Interview with filmmaker and cinematographer Sergio Herencias

I’ve contacted Sergio Herencias, a talented Swiss/Spanish Filmmaker and Cinematographer based in Zürich, Switzerland for an exclusive interview. Raised in a small village called Degersheim, Sergio has managed to turn his dream and great passion into a career.

Sergio Herencias Tell me about yourself and what do you do.

Sergio: Okay, my name is Sergio I’m 31 years old. I work as a DP, Director and Motion Designer. I’m co-owner and founder of Guave Studios GmbH and Guave Motion. As CEO & Producer, I’m responsible that the business keeps running and my customers are satisfied with our projects.

Sergio Herencias Editing

My expertise ranges from the starting concept over to production and post production. I’m a lucky owner of a RED Epic and love optimized and efficient workflows. Shootings provides an ideal counterbalance to the Post Production parts of my job and I do it with a lot of passion! I also love to edit movies and create complex animation projects in After Effects.

How did you get started in Video Production?

With many detours [smiles]. As the son of a professional photographer I came in contact with cameras very early and was allowed to occasionally adjust and trigger.
The view through the eyepiece of the camera was like looking through a tube, which let me plunge into another, more creative and fascinating world.
In addition to photography, my father introduce me to another passion: Movies. Together we watched lots of movies and went to the movie theaters every week until it became some kind of obsession.

Sergio Herencias Cinematographer

I was inspired to look behind the scenes, to uncover all the mysteries behind this sorcery. In my first attempts I tried to recreate scenes of multiple movies using my fathers first camera, a JVC connected to a VHS-Recorder. Unfortunately, during that time (in the 90s) there were no schools, no internet and no training programs in this field. So I learned all autodidactically, informed myself from various sources, books and people that were working in the business. During my apprenticeship (in 2000) I visited the art school for photography in Zurich. Thanks to the internet all this information became more accessible. After that I only had to collect experience and to realize many projects as possible. With every new project my know-how grew.
Even today, I learn something from each new project and that makes it exciting.

Tell me about your last project “Muñeca”

Muñeca, is a little project that has long been on my mind, caused by the desire for something new, and to experiment with unusual things. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to fund such projects and at that time i had not found the right partner to produce the short film, until last year. A production company called Sinneszellen contacted me regarding a partnership with Guave Motion and voilà, the production began.

Muñeca Main Title

After we had finished the script we decided to realize it as a (low)-no-Budget Short Film because the funding for such a special short is almost impossible in Switzerland. All crew members waived their fee and we got some cool deals with location and equipment owners. My goal was, to forget the Budget restriction, and create a special and highly challenging visual language with very elaborately designed sets.

We shot this film within two hard days using a Red Epic and only a five-man crew (Director & DP, Light & Grip Technician, two Runners and a Make-Up & Dress Artist), apart from the cast. We had a lot of fun and we were surprised by the results.

Muñeca Making Of

After the filming I went to edit the film and do the Sound Design, for me it was by far the hardest part of the whole Production.

And what is “Muñeca” about?

“Muñeca” is the Spanish for both “marionette” and “wrist”. It’s a grim tale of hidden undercurrents: desires, fears, manipulation, and animal instincts vie with each other in a maelstrom of passions and pitfalls. In some of the ideas and images, dream merges with reality. The result is portrayed as a hall of mirrors, with female oppression and male dominance and egocentricity.

Muñeca Frame

The narrative is based on the fear and bewilderment of the main character’s nightmare, interacting with her deep-rooted fear of her own, subconscious lusts. A pretty young woman, driven by the sadism of an egomaniac and her own, apparently unwilling oppression, mutates into a human marionette, «muñeca».


What lenses did you use?

Since we had no budget to rent Prime Lenses, I used Canon Lenses which are very appropriate for the sharp, and high-res images of the Red Epic. We also had to work very efficiently and therefore the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Macro 100mm f/2.8L were perfectly suitable. We had a nice and soft depth of field and were able to create beautiful images with a few additional tricks.

Red Epic with Canon Lens

What about the lighting?

