Brian Pineda recently traveled to Japan and brought back with him some truly beautiful videos. We spoke to Brian about his foray into motion and how it’s changed his approach to shooting.
What made you decide to start experimenting with video?
For a while I’ve been thinking of incorporating motion into my work. I had a creative block about how naturally motion could fit into my work. I didn’t want to force it out of necessity; I wanted an organic attraction and desire to shoot it. I know in a practical sense, it’s better to simply jump in, but I wanted to shoot video when I found a subject matter that I was wholeheartedly interested in. A lot of my personal work is travel photography, which in turn has led me to commercial work. So I decided to book a ticket to Japan, and GO.
Do you find that you visually approach video differently than still photography?
Absolutely. And that’s one of the aspects I find incredibly interesting about shooting motion. It’s a new way of seeing, a new way of telling a story. I began to think in terms of how the camera should move, how it will edit it for the final piece… With still photography you are literally capturing 1/125 of a second of that exact moment. You don’t get to see what happens in that 1 second moment before or after.
What were the challenges you faced while shooting these?
Language mostly! My Japanese is only so-so, and so there were a lot hand gestures to either “hold for a second” or “please continue.”
What’s your process for shooting both video and still photo? Do you shoot both simultaneously, or did you decide to dedicate days/time to video and days/time to photo?
With this particular project I wanted to capture as many simulatneous moments as possible on both video and through stills. So there was a lot of shooting the motion first, and then having people do things again for the stills.
Any funny or interesting stories about the people in the videos?
For the bakery, essentially zero people spoke English. My contact who was working as the “translator,” spoke as much English as I do Japanese. The bakery was jammed packed with workers going about their day, so I was incredibly mindful to try not to disrupt their process. However at the same time, making sure I could get what I needed. In the end, the owner of the bakery gave both of us a huge goodie bag of fresh baked goods and a ride to the train station!
The “Summer in Japan” video was one of my absolute favorite things I have ever shot. In the last portion of the video, we were at a typical summertime Japanese “hanabi” (fireworks) festival in the middle of the countryside. I would rarely (never) say this, but the atmosphere was absolutely magical. You can’t tell from the video, but it’s during the monsoon season. So at times there would be a huge downpour and we had to huddle up with our umbrellas in a formation to keep our blanket area dry.