Ashley Maas is a Brooklyn based video producer who has worked for Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Currently, she’s the Marketing Video Producer for Vimeo where she worked on their recent 360 video platform launch. We got a chance to talk with Ashley about her role at Vimeo, her favorite gear and a lot more!
KitSplit: Tell us a little about your work and background.
Ashley: I started off on the other side of the camera as an acting major in college. I had an agent. I was getting called in for auditions. But after spending more time on film sets, I decided to add video production to my studies. Since then, I’ve worked in on-air advertising, freelanced for a music blog called The Wild Honey Pie, spent one year at The New York Times and one at Rolling Stone, and now I’m happily at Vimeo.
KS: How did you end up at Vimeo as a video producer and how have you liked it there?
A: It’s been incredible. I was hoping to find something permanent doing what I love to do. And one day, a friend posted that Vimeo was hiring. Finally! I was lucky to have been invited into the Vimeo family where I’m surrounded by some of the best creatives around. Everyone is supportive and smart and super cool. And we’re a dog friendly office, so yeah.
KS: Amazing. We love dogs. How would you describe your style?
A: My editing style is clean and detail oriented. I’m also all about the feeling shots can evoke. And I pay close attention to details others might miss. I love quality products. And all of that translates to producing and directing. I’m very organized. You should see my call sheets!
KS: Can you tell us a little about your process?
A: Organization! I’m always incredibly organized throughout the process. Part of the blessing and curse of being a planner.
When it comes to post, I rely on my gut reactions. Anytime I react to a clip, I mark it to be a select. Because you only have that reaction once. I learned that early on. From then on, I try to stay as detached as I can so I don’t edit with a bias. That also helps when you need to delete an entire segment from your edit and it’s one you really liked. 🙂
KS: What are 3 of your all-time most favorite projects?
A: Oh goodness. We just launched a campaign for 360 video support at Vimeo that I’ve been excited about since day one on the job. It was a completely new format for me, so I spent a lot of time watching tutorials to get ready. And when the time came, I had my hands in all aspects of the project, including producing, casting, assistant directing, kitten wrangling, and visual effects. We’ve just wrapped several videos for the launch, including behind the scenes, interviews with filmmakers and the 360 videos themselves. Now come all the events! I’ll be at NAB. So come by the Vimeo booth and say hello! I also produced two shoots with the legendary David Fricke, who is an incredible person. But my absolute favorite was working on short documentaries at Rolling Stone, specifically one on the harmful effects of fracking near pregnant mothers. The topic was sad but it was a real challenge and I loved every minute of it. Docs will always be my favorite content.
KS: Can you give us a general overview of the gear you typically use?
A: Personally, I own and use the Sony A7S ii. But we have FS7s at work and they’re so nice. I go for one of those if it’s an interview. And the smaller alpha for shoots when I need to move around a bit more.
When it comes to lenses, I’m still learning. But I’ve been renting a lot and trying new ones out to see how they look. It’s so important to try new gear! I highly recommend KitSplit for that. Because you’re connecting to people who have the item and know it well and they are excited to tell you all about it.
KS: What is your most-used piece of gear?
A: My shoulder mount. I’ve had this little cheap mount for years and it’s still my favorite. I don’t need much to stay stable. And it’s great for not having a great deal of upper body strength.
KS: Who are your favorite filmmakers?
KS: What’s the best piece of advice you got when starting out?
A: Be vocal when you have an idea. And don’t be afraid to try it out. And if you face a difficult challenge with all odds against you, don’t back down. Give it everything you’ve got to make it work.
Lastly, set autosave to every 5 minutes. 🙂
KS: What advice would you offer to other folks just starting out?
A: Get your hands dirty. You can watch tutorials and read up on techniques all day, but you won’t learn anything until you’re out in the field or edit room. That was so true of working with 360. Every day in post was trial and error and learning so many new skills I never even knew existed.
For folks just starting, I recommend taking part in Vimeo’s weekend challenges. They’ll motivate you to go out and do a project and provide you with the educational resources to do so. I did several when I was just beginning film in college and they helped me build my portfolio.
Also, network! And don’t be afraid of talking with fellow creatives.
KS: Closing thoughts?
A: There is so much content out there and there’s a lot of pressure to do something new. But I say ignore that. Do a project that really makes you excited, even if you have to work through the night after your day job. Those projects fuel you and motivate you to try new software and cameras and techniques. And eventually, you’ll be doing something that other creatives will be impressed with and challenged by, without even realizing it.
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