After what I felt was a banner year in disc golf media and making my own entrance into the field, I wanted to have a deeper discussion with the best in the business. Having been blessed a little over a year ago with the series of interviews of disc golf media personnel, I am glad to bring you the first in the new series. Jonathan Gomez of Jomez Productions was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions that give all of us more details about Jomez.
Thanks for doing the interview Jonathan. I really enjoy your videos and the cool things you’ve incorporated into them lately. I’d like to start off by going back in time and looking at what you used and were doing before you got into filming disc golf.
On your Youtube channel, there are some testing videos with other cameras and some involving something called DJ Promote. In our last interview, you said you went to school for video production. What were you doing before you combined disc golf with video production? Are there any productions from that time that we can find to watch?
I started out filming skateboarding videos with my friends in high school. We’d watch skate videos all day then go out and try to recreate what we just watched with very different results (similar to disc golf lol). After high school, I went to work for a couple television stations in my town while I went through college. I learned a lot about the industry, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be so I started my own production company. I did everything from weddings to commercials to YMCA football games just to get myself out there. My favorite thing to do at the time was film concerts. I had the opportunity to travel a bit with DJ Promote and a few other artists filming sets on some pretty big stages. There’s nothing quite like running around a stage in front of thousands of people dodging CO2 cannons and pyrotechnics to get the perfect shots. Most of those projects are scattered throughout the web, or sitting on a hard drive somewhere so it’s tough to say if I could find links to any of it.
I went to Youtube and pulled up the first tournament coverage video that was published on your channel. It was the 2012 Pro Worlds MPO Final 9 when Paul McBeth won his first title. What gear were you using to film that day and do you still have it? At that time, was it a high end camera or slightly more affordable? What software did you use to produce the video?
Ahh 2012 Worlds..the whole thing happened pretty much by accident really. I was there playing on the amateur side, and was basically on vacation. I brought my Canon 7D with me on the trip just to capture memories when I wasn’t playing. At the time the 7D was a nice, affordable camera that was great for capturing photos and HD video. I eventually upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III. Every day after my rounds, I would drive to whatever course the Pro division was playing and just kind of hang out in the back with my camera with no real intention of doing anything with it. After I got home, I put the Final 9 together in Adobe Premiere and posted it just in case anyone wanted to watch it.
After that Worlds video, did you film much more disc golf between then and 2014? If so, was it released on another channel? If not, was it for lack of opportunity, other work, or life in general?
After I posted the 2012 Worlds video, I noticed that it was getting a decent amount of views over the next few months, but I still didn’t think much of it. I was working full time, and I was pretty committed to playing disc golf tournaments rather than filming them back then. The following spring in April 2013, I saw that the Texas States Disc Golf Championships, an NT event, was a few hours away so I drove up on Sunday to catch the final round. I again just walked up with my trusty Canon 7D and followed the action solo with the intention of actually producing a round coverage video. I posted that to my channel and again just let it sit for a few months to see what kind of response it got. As the 2014 season came around, I knew that I wanted to commit more time to providing disc golf coverage on my channel.
Other than the 2013 TX States video, you didn’t have another tournament coverage video until 2014. Had your equipment changed any leading up to 2014 TX States?
No, I was pretty set with my Canon 7D before I started to get more serious with coverage in 2014. I wasn’t being paid at all to cover those first few tournaments so there was no budget to upgrade to anything else.
You used DSLR cameras to film instead of traditional video cameras until the last year or so. Were there any features that lended to your preference in using a DSLR over a traditional video camera? Did resolution play a big part in it? Or was it just what you owned and felt comfortable with when you started filming disc golf?
It was actually a little bit of both. We already owned two Canon 5D Mark III cameras so it made sense to make use of those as best we could. On the other hand, I have always told people that if you can learn to shoot video with a DSLR you will learn so much more than shooting with something fully automatic like a camcorder. Most everything is manually controlled on a DSLR: shutter speed, white balance, aperture, zoom, focus, and more. Combine that with the ability to keep up with the pace of a round of disc golf, and you should be prepared for just about anything. Then, when you can afford to upgrade to something nicer, you can make use of all of the different settings that higher-end cameras typically have.
Working in IT as I do, I love tech and gear. I asked what you were using when you were filming 2016 Worlds in Emporia, Kansas. You were using the Sony PXW-Z150 4K XDCAM Camcorder and a great monopod made by Manfrotto. What led you to get that camera? What do you love about it and what can you do with it that you couldn’t do with the DSLR?
We made the decision to transition from DSLR to “prosumer” camcorders for our 2016 Pro Worlds coverage. We had a better budget than previous tournaments so I decided to rent the Sony cameras and see how the coverage could be improved. I was very pleased with the results. The ease of use out on the course was a huge advantage. They have nice, long servo zoom lenses for smooth disc tracking shots up and down the fairway. Auto focus, exposure, and white balance are also great when you’re switching from sunny to shady environments frequently.
