EVAN CINIELLO - It's a Flex

As an industry leading cinematographer in his home country of Canada and beyond, Evan Ciniello sees his trade as a blend between artistry and technology. As an artist first, he has to use his eye to see how to perfectly frame a scene, deciding the best way to visually tell a story. As a technician, he uses the extensive tools at his disposal to their highest capability to perfectly alter an image. It is a complex craft, balancing his vision with the needs of the location scouting, hiring crews, lighting diagrams, directors, and much more, but one that he is immensely passionate about.

Millions around the world have enjoyed Ciniello’s work. He is extremely versatile, working on television shows like Young Badlands, films such as I Live Here and Teething, and commercial campaigns for major international brands, including Dove Men’s Care, which was shortlisted for the Clio Awards. However, despite his vast success in so many mediums, Ciniello is best known for his work on viral music videos with iconic and award-winning artists, including Grammy winners Drake, the Weeknd, and Alessia Cara. 

Over 4.3 million people have viewed Ciniello’s work on 88Glam’s video “It’s a Flex” featuring NAV, and that’s on YouTube alone. Ciniello was up for the momentous task of helping to create this video with Director Da Le Moyne, as 88Glam currently has 1.2 million monthly listeners and NAV has eight million monthly listeners.

“The song’s instrumental really made for some classic visuals. It allowed us to match the song with diverse and rich lighting setups. The videos for some songs can be quite boring or flat, but this one definitely was not that. With the three artists’ different vocal sounds, the song changed all the way through which made for an interesting visual,” said Ciniello.

As the Director of Photography on the music video, Ciniello and his team created a true work of art that is aesthetically cutting-edge. He had previously worked with Director Dan Le Moyne on several projects and was asked to once again collaborate with Le Moyne as they were planning on shooting with 16mm Kodak film, which Ciniello is very familiar with.  The video was full of glamorous classical time setups with lots of lighting design, and with the style of film, the images are rich with color, making the overall look very suave and high fashion. Ciniello’s talent and experience were ideal for such a video.

“I chose to work with Evan for this project because of his unique ability and talent, which allowed us to elevate this music video immensely. His proficiency in lighting design and his ability to create several creative lighting setups led to a high-end video that made ripples through the music video industry in Canada,’ said Le Moyne.

Ciniello was a big fan of Nav, an artist featured on the song, so it made working on the video even more enjoyable. He is no stranger to working with well-known musicians on hit songs, but it is always a treat for the cinematographer to be a fan of the music.

“Working on a music video that has a solid song makes it that much easier to envision the mood and style you want to approach the project with. I think these scenes Dan had planned set us up for success. The painterly textures of the references he had sparked inspiration immediately and made my job much more frictionless and enjoyable,” Ciniello described.

Ciniello’s artistic vision resonated with millions around the world that have viewed the video. It premiered in January 2019 on Rollingstone, and has been featured on Hypebeast, Power 106, exclaim.ca, Hot New Hiphop, and revolt.tv. The song has over 20 million plays on Spotify alone.

“This video was early on in 88Glam’s career, and they moved on to do songs with

some of the biggest artists in the world. It is cool to say that I had even a small part in

their success,” he said.

So, what’s next for Ciniello? He is currently working on a film with Director Tyler Evans which has been funded by the Ontario Arts Council, with many more plans in the works. He is doing what he loves each and every day, and for those looking to follow in his footsteps, he offers some wise words.

“These days, I see a lot of aspiring cinematographers pursuing the craft for the

wrong reasons. I think a lot of people want to be DoPs for the attention they gather

online from it. Cinematography is an extremely powerful storytelling medium,

and can also be a very lucrative job. I think it’s important to always remain a student of the craft, and always look for chances to learn, despite the project. I feel in order to make a good career for yourself, you need to focus on the art, and the money will follow. Chase things for the right reason,” he advised.

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