Growing a Media Studio is the goal of any business owner, from the hollywood producer down to the self-taught creator such as our feature today, Dave Mai of DM Productions. DM Productions is a creative firm that offers services for businesses and events as well as live-event audio engineering support. Dave embodies the modern creative spirit – self-taught and a jack-of-all trades with drive and determination to boot! Read on as this energetic creator explains how he grew his audio and photo studio to incorporate video production:
DAVE MAI / DM PRODUCTIONS: I own and operate a creative firm called DM Productions that specializes in audio and video design for many platforms. To be honest I am a little hesitant to answer those question because I know who I am and what I do professionally will change with time, and that’s just fine.
The industry/equipment is moving at such a fast pace I think it would be foolish to not be open to the boundless opportunities, but I spend every day trying to define the answers to answer questions like “what do you do”…
Am I getting in too deep right off the bat?
DM Productions – for the video end of things, we provide services for businesses, vents (concerts, weddings, sporting), and musicians (music videos, live performance). On the audio spectrum we provide studio recording, live recordings, audio engineering, voice over/ADR, sound design for film, and production/technical support for concerts.
Exciting! What unique benefits does your company offer to business clients?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My typical client is usually someone who is familiar with my work. Perhaps you could call them “Fan’s of my work”. I prefer those clients actually… They want to work with me because, firstly, my personality… That is the key to creating the dream client list I think; creating lasting relationships.
Secondly, they want to work with me because they know I’m in the business of being creative… I’m always looking to put a creative edge on my projects. Thirdly; we specialize and have experience in many fields, so they trust that we can think outside the box and bring new ideas they haven’t thought of.
Name a few projects that have benefited from your involvement?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I tend to NOT take on projects that wouldn't benefit from my involvement… The core principle of DM Productions is to buff up our clients. Whether we are producing a music video, capturing a wedding, or showcasing a business, we are creating content that will represent the client in their best light. So I try to only take on the projects and clients that excite me.
I find this makes the process and final product much more pleasant.
Did you begin with video, or audio production first? Why the move to video? How did you get started with video production?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My company, DM Productions started out as just a tiny home recording studio in my parents’ attic.
Now I have branched out to video production, Sound design, concert productions, and creating marketing content. I’m proud to say the recording studio is no longer located in my parents’ basement! Even though we provide many different services, the common denominator is that they all have to deal with perception and creativity. I use technology to creatively shape perceptions and cognitively suggest idea’s and concepts.
I don't consider myself a music producer or a film producer at all… audio/video seems to be the best way to express my creative idea.
I picked up my interest in video production from working with the film department while going to post secondary for audio engineering. I discovered that sound and video had similar attributes… they are just frequencies, waves moving through the air waiting to be perceived by an observer.
It was an obvious progression for me to expand into video.
What's the secret – how does a photographer or designer learn to do video?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Fake it till you make it. I’m still faking it by the way.
It started out with quite a lot of internet research and countless hours on youtube. Then came the crappy video gear. I started to “imitate” styles of content that I thought was intriguing. With time in the field and continuous hours of research, conversations with like minded people; I eventually started to establish experience in the field. I started to call myself a video producer…
My first few projects were quite embarrassing actually. With time the got better. Trial and error.
How did online video become so relevant today?
DM PRODUCTIONS: The internet happened. It has allowed ideas and concepts to flow and grow as it expands into our mobile devices and penetrate our minds. This platform has allowed for a level playing field where micro businesses can grow into multinational corporation with one viral tweet (I’m exaggerating)!
With all that opportunity comes the over-saturation of content. The internet has become noisy. You need to stand out from the rest. I find video one of the best ways for a business to do so. If done correctly, the client can connect with their target audience efficiently and get their return on investment.
How can learn video production to grow their media studio like you have?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Research! Learn!
There is so much knowledge (and crap) floating out there. Don't be afraid to be bold. Ask questions! Collaborate with like minded individuals. sites like www.lynda.com/ or blog sites like nofilmschool.com and forums like www.dvxuser.com are a fantastic resource for beginners.
What can other newbies starting out keep an eye out for?
DM PRODUCTIONS: There are so many great cameras out there that spit out great quality images… so don't worry too much about the gear at first. When I started out I spent a lot of time trying out and buying gear that eventually became obsolete.
Its about the idea, thats where the good stuff starts. Nurture the passion for your craft.
So many times in the editing suite where I think to myself “I wish I got another angle” or “I should of punched in there” or “why the heck did I film that”. I still say these things to myself when I’m editing… but now when I’m in the field filming, I think to myself: “What would future editing Dave say about this composition?” or “what does editing Dave want to see from camera Dave”
Many beginners forget that audio is half of a good film.
So make sure you are investing in a good wireless lapel system and a shotgun mic. Also, another audio tip is to monitor your audio! Not listening to your microphone feeds is like filming without looking at the viewfinder.
Nothing worse than getting back to the editing suite only to find out the audio was compromised!
What video gear would you recommend for photographers taking on the video challenge?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I chose these items because I think they have the most value in the long run.
Sure you can get cheeper camera’s and more affordable tripods and mics etc. No camera will fit ALL your needs… but I find this list of gear will get you to where you need with the best value.
My favourite must-have video equipment gear list:
- Camera: Panasonic Lumix GH4 Camera
- Lens: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph Lens
- Microphone (Wireless): Sennheiser EW 112-p G3 Camera-Mount Wireless Microphone System with ME 2 Lavalier Mic
- Microphone (On Camera): Rode VideoMic Pro
- Handheld Camera: DJI OSMO 4K Handheld Camera
- Tripod: Benro S8 Pro Video Head and A3573F Series 3 AL
Take a peek at the gear to see it's of interest to you.
Thanks for sharing your insights Dave! How can readers learn more about you and your company?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure! For the readers, feel free to connect with me through any of these channels!