Cinematic Editing with Matt Komo

Cinematic Editing with Matt Komo

Matt Komo | A behind the scenes look at his cinematic editing techniques
Most people know of Matt Komo from his iconic personal YouTube and Instagram channels, but many don’t know he is also a sought-after content creator behind the camera for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and many global brands. He has worked with the likes of MTV, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, and with innovative companies like MVMT and GoPro. Komo’s been a long-time user of Lens Distortions® effects and most recently used our glass overlays and sound design libraries prominently in his film from Sequoia National Park. Read on for some backstory on this project and an in-depth look at some of Komo’s editing techniques. In the tutorials below, he shares some very clever use cases for visual effects and a full breakdown of how he did the sound design in his Sequoia project.
“It’s the delicate blend of planning vs impromptu filmmaking that makes a travel film.”
You travel all over the world for projects. What inspired a trip so close to home? I love traveling and have been to quite a few places but some of my most memorable experiences have been from road trips. You go into them with no expectations and a general plan, then you let life unfold itself and you document it. We definitely got lost a few times exploring around, haha, but that’s what makes these trips so fun.
Can you tell us a bit more about your pre-production process?  Every film starts with an idea, a story you want to tell. A shot list is always made with the end edit in mind.  Because the flow of the film needs to be seamless it’s extremely important to not only get shots that connect with one another but also progress the story forward.  With that being said, there is also an element of improvising.  Its the delicate blend of planning vs impromptu filmmaking that makes a travel film.
What gear did you use on the Sequoia Nation Park road trip? We had a decently light setup for the shoot. Our main camera was a Sony A7riii with a few different lenses; a 16-35mm 2.8. a 35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, and a 50mm 1.4. For the vlogging sections I used a Sony RX100 MK V and the drone shots were captured with a Phantom 4 Pro. I stick to the Adobe Suite of products. Everything is cut in Premiere Pro, this is where the story and flow come together. For adding any special effects I will use After Effects, and then all my voiceover work is recorded in Audition.
Tutorial: Matt Komo on Visual Effects Learn Komo’s overall approach to VFX and some of his best tips on editing for visual impact. Explore the visual effects libraries 〉
Tutorial: Matt Komo on SFX A step-by-step breakdown of how Komo did the sound design for his Sequoia National Park film. Explore the sound design libraries 〉
“It’s a long road and the ones who stay in it and succeed are the ones who genuinely love what they are doing.”
How important is thoughtful sound design in a film? Sound is everything.  It’s so important in taking your visuals to the next level.  I always say a visual on its own lives in a 2D space, but with sophisticated sound design, you can transport that image into a 3D world.
What’s your overall philosophy on using effects? I love effects when they are used tastefully.  Meaning, if they help enhance your image or are used in a way to progress your story forward I’m all for it.  Its when they are littered into every other cut that it will begin to distract the viewer from the story you are trying to tell.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming filmmakers? Learn something new every day and experiment.  Your style will evolve, but more importantly, you’ll find it through putting out a volume of work.   Make sure you love the process, its a long road and the ones who stay in it and succeed are the ones who genuinely love what they are doing. It’s like that with everything though, not just filmmaking. Making films and telling stories, it’s a great lifestyle to live and should be enjoyed.
Optically captured effects for filmmakers and VFX artists.
Curated audio libraries for filmmakers and pro editors.
Optically captured effects for filmmakers and VFX artists.
Curated audio libraries for filmmakers and pro editors.
Rolls Royce + The Mill

