The River: Beauty And Hate
KU: First off we want to say congrats on the Staff Pick and we loved the video!
Vadym: Thank you! Glad you liked the video.
KU: You said the video was unplanned. What inspired you to bring these shots together to make The River: Beauty and Hate?
Vadym: One day I was driving over the dam and noticed that the water had receded much more than usual. I’d never seen it at such a low level before. Later, Fedir (who collated the maps for the title screen) told me that this year the Dnipro had practically returned to its natural boundaries, as it was before the flooding of the valley and the creation of the Kremenchuk reservoir. You can see this in the pictures below.
The incident reminded me of the reservoirs history, how it was created. My interest was sparked and I started to research and quickly discovered that not everyone shares my admiration for the reservoir’s beauty. I wanted to tell that story and I already had enough relevant material. But the video itself is not about the fate of those people, instead it’s about the emotions this place arouses and about the fact that any place in the world can be hiding something.
KU: What is your connection to the Kremenchuk Reservoir?
Vadym: I grew up here, I took my first pictures here and basically this place inspired me to do what I do now - photography and videography. I’m inspired by the vast scope of the reservoir and the minimalism of its landscapes. It’s the place I go to rest, to be alone. I’m very lucky to live just 15 minutes away from it. In fact, that’s why I had enough footage to make the video; every time I go there I film it.
KU: You used a Cineslider and Second Shooter. What do you like about the system and why did you choose it over other motion control systems?
Vadym: First of all, I really wanted to be able to achieve a parallax effect and Second Shooter was just an excellent solution given my budget. I like that I can program the start and end points of a take and the system does the rest itself and that then you can repeat the exact same program again. It’s very helpful for example for displaying the change from day to night, which requires shooting with different exposures. I’ll admit I’d like to move over to CineDrive and kOS where you can program everything but Second Shooter is extremely easy to use. I didn’t see anything easier and the installation and setup take minutes. It's great.
KU: That cartographic shot under the title is breathtaking, how did you achieve that shot?
Vadym: As I said before, Fedir Gontsa handled the maps. He downloaded all photos from the European satellite Sentinel-2A for the period between February 2015 and May 2017. Then he collected and processed them using his own scripts. When I say “collected”, I’m talking about a massive amount of work! The satellite doesn’t just deliver Jpegs ready for use in the video. It provides a huge array of data, which you then need to turn into an image. In total it took him about two months to get around 80 clean images (with no clouds). Once he had them, the pictures were animated using Adobe After Effects.
KU: What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
Vadym: Right now we’re working on a small project about the river Ros in Ukraine. We gathered a small team of videographers, a journalist, a photographer, a composer and a cartographer. It’s a project about the interaction between man and nature. A study of how natural landscapes influence the lives, occupations and creativity of those living near them and how man, through his activity changes the landscape in return. The project will include a number of video stories, interactive long form article and maps. For now it’s something of an experiment. If it turns out well though, in future we’d like to do similar studies on a larger scale; for the whole country, maybe even the whole world? Who knows.