New and exciting things are happening here at VideoBlocks and we’re excited to share! We’re just starting to launch a VideoBlocks Ambassador program. The idea is to take some of our more engaged and engaging users and let them tell their story. How do they use stock media? Where do they think the media industry is going? How can we make the world a more beautiful place through video?

Today we’re thrilled to introduce our first ambassador, Bohus Blahut. Bohus is a media magician from Chicago with a lot of great insight on the industry. Take this chance to get to know him, follow him on Twitter and keep an eye out for more articles and projects coming from his creative mind!

Introducing: Bohus Blahut 

BohusBlahut

Job title? 

Director & Owner of The Vantage Point and TV OPS.
I also offer consulting and product design services.

Where are you from? 

We are a fiercely independent production and post house in Chicago.

Tell us about your history. What do you do and how did you get there? 

I was always fascinated with film since I saw my father’s 8mm home movie camera, and amazed at TV since I was in the audience of a live broadcast of Bozo’s Circus when I was 8. Somewhere I think there’s a photo of having created a TV studio as a boy in my living room, complete with 3 lens toilet paper tube cameras, and my father’s old movie lights.

In high school I bought magazines like Cinemagic and Videomaker, and dreamed of having my own video camera. Spending all of my summer job money on an old 2 piece VHS video camera (not one of those newfangeld “camcorders”!), I started shooting video in earnest. Editing meant having two VCRs and two thumbs. Not-so-special special effects were a specialty.

I went to film school, ultimately earning a degree in film directing and computer graphics (back when it was hard!). I shot 16mm film for years. Back then if you wanted an effect like a fade to black, or a dissolve… you had to really want it! Even the simplest editing effect meant an afternoon in the optical printing room.

I was still shooting lots of video as well. This was the early 90s, and I was early to join the computer editing revolution – back when even the pros had doubts that the computer was going to become a permanent part of visual media. I poured a lot of my life into my Amiga computer and the Video Toaster, a truly revolutionary device. With the Toaster came even more broadcast gear that was finally affordable enough for a regular person to add to their personal studio.

I worked in a sound studio, cable production facility, and countless independent films and broadcast projects. One very influential job I had was working for one of the first five companies to delivery a full broadcast quality digital non-linear editing system in the mid 90s. I designed parts of the software and learned the “joys” of being on the cutting edge i.e. no sleep, beta software that didn’t work, destroyed projects…

I was a teacher for about 10 years at Columbia College in Chicago, while working on lots of productions with my company. “Scrappy indie knowhow” came in really handy even when working on a fairly major production with the usual budget “difficulties”…

I’ve done video work for PBS, the BBC, MTV, Lego, Ford, the U.N. – and many, many independent projects along the way. Not long ago, I was also Senior Producer of the nationally syndicated morning show “Eye Opener”. I was also one of the hosts. “Scrappy indie knowhow” came in really handy even when working on a fairly major production with a bit of a budget…

Here’s a peek at Bohus’ demo reel: 

How do you use stock media in everyday life? 

When I worked in news, it was essential. We were a small crew putting together 2 hours of content every day. No national bureaus, no big budget stock libraries… with Video Blocks we were able to give our show a real sense of scope, even though we didn’t have reporters in the field.

In my own day to day work, stock media helps me say “yes” to more jobs. I frequently get requests from non-for-profit organizations, or projects with an impossibly fast turnaround that not have time or budget to shoot fresh video for every frame. With access to such varied Video Blocks stock media, I can always be confident that I’ve got everything I need to tell a client’s story. I don’t need to turn down jobs because of a lack of production time or a small budget.

Stock Media also lets me vastly expand my creative scope, and the look of my projects. In a recent project the script mentions “Hollywood” by name, and I was able to punch up that idea after I download a dramatic flyover of the famous Hollywood sign from Video Blocks. There’s no way I could have created that shot on my own for this project… and Video Blocks is great for filling the “holes” in any edit. Need to show hospital personnel or a busy server rack? It’s all a click away…

What is your favorite part about Video Blocks? 

The download aspect of Video Blocks is critical. I find myself editing at client’s facilities more and more these days. Instead of trying to guess at the stock footage I’m going to need, and dragging along a gym bag packed with DVDs, I can just download what I need as I need it – wherever in the world I might be.

