What was your inspiration for going into this field?
I grew up discovering that I had an aptitude for creativity and the arts. I drew caricatures at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs; and I picked up many different instruments in high school, namely, the guitar, bass and the keyboard. I took part in every school play. During my gap year, when I studied in Safed, Israel, I was inspired by the city’s beauty and took over 5000 photos.
I returned to New York to attend NYU for its strong arts program. When I began speaking with film students about their studies, I realized that film production would be the perfect combination of my artistic passions. I could use my drawing skills for animation, my rhythm for editing, and my creative eye for shooting video.
During the winter break of freshman year, I returned to Safed and created a ten-minute documentary about the town’s unique spiritual vibe. This documentary helped me gain admission into the NYU Tisch film program, where my passion for film took off.
Tell us about the different aspects of your business.
We specialize in a wide variety of video genres:
- Narrative films and documentaries, such as one currently in the works about South African hip-hop spanning a decade.
- Wedding/event videos.
- Promotions for food and nightlife establishments, such as the Monarch Rooftop Lounge next to the Empire State Building and Black Tap Burgers.
- Music videos/live performances featuring artists that include Matisyahu, Oz Noy, and the popular Jewish acapella group, The Y-Studs.
- Corporate videos for major brands and companies, including a Fortune 500 insurance company and Union Station in Washington, D.C.
- Red carpet interviews at TV shows or Hollywood movie premieres, filming interviews with celebrities such as Larry David, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Adam Sandler and Denzel Washington.
How important do you think it is for a videographer to have an artistic flair?
Very important. A finished video is the result of thousands of specific decisions and trade-offs. It’s an artist’s flair, style and vision that guide those decisions. It’s what sets you apart.
Is there a specific videographer who influenced your work?
It wasn’t a fellow videographer, but rather former Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. He was prevented from returning to England for three days because of a volcanic ash incident over Iceland. I grabbed the opportunity to film interviews with him for a Jewish media site, JInsider.
When discussing the idea of finding one’s life purpose, he stated very simply, “When what you want to do in life is aligned with what needs to be done, that’s when you know you’ve found your life’s purpose.” At the time, I was an in-house videographer for a shoe company.Inspired by Rabbi Sacks, I left my position and turned independent.
What should we look for in a videographer?
In addition to the videographer’s work, it’s important to choose someone who can find the best resources, meet deadlines and is easy to work with. Recently, I was recommended for a project for a Fortune 500 insurance company. They needed two film crews in London one day, and in Colorado the next day. This left just a few days for a major editing job to combine over 25 interviews. It was a project that their in-house video company deemed impossible. A former colleague told the Marketing Director, “Shlomo will do whatever it takes and won’t sleep until the job is done.”
What statement do you want to make with your work?
My film work and my connection to Judaism are related. I try to make the world a more positive place by creating art that conveys a deeper message. Film is a powerful medium that has the ability to help people overcome adversity and strengthen connections with God and their fellow man.
How are you different from other videographers?
I make sure to find the best footage for every second and never take shortcuts. For example, when it comes to wedding reels, many competitors have a formula they reuse. They select key moments and plug it into their formula, creating a video that is artistic but out of sequence.
I take the more time-consuming approach of recreating the day. I search out the day’s best moments in the order they occurred. After watching my 4-5 minute reels my clients often tell me they feel as if they are reliving the wedding. Even when I hire a crew to help with a project, I strive for perfection and ultimately remain responsible for the quality of the final product.
What skills are required for filming weddings without intruding on the couple’s privacy?
I want to capture those moments that truly portray the love the couple have for each other. I want the highlight reel and the full video to be as cinematic and entertaining as possible. In contrast to other wedding videographers, my career actually began with documentaries—not weddings.
I have spent years perfecting my style, which requires the split-second shooting of candid moments and minimum interaction with my subjects. These skills are crucial for capturing great moments without being obtrusive.
Is there one project you have worked on that stands out?
I was hired to film a wedding at the Fontainebleau in Miami. I needed a crew of nine people (and a crane). The client hired a 40-piece orchestra and the room partitions were made of giant blocks of ice. It was definitely one of the most exceptional events I’ve ever filmed.
Are you currently working on an exciting project?
I am finishing production on my first narrative feature-film with formerly Chassidic, Reggae Superstar Matisyahu. It’s a scripted visual accompaniment to his newest album, “Undercurrent.” We filmed most of it on tour with a limited budget and did a lot of improvisation. The years of honing my skills for capturing candid moments paid off in miraculous ways. The film is a very unique endeavor that has never been accomplished in quite this way, making it my most exciting project to date.
What part of your job are you most passionate about?
My most satisfying projects are those that challenge me to break out of my comfort zone. I really love the motivation I get from the production process.
I love creative brainstorming opportunities and adding my unique style and vision to any project.
What is your long-term vision for your business?
My long-term vision is to keep making videos that present people and their message in the most professional and entertaining way possible. With my passion projects I aim to not only entertain, but to inspire and make the world a more positive and spiritual place.
Shlomo Weprin,a graduate of the NYU Tisch film school, is the CEO of Shlomotions Videography on the
Lower East Side: A high-end video production company producing a range of creative content.
Contact: 973-960-6078, email@example.com www.shlomotions.com