The Photography Lounge

Anton Lorimer - SmugMug Films

December 07, 2020 SmugMug + Flickr Season 1 Episode 8
Anton Lorimer - SmugMug Films
The Photography Lounge
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The Photography Lounge
Anton Lorimer - SmugMug Films
Dec 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8
SmugMug + Flickr

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly has a conversation with his colleague and the cinematographer behind SmugMug Films, Anton Lorimer.

Together they look back at the incredible portfolio of films created for SmugMug Films and discuss the production work that goes into creating these films. 
They also have a look back at the journey Anton has taken to become one of the worlds best filmmakers.

See all the SmugMug Films at:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly has a conversation with his colleague and the cinematographer behind SmugMug Films, Anton Lorimer.

Together they look back at the incredible portfolio of films created for SmugMug Films and discuss the production work that goes into creating these films. 
They also have a look back at the journey Anton has taken to become one of the worlds best filmmakers.

See all the SmugMug Films at:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Alastair Jolly: This episode was recorded earlier this year when Anton and I were able to be together prior to the pandemic, but hopefully we get back on track with our plans soon.

So it's time for another episode of the podcast. And this episode is going to be a really interesting one today I'm joined by someone who's not only a super creative person, but someone who is a colleague and more importantly, a very dear friend. Today, we're joined by the genius behind SmugMug films.

It's Anton Lorimer. 


Anton Lorimer: Thank you for having me. And thank you for those kind words. 

Alastair Jolly: had to say something nice. 

Anton Lorimer: I know you got to intro this thing in some fashion. 

Alastair Jolly: It's always the hardest part of podcasts. 

Anton Lorimer: It is starting and introducing the person and I don't take compliments well, so I never know what to say.

Alastair Jolly: That's okay. That was the last one. 

Anton Lorimer: Well good. Then I will be very comfortable.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. So maybe we should start this thing off by maybe not starting at the beginning but starting where we currently are with the work that we do together on a project called SmugMug films. Hopefully lots of our listeners are familiar with it, but if someone was not familiar with SmugMug films, how would you describe what you do?

Anton Lorimer: I mean when I tell people what I do aside from just kind of the general videographer filmmaker umbrella, I say, you know, I spend most of my time making this really cool series that a company allows me to do beyond what their normal business is, which is make these short docs on their favorite clients and their favorite photographers.

SmugMug is a company built by photographers on photography. It's really a series of these, you know, vignettes almost of these amazing photographers around the world. They let me go film them, kind of like crawl into their head and find out what makes them tick from an inspiration standpoint rather than a technical standpoint.

Yeah. It's really a doc for them and it kind of celebrates what they do, the people behind the camera, our love for photography. So it's kind of a feel good thing. 

Alastair Jolly: It was a passion project, right? I mean, we make SmugMug films, not for predominantly marketing reasons or, but really just to celebrate those heroes we had in the photography space, right?

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. It's super cool. You know, we don't mention the product or our services in the film at all. It really is just about that photographer, you know, and beyond the photographer, you know, the places we go and the subcultures or genres that they shoot, it's really about all of that rather than SmugMug of course it is branded SmugMug.

It's a great project for me to work on because it gets all of my creativity out and just, you know, one series. So yeah, I love it. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah and it is a pleasure to work with you on those and, you know, it's a part of the role that, you know, I think we both enjoy, and I know the artists that we film, they love the work that you do in the final product that you create.

So that's what we're currently doing. So maybe we, we know go back in time to talk about how we got here, how Anton got here. So have you always been a cinematographer/filmmaker. 

Anton Lorimer: So I was, I always thought I was, you know, I want to do something creative, but then when it came time to, you know, in college, to follow an actual path that might set you on something that you might be doing for the rest of your life, I thought.

I don’t know, something creative. How am I going to make, how am I going to make money doing that? Is this a viable…

Alastair Jolly: The million dollar question. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. Photographer, graphic designer. and those are all interests of mine, but then I decided, you know, I'm pretty good at math. Maybe I'll go down that route and become an engineer that seems like a good profession, a profession that's pushed pretty hard in schools, you know? That's a good path, but then eventually after seven or eight years in tech and Silicon Valley, I just found myself like really wanting to do something creative, something working with my hands or on a computer at that time website design was taking off.

This is like in the late nineties. Website design was taking off. I was still interested in photography. I would make flyers for my friend's parties and things like that. So I thought, okay, I want to do something like this, but filmmaking sounded terrible. Like, it just sounded like really tedious work, especially editing and storytelling.

Wasn't strong. I felt like I wasn't a strong storyteller. I hated school. Like, I mean, I didn't hate school. English when I had to write papers and create stories and write stories. It wasn't a strong point. I was a math guy. So long story short though, I did want to do something creative and I went to a wedding.

I saw a guy filming a wedding, and I thought, I guess people make a living doing that. People make a living going on, Saturdays, falling a bride and groom around and make a short film. And I thought, Oh, like weddings. I, I honestly do like weddings. I'm kind of a romantic isn't that way. And I thought I could do that.

