Have you ever seen a work of art and was just awestruck?
That was our first impression of the short videos created by Russian-born cinematographer Alex Soloviev. Mr. Soloviev was kind enough to answer a few questions about these stunning creations, which aim to delve into the heart of local cities throughout the world. Here is his video about Berlin and please don’t miss out on his Vimeo channel which features more of his impressive works.
1. Could you provide a little background on your early years: i.e. where you grew up, how your cinematography career developed, etc.
“I was born in Moscow and this is my main location until now. I started as a photographer back in 2005, and in 2012 I started my cinematography experience. The main reason why I switched was the inability of still picture to express myself.”
2. I noticed that your videos are about different cities. Have you lived in each of these? How long do you typically spend in a location before being inspired to make a video?
“In most cases city videos come from my city breaks. Generally, I don’t stay longer then 3-5 days. Some cities are quite complex to understand from first sight. I’ve had to come back there after some time to begin filming there.“
“As well, most videos are run’n’gun style. I’m trying to catch the real life of the cities. No fake scenes that may look more cinematic, but they are still staged scenes. I don’t take a taxi when I’m in the new city, without using public transport you will never understand how city lives.”
“The city itself, people I see for the first time, traditions, new angles of urban life I see when I visit the new location – these are what inspires me to make a short film about it.”
3. How long does it typically take you to film your movies? To edit? Do you work with a partner(s)?
“Normally it takes 3 full days. And with full I mean I go out at early morning 6-7AM and arrive back at the hotel only after the sunset. I’ve enough memory cards and battery packs to film all day without breaks.”
“Usually I have an accompanying person. She helps me with city routes, some prearranged locations and transport. It saves a lot of time and helps to understand urban life better not being distracted looking at the map every minute.”
4. What are the biggest challenges you run into in creating the videos? Do people know they are being filmed?
“The biggest challenge for me is the weight of the camera and gimbal you’ve to carry all the day in your hands. And because I’m very limited with time of my stay there are no breaks to take a quite rest.”
“I film with big full frame Canon DSLR with large lenses mounted Tamron 24-70/2.8 and Zoom or Rode microphones on the top. So in most cases people can see that I’m filming them. It’s very rare that I face problems with that. Honestly it was only once so far and it was in Berlin.“
5. What are your favorite activities to do in Berlin?
“Berlin? Well, I love Currywurst and base jumps in the downtown. To be (more) serious Berlin keeps me wondering how it was damaged after WWII and yet looks so great now. It has an inescapable mix of old and new architecture there is very organic, like nowhere else.”