At just 28 years old, Boyan Ortse, managed to make a name as a videographer and earned several prizes on the way. This former graphic designer/aerial adventurer travels the world in search of colorful sceneries for the needs of both corporate and personal projects.
Tell us more about you, Boyan. Who are you?
I’m 28 years old and from the Netherlands, but at the moment, I live between London and the Netherlands. I’m a videographer/cinematographer, but I also take drone photos and videos. I started using a drone about seven years ago. Most people actually know me as a drone pilot and a drone photographer from my Instagram page, but 99% of my work is about making videos. I do everything myself from the beginning till the end, from writing the storyline to editing the final video. I’m originally a graphic designer. I did a lot of UI and UX design, and then I shifted to making videos. In the beginning, it was nice to feel creative, but over the years, staying in an office 40 hours a week became boring, and I needed a change.
How did you get started as a videographer?
I created my own company, and in the beginning, I focused on abroad jobs. So whether it was for a festival or something else, I took any opportunity to work abroad. So every single holiday that I could take from my 9 to 5 job, I spent it working on my own business! Little by little, I built my branding and mainly specialized in hospitality, with jobs for hotels and resorts and events. People often ask how I started, but the truth is that I kept working full time for a while. I only chose to quit my former job once my own business was big enough. In other words, I didn’t have to take one major step: the whole thing was quite natural and progressive.
What is your favorite equipment to work with and why?
Over the years, I tested almost all the drones on the market. I started with a bigger drone, but it wasn’t easy to travel with, especially places requiring long hikes. So, my gear became smaller and smaller. As of today, I only use the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It is super convenient and has a Hasselblad sensor, and I like the colors coming out of it. It has a cinematic feel.
You have a very colorful palette of videos and photos. How do you select the places that you shoot?
About three or four years ago, I would go on missions and shoot what I really wanted to. So I often scouted locations on Google maps. That’s how I ended up at the Pink Salt Lakes of Camargue, for example, in the south of France. At the moment, I mostly shoot what my clients want. But when I have some free time, I shoot whatever I can! On a general note, I like for my work to be colorful. I think of it as a reflection of my personality.
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What do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t get inspiration from one thing in particular. However, I have two good friends with whom I travel a lot, and I think we somehow inspire each other. I believe colors mostly inspire me. In Paris, for instance, I love the colorful basketball playground in Pigalle. I like to see artists implement colorful art into daily life.
What is the most peaceful place you’ve ever experienced?
I think it would have to be Australia. We went to Bali for a couple of months, and then we had to go out and back in to renew our visas. So we chose Australia, which was pretty close. We spent two weeks there, and it was the biggest mistake I ever made. I should have gone for months! We took a two weeks road trip, and we did and saw a lot. It was peaceful and lovely to drive around. Australia is just a different world! Plus, it was the end of summer there, so the weather was terrific. This trip also gave me a sense of freedom. I could do whatever I wanted; I was just working for myself.
The Salt Lakes were on my list of places to immortalize, so I went there and shot a photo of a giant swirl of different colors. It almost looked like a painting. That’s the kind of stuff I love to photograph. Things that will intrigue people, have them wonder what it is, where it is. And it shows a different side of the country. We went to the beach, but we also explored some unique places that few people know.
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What’s the most challenging thing about being a videographer?
When it comes to working for clients, it often comes down to the budget and how to balance the proper equipment that goes with big-budget projects. For instance, I like for my gear to be travel-friendly, and I tend to keep it a little bit smaller, but I also often need big stabilizers or lights and stuff like that to get the proper setup. It’s all about finding balance.
Do you enjoy taking photos as much as shooting videos?
I feel like I can tell more of a story and build something up through video. With photos, it’s very different. I can take pictures, but I always say no whenever people ask me to take photos for a party or a wedding. Firstly, I don’t really enjoy it, and secondly, I don’t consider myself a photographer. I have a different mindset. For instance, I can make wedding videos, but it’s different because it’s more natural for me to tell a story that way.
If you take drone photography because I tend to lean more towards an artistic perspective. It’s still storytelling, but it’s not like capturing a real moment with people and emotions involved. So I’d say, all in all, I feel more creative doing videos than photos.
How do you think that your job has impacted the way you see the world?
My job impacted my vision in many ways. For example, more important projects often mean more money. But I also try to work for small businesses, especially since the impact of Covid. I was not traveling for one year and a half, so I know how tricky things can get. A month ago, I went to Aruba, in the Caribbean Sea, but I had another trip to Malta planned that got canceled due to restrictions. I know small businesses are having a hard time. With this in mind, I sometimes do smaller budgets projects to give smaller companies more exposure. It’s not always about getting the most money out of your work. It’s also about having a work ethic and helping people out.
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Do you ever lack inspiration?
The travel restrictions have sure been giving me a hard time. My recent trip to Aruba was great, and we made a lot of great content. But coming back and getting declined for another job due to Covid restrictions was quite frustrating. You have ten days or two weeks scheduled for a project, and then suddenly, you don’t have anything. So I feel more frustration than lack of inspiration. Covid honestly had an impact on my motivation. When you’re working and you meet other people, you get excited and inspired. Being able to work without restrictions also gets your creative juices flowing.
What are your projects for the upcoming year? Besides, of course, keep on producing videos.
I’m currently working on a masterclass. The goal is to create a learning management system from scratch to teach people everything I know about drones. If you just bought a drone, I will teach you what each button is and what you can do with it. And if you’re a bit more experienced, I will teach you how to create some effects and go beyond basic functionalities. Like flying your drone from a moving boat, for instance.
A large part of the course will focus on how to get photos or videos ready for the web. Take social media: if you upload a raw file to Instagram or Facebook, they will compress it for you, thus making it look horrendous. So people are eager to find out how to take good photos and videos with a drone while preserving their quality for social media. I’m hoping to launch this project in early 2022.