I could put something together and that's kind of what I did. I picked, I bought a, I never owned a camcorder in my life and I just went on eBay and bought. And actually, I've kind of a professional camcorder, a Sony PD 170 it's like 2,500 bucks. And at the same time, I  also enrolled in a class at my local community college. It was a documentary class. In six months, I got such good feedback just from people that I knew or my friends that I thought, you know, maybe this is something I could really, I could actually do for a living at one point. Cause I loved it. I fell in love with it immediately. I enjoyed it. And so six months later I quit my job and I just started making videos.

Alastair Jolly: So you had six months while you were doing engineering and. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah, 

Alastair Jolly: kind of dabbling sticking your toe in the water of the video world. 

Anton Lorimer: Yep, absolutely. And the best way to make money. I mean, you know, it seems like the easiest in, at that point in my career, which is like one-man operator kind of thing, where I just had a camcorder and a tripod was.

Event photography, which was weddings, you know, and that was kind of the inspiration in the beginning anyway. At that time wedding videography was moving out of like the stone ages, where it was the cheesiest possible way to, you know, document a wedding to like coming of age. And people were starting to make wedding films.

That was like, my, that was where I learned to shoot video was at weddings. And it it's a great place to learn in many ways. And especially the way I shoot now, which is. You have to shoot. You have to be on your toes. You, you don't control the environment. It's great for documentaries, you are kind of shooting a documentary.

You know, you don't control the environment. You have to run around and do work with what you have, the light, the situations, those moments, and you have to be light, like all my gear. I had to be able to put on my back and run around with. That's basically what I do right now. It's essentially the same thing I do every, you know, on each of these projects I shot, I don't know.

I didn't shoot weddings for very long year and a half. I started shooting promos for wedding vendors, for the photographers and in particular, that seemed like a very competitive market to me. And it was like, Hey, let's, let's shoot a promo on the photographers. They could use it to market themselves, obviously.

And then I started doing that and that just kind of like took off word of mouth. I just started shooting photographers. I stopped doing weddings and it was just promos for photographers, wedding photographers, first and other photographers. Companies that worked with photographers. I started shooting promos for them.

Alastair Jolly: Certainly, first time I became aware of your work was for some of those promos, you made some quite famous wedding photographers at the time. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. I was really lucky that I was able to shoot some promos for just really visible wedding photographers at the time. And these guys were giving, you know, talks at big conventions and they'd show the promo to lots of other photographers.

And so just the word of mouth rolled, 

Alastair Jolly: who were some of those people you'd mentioned?, you know, 

Anton Lorimer: Bob and Don Davis were working with them or Jasmine Star. She was a big one, you know, I'm trying to think a lot more, you know, I lived in California at the time I still do, but I was getting calls from photographers in New York to go shoot their promos.

And that was just wild to me. Yeah. I mean, and you know, those are just a year or two after like getting paid a small paycheck to shoot, you know, a small wedding or a quinceanera or even just the idea of getting paid to run around with a camera was pretty wild then to on top of that, to travel somewhere, to get a call from somebody across the United States to go to go there and then do what I do.

I was just blown away. I still am. 

Alastair Jolly: To think that someone values your work that much, that they're willing to. Yeah. You know, finance, you traveling?

Anton Lorimer: Absolutely. And to do it and to make money and travel, you know, to make a living and travel, doing something that I love, something that I might do on my own, regardless of pay, you know, that's the dream, right?

I was thrilled. 

Alastair Jolly: What's interesting. While you were making those promo films for Jasmine and others. I was at that point in my career, I was a wedding photographer in Scotland. And over in Scotland, I'm watching, you know, these famous photographers from America. And thinking my gosh obviously has such amazing promo videos.

I wish we did that here in Scotland. And then I wonder who makes these and who would have thought all those years later, we'd be working together, 

Anton Lorimer: Working together. Yeah. 

Yeah. So it's funny. It's like I started, I really started with shooting photographer, promos, and for the most part, that's what I'm doing now at SmugMug Films, of course, we're shooting such a wide spectrum of photographers.

And in terms of what genre they shoot or subculture, they shoot. So it's just that much better. And we get to spend a lot more time with them. Tell fuller stories, go to these amazing places. The thing that keeps it interesting for me is that it's, that it's just that we shoot all kinds of different photographers, so it never gets boring.

I get to like, you know, shadow these guys were kind of walk in their shoes for a week or two and just kind of become them. I mean, like that's my idea of filmmaking is just kind of like becoming your subject matter. That's kind of what I do. And I get to shadow these guys and, you know, it might be underwater one week or on a glacier another week or in the air and all of them have their own learning curve.

It's super interesting and never gets boring. I've been doing, we've been shooting SmugMug Films now for. I don't know how long 

Alastair Jolly: Six years or more?

Anton Lorimer: I haven't tired of it at all. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. We work quite hard to make sure that we have that variety and diversity, both of, you know, genre of photography, but also geographic locations.

It does make it interesting, but it also helps celebrate. The diversity that this industry has.

