In this current era, I’d believe every individual would have at least watched a short video. May it be a Youtube Video, or a simple short commercial on your tele.
However have you thought of what went on behind the scenes? Thought of transiting into videography? Or just curious about the life of a video production crew? In this blogpost, we will see what is life like for Basil Yeo, Video Production Producer of tokuAsia Pictures.
Be enlightened into the world of video production as we bring to you a Q&A session with renowned Video Production House tokuAsia Pictures.
tokuAsia Pictures is a commercial film & video production company based in Singapore, and specialises in creating engaging motion pictures with a cinematic touch. Established in 2012 with the vision of becoming a leading creator of scripted digital content for Asian and international markets, our passion is in telling stories that have the power to inform, inspire and educate.
Q&A with tokuAsia Pictures
1. What made you decide to intersect into the videography industry?
We have always loved writing and making videos for fun. It was around 2012 when low cost filmmaking tools became widely available, and I had just come out of NS while some of my friends were in between jobs or had just come back from overseas studies, so we decided to take a dive into the industry to see how far our common interest could take us.
2. Has it always been your dream since young to be in this industry?
Although I love filmmaking, I never expected myself to be working professionally in this industry.
As a child I wanted to be a police officer, and I actually tried to apply twice but got rejected both times.
It was probably better that they rejected me because I really cannot see myself doing anything other than filmmaking now!
3. Is there a message you would like to put across to your viewers about the videos you produce? If yes, what is it?
I believe that every form of media produced carries a message, but I suppose it will change depending on the story that we’re trying to tell.
Film/TV is an extremely powerful medium and has shown an ability to shape positive change in society. If I were to transcribe our content vision into a message, I’d say we’d want the ideals of humility, self-improvement and acceptance to be a big part of our content. We want people who watch our shows to strive to be better, fulfilled human beings.
4. Share your journey in the industry ever since tokuAsia Pictures was formed. Any challenges that you were faced with?
We’ve always wanted to create our own series, but when we started out lacked the skills, experience and funds to do so. Trying to create a name for ourselves was indeed challenging but even more challenging than that was the fact that we started out without any capital and lived off our own savings for the entirety of the first year. We worked on almost anything we could find from nearly anyone who was willing to give us a chance. It was also extremely difficult convincing our parents because of the risks involved and one of us had to drop out by the end of the first year (but he’s back now). Things eventually got better and I think right now I can say that no matter what the future holds for us, we can be proud that we survived all of that. It helped us build some grit and character that might be useful in our future work.
5. What motivates you to remain in your line of business?
The determination to create something great that will be watched and appreciated by other people and also, as I mentioned earlier, to be able to use film/TV as a medium of influence, and not just an “idiot box” like some like to call it.
6. What is your perception of the video production industry in Singapore?
We are an extremely small industry blessed with lots of talented people, but a lot of the potential goes untapped because the opportunities available are also scarce. Most people will rant about how certain things are not to their liking or about how little chances there are to showcase their talent (I’m not saying it’s not okay to rant, I rant sometimes too) but few will actually step up and do something about it, but it’s understandable because the fear of failure and ridicule when you screw up is real. However, this is merely part and parcel of growth and we all need to be less fearful and start making our own opportunities, which in turn will lead to opportunities for others and eventually growth for the industry.
I also feel that often times there is a consumer misconception that video production is easy and this is largely due to a combination of factors: the lack of understanding about the video production process and the fact that video is also so common these days that the idea of it being a professional craft is disappearing, and this can lead to conflict in the client-vendor relationship. We’ve had experiences where we realised that the client had been viewing our advice as inadequacy and proactively challenged it to the point where a normal working relationship became impossible to sustain. I’m very sure that everyone in this industry has had a similar experience, but instead of letting resentment overwhelm and influence us, we’ve made a promise to ourselves that we will take extra effort in educating our clients about the video production process through our blog (shameless plug: toku.asia/blog). It is our hope that clients and even fellow production people will see good value in this direction, which may lead to happier client-vendor relationships.
7. Share with us your essential carry on when you’re filming.
No matter what I’m shooting with, I never forget to bring my GenusTech Eclipse Variable ND filter! It’s the most important thing to have when you’re shooting outdoors in daylight, because stopping down on your lens is almost never enough, and you will also lose the creative ability to use shallow depth of field. Also, I carry an assortment of hex keys in a few sizes for field maintenance work.
8. What did you think of the Samyang lenses you used while filming the short video?
(Actually I also shot on the Canon 70-200, haha)
I like the Samyang VDSLR primes as they are small, lightweight and produce sharp images. Like most cinema lenses, they also come with manual aperture rings that make controlling light so much easier, smoother and intuitive than having to press buttons on your camera. Besides, they’re really value for money!
9. Which of your equipments has been with you for the longest time since the start of Tokuasia Pictures?
If I can recall correctly, it would probably have to be our Zoom H4n. It was the first piece of gear we bought when we got the payment for our first job.
You absolutely can not have bad audio as it can ruin a project faster than a bad image (we learnt this the hard way, so trust me, we know!)
10. What do you intend to do with your video production team in your future projects to come?
After taking a brief hiatus from original work to complete my degree in 2016, I’m writing and casting for the pilot episode of a six-episode science-fiction/fantasy series!
This is going to be our major project for 2017 and we hope that our story will be strong enough to attract audiences & potential partners so that we can do the full series! At the same time, we’re working on other preliminary ideas and may participate in some short film competitions along the way to further hone our abilities and work with new people to keep the momentum going.
We also hope to serve more clients who see value in working with us and who want to be a part of our journey moving forward.
11. What would you like to share with amateurs who would like to dive into video production?
Get up, write and shoot! And then share it on the Internet for the world to see.
Don’t be afraid of your work being criticised as long as the criticism helps you to improve, and hopefully in a few years’ time you will look back and laugh or cringe at it for being bad, but that’s how you know your eyes have improved and progress has happened.
If you made it to the end of the post, you should be inspired by the growth of tokuAsia Pictures!
Now we all know, that youtube video, or viral video you came across on your Facebook timeline? Sure didn’t come easy, did it?
Basil and team has showed how passion can truly drive an individual beyond its limits! And how hard work and determination is vastly essential in his line of work.
Thank you Basil for taking the time to answer our questions! May tokuAsia Pictures move up to greater heights this new year!
Don’t forget to check out their videos on their Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/tokuasiapictures/?fref=ts
Or you may also visit their website! toku.asia/blog