Videographer to Watch: Jonathan Adamson

By: Melanie Blodgett Photo by: Justin Hackworth

If you’ve seen any of the films from Alt SLC 2014, you know that there must have been a talented person behind the camera. Well, that person is Jonathan Adamson and he is talented indeed.

Jonathan got his start in film his junior year of high school where he created 2D animation films by hand drawing 30 images for every second of video. Although, he states, it was a long and painful process, it was his introduction to moving images and he found himself admitted to the film program at BYU years later.

Jonathan has had the privilege of working for BYU library, Roberts Arts & Crafts, Equality Utah, TEA of Utah, Dixie State University, Veterinary Orthopedic Services, Altitude Summit (YAY!), as well as individuals like Dustin and Spencer whose flashmob proposal at Home Depot went viral.

We asked him a few questions today so you can get to know the man behind the lens.

Where do you draw inspiration?

There are two kinds of work I enjoy doing. The first kind is the kind of work that leaves me feeling like I am helping to make a difference in the world- a change for good. For this kind of work, my passion and inspiration really comes from this idea that people are basically good. And because they are basically good, if I experience something that inspires me to create change, I believe that if other people were able to experience that same thing, they would also be inspired to create change. Often times, that experience has been meeting and talking with individuals who have the most to gain from positive change. The people that are harmed the most by the status quo. I draw on them and their stories to breath life into videos that hopefully convey those stories in a way that touches viewers who may never actually meet these people or otherwise here their stories.

The other kind of work I love is really just capturing beautiful images. If we’d only take the time to "stop and smell the roses,” perhaps we’d realize how beautiful life really is. Filmmaking has the power to show us something seemingly normal in a new way. Making dinner. A child paying house. Rain. All of a sudden these small moments are brought to our attention in a way that perhaps we wouldn’t otherwise notice or even think to call “beautiful.” For this kind of work I try and think about and observe how people connect with their world, which I believe is at the root of what we call beautiful. It is a connectedness that we feel- to nature, to another human being, to a cause. I draw inspiration for this sort of work mainly through observation. It forces me to look at the world around me in different ways. Perhaps the brown plants in front of the house, dormant from the cold, are “ugly” at first glance, but change your angle and maybe that yellow brown color looks beautiful against the deep wine red color of the wood siding. Beauty may very well lie in perspective.

Why do you love video?

Video has amazing power. First, it can motivate people to create a better world. Storytelling is such a huge part of the human experience. It is what enables us to learn from our past and envision our future. I think that video is probably the most effective storytelling medium.

Second, it’s a very collaborative medium. On large productions there can be hundreds of people that unite to tell a story and so it forces me to work with and depend on others and their talents and ideas that I can then learn from.

Finally, it is challenging. Every project is unique. It forces me to learn new skills and to try new things and it never fails to keep me on my toes. There is so much to love about video!

What is the future of video online?

Video has become an ever growing part of our daily experience. I imagine that in the future, the consumer will decide what stories and messages are heard. As the Millennial generation grows older, the market for broadcast TV will continue to shrink and online viewing will expand. With the expansion of online viewing will come an increasing importance placed on resonating with online communities and social networks. If your story resonates with the online community, it will be shared and distributed and millions of captivated people could tune in to watch. If, however, your story or message does not resonate, no one will hear about it. The future of video IS online. The trick is and will be, how do you tell a compelling story that the online community will share?

See more from Jonathan on his site, Reelboy Productions.