Anton Lorimer:  Yeah. I mean so many of them, yeah, the locations, there's so many things that make them to me interesting, you know, and challenging as a filmmaker to really figure out what's the best way to capture this particular photographer.

You know, we were going to shoot ice climbers once. Of course, my first thought is. I don't climb. Yeah. Let alone ice climb. I've never even wore a pair of crampons, you know. So how the hell are we going to do this? You know, thank God for drones, you know, that helps. Yeah. You know, you know, but every single photographer poses that question like street photographer and like Alan Schaller a street photographer in New York.

How do you film a guy where just being there kind of taints the environment. You know, how do you do that? And someone who's just walking down the street, clicking away, those have its own challenges of capturing he's not standing on a corner with a tripod. So every single one of these has its challenges, which, which is the best part, actually.

Yeah. I understand you talking about, you know, trying to film someone doing what they naturally do, but they can't naturally do because we were there filming them. So how do you balance that up? And I know, I think we hear it on every shoot that the photographers/ artists that we film are amazed that majority of the work is just you. Right? 

You and I may be on set, but it's majority, it's just you traveling very light using very minimal gear, but I guess that's deliberate to try and limit the amount of disruption. 

Yeah I mean, I tell after I, you know, we contact a photographer, we ask them if they're interested in this process and I interview them and we kind of get to know each other before we go on, before we start producing these and we'll meet somewhere in the world and I tell them, be prepared to be underwhelmed, you know?

Cause I basically show up on someone's doorstep or in a hotel or on location with like a backpack and a small rolling luggage because we shoot on small cameras. We shoot on small gear, light tripods, if any tripod at all. maybe usually a monopod and a shoulder rig and beyond that, you know, little bits and pieces, but every single thing in my backpack is like curated to help the production.

And if it doesn't, I feel like any piece of gear doesn't lend itself to the production in, you know, that a viewer can see, then I leave it at home. You know, I have a fear of being bogged down by too much gear. I'd almost rather go on the other end of the spectrum, have less gear and work the shot or work the scene with the camera in your hand or one or two lenses rather than tons of gear.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. It reminds me of the. When I was shooting weddings and the first wedding, I took a mirrorless camera, too. I still have my DSLRs, but I bought a mirrorless camera and I thought I wanted to take a shot down at the front of the church. And I walked down with just the mirrorless and you could see how everyone looked at me, like my gosh, that guys walked up there with his camera and he's going to get in the way of the professional photographer, because they were so underwhelmed by the size of the gear, like, wow that guests brave! 

Anton Lorimer: There is, you know, for big gear, depending on your client, it does help. I mean, you need some street creds sometimes and say, Hey, okay, that guys got a big camera. He must know what he's doing. And it does help. There are situations where that is that helps. SmugMug could not care less. So I have this luxury of just running around with these little tiny cameras.

And they're good cameras though. I mean like every camera seems like it's pretty capable these days. And in comparison, to five years ago, they are, I mean, they're all shooting. They all shoot amazing footage in comparison to just a few years ago, everything we're shooting right now is on the Fujifilm XT3.

Previously, we were shooting everything on Sonys and Canons. But you know, it's easy to change from one brand over to another. It's not, you know, you're not vesting as much because of these adapters you can buy for your lenses. So right now, we're shooting on Fujifilm. I love them. 

Alastair Jolly: That's great. And the 4K is beautiful. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. I fell in love with the X T3 because I liked the size, but I liked the 4k 60. Having the option to go slow mo in 4k was huge. I like their color. Fujifilm color is awesome and actually loved their auto-focus, which I rarely in the past, I never used auto focus. Everything was manual focused, but now for the first time I'm able to use auto-focus the majority of my time on a gimbal.

You know, so I love that. I got to just pick the place on the LCD of where I want it to focus. And it just kind of like on the fly. I love it. It's getting easier. That's for sure. 

Alastair Jolly: And as well as the, the mirrorless cameras, you do a lot of drone work, right? 

Anton Lorimer: Oh, that's right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Talk about like inclusion.

I had a drone for like six months before I decided I was going to bring it on a trip. Cause I thought, Ugh. You know, going back to gear and it's kind of stressing me out. Cause I don't want it to bog me down. A drone was a whole other, like discipline almost. So it was kind of stressed. But as soon as I saw the footage from drones, like you can't deny it.

You have to bring your drone. It was just like, everywhere you go, you have to bring the drone. Cause just added so much production value. Obviously, it's a, it gets kind of addicting at one point and you almost have to like, not fly your drone too often, but it's hard, you know, especially when we go to these big, these big places, and big expanses. 

Alastair Jolly: It's probably like every piece of new gear. Like when we first got sliders, sliders, every shot was a slider until it was too much utilized. Well, you need to stop using so many slider clips. Yeah. 

Ultimately it's about the storytelling and you know, all these like ways to capture footage is great.

Anton Lorimer: but you know, you have to tell a story and ultimately that's the big factor that kind of, I think, separates. Filmmakers. 

Alastair Jolly: Certainly, you know, some of my favorite clips that you film have being your drone work. Yeah. You're certainly a great drone pilot. 

