Interview: Matt Raynaud – Photographer and videographer

Matt Raynaud is a Grenoble-based photographer and videographer, who has been using VEGAS Pro for his work, which spans the gamut of freelance work, but primarily consists of wedding videography. A quick look at his vimeo page reveals a portfolio of hip and modern montages with classical elements of a couple’s special day. Inspired and versed in attention to detail, Raynaud weaves together gorgeous frames, touching scores, and artistic effect elements to tell the story of new beginnings.

Our interview with Matt:

Would you give us a little background on who you are and what you do ?

I’m Matt, 34 year old, deputy editor in chief for a free-ski magazine (Skieur Magazine) in the French Alps and freelance videographer in different domains: sport (mainly skiing for my job at Skieur Magazine, Mountain-biking, etc.), music, corporate, food and weddings. I’m a multifaceted guy, I don’t like to be restricted to one world. I think it’s the best way to discover new things, to open your mind and to improve yourself.

Do you have professional training as a video editor or did you learn the ropes through trial-and-error ?

I have a bachelor’s in communication and multimedia. I learned lot of things at high-school (video editing, sound design, web design, computer graphics, networking, etc.), but not in-depth. On the other hand, I started to make ski movies with my friends when I was 20. That was the beginning of my love for video. School taught me methodology, but I learned the art of shooting and editing by myself.

Which video editing software are you using and why?

Since the beginning of my love for video production, I used VEGAS, since version 2.0, I think… It was the first NLE to have video preview without rendering, so I chose on VEGAS. During last years, I had to work with some other software for some shared projects and for work on Macs at Skieur Magazine’s office. But my love for VEGAS is unconditional and 15 years later, I’m still using VEGAS. For me, despite its outdated UI, it’s one of the most efficient NLEs on the market, really easy to use, intuitive and very powerful, for pro editing too!

You’ve filmed a lot of the raw footage, which you later edit, correct? What is one of the main differences in editing footage which you didn’t shoot yourself? Do prefer one workflow over the other?

Yes, and I always prefer to do all the work (writing the script, shooting, editing, color grading) by myself because, even if you put yourself under pressure and you give yourself more work, you’re more efficient. When you press the record button, you know exactly what you want to shoot, and you already know how you’ll use this cut in your final edit.

How much direction to you take from the client? Do they decide the look or do you suggest the look for a video/video series to them?

It’s very important to be attentive to your clients’ demands, but when it’s possible, I try to add my touch in the edit. For example, with Botanic (a garden center chain in France), one of my main clients since 2 years now, we work together on the script and during the shooting. Then, they choose their favorite shots in the rough cut and they give me carte blanche on the editing. I’ll try to to my best to satisfy both parties, my client and myself!

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned, which influences your work on a daily basis?

You can’t do miracles with shitty raw material, even if you’re the best editor or color grader in the world.

Which is the most challenging project you’ve worked on and why? Which was the most enjoyable?

I’ve worked on lots of challenging and enjoyable projects, with big clients, in really cool places, but I think “The Miam Factory” was the one… It’s a homemade project, I’ve created with my wife, food recipes in video. It lasted one year because with our respective jobs, it was really difficult to imagine a new recipe and try it each month, to cook in front of the camera with our poor chef’s talent and to edit it in record time. But it was awesome. I remember the first time I posted the first episode “Filet Mignon en Croûte au Boursin” in my Facebook page, few hours later some friends sent me the pic of their own filet mignon, asking me when I will post the next recipe… We made 11 episodes, YouTube contacted us and gave us a pro channel, but unfortunately, we had to let it go, waiting to find some time to be back one day!

You’ve made all types of videos: advertisements, shorts, wedding videos, among them. What is your favorite work to do? Do you have to take a different approach to do different videos? Or is your workflow essentially the same?

Honestly, I couldn’t choose my favorite work. I feel pleasure and excitement in all my works, I love to meet new people, new places, new professions… For example, during the last three years:

  • I met about 20 incredible couples for their weddings all over France, in beautiful castles or in the garden of their house, near a waterfall or in the forest, with different cultures and origins…
  • With Botanic, I shot animals and flowers, discover the production process of the compost in a two days trip in the country side, met the honeybees wearing an apiculturist suit…
  • I covered competitions and tested a lots of skis in video for Skieur Magazine.
  • I shot a metal music video in an old abandoned hospital.

Obviously, you can’t have the same approach in these different works, even if I try to have a journalist’s approach on my wedding videos during the shooting, then giving a more cinematographic feel during the editing. But for all my works, my workflow on the field or in front of the computer is essentially the same. I try to be as light as possible, working with small DSLRs and natural lights, editing my movies on a laptop with VEGAS.

Which features in VEGAS are particularly important for your work? Do you have a favorite?

I love the way you can manipulate tracks or events on the timeline, resize, split, add fades in or out of a clip, modify opacity, time stretch, modify velocity, panning or cropping, and add masks… Everything looks easier with VEGAS. Everything is at your fingertips… And when you have a lot of events and tracks on your timeline – it’s an essential thing!