Rolls Royce + The Mill

Rolls Royce | “I Am Ghost”
The Mill is a visual effects and content creation studio collaborating on VFX, digital and design projects for the advertising, games and music industries. With studios in London, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, they partner with the world’s best agencies, groundbreaking directors, creative firms and visionary brands. Working with Daughter.Studio, Mill+ created this stylish spot for Rolls Royce and their latest ‘Ghost’ model. The Mill’s VFX team utilized Legacy 4K glass overlays from Lens Distortions. The slick spot moves seamlessly from one image to the next using clever geometric based design to depict various aspects of a highly desirable lifestyle, personifying the ‘ghost’ or essence of the car and its owner.
“I wanted something textural and emotive, not the normal approach to a car commercial. I was thinking title sequence beauty, seamless transitioning, moments of wonder… more music promo and fashion film.”
Mill+ Director FILFURY explains, “This was a dream project to work on – design elegance, rooted in geometric form, symmetry, and simplicity. This was the story of ‘I AM GHOST’. My desire was to hint at luxurious, functional design found within our owner’s life, and do this through a palette of clever reveals and transitions – matching vehicle form with architecture, objects, motion, and nature. All breathtakingly elegant and purposeful. I wanted something textural and emotive, not the normal approach to a car commercial. I was thinking title sequence beauty, seamless transitioning moments of wonder, more music promo and fashion film. The result is a dark sophisticated image palette with rim lit form. This was design lead, sexy and cool. Confident mark making through a beautiful celebration of the Ghost form. This isn’t design for design’s sake however, there is substance and storytelling.”
“The glass effects help add a touch of nostalgic feeling to what can sometimes be stark and crisp environments. They harp back to a photographic, lensic treatment many viewers feel more connection with.”
Mill Lead 3D Artist Dan Moller continues, “One of the main challenges of this spot was working out how to blend a large number of shots together; it’s about three-quarters of the way through the film before a hard-cut takes place. Through careful previz and shot development, rapid iteration with both rough 3D and testing in 2D we were able to find some quality solutions. By leveraging all our departments against this problem-solving process, from concept to motion graphics and design through to CG and 2D we were able to easily troubleshoot all problems put before us. A key challenge came in art directing the rolling highlights across the form of the Ghost. We rendered reflected UV passes, then rotomated gobo shapes over the top using STMaps in Nuke. These gobo sequences were then rendered back out of Nuke, plugged into the UV shapes in Maya and rendered back over the car. This resulted in a speedy and intuitive solution to the highlights problem through a slick collaboration between our 2D and 3D departments.”
It was important to Rolls Royce to differentiate the Ghost film from their other product films, primarily through an emphasis on colour. This became a particular focus for our lighting team to ensure this was communicated as effectively as possible, and also played into our post treatment in 2D. During this phase led by Mill 2D Lead, James Mac, lens elements were carefully selected to add both texture and colour to each shot, with those finishing touches truly elevating the film.’ Amongst them were glass overlay elements from Lens Distortions.
“The glass elements have been a long-standing consideration for myself when I need to add depth and layered chromatic dispersion to shots. They help add a touch of nostalgic feeling to what can sometimes be stark and crisp environments. They harp back to a photographic, lensic treatment many viewers feel more connection with. I also used the Legacy 4K glass effects to drive narrow focus effects through portions of the imagery, helping take the edge off the CGI elements,” James Mac said. “Virtually every project benefits from having Lens Distortions used to treat and layer the frame. They are my go-to textural footage,” he added.

Save when you purchase the entire suite of cinematic video effects.

Save when you purchase the entire suite of cinematic video effects.

Weddings + Lens Distortions

Weddings + Lens Distortions

Weddings + Lens Distortions | Subtly define key moments of the big day
Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen

Community Lead

Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen

Community Lead

10 years ago, I remember photographing my first wedding. It was an honor to take part in the couple’s engagement and ceremony, but it was the last wedding I ever shot… I’ll just say, it takes a very passionate and gifted leader to be a professional wedding photographer or filmmakers.

This experience sparked in me a love of photographing people and live events. So even though I wasn’t cut out for weddings, I can still relate to the excitement and pressure of shooting the big day.

The Wendell Stewarts, Emmy Award Winning Photographers

Couples often say their wedding day was a blur. Some of the most memorable moments in their lives are happening in rapid succession and it’s up to you, the photographer or filmmaker, to artfully tell the story from an honest perspective. But even the most experienced creatives end up with some good shots that would have been great if only they had a little more control over the environment.

