Written By: Zach Champ
Photos By: Steve Gonzalez and Geo Rosendi
DMV Music & Art: We recently had the opportunity to sit down and interview D.C based film-maker and videographer Geo Rosendi.
Geo currently works with Washington Digital Media as a full-time video-editor and cameraman.
In his free time, Geo is known for filming music videos with local area artists and filming awesome BMX montages.
We spoke with Geo and learned more about his personal story and about how he got involved with cinematography and videography.
We also had a discussion about some of the important details to keep in mind when filming and editing!
Read the interview below, only on Hoodie Goodies!
Hoodie Goodies: Hi, thanks for taking the time to speak with us!
To start with would you mind telling our readers who you are and where you are from?
Geo: Hello! My name is Geo Rosendi and I am a film-maker, video-editor, photographer, and a BMX enthusiast. I currently work as a videographer and video editor for Washington Digital Media, a digital media company based in D.C.
Geo: I initially grew up in the mountains of Argentina, which is where my family is from. As a young adult, I moved to America. I now currently live here in Washington D.C.
Hoodie Goodies: How did you get introduced to videography and film-making?
Geo: Ever since I was a kid, I would frequently hang out in the streets. Whether it was in Argentina or here in Washington D.C, I constantly liked to spend my free time hanging out around my neighborhood. I loved walking around, talking with people, getting into mischief, and just doing typical kid stuff.
Geo: As I got older, I got increasingly involved in playing sports for fun like Football, Basketball, and Soccer. On top of that, I also started getting fascinated with BMX and Parkour.
Geo: When my friends and I would meet up to ride and play, I would often find myself being the guy that was consistently filming everyone else. I didn’t mind filming my friends, I in fact really enjoyed it and I loved capturing the cool, athletic and action moments and later showing the video clips to others.
Geo: I’ve always had a dream to work for a video production company. For the longest time, my main focus for a career has been working in media, video production, and filming.
Geo: Around the same time I started filming BMX with my friends I also started getting into photography as a hobby. I knew that learning the basics of photography would help me become a better videographer.
Geo: Shout out to my best friend Walter who got me into BMX in the first place.
Hoodie Goodies: How did you get involved with Washington Digital Media?
Geo: While I was learning how to film with my friends messing around at skate parks and in the streets I realized I needed better equipment and cameras. I also knew I needed to learn from an experienced videographer and photographer if I wanted to get better.
Geo: I saw the need and demand for videographers to film commercials and music videos. In my own social network, I had several friends looking for a videographer to help film projects for them. So I started looking for local companies I could maybe try and work for or intern and get my foot in the door with.
Geo: While browsing on the internet I somehow discovered Washington Digital Media and their website. I noticed that they were a bilingual Spanish-speaking company which appealed to me because I still wasn’t confident in my ability to speak English fluently, especially in a formal or business situation.
Geo: When I called Washington Digital Media I remember the owner Ricardo Villalba answering the phone. I told him I wanted to learn more about videography and video editing and that I was willing to intern. He invited me over to the studio to meet the team and to check the business out.
Geo: I didn’t know just what to expect. I was imagining a studio full of people, like something straight out of Hollywood. When I showed up I was surprised. It wasn't a fancy Hollywood filming lot or warehouse, but it was a cool office space with plenty of opportunities. The studio had cameras, a large green-screen, and tripods. I knew immediately this is where I wanted to be.
Geo: Ricardo started teaching me and after a few weeks he put me to work on projects to help me earn some money. During this time I only kept focusing on honing my skill and craft and being as available and helpful as possible. I had a lot of fun working with everyone during this time and learning all the new skills.
Geo: Ricardo would additionally have me work with my co-worker Edgar Romero. Edgar was a leader within the company and would also end up teaching me a lot, and becoming another great mentor of mine.
Geo: If it wasn’t for Edgar taking the time to work with me and show me how to do certain things with video-editing and filming I wouldn’t be at the level I am now.
Geo: Edgar taught me how to be efficient as a video editor. The first thing he taught me was all organizational and pre-production concepts. He helped me realize that planning is everything with filming, if you plan everything correctly, you can get amazing, beautiful, shots.
Geo: Working with Edgar and observing him I realized the importance of patience and planning in the filming and production process.
Geo: My main role model is Ricardo Villalba. Ricardo has taught me a great deal in reference to cinematography and visual story-telling. For instance, he would explain to me how certain angles and perspectives can elicit certain emotions within the audience and help provide context to the scenes and character dynamics. He further taught me about camera settings, camera angles, symmetries, and the rules and standards of film-making.
Geo: Ricardo has been the single largest influence on my development as a videographer and film-maker. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Ricardo and work here at Washington Digital media. I don't know what I would have done without his continued support and wisdom.