Anton Lorimer: Well, part of that really is just the op the opportunity to go to some amazing places.

And, you know, you go to Iceland with the drone, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. It's like, if you can't get a good shot on a drone in Iceland, you, maybe you didn't hit record. That's the only way you miss a good shot in some of these places. Yeah. And so it's, it's. I attribute that to just these amazing places we get to go to.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah, not so easy to get epic drone shots in Iceland anymore, though. It was crack down on drone flying around the world, which 

Anton Lorimer: Well that's one of the cool things we know. We started flying drones pretty early before there were a lot of laws, you know, you can go into a lot of countries and fly in places that you can't now.

And that is one thing before I travel now, I always look up what's the drone laws. In the countries we're going to 

Alastair Jolly: what's the drinking laws?

Anton Lorimer: The drinking laws. Yeah. I mean, age wise, I think. Yeah. I think I'm legal to drink in most countries at this point. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. It's painful, but it's true. With all the amazing SmugMug films that we've made over what six, seven years now.

This may be hard to say, but do you have a favorite? Do you have favorites?

Anton Lorimer: I have favorites for different reasons. You know, some, some of them are because they're just visually. The locations we went to and the, and the journeys we went on and the stories behind the film, like I have my favorites.

other ones were tougher stories to tell, but we made something that I really enjoyed later. And some of them were just stories that went really deep into people's personal lives and really what, why they do what they do. So, you know, Climbing Ice is a good example of just visually stunning. Awesome photographer, Tim Kemple and the talent we had there as ice climbers, you know, we spent a week on the glacier for the most part.

That was just the experience was phenomenal. Like, I mean, I feel like I use the world word other worldly quite often, but this really was. It really felt like you're on another planet. Like they filmed a, was that Matthew McConaughey space movie. I mean, they filmed it on this glacier. Right. So they actually do film it as another world.

That was amazing. Eric Wolfinger's Beyond The Plate. We filmed it in Tanzania and in San Francisco, but we were able to tell a really broad story in that one. And I love just the storytelling process of building his story out. I love that one, Alan Schaller. I mean, when we produced that thing, it was just like, I'm feel like I'm just following Alan around.

I didn't think I captured anything worthy of a film. 

Alastair Jolly: Anyone that hasn't seen, Alan Schaller's. Alan is an amazing street photographer based out of London. Falling him as you say a street photographer. Yeah. You know, you're filming. And are you getting enough to know, is this, is this compelling?

Anton Lorimer: If you fly a drone over a glacier, you feel like duck definitely getting something that can use in some manner. When you're following Alan, just walking down the street, you don't know what you're getting really until you analyze it.

I felt like that's how I felt about that footage. And I was really worried when we got back to that to edit that one, that I didn't get anything worthy. I ended up really loving it though. And so that's what I mean by there's other stories that are more challenging. Like Alan's, his story was great. It's the visual storytelling part of his, that was a challenge. 

Street Photography is tough to capture because it happens quickly. And for the most part, these guys, they shoot pretty inconspicuously. Right. 

Alastair Jolly: And did he actually take a picture there? I'm not sure. You know, he shoots from the hip as well. Right? Yeah. 

Anton Lorimer: And then if he's trying to be in conspicuous, it's a lot harder.

If you have one guy running around, shooting over his shoulder on a gimbal and there's another guy holding a shoulder rig, you know, behind me. So, but it worked out and, 

Alastair Jolly: yeah, that's a beautiful film. You can check that one. Alan Schaller's

Anton Lorimer: So those are three of my, some of my favorites. but you know, the most recent ones, you know, we shot Bella Kotak in England.

Amazing photographer. Great locations, just beautiful subject matter. Christina McKeever, we shot in Siberia Lake Baikal. Amazing of course, Lizzy Gadd. We shot on the Isle of Skye. And that was awesome.

Alastair Jolly: I have to admit, to being slightly biased towards loving Lizzy Gadd’s film on the Isle of Skye, you know, so close to home for myself.

that was a pretty special week we had on the Island with Lizzy. 

Anton Lorimer: Isle of Skye is a great example of just being able to visit places, not as so much as a tourist, even though I am a tourist when I go to these places, but having a job to do somewhere and experiencing it in a different helps you experience it in a different manner where you have some purpose.

And I get that when I meet photographers that are like landscape photographers, they traveled the world and they go somewhere intent on capturing something. Right. That changes the way you travel and it gives it purpose and it's a different experience. And that's how I get to travel with these photographers is, you know, I get to experience these amazing places, but, with the focus, you know?

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. I mean, I've been to, obviously Isle of Skye many, many times as a photographer, as a tourist, but you know, when we were there making that film for a week, I mean, we entrenched ourselves in the Highlands of Skye. And it was, it was a unique experience for me, even as a frequent visitor to the Island, just to go so deep into the, into the wilderness and spend so much time outdoors in the hills. Normally, if you're there as a tourist or a brief visit, it's more glimpses and quick visits to these places. But you know, when you entrench yourself for a whole day, somewhere waiting to get a picture. Yeah. Yeah, it takes on a whole different vibe, shall we say? 