This is where I think quality effects are indispensable in every wedding photographers tool kit. Whether you want to better frame up the focal point (or frame out a distraction) or dial in the intensity of some memorable weather, effects can help subtly define moments in the way you envisioned.

Noah Mensink, Wedding Photographer

Lens Distortions effects are hiding in plain sight in the portfolios of wedding photographers and filmmakers across the globe. Several of them were kind enough to share their perspective on our photo packs and some of their unique results.

The Wendell Stewarts
Husband and wife wedding photographer duo, Tanner and Maria Stewart are from Seattle, Washington. They have built an astounding portfolio both personally and together as The Wendell Stewarts, even winning an Emmy for their photographic work. The story being told in each image is what catches our eye about their work. It doesn’t fit the classic mold of wedding photography.
@thewendellstewarts
“Using Lens Distortions effects is a super easy way to add some artistic flare to make the images just that much more epic. We use a bit of fog in some photos to embrace the atmospheric moody look. We also love the texture you can add to images to give a vintage film look.”

Tanner Stewart, Emmy Award Winning Photographer
Morgan McCanne
Morgan is a wedding and lifestyle photographer from San Diego, California whose work depicts the essence of the hopelessly in love and adventurous at heart. Morgans timing and tasteful use of flares and glass elements in her edits are a few reasons we admire her photographic work.
@morganmccannephoto
Noah Mensink
Weddings, portraits, travel and music are subjects that Noah Mensink, a photographer from Long Beach, California captures with his lens. We admire the way he is able to capture the soft nostalgia of very personal moments.
@n.sink
“The experience I’ve had with using Lens Distortions effects has been nothing but seamless. It’s like picking up a paint brush that was made to bring even more life into each and every photograph with ease. When it comes to wedding photography, they can add another layer of emotion that you perceived in your mind beyond what the lens could capture for those photos that will last a life time.”

Noah Mensink, California Wedding Photographer
White in Revery
Kristine and Calen Rhome are White in Revery, a husband and wife videography team from Denver, Colorado that is captivated with telling cinematic stories. In this clip, they use our Anticipation SFX library to create a custom score for a mini social media cut. (Note: You can build custom underscores for your entire wedding films using our new Idyllic Underscore Elements library.)
@whiteinrevery
“With the SFX libraries from Lens Distortions, I can really create the sound bed I want to match the couple and match the style I’m going for.”

Calen Rhome, White In Revery
Adam Lora
Wedding filmmaker and photographer Adam Lora is from Tampa, Florida. His work stands out to us because he showcases the authenticity of each couples unique story through every film he creates.
@adamlora
“With my style of wedding filmmaking, I like to make my films feel dreamy and cinematic. I achieve this by using a lot of footage shot in 60fps and Lens Distortions effects. They are a quick and easy way to add dynamic (motion) to a clip that feels a little boring or drawn out. They also look organic to the scene, adding that warm and dreamy feeling.”

Adam Lora, Wedding Filmmaker
Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen

Community Lead

Paul Tellefsen is a lifestyle and travel photographer living in San Diego. His clients include IBM, Buick, Travel Alberta, Ford, Marriott and country music hall of fame member Paul Brandt.

The Mill

The Mill

The Mill | Castrol EDGE “Clone Rival”
“The Castrol compositing team loved the Legacy set by Lens Distortions and wanted to use them to add a stylistic touch to the spot.”
The Mill is a visual effects and content creation studio collaborating on VFX, digital and design projects for the advertising, games and music industries. They partner with the world’s best agencies, groundbreaking directors, creative firms and visionary brands. They pride themselves on forming partnerships built on creative excellence and cutting-edge technologies.

