‘Many doubted me when I chose cinematography as a career’
Babatunde Kolawole is one person who is passionate about using the camera to capture images and video. He speaks to ROTIMI IGE about cinematography as a career and his hustle among other issues.
Briefly tell us about yourself and how you started
My name is Babatunde Kolawole, a graduate of CITI Gate Institute of Technology, Ibadan with a HDSE (Higher Diploma Software Engineer) certificate in Computer Engineering. I also bagged a certificate in Networking from NIIT (National Institute of Information Technology). I am a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State. My media career began in 2008 when I joined CITI Gate. I went to a lecturer to ask if he could shoot a green background music video (CHROMA) and he answered in the negative. He said he could only write codes even though he was working with a renowned company in Nigeria as a programmer. So, I began research on the internet for more information about this. I remember downloading a 30-day trial video editing software which I eventually used in shooting a music video with my Blackberry phone then and that was how the journey began for me.
How have you been coping with the craft?
I have been in the media for as long as I can remember. My brand, Extersee, is 10 years old and is growing. The journey has been filled with many hurdles but we thank God for His grace, we are progressing. Some people take undue advantage of or relate with one because of what one can offer them but they don’t consider what is at stake for one and the brand. They care less about the troubles that one has to go through to get the appropriate equipment in order to get work done. It is very convenient and easy to request for pictures without interest in the herculean task involved and find it difficult to pay for such services, not minding the fact that it is no longer a hobby, but a profession that is used to pay necessary bills. I am thankful to God that I’m still here, giving my best, regardless of all these.
What was your first major work as a photographer or cinematographer?
My first major work was when I got an invite from a renowned Lagos-based musical video director to be his assistant on a particular project. I was very excited about this and that experience served as my first major exposure into the world of photography and cinematography. It also increased my enthusiasm to carve a niche for myself in the industry. I took advantage of the opportunity to network with top artistes in Lagos. The drive for more, fuelled my desire to own a personal entity/brand which gave rise to Extersee. Another of such breakthrough was when I had to travel out of the country for a shoot with a client. This was a major deal as it exposed me to the international industry hence making me a global citizen. Extersee is doing great now and that is my pride. I believe that the best is yet to come.
What is your greatest source of inspiration for cinematography or photography?
My source of inspiration is God and God alone. I am a story teller as a photographer. I create events and activities around every picture that I take. The stories I create around them give them the feel of a motion picture. I tell stories with every shoot and my love for nature also serves as a source of inspiration for my works. During my early days in photography/cinematography, nature was my best inspiration, maybe because I didn’t have a studio then, but 98 per cent of my shoots were outdoors. So, I get inspired when I shoot with natural elements and for every work, I always add that to make it special.
What are you working on at present?
Well, I have many projects on ground. I’m working on my own TV programmes in collaboration with a few television stations. I am also planning a give five free music video, five free TV commercials. Just watch out for new projects via my social media pages, @iamdirectorkay and @extersee, regularly for more information.