Erik Schmitt: ‘Yes use video, but learn about it’

ErikSchmittVIDEO EDUCA 2014 is delighted to welcome back Erik Schmitt, the award-winning Berlin filmmaker. This year he will be leading two Pre-Conference Workshops as well as two of his popular Video Labs. With a number of new projects and awards under his belt, VIDEO EDUCA curator Adam Salkeld caught up with Schmitt to hear about his busy last 12 months and what’s in store for filmmakers at this year’s OEB.


Erik Schmitt collects awards rather like the rest of us pick-up newspapers or grab coffees. Last year his short film Rhino Full Throttle won 30 prizes and was shown at 80 film festivals around the globe. It was judged one of the most successful German short films of the year. It is not just festival audiences that enjoy his sharp visuals and witty style. Last week the German broadcaster ZDF aired his mystery drama Alibi Agency.


Luckily for participants at Video Educa, Schmitt enjoys sharing his professional knowledge. He has been teaching at the Berlin Film School this year. In the past he has lectured on film in Los Angeles and worked with school pupils in Germany. He admires the enthusiasm of participants in the Labs he has led at VIDEO EDUCA for the past two years: “It’s really clear that people in the Labs are very keen to learn about everything from holding the camera, to improving their sound recording. Perhaps they have been doing something wrong before, so it’s rewarding to see their reaction when they get the result they wanted.”


Schmitt values the group atmosphere of his sessions at VIDEO EDUCA. He creates a hands-on learning environment where delegates can experiment and practise with a range of video equipment: “It is great to see participants picking up the cameras, trying different things and then discussing it. A lot of them work alone and they really appreciate being able to talk about video techniques with the group.”


For 2014, Schmitt has developed two intensive half-day Pre-Conference Workshops. One will be targeted at complete video beginners, the other at people who already have some experience in video production but want to improve their skills and techniques. Participants will learn about and practise camerawork, sound recording and video editing as well as think about how best to communicate on video. They will gain hands-on experience with a range of professional and consumer equipment and along the way they should pick up plenty of professional secrets and tips.


Schmitt believes that better quality video makes for better quality learning: “Video is the perfect medium for learning – the combination of information with visual impact is incredible. But you can do a lot wrong in video as well. Yes use video, but learn about it. I have been making films for eight years and I am still learning.”


The big news for Schmitt this year is that he has won a prestigious Wim Wenders Scholarship. This means he will be mentored by the great German director. Wenders will help Erik develop and produce his first feature film. As Schmitt explains: “It’s very exciting to be working with Wim Wenders. He will be involved at all stages in my project – writing the script, visual ideas, helping put the finance together and production. I am working on it full time now – apart for VIDEO EDUCA of course!”


Spaces for Erik’s Pre-Conference Video Workshops are strictly limited. To book a place click here.  And here you can find out more about VIDEO EDUCA 2014.


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