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Mobile Movies Interview with Aqua Libra – Max Lies Derdonk

I am very excited to publish this excellent interview between Aqua Libra (Max Lies Derdonk) and our highly talented co-editor of our Mobile Movies Column, Giulia Baita.  Aqua Libra produced the TrueView videos that we published with Mariette Schrijver (please go here and here to view them). We start with a short bio of Aqua Libra and beneath that you will view the interview, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Huge thanks to both Aqua Libra and of course beautiful Giulia Baita.


“My name is Max (Aqua Libra) and  I’m a Dutch photographer based in Utrecht.  Ever since I was a kid I wandered off with images and lines. It had to make people laugh so I started to draw my own cartoons and comic books. When I got older I got the fascination for photography and in school we had this awesome photography class and I usually tried to skip other classes to play with the analog camera and develop my experiments in the Doka.  Left home when I was 17 and started working to pay for my tiny apartment and studied, management & marketing in the evenings. Back then I was focused on having my own store. Took some more studies after that. Work, study, sleep. work etc. In 2008 I’ve met a friend from the past and he had joined Flickr, a photography stream and he talked me right back into photography again and I joined Flickr, started a 365 project with my newly bought Canon EOS 450D and started from scratch again.  After that it never stopped and it was work, photography, studied and read everything I could consume about photography and followed some workshops in Photoshop from my good friend & fellow photographer Dracorubio. Then started my own business, never too old right?   After that, I had the urge to experiment with video. So I asked a dear friend, who works at a Dutch National Broadcasting Company, how AVID works and to teach me. So my first edited experiment was the Haunted video and from there on more jobs followed. Amongst them are the two video’s for Mariette Schrijver which was an awesome collaboration.  Took me some years to figure out my path. This is it”. 

Contact Details for Aqua Libra:



I have seen your work for the Mariette Schrijver’s video and I would like to ask you some questions. I’d like to know how you have made this video and which technique you used to accomplish your videos usually. 

Aqua Libra: For this video I have used my Canon EOS M, the Lensbaby Composer Pro Sweet 50mm, The Canon 10-22 mm and the Zoom HD Q3. We wanted to trigger, confuse the viewers so therefore we used the Tilt Shift effect. we actually applied the 3 seconds that most people use to look at art. Every frame takes exact 3 seconds. Before you can figure out what you’re looking at, it’s crossed with another image. But if you take more time to look at a painting or photo the more secrets will reveal. The entire video was edited in Avid Media Composer.

©Aqua Libra


What studies have you done to produce such high quality videos?  

Aqua Libra : Just by being inquisitive and learning from a friend. The times I screwed up are times past but eventually I got the hang of it. 

©Aqua Libra

Have you sometimes used mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad to make videos?

Aqua Libra : I am an Android user, (sorry Apple users no hard feelings) and I have used VivaVideo and Magisto once but not often perhaps it’s time to give it a try again.  It seems that the Apple users are more lucky with some of the utterly cool apps. I have to admit that. For instance the art The AppWhisperer members create are stunning. 

©Aqua Libra

What do you think about the possibility of making video through mobile devices? Do you think that this could be useful for your work?

Aqua Libra : To make and create art is all about thinking outside the box, so in my opinion ‘yes’. In art there are no rules and my curiosity in experimenting never stops. For now, I still have the preference for my Canon EOS M and my lenses when I shoot for a customer.

©Aqua Libra

The film “Tangerine” by Sean Baker, shot with an iPhone 5s, showed the great possibilities of a mobile device in the making of movies. Do you think that we can open up a future where access to the mobile movies will be for a wide audience and this will be at the expense of quality? 

Aqua Libra : Love that movie, he thought outside the box, brilliant right? But he used more than just a iPhone. He used lots of apps, additional lenses, lights, external audio, color correction etc. For a huge production and loads of special effects like Star Wars, Mad Max or the beautiful documentaries on National Geographic, I think we will have to give it time for technics to develop more so we don’t have to use a lot of additional equipment and a lot of post-production when filming with a mobile device.  Even Sean Baker said he probably wouldn’t make another movie on a mobile device, due to the constantly changing of exposure and focus.  

©Aqua Libra

You realize pictures of great beauty. Do you think that photography can help or complete the formation of a filmmaker? 

Aqua Libra: Thank you so much, for me personally yes.  I love to combine both. A photoshoot and expand it with a beautiful or crazy artistic video, telling my stories. 

©Aqua Libra

Are photography, photography eyes, a good workout for those who want to produce videos? 

Aqua Libra : I think there is a strong connection between both so in my opinion yes. In photography you have only one image to tell a story. In video you have 25 images per second. 

©Aqua Libra

Which of these two art forms  you prefer and why? 

Aqua Libra : I have a huge passion for both, for now I have a slight preference for storytelling through video, it helps me expanding my creative horizon and tell longer stories that are close to my heart.

Thank you so much for this great variation to talk with someone about the production of Mobile Movies, dear! 

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Giulia Baita. Italian iPhonographer. She lives in a beautiful island in the Mediterranean called "Sardinia". Passionate about painting and drawing, she obtained a degree in History of Contemporary Art. Studies and supports examination of the History of Cinema at the 'University of Cagliari'. She is a professor of Italian and History and whilst in high school continued to cultivate her passion for the Art. For several years she has been and continues to be in love with Mobile Photography and Mobile Art. Some of her photos have been shown in international exhibitions and she is currently highly interested in the Mobile Movies.