Hoodie Goodies: What are some of the current projects you are working on?
Geo: Currently, I am working with a rapper named BigGucciRossa, who is one of my ‘migos from Washington D.C. We’ve been hard at work the past two months helping him make his music videos. Outside the studio, it just so happens we are pretty good friends as well.
Geo: I’m super-hype and happy that I have been able to collaborate with BigGucciRossa because this has allowed me to start working on stuff outside of the action and extreme sports genre. Now I have an opportunity to work with music videos. It’s a new frontier and a completely new creative perspective for me to explore which is amazing for me as a film-creator and video-editor.
Geo: Outside of working with BGR, I also am active in my local BMX community. One of my close friends, Walter Wilson, has a brand called Medieval which is a team of semi-professional skaters, BMX riders, and other extreme sports athletes. They’ve been in the industry for close to two decades and are really gnarly! They do it all- they compete, they sell merchandise, they organize events. My role is I help film the riders and create content for their social media like the cool little Instagram snippets and videos you see.
Hoodie Goodies: What are some challenging aspects in regards to film-making and video-editing?
Geo: Haha! Any aspect of filming can be challenging depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
Geo: It all depends on the scope of the project and what the vision is for the final feature. It’s essential that you always work with a reliable team and make sure that everyone is coordinated and familiar with the equipment and their responsibilities during filming. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make great videos and films.
Geo: Any time I film, there are three important attributes to filming any great shot or scene. The first is framing. Every time you create each scene, you should focus on how you can tell a story in one frame. Framing provides context. Depending on what specific angle I am filming a person from can influence and shape the impression the whole audience has of that character and scene.
Geo: Framing can be much more challenging while your filming motion or in movement yourself. You have to have a steady hand and a good eye for symmetry and rule of thirds. Pretty much every time I watch a movie I always look at how each shot and scene is framed. Framing tells me a lot about the film.
Geo: The second important layer of filming great scenes is the lighting. Lighting is an essential element to any shot. It helps add visual dimensions to your shots and frames. It can make things look beautiful or dramatic. The position of lighting can change everything about a shot, and an expert videographer knows how to control the lighting to their advantage.
Geo: If I put a light underneath a person, it will create distinct shadows along the face that make the person look darker or imposing. If I put the light above the person I can illuminate their whole face and make them look friendly and welcoming. This is just one simple example. It’s important to understand how to use lighting when filming and taking photos.
Geo: Finally the third most important element to filming great scenes is audio. Audio is half the film viewing experience. If you don't get the audio right, it doesn’t matter how good your filming and edits are. Audio is what makes you feel a film. Look at sad, dramatic films. Consider for instance a woman with cancer in the street asking for money. You add sad music so the audience knows to feel sympathetic towards the character. But if you switched this up and did like an upbeat song would make you think the character is a crazy insane lady.
Geo: Audio is not just adding dope music to the background though. You need to additionally look at fake sound effects and ambient noises that can create an atmosphere and enrich scenes.
Geo: A lot of the exotic shots with audio that fascinate me are far shots with ‘crispy’ audio of conversation or scenes where I am looking at someone far away and hearing them talk through radio or drone chatter. That’s always cool.
Geo: When the audio matches the motion within the shots that lets me know that the boom man was actually paying attention and doing their job.
Geo: When it comes to video-editing it’s all about knowing your software. You can pretty much do anything you imagine with Adobe Premiere and enough high-quality footage. As far as challenges to video-editing in general… Editing action scenes can be really hard. It’s all rapid movements and reflexes, you have to retain the momentum of certain shots and scenes for the audience, to capture the energy and excitement. If you don’t know what you are planning to do for a shot beforehand it can be extremely difficult.
Hoodie Goodies: What do you enjoy most about film-making and video-editing?
Geo: What I personally enjoy the most about filming is the whole analytical process of planning and organizing how you will film, edit, and produce each shot and scene. If you want to do really artistic shots you have to really be organized and plan your filming in advance considering all types of factors. It takes a lot of preparation and thinking in order to do visually appealing, cinematic, beautifully crafted shots.
Geo: Cinematography and film-making require attention to detail, you really have to take your time. You have to think about every potential scenario, you have to think of potential weather conditions, especially if you are using a drone for aerial shots or filming outdoor scenes. You have to think about natural lighting and daylight, and how that will impact your shots.
Geo: I like coming up with how I film my scenes before I even touch a camera. I always conceptualize how I will set up my individual shots… to me, this is a fine art and science!
