HighRock's Lead Cinematographer: Roland Bingaman
September 12, 2019
Lead Cinematographer at HighRock, Roland Bingaman is an essential part of the team that storyboards, scripts, and plans every HighRock video. This month, we sat down with Roland to ask him about what got him started in film-making, his favorite types of projects, and his love of the craft.
Recounting his first foray into cinematography, Roland looks back to childhood: “When I was in 5th grade, my siblings and I found an old VHS recorder. We started making home videos, and they were hilarious.” Roland remembers that he and his siblings experimented with the camera until they figured out what worked and what didn’t. “At the end of a scene, we would duck down so that at the beginning of the next scene, we could jump into the frame and make it look like a continuous movement.” Roland even remembers the moment when he figured out the Hitchcock-style Vertigo effect on his own, walking towards his brother while simultaneously zooming out on him.
In Highschool, Roland’s interest in cinematography paired easily with his other interests. He began making music videos for the band that he and his brother had started. Their band built a sizable following, which led Roland to making music video for other bands that he met and played with. This led him into doing bigger projects and commercial videos. When his band broke up, the transition into full-time video work for Roland felt natural. “It was just something I knew I could do,” he says, “so I committed to it.”
What Roland enjoys most about his work now is the variety; he says that it’s fun to learn different things about all the different companies he gets to film. “That’s why I liked doing music video so much too,” adds Roland, “you got to meet the bands.” Recently, Roland’s favorite project to work on has been a recruitment video for the Hagerstown Police Department. The first day of shooting involved a large-scale production, which gave the video team a chance to flex their creative muscles. Roland also enjoyed the opportunity to direct the shoot that day.
Outside of HighRock, Roland also works independently as a filmmaker. His favorite projects are still the music videos. “They’re completely different than what I do at work, but they’re still trying to accomplish the same thing, which is telling a story. With the videos we do at HighRock, typically you tell somebody’s story through interviews and supporting footage – you’re telling that story with words. With work like music videos, you’re looking for a story to tell in somebody else’s music, and then you have three minutes to tell a completely visual story with no dialogue. Both types of projects are challenging, but in different ways.”
In the end, Roland says, that’s the most compelling part of the job. “You get to figure out how to literally bring someone’s story to life,” he says, “It’s a cool challenge to do that visually and cinematically.”
Interested in getting Roland and the HighRock video crew on your next project? Check out the video work page to learn more about past projects.