Mat and His Camera

A fun (and potentially obvious) fact about our team at Rooted Content is that we love gear. You can’t run a video studio like ours and not be totally enamored with equipment and the way it works. Almost two years ago we were able to get our hands on 1DX Mark ii.

1DX mkII Tool.JPG

This camera was brand new to the market and had some pretty cool special features, like the ability to shoot in 4K, while still being portable and fairly straightforward to use. Around that same time, we had befriended Mat Marrash, who worked at Midwest Photo Exchange, the local camera store. Mat had been shooting large format photography for years and had even helped spark an interest in the discipline in our team. The day after we received our beautiful new Canon camera, Mat happened to have the day off. We asked him if we could follow him out into the Hocking Hills south of Columbus, Ohio to take some video of him shooting large format photos and see what the new 1DX Mark ii could do. He happily agreed.

Character: Mat Marrash

Mat and his camera are the sole focus of this video. When building his character arc, we wanted the viewer to feel Mat’s excitement for a photography form that is truly a discipline but also to discover his inner conflict with practicing a hobby that can cost so much time and money. We chose to never show Mat speaking directly into the camera and placed his interview in voice over throughout the entirety of the film. We wanted to put the viewer inside Mat’s head using his voice. The calm, deliberate, and truthful tonality of his words makes the viewer feel as if they are watching a journal entry. It communicates Mat’s passion for what he is doing and why he will take the time to lug a very large and heavy camera out into the woods day after day to get the perfect photograph. The effect on the viewer is calming, beautiful, and inspiring.

Taking the viewer into Mat's internal monologue.

Location: The Hocking Hills and Dark Room

Mat is primarily a landscape photographer, which means most of his time is spent outdoors trying to find the perfect shot. By following him through the woods, the intentionality and devotion he feels for his work is deepened for the viewer. It’s not a simple thing for him to get out to a certain location and set up his gear. By adding in the long shots of him walking across the bridge and out into the forest, the viewer is made to feel how much effort it takes for him to get the photographs that he wants and is introduced to the story and the environment. The first three shots all have Mat walking from left to right in the screen which in western culture is how we envision time progressing, left to right. This all adds to the gravity of his work and the viewer’s experience.

Steve setting up the Canon xD1-mark ii on location

Emotion: Passion and Perseverance

As the viewer watches this film, they are meant to feel Mat’s enthusiasm for what he does and also his perseverance to go to great lengths to follow that passion. By shooting most of the film in slow motion (thanks to the Canon 1DX Mark ii), we are able to show how slow and deliberate his movements are. When it comes to the scene of him pulling inserting the film holder and pulling the dark slide out of the camera, the anticipation has built to its peak. This single shot lasts almost 20 seconds! This builds tension and mimics the anticipation Mat feels in the darkroom, waiting for his negatives to develop. Similar to the process of large format photography, the shot is long and deliberate. What is it about that upside down image that drives him to revisit places again and again just to get that perfect shot?

Mat pulling the dark slide out of his camera

Purpose: Build a Brand, Tell a Story, Try Out Something New

The capital ‘P’ Purpose of this video is a few different things. It is first, and possibly foremost, to try out our brand new camera and see how it works out on a long day of shooting. Secondly, it was to share a creative project. At the time that we shot this video, we had known Mat for over four years. He had expressed his love of large format photography to us, and we wanted to share it further with a wider audience.

Steve shooting on the Canon again.

The lowercase ‘p’ purpose of this video is manifold. When we began the process of shooting, we were focused on certain keywords: process, slow, tedious, perseverance, and vision. By combining the elements of character, location, and emotion, we sought to communicate these words to the viewer. We were also able to utilize certain features on the camera that were very useful to communicate those keywords. As mentioned before, most of the video is in slow-motion, adding to to the tedious deliberateness of Mat’s work.

Mat in the dark room

Most of the shots are long, averaging almost five and a half seconds each. This also communicates to the viewer just how important every detail of Mat’s shot is. We used a motion controlled slider and a tripod in order to communicate deliberation and stability. Also, every shot leading up to the dark room is pushed in on Mat and his actions, inviting the reader deeper into Mat’s mind and the story. The final shot of the dark room door pulls out to give the viewer a sense of closure and also continuation. That the end of the story we see is not the end of the story all together.

This is also not the end of our story. At Rooted Content, we strive to make meaningful stories, whether they be for creative projects or large scale ad campaigns. Contact us today to learn how we can help you tell a better story.