Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select

Learn from professional cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov what it’s like to shoot high-quality footage for the all-new Shutterstock Select.

In exciting news for any professional cinematographer, filmmaker, or DOP around the world, last week we launched Shutterstock Select, our newest premium footage collection. One of those talented filmmakers is Aleksei Gorodenkov of Gorodenkoff Video Productions.

Gorodenkoff Video Productions was founded in 2003 by Alexander Gorodenkov, and they’ve been impressing us with their high-impact content ever since. This company has flourished in the stock visual world, where they excel at producing high-quality footage available to customers around the world through Shutterstock.

Image courtesy of Gorodenkoff.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Exploring Technology

Using the highest quality gear available such as RED 8K Cameras and ARRI HMI Lights, this arsenal of creatives creates breathtaking footage on Shutterstock Select. A fun fact? The company also designs and builds their own unique setups, backgrounds, and locations that correspond with a wide variety of customer use cases.

In between the world travels his career takes him, we caught up with Gorodenkoff Video Productions’ co-founder and professional cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov to share his words on being one of the first Shutterstock Select contributors. If you’re a talented, professional cinematographer looking to start creating high-quality footage for stock, listen to Aleksei’s words on his journey and tips that he has for up-and-comers in the industry.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Advice for Up-and-Comers

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

Here are a few shared words on Shutterstock Select with cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Aleksei. How did you get started shooting motion footage?

It was during the time when DSLR cameras began shooting video. I saw a Vincent Laforet short film shot on 5D Mark II, and was amazed. The idea that you can create such a stunning looking picture yourself was very creatively appealing. Soon enough, I started shooting commercials.

You’re the co-founder of Gorodenkoff Productions. How did that company get started?

My father and I started in advertising, but as time passed we found ourselves wanting more creative freedom. We discovered that stock footage can give us just that. We felt that there are a lot of possibilities in stock, and created Gorodenkoff Productions soon after.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Finding Possibilities

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

And your role there is the cinematographer. What brought you to that career path?

Well, someone has to do that, and so it happened that I was the right man for the job. Still am! But mostly I just like being a cinematographer and directing these shorts, which are in some sense concise movies.

What type of equipment do you use when filming? Do you have a favorite set-up?

We use a Red Epic 8K Camera. Also, I’m a big fan of the Panther U-Bangi slider. We like to work with the daylight temperature so so almost exclusively we use ARRI HMI Lights and Kino-Flo. My favorite focal length to work in is a 35mm.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Choosing the Right Equipment

Image courtesy of Gorodenkoff.

Why do you choose that type of equipment?

For my taste, they simply are the best that is available on the market. Their cameras have higher resolution and picture aesthetic that I find very crisp and appealing. Also, the versatility of an upgradable camera is just amazing. It’s exactly what I need to get the job done.

How important is it to you the best of modern technology?

For me, it’s of utmost importance to use equipment that is simply the best, newest, and preferably on the verge of being excessive. Futuristic even! My thinking is that by using modern technology, we increase the life cycle of the product that we make. Themes that we work with are universal, clear, and understandable. What we need is for video to stay eye-pleasing and modern for as long as it would look relatable on the new UHD screen. We were one of the first to create 4K videos for stock. Now we shoot videos in 8K. We put in a lot of effort to make our videos, and we want to capture it in the best quality available.

“It’s of the utmost importance to use equipment that is simply the best, newest, and preferably, on the verge of becoming excessive.”

At your company, your team builds and designs your own unique set-ups. What advantage does that give you as a company?

Our team is very fortunate that we have one of the best set designers in the country. He is an open-minded architect, who is also an engineer. Most importantly, he is the person with inexhaustible curiosity and a mighty scientific mind.

We’ve built our own data center, laboratories, monitoring room, and many other locations. Our most fun inventions to date are spacesuits, and a Mars rover that looks more realistic than the stuff Hollywood uses for their major sci-fi flicks (said with a smile).

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Building Custom Sets

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

I think that that’s crucial. The possibility to build a location that is inaccessible in real life. It gives an opportunity to open up to pure filming process, and the potential to start using interesting angles, more time, and more freedom to make the perfect shot that corresponds with our vision. In real life, it is very hard to make an ideal shot. However, in a controlled environment we stand with a pretty good chance of doing just so.

What about cinematography technology excites you as a professional cinematographer?

Well, a robotic camera arm sounds like something that I want to experiment with in the near future.

How does a creative project start for you?

A creative project for me is definitely not my sole endeavor. We function as a team, and as a team, we always have plenty of ideas. Usually, we sit down and make a plan for the year ahead, and then we have weekly corrective meetings. Meetings where we drink lots of strong coffee, draw convoluted charts on the whiteboard, use tons of sticky papers, argue and adjust our ongoing yearly plan as we go. There are always a few surprises in store for every filming day, but we manage to pull it off, each and every time.

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

Where do you seek inspiration for your work?

Everything that surrounds us, inspires us in one way or the other. We watch a ton of creative ads, movies old and new, browse through social media trends. We read popular science magazines, and follow-up closely on scientific and technological discoveries.

One thing we do try to avoid is being influenced by other stock authors. We try to do our thing in our own peculiar way.

“We don’t want to repeat what others are doing. We want to superinduce our own clear thinking and vision.”

What makes one shot stronger than another, in your opinion?