Anton Lorimer: Absolutely. Totally. 

Alastair Jolly: So yeah, definitely loved, Lizzy Gadd’s film.

You know, definitely other favorites of mine have been yeah Climbing Ice, as you say was, you know, phenomenal film. Beyond the Plate, as you mentioned with, Eric Wolfinger. but you know, over many years is quite a back catalog we have now. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. We shot over 20 of these. Yeah. I mean, those are the ones that are just on the top of my head.

I mean, we shot Omar Robles in Rio de Janeiro. That was amazing. He shoots ballet, professional ballet dancers, but in street clothes in the street setting. So really remarkable way of kind of showcasing what they can do physically, you know, just running around Rio with him and these dancers. and they all have some, you know, just, we do get to experience the culture too there and the people in the language and all of that.

Yeah. It's just another example of the variety of that we've been able to capture, you know. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. And you know, we, as I said earlier, we focus hard in trying to get that diversity and variety. And one of the ones that stands out for me was when we were pitched the idea of filming Jerry Business, who is a toy photographer, he shoots forced perspective of these little toys.

And I was like, really? Is that was that film worthy? And it's awesome. It's one of them, you know, when I saw it, I thought this is an amazing film. It was a film that I actually watched once it was edited with my kids and my kids loved it because it's something that's so accessible that everyone can do. Shoot a toy with your iPhone on the streets.

You don't need any big production or equipment. That's a great film. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah, that was, I mean, we shot that one for a couple reasons, but that reason in particular where it seems accessible. I mean, it doesn't seem accessible. It is, you could actually, you know, run out and do that at any moment on your iPhone.

Cause he shot everything on that film on an iPhone. And I do think about that. I think about like, should we be, you know, documenting a few other genres that are more accessible, it seemed more accessible to people that you can just go and try at any moment. And of course, Jerry's personality, his style.

Just let him lend itself to this film. He was awesome. You know, he would he'd tell me a story about he's on a business trip in London and he's got a taco truck in his pocket. This is a strange comment. Like, you know, you walk into a room and a, guy's talking about a taco truck in his pocket. Do you think, was that a rock?

Is that an album by a rock band or something? Taco truck in my pocket. We almost named it that actually, but you know, he goes on these business trips and he walks around with these toys in his pocket. And if he gets a free moment between lunch and the next meeting, he'll go run out to like, you know, Big Ben and shoot, you know, this toy with Big Ben as the backdrop or something.

So really interest subject matter. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. And then there's the whole kind of subculture of it where the he's trying to collect toys and find toys and then find the right location for those toys. And yeah, 

Anton Lorimer: for any of these guys that we capture big part of this story is their obsession with whatever it is they shoot when he was in the toys.

And in the film, you know, he's got a couple of rooms just full of Hotwheels and toys and action figures, but it's the same, you know, you could say the same thing for Eric Wolfinger just loved food. Tim Kemple. I mean all of these guys, you know, as a climber, he loves climbing. He loves the outdoors. A lot of these guys weren't photographers.

They were entrenched and, and had the access to the subcultures that they loved and they decided I want to capture it. And the soul, they just, by default it became photographers. 

Alastair Jolly: So look at Bella Kotak is just a super creative storyteller, but to tell those stories, Not only is she creating the location, the model, the clothing she's manufacturing, the props, you know, her favorite moments was when she has a glue gun in her hand and, you know, sketching out ideas of how that story is going to look and it's yeah, it's just, it's such a wider craft than just literally taking the picture. And that's been such an inspiring thing to watch over the years as we've made these films, is how people go about telling those stories. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It really is like the, for a lot of these guys taking the photo, like Bella is the last piece of the puzzle, you know, you put all these things into play and they kind of all have to align.

And then, at the end you take the photo. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. I think Bella, maybe even mentioned that, you know, taking the photos actually. Perhaps the easiest part in many ways, the hard work is in. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. I mean, she's a creative she's just a creative that. And she's super creative. And at the end, she wants to capture what she created.

That's what she does, you know, like she's just, and if you weren't a photographer, she'd be like a set designer or interior decorator, or she'd be doing something that's she can do anything. That's creative photography and, being a graphic artist. Is just the path she happened to choose and she's good at it.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. So what did we feel is the future? How are things changing and how are we moving forward? What are going to be the things that keep you excited and moving forward with SmugMug Films.

Anton Lorimer: I mean, you know, it's like when we started this whole series, we didn't know how many we were going to make. We didn't know, we didn't have a format.

We still really don't have a format. Our shortest film is like two and a half minutes. Our longest film is 22 minutes. And that's the other thing that kind of keeps it interesting. It's not just the photographers from one film to the next it's that they all kind of differ a little bit in terms of their format.

We don't have, how would you say we don't have a template? You know, I kind of have to reinvent the wheel with each of these to some extent, but that's what makes it fun. And so each one of these, it's kind of like, it's always evolving and moving forward. I don't know. I think I want to tell a broader story.

