2012 Digital Video All Stars: Cristina Valdivieso and Jon Connor
Philadelphia-based filmmaking duo Cristina Valdivieso and Jon Connor met six years ago, while Valdivieso was studying photography and Connor was working in the commercial video industry. The couple’s work covers many genres, including documentary, commercial and event filmmaking, and they’ve worked for high-profile clients including NBC, CBS, Showtime and Primetime. In 2011, Valdivieso and Connor were named on Event DV magazine’s Top 25 list of the hottest and most influential wedding and event filmmakers.
Together, Valdivieso and Connor run ShootEditLearn.com, an educational web site they use to share their knowledge with the filmmaking community. The pair also conducts educational tours across the United States with corporate partners including Kessler Crane and Zacuto; they recently announced a three-day intensive workshop in Austin, Texas, in December with digital cinematographer Philip Bloom, DP Alex Buono and Light Iron colorist Ian Vertovec, among others.
In 2009, the duo was hired by British pay-per-view channel Primetime to shoot a pilot for the roundtable sports show World’s Greatest Ever using the Canon EOS 7D camera. Primetime tapped them again in 2011 to shoot a knockout promo for the highly anticipated boxing match between Amir Khan and Zab Judah. Valdivieso and Connor shot the promo with Canon 7D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras, traveling to Los Angeles to shadow Khan and his family for four critical training days before the match.
Earlier in 2011, Valdivieso and Connor spent a week in Kivalina, Alaska, some 80 miles above the Arctic Circle, to document the impact of climate change on the indigenous Alaskans faced with moving their entire village to higher ground because of rising sea levels and storm-related erosion. Shot with the 7D, the project was included in the February debut issue of the Episcopal Church’s Wayfarer iPad app, which tells compelling stories through video, photographs and words.
According to Valdivieso and Connor, the ongoing success of their filmmaking partnership is based on their ability to be honest and open with one another. “When you work with someone you don’t know very well, you feel limited about how honest you can be,” says Valdivieso. “That’s what I love about working with Jon—we can be completely open with each other.”
Connor urges aspiring filmmakers to stay hungry. “You have to constantly put yourself out there and work really hard,” he says. “Nothing in this industry is going to come easy, and if you just sit around and wait for an opportunity to present itself, it’s never going to happen. Work hard and don’t get too discouraged when you fail, because it will happen, but you have to learn from those mistakes and keep going.”
“When people feel like they’ve already learned everything they need to learn, that’s when they are at their weakest and that is when they fail,” Valdivieso adds. “Stay humble, and never stop learning.”
Canon EOS 5D and 7D
Lexar Professional FireWire 800 card reader
Roland R-44 field recorder
RØDE Microphones NTG-3 shotgun mic
ARRI three-piece light kit
Kessler Crane Pocket Jib
Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly
Glidecam HD-4000 camera stabilizer
Singular Software PluralEyes
Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite
Kessler Crane iPhone App