With studios in London, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Mill boasts a creative culture of talented artists from multinational and homegrown backgrounds, nurturing innovation, flexibility and diverse ideas. VFX Supervisor Pete Rypstra shared a little glimpse into their project for Castrol EDGE which utilized our Legacy 4k glass elements.

“The movements of the light elements lent themselves beautifully to the effect we were trying to create.”
“The Mill worked with The Brooklyn Brothers and Director Jako of Annex Films to create the new Castrol EDGE Titanium Trial ‘Clone Rival’,” Rypstra said.

“We used a combination of multiple camera passes as well as using photo-real, full CG cars to give the illusion that there were two cars on the track. We were also asked to give the Clone rival its own distinct look to distinguish it from the real car.”

“The Castrol compositing team loved the Legacy set by Lens Distortions and wanted to use them to add a stylistic touch to the spot. In addition to that, we were looking for creative ways to create heat haze effects to ‘dirty up’ shots and put the camera amongst it all.”
“James MacLachlan, our lead nuke artist on the job, built a system which used a mixture of the various Lens Distortion elements to drive distortion and blur nodes in the script. In the end, we combined Optical flares, a particle system from the CG team, and the Legacy pack from Lens Distortions to create the apparitional ‘Clone’ Rival look,” Rypstra added.

“The movements of the light elements lent themselves beautifully to the effect we were trying to create.”

See more work from The Mill

@MILLCHANNEL | FACEBOOK.COM/MILLCHANNEL

THEMILL.COM

Zoe Rain // Candid Storylines

Zoe Rain // Candid Storylines

Zoe Rain | Candid Storylines

Zoe Rain is a Chicago-based portrait photographer originally from Seattle. She began assisting for Jkoe Photography in 2010, and since then has shot over 65 weddings in the last five years. She has a solid expertise in capturing candid portraits and story lines in her wedding imagery.

“I really enjoy the Legacy effects, which are masked light layers made with glass textures. They are easy to use in a subtle way, without totally giving away the fact that I am enhancing the image in post,” Zoe said.

“It isn’t a stereotypical effect and I like using something for a different intention than how it was advertised and playing with blending modes, opacity etc.”

“I recently have been playing around with using Legacy to add color to shots. I think my favorite way to use these effects has been coloring backgrounds or adding a ‘colored gel’ like glow.”

See more of Zoe’s wedding work at zoerainweddings.com.

Explore the effects used in this post

Legacy

Legacy brings the iconic shoot-through technique to Photoshop - Elegantly frame your subject with optically captured elements, including glass and crystal.

GMC “The Perfect Shot”

GMC “The Perfect Shot”

GMC “The Perfect Shot” | An inside look from pitch to post-production

Nate Gunn is a Salt Lake based visual storyteller with a passion for non-traditional advertising. He helps companies discover new ways to display their message by creating branded content that’s more lifestyle focused, rather than product focused. Nate was kind enough to share the challenges and triumphs of this GMC spot on a photographer’s journey, which incorporates our Luminary and Light Hits 4K packs.

What’s the backstory on this project?

I’ve always wanted to work with car brands, but the competition is brutal. I was so close to not submitting a pitch on this one. In the few months before I had lost a pitch to Ram Trucks and two other great projects that I really wanted. Emotionally I was in a bad place. When you spend a few days writing a treatment, you almost convince yourself that it’s already your project, and so the losses hurt.

“…it was a risk, but I think that’s what they’re looking for sometimes.”

I decided to go for it and just do me. I think I was up against 30+ directors and I pitched something that was far from the creative, it was a risk, but I think that’s what they’re looking for sometimes. All too often I’m trying to just give the brand or agency what they want to hear, when maybe they want to just be inspired and feel your love and passion for the project.

What made your pitch different?

In the beginning, the client was looking to shoot an actor portraying a photographer. A guy shooting in a studio or out on a simple model shoot. The goal was to tie in the similarities of a photographers desire for precision and perfection with the precision of the truck.

I just knew that for a truck brand a real story would play better to their viewers. I pitched the idea of my photographer buddy Kevin Winzeler out on an actual assignment in Moab, Utah. They loved the concept and even switched the featured truck over to the Sierra All terrain model.

“That was a hard one to cut. We worked so hard for it, but I just knew it wasn’t up to par.”

What was production like? 

Honestly one of the most fun shoots I’ve done. So crazy, but we had a great crew and a good time. We had the tightest deadline and Kevin is a busy guy between having a successful career in photography and four kids. We had a little over a week of pre-pro and then two days to shoot with him.

We had a really slim and simple production, always liking to keep it as low-key as possible. GMC trucked down the Sierra. It was DP Nate Sorensen and I on the camera, with Weston Fuller assisting, a driver and truck prep guy, then a team of two guys from Circa3 flying and operating the drone.

We shot on the RED Dragon in 6k. Lenses were a set of Leica Rs (some of my all-time favorites). We had a gimbal and just regular set up.

What challenges did this project present?

With such little time, the pressure was on for sure. Sorensen and I headed down to Moab a day early to scout. I finished out the storyboards on the drive. I had already digitally scouted everything the week before, so in the morning we took a quick look at the spots and everything checked out well.

On our last night, we did this brutal hike up to an area called Castleton rock. It’s a short hike distance wise, but seriously steep and we underestimated how long the hike would take. We were racing to catch the sun before it dipped behind the horizon.

We got one shot up there that is in the final spot, but we didn’t get the one I had planned for. It ended up being too dark and muddy of a shot. I had no choice but to cut it out in the editing room. That was a hard one to cut. We worked so hard for it, but I just knew it wasn’t up to par.

The location of that last shot in the commercial was definitely the scene I wanted most for the project and it had to be just right. And yet it was the only location I didn’t have locked down. A lot of locations that I had Google mapped weren’t working out. So toward the end of the day, we made an hour-and-a-half trip in hopes that this last spot (which I had been avoiding due to the long drive) would give us the setting we needed. The trek was worth it, the location ended up being perfect.

Featured Posts

Rolls Royce + The Mill

Rolls Royce + The Mill

Working with Daughter.Studio, Mill+ created this stylish spot for Rolls Royce and their latest Ghost model. The Mill’s VFX team utilized 4K Signature Glass Effects from Lens Distortions to create a highly stylized aesthetic.

The Mill

The Mill

The Mill’s VFX Supervisor Pete Rypstra shares a little glimpse into their project for Castrol EDGE which utilizes our Legacy 4k glass elements.

“I would warm up or cool down Light Hits and Luminary to help enhance the look even that much more.”

Tell us about the look and feel you were going for. How did Lens Distortions effects contribute to your aesthetic?

I had the whole spot pretty much put together and storyboarded before we shot, leaving a little wiggle room for any unexpected moments. I wanted 80 percent of the shots to be pre-morning light and sunset. I wanted to really show a true photographers reality. They’re up early and working till the light is out.

A big reason I choose Moab as the location for the project is because of the frequent storm systems that role through. We ended up having a lot of these gorgeous storm clouds the entire time we were out there.

I knew while we were there that Light Hits would come in to help. In the edit, I subtly used light hits and Luminary to enhance a flat shot here and there (see 0:20 and 0:34). I added luminary in a shot of the truck’s headlights just to give them a bit more flare (see 0:12).

I love to add some color to the effects. The color on this project was on the cooler side and then we would add warmth in Kevin’s skin tones and in the red landscape. I would warm up or cool down Light Hits and Luminary to help enhance the look even that much more.

To see more of Nate’s work, check out vimeo.com/nategunn.
BTS photography By Nate Gunn and Weston Fuller.

Explore the effects used in this post

Luminary

Luminary was crafted with fashion projects and luxury brands in mind and is filled with gorgeous overlays made from intricate glass elements.

Light Hits

Soft and simple. Light Hits is made from actual sunlight, and helps you quickly add a little extra pop to the corners of your shots.