Ivan D'Antonio

A man wearing a bow tie throws his hands up to the sky while tilting his head backwards.

A frame from the music video Brenda. Taken on a Canon EOS C200 with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens. © Ivan D'Antonio

Canon Ambassador Ivan D'Antonio is a prominent part of Italy's latest filmmaking generation and has won numerous international awards for his short films, commercials and music videos.

For Ivan, it was his discovery of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) in 2011 that transformed the direction of his career. A graduate of The Florence Academy of Art, Ivan had always been interested in analogue photography and musical composition. Initially, he worked as a painter and musician; however, after buying his EOS 5D Mark II, he began to make music videos for friends in his spare time. His first short film won Canon Italia's La Grande Occasione competition in 2013. Spurred on by this success, he decided to become a full-time filmmaker.
Ivan has since gone on to make and direct films all over the world, including videos for a number of Italian and international musicians. His most recent short film, Bolero, was a finalist at the Quantum Shorts film festival (whose partners include Scientific American magazine and the journal Nature) and was screened in Australia, Canada, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Bolero was also shown at the International Peace & Film Festival in Orlando, Florida and at The Quarantine Film Festival in Bulgaria.

His music video, Naufragando – made for the Italian band Il Management (also known as Post-operative Pain Management) – was selected as one of the top 30 Italian music videos of 2016-2017 at MEI 2017. Naufragando also won first prize in the music video category at Amarcort Film Festival in 2017 and was a finalist at the 2017 Roma Creative Contest. Meanwhile, his film Senza Fretta was a finalist at the Roseto Opera Prima, Florida Film Festival and Metricamente Corto International Film Festival.
Canon Ambassador Ivan D'Antonio.

Location: Italy
Specialist areas: Music videos, commercials, short films
Favourite kit:
Canon EOS C300 Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS C300 Mark III)
Canon EOS C200
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
 Ivan D'Antonio's showreel.
Ivan has achieved a lot in a short space of time, and is currently working on his first feature film. He uses the Canon Cinema EOS range of cameras, twinning these with autofocus EF lenses that are selected for their micro-contrast and the natural way in which they render colours. In particular, he relies on wide-angle lenses to achieve the 'flat' and symmetrical compositions he prefers, so that people and the space around them have equal importance in the frame.

Other signature aspects of Ivan's filmmaking style include his attention to detail when it comes to colour relationships within a frame – a trait inherited from his days as a painter – and his approach to lighting. Rather than light the faces of the actors in his productions, he prefers to light the room or environment that they're working in and let the players move within this space.
A man strumming a guitar sits behind a table inside a room lit by low light.

A still from the music video Marije. Taken on a Canon EOS C200 with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens. © Ivan D'Antonio

As might be expected of a filmmaker with a varied background in the arts, Ivan is a multi-tasker when it comes to the production process. He takes care of everything from the writing through to the final soundtrack, and plans his productions meticulously so that he can spend more time on set and less time in front of a computer. Despite his thorough pre-production and his determination to get things right in-camera rather than in post – "if a light has to be warmer or cooler, do it on set" – he has grown to realise the importance of being ready to improvise, and has been known to change major parts of a story while filming.

Above all, Ivan likes to create a positive work environment on set and says that seeing people still smiling after eight hours of work is "an inexhaustible source of energy".
Do you prefer being a single shooter or working with a team?
"I started out as a 'one man band', even when I was a painter and a musician (I used to play drums with my feet at the same time as playing a guitar and singing). But I was not really happy. I now work with a small team, including a production designer, a gaffer and a camera assistant, and we give each other strength for dealing with every kind of filming situation."

You direct music videos, short films and commercials. Which gives you the most freedom as a filmmaker?
"With music videos and short films, I'm quite free to follow my instinct, although there are – of course – some compromises to be made with music promos. There are more compromises when it comes to commercials, but if a job starts to stray too far from my vision, I simply tell the client that I'm not the right person."

Regarding the technical side of video, which developments are most important to your work?
"I like to shoot in 4K RAW because I want to record every little nuance of colour in the scenes and I want my work to be future-proof. I also love to shoot at 60p to emphasise certain emotions."

Throughout your career, you've focused on the visual arts. How do you find the writing side of things?
"I very much enjoy it. Something magical happens while you are writing, ideas come in a strange way. You can spend hours trying to write something and then in one second an entire story pops in your mind."

What has been the best advice given to you by another filmmaker or director?
"Great cinema is not about finding far-flung locations and spending a lot of money. Great stories can be told with what you have near you every day, you have only to find the right point of view. This concept was not told to me by one person in particular, but it is the sum of what I understand from studying some great directors."

One thing I know

Ivan D'Antonio

"If you're a photographer who wants to move into filmmaking, the best advice I can offer is to think about rhythm. Photography and painting don't have 'time'; a person can look at a photograph for two seconds or for two minutes, it's entirely up to them. In filmmaking, you can manipulate time, you can create a rhythm so that every cut has a different impact. If you leave a beautiful image on the screen for the wrong duration it can lose its strength, and that's why, for me, the point is not only to create great shots but to understand their relationship within the timeframe of the story."

Facebook: @ivandantoniofilmmaker

Instagram: @ivandantonio

Twitter: @ivandantonio

Vimeo: ivandantonio


Youtube: stratopazzostrato

Ivan D'Antonio's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Ivan D'Antonio's kitbag containing Canon cameras and lenses.


Canon EOS C200

The new EOS C200 is a compact and versatile high-performance camera for a wide range of shooters that captures sharp 4K 50P images. "I use this when I need RAW files for bigger projects, such as music videos, commercials and short films, or if I have to use a gimbal, thanks to its lightness and the incredible touch autofocus," says Ivan.


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

This new version of the classic wide zoom offers a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, for the highest image quality possible even in low light. Ivan says: "This is the lens I use the most. It has superb image quality throughout the zoom range, no chromatic aberration at all and it delivers very cinematic images."

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

With its incredible f/1.2 maximum aperture, the super fast EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a consummate low-light performer. "My favourite close-up lens. It has wonderful bokeh and it renders colours beautifully," says Ivan.

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