The boys at Bali’s top end photo and video production agency BaliProd shoot the breeze with The Yak’s Tony Stanton. Photos: Oscar Munar.
Right you pair. First up – how did you two meet?
Josh: A while back, our third partner (Romain Cailliez) and I met while working together on a fashion photoshoot. I was the photographer and he was the videographer. We instantly got along and formed a new friendship geeking out about photo and video gear. Almost a year later, Romain introduced Omri and I, and the idea of Baliprod took flight.
Omri: That’s the story!
Where are you both from, and when was the first time you picked up a camera?
Omri: I am originally from Paris, France. I was working in the film industry there for many years. This was always an inspiration for my creative side.
Josh: I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota originally, but I moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in production when I was 20 years old. I was working in casting and as a producer at the time. The warehouse converted living-space I inhabited in downtown Los Angeles housed some pretty awesome creatives. I learned a bit about the art of photography from them, and then moved on to start my own business.
How cool is that! Ok so what is Baliprod all about?
Josh: Baliprod operates as a Photo and Video Production Agency, but to us it is so much more than that. Our goal is to be the bridge that opens up Bali’s wonderful culture and beautiful locations to the outside world. In turn this brings more attention to Bali as a tourist destination and helps with the local economy as well.
Omri: All of the above. I’d like to add that one of our goals is to make Bali known to foreign production companies around the world. A lot of European productions for instance are shot in Cape Town. We believe that Bali has everything a place like Cape Town has to offer and more. We shot our fair share of TV commercials recently, and all of our clients are amazed at the potential the island has, not to mention the rest of Indonesia.
What makes Baliprod different from the other video making individuals and organisations out there?
Omri: There are only a handful of established production agencies in Bali. Legit ones I mean. The rest of the scene is held by freelancers, a lot of them foreigners who come and go and don’t have the full power of a proper production house. I guess one of the differences with our dear competitors is that we are probably the only foreign-held production house in Bali. The language or cultural barrier is not an issue anymore hence our foreign clients feel at home when they work with us. We also like to think we deliver great content, of course.
Josh: One of the major differences for me is our approach. We like to think of ourselves as the “cool guys” of production. We follow trends online and off to offer our clients unique content and jaw-dropping locations to match their brand’s style.
How much of your work is selling the paradise dream to those poor lonely souls currently suffering a European winter?
Josh: More than you can imagine. While it isn’t a core strategy of our business, many of our clients are happy to pitch Bali as a location for their project. It just so happens that their country may or may not be completely frozen at the time.
How many of you are there at any one time in the studio?
Omri: It fluctuates with the shoots. On a non shoot day we have a team of about 20 people working full time. On shoot days the team increases to about 40. We love our staff. We are like a big family. We actually spend most of our free time with them doing outings and fun stuff.
Josh: We’ve been blessed with a really great team here at Baliprod. We’ve spent a year curating the best that Bali has to offer and integrating them into our crew. One big happy Bali family.
What’s the best shoot you’ve ever done in Bali?
Omri: There is no best shoot really. Every shoot is a different adventure. They always come with their share of challenges and last minute issues to solve in no time. I have great memories from every shoot we’ve done. It’s also super nice to meet new teams… or recurring ones. 99% of our clients become good friends so it’s super nice when they come back too.
What’s the worst?
Josh: The worst? We are in Bali! Everyday is paradise, and we are lucky to be here. The only thing that puts a damper on our schedule at times is the awesome Bali traffic.
How do you make videos and photos stand out in this day and age? It seems everyone with an iPhone is a filmmaker.
Omri: Sure, you can make great stuff with your iPhone, but it takes more than that for a video to look amazing. It’s more of an alchemy between talent, crew, light, equipment and the location you are shooting. iPhones can’t do all this. But, we can.
Josh: I totally agree with Omri on this. In 2018, we are at the point where content is everywhere and everyone can generate their own. That being said, the words “Production Value” can go a long way. I have to say that I’m guilty of traveling to some pretty incredible places around the world and only capturing moments with my iPhone. But the level of detail you can catch with a cinema-grade camera is insane. There is a reason they cost so much, and if you can utilize equipment correctly, it is absolutely worth it.
What is your work ethos at Baliprod?
Josh: Do what you love and love what you do! We push our team to get their input on how to grow our brand and business. But the biggest thing for us is placing people in positions where they are doing what they want to do… and having fun doing it.
Don’t you ever get sick of the long nights in an editing suite?
Omri: Luckily we have staff for that…
Josh: Omri is a liar, he practically lives in our office. Unfortunately or fortunately, we chose a career with never-ending hours. It’s one of the perks/downfalls of what we do. We take it for what it is, but when we are working on a project, we’re pretty excited to see the final product. I’d say that keeps us motivated to stay long nights in our edit bay.
We remember the days when video production was all about the high-end … high-end clients, high-end budgets, high-end expense accounts … where did it all go wrong?
Omri: It didn’t go wrong really, the market pivoted towards something else. Back in the day there were only a few TV channels and no smart phones or internet. The game is altogether different today with the plethora of screens you can watch every day. These screens must show something. We create it.
Josh: For me I am very happy with the way the production industry has shaped over the years. It took a lot of power from the big brands and into the hands of consumers. This allowed for many small businesses to become overnight successes thanks to social media. I think consumers are smarter than ever and it has forced companies to become a little bit more creative with their approach.
You were kind enough to shoot The Yak Awards this year and we will be collaborating on a few exciting projects in 2018 … why did you contact us, and what synergy do you think we have as companies?
Josh: Baliprod and The Yak have many things in common. We are both on the forefront of our industries and pushing unique content out to the world. I think we are both forward-thinking in our approach to keep Bali fresh, and show the world that although Bali is a small island, we can compete with the top production cities in the world.
Omri: We’ve been reading The Yak for many years now and love it. Ahah!
Your website is so cool. Simple, but cool. And it works so well, even with prompts to bring you back to the tab in your browser if you get distracted and look elsewhere. So let’s just say you seem pretty soc med savvy for a couple of cameraheads.
Josh: I’ll have to give Omri the credit on this one. He handles all of the web development and SEO. He is a master of all things digital.
Where is the whole video production game heading, do you think?
Josh: The production game to me is getting stronger and stronger. While there are a few setbacks . . . for example, the photo and video market has become saturated with many photographers and videographers. Some people look at this as a negative. I firmly believe that because there are a lot of amateur content creators, it really stands out when a brand produces their projects at a high-quality level.
What’s going to be the next innovation in your industry?
Omri: In my mind, virtual reality will come in to play more and more. That paired with the technology of 360 cams. Hard to tell if it’s just a novelty or will integrate itself in the industry as of now. We will know soon enough.
How important is sound to what you do?
Josh: Essential. Whether we’re capturing sounds in nature, recording ADR in post-production or selecting the perfect music to match a video, sound can make or break a project. The combination of audio and visual makes a great team. Together they can create a feeling for the viewer and set the tone for the final cut. One without the other is useless.
If it wasn’t about making a dime, what kind of projects would you be pursuing?
Josh: Money is just a bonus to what we do. Honestly, we’re lucky to do what we love and to create what we enjoy for a living. From time to time, we do some internal projects with our team that are quite fun and comedic. We are always having a good time, whatever we are doing.
Ok here’s one for you – top three favourite movies of all time.
Josh: Enter The Void, Almost Famous, Inception
Omri: Irreversible, Cloud Atlas, Inception
Gents it’s been good joshing with you and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Josh: Haha, “joshing”, love it.