Light is everything! We used the opportunity and experimented with the lights. It’s subtle but the light actually plays the main role in this film and also is part of the story.
From the very beginning I wanted to create this story with a dark ambient, hot and cold tones so we decided to work as much as possible with selective lighting. The Light was integrated within every scene. For example I wanted carbon fiber lamps hanging from the ceiling as a light source or bouncing light off some objects.

What about the Post-Production?

That was very, very complex. I decided to do it myself in Adobe Premiere, because I had difficulties to find the right words to express the feelings and thoughts that I would like to have implemented in the cut. In addition to this, the music was very important to me and this went hand in hand with the cut. During the editing of the film I was able to improve the storytelling with some reframings and additions.

Adobe Premiere Editing Muñeca

The final-cut, color grading and mastering was done through the main production company. They offered me to make it with their Smoke-Suite, Smoke is really a powerful tool. The grading was done with DaVinci Resolve by Senior Digital Colorist Stefan King from Germany. The communication with Stefan was smooth from the beginning and he was able to understand my wishes and ideas perfectly. Great man!

A lot of cinematographers have said that some of the best shots come from accidents and improvisation. What do you think about that?

I totally agree. There are always certain things that you have not considered, especially with a small crew and a stressful shooting. From a reflection that appears suddenly to space problems with a big rig, then you must move your camera and shoot from a different angle. It also includes unpredictable weather situations. There are many (happy) accidents that could be interesting for the final image. Your creativity comes into play and everything is exciting, I enjoy this.

Muñeca Frame

Talk to me about the cinematographer best friend.

You mean the camera? I love her. Have you seen my unboxing movie? I think that says it all. :)

Now back to topic. For me it is Oliver, who takes care of the Light & Grip. There are many special situations in a shooting that you cannot handle with standard solutions and Oli is my man for that. When I’m not directing myself, it is logically the director is my best friend, but only if he gives me the liberty to be creative.

What project or job have you had the most fun working on?

Projects in which I can unfold myself and transport my creative visions, but there is none in particular. Variety is the most fun.

What’s your single favorite shot you’ve seen in a film or movie?

That is a very difficult question. Believe me, I’ve seen an incredible number of movies. Right now I remember just one shot and that is the incredible single-shot from Children of Men in which Clive Owen’s character searches a building under attack. Have you seen it? It was amazing. The camera was playing incredibly with the choreography and actors. It took five hours every time they wanted to reshoot it’s crazy stuff and expensive.

Can you tell me about your next project?

I’m slowly working towards a feature-length documentary film. I already have many pictures in mind but I’m unwilling to reveal more. There is also in Pre-Production a funny mini-series produced at Guave Motion.

“Muñeca” Credits:

Written & Directed by Sergio Herencias

Produced by: Sinneszellen
in Association with: Guave Motion

Senior Producer: Michelle Edelmann
Co-Producer: Sergio Herencias


Nathalie Schwander
Vladimir Mitrovic
Tamara Maritz
Simone Auderset

Director of Photography: Sergio Herencias
1st Assistant DP: Oliver Muff
Styling AD & Wardrobe: Michelle Edelmann
Assistant to Director: Bruce Pimenta & Francis Pimenta
Hair & Make-up Design: Michelle Edelmann
Best Boy: Patricia Frei, Francis Pimenta, Bruce Pimenta
Light & Grip Technician: Oliver Muff

Editor: Sergio Herencias
VFX Artist: David Fritsche
Senior Digital Colorist: Stefan King
Title Design: Debby Bürgisser
Sound Design: Sergio Herencias

Special Thanks to: Cello & Cyrill Weiss

Shot on Red Epic

Official Muñeca Website


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Interview with Film Director and Cinematographer Lior Babadost

Lior Babadost, founder of Exceptional Pictures had already started working in the field of photography and film by the time he was 16. His father was occupied with photography at the time, so it would not be exaggerated to say he was born into the world of imagery. Ever Since he got his own video camera at 10, he has been engrossed in filmmaking and shooting videos. Shortly after, he bought his first photography camera through his savings. When his classmates were busy playing around, he would grab his cameras and shoot videos with his friends. Every memory of childhood is intertwined with his cameras. As he puts it, “every day of my childhood passed, striking my mind with new ideas to quench my thirst for what my true passion lay in: cinematography”. Who are you and what do you do?

