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In the Spotlight With FUJIFILM

In the Spotlight With FUJIFILM – Featuring Joe Spiteri

CineD is always searching for a way to connect creators and manufacturers – and, of course, to help filmmakers show their work. This is why we teamed up with FUJIFILM to show our filming community work that has been done with FUJIFILM cameras. Please meet Joe Spiteri, a filmmaker from the UK. “In the Spotlight” is proudly sponsored by FUJIFILM.

If you are also a FUJIFILM shooter and would like to have your work featured in this “In the Spotlight” series, please do not hesitate to send us your work – read all about it here.

For now, check out the below short film that Joe Spiteri shot with a FUJIFILM X-T4 camera. In the following interview, he gives us a little insight into his working style and workflow when he sets out to shoot a new piece.

In the Spotlight With FUJIFILM – Joe Spiteri

Name: Joe Spiteri
Currently based in the UK
Language(s) spoken: English
Occupation: Designer

Q: How did you get started in our industry?
JS: My first film project was for a newly started denim brand. The founder had a devoted following online and ran courses on marketing.

After the project was completed, he recommended me to his followers and students. That lead to working for a number of brands and clients.

Current assignments:
I’m currently filming a portrait of Bangkok’s Banglamphu neighborhood, using the X-T4.

What types of productions do you mostly shoot?
Most of the films I make now are for the FujiFrame YouTube channel. I’m fortunate to travel a lot, and I capture the places I visit on Fujifilm cameras (motion and stills).

The intention is to document what I’ve learned using the cameras and lenses within the X-Mount system over the past ten years.

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image credit: Joe Spiteri

What is your dream assignment/job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about?
A dream assignment would be a Robert Frank-esque road trip documenting the small-town USA through motion and stills. On previous road trips, I’ve been affected most by places I have no reason to visit. Places I have passed through on route to somewhere else.

I love to travel. And to document the people and places I visit. I’m equally interested in searching out new experiences as I am in the mediums, tools, and processes of capturing them.

In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production?
I would have improved my gimbal technique. Almost all shots required a decent amount of stabilization in the post, which meant more work and a loss of resolution.

A couple of the shots would have benefited from a few more takes to choose from. The benefit of this type of project though is the time limit. You get what you get and hopefully learn what to do better next time.

What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use?
Video: FUJIFILM X-T4, XF 23mm f/1.4 LM R WR, XF 50mm f/2 R WR, RØDE VideoMic NTG (and deadcat)

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image credit: Joe Spiteri

Stills:
FUJIFILM X-Pro1, XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR

You chose to shoot your project with the FUJIFILM X-T4 camera. Did you impose on yourself any limitations like not shooting with a tripod?
I tend to keep gear to a minimum where possible if I’m shooting solo, and often impose a number of constraints to help me focus.

In this instance, I knew time on location would be limited, so I chose to keep things as simple as possible. One camera (X-T4), one lens (XF 16mm f/2.8), and one frame rate (60fps). All shots used a gimbal. No ND was used.

What’s your favorite lighting equipment, and why did you choose that kit over other solutions?
I have a small RGB LED panel (Neewer SL80) that never leaves my bag. It’s light, bright, and has a magnetic back. It’s equally useful for navigating dark locations as it is for fill-light.

I also carry an aperture panel (AL-F7) that can be powered off a power bank and a 5-in-1 reflector. As much as I would love to have a lighting kit and modifiers, it’s not practical when on the move.

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image credit: Joe Spiteri

Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found of deploying them?
I do have a gimbal. I try to use it when it suits the scene or project. Sometimes I prefer things to be locked down (like in the Valletta film).

Other times it can be useful for conveying a mood or space, like in the film featured here. (I think) it helped the viewer feel the scale of the environments I was moving through.

What editing systems do you use and are you satisfied working with them?
I’ve been a Davinci Resolve user for years now, and the software keeps outpacing my needs and skill level. I have no immediate plans to abandon it.

Likewise, I dabbled with Final Cut Pro for this project and did find the stabilization worked better with fixing my gimbal technique, but the experience hasn’t swayed me from continuing to use Resolve.

How much of your work do you shoot in “flat picture profile” and what is your preferred way of color correcting?
Since adopting a color-managed workflow in Davinci Resolve, I have started shooting more F-Log. Previously, I had been shooting almost exclusively in the Eterna profile.

How frequently do you travel and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear?
I travel a fair bit. I’ve learned over the years that too much gear leads to physical fatigue and decision fatigue, which makes my work sloppy. Furthermore, I’m fortunate that I don’t have fixed requirements when choosing gear for travel, so I choose to travel light.

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image credit: Joe Spiteri

Rather than camera-specific bags, I prefer to pack my gear in the Tenba BYOB series, so I can transfer my kit between bags (a day bag or a hiking bag for example). This avoids wasted spaces where bag structures have been set up for larger systems.

I try to “reset” my kit when I’m finished using it. Charge batteries, format cards, etc. Everything has a designated place, so I can find it quickly and notice when something isn’t there.

Packing an extension lead with a travel adapter can make charging multiple devices on the go much easier. Handy when there are limited sockets in hotel rooms.

Links: FUJIFILM Site | Abandoned (YouTube) | FujiFrame website

Full disclosure: This “In The Spotlight” series of interviews is sponsored by FUJIFILM.

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