30 Second Life: Q and A with Greg Reitman

Recently I got to take a stroll around 4th Avenue with Greg Reitman, producer of the video blog 30 Second Life. Greg posts a video of Park Slope life every few days and sets each piece to music.

Brit in Brooklyn: What made you decide to start 30 Second Life?

I’ve started quite a few blogs over the years but was never consistent in updating them. In addition, they had no
central theme and I was posting random links to things that I thought were interesting at the time. I started 30 Second Life in December 2007 after buying The Flip, a small pocket size video camera. I carried it everywhere, shooting interesting things I saw in and around NYC. I would come home, listen to music and watch what I had shot for the day. The music and footage combination made for an interesting mix and the idea evolved from there.

BIB: Why movies and not photography or writing?

I enjoy both, but my true passion has always been film. I love the editing process, looking at all the different pieces of footage, figuring out what the overall pace of the film should be and choosing the perfect song. 

BIB: How do you decide what to shoot, what inspires you?

With every shot, I’m always thinking about what kind of story I want to tell. Dark? Funny? Sarcastic? I’m not going out and shooting big events like parades or rock concerts. I like to shoot subtle moments. Things that New Yorkers see and experience everyday. The morning commute. Musicians on the subway platform. Random signs. The beautiful brownstones in Park Slope.

August 15 from Mr. Thirty on Vimeo.

BIB: Do you have the music in mind while you are shooting or does that come in
at the editing stage?

Choosing the music is the hardest part. Sometimes I’ll make an on-the-go ipod playlist of possible songs for the day as I’m commuting home. This gives me some ideas. Most of the time, though, it’s conceived during the editing phase. The music I choose depends on the overall tone of the day, my mood, and the type of footage I’ve taken.

BIB: About how long does each movie take to put together?

It varies. Typically 3-4 hours.

BIB: Are there any editors, movies or directors that you are particularly fond
of or are influenced by?

I love Woody Allen. Annie Hall is my favorite. Michael Moore. Coen Brothers. I pretty much Tivo most docs on IFC and Sundance channel as well.

  BIB: Do you have any tips for bloggers thinking of making movies for their
blogs? What’s the most workable basic software and equipment setup?

I am a big fan of Tumblr, my blogging platform and Vimeo hosts all my videos. They sync up well together. I also use TubeMogel for syndication. I used iMovie for a while before switching to Final Cut Pro for editing. I shoot with my Flip camera which has a built in USB, so exporting to my computer is very simple.

BIB: What blogs do you read?

My Film News

My Brooklyn neighborhood

My Pop culture fix