It’s a scary thing to focus your life on a career, finish your studies, and then enter the professional world. When you’re involved in the creative arts it’s perhaps even more intimidating as there is no direct path to success and even at the highest levels of the field there is no security. Many artists make the joke that even after their greatest creations they are unemployed until their next success…which of course finds them immediately unemployed again. When cinematographer Jose Andres Solorzano finished his tutelage at the prestigious AFI in Los Angeles he found himself quickly on the set of famed singer Jaycob Duque’s latest music video “Mal de Amores” as DP for noted director Harold Ortiz. This video became a massive success online and was seen as reinvigorating to Duque’s career. Several factors contributed to the exceptional results of this shoot, not the least of which was the enthusiasm Solorzano contributed as a means of exhibiting his abilities and contributions on this venture. Duque’s fans had been awaiting new music, his costar was the most recent winner of “Colombia’s Next Top model”, and the team of Solorzano and Ortiz were adamant about bringing something visually striking and endearing to the video.

In terms of equipment, Jose had previously been working with access to the best equipment in the industry. “Mal de Amores” was filmed in Colombia and access to gear was somewhat more limited than LA. The director desired to transmit a feeling similar to a romantic comedy, sweet and somewhat playful. More than simply communicated in the storyline, he wanted the aesthetics to be subtly familiar to this film genre. Jose chose the Arri Alexa Mini camera for its reproduction of mid tones & highlights and Zeiss lenses for their cleanliness. The look and feel of this combination perfectly manifests the familiar tone of Romantic Comedies. The DP also experimented with flares and diffusers to affect the sharpness of the modern digital camera look. To create a unique aesthetic to the video Jose explains, “A lot of people think a cinematographer is simply the person who runs the camera during a shoot but there’s so much work involved during preproduction through post production. Modern DPs have an amazing array of tools to create a style. Harold Ortiz gave me a lot of freedom to try things on this video and this was the first of many successful productions we did together. For this video in particular, one of my secret weapons was a custom flare filter which made the flares work in a very unconventional way. I used this and a prism during the filming to make the LED walls really stand out. Later, I used color grading with the creation of my own personal LUT that emulated the color rendition of Kodak 5219 film stock for ‘Mal de Amores’. The overall theme of the video is magic so it was important for me to create a fantasy type of feel.”

One of the greatest challenges on “Mal de Amores” was a climactic VFX scene. Throughout the video, the main character, a magician, has been trying to find a way to a girl’s heart. He enters himself into to a TV talent show and wins by turning himself into fire. While the VFX works, Jose concedes that it wasn’t the particular look he desired and he amusingly notes, “I learned that if you want something to look great on film when it comes to fire…you’d better be prepared to light something on fire.” Regardless of shortcomings that Jose perceived, Juan Camilo Morales (Producer of the Music video “Mal de Amores”) states, “The talent, creativity, and expertise of Andres was fundamental in making this music video an international success with more than 2.8 million views on YouTube and programming on the main music video TV channels on Colombia and South America.”

Looking back on his entry to the industry, Solorzano reveals, “The most rewarding part of being the Direct of photography for ‘Mal de Amores’ was the end result. I’m not just talking about the music video. The music video was a big success for Jaycob Duque because he had over 2.8 million views on YouTube and he also received incredible exposure on the main TV channels in Colombia and Latin America. For me, the end result also takes into account the work relationships I built for myself and for the artists involved. ‘Mal de Amores’ was my introduction to the Colombian movie industry. Now I have plans for more projects in that country which are not solely limited to music videos. Director Harold Ortiz and I are in the planning stages of a narrative feature film as well as some visual art projects. In the end, what stays with you isn’t the cameras you used or the lenses you had for that project; it’s the people and how you related to them.”

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