Asude: Welcome Marc, we’re so glad to have you with us! We’ve been following your content for a while, but we haven’t had a chance to get to know you personally. So, tell us a little bit about yourself! When and where were you born? How did you get started with videography?
Marc: I was born in a small coastal town on the southern island of Kyushu Japan in 1977. There's an old FujiFilm commercial that aired in Australia that shows the delivery of a Japanese baby to two joyous parents, but their smiles soon turn to astonishment as the baby whips out a camera and snaps a photo of her parents. While I wasn't born with a camera around my neck like that baby, I've owned a camera for as long as I can remember, and capturing the stories in life as they unfold has been a lifelong pursuit. Although the possibilities of video have always interested me, two things held me back from jumping in much sooner. The first was quality; the low resolution of Betamax and Video8 paled in comparison to even a cheap disposable film camera. The second issue was that photos could be organized into albums to tell a story, but as a kid growing up in the '80s and '90s, there weren't the bevy of tools available for editing and archiving video that there are today. That's why my first foray into videography came after the advent of cheap HD digital cameras, iMovie, and YouTube.
A: Glad to hear that you’ve found your inspiration at a quiet early age! What was the video project you earned your first money?
M: Technically, the first video I earned money from was a YouTube video that was later monetized, but the first video project I was paid to do was for a Japanese kitchen tools manufacturer. They hired me to produce a series of short cooking videos featuring their products being used to make recipes. I have a kitchen studio setup at home with lighting and all the modifiers I need to get the shots I want, but for this shoot, I was asked to come to shoot in their kitchen. Video is a lot less forgiving than photography, so I was nervous until I got the footage onto my computer, but it all ended up working out in the end.
A: Apart from your personal interest, what is your background in videography?
M: I come from a background in film (and later digital) still cameras and am relatively new to the world of videography. While it solves a lot of the "I wish I could do...." moments in still photography storytelling, it has introduced a new set of challenges, and I'm still learning and growing every day.
A: How would you describe your videography style?
M: I work primarily in food, and whether it's doing a recipe video, promotional video, or training video, my focus is on making the food look mouthwateringly good while conveying a clear narrative about the subject. Coming from the world of photography, I think a lot about composition and framing, and the challenge has been in bringing those scenes to life. Early on, I introduced motion into my scenes by interacting with them (i.e. a hand reaching in and grabbing a slice of pizza, or a fork breaking the molten yolk of a poached egg). edelkrone's compact and affordable motion products have been a real game changer for me in that they allow me to move the camera itself. This has added a new dimension to my visual storytelling, allowing me to do things like highlight a blanket of glistening gravy as the camera moves around a plate of Loco Moco, or to convey the massiveness of a towering sandwich through parallax by sliding the camera from side to side.
A: Even the thought of it is mouthwatering! Could you tell us a bit about the preparations you make before you begin filming?
M: Because food has time constraints not present in other subject matter - onions will burn, ice cream will melt-, preparation is of the utmost importance. I usually start by preparing a storyboard, script, and shot list, and on the food side, I will have developed and tested the recipe to ensure everything goes smoothly. In addition to setting up all the rigging, lighting and camera gear, I also measure and prep all the ingredients, line up all the tools I'd need, and set up an area with the plating and styling mocked up. Being prepared and organized is the key to getting all the shots I need in as few takes as possible.
A: What’s the equipment you generally bring to a set?
M: Lots of air cushioned light stands, 150 watt fresnel LED, 55 watt fresnel LED, hand-held 128 LED panel, large softbox, 5-in-1 reflector, boom mix, lav mic, backdrops, level, duct tape, allen wrench, pliers, tons of 1/4" <->3/8" adapters, zipties, human-sized diffuser, small diffuser, extension cords, 2 tripods, super clamps, composite tree stake (I use it for my overhead rig), edelkrone FlexTILT Head, QuickRelease ONE, DollyONE, HeadONE, Sony A7RII, Sony A7RIII, lenses, and a 15" MacBook Pro.
A: Do you prefer buying or renting your filmmaking equipment?
M: Unless I'm traveling to a location, I almost always prefer to own my equipment, and even while traveling, I'll try and bring along compact alternatives. All equipment has quirks, and I don't want to spend the time to get to know someone else's setup; even if it's something as simple as a c-stand.
A: What software do you use for post-production?
M: Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and CinemaGrade.
A: What is the best piece of advice you could give to other filmmakers?
M: As a creative, I have an innate desire to make my work perfect before I put it out there for the world to see. This push for perfection is destructive, counterproductive, and something I have to keep in check or I'd never get any of my work out the door. My advice to others (as well as myself) is: Don't wait for perfect, because it will never come.
A: What do you think about the future of filmmaking with the technology is advancing so fast?
M: While some may say that technological advances have made people lazy, and in turn, lowered the standard of filmmaking, I see the advances as having opened doors to a much larger group of people. Diversity is always a good thing. While the sudden increase in the amount of content being produced has created a lot of niche content, this isn't inherently a bad thing. I think the future will be about platforms that do a better job of curating content, connecting end users with stories that they will love.
A: What's the best advice you've ever been given?
M: “If something's not working, don't add an ingredient, remove what's not needed.” The advice was from a Japanese chef and was about food, but the same can be said for many things in life. In videography, this could be removing an extra prop and simplifying the scene, or removing a complex array of fill lights and using a well-placed bounce instead.
A: At the time, you quit your job at Netflix and moved to New York. What’s your biggest ambition for the future?
M: I want to produce a series of short films highlighting the people, culture, and traditions of rural Japan through the lens of food.