From Heidelberg To Queensland: Profile - Dominik Muench
What languages do
Cinematographer and glamour
Training and formal education:
I have a Bachelor and Masters
degree in film and television
from Bond University. I am
currently completing my
Doctorate in Creative Arts on
HD camera systems at Bond
University, and also work there as
a photography tutor.
I work as a freelance
high end corporate
productions as well
as analytical filming
for mining and construction
companies here in Queensland,
which involves a bit of aerial
helicopter work. Two feature
films are on the cards over the
next 10 months as well.
I also work as the photo editor/editorial photographer for
the Australian Men’s Lifestyle
magazine Apollo, shooting all
their glamour content, which
is great fun and a good way to
experiment with lighting.
Have you been busy?
Not as busy as I would like to be.
I enjoy shooting both stills and
film work and, while I do quite
a bit of stills, the motion picture
side could be busier.
In the last 3-4 years I have been
shooting in Thailand, Indonesia,
India, Germany, Czech Republic,
and Australia. I love traveling
and shooting in other countries.
What types of productions
have you mostly shot:
Mostly music videos and
commercials. Music videos are
my favorite format to shoot at
the moment. There is a lot of
experimenting and creativity
involved, which makes it so
much more fun.
How long and how
complicated can music videos
be? Are they demanding
technically or only artistically?
The music videos I shoot usually
take between 1-3 days max, with
most shoots usually only taking
up a whole day of shooting.
I think a good music video
should be both technically and
artistically demanding; nothing
wrong with a bit of a challenge.
It helps you grow in your line of
What was your first ever
I was the B camera operator on
a promo video for the Indy car
race on the Gold Coast. There
were three cameramen in total
and the whole production was
aimed to show what Indy is all
about: fast cars, pretty pit lane girls, and of course partying.
Luckily, with my background in
glamour photography I was in
charge of getting all the shots of
the promo and pit lane girls.
What has your experience with
the RED camera been so far?
Very exciting. I was one of the
first cinematographers to use
the RED in Australia on a project
back in 2007. We flew in camera
#31 with a technician from L.A.
I now own a RED ONE production
package and enjoy working with
the camera very much.
A downside: the camera takes
a while to boot up and can get
hot quite easily if not taken care
of properly. Apart from that, I’m
really happy with the system and
the results it offers.
Will you acquire a DSLR for
video work at any stage?
Definitely not. Why bring a
pushbike to a car race when you
can have a V8? There are many
great camera systems out there
that offer much more latitude, bit
depth, better ergonomics, and
flexibility with image control.
I don’t really see the point of
DSLRs for what I do.
Most recent, interesting
A music video for a young and
talented Australian singer, which
was great fun to shoot in Byron
Bay. There are two pilots for TV
shows coming up as well as a
low budget feature, which I am
excited to be a part of.
Current equipment you use:
For film work I am using my RED
ONE. For stills work I am shooting
with a Nikon D3s.
Other gear you have access to:
Anything the job requires and
the budget permits, really. The
local resources are fantastic and
I can get anything from an Arri
D21 to a Genesis or a Varicam if
The same goes for lenses such
as Master Primes and Cooke S4s
as well as most other accessories
and lighting gear. It all comes
down to the job and the budget.
Equipment “wish list”:
A set of ARRI Master Primes and
an underwater housing for my
RED and stills camera. A full HMI
& Kino Flo lighting package.
Some Briese Parabolic Reflectors
for my stills work would be nice
What piece of gear do you wish
someone might make?
A 10-400mm F1.4 zoom lens with similar optical characteristics to
a prime lens, but that is probably
a bit much to ask for. I’m quite
happy with the tools available.
How much stills work do you
do? Do you find there are many
clients who appreciate your
I do quite a bit of stills work
for APOLLO magazine as well
as model portfolios, actors
headshots and so on. The market
is quite different, though, and
usually does not cross over. While
people like my stills work and
seem to appreciate that I can do
both, I’m usually not hired for
both capabilities on one job.
Best thing about your job:
I get to do what I enjoy doing,
plus I get to be creative, along
with the opportunity to play
with fantastic toys and meet
Worst thing about your job:
Long hours, no security of work,
dwindling budgets and quality
A music video production in
the Czech republic. The team
and talent were great but the
producer and director were very
young and arrogant and had
no clue what they were doing.
There was no planning and
structure to the shoot and my
crew was treated very badly and
So far nothing crazy has
happened to me yet. I did a
corporate production in India
where the people from workplace
health and safety regulations
would probably have gotten
a heart attack on some of the
setups, but you've got work with
what you have available.
How much 16:9 do you shoot?
All of my work is widescreen, I do
not specifically shoot for 4:3. It’s
a horrible format that is luckily
fading into oblivion.
What’s your taste in music?
Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative,
Too many to mention but I really
enjoy Slayer, Deftones and
Anything Asian really, mostly
Thai, Chinese, Indonesian.
T: +61 (0) 424754282