I always kind of feel that intuitively, with some sort of sixth sense. A good location, good acting, good directing-it all just kind of clicks and feels right. It’s very satisfying.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Intuition

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

How do you craft a visual story from a customers vision?

Firstly, there’s a vague idea and our team gathers together at our weekly meeting to try to visualize what to do, and how to do it. How to construct that very particular usable shot and if possible, how it can be integrated into the structure of the production that our potential customer is making. We try to shoot video to make it self-contained, but also so that it can be easily integrated. Not to infringe, but to add something to the customer’s product narrative.

How important is teamwork to what you do creatively?

Let me say this outright: teamwork is the foundation of our work. It’s the pillar. Only as a team can we function effectively. Every member knows exactly what their job is. We have a decorator. We have a stylist, who is responsible for our models’ style to ensure that their colors don’t clash. That’s very important, as models need to correspond to the shoots’ mood.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Support the Shoot's Mood

Image courtesy of Gorodenkoff.

We have a special team member dedicated to searching for the right location, and that’s crucial. Especially when we want to get all the property releases right. We do shoots in places that are pretty hard to get into. Secretive places like factories and laboratories, for example. We have a very talented team of post-production specialists, who work together to make our videos lively and appealing. These specialists sometimes save the shot by retouching a rogue label, or a brand name.

In addition, we have a 3D visual artist, who works specifically with special effects. Last but not least, we love our content editors who research keywords and write these fun and long video descriptions.

Why is collaboration important to your team?

Without collaboration and team effort, there would be no production company. We collaborate with lots of great actors. Well, they are actually more like our friends as we tend to have lots of fun together on our shooting days. Our models usually are just interesting, pleasant people who you can converse with in real life. They are as beautiful and approachable as you can expect out of your regular friend or acquaintance to be.

We are really proud to be working with them all. We value every person involved in the process of production, however minuscule their job may seem from the outside.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Value Every Team Member

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

And what about Shutterstock. How did you get started contributing to the platform?

“Shutterstock is an obvious market leader for me, there was no question of where to start.”

Tell us about why you decided to join Shutterstock Select, our premium footage offering?

Shutterstock came to us with that idea, and we really liked it. I think that Shutterstock Select is a wonderful idea. Shutterstock offers loads of content, even an overwhelming amount sometimes, which is good. However, for the more focused, high-end customer that can be a bit disorienting. So it’s just logical to create something with curated, top-of-market content. Content with a razor-sharp focus on suggesting only the best content. We always look forward to the new opportunities with Shutterstock.

“So it’s just logical to create something with curated, top-of-market content. Content with a razor-sharp focus on suggesting only the best content.”

What about Shutterstock Select are you most excited for?

I think that the best thing about the Select platform is its speed and easiness with which customers would be able to choose simply the best stuff. That’s good for the overall industry, not to get clogged out by too much content. To get the customer to choose not only from quantity but from quality.

Gorodenkoff Reel.

What type of content can people find in your collections on Shutterstock?

We do all sorts of videos and photos! From portraits at home and children playing on the lawn, all the way to space travel and brain research. We tend to lean more towards technological films, the future of technology. Even if that means that sometimes we have to create that future for ourselves.

Knowing what you know about being a Shutterstock Select contributor, what do you think makes an artist Select?

Someone who consistently creates unique, but also usable content. Who has a personal vision, but is also relatable. A person that can read the market and be universal. Somebody who creates stuff that nobody else does, and does it well.

Unique work is definitely key. Do you have any tips on professional cinematographers who want to create higher quality stock footage?

Create content that touches you personally; pay attention to details. Create every piece of footage like it’s the one and only. There is no point in copy and pasting, or making conveyor belt videos with boring identical clips. Do more difficult stuff, level up, take up new challenges. Try to make every new shoot in a new, more complicated manner. Do it so as not to stagnate, but to up your game a bit, every time.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Pay Attention to Details

Image courtesy of Gorodenkoff.

What’s your favorite type of footage to shoot?

My soft spot is for tranquil, spacious pavilions where I control all the aspects of the filming process. Where I can experiment and excel at what I do: shoot videos!

Do you have a favorite shoot that you’ve completed for Shutterstock?

Tough question! Potentially our own high-tech research laboratory that we’ve built from the ground up.

What does the future look like for you and your work?

Being young and ambitious, we have plenty of plans. People have said that our ideas will run out soon, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We are building more and more sets, our direction and writing will get more sophisticated. With every passing year, we grow in both scale and vision.

Professional Cinematographer Aleksei Gorodenkov on Shutterstock Select - Keep Growing

Still from clip via Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock Select.

Where do you see stock video heading? Where do you want to help take stock video?

We see more and more screens, they displace paper editions, magazines, and more traditional methods of narrative. Everything evolves and requires new types of representation and illustration. In social media, we see more and more short video ads, for instance. So that’s where we come in!

Last question before we head out. What can we expect to see in your work on Shutterstock Select?

The future of technology and human interest, that’s what we bet on. That’s where our hearts lie, and our lens is focused on.

Thank you to Aleksei and to Gorodenkoff Video Productions for sharing their words on Shutterstock Select, Shutterstock’s new premium footage offering. If you’re a professional cinematographer looking to grow into stock footage, consider signing up for Shutterstock Footage so that we can discover your work today.

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