Doug Stanford's Video Soundscapes for the Soul
At first glance, Doug Stanford's style is unhurried and deceptively simple. Look closely however, and you'll begin to sense an unseen hand pulling different levers to add texture and depth in each frame. Every movement of the camera, every note in the sound-track is pinpoint deliberate. Placed there at a specific moment in audio visual space to trigger something very particular.
Creativity is multidimensional, which is why one form of talent often spills over into other forms of self-expression. Some directors might create stunning motion graphics. Many videographers are also brilliant writers. In the case of Doug Stanford, he combines the eye of the cinematographer with the ear of the composer to do more with less and create larger-than-life audio-visual creations with Vivid Bridge Studios in little ol’ Pensacola, Florida.
But first, a little background. Doug studied Digital Video at James Madison University, where he gained a mastery in post-production that became a great advantage in the edit suite. However, it wasn't long before his eyes began wandering toward the DP world and he developed an obsession for the cinematic image in camera.
"My real passion shifted to DP work," says Doug. "I fell in love with crafting an image in camera rather than relying completely on AE or Resolve to create a look."
A DP and Post–specialist since 2005, he’s worked for several ABC affiliates, produced mid–term election ads and created work for the likes of CNN International, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Sprint, Boeing, PBS, James Madison University, and Trex Company among many others. Today he works independently on corporate communication pieces and broadcast spots while juggling the desire to achieve excellence with the challenges of working in Pensacola.
"Working mostly in smaller markets has been challenging. I strive to bring the highest level of execution to any project, but frequently have to work within smaller scale budgets. Finding a way to crew projects appropriately, get equipment that’s best suited and most interesting for the project, and still make a living is a constant struggle in smaller towns and cities where I’ve worked throughout most of my career."
Take a quick look at his reel you'll quickly wonder how Doug is able to achieve so much with so little. The richness of his images and the quality of production is so flawless one would scarcely suspect that most of his independent work is done without the benefit of big budgets and crazy crews.
"My customers include agencies and small to medium sized businesses. I love getting to work with a creative team to execute a vision that’s been refined through their creative process, but I still enjoy leading independent projects."
A talented composer, Doug sometimes finds himself so invested in a project, he can’t help but bring his musical gifts into play. Often going as far as composing and recording a unique, bespoke score for individual projects.
"Music has always been my second love and being able to create that alongside the visuals gives me the opportunity to really refine the emotional narrative that drives the piece."
Doug mentions that Neat Video has become a member of the team on almost every project. He says even on the largest scale projects with high end cameras such as Epic-X and Epic Dragon, one or two shots may still require the Neat Video touch. In one recent instance, he recalls Neat Video played a role in salvaging some valuable footage.
"We shot on a Scarlet-X and discovered in post that an entire location, shot at ISO 800, was under-exposed as a result of a LUT accidentally being switched on the monitor. The noise didn't seem unruly on location, but in post the scenes were nearly unusable. Neat Video did an incredible job of cleaning up the shots, I've been consistently impressed with what it can do when working with RAW footage."
As for the future, Doug plans to continue to reach for new levels of creativity, crew, and budget.
"It's a long game goal but with a lot of persistence I've seen it slowly get better year over year. There's nothing more rewarding than finishing a piece and seeing the images I spent days developing a strategy for in pre-pro on the screen, and getting to share that with clients/colleagues/friends when its released. The caliber of my footage and what I can make happen on limited resources has been a consistent point as to why people are hiring me, I couldn’t do that without the polish Neat Video has brought to my projects."
In a world where audio and video stock content is becoming easier to access, real hands-on creativity is becoming the exception to the rule. In future, this will make Doug and creators like him, kinda special.
We hope you enjoyed his Neat User story.