Bobby Bruderle is an incredibly talented photographer that has turned his love for light and storytelling into film making. Bobby is a friend of mine and that I've seen grow his career in a matter of a few years. His name is one to remember. When he shared his new music video for the popular vocalist G-Eazy, I knew I HAD to interview him about how he came up with the idea and how it all came together. Learn how he started as a tour photographer for the artist and turned it into a music video gig that yielded hundreds of thousands of views.
Bobby was nice enough to answer some questions for us:
How did you get this job?
That question never has a short answer.
I met G around three years ago when I was shooting Mardi Gras during my senior year of college. At that point neither of us had much of a career to speak of, but we were both very serious about our work. The first shoot I did with him was in his girlfriend’s apartment with a single flash and a white wall. I got some pretty great images all things considered.
Since then we have gone on to be constant collaborators and close friends. Now I am involved in every aspect of his imagery, from stills to video and even stage design.
How did you come up with the concept?
An idea was proposed to do a video based around magazine covers. At first I was very uneasy about the suggestion because I didn't know how to bring the covers to life or connect them. I had to figure out how to take unrelated covers and somehow create a cohesive motion piece without compromising the still photography aspect. It would have been a major challenge to conceptualize 11 covers just for stills, but to do them in video form was daunting to say the least.
I wanted the video to have the feel of a single shot and maintain a consistent progression. With that in mind, and a solid month of anxiety fueled creative thinking, the concept became what you see now.
What did it take to make the video happen?
Amazing people. I could spend all day singing the praises of my crew. My producer Abby Vo is absolutely incredible at what she does and is a perfect complement to my scatter-brained style. Nick King, my assistant director, kept us focused and on schedule, which was the only way this video could have been done. G and Matt Bauerschmidt (G's manager) always support me creatively and did everything they could to keep things running smoothly.
On my end, I had to do an insane amount of planning and pre-visualization. With a shoot this complicated and constrained by time, I had to walk into the studio having already watched the entire video a few times in my head.
What was your biggest challenge?
As it seems to be with any project, the biggest issue was time. We basically had to shoot 11 magazine covers in one 10-hour day. It was a two-day shoot, but the first day was spent almost entirely on setup. It still seems like a miracle that we got it all done.
From a technical standpoint there were more challenges than I care to mention. Every second of the video required very precise blocking, camera movement, and lighting control in order match the timing of the song. The camera operator (Dillon Schneider) and the dimmer board operator (Zander Kroon) had to be perfect on every take in order to capture the performance. They both did amazing jobs.
Have you found being a filmmaker has helped your photo career?
My photography focuses on portraits and documentary work. Client wise, there isn't much crossover. But I have found that videos are a more effective medium if you want to prove you know how to handle big, complicated shoots.
In terms of my growth as a photographer, working in film has had a huge impact on my knowledge of lighting and production. When you're doing stills, it’s often in a relatively low stress environment, with little or no crew and plenty of time (of course there are major exceptions to this). Shoots like this one are the exact opposite: high stress, massive crews, and a seemingly impossible schedule. It forces you to become better at planning and pre-vis, which can be extremely helpful when doing stills.
I am often brought onto projects as a Director of Photography. This has allowed me to really hone my lighting skills. I originally learned to light as a still photographer using small strobes and compact modifiers (S/O David Hobby). As a cinematographer, I have grown to know constant lighting and the wonders of a grip truck. Motion lighting is often more precise and controlled relative to still lighting, and this has helped me to refine how I approach my stills.
Still photography is my first and true love, but motion is a huge challenge. I like that.
Bobby's site: BobbyBruderle.com