Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of film compilations showing up on YouTube. Gen Ip’s Filmography 2010 made quite a big splash and there was a very positive reaction to Matthew Shapiro’s 2010: The Cinescape. Now we have a new film compilation, put together by Kees Van Dijkhuizen, called Cinema 2010. It’s just as impressive as the Filmography 2010 and 2010: The Cinescape so we thought we’d reach out to Kees and ask him a few questions about his new video.
We Got This Covered: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do for a living?
Kees Van Dijkhuizen: I live in The Hague at the moment and I’m in my last year of high school. I’ve loved film for as long as I can remember, so next year I hope to attend Amsterdam’s film school. I started editing when I was 11 and have been on YouTube for about 5 years now.
WGTC: In general, are you a big film fan, have you seen a lot of the movies that were shown in your video?
Kees: I’m a huge film fan, but living in Holland means there are a lot of limitations. Many films are released either 3 months later or not at all. Scott Pilgrim I saw in America this summer while I was on holiday, but it was released here only a few weeks back. I’ve seen about 150 new films this year, 50 of which are 2010 films.
WGTC: Where do you pull your footage from? Is it mainly from trailers?
Kees: Yes, I use trailers and clips released by the studios. It’s risky business with copyright infrigment these days so I try to stay as legal as possible. Plus they often use the most of the impressive stuff in the trailers anyway, so it works out well.
WGTC: How did you decide which films to use and were there any that you wanted to include but had to leave out?
Kees: I try to pick the films that most people will see as an important part of 2010. There are dozens of movies every year, so it’s nearly impossible to incorporate every single one of them. Cinema 2010 being one of the more personal things I’ve done, I decided to go for the films that I thought were important for 2010.
You’ll see Inception and Robin Hood getting more screen time than Alice in Wonderland for example. Cop Out didn’t make the cut; it’s not because I hate the film or anything, I just don’t see the point of cramming the video up with films only to up the count of movies used. To me that’s about the biggest mistake you could make when making a film retrospective; there are so many new editors each year and there are literally no rules for making one of these, so the most distinctive thing you could do to stand out is to make it a personal retrospective.
WGTC: How did you decide which music to use?
Kees: That’s a good question, actually. I’m not sure about it either. I guess I just use tracks that I find cool and I hope other people will like them too. Mumford and Sons are one of my favourite new bands and I’ve loved The Prodigy for a long time now, but the third song for example is by Eagle Seagull, a band I discovered earlier this year via Grooveshark. I played it because I loved the title of the song, but only once it reached the second part I knew this was something that I wanted to use. The track was very easy to edit too but also bore a deep emotional message. Same goes for Sigh No More, the first song; you might notice I barely use dialogue there, because the lyrics are so deep and powerful. The final song, Creep, I heard in the trailer for The Social Network. Initially I was going for a more playful approach for the finale as I did in 2009, but this song was so dark and intriguing I just had to use it.
WGTC: Tell us a bit about the process that is required for making one of these videos. How many total hours did you spend and can you take us through all the stages, from start to finish?
Kees: Making a video like this takes a lot of work. It defines the saying ‘practice makes perfect’. I usually start off just experimenting with different kinds of genres and moods. My music choice can vary from Wolfmother to Ratatat (which is strange, because Gen Ip’s Filmography 2010 has a segment with a track I considered) to Foals. I’ve reached a stage now where I can literally see images in my head during each track, so I make these little mini-edits in my head when I listen to my iPod on the bus. If I feel I found the right track to tell my story or amplify a certain mood I’m trying to set, I start finding the right images. I watch a whole lot of trailers, I’ve probably seen around 500 this year. Sometimes I come across a shot I really like, sometimes I look for a shot I think was important to a certain movie, so that kind of goes both ways.
When I find my shots, I try to come up with an edit that is both compact and interesting, because each segment has to take about up to a minute. That’s a lot of butchering in the tracks as well, but I try to do it without losing the essence of the song. From then on it’s try try and try. Somtimes I want an edit to work so badly I just copy-paste random shots on top of a piece of music until I get something that works. For the promo for Cinema 2010, I desperately wanted to use Intro by The Xx. And it just didn’t work. The music was way more powerful than the images and the two felt like seperate edits. So I flipped my style and went for an almost glitchy approach, for which I consulted Josh Prescott, a.k.a. Khameleon808. He helped me out and in the end I think the promo is one of the best things I have ever done, even though it’s only a minute long. I checked yesterday and I logged just over 300 hours on Cinema 2010.
WGTC: What’s the toughest part about making these videos?
Kees: Getting everything to work together. I especially have a hard time combining animation and live-action movies. I rarely see that being done flawlessly, so I don’t think it’s just me having a hard time. Cutting a 5-minute song to one minute can be a painful to and requires some tough decisions, and a lot of hard work in general. Making a video like this requires time and passion that most people just don’t have. They like to think that they do, but they don’t.
WGTC: What is your inspiration for these videos, are there other artists out there making these types of videos that you look up to?
Kees: Cinema itself inspires me a lot, but if I have to go for artists specifically I’d have to say Matt Shapiro and Josh Prescott on YouTube. Matt does an excellent job at creating artificial nostalgia and I envy him for it, and Josh has amazing cutting skills. His Apple Tree has hundreds of cuts that I could watch over and over for days.
But new talent inspires me as well. I love seeing what people come up with and especially the first segment of Filmography 2010 was really innovative. I think the mistake though is to not be inspired by inspiration, but to copy it. That rarely works. Sometimes people ask me if I feel intimidated by other editors like Matt, but they’re missing the point.
We all make a video that reflects on our own personal year of cinema. You can’t really compare 2010: The Cinescape to Cinema 2010 only because we both use music and movies to capture a year in film. It’s the impact it has on the viewer that really counts. Someone might be really moved by The Cinescape and hate Cinema 2010 because it has more segments, but that doesn’t matter to me because I know someone else will love it for the exact same reason.
WGTC: What software do you use?
Kees: I use Final Cut Pro. I do a little Avid as well, but when working with a large amount of trailers it isn’t ideal. Final Cut also allows me to do more extensive audio editing. For the final audio mixing I use Soundtrack Pro.
WGTC: Why do you make the videos? What do you hope to gain from them?
Kees: My main goal is to improve and innovate. I absolutely love the wave of retrospectives coming in after Cinema 2009 and many of the artists naming me as their inspiration. The YouTube audience can be tough to impress, but eventually it’s very rewarding to try. You can learn a lot from the way people experience your edits and from discussing your edits with other editors. I hope to learn more narrative skills and focus on short / feature films in the coming years, but I might make a Cinema every now and then if people enjoy it.
WGTC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and fantastic job on the video!