Late nights reconciling random shots and sound clips: stop that!

When Matt Davis came across the PluralEyes plug-in, he recognized it would enable his guerilla style of shooting by allowing “some really smart software to sort it all out.” Matt explains, “All the key opinion leaders were onto PluralEyes from the start as the one way that made DSLR shooting with audio ‘a workable solution’. Clapperboards? Log sheets? The discipline in shooting to make that work? That was never going to happen for the DV shooters – far too arcane. I joined the industry synchronizing rushes, and I’ve done my fair few late nights trying to reconcile seemingly random shots and sound clips into some sort of order. PluralEyes just stopped all of that.”

As a photography student Matt watched the 1966 feature film Blowup directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a British photographer's accidental involvement with a murder, and the seeds of a filmmaking passion were planted. The next revelation came with Ingmar Bergman’s 1992 feature, Fanny & Alexander. He recalls, “I couldn’t stop thinking ‘this is what photos should be: presented in a designed sequence, containing the time element and encapsulating motion…’ I dropped Photography and switched to Film.”

Matt’s life is now completely focused on moving images as he heads the full-service production company MDMA Ltd from his hometown of London, UK. He creates short- and long-form international corporate videography, but also offers training in editing and camera operation to others who share his enthusiasm for digital images.

Matt writes treatments, directs and shoots footage – sometimes with additional camera operators, edits and polishes the final story, and delivers videos in a variety of formats for individual entrepreneurial clients and sizeable corporations including Cisco, IBM and Sony.

Depending on the assignment, he switches between his Sony PMW-EX1 camcorder, a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR, and a Sony NEX-FS100 camcorder to produce event summaries, educational and marketing videos, and digital presentation material of all kinds. He trusts a Zoom H4n audio recorder to capture sound, and completes post-production using Final Cut Pro, Apple’s Motion, and Adobe After Effects.

As a video enthusiast serving the technology arena, Matt is immersed in leading edge conversations about his field. And yet he recognizes that technology is only part of the process. “I love telling stories. I love delivering a sequence of experiences that add up in the audience’s mind to something bigger than a few spoonfuls of entertainment. I think it’s like how a chef will create a banquet, not just a recipe or a course. What I really love is that moment when the audience goes ‘aha!’ – all the connections, all the little surprises and twists align for them and they ‘get’ it.”

Matt’s biggest challenge as a one-person enterprise is in juggling the quantity and variety of jobs that come along. His is continually on the lookout for workflow improvements that speed up his process so he can deliver increasing value to his clients. MDMA is becoming known for on-site editing and same-day delivery, which requires the utmost efficiency. “There’s so much cool technology we’re using now, it’s hard to stop and say ‘I don’t think that’s possible’.”

As a corporate filmmaker, Matt compares his role to that of a graphic designer. He takes others' ideas, and shapes them into visual presentations for a broad audience. A particular skill is in bringing visual interest to stories told primarily through talking heads. His eye for movement and his sense of fun ensure stories are told with vibrancy and hold a viewer’s interest.

Matt balances his corporate work with inventive projects that satisfy his filmmaker’s creativity – where he steps out of the designer's role and becomes the artist. He considers all technological mediums fair game for sharing ideas. “… The artist in me is getting impatient to tell some stories that I have. Will it be documentary? Will it be narrative? Will I even use film? I love well-presented audiobooks and may just make the biggest movie imaginable that’s presented as a stereo audio file.” We’ll be watching for that one!

Find more of Matt’s work on his Vimeo channel and keep an eye out for upcoming projects from MDMA.

Writer Sara McIntyre is a Communications Specialist and Filmmaker who calls Vancouver, BC home.

Startup Weekend Vancouver: myBestHelper.com

"What did you do over the weekend?" Well, how about start a company! That was the objective of 14 teams that recently participated in Startup Weekend Vancouver.

Startup Weekend is a global network of leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower people with entrepreneurial ambitions.  They give the participating teams just 54 hours to put together their concept for a startup, in a supportive mentoring environment.  At the conclusion of the weekend, they compete for prizes in a final presentation show down, with just four minutes to pitch their ideas, and another four minutes to respond to questions from the panel of judges.

The first place winner of this year's Startup Weekend Vancouver was myBestHelper.com, with their concept of a networking site that connects people in need of home help with locally available helpers looking for work, using an eHarmony style approach to finding a good fit.  myBestHelper went on to compete in the global startup "battle" with winners from 34 other Startup Weekend events, placing 10th.  Not bad for a weekend!

With several groups recording video at this packed event, this was also an opportunity for us to exercise Presto's ability to work with multiple presenter angles, and to leverage Presto for OS X new found integration with Adobe Premiere Pro to put the whole thing together.