A lot of musicians talk about their musical influences. What would you say are your influences as a videographer?

I’m a very big fan of English directors and videographers like Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle, Guy Ritchie, Chris Cunningham, Justin Kerrigan, Tom Welsh (Get Deluxe), Philip Bloom and I love the work of Quentin Dupieux (Aka Mr Oizo), The Daniels or Jonas Akerlund.

Did you choose to get into wedding videography or did it happen by accident?

The first times, I only did wedding movies to help some friends, just for fun and to let them a good souvenir of this wonderful day. Then, a good friend of mine working as a wedding planner, gave me 2 or 3 contracts. And finally, my wife and I decided to get married, and having a videographer wasn’t an option, it was essential! During the search of the good one, I noticed the exorbitant prices of some guys, for a work I can do, and better… As you may know, a wedding is not free, far from it, so I decided to become a real wedding videographer to finance a part of my own D-Day. My wife, who is graphic designer, created a trendy visual identity for me, we designed the website together, I edited a showreel, and Marions-Nous Dans les Bois (“let’s get married in the woods” in English) was born. Little by little, I realized it was very cool to shoot weddings. Of course, it’s a lot of work, during the D-Day, then in front of the computer, but everyone is happy and everyone is beautiful. At the end of the day, you’re not only the videographer, you seem to be part of the guests and the family. Few years ago, I would be ashamed to tell people I do wedding videos, because of the old-fashioned and kitsch style. But now, with this modern approach and all these “boho” weddings, I can say, yes, I’m proud to be a wedding videographer.

What happens behind the scenes of a contract? How much do you have to prepare before? And how much do you do in post?

Honestly, my ten years as a journalist for Skieur Magazine helped me to be prepared for each urgent situation on the field. When you arrive on a freeride of freestyle competition, you don’t know where you have to be to get the better shots, you don’t know where you’re allowed to stay, how the weather will be…

During my first year of weddings, I could arrive on site without meeting the bride and the groom, without knowing the schedule of the day. “Hey, I’m Matt, I’m your wedding videographer. Let’s go to the church!” It was funny, but now, as a married guy, I know it’s a stressful day, and you want to be comforted. I try to meet my clients in real life few months before their D-Day, or to have a talk via Skype, to know what they want, what they like, who they are, what the schedule of the day is… For the moment, as videography is my second job. It takes me about 2 months to produce a short edit, and between 4 to 6 months for the long edit.

There’s this stereotype that the wedding party always has one member who needs the wedding to be perfect. Does this personality also show up when you deliver the wedding videos and what does that normally mean for you? (Or how do you have to adjust your work to that?)

When you prepare your wedding and see the money you invest, it’s much more than normal to want the wedding to be perfect. That’s why I pay great attention to my movies, trying to avoid the blurry or the shaky shots, trying to be everywhere on the D-Day to record each smile, each tear… I want to deliver something perfect, and to be attentive to my clients’ request. I really prefer to have someone who tells me all his feelings about his movie – even if I have to modify the edit or the color-grading – than someone who answer “It’s perfect. Thank you. Here is your money.”

Would you say that you have your own editing style? Which effects do you regularly use that define your style?

My video influences speak for me: I love energetic edits with tempo and camera moves. I can’t say it’s my own editing style, but that’s what I prefer. Some people might think it’s not appropriate for wedding movies. Of course, I’m used to adapting my editing style to something more slower… But sometimes you want to get off the beaten track, to try something new, to have some fun on this wonderful day.

It seems like you tend to use similar color effects & design elements in your videos. Is that a conscious choice? How much do you let the video material dictate which effects & elements you use in post-production?

The mood of the shooting day, the music, and the requests of my client influence my choice on the rhythm of my editing and color-grading. So, yes, I can say it’s a conscious choice. But I try to give my wedding as warm of a look as possible and also to give a funny and kind touch to tutorial movies I’ve worked on (for The Miam Factory or Botanic’s DIY).

What types of projects would you like to be working on in the future?

Weddings, of course, but I would like to get back to music videos. It’s a style I love, perhaps because I practiced piano for years when I was a teenager and I’m a big music lover (mainly rock), who can spend hours on Spotify. I remember, few years ago, I had a hard-drive full of music videos, and used to watch them regularly. Music videos gather all the things I love: music, a short format, and endless possibilities to shoot and edit…

Do you have any upcoming events/campaigns/projects we should know about?

If one day I find some time, I have a tons of video material to edit, mainly trips abroad: a family trip in Morocco, short breaks in Balearic Islands, and my honeymoon in French Polynesia (120 GB of blue lagoon, sharks, dolphins, palm trees and coconuts).

Raynaud uses VEGAS Pro for his videography work. Check out our 30-day demo version for free. Here is a sample of his work so you can see just what VEGAS Pro has to offer.

Check out the links below the to find more of Matt Raynaud’s work.

“Marions-Nous Dans Les Bois” website: http://www.marionsnousdanslesbois.fr

Matt Raynaud’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mttrnd/

Matt Raynaud’s Vimeo account: https://vimeo.com/mattraynaud

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