Video Vanguard: Q & A with Derek Shantz

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It’s always been said that the best career advice anyone can follow is to “do what you love.” And, at Vistek, there really isn’t a truer adage when it comes to our staff. With six store locations and over 200 employees, that amounts to a LOT of talented people.

Meet Derek Shantz (Vistek Toronto, Video Department)

Other than your current role at Vistek as part of the video department, what’s your background in the field?

I got into video while working as an audio engineer in British Colombia in the early 2000s.  Video was becoming a larger component to the events I was working on so I developed an interest in it.  By the time I moved back to Toronto in 2005, video technicians for event production were in very high demand so I taught myself everything I could about cameras, projectors and live video switchers.

How did you get your start?

When I got my job at Vistek, I jumped in head first and got really excited about the advantages of HD resolution video.  I bought a Canon HV30, a Canon XHA1 and a MacBook Pro so that I could shoot videos for my friends who were in bands.

How does your job here relate to your creativity outside of the office?

Working at Vistek has taught me lots of technical information.  I have never gone to film or broadcast school but working with the top video professionals in the city at the bleeding edge of technology everyday really accelerates your learning curve.  I take pride in having the most current product knowledge which allows me to get some fantastic results with very small budgets.

In a perfect world, how would you be paying the rent?

I would not pay rent in a perfect world.  I would be living in a house that was fully paid off and living off the income I was making from my many rental properties.  Video production has been a labour of love for me and I have never made a cent from it.

What/who inspires you to shoot?

My inspiration comes from the music my friends make and the creative possibilities new technology creates.

Is photography as big a passion for you as video?

I love photography and, since I bought my Canon 7D in 2009, I have shot more photos than video with it.  I am not a very good photographer yet but I am continuing to learn from my friends Craig Boyko and Derek Shanks.  My iPhone4 has been my most used camera since the advent of Instagram though.

Do the two mediums ever merge together in any of your projects?

I have been experimenting with some techniques using stop motion but I have yet to talk one of my friends into letting me use them for their video.  Hopefully my next video will be at least half shot in stills because the image is so much sharper.

Can you share with us anything that you’re working on right now?

I just finished shooting a music video for my friend’s band, LEN.  The song is called It’s My Neighbourhood and should be released any day now.  It was shot all around the south end of Toronto using people off the street to sing the chorus.  I had a ton of fun shooting it. It was really cool because I was in the video for their hit Steal My Sunshine 13 years ago and being behind the camera this time was a different perspective.

>> STAY TUNED: We’ll post LEN’s It’s My Neighbourhood  upon its official release!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I would like lakefront property  in BC on the side of a mountain.  I don’t care how it happens as long as it does.  Video and photography will continue to be a big part of my life no matter what I am doing.  It is fun to document the moments of our lives and share them with others or reflect on those moments at later dates.