Meet Vinnie Van Wyk

Metadata is pretty much the only thing Vinnie doesn’t like about shooting stock footage. In fact, he likes it so much, he’s filming stock full-time. Traveling the world, doing what he loves, and working alongside his wife, Cindy — whom he met when she modelled for one of his shoots — Vinnie is living his dream.

Describe your trademark style.

Cinematic storytelling.

I love films that pull at your senses by the way they look and how they are shot. I try to implement that same characteristic in my footage. And since I love to tell stories, I try for each clip to have a story (for the most part). And if not a whole story, then at least a piece of the greater puzzle it represents.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Vimeo is a huge source of my inspiration. DPs like Khalid Mohtaseb, Salomon, Cale Glendening, and Steve Annis (just to name a few) are at the top of their game. The looks and vibes of their films are very similar to where I hope my work will be in the future.

I’ve also been inspired by some recent commercials that were very well done. Some look like they could be made completely of stock, yet are natural and cinematic. Being so, they’ve given me new ideas for shoots I’m going to implement in the near future.

Last but not least, I get a lot of my inspiration from people. Sometimes seeing someone with a certain look can inspire an idea for a scene or clip. And some of the best clips have happened impromptu from just watching the talent/model being themselves.

One of my favorite things in a shoot is when a deeper level of the person — or people — I’m shooting comes to the surface. It’s then a mission to keep shooting until you capture that as an entity. Then is when you get this organic, powerful moment you perhaps didn’t have on your shot list.

Your footage has a natural, timeless feel — celebrating people and their relationships. Do you shoot with themes in mind?

That’s a great compliment. I hope I can stay true to that standard. 😀

Yes, themes are huge. I have a mental list of shots/scenes I’d like to do and am constantly on the lookout for the right person to fill that spot. It also can work the other way. As I mentioned before, sometimes it’s the person who creates the theme.

For example, when I met Lauren and her family, I knew I wanted to do some sort of portrait-based shoot, but the rest evolved. And because of her husband’s patience, we were able to fumble through the first hour attempting different scenes while he looked on and kept their adorable kids (who I also got on camera) entertained. 😀

It wasn’t until we got near the water that things all came together. As Lauren put it, she got “in the zone.” Right then, it was as if someone else stepped out in front of the camera. There, the theme became clear.

One of more intriguing things about this shoot was that I, and friends of Lauren’s, almost don’t recognize her in the film. That sounds odd, but it just goes to show what can happen when you allow the people in front of the camera to open up and show you the theme.

Are you influenced by trends?

Interesting question. My first reaction is “not really,” because I have a pretty clear scope of what I’m trying to accomplish. But we are all products of assimilating what we’ve seen and experienced elsewhere. So although I don’t actively try to follow trends, I’m sure I’ve probably been subconsciously influenced by some.

What do you like about shooting stock? Dislike?

Stock footage has a simple structure, can be shot virtually anywhere, enables secular independence, allows you to have complete creative control, provides residual income … and I never see it getting boring. What’s NOT to like? Agh, yes … metadata. But thanks to Dissolve’s Liftoff program, I don’t have to worry about that anymore!

What’s one trend in video you wish would stay? Go away?

One that I hope is here to stay is the more realistic, candid material that people can easily empathize with. The trend I wish would go away is the exact opposite: very superficial, scripted work with way too many lights.

What’s your most memorable/weirdest/favorite shoot?

That’s a tough one. But the first two that come to mind aren’t necessarily my favorites, but they are memorable. The first is the fly-fishing scenes for the Merrill family’s legacy film. At one point, we were out in waders with water up to our necks — praying we wouldn’t drown the cameras — and capturing these gorgeous morning sun flares. For the interview portion, we rented out an old mining town that acts as a museum exhibit. At the time, we felt like Steven Spielberg, haha.

The second is the shoot for Tiffany 4K. It was completely last minute! We were planning to go into the theater, but then the sunset hit me in the face. Tiffany and her grandma were waiting in their car. I yelled “Change of plans!” and we rushed out to find the right spot and get the camera set up. After I acquired most of the shots, it hit me: Here I was out in the middle of a hay field at sunset with a beautiful girl and her violin. And I’m getting paid for this? As Tiffany said on the way back to our cars, “You have a pretty cool job.”

See all Vinnie’s footage — it’s exclusive to Dissolve. Visit his site and follow him on Vimeo and Instagram.