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Telling stories through pixels: Student with a passion for storytelling tells of spending more than 100 hours on a five-minute video

A guy in traditional Fijian dress jumps up, with his legs out to the sides and touches them with his hands on a path that leads through a forest of trees.

Emilio Valenciano said he prefers making videos over photographs because he likes to tell stories and create an emotional connection with the audience.

Valenciano, a senior from the Philippines studying exercise and sport science, is an avid content creator who tells inspirational stories and captures beauty through film and photography.

His wife Sarah Valenciano, an alumna from Colorado who is also a photographer and videographer, said she admires her husband’s talent for interacting with the people and the things he films. He knows how to portray them very well, she said, adding she has learned a lot from him.

Emilio Valenciano said he loves to connect with his viewers and enjoys hearing how his videos and photographs have touched them. He expressed it brings him joy to know his hard work is giving people the emotional experience he strives to create.

The creative process

Emilio Valenciano said it takes many hours to produce great videos. He expressed he tries to make high-quality work with precision in order to convey his messages with ease. He recalled dedicating over 100 hours of work on a five-minute video about a BYU–Hawaii student’s weightlifting journey, titled, “Lifting Burdens Short Film.”

He explained the process of creating good content consists of starting with an idea, finding the inspiration and talent and bringing the idea to life. One unique aspect of his process is first recording the audio and syncing it with the music in order to create a vision and layout for his video. He said, “I like to put things together with the music and audio before I even start filming because I want to listen to the audio, listen to the music and just imagine what the final product will be.”

He said he asks for feedback from his fellow videographers and photographers while in production in order to improve the video’s quality and to have a fresh set of eyes critique his film. He often asks his wife for advice, he said, since she is also versed in photography and videography.

Man snorkels underwater wearing a mask, snorkel, and fins.

Passion over everything

His friend and fellow creator, Harold Pedroso, a senior from the Philippines studying hospitality and tourism management, shared how much passion and drive Emilio has for creating and telling stories through his work. He commented, “Whenever he is feeling burnt out, he always comes up with these crazy ideas that we should do, which always brings back my motivation to keep creating.”

Pedroso noted Emilio Valenciano often does jobs for fun and as a creative outlet, rather than doing it for money or praise because of his pure passion for creating. “He doesn’t think about being paid when taking on a project. He cares about if the film is going to impact a lot of people and how he’s going to do that.”

Sarah Valenciano shared, “He has a bolder view of life that definitely reflects his personality through his work. He’s a go-getter. He dreams big, which is shown through his works.”

Emilio Valenciano said he first discovered his passion for creating videos and photographs when he arrived at BYUH three years ago. He recalled marveling over the beauty, colors and sunsets, and said he felt inspired to capture the beauty through his camera. Valenciano said there are so many places to find inspiration for creating. “I really love the saturation and the colors of Hawaii, especially underwater when I’ve gone diving. I love the feeling of freedom and life underwater. It is so blue and one of the most beautiful places. It feels almost like flying,” he remarked. He added inspiration can be as simple as going for a walk or swim at the beach.

A guy is riding a surf board on the ocean with blue sky and while clouds in the background.

Valenciano urged beginning creators to follow their passions with a simple word of advice: repetition. “The best way to master it is repetition. I can see the difference between my first shot to my shots right now. Editing is one of the main factors that affects how beautiful a photo can be. It took me hours of editing, tons of tutorials and tons of going to the beach and diving and taking photos to create my images today,” he commented.

He also said it takes practice to “find good timing, the best shot, best angle and the position as well. If you’re in the wrong position then obviously you’re not going to get the best shot possible.”

He added aspiring creators should get outside and enjoy what they have in front of them while here on the island. He stated, “Give yourself a break, go have a walk, watch the sunset and enjoy nature.”