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Thanos Karatziotis was born in Komotini and studied Electrical & Electronic Engineering. In 2005 he decided to move to the Netherlands and change his professional career, as he was given the opportunity to deal with his great love and second art, video production. Since then he has not stopped the productions.
Based in Enschede and having already customers big brands, after 11 years in the Netherlands wants to cooperate with Greek clients and help them develop their vision by providing them with highly professional material for their businesses. P>
Who is Thanos Karatziotis and what is the story behind Sensis Media?
I grew up in the beautiful Komotini, in Northern Greece. I was exposed in video production from the early days of my youth because of our family business, a Photo-Video Studio. I worked there as a producer. In 2005 and after my studies in engineering I moved to Holland. During my work in an engineering department I was asked to make a video tutorial for an industrial machine. I delivered a high quality product and then more requests followed. I saw a market opportunity for high quality corporate videos and my love for video production reignited. I decided to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and open Sensis Media. We are operating for 2 years and have produced already a wide range of videos, from tutorials and corporate videos to feature documentaries and commercials.
You studied Electrical & Electronic Engineering in Telecoms, what led you to work as a video producer?
The circumstances, they say that you find more work through your work and I think that is true. I feel fortunate to be busy with things I like to do. Both the engineer and the producer are fulfilling occupations. For the foreseeable future, though, all my time is dedicated in video production.
What is the secret of a successful video?
That is a difficult question! Τhe short answer is I don’t know! Except from the obvious, which is to follow most of the times the rules, there is not “a” secret or “the” approach in video making. A good video can be based on a very simple idea.
When it comes to my creative process, I don’t rush myself. I “throw” all the elements to hover in front of me and let them sink slowly into a complete movie. There is almost always a “eureka moment”, when everything suddenly falls into place and you have the complete story. Before I start shooting, I have visually the movie in my head, shot by shot. I am prepared and I know exactly what I want. It is then a matter of framing, painting with the camera, the lights and the models what is already pre-composed in your head.
What skills should someone have in order to be a good video producer?
First of all you need to know cinematography. Can be done traditionally, working for a producer like I did, or go to a school, get the basic arsenal and then work with a producer to gain the practical experience. You should know how to compose a shot, how to direct, how to edit, be a sound engineer, a special effects artist, a writer and more. Then you should work very organized as in any production environment. Plan ahead, be prepared and anticipate all issues.
What are the stages in video production;
Initially we have a discussion with the client. We identify the goal of the video and the target audience. We identify the feel of the video like corporate, educational, funny, serious, with a twist etc. We get all the information that he wants to incorporate in his production...be it a script, photos, ideas even a sketch on a scrap page! We produce a storyboard based on the input of the client, schedule casting calls for the actors and the models if needed, choose a voice talent, scout the shoot locations, acquire the necessary permissions if needed and schedule shoot days.
Then we go on location and shoot. We keep a small and flexible crew consisting of me, the director of photography and a couple of assistants. If we shoot in our client's location we make sure to destruct as less as possible their daily operations. Other projects less costly can be pulled off with a one man crew, in which case I shoot alone.
Then it’s time to start slicing and shuffling all those captured video frames. In post-production we cut and paste, create tempo and emotion, special effects and graphics, we color grade, allocate music theme, do the audio mastering etc. The movie is thoroughly screened and inspected to ensure the utmost quality and then is delivered to the client.
What kind of projects are you working on and which are some of the famous brands that you have worked with?
We just delivered a corporate video regarding the introduction of the new quality management system on a client's plant. Our previous work was an advertisement. The most known names that we are honored to have as clients are Vredestein, Apollo and Coop Supermarkten.
How important is the correct promotion for a company?
That is one of the most important factors in the success of an enterprise. It is not random that even companies with billions in revenue spend its bigger chunk in promotion. Either you will embrace promotion, get brand recognition, expand and repeat the cycle or you will get lost in obscurity.
What is the differences between the greek and the dutch market?
