Behind The Swimwear Rituals Campaign: Videographer, Mike Calvino

  • Life
posted by James Willmott

Videographer Mike Calvino is a man of many talents. Born in Sydney and now based on the sunny shores of the Gold Coast (though self-confesses is barely there) with over 20 years experience under his belt, he’s produced creative film for some of the biggest names in the industry including Billabong, Lee Jeans, Red Bull and more. That being said, the decision to pick the perfect individual to take the reins of Lead Motion Director on the SurfStitch Swimwear Rituals Campaign wasn’t exactly a tricky one.

No stranger to shooting abroad, Mike packed up shortly after getting the call and brought his expertise and library of knowledge to the pristine, untouched coastlines of New Caledonia with the rest of the crew. We caught up with him to hear how the project went.

For those who don’t know, give us a brief history of who you are and what you are about?
I’m a director, cinematographer and editor having worked in filmaking for almost 20 years now, with 10 of those years heading up Billabong‘s global media.  I live on the Gold Coast, but mainly work abroad travelling all over the world which is awesome! I love doing it…but also love coming back to the GC !

Great! So you shot motion for the SurfStitch swim campaign in New Caledonia. Give us the rundown!
It was awesome! New Cal has such a cool French nautical thing going on. Swimming, sailing, diving, campari by the sea.. so nice!

What aspects of New Cal made it so great to capture?
I’ve been to so many islands in the Pacific but I’ve never seen Pine trees that stand tall looking over coral reefs! Something so different and unique.

Did you draw inspiration from anywhere in particular?
Inspo always comes from the location, the light, the talent, the garments they wear and the vibe on the day. This shoot had beautiful girls wearing amazing bikinis in spectacular surroundings and of course the attitude of the tropics showing up in every shot!

Tell us about the equipment you used?
I shoot on a RED camera, which is the very best. It shoots super high rez raw images that looks sooo good and really, its the most ‘filmic’ digital camera ever made. It’s just so nice.

How was working with the team?
Amazing! A good team is essential on a shoot. I always say “production is like robbing banks, you gotta have a good crew, and everybody needs to know their job and be good at it…or someones gonna get hurt”

When did you decide this was an industry you wanted to shape your career on?
Everyone needs a creative outlet and for me it was playing with moving images. I suppose I’ve always been interested in making pictures and telling stories and lucky for me I made a job out of it. So grateful!

Did you study?
I started as a production assistant in Sydney in the 90’s working on docos and music videos etc and worked my way up , but did feel I wanted to go to film school and so I decided after about 10 years into my work to leave sydney and study Film at the College of Art in Brisbane and it was great.

Can you describe the way you capture your motion? Your so called ‘style’?
Cinema verite has always been my inspo. Handheld camerawork with a prime lens (either 35mm or 50mm) using only available light. For me this makes it feel real. I hate tripods! I hate lighting! (*but sometimes they are required…argh)

Can you tell us about to process once the motion has been captured?
The first stage is what I call ‘Distillation’. these types of shoots we basically play around and find the magic, which  means you come back with heaps of amazing vision that requires you to go over and over and with each pass filter out shots until you’re left with just the best of the best. The the next stage is more creative, its about painting a picture with the incredible ingredients your left with.

How did you spend your time when you weren’t capturing motion for the campaign?
Soaking up the scenery and talking with crew. These shoots always bring a bunch of strangers together and you get a chance to meet new people which is really cool. Meeting new people and getting to know each other is a really cool part of the job.

Do you have any tips for up and comers looking to chase the same dream?
My first opportunity in the film industry came about after I have worked for free for the first few months, working hard and asking lots of questions and always doing that bit extra. That little bit extra in effort and attitude goes a long way. Be hungry and learn everything!

Tell us 5 things to look and work for when capturing the perfect moment?
Light. Emotion. Story. Feeling…and that thing … that cant be described or explained…

See more of Mike’s work and check out our Swimwear Rituals campaign HERE.