Also because of the multiple logins that a Video Blocks account allows, my assistants can download material wherever they are editing. I’m not personally a bottleneck or a gatekeeper on stock media. We don’t need  to all be near the shelves holding all of our physical media. We can all be getting things done without being in the same physical space.

What type of projects have you used Video Blocks for in the past? 

Corporate, broadcast, and lots of web content. One of my biggest clients today is Fotodiox, a manufacturer of photo and video accessories and lighting. We are creating all of the content for their YouTube channel, which numbers nearly 200 videos this year. We are hungry for music variety, after effects projects, and even for stock footage that we can slip into or demo videos. Individual videos don’t have anything you could call a budget, so the affordability of Video Blocks makes it possible to add an extra level of professionalism to YouTube videos that we have to chug out very rapidly.

What type of projects are you working on right now? 

More and more of our work is expressly for YouTube. Many non-broadcast companies want to be online with a healthy video presence. While my broadcast clients are used to spending $500 for a single video clip, sometimes that the budget for an entire YouTube project! So Video Blocks’ affordability makes it easier to say “yes” to these sorts of projects… and in many ways Video Blocks is essential to getting projects polished and done on time.

I’m working on some YouTube projects of my own. Fun Stuff. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks…
Oh yes! I’m going to be rolling out something very interesting via Kickstarter toward the end of the summer. A new idea in camera support gear, and probably the biggest product launch I’ve been part of so far.
Follow me on Twitter @TheCasualExpert to be part of the madness!

What is your dream project? 

I’ve got a couple of films and documentaries that have been percolating for a while that I’d love to get to. I also really enjoyed hosting that TV show, so I’m hoping to get back to something like that.

I’m co-editor of a popular vintage website: retrothing.com. I swear I’m going to make that site into a TV show someday. Imagine a cross between Max Headroom, and Pee Wee’s Playhouse hosted by yours truly. :)

Which current media trend(s) are you really into right now? 

It’s a good time to be a fan. Used to be that when you liked a show or a movie, fandom was slow to build, and hard to find. Now you’ve got webisodes, and blogs, and all sorts of ways to really enjoy the media you want to enjoy.

I also really like that TV has finally evolved enough to trust the audience more than ever to be able to follow a sophisticated and multi-episode story arc. I actually don’t watch that much current broadcast TV (I”m still catching up on The Fugitive from the 60s!), but have been lured back by series such as “The Blacklist” and especially “Hannibal”. On the surface “Hannibal” is about big screen terror, Hannibal Lechter, but the series explores questions of friendship, obsession, desire… and of course, eating people.

I’m also happy that smaller sized cameras have spurred a tremendous creative revolution among gear makers. There’s equipment out there that would have been available only to elite professionals just a few years ago…

What type of equipment do you use? 

I’ve had to use a variety of gear over my professional life, and I’m grateful. That experience has made it easier to be versatile… and to get good results, not matter what gear is on hand.

I have been really enjoying shooting with DSLRs, and the new breed of digital film cameras like the Bloack Magic Pocket Cinema, and the Digital Bolex. Conventional video cameras aren’t as flexible with lens choices… and I’ve come to rely on the many picture settings you can monkey with in a DSLR. It’s still no picnic as DSLR filmmaking remains a bit of a hack (just the outboard gear I have to use to get good sound is ridiculous).
DSLR filmmaking has evolved, but you still need a lot of support gear hovering around your camera to get all of the functionality crucial to filmmaking. That doesn’t necessarily bother me – back when I was shooting real film, there was almost a ritual involved with all of the gear setup. It’s harder to be spontaneous though when it takes 20 minutes to be ready to shoot anything.

I also enjoy using uncustomary gear. I like to put cameras where cameras don’t go. Getting a little daring and unconventional can spice up any project. I was one of the first producers to put GoPro footage on the air. I’m always experimenting with old lenses, lo-fi cameras like the Fisher Price PXL-2000 from the 80s, retro video effects gear… it doesn’t end.

I’ve edited using pretty much everything out there, and always come back to Premiere. I especially am liking their whole cloud approach. I didn’t think that I would, but it’s been useful in ways I couldn’t imagine.

What is your favorite movie? 

Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. I always come back to that magnificent film. It’s all there. Genre-defining visual style, tremendously clever story, darkly comic moments. Brazil and Gilliam’s take on Baron Munchhausen were two of the films (among many) that drove me to go to film school.

How can we connect with you? 

Twitter: @TheCasualExpert

about.me/bohus.blahut