do you do differently from other filmmakers?
Coming from a huge post production background, I’m used to doing all sort of magic with animation and key-framing. I somehow wanted to bring these techniques in to whatever film I make. Having a heavy post production background can really help you pre-plan a few stuff, which you can always fix in post-production, as well as do totally different kinds of edits using key-framing–and speed ramping techniques on editing timeline–though I did not use much of these in “Little World” as the theme never had space for this.
What’s the one secret tip, go-to trick that you use often that takes your work to the next level?
I have always thought sound design is the key element in any film. A proper sound design is extremely important for me and can elevate your film to a totally different level. Sound effects and ambient sound bites are essential to give life to your visuals and the kind of mood you want to create.
What has been the hardest part of doing what you do?
Crafting a fine story and finalizing a music track that can bring the story to life is the hardest part of what I do. On another note, balancing personal and family time against work is difficult. But I always find a way.
What is currently the best part of doing what you do?
I’m very fortunate to be working in a creative industry, and at any given time, creating something that never gets old. And its nice to get paid for doing what you love. You get to do different things every time and meet tons of wonderful people. And of course…getting to travel a lot! Plus, I can get access to the most uncommon locations in which the public can’t get into.
What are some of your favorite stories or web videos that you’ve gotten inspired by?
Almost every good stuff I see inspires me. Right from the moment Watchtower of Turkey from Leonardo Dalessandri released, I must have seen it like thousands of times! Another film maker I follow is Brandon Li, I love the way he tells every story. Apart from Leonardo and Brandon Li, I follow Sebastian Linda and Vincent Urban closely. No one can match the level of camera movement these people do and the way transition appears in their film.
Where can people follow your work?
Vimeo is where you can find all of my works.