I first came across Mike and Steve via twitter when they started to follow me. I checked out their site can was impressed with their work. It wasn’t until a week or so later that I realized that Steve was actually one of my students in my class. Only good things can come from this pair. They have tremendous talent and I’m still in shock that they have really just started out. The level and quality of their work is impressive. I’m pleased to have Hueline Pictures as this weeks 5 question interview. Enjoy.
Mike: What more can I say? We are Hueline Pictures. If I remember correctly, the name came from the color spectrum (hue), as it’s a line (line). Something like that. But back to the question. We are cinematographers. Every experience is a learning process. So in this past year especially, Steve and I have been working to define who we really are and what we really do. We’ve made a point of telling people we are NOT videographers. Videographer’s collect footage and line it up together. We strive to, instead, capture meaningful moments, and link them together in a way that makes sense — to tell a story.
Steve: Hey internet, I’m Steve and together with Mike we make up Hueline Pictures. I think we officially started Hueline during our sophomore year in high school. That would sometime in 2007 or so. For the record, neither of us remembers how the hell we came up with the name. Best guess is that it just sort of happened. In the summer, we shoot wedding cinematography as our main projects. But when things are slow, we try and do as many personal/passion projects as we can. I know that sometime in March or April I’m driving up to East Lansing to shoot a short film with Mike and a few others.
Mike: our 9-5 job is…student. Steve is a Junior at Valparaiso, and I am a Senior at Michigan State. Hueline is a joint venture that started in high school. We have since evolved into a wedding cinematography company over the summers. On my end, I enjoy another part time job at The State News, Michigan State’s campus newspaper. There, I work as a print and web coordinator, designing print advertisements and promos. Though I try to give myself a break from behind the camera, I usually end up shooting a short film every once and a while. To no one’s surprise, Steve and I pick apart the cinematography in many of our favorite television shows over the summer. Check out “Downton Abbey” (I-TV UK). The subtle tilt-shift they often use is awesome!
Steve: As far my “9-5” job at Valpo, I have a few. I give tours a few hours of the week for the admissions department. Like Mike said, it’s a sometimes needed break from the camera. That said, my other two jobs involve the usage of creativity and cameras. I shoot a few stills for our campus paper, “The Torch”, but I also do (primarily) video production for our Integrated Marketing and Communications department. I touch anything that hits the web outside of the student community. Besides classes, my other most time-consuming activity is swimming for the University. I’ve been swimming competitively since I was probably 6-8 years old or so, and both my parents swam at UALR in Little Rock (along with my paternal uncle), so the chlorine definitely runs deep in our family. Like Mike, I spend a decent amount of time “researching”; that is, watching videos. Anything from the superb “Downton Abbey” to this amazing film from Sherpas Cinema, “all.i.can”.
Steve: Well, in our area (St. Joseph, MI–just north of South Bend, IN about 30 mins), we are pretty unique as far as the services we offer our clients. Our packages are listed on our website, and we leave the option open for upgrades in services after the fact. We take a super personal approach with every client and go over the specifics of what each client must have in each video. Maybe there is a father-daughter dance and they want the whole thing–we make sure we know ahead of time. This approach makes certain that every client receives the product that they expect.
Mike: Steve’s said it all. We want create a personal experience in the process of creating a wedding film. A lot of other companies sugarcoat it. We tell it straight. The bride and groom are really the core of the film. If they are not in love, per say, there’s no way the film will depict that. We aren’t trying to sell the couples love, we are trying to sell them a story. Some like their films more quirky. Other like it traditional. Some want a gritty feel, while another might ask for something with “edge”.
Mike: This one is tricky, seeing as we’re both young individuals trying to break into the industry. Steve and I each have very specific career goals, but Hollywood and the television industry are both at the end of our maps. The best advice we can offer is to those who are young, and are looking for work experience. The answer is simple: make your own experiences. Don’t wait to hear back from that big corporate interview or that super prestigious studio in New York. Definitely give it your all and apply! But entrepreneurship is also a great option. Steve and I have learned a lot over the short course of time we’ve been running Hueline. Managing finances, client relations, trouble-shooting on the day of the wedding (yikes). Take initiative, and find a way to market your passion. Do your research before you begin. Want it as bad as you want to breathe.
Steve: I’m on par with Mike. Everything he’s said is definitely accurate, but what I can say is pursue what you want to do with the zeal of a hungry chimp running about a grocery store looking for the one and only banana left in the county. Lately, I’ve dumped everything and focused purely on creating and coming up with new and fresh ideas. So take creativity and make it a constant part of your life–everything you do can become a exercise in creativity. When you do this, life becomes more colorful and the things that you dislike doing become just that much easier to tackle. Please excuse my hippy-speak, but embrace life fully and set out to be creative in everything you do, you will always enjoy what you do and always have fresh, new ideas.
Mike: It’s difficult to listen to music when cutting a highlight reel. Every sound that is associated with these moments is equally as important as the visual. I typically spend a few hours going through all the footage, and populating the timeline with all the shots I think I can work with. Once I have a good idea of what’s there, I will mute the computer and throw on some headphones. A couple of Gershwin tunes are always customary when ordering shots. My personal favorites are the peppy piano tunes from his various musicals (“Tell Me More”, “Tip-Toes”, etc.). This songs, along with a few other classical pieces, help me find the emotion and purpose in each reel. Anything with words is usually a bit distracting.
Steve: On a daily basis, I visit a number of websites, but the most influential websites usually come from the other creatives that I follow (on twitter). Chase Jarvis (yeah, Mike, you were right) is a big name in my book. He does commercial work, both still and moving. His blog is updated roughly twice or three times a month I’d say, and he’s always got something awesome to say. The other blog I look at quite often is Zach Arias’ blog. He has this saying, “GOYA” as in “get off your ass” and shoot (or create, or design, or whatever it is that you do). That’s definitely something I’ve taken to heart, and I’m glad that he’s shared his nuggets of knowledge. I’ve also just discovered your blog, Joseph and I read your post about the 60-second sketch you do everyday. I’m definitely “borrowing” that idea. Twitter is an awesome tool to discover more creatives and like-minded folks that share a similar passion. I can’t tell you how many valuable contacts I’ve made via twitter.
Twitter: @mikesmiy | @skbooth | @huelinepictures