Lior Babadost: Going all the way from working at multiple studios worldwide to founding my own was not so easy. To be able to think outside of the box and develop the courage it takes to realize that you possess the wit and creativity to be by far the best, did not come to me overnight. Years of work and close supervision proved me that founding my own studio was the least I could do to fulfill my god given talents. Directing too came naturally to me, as I constantly criticized the objects of the shots I took with my friends in my teen years. The critical leading character and the good eye for capturing the right moment stays with me until today. To conquer the rivalry in an international level is not an easy job, although I suppose, that at the end of the day, that is what makes you who you are.

What is your favorite lens?

The type of lens I use depends on a number of factors, such as the purpose of the shooting session, the setting, the lighting and so on. I am quite picky on selecting the right lens and hardly act on impulse.

Lior Babadost

What is your approach to lighting?

Name one thing that could make the major difference between a catchy billboard photo and a graduation portrait better off on the fridge door. Have the perfect scenery, the most attractive model. The best setting and camera, and miss this one thing to make your efforts worth nothing. Even the best grader cannot make up for a lame lighting. In my projects, employing the high-end lighting equipment has always been a priority.

Tell me about Exceptional Pictures

They say, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life“, and so have I felt in this business. It was never a job, but a labor of love. The day I decided to start this business, I knew I would either surrender to barriers to my dreams like millions of other people out there, or I would be soaring quicker than a ray of light. So, I took the road less traveled as Robert Frost puts it. Exceptional Pictures is now working with well-known companies all around the globe, having carried out tens of successful projects elaborately.

Tell me about the crew at Exceptional Pictures

Exceptional Pictures is the amalgamation of highly qualified specialists, who are the perfect matches to lead a teamwork forward in an incredible speed. All the crew have known each other for years and have stayed in close contact although their working scopes have stretched all the way from Austria to even Hollywood and many more countries.

What are some of your favorite films?

There are way too many, let me see, well of course the Godfather, La vita e bella, Schindler’s list, Cinema Paradiso, Lord of war, Casino, Analyze this, and pretty much anything by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Anything else you would like to say?

If you spare any efforts in reaching your dreams, you have betrayed yourself. Keep moving on steadfastly. A seagull will submerge in the sea if it fails to flap its wings nonstop. Life is like riding a bicycle, you must ride it on to keep the balance. Remember life is doomed to give you what you really want.

Lior Babadost Film Director and Cinematographer

Exceptional Pictures Website
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Exceptional Pictures Facebook
Exceptional Pictures Twitter

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Interview with cinematographer Taylor Loughran

Over the past year Canadian cinematographer Taylor Loughran had been working on developing, planning, shooting and editing a 25 minute mountain bike film called “You Like This”.

I discovered the film and was amazed by the quality of the images and the diversity of the shots including aerial shots, dolly/crane shots, etc…a Mountain Bike Film done with passion and hard work. As Taylor says:

Good things come to those who work. So, work hard, know what you want, and don’t let anyone tell you different!

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If you like “You Like This” go ahead and take a look at Taylor Loughran’s interview below.

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Cameraman Paul Schlindwein interview

I had the chance to get in touch with Jed Rothenberg, founder of LandingPadBA. LandingPadBA (LPBA) is an alternative city guide and online agency from Buenos Aires, Argentina. LPBA author Rex Racer did this interview and I’m publishing again here on The interview is about US cameraman Paul Schlindwein that moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina a few years ago.

What brought you to Buenos Aires?

Paul: The daily grind! I was working 22 days a month just to break even. It really began in England. We were pub crawling on a canal boat through the Midlands during a film festival when I was chatting with some friends.

We were talking about how if Bush was reelected in ’04 that I was going to leave the states. Well, he was reelected and I began to make plans to leave. I wanted to go someplace south of the equator, so when the fallout came I’d be far enough away. I needed an international airport with direct flights for work, so it was down to Sao Paolo, Lima and Buenos Aires. I hate Sao Paolo. It reminds me of Houston, TX, except in Brazil. Lima is a bit too dangerous. So here we are.

I had actually been here before, 30 years earlier, while my sister was studying here. I decided to make 4 trips to Buenos Aires before I made the big move. I networked, researched job opportunities and then liquidated everything I had in the states.

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