SPOTLIGHT: CMHD Visuals and the art of video-making

Good to meet you! Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about what you do?

I’m Luke and I’ve been filming stuff for as long as I can remember really but I started my own YouTube channel in 2014. I started out doing a bit of comedy, music, and that kind of stuff. My friends started making music a bit later on and they asked me to film their music videos for them. 

This was about 2016/2017 and from that I started doing a couple more music videos and reaching out to artists to see if they wanted music videos as well. That got me working with a couple more artists out there and things took off.

Then in 2019 I started a specific page on Instagram for the filming work and from that I started to get noticed by dancers in Bristol. This led to more regular work because the dance companies were wanting videos every other week.

I met the first dancer at my local park and I had my gimbal (camera stabiliser) which I used for the music videos. I basically just filmed him freestyle dancing and then put that on Instagram. Then I got noticed by Aanchal Gupta’s BollyRed dance company, who saw it and reached out to me, so I started filming their videos, which led to another dance company hitting me up! It just went on from there really. 

So you became a dance film specialist in Bristol which is unusual as some new filmmakers concentrate on shorts, music videos and similar. Tell me about the film you produced documenting dance in Bristol…

So after like a year of doing dance videos I had met quite a few different groups and I wanted to make a film as a bigger project for myself so people can find out what’s actually going on in this scene. When I first started filming them I didn’t really know anything about dance, let alone dance in Bristol but after filming them for a bit it seemed quite interesting. I remember that there wasn’t really even any information about it on YouTube when I was doing my initial research. There was one video which was kind of similar but it didn’t really talk about dance in depth so I thought there was something missing. 

And did you focus on a particular dance scene or different types? 

So in the documentary I interviewed three people; one was the first dancer I ever filmed who goes by the name of Mixed Vibes – he’s a street dancer who has been doing it for a while. The second person was the owner of the Bollywood dance company and she’s also got another business doing lessons on Zoom most nights. The third one was a guy called Simon who owns StreetEnvy who have been going since 2014. These were three people who all do dance in Bristol but are quite different individually. 

Okay, and what sort of reception did it get? 

It was really good, actually – a lot of people liked it. There was one dancer who thought it was something that was needed and was missing from the dance scene in Bristol. A lot of people who had said that they weren’t even into dance watched it and learned a lot about it. 

Have you got any plans to produce more documentaries? 

I did have an idea for a documentary about film makers in Bristol, but more specifically ones that do film making whilst doing music or something else as well, as that’s how I go into it. I didn’t start off doing filmmaking, I started out doing music and filmmaking was just an additional skill I had. 

And when you say doing music, are you an artist yourself? 

Yeah, so that’s how I got into film making because I was always editing my own music videos and stuff like that. 

OK, so what’s your style?

Well I do rap mainly, a bit of grime and I’ve started getting into lo-fi stuff as well. I actually released a song a few weeks ago and it got played on BBC Radio which is pretty good.

Great! How did you make that connection? 

They have an upload section for BBC Radio, so you just upload a track that you’ve done and put a bit of text or a message describing it and then they just choose whether to play it or not basically.

Okay, so this was actually played live on the radio?

Yeah by Chris Arnold, I think. 

So in terms of, say, future plans. Are you working on anything interesting at the moment?

Well, I’ve always got music videos coming out that I’ve filmed for people and I’m still doing dance videos regularly. I think when the dance studios open back up I’ll be filming a lot more workshops as well as making promo videos from the filming. 

In terms of future plans I don’t really think about that too much. I just think, right, if I do this, it will probably help me for the next thing. The way things work though is that someone will see a video I’ve done, contact me and ask me to film for them.

I’ve started filming for someone in Reading and since then I’ve had four other people in Reading want videos from me. It’s just random goals if you know what I mean, like when I started I never thought I’d even do dance videos and then suddenly I’ve met a dancer in a park and he’s asked if I can film something for him. I don’t really have set goals, I just want to do better every time. I guess when I look back I did have certain goals like leaving my retail job to do film making full time and stuff like that. I guess now that I think about it, that would’ve been a goal that I’ve now reached!

Words: Freestyle Bristol