There’s a first time for everything. 

 January 15, 2013

By  Pascal Depuhl

What a ride 2012 has been for Photography by Depuhl, there’s been so many firsts for us – in short, it’s been an incredible year.

First Documentary:

In January I traveled to Afghanistan to film my first documentary film. I had spent the second half of 2011, which an impossible dream in my head, wanting to create a short film, that would impact people. (We actually had an exciting opportunity in November of last year to actually measure, if the movie was able to achieve this goal.) After much planning and careful preproduction,I set out on a two and a half week adventure in capturing the sights and sounds, that were to become the short movie ‘On wings of Hope’, telling the story of the people of Pactec, a humanitarian organization that relieves suffering through technology. I still can’t believe that this project actually happened and it’s rewarding to know that I created this – on the technical side – all by myself; of course, this documentary would never have seen the light of day, without my friend Daniel, who is the chief pilot and head of security of this NGO. Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. Putting this together, however, ended up being a whole ‘nother story.

As I had never worked on a documentary film, my only experience with shooting had been projects that had been storyboarded or scripted. All of them had also been much shorter shoots – it’s amazing how much material you produce if you film with multiple cameras for 17 days straight. The film is now finished and is currently undergoing the final sound design as well as the final grading. I have many more people to thank that gave me constructive critique, which has made the movie better than it would have been otherwise.

First filmmaking class:

Nino, Philip, Sarah and Pascal in Key West In the spring of 2012, I had the opportunity to produce and help teach at the Filmmaking Masterclass with Nino Leitner, Sebastian Wiegärtner, and Philip Bloom in Las Vegas and Key West. I had a blast working with my fellow filmmakers and eager students as they learned about capturing motion and telling the story and had a blast seeing ‘Team Death’ create a beautiful narrative film in Key West. I’m thankful for the friendships, that were started at the classes as well as seeing the need to be a part of a large group of people that collaborate with each other to hone their filmmaking skills. I look forward to sharing and working together with people all over the world.

First corporate documentary:

Mating the deck to the hull of an Element. In the summer of last year, one of my clients had asked me to help tell their story, of how their company had created a brand new design for a new way of boating. I filmed this project over the next few months at their Research and Development facility, where we recorder some of the steps in the actual building process as well as interviewing the people that were involved in the creation of it, from marketing and management to creative, engineering and production. Filming a conception and production process over several months has its own unique challenges and rewards. In addition to those, this was the first time that I handed off the complete editing process to my good friend John (thanks for doing an amazing job) because I was out of the country when this video needed to be finished. Many multi-day, multi-camera interviews, time-lapse shots, filming on a busy factory floor ended up being quite an exhilarating way to spend your time.

First time selling my video to top tier brands:

Since I’ve been photographing stills for almost 20 years now, I bring an experience to my motion work, that is rare – or at least not as developed in other motion shooters: I know who to compose and how to light a shot. (Of course, I’ll say that – I’m biased :) However, I was surprised, when I showed some of the footage that I shot in 2012 to well-known brands and even more so, when they bought footage from me for their current projects. It validates my ability as a cinematographer or director of photography when the people from the BBC emailed me saying that they “fell in love with the footage” and National Geographic tells me that there is “lots of gorgeous footage”  These people see footage of beautiful places every day, so these words meant a lot to me. Finally, in the winter of ’12, I shot some news footage with a friend of mine covering the US election for AP and helping out on some CNN camerawork. The world of motion is so big, that I’m still trying to see where exactly I fit in. I love shooting documentaries – they’re challenging and fun. Plus they translate very well into my corporate photography and motion world since they are a powerful tool to tell your story. News is exciting, but a little to hectic and unpredictable for me.

First music video:

In the winter of 2012, we went to Barbados to film footage for a music video for Judy Bailey’s ‘History’. What an incredible little island full of gorgeous locations and possibilities, from the amazing rock formations at Bathsheba beach to the serene quietness of Codrington College; the crashing waves at Little Bay, and the complete silence of the old church, that has no name. Plus is an awesome and talented singer, who is an absolute joy to work with. Our material is currently edited and I look forward to seeing how it turned out.

This motion work was in addition to my still photography work and provides a nice addition to my clients that are always looking for better ways to bring their products and services to their customers. 2013 is already shaping up to be another exciting year. I look forward to seeing you when we work on our next motion or still photography project.

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Pascal Depuhl

Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.