Steven Preston’s Reel

Steven Preston Reel from Steven Preston on Vimeo.

Tell me about your new Reel project. What/Who are you shooting?
Well basically my reel is my portfolio, it’s really just a collection of the best shots that I have. In it, there is footage from a band that I have been filming for the past few years out of Orange County, called The Pricks. There is footage from my film, Four Nights in Joshua Tree, that I made last year. There is footage taken from various trips I have gone on with friends, and also footage from local concerts and musicians like Slipping Into Darkness, JUNGLES, and Sailor On Shore.
What lead you to stray from your Owl Radio project and start the Reel?
Well film is my primary medium. I mean, I went to film school, so i’ve been working in film and video since high school. Owl Radio just came about because I began to get interested in doing other things, but my reel has been a running project for a few years now. Its what I show people when I try and get a job, or if someone wants to get an idea of what my style is, I show them that. Owl radio is a separate entity that I ended merely because I moved out of my house in Los Angeles, and most of our gear was borrowed. I was leaving and I didn’t want to try and keep up the show while I was in this transition period. Then right after I moved out I updated my reel because I had a lot footage from this summer that wasn’t in it, and also since I quit my job I figured I might need to be sending my reel out to people.
So I understand you are currently working on a piece with a local band from the desert, The Jungles? What was it about about the Jungles that inspired you to do a piece on them?
Yeah, I really love JUNGLES. I think they are one of the best bands in the desert, just creatively, they are taking chances and having fun, two qualities I really admire in artists. I think just their music inspires me to create with them, and who they are. They are just some kids having a good time, they’re not trying to do anything too much, just have fun and make cool music, and I like that. I also lived with three of them over the past year. So yeah, im editing a piece on them right now, basically cause I have the footage, and their live show is such an experience, I want to share that with people who have never seen them. They’re one of the few bands in the desert that have been able to really create an atmosphere when they play, almost like there is a force coming out of them, not just musically, but sonically. not sure if that makes sense but you just have to be in the room when they’re playing and you can feel it, and few bands do that. So I wanted to attempt to communicate that feeling to people, while also just giving some background on the group.
What are your future plans with the Reel?
I mean its always something ill keep up, its a running project. Everytime I get new footage i try and add it to the reel, if its good, and take out something older, thats maybe not as strong. Just always try to keep it fresh.
What do you shoot with and what programs do you edit with?
The only cameras I own are two Bolex 16mm cameras. I love to shoot on 16mm, and those bolexs are tough cameras. and I also have a Super 8mm. The camera I prefer to shoot with on digital is a Panasonic DVX-100, but usually i am borrowing other peoples camera, so I really shoot with whatever i can get. I edit with Final Cut Pro, on a Mac G5.
What is your inspiration for doing what you do?
My inspiration huh? well, life I guess, music, people, experiences, tree covered mountains, vast deserts, driving through the city at night, my friends. the family. I love it all. Then whatever Im doing, i want to savor the moment, I want to put it in a bottle so i can drink again on a lonely day. I cant go back in time, but I can create a film that is the closest to achieving that feeling again. If i take a trip, I want to experience that trip again, but I cant, so i’ll take a camera and photograph the moment, then edit it with some music that has some relevance to that trip, so when I watch the film I can feel those feelings again, think about those memories. Also, I get so excited when doing those things, whether it be a concert, summer camp, or a camping trip, that I want to share them with everyone, I want to be able to take people a movie, show it to them, and say “look, listen, this is what I was feeling up there, dont you feel it now too?”
I am really into the psychedelic feel you got going in your Reel. Who is that on the track and what inspired you to create that vibe?
Well I wanted the piece to flow, I wanted it to have an arc, but I didn’t want lyrics or genre to identify the piece, you know? A couple of musician friends of mine had this music piece that they had recorded for one of my film classes in school, it was originally supposed to be used for a montage of footage from a Nature Cinematography class, the original version of the song is 11 minutes long. So I took it, cut it down and used it for my reel cause it worked so well with all my footage. The musicians are Kevin Yoches and Nisan Perera, who I have been working with for years nows on various film projects. They play with The Pricks as well as their own band, Hello Evening (
I think what inspired me to create my reel with that track was the very first cut had a lot of footage from camping trips I had taken with friends. I mean, i didnt set out to try and create that vibe as much as it just happened that way. The conversations we were having, the music we were listening too, the environment we were surrounding ourselves in, it all just seeped in. I hate working with film, most every time i’ve ever been paid to produce a film or video it always comes out horrible, and all of the ones i have just made for myself and friends come out great. This isn’t so much as a job as a reflection of my life. I try and document the places and experiences around me in my life. Its funny, I never really thought about it being psychedelic before, but i like that that’s what you got out of it. That makes me smile. Thanks.
How can people find your footage or contact you?
Ummm, well I used to have a website but i havent paid the bill in a while so its not up, but save this link and check every so often and maybe ill get it up again,
stevenbpreston.com. Until then, I have my reel, then there are a few older things on youtube still, but just contact me, myspace.com/stevenpreston, stevenbpreston@gmail.com if anyone is interested, I have copies of my film, Four Nights in Joshua Tree, plus a lot of older docs and concert footage from various desert artists and such. Yeah just let me know, I love showing my stuff, but none is really on the web yet.