The Swiss photographer Tino Scherer has been using the Leica SL as his main camera for around two years. At the request of Leica Camera AG, he worked together with the Mera Digital Cinema GmbH to create a video about his photo shoot with the famous custom bike builder Danny Schneider and the Leica SL.
Tino, when you were discussing with Leica Camera about making a video with and about the Leica SL, how did you come up with the idea of shooting a story with Danny Schneider?
Over the last few years I have worked on various projects with Danny Schneider and the Hard Nine Choppers, mostly for his main sponsor Monster Energy. This resulted in Monster Energy also offering me a job and I became one of the few photographers in Europe, who has signed with them. Danny and I had worked together a lot last year. I knew straight away that he was the perfect person for this project.
I wanted to make this video as personal as possible. That’s why I needed someone, who was up for being photographed by me and also understood my work with the Leica SL. I’m not always the quickest when it comes to manual settings. Now and then it can happen that I mess up a shot. However, when I work together with Danny, our mutual understanding is so good by now that we are able to capture the perfect image, just the way we want to.
In addition to this, I had a very clear idea of how I wanted to capture the images with Danny, therefore we did everything we could, so that the end product lived up to my expectations. It was also important for us that the honesty and authenticity of the entire shooting came across in the film. This was the reason that we didn’t work from a storyboard in the traditional sense but we captured the different situations, just the way they occurred.
Why is it so important for Danny to work together with a professional photographer like yourself?
Social media is very important for him. He works a lot with Instagram and has over 40,000 followers. Danny wants to make sure that every picture that is uploaded to Instagram is of the highest quality possible. He only wants the best of the best. This also happens to be the same attitude he has to building bikes.
At the same time, Danny also wants to see the results straight away. It can happen that we’ll be on location and he says “Wow. Cool shot” and then take a photo of the image directly from my camera display.
Sometimes he’ll take a picture of himself, which we’ll try and reproduce with the Leica SL. This gives the image more punch and we can create the strong look that fits to his métier.
Tell us a little about how you went about capturing the drone shots with the Leica SL.
Me and my studio partners at Mera Films recently bought a new DJI Matrice 600 Pro Drone. I really wanted to put it into action. Thanks to the flexibility of the drone, we were able to use the Leica SL with PL mount lens from CW Sonderoptic. This meant that we weren’t restricted at all in the creation of our visual language.
My colleague Menk Rufibach flew the drone and I controlled the camera. At first we checked out the view from above. Then I determined, which perspective we would like to use. Menk then put the drone in the right position and I could manually shoot both my images and video.
In the video Danny talk a lot about your “beautiful pictures”. What is it that makes your photos so great? What do you consider particularly important to your visual language?
I used to look at and analyse my images together with other photographers and I learnt a lot by doing this.
At the beginning of my career, when I used to shoot mainly snow sports, I would often “compose” the images. That would mean, that I would edit an image as I wanted it to be, for example, because the sky became much nicer in the afternoon. It once even caused a “shit storm” on social media because lots of people frown on this type of photography.
Nowadays I do lot less “composing”, which also has to do with the Leica SL. Quite simply because this camera has such a large dynamic range.
Nevertheless I often have an idea about how my photos should look and I edit them correspondingly. The photo of Danny in the curve, with the blue sky in the background, that was one where I already knew what kind of blue I wanted when I pressed the shutter. I wanted to present it in contrast to the autumnal colors in the shot.
And how does the Leica SL help you in creating your visual language?
The reaction time of the shutter release is very quick and works in just the way I want it. I can rely on the fact that the images will be recorded just as I have seen them.
The main thing for me though are the RAW files of the Leica SL. I always overexpose my images by a half or even a whole aperture stop. This means that the image still has enough delineation and, if necessary, I can always make it a little darker when editing. This is where the great dynamic range of the SL also plays an important role.
In addition to all this, the camera is so simple. It only has the buttons you need that’s something which really suits me.
A further advantage is that I can also work very well with my Leica M lenses. If I’m working with autofocus lenses then I also use the thumb button on the back. It allows me to set the focus precisely.
You shot the video with lenses from CW Sonderoptic. What do you like about these lenses?
For this project we used four lenses with PL mounts for the Leica SL. The focus is simply as soft as butter. In the video we filmed a lot at open aperture (2.0). That meant that the focus was really on-point.