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By @SimonCocking, great interview with Simeon Quarrie Owner of VIVIDA. Visual Storyteller, working with video and photography, and Canon Ambassador.

What’s your background?

I was originally in the dotcom industry, I already had a company when I went to college. I was building websites, and running tech related companies. I realised I was enjoying the most creative parts, the marketing, the visual sides. This led me to skip university and build my skill levels. I moved into video later, at around 23 /24, and then decided to go into photography. By 26, my aim was to really go for it, and do it to a high standard.

To earn money just after I got married I had to work out what to do. Mostly I was doing web design, and also media, I was dabbling in corporate video, but then you had to create DVD or VHS, which was big barrier to creating content. The problem then was the internet for playing video, so distribution was difficult then. I had done a few weddings, enjoyed them, then introduced photo and video for weddings. Eventually the Canon 5D mk 2 came along and it enabled me to jump my creativity and business forwards.

Tech helped me to progress my business. With the growth of the internet it helped me to grow, and I could share it online. I edited wedding videos into 3 mins long pieces, and many went semi viral, and were shared, getting 1000s of views, which helped to get me more business. My business then grew, especially on the wedding side, but I also wanted to go back to corporate commercial video. I then decided to drop the weddings, and just go for corporate commercial side completely. Now I do it for big corporate companies, focusing on video, it’s more involved and more difficult, which means fewer people want to do it.

Will you be using drones any time soon?

No, not at all. It all needs to be legally correct. It needs to all be right, to do it commercially. When we used the DJI Phantom we hired someone, we would always use a pro. Drones should be the salt and pepper if your work, to complement an image, to be used ‘as well as’, not instead of, and should be used sparingly

Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?

Yes!

What’s next for you?

Bigger, better. We raised the production quality very high on weddings. Now the aim is to do larger productions. Tech has been a big enabler. I didn’t go to film school, but have been producing great content and it is accepted. I am happy to share technology and techniques about what I’ve learned. For example to go from DSLR to C300mk2, seems like a big jump, but it talks the same language, cameras evolved quickly but you also grow through the range. With this experience you then believe that you can grow and use the higher end equipment too.

Who are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by lot of different people, including those creating on video, like Khalid Mohtaseb for example. Not all of them went to film school, vimeo for example is a good community to see interesting ideas. I don’t look at a lot of other people’s work though, nor at cinema,  I prefer to take inspiration from art, and anything really, for example if I go to a gallery, it might be the painting, or the way the info is communicated to me by the headphones, or the graphics or the video used, or at a live event.

VR is interesting too, I did a video 360. It is interesting to see how it is developing, it may change how content is created and viewed. I find the evolution of tech inspiring.

How about AR/VR blended? What do you think?

Yes, I have had a play around with it, and have been watching from a distance. Tech keeps moving very quickly, for now I am holding back slightly to see how it is moving.

How was 2016? What were your big wins?

Content was our big win. We did a lot of animation, I wasn’t expecting this, so we’ll be employing more people in this area.

Why?

It was what a client wanted, and we made characters for them. It was a blend of design and branding, and also story telling. I was nervous, but now many more have been booked and it’s now another tool in our tool kit! It will be interesting to see how this can be blended, it’s moving forward very quickly.

You are a Canon Ambassador, what does that mean, and what do you do in that role?

Being a CA means I have a great special relationship with them to represent what is possible with the Technology. Sometimes I may get early access and provide specific feedback on new gear, so I’m a conduit between those who use it, and the corporation, I get a great level of support too. Canon are interested in how people are using their tech, this is important to them, to learn, as it is totally different to how they expect it might be used.  I get to travel a lot, for example in 2016 I went to Ghana, to NAFTI, it was a great experience. I was also recently in Kenya, and the Nordic areas, I really love doing this, see how people are using tech, and to understand different perspectives. People can’t afford to do film school, but this may enable them to learn in this way and I get to contribute to people’s creative growth and businesses.

You mentioned the Legria, why use it in a different way? What is the difference between an engineer who builds it and those who use it?

We used the Legria more like a Gopro, this was not something that they expected when they built it.

What tips would you give to people starting out today?

Don’t just decide to do one thing, ie video, or photo etc. It can be a mistake to decide ‘I want to be a photographer’, it’s better to decide who your audience is. For example I decided weddings, and then Asian Indian weddings, specifically. Look at the areas that are open to you

Currently I believe there is more demand for video, with video you can learn, and you can earn from it too. Develop your own style too, don’t just mimic, or imitate. Try not to blend in, do something that is clearly you. Don’t follow the crowd, but also understand if there is a big trend somewhere too, and make sure your content stands out. There is a lot of mobile phone imagery, but to standout you then need use the right equipment so that your images can stand out.

The great thing about working in this area, and I love my job, is the variation. You don’t know what could be coming up next week.  What’s coming up next is always interesting, these experiences and the challenge of the variation is great.

I really enjoy tech, and it’s awesome to have a job directly related to this, and using it, and keeping up with it, as it changes is great. It moves you to find new ideas for adding value. Do you add a drone or gimble 4k, AR? VR? How soon do we go in to it? The evolution of being able to broadcast via the internet was a game changer, it means not  having to worry about putting it on tv. There are now so many different platforms to show your content, Facebook, Instagam, all great different platforms available to us.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking