NMCO proudly presents Lead Video Specialist, Ralph Diaz. Ralph manages the NMCO video department. When Diaz isn’t leading the NMCO video team or NMCO video productions he’s curating his own artistic endeavors through creative, narrative film noir and portrait photography.
Q: What’s your origin story? When did you first pick up a camera and produce something creative?
Ralph Diaz (RD): I picked up my grandma’s camera when I was around 15 years old. My cousins became my subjects and we made short war movies, creating our own effects like blood squibs and using fireworks for explosions. Later, I got into stop motion animation when I found out that my family’s computer could take single images that could be sewn together. I would make claymation-style animations with action figures and toys. Later, in college I was pursuing animation, and picked up my first personal camera to take pictures of textures for 3d objects, and that re-ignited my interest in cameras and creating with them.
Q: What made you interested in pursuing film and photography as a career?
RD: I’ve always been into creating my own effects, with varied success, both practical and digital. And I think I realized how much you can get away with, the slight of hand–so to speak, of the camera, to make something look good with a bit of work and framing. I think I’m tied to creating things on film and through photography because it’s an avenue to create what you imagine. To produce something out of nothing. To bring to life a small representation of something that is completely made up inside your head.
Q: What inspires you?
RD: I think what inspires me most is how telling a story stimulates your sensory organs, how a story and the senses can also stimulate and influence your own thought and your perception. How you can come up with your own personal inspiration from watching something. And one of the best parts is having your own interpretation. It’s like you’re given input and the output is totally your own.
At NMCO, a lot of times we are given rudimentary instruction from a client and given creative freedom. And, in the end product, the best part is seeing the client’s response when you’ve taken their basic idea and ran with it, making it come to life in even more resolution than they could have imagined.
Q: What is your process for video production at NMCO?
RD: There are many facets to production especially for different projects, but basically, it is: Question, define, refine, script, shoot, adapt, and edit, and then maybe a little more refinement.
Q: How do you think videography and photography will adapt and change in the digital media age?
RD: Digital Media isn’t going away anytime soon. I can only see it becoming richer in terms of immersion, with virtual reality becoming more popular. I can see it becoming a mainstream thing in the future with a more personalized touch I suppose for each individual.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting in the film and photography industry?
RD: Do what you want, find inspiration and make it your own. Try new things, work with what you have. Get creative, and relish in the value of failure, while being humble to your successes.
Q: What’s on your videography/photography bucket list?
RD: I’m really having the itch to create something along the lines of experimental, surreal I suppose, whatever that may be. I really appreciate building set pieces or types of rigs for effects, something that utilizes those things.
Q: What are your favorite NMCO video productions or projects?
RD: My favorite productions are the ones I get to exercise my skills in animation, effects, practical prop building and video. Such as the Renaissance Fair promo, or the True Romantic music video for Ziemba, where I had the chance to build some of the props and create effects that really set that production off.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
RD: I have been dabbling in 3D modeling and texturing for a bit now, and finally at a place where I feel comfortable incorporating those things into more of my work. So I expect the future holds more compositing and special effects into video.
Q: If you weren’t doing videography what other types of projects would you work on?
RD: Although I do really enjoy digital video and animation, I love to get my hands dirty. I like creating practical things for effects and camera rigs, just building things in general. I suspect I could do a fair bit of carpentry, just like my man Jesus.