I'm not the same filmmaker I was when I first started. And it seems like every project I learned something new. I still feel like every single project we change something a little bit, whether it's. sound design is a big one. We didn't do a lot when we first started and now I just like fell in love with sound design or how we color these things or, the pace and the edit.

a lot of them feel like vignettes and some of them feel like full on documentaries about this person who happens to be a photographer. So moving forward, I think a broader story would be. You know, more fun. And when I say broader story, I mean, you know, get into like the, day-to-day a little bit more about what's going on with each situation and also who this person is and how they got to where they are today.

Whether it's delving a little bit further into their past or meeting the people that have shaped them. As, as people and photographers, you know, things like testimonials and a man on the street interviews to help tell stories. 

Alastair Jolly: You mentioned stound design there, which, you know, predominantly we're working with and, you know, talking to, photographers on this podcast, but, you know, but for those that don't know, explain a little bit, but what sound designer is and why it's so important for the 

Anton Lorimer: Sound design what's the old adage is like, you can learn 90% of filmmaking in a few years, but it's that last 10% that takes a lifetime to learn. And that 10% on all of those like little things. And that was at one point I started watching videos and, or maybe I was watching my own stuff and it was mostly music, voiceover and visuals. Without the natural ambient sound of what was going on at that moment.

And so you feel a little disconnected with that. And I feel like, you know, is there a way to like connect people, the audience a little bit more? And I was noticing sound design more and more and movies and commercials and promo videos. And I thought, you know what, that's something I don't really do. And so once you start thinking about sound design, you start incorporating ambient sound when you're at the beach or you're at a trail, or you're in the city, all like leaves, rustling and birds chirping, or people honking their horns if you're in the city, but the sound that you capture when you're there, isn't always ideal. Typically, what I'm doing now is I think of the ideal sound of the visual.

And I don't include the actual sound that I'm picking up or recording at the time I design it so that I choose cityscape sounds from a library, for example, or nature sounds from a library. and I'll add those in. And if I have to, I'll just create the sounds myself too, like footsteps on grass or, you know, someone sketching something on a notebook I'll just re I'll do I will sketch, I'll put a microphone on a piece of paper and start sketching something with a pencil and I'll take that sound and I'll throw it in. And you really emphasize these, these sounds that make these textures, these sound tech sound. Textures that just bring it, it just kind of brings the story alive and to the people watching you just feel more immersed.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. In this, it's not revealing any of the magic of making films with, you know, sound design, something that's been going on for years. I mean, there’s whole department's Foley departments where people like spend their lives just walking in gravel and closing doors and recording all these sound libraries usually though they would do it live as the film was the playing, make the stones live theater in, 

Anton Lorimer: in the movie making 

Alastair Jolly: movie making. So 

Anton Lorimer: that's foley is part of what I do. It's a small part, cause I don't usually have to make a whole lot, but there are always sounds that I can't find when it's a lot easier just to like, make it yourself. Let's say you just wanted to hear the sound of a, a lens snapping into place on a camera body.

That's kind of hard to find sometimes. So you just, and I have the cameras and a microphone right there and you just create it. It's quite easy. And the sound it's funny because when you create sound design, if you just listen to the sound itself, sometimes it sounds out of place or just not right. But when you hear it with a person talking and some, and some music sound designed fits, it just works.

with all of those different sound layers and makes such a difference. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. And what people maybe don't realize is you do go that extra mile. For instance, the first film that I was really aware of the amount of sound design you did was with David Powell in Tokyo. There's a lot of, he, he he's a street photographer and uses a Leica and you know, there's a lot of Leica shutter clicks on there, but it's actually Leica sounds.


Anton Lorimer: Right. It's actual. Yeah. If I'm going to add a camera click, I'm really conscious of not adding just a general camera click because I know we have a lot of. Photographers out there that know that you're going to call you. 

Alastair Jolly: That sounded like a Canon. 

Anton Lorimer: That is not a Leica click, you know, it sounds like.

Right. And the other thing about sound design is that you, and Dave Powell's in particular, you know, you're adding ambient sound. There might be a, a woman walking by on the sidewalk. So I'll add, you know, heels on a sidewalk or a bike and I'll add like bike sounds, but there was a ton of stuff in Dave's where.

The sound had no place being in a video like that, but it might've been on a transition or where I speed ramps something. And you hear like a bullwhip or I used a Sonic boom from the blue angels, all kinds of sounds that have no place, or we wouldn't, you wouldn't seem like it would have a place in the video like that.

But, those whooshes booms and things like that, just work 

Alastair Jolly: adds to the emotion 

Anton Lorimer: and makes things pop, you know? 

Alastair Jolly: Okay, sure. You're almost. And the same way that as photographers, we make people look at certain parts of a photograph, by the way we design and, and capture the photograph. I guess the same way with sound design, you can focus people's attention on what they should be watching and listening to it.

Anton Lorimer: Absolutely. I need, I mean, I guess you can't talk about sound design without talking about the editing of the music itself, because you know, I like songs that. Have intros and they build, and they have this ebb and flow, but they never, you know, ebb and flow or fall and rise exactly the way you want. So I ended up editing the music and chopping that up just as much as the video. So I can rearrange where music falls and rises to make emphasis on certain parts.