Geo: My process pretty much always involves the same formula. I enjoy envisioning how the audio will sound and give specific instructions to my audio person on how to record certain moments. While filming I try and develop the symmetry of the camera angles and shots until I think they are perfect. I continuously am thinking of what the best type of lighting will be to create tension and energy.
Geo: One of my favorite moments while filming is taking long shots. Long shots are always satisfying when you successfully complete them. Filming extended scenes requires a lot of attention to detail, and you have to know exactly what you are going to do before-hand. If you don’t take the time to think your scene through and how you’re going to film the extended shot, then you will end up wasting time, which can be a critical mistake with a professional production where money and other resources are limited and prioritized. The bigger the budget the better flexibility you have in telling your story the way you imagine it, and with how you film it.
Geo: Another favorite part of filming for me is audio. I like to think about what kind of background music and sounds I will use for scenes. Audio is half the viewing experience, you half to make sure the audio accompanying your visuals corresponds with what the viewer is seeing. On occasion, you need to add little details like small sound-effects to really make a scene resonate with the viewer convincingly.
Geo: I like filming action shots so anytime I’m working with Medieval, it is enjoyable and fun for me. I never get bored filming BMX.
Geo: In general, I am always am thinking about how I would film and capture real-life moments as scenes in a movie. Sometimes I'll be hanging out with friends and I will start imagining what that moment would look like in a film. I daydream about how I would film the shot, set up lighting, etc. Its an obsession for me.
Hoodie Goodies: What three movies have influenced you the most in your film-making and video-editing?
Geo: That’s a good question. Usually, I only like movies not because of their plot and characters, but because of how they are filmed and produced.
Geo: When I am watching a movie I try and look beyond the surface level. I try and think with regard to what production techniques it took to create the scene being depicted, stuff like that. I like realism in movies, I don’t like green-screen and after-effects. I would rather use props and try to artificially create conditions that mimic real-life using clever ‘old-school’ methods versus using computer post-production techniques.
Geo: One of my favorite influential films is Forrest Gump. What I like most about Forrest Gump is that 70% of the movie was green-screen and you can’t really tell. It’s like the one and only green-screen produced movie that I enjoy. Its a great example of how to artificially create background environments and make them look realistic. If you have a copy of the movie, the behind the scenes extras for the DVD is really great for filmmakers and videographers because they provide a lot of information on how they filmed the movie. For a big production team and big-budget movie, I feel like it’s underrated and appreciated for the right reasons.
Geo: El Camino stands out to me because of its really exotic shots. Throughout most of the film, there is not a lot of dynamic movement. At times it seems almost like everything is static and still as if it was filmed from tripods. I like the story and how tense the whole movie is. When I watch that movie it gives me anxiety and to create that type of emotional effect in your audience requires a lot of skill.
Geo: The director did a great job adding super small details that you barely notice, but which give you clues about what is going on with the plot. For instance, there is a scene with a tarantula where you see this pet Tarantula in a boy’s room. Later in the movie, you see the tarantula again, just barely in this subtle moment, but the context in which you are seeing it tells you something dark about the fate of one of the characters. Moments like that really stay with me and make me go ‘Wow’.
Geo: The plot of the movie is slow and just builds up, creating this tension that makes you think there will be this climax of action, but it never happens. I like when films do this and lead viewers along with false impressions and then switch things up, leaving the viewer surprised or confused at the end. That’s great.
Geo: Around Halloween, I remember watching a bunch of horror movies. One of the most interesting horror films I’ve seen premiere lately is The Hereditary. To me, The Hereditary was just a totally bizarre horror film that had a unique plot with really intense, dramatic scenes. Throughout the whole movie, they just build this suspense and this eery vibe of insanity through these remarkable artistic edits and transitions, and it is fantastic. People don’t give this film enough attention as I think they should, but to me, the production quality alone is what makes it worth watching.
Hoodie Goodies: What are your goals for 2020?
Geo: My focus for the upcoming year 2020 is to produce and direct my first short-film.
Geo: I got a few ideas I am floating here and there with. My goal is to practice exploring and implementing narrative and visual story-telling in my film-making and cinematography. When I create my first short film I’m going to submit it to some film competitions and film festivals, see how people respond, do the usual motions.
Geo: In the meantime, I’m going to continue making music videos with local area artists for Hoodie Goodies, and keep working on new projects as they come along.
Geo: I am always trying to get my name out there as a videographer. I want to be famous for producing visual works of art with my films and videos. I want people to be captivated by not just by the content and the story of my films, but I want people to get excited by how things are filmed. That’s my goal as an artist, at any time.
Show your support and stay up to date with Geo Rosendi’s latest videos and releases by following him on his social media listed below!
We look forward to seeing Geo’s next project and wish him the best of luck on his journey as an artist!