Corridor Digital | Filmmakers, VFX Wizards

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What does a typical day look like for both of you?

Sam: I wake up around 8 or 9, read Reddit for like an hour, check my email, and we work on VFX all day. Sometimes we go to a power lunch in Little Tokyo around 1 or 2 and talk about video ideas, maybe Niko, me, Clint, couple of other people. Come back, do some more VFX, write some stuff.

Niko: That’s usually about the time Brandon stops by.

Sam: Brandon just randomly walks through the door, and we talk about some other videos, then we do more VFX.

Niko: Yeah it all depends on what we’re working on at the time, if we’re actually working on a video and we’re just putting the hours in the computer or if we’re in the process of writing, or you know, there are a lot of emails to write these days so somedays are just filled with just managing being Corridor Digital. Emailing this person and that person and coordinating this person and that person, making sure the people we’re working with are all getting a chance to like bring something to the team so to speak. They’re not just sitting there.

Sam: Actually at this point in time we’re doing even more of that than usual because Corridor Digital officially is Niko, myself and our friend Jake Watson who is kind of our head honcho producer. Wren is also officially part of Corridor Digital, he is our 100 percent like behind-the-scenes dude, and he’s with us on every single shoot we do, but Jake is actually right now he is studying for the bar exam in, I think it’s in July or something like that.

Niko: Late July.

Sam: But basically he’s been in school for like the last few years studying law, and he is going to be an official entertainment lawyer, so right now he is in the thick of it like studying everyday like 12 hours a day.

Niko: So it is kind of back to just us.

Sam: Back to just us now for the summer [laughs].

Once he becomes a lawyer will he still work with you guys as a producer?

Sam: Yeah ‘cause I think he likes the producing part more than the law aspect, but having that like qualification under your belt is like a huge thing, especially for him.

Niko: It is very useful.

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How did you two guys first meet?

Niko: Well Sam and I are from the same home town of Stillwater, Minnesota.

Sam: And Jake is as well.

Niko: And Brandon.

Sam: And Brandon– same class, same high school.

Niko: Sam and I, I think we met, Sam lived down the street from me.

Sam: Somehow your mom got introduced to my mom, and you were like, “Hey check out these yo-yos,” and I was like, “I think yo-yos are quite fantastic as well.” [both laugh]

Niko: Yeah, and then we actually ended up making a “Star Wars Phantom” together in ninth grade, and that was when I was like, “Wait your dad has a sweet video camera?”

Sam: He has the GL1.

Niko: Was it Panasonic?

Sam: No Canon GL1.

Niko: Canon GL1 which is a fantastic camera.

Sam: Fantastic SD camera, yeah.

Niko: Yeah so we started shooting videos together and started doing visual effects together and just kind of stuck with it. It was one of those things where we saw a potential in it right away like how many things you could do using the computer as a visual effects tool to just let you try all these different creative ideas that we had. After working in it for just a year or two for fun, we saw that we were quickly starting to accelerate through it and that there was a ton more stuff to learn and cover and figure out, and so we just stuck with it, and for every year that we stuck with it, it was just another year of experience under our belts and another year of knowledge and skill, refinement and all that kind of stuff.

Sam: Yeah and even though there is a really big learning curve, you know, starting out when you’re a teenager, I think one of the biggest things we faced too starting out was that there weren’t HD cameras out, and computers and the effects applications that were even remotely affordable couldn’t do that much at the time yet, so we were constantly trying to figure out what’s the next best piece of software or camera that will eventually get us to where we want to be, and only I’d say in the last like four to five years for us anyways we’ve been kind of finally hitting that mark where the price to quality ratio of camera equipment, software, things like that are finally truly entering that professional realm.

Niko: It’s entering a realm where we can finally afford it. You know you’re seeing cameras like the Scarlet which is still an expensive camera, it costs $10,000 but it’s full-blown cinema quality. You can shoot “Pirates of the Caribbean” on that camera; I mean you’re not going to get anything fancy out of it other than 24 frames per second of good looking footage, but it’s a camera that is no excuses. When you shoot something on that, if it doesn’t look cinematic, it’s no longer your camera’s fault, it is no longer your computer’s fault, it’s up to you whether or not your stuff looks good, so we’re finally seeing technology hitting that point, and it’s nice. After years and years of watching the technology grow and grow and grow and grow, like being there for all that, it’s really cool to finally be at the point where it is like, ah, it’s no longer frustrating when I grab my camera and I see that in one year next best thing is going to be out, and it’s going to trounce it. This camera is actually getting the images that I want to get.

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