Alastair Jolly: Oh, how easy is it to find music for a film? Is that an easy thing? 

Anton Lorimer: Oh yeah. It's just, it's simple. All you have to do is a lot five days of your time. That's it a good five days of eight hour days. And you can find the right music. No, I mean, yeah. Yeah. I know why you asked that question because it is a frustrating part of filmmaking.

because it is the one unknown. I feel like when I start searching for music, it can take one hour or it could take two days to find a single song. And so that's a really big unknown. And if I find a to track and like, Two hours. I'm thrilled. And sometimes I already have some in mind and that helps, but yeah, music's tough.


Alastair Jolly: but so critical as well 

Anton Lorimer: is yeah, 

Alastair Jolly: that's probably what makes it so tough. Are you you're dependent on. This holding and binding in the theme, running through a whole film. It's got to be the right. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. Yeah. It really sets the tone. It's huge. No, like the effect it has on it is huge. That's why you spend so much time looking, and you know, for these longer films, we're not using the one song, one track anymore.

It's three or four or five or six songs. Honestly, looking for music, you know, I hate that part of it, but when I find it that's a high too, you know, then I'm thrilled, you know? So at the end of the day, looking for music, I could have, I could be down in the dumps or I could be like tap dancing on my, on my, on my desk.

So it's the highs and lows. And as an editor, you have to love those little wins. Because that's the only thing that keeps you going, but you have to be weird and get off on little stuff, like finding a song and just being thrilled about it. And I think most editors will, you know, there's those moments where something comes together, or you put two clips together and you're just really thrilled.

And it's that kind of like excitement you get on those little moments throughout an edit that keeps you editing. If that doesn't thrill you, you'll probably burn out. I mean, I know editors have a pretty high burnout rate. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: It's like playing golf. It just takes that one. Perfect shot to keep you playing.

Anton Lorimer: Yeah, absolutely. And if that perfect shot, doesn't keep you coming back to the course then nothing. Well, yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: So let's talk about some of the trends. I mean, I've, you know, there's obviously a lot of changes in how you fill them and how you edit since we first started well with your career. But certainly, since we first started SmugMug Films, what are some of the things that are trendy, now that perhaps you weren't using, you mentioned like speed ramping and that type of stuff. 

Anton Lorimer: It's not like I'm following trends. I think maybe I'm sure I'm influenced like every single thing I've ever edited has been influenced by something else. I don't really actively go out and look at people's work, but I am conscious of the fact that everything I've ever watched as a human being.

Has been stored away. And when I edit all of that's coming back out in some fashion commercials, music, videos, movies, TV, shows, everything. I guess it's, you know, you just evolve as, as we all evolve in whatever we do. And in filmmaking, it's just, you get bored or you, you, you tire of one way of making something.

So you just slowly start picking up other ways of doing it like transitions or, speed ramping, for example, The way you color something, you know, things went from really, you know, high contrast saturated look to this really logy look, which is like low contrast, very filmic. And you know, it kind of like co goes back and forth, but yeah, I've definitely changed as a filmmaker.

I like speed ramps and stuff, and it depends on who you're filming and what you're filming. You know, if you're shooting something really urban, you feel like you have more leeway in being gritty. You can use like, Really high contrast or grit and grain, creative transitions, as opposed to a landscape photographer in, you know, in the Alps or something where you just kind of want to leave it as it is.

You don't want to overdo the edit. So you just let things kind of play out for the most part. That's dictated by the photographer themselves and what they shoot. I'm always. I don't, I'm not changing any of my edits out of necessity. I'm just changing it because you just evolve, you know? 

Yeah. We've got to keep evolving.

Alastair Jolly: And for anybody listening that hasn't seen your films, you can check them out in a couple of places. You can go to SmugMug's YouTube channel, which is where you'll find all the films. And, if you go to, you'll get links to the films and find a little bit more behind the scenes and a bit more detail about the artists that we cover in the films.

So, what's next? What's the next film? 

Anton Lorimer: Well, the very next film is we're going to The Bahamas. We're going to shoot this amazing photographer named Andre Musgrave. He grew up in The Bahamas. He's a young kid, he's only 22 years old. Actually, he's a free diver and he photographs other free divers interacting with, shipwrecks and wildlife in The Bahamas.

You know, this really clear blue warm water, you know, that's just. Has this great visibility and he's just, he's like a rock star, you know? And so we're like thrilled to go down there. We'll be on a catamaran for a few days. Just free diving, 

Alastair Jolly: free diving with sharks!

Anton Lorimer: Free diving with sharks. He says they're pretty docile.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. True. well I guess the big changes actually. Which we haven't mentioned since we started SmugMug Films is, you know, Our acquisition of Flickr has brought a little change to some of the work that we've been doing. And we're now making what we call internally Flickr short.

Yeah. Yeah.

