Matteo Mescalchlin; Personal drive, passion and skipping school.
How It All Started
For Matteo Mescalchin, life has been all about going out and building things for yourself. Being born and raised in Padova, just outside Venice, where feature films are constantly shot due to the beautiful landscape, Matteo took an interest early on learning how to shoot video by skipping school to watch crews film movies in town.
From there on out, Matteo taught himself most things — from diving at 8 years old, shooting with his father’s video cameras, to learning English from listening to podcasts while driving, to starting a media production company with his brother; which is about to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary next year.
Continually Investing in Gear
As you can imagine running a lean company means stretching every dollar and piece of equipment you can. Matteo launched his career with just one camera before realizing he needed to invest in more gear, causing him to go to the bank for a small business loan. This loan helped them spur their early on growth, investing in another camera, some tapes (yes, tapes, we’re going back here), and some cheap lights.
However, like most companies once the growth started to really take off moving them into a new studio, there was another decision to be made: invest in equipment just for the studio, leaving the rest for their on-location work, and needing to get clearer with their roles with such a small team (expanding from just the brothers to two additional employees) to make work as efficient as possible.
Learning how expertly he could sculpt light with a few modifiers had Matteo hooked. Nowadays, he brings 15 or more Lighttools modifiers to every shoot to make sure he can tackle any lighting conditions and or requests, with grids being his tool of choice.
Even with the further investment into equipment, Mescalchin knew he had to make due with what they could afford to make the business profitable. Early on, in the late 80’s Matteo took a workshop with a Chimera photographer in Rome, which was his first introduction to the lighting company’s products that he would lust after for years to come. For years, the studio used hot lights for their still & video work however, once digital took over, they switched to strobes which let to a healthy obsession with modifiers.
Learning how expertly he could sculpt light with a few modifiers had Matteo hooked. Nowadays, he brings 15 or more Lighttools modifiers to every shoot to make sure he can tackle any lighting conditions and or requests, with grids being his tool of choice. You see, there is a happy ending to Matteo’s story with him and the studio finally being able to splurge on Chimera gear the last five years or so and he’s now happy to say he’s a customer for life.
Inspirations + Getting on Chimera’s Radar
When asked about his inspirations, not so surprisingly Mescalchin mentions the Chimera ambassador from Rome who’s workshop he took all those years ago, Bill Holshevnikoff. You see, for Matteo, he always respected the lighting company tremendously, which made the long arduous journey to owning said equipment that much sweeter. But, what’s even more interesting is the story of how he eventually got on Chimera‘s radar.
Being the type of company that always is open to constructive feedback from shooters, Matteo reached out about an issue he noticed with one of his five-foot Octaboxes speaking to Chimera own, Colin King. Upon chatting about the issue, they struck up a friendship over the common interest of lighting, and shaping light with grids — something that Mescalchin had become known for over the years.
After addressing the issue with his OctaPlus 5, Chimera sent it back with a request for some photos for a book on lighting with grids. Funny how some of the best relationships start out.
Upon talking about some interesting projects Matteo’s been working on, he mentioned an amazing shoot he did with Lighttools, remember the grids he loved so much? Taking creative direction from a dream he had, Matteo put together a shoot for Lighttools with a young girl and a tropical parrot to
Another project that came to mind was work with Mercedes Benz, who commissioned Mescalchin to shoot a fleet of vehicles, nine in total with 6-7 shot lists and just minutes with each car to do it all. The ultimate test of discipline, performing under pressure and knowing your light.
In step the usual suspects, as Matteo used a Chimera OctaPlus 5 on set and a couple of SuperPros with Lighttools crates to sculpt the light necessary for getting creative detail shots and beautiful interior shots like below: