With his interest in astronomy taking off at a young age, Andy has fine-tuned his expertise like no other. From solar physics and mathematics to executing fashion photoshoots for Vogue, there are only few who approach the world of photo and film with the same eye as Andy Fiord.
Take a break from daily errands and enjoy an exclusive interview with Andy Fiord Production and their plans to go above and beyond.
Production Paradise: If you wouldn’t mind giving a little backstory, how did Andy Fiord Production get started and what was the initial vision for the company?
Andy Fiord: I have a background in mathematics and astrophysics. Since I was a child I was fascinated by astronomy and outer space. I built my first telescope when I was 12. My first business is related to astronomy too: I started a company which was one of the first in the world to come up with liquid-nitrogen cooled low-light CCD-based digital imaging system for telescopes. Sounds complicated, I know. However, I think it’s important to mention it in order to give you a better understanding of my approach to photo & film production.
Thirteen years ago, I began to develop interest in photography. I started to work as a fashion photographer, shooting for various fashion magazines, including Vogue. I always turn my biggest interests into businesses and as a top-manager I wanted to build a successful company that could support my needs – as there were no reliable production houses in my hometown – St. Petersburg. And that’s how Andy Fiord Production was founded ten years ago.
My career as a fashion photographer didn’t last long as I was getting more and more into outdoor photography and content creation. At that time, Andy Fiord Production began to function independently, producing its first big projects for Apple, Microsoft, Puma, Louis Vuitton, Shell and others. My goal was to build a Russian-based company that could provide clients with the same level of service that they would expect to receive in New York, London or Los Angeles. And I achieved this goal. Today 80% of our clients come from abroad to shoot in Russia. Before contacting my team, they might have certain worries about shooting here, but when pre-production starts and, of course, after the end of the shoot, they always say it was one of the most relaxing and comfortable shooting processes in their careers.
Production Paradise: As your recent projects with Beats by Dre and Puma have featured some world-class athletes, would you say there has been added pressure to perform well?
Andy Fiord: I would say they were nervous themselves. Just kidding! It was a pleasure to work with them – no secret that athletes are among the most disciplined and hard-working people in the world. At the same time, I can tell that my team always treats every project and every client with 100% commitment. Doesn’t matter if they’re shooting a world-famous football player or not. Every time they aim to achieve the best possible results while staying calm, focused and professional.
Production Paradise: Having recently built a Dolby Vision colour suite, what was the process like of acquiring the license and how has it had an impact on your photo and film productions already?
Andy Fiord: There were no difficulties at all, the process of acquiring the Dolby Vision license went very smoothly and fast. Dolby Vision team is super friendly and supportive. We carefully examined the workflow and all available methodological materials. It was natural for me, being a mathematician and astronomer. We equipped the colour suite with all the necessary equipment (including Flanders Scientific XM310K Monitor), then Dolby Vision specialists arrived, checked and approved it.
We also had an honour of welcoming Mr. John Couling, Dolby Vision Senior Vice President, for the opening of our colour suite – the first in the whole of Eastern Europe.
These innovations definitely have a profound positive impact on the whole company. The entire team is highly involved in this process. This is a new area of expertise for us and everyone is doing their best to improve their skills and knowledge. It’s a new challenge and a challenge always motivates our team.
Speaking of business: it’s all ahead. We’re having negotiations with partners at the moment, preparing the first HDR showroom in Russia to open this fall.
Production Paradise: What other things have you implemented to further develop your HDR department?
Andy Fiord: We’re considering establishing a high-tech business and the development of Dolby Vision Encoding. It is required to establish a turnkey solution for the content delivery to all platforms: from cinemas to streaming services.
Production Paradise: What would you say sets your company apart from other production companies in Russia?
Andy Fiord: Everything. Andy Fiord Production has expertise and knowledge in high-tech, art and project management. This combination provides extraordinary energy. I don’t know any other company with the same set of competencies.
Another important thing: we have an absolutely dominant philosophy of a client-oriented approach, we always guarantee the achievement of their desired results. These are not just mere words. There are always some unexpected obstacles that can appear right in the middle of a production. Let’s say we’re shooting in Las Vegas and suddenly Trump flies there without any prior notice or press coverage, blocking the traffic, increasing security measures in the city and so on. Our team always has a back-up plan. The client getting an excellent result is not an accident, but rather a guaranteed achievement.
Production Paradise: After having been with Production Paradise for almost a decade, would you say the collaboration has been worthwhile?
Andy Fiord: Definitely. I know from my team that we have clients who found us thanks to Production Paradise. It’s always a great resource when searching for artist management agencies, freelance photographers, stylists, make-up & hair artists, so on. It’s been a pleasure for us to collaborate with Production Paradise for all these years and I hope we have more to achieve together in the near future.
Production Paradise: What’s next for Andy Fiord Production heading into the end of the year?
Andy Fiord: As always, many inspiring projects for global brands: mostly in Russia where it’s getting easier and more profitable to shoot, but also in Europe and in the States. I’m also preparing a few lectures to read in Moscow and St. Petersburg on HDR. Together with Dolby Vision we’re actively preparing for the opening of our HDR showroom in Moscow, which I already mentioned, where we will be welcoming all leading decision-makers of the film industry.