Anton Lorimer: Flickr shorts. So with acquisition of Flickr, you know, there's this other, another audience, but another talent pool of talent that we get to draw from that's even larger than SmugMug's some extent these Flickr shorts, are just really short. I mean, we call them shorts for a reason there. Oh, 90 seconds long.

And we do a lot of what we do with SmugMug films, which we follow a day in the life of these guys shooting, whatever it is they shoot, whether it's in a, it's in a studio, it's on, it's on, a beach and we're telling their story for a very short time. We give them about a minute to tell their story and, you know, we kind of have to highlight it's a bulletized version of what they do.

Obviously you can't tell a person's can't fit a person into a minutes time. Yeah. But, and they also talk about Flickr, you know, and why they love Flickr so much. There's so much love out there for Flickr and these photographers were talking about, and it's really, it's pretty refreshing that, you know, it's a place where a lot of people got started and it's still a place that's really relevant really means something to these photographers.

So we're also trying to capture that in these shorts. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. And it's been great. That's actually why we're together at the moment. We've been making a couple of these films over the last few days. Exploring the redwoods and the coast here in California at the moment. But, yeah. So we'll certainly be making more of those this year, no, onto, onto the next SmugMug film.


Anton Lorimer: I'm looking forward to it. The thing that keeps me excited is that I always feel like it's evolving, it's getting better. It's always evolving. I have something to look forward to. And so, yeah, I'm excited. 

Alastair Jolly: So, not going back to filming weddings then? 

No, I just got to, it's funny. I just got a request first time in like six years.

I'm not going to do it. No, I don't think so. I mean, you know what? There's, there are, there are parts of a wedding I love and if I could only shoot those parts, I would. Cocktail at a cocktail hour at a wedding. That's rough, but if you can make something out of a cocktail hour at a wedding, you're a good filmmaker.

Yeah. Yeah. You know, spent many, many years photographing weddings and I still miss some of the buzz about it. You know, there's certainly those moments when you're in the zone and, you know, it's all coming together, but you know, Is anybody else out there that shoots weddings, snows. It's, it's hard work and it's a marathon industry at the moment, 

but, yeah, we're very blessed to be doing what we're doing at the moment.

Anton Lorimer: Yeah. I, this job or having this job of following these photographers around the world, it's so great. When someone asks me what I do, I actually try to play it down a little bit. Cause I feel kind of guilty because it really is. I don't want to say it. It's, it's a, it's a great, you know, it's great. And I, you know, I'm thankful for it, 

Alastair Jolly: Well this has been a very interesting episode of the, of the podcast. To make a podcast with someone I work with on a daily basis is a bit different.

And you know, it's, it's nice to let others have a little peek behind the curtain of what we do at SmugMug Films and hear a little bit more of, you know, the, the career that you've had in film making and. You know, I'm sure the engineering world isn't, you know, regretting that you moved, moved away.

I mean, you know, we were so grateful that, you spend your time now making these films for us. So thank you very much. It, it did take a bit of persuasion to get Anton to do this today. He's been avoiding, avoiding it and finding reasons, excuses, not to do this, but thank you for agreeing to do this. And I'm sure everybody would.

Yeah. Love to hear what you were seeing. So thank you so much. 

Anton Lorimer: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. And this was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. Well, no, 

Alastair Jolly: let's, let's have you back on soon and we can talk about some of the films we make in the future. So thank you, everyone.

Catch up soon in the next episode.

Anton Lorimer: So it doesn't, I feel like regardless. I always have one nostril that feels backed up and then I looked it up and it's natural. It is. 

Alastair Jolly: You always end they swap. 

They switch, 

they swap nostrils naturally. 

Anton Lorimer: Oh, so now I feel so much better about myself. I honestly thought I needed like nasal surgery because I never had that.

No, it's like, and the reason is. Because your nose picks up different sense at different volumes or speeds as the air is sucked in. 

Alastair Jolly: Isn't it just that your body naturally wants to give one nostril a rest? 

it's like you've been working really hard to 

the why don't you have a little break and we'll let lefty have a go.

Anton Lorimer: I honestly don't think an open nostrils overworking itself. I think the close nostril is overworking. That's a sphincter muscle. That's just, 

Alastair Jolly: well, I think it takes more than muscle power to close your nostril than to leave it open. 

That's like smiling, or frowning, 

more muscles to smile than to frown. 

Anton Lorimer: The point is your nose can pick up different sense at different speeds or, you know, speeds.

You breathe in. 

Alastair Jolly: Oh. Oh, is that when, like, when people taste wine, the suck, the wine over there. 

Anton Lorimer: Well, that's air rating, the wine that's different. That's why I eat chips with my mouth open it's air rating the Doritos. 

Alastair Jolly: No, that's just to annoy your wife. 

Anton Lorimer: Yeah, no. So that nostril that's kind of clog naturally by your own body.

It's it can pick up different sense than the other. No, the other nostril, 

Alastair Jolly: because it slowed down or the air is going in at different speeds. 

Anton Lorimer: Different speed or volume.

Alastair Jolly: A huge thank you to Anton for joining us on this episode, please check out everything we have to offer at and And we look forward to seeing you back here for the next episode in the photography lounge.