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Timelapse videography
2018 California Dreamer Louis Schwartzberg illuminates world's invisible beauty

By Erin DeMarois
Posted 4 days ago

Louie Schwartzberg's visionary spirit has guided him through a decorated career revealing the unseen wonders of the natural world, capturing not only breathtaking images, but also the hearts of his audience.

The legendary filmmaker is this year's recipient of the 2018 California Dreamer Award, which was presented at the 2018 Poppy Awards & Industry Recognition Gala in Anaheim Feb. 15. Though Schwartzberg is best known for his directing, producing and cinematography, those familiar with him – or any who have heard his inspirational speaking engagements – know him to be an artist, risk-taker and pioneer. Schwartzberg’s achievements echo across generations; his focus on nature's subtleties renders both stunning and timeless work. 

"In nature and life... it's the little things that make the world go around," Schwartzberg says. "There’s so much to learn, so much to explore right at your feet, it develops wonder and curiosity." 

Schwartzberg wrote his own story, and he carries his hard-working perspective from a unique upbringing through every stage of life. His parents were Holocaust survivors who married and moved to New York together, and growing up in Brooklyn, he found himself in a household that celebrated the purest comforts like food on the table and a roof overhead. Schwartzberg says he cultivated a profound sense of gratitude from a young age – a notion to which he credits his drive and success.

“Appreciating the things we sometimes take for granted developed a world view that enabled me to look at the small things, which turns out to be the foundation of life,” he says.

Schwartzberg began to view the world through his own unique lens at an early age, and in college he used the power of his camera to capture pivotal moments in American history: protests, the youth movement, police brutality. But he soon found that the most enlightening moments to capture were the ones most had never seen before, and his process of filmmaking opened his world view even further.

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Schwartzberg’s detail-oriented projects captured both minute and vast aspects of the outdoors, and he continually found himself pushing the very limits of both technical ability and the physical constraints of what a camera could do. He pioneered time-lapse photography, waiting painstaking hours to change batteries and film to capture the moments previously unseen, and for more than three decades, Schwartzberg has used the technique as part of an illustrious lifetime in the film industry.  

Schwartzberg's work is everywhere, from small screens and big theaters to print and digital deployments. As the founder of the global company Energy Film Library, he essentially conceptualized the contemporary stock image industry in the '90s. He directed myriad commercials and Hollywood blockbusters for 20 years, providing visual artistry to top-name companies and public figures. Some of his most prominent work includes "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial," "Independence Day," "Twister," "Jerry Maguire" and many, many more. But it was Schwartzberg's desire to understand the natural world and the environment around him that propelled the filmmaker to new heights. Of his many accolades, Schwartzberg has earned two Clio Awards and an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography. 

One of Schwartzberg's latest projects is his "Moving Art" series on Netflix, which features jaw-dropping videos from around the world. He also recently produced two 3D IMAX films and launched a series of short films on Oprah.com. A renowned cinematic expert, Schwartzberg is bound to dabble in the latest media platforms and has never shied away from adapting or experimenting with new styles.

Part of what brings Schwartzberg’s natural revelations to life is technology. Although he appreciates and utilizes the latest products introduced into the filmmaking market, Schwartzberg has always been a few steps ahead of this market himself. When he started out with photography and 35mm cameras were not yet available to create time-lapse projects, he was determined to figure out just how to do it. It didn’t take long for him to do so. The physical aspect of the work, whether it be retrofitting a camera or figuring out how to build a motor, was no match for Schwartzberg's ambition.

It comes as no surprise to find Schwartzberg capturing images from a helicopter, filming nearly microscopic subjects in the highest resolution available, or editing 24-hour time-lapse videos. He insists that in order to observe the scaled-down patterns, colors and details of nature, technology is necessary. 

“From a scientific view it’s clearly illuminating, but it’s also transformational from a more spiritual point of view,” Schwartzberg says. “You realize that we’re only looking at the world through a narrow spectrum." 

Schwartzberg inherited a mechanical mind from his father, a tool-and-die maker in the manufacturing industry. Combining his technical skills with a problem-solving mentality, Schwartzberg found “mental gymnastics” to be entertaining. And of course, he says, there is no better source of inspiration for work like this than the Golden State.

“It’s extraordinary to be able to have forests, deserts, oceans – all in one small area,” Schwartzberg says. “These extreme contrasts don’t happen in very many places in the world.”

A nature enthusiast and adventurer, he gravitates towards the distinctive scenery California has to offer and takes full advantage of the the diverse climates and terrains. For example, shoots at the lowest spot on earth, Death Valley, and the highest spot in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney, can take place within 100 miles from each other.

It makes sense that Schwartzberg could never run out of filming ideas in the Golden State, which is one of the biggest reasons why the film industry itself relocated from New York to Los Angeles in the 1920s. Schwartzberg’s move to California was something deeper, though. The state provides limitless possibilities, accompanied by a sense of freedom to explore.

“One of the important things about California and nature is that it’s healing,” Schwartzberg says. "It opens up your world, our world, the human being world – making the invisible visible."

Consumer activation
Don't miss the upcoming #KidsNTrips Twitter chat Thursday, March 22

By Kristen Bonilla
Posted 5 days ago

Visit California is hosting a Kidifornia Twitter chat to celebrate family travel experiences across the state – just in time for summer travel planning.

The Twitter chat is hosted in partnership with #KidsNTrips and will be held at 9:30 a.m. PST Thursday, March 22.

Visit California's last #KidsNTrips Twitter chat generated 23 million potential impressions, more than 4,400 mentions and 425 unique authors using the hashtag. Follow @TravelMamas @JenLeo @LaJollaMom and @VisitCA to join in the conversation.

Prepare your destination's top family travel tips and get ready to engage using #Kidifornia. Don't forget to invite your destination partners and local influencers to join as well!

Check out the 10 questions that will be addressed during the chat here, and consider tips for enhancing engagement:

  • Visual/imagery posts are the most engaging and receive the most retweets.
  • Promote your destination using #Kidifornia.
  • Focus less on promotional tweets and more on providing participants with news, insights and tips for family travel in your destination.
  • Make sure your tweets are within 280 characters.
  • The chat moves quickly, so consider writing your tweets in advance and having photos ready.
  • Refine your call to action and customize it to the content being shared.

For questions, contact Public Relations Manager Kristen Bonilla.


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