There are differences and similarities. At the moment the Greek market suffers on the field and in fact in any other field. Years of austerity contributed in that sad reality! Besides that sweeping factor, Greeks are more conservative while Dutch welcome more artistic experimentations in their videos. In Greece is cheaper to acquire shoot permissions, in Holland can be very expensive. Also the cost of the service is different. In Greece a company needs less money to operate and that reflects on the final price of the product.
On the other side both markets can appreciate your product. The Greek audience is exposed as much as the Dutch in high quality video material and both are equally demanding.
How is life in Enschede, outside the international center of the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam)?
The same rainy! Enschede is an average sized Dutch city that has a lot of students. It has some interesting choices for a night out, although most of the times we are campaigning in other areas. It is a green, beautiful and quiet city with a booming market. Except from the “trivial” bike stealing nothing bad or extreme is happening.
What are you advising the Greek neo-immigrants, who are moving in the Netherlands for a better future?
I wish them first of all the best of luck! They should know that in the first months they will pay a lot of money. For example to rent an apartment they have to pay 2 or 3 rents as guarantee. They will be surprised on how expensive services are here, try to call a taxi, a plumber, a locksmith. They should also know that finding a job is not so easy anymore. In the old days, 11 years ago, was much easier to get a job. Also most likely they will end up in menial positions until at least learn to speak business Dutch and network. Even with a degree in hands, the international positions are limited. Since most of the job hunting is done online, they should start searching before they even attempt to come here. Secure your position and then move because every unemployed day costs a lot of money in Holland. When you get a job, granted you get paid better than in Greece, at least double. However, all these money fly away very-very easy. In other words Holland is not a spring rose petal road. I do not want to disappoint anyone but those are the cold facts.
Dutch people are direct. Most of them have been served the idea of the lazy Greek by the mass media. They will show it at times and you should not get offended. However when they meet you and appreciate you as a person beyond the stereotypes, they will trust you and they will show it.
Besides the above objections, in Holland you will make new friends, broaden your horizons and you will have fun. It is a beautiful, free and civilized country. You can engage in many activities, enjoy a unique nightlife for all tastes, try many different cuisines, get acquainted with a range of ethnicities, traditions and ideologies that will improve you as a person, travel around in Europe since Holland is in the middle and many more. If you are an extrovert definitely you will not get bored.
My most important advice for newcomers is to network!
You love technology. Which is your favorite gadget?
I consider my mobile an extension of myself, so that specific gadget goes beyond the gadget category. In our production house we have a lot of video equipment, which all of them in my eyes are “toys for big boys”. The 3-axis camera stabilizer is an amazing tool which I really dig! You can jump around like a primate while shooting and still your shots are buttery smooth.
What are the trends in video production now?
Technology has come a long way in videography. In the recent years we have seen an “explosion” in accessible high quality professional video equipment. A production camera that cost a million euros in the 80’s has been replaced with a digital equivalent that cost a few thousand euros and has the same quality output. A stabilizer or a dolly in the 70’s cost hundreds of thousands of euros and was available only in major Hollywood productions. Nowadays you can pull the same cinematic shots with a few thousand euros worth of equipment. With the ”explosion” of the broadband internet and video hosting sites like YouTube the audience has been exposed and used in a plethora of high quality video material.
The trend nowadays is high quality cinematic production with simple, minimal graphics and organic motion.
What are the plans and dreams for the future?
At the moment we are expanding our customer base and the range of our productions. We also invest continually in equipment, the more the merrier. We want to continue delivering quality material and find new creative and innovative ways to express our customer's visions in our productions.
What kind of projects are you working at your company Sensis Media and how can someone come in touch with you?
We do corporate videos, promo videos, tutorials, advertisements, documentaries, web videos, product videos, photo shoots, food photography and more. We shoot live events, seminars and other social events. If your project involves a camera and a creative direction, we are the people you should talk. We offer also outsourcing services when a fellow company needs an extra director, editor or cameraman.
You can find more about our work at the website www.sensismedia.nl. My telephone numbers are 0535369980 in the office and 0655174570 mobile. My email is [email protected] I’m happy to answer all your questions and prepare a free and tailored offer for you and your business, no obligations.