In just a short list, can you list your current gear that you have when you film a tournament for the readers? Microphones, memory cards, etc.
We currently have a 3-camera system in place that includes two Panasonic AG-DVX200 camcorders for the throw and catch cameras. They have Rode NTG-2 shotgun mics on them for audio. We also shoot with a Sony PXW-FS7 for the added cinematic, emotional element that we are striving to make standard with our coverage. The Panasonics use SDXC cards, and the FS7 uses QXD cards. The main thing is to make sure that you have enough battery power and memory to get you through any given day. You can never have too much of either. Preparation is key!
Once your done filming for the day and head back to your computer, what are you editing on? Mac or PC? What’s your current editing software? When did you get your current editing setup?
We have custom-built desktop PCs that we use when possible, and MSI GT72 Dominator gaming laptops when we have to travel lighter. We edit on the Adobe Creative Suite which includes Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator to name a few. I’ve been using Adobe since the beginning of my video production career with the exception of Windows Movie Maker way back in high school.
What editing setup do you take when you are going on the road? Is it a powerful laptop or compact desktop computer with a single monitor? If you have both the desktop and laptop, which do you prefer to use?
As I mentioned above, we utilize both options depending on where we are. We have dual monitors for our desktop rigs, but don’t have that luxury with laptops. That, paired with the fact that our desktops are always going to be faster and have more storage space means I’d go with the desktop over the laptop any day.
Going into the editing room, when you are filming, how do you break up the footage when on the course? Per shot, per hole, or any other way? Did you capture footage in a different manner in the past in regards to how you filmed a round? How did you develop your current on course filming routine?
Usually we break up the footage per hole. The footage is all loaded in the order that it was shot so it makes it easier to sort through in the editor. However, the workload increases with each extra angle. You have to sync all of your angles almost perfectly to avoid the timing being off when cutting from one angle to the next on any given throw. We’ve always filmed everything digitally as opposed to analog(tape/film) so the process has basically always been the same. As far as our current routine, it’s a constantly evolving process. We are always adapting to the way the game is played. Whether it’s learning each player’s style or adjusting to the terrain of a particular course, you can never get too comfortable out there.
With the speed that you and the other production teams are able to produce round coverage videos and release them, what do you have to have in place in order for that to happen? How far in advance do you plan or prepare for a job that asks or requires the next day production schedule?
We usually prepare as early as a couple weeks in advance. Our coverage is usually sponsored in some way, so we have to make sure they are represented in various ways. Sometimes we are simply gathering commercials to air, or building custom on-air graphics such as scorecards, lower thirds, etc. The more we have done before we show up to a tournament, the more efficient we can be when it’s crunch time after the last putt falls and we start editing into the night. Again, preparation is key!
In the little filming and editing that I’ve done, I have wondered how best to deal with the footage from the two tournaments I filmed. I ended up putting the videos on an external hard drive. What do you do with the raw footage once you are done editing? If you’ve kept it on external hard drives for storage, how many gigabytes or terabytes do you estimate you have sitting around?
We typically use an internal solid state hard drive to store footage that is currently being used as it makes for a considerably faster editing experience. Once we are done with that particular round, we move the footage to an external hard drive to make room for the next round. We have lots of archived footage stored on lots of external hard drives after only a few seasons of covering disc golf. It’s hard to say just how much, but I’d estimate close to 30 terabytes.
You’ve collaborated with Juan Luis Garcia of Overstable Studios recently for an amazing In the Bag video featuring Paul McBeth that set a very high bar for those videos. In your Ultiworld interview, you said you used the Sony FS7 and Sony A7Sii to shoot the video with, along with a DJI Phantom 4 drone. Other than the drone, what parts of that video did you use each of the Sony cameras to film? How many minutes of footage did you start out with once the filming was over and you sat down to edit?
We used the Sonys for the two sit down angles of the video. The FS7 was the locked down tripod shot, and the A7Sii was on the low angle slider. There was also some FS7 footage used for the intro and a couple b-roll shots. There was probably 1-2 hours of raw footage shot for this project.
Can we expect to see any more Jomez/Overstable collaboration in 2017?
Absolutely! We are working on some big plans for this upcoming season. Juan is incredibly talented in so many ways, and works very hard to earn his place in the game. Our production value is elevated to a new level every time we collaborate with Overstable Studios, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in 2017.
I myself am getting more into filming in 2017. I have my sights set on certain equipment that I will be purchasing. Do you have any recommendations for anybody looking to start filming disc golf in their area in terms of budget friendly equipment that they start out with? What is essential to have as well in your opinion?
There are so many great options out there for anyone looking to get into video production. You can go the DSLR route like so many have, or you always find affordable prosumer camcorders that will help make the shooting process easier(autofocus, exposure, etc.) so you can focus on other techniques necessary to become a great disc golf producer.
Thanks again for being willing to do this interview Jonathan.
Absolutely! Thanks for taking the time to write out these great questions. I hope my answers aren’t too scatterbrained, lol.