Our Design Aglow Cinema Launch features 15 of our favorite Cinematographers from around the globe.
Say ‘Hello’ to Matthieu Meynier today~
I’m Matthieu Meynier, a cinematographer based in San Francisco, but always ready to travel. I’m a husband to my beautiful wife Regina and a loving papa to our young maltipoo Fredo. Family is super important to me and I want to make sure it has a very predominant place in my life. My hobbies consist of watching food network and HGTV; I have a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and I love cooking, especially homemade pasta. I enjoy going to the park everyday to walk Fredo and just take a break to refresh and recompose. I’m also an avid sports fan and every morning I read the French newspaper L’ Equipe to keep breath of what’s going on on the other side of the Atlantic.
Your demo reel is incredible. Can you tell us a bit about how you chose what footage to use to create it?
It has been a long process in the sense I waited so long to finally do one. So at the end of the year, met with with my editor and we brainstormed the demo. I wanted to make sure we share something that represents what we cherish the most: creative visuals, cinematic approach, storytelling and honest authentic moments. The goal was to present, in 3 minutes, the beautiful journey of a wedding. I decided to focus on a selection of six weddings, because of the locations, the people, and the types of weddings I knew I wanted to shoot in the following years. I think we achieve that really well.
How long did it take you to edit all of the clips together for the final presentation?
The process was pretty long, as I had 4 revisions of the videos. We compiled hours and hours of footage, which took one full month from start to finish with a lot of back and forth between my editor and I regarding rough cuts, editing and the finished product.
How does audio and music add to the emotion of the reel?
Music is always a key to accessorize the film. We wanted to make sure we chose something that would start slowly and built in the moment. We use We are Kings from Musicbed because it was exactly the tone and the beat I wanted…a slow start that finishes into an apotheoses. I also knew I wanted to start with the aerials of Hawaii because I wanted people to be transported into an enchanting place, and I knew I would also finish with the time-lapse from Hawaii because that sky was simply unreal and I hoped viewers would feel of it as they were dreaming.
What is the ideal length of a demo reel?
I think nowadays attention span is really short, so if you don’t grab your audience within the first 15 seconds, they are gone. The final time of 2:45 feels like it was enough to tell the story, and I feel like anything longer is just not a good use of time.
Any advice to new cinematographers who want to create something unique and impactful but don’t yet have many films under their belt?
Take the time to go through footage after each wedding and create a folder with the money shots. If you know there an great speech, put it aside and make sure you use it as your conductor throughout the piece. Don’t hesitate to think out of the box but always try to stay true to yourself. Don’t look at everyone else's demos which will cloud your thinking and your originality. I think the hardest things for people in our industry is to do something different. It’s so hard to not be tempting to look at others' work and say, “Oh that was so cool, I know I can do that!” Ultimately everybody’s work starts looking the same. And, that is not what you want to stand out.
Besides having the reel on your website, how else do you use it?
I have a link to it on every of my email I send so people can see right away what we do. I’m already thinking about my next piece, which will be a lot more practical yet unique.
Do you have any other words of wisdom?
I think you need to really be aware of all the great resources you have at your disposition and use them wisely. Everyone has their own voice, make sure you find yours. The more you will find your voice the more personal and authentic your work will be.
Matthieu eventually relocated to the United States and received his degree in journalism so that he could honor his father and continue to tell the stories of others. Now he finds these defining, unscripted moments in his own career helping others share their journeys, chronicling more weddings in the last 13 years than he can count. Matthieu’s art and vision has been featured in Wedding Chicks, Style me Pretty, Today’s Bride, and Ceremony magazine.Matthieu currently shares his optimism and sense of humor with the love of his life Regina, exploring San Francisco on their Vespa, biking in the park, traveling far and close, and cuddling on the couch, watching movies without any interruption. Regina balances Matthieu’s creative and impulsive behavior with her grounded personality and beautiful smile. They are still creating their story.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.