At just over two minutes in length, perfect for a coffee break, Christopher Petersen’s short film Cape May Travel 2022 is an atmospheric nod to the sights and sounds of Cape May: a pod of dolphins off shore, aerial views of the beach, and close-ups of historic properties. We talked with the filmmaker via email to ask about his process, how he got into filmmaking, and how Cape May inspires.
If it’s possible to estimate, how many hours — start to finish — did it take you to film and edit your Cape May short?
From start to finish it probably took me around twelve hours to shoot and edit the short. I shot the footage in thirty-minute sessions sporadically at sunrise, late afternoon, sunset, and nighttime (the strawberry moon shots) for about two to three hours total of actual time spent shooting. The editing took around eight hours, which is a considerably short amount of time because all of the scenes in the final video were long takes. All in all I had forty minutes of video footage to work with, which I was able to edit, color grade, and sound design into the final 2:23 [minute] video. This is actually a very fast time frame from start to finish compared to most other videos and shorts I’ve worked on.
How does Cape May inspire you? How does that inspiration vary from other locations?
I fell in love with Cape May on my first visit six years ago. It immediately felt different than any other Jersey shore point I visited as a kid growing up. The inspiration I feel when visiting Cape May is from the architecture, and by default, the history. I’ll get subtle New England vibes and at the same time get faint Savannah, Georgia vibes, and yet Cape May still somehow remains wholly unique in and of itself. From the style and colors and craftsmanship in the architecture, to the hidden history in the town and its early visitors, to the quiet and small town Americana feel . . . Cape May is truly unlike any other beach destination. That being said, I’m just a traveling visitor, and people live here. I always remind myself of that when I’m filming anywhere.
How did you get into filmmaking?
I was always a film buff as a kid, which translated to always shooting home movies with my brothers on our dad’s camcorder, and always having a Kodak disposable camera with me at summer camp. Then from 2009 – 2016 I was traveling and touring in a punk rock band in the US and Europe and I got my first iPhone (the 4 I think) and it immediately rekindled that love for movie making and photography. But my true leap into filmmaking was around eight years ago when I had an injury training jiu-jitsu at my gym that I manage and teach kids at. Being off the mats for a few months I knew I had to find a way to stay involved and help out, so I bought my first DSLR camera and started making videos for the gym. I hate to sound cliche, but I knew right then that this was what I wanted to do (and should have been doing all along!).
What sorts of subjects do you find most interesting to film? What makes them interesting?
People and places. Filming people doing interesting, creative, and especially difficult things is such a great way to learn and temporarily see the world the way they see the world. And traveling (to really sound cliche) to new places and filming is the perfect recipe for breaking the mold of our sometimes small world view and expanding our sense of our small place in the world. That being said, it’s also challenging and fun to film something “normal” and close to home and see if I can present it in a different light and from a different perspective. Long term, my love and hope is to film and work on documentaries, because at the end of the day, stories are the backbone of . . . well, everything.
What location would you like to film, but haven’t had a chance?
So I am extremely grateful for all the places I have had the privilege of traveling to throughout life. I recently just hiked and filmed the Swiss Alps last October, and out of the twenty-nine US states and eleven different countries I’ve traveled to (not a huge sample size, but adequate) I haven’t seen a more idyllic and picturesque place on this Earth than Grindelwald, Switzerland. That being said, one place I’ve been to when I was younger and would love to get back to with a camera and film in is Italy. As far as a place I’ve never been but it seems like it would be a filmmaker/photographer’s dream come true . . . Patagonia. Something about the Andes mountains and “Next stop, Antarctica!” fascinates me.
Thank you so much for sharing your work with us! How can people see more of it?
All of my work – short docs/films, videography, and photography – can be found on my website: https://youngerbrotherpictures.com