Filming the streets of New York is easier than you think
To say that “New York appears in many movies” might be the understatement of the century. Rotten Tomatoes even put together a list, New York’s 212 Best Movies, Ranked, and with over a century of movies to choose from, the 212 they’ve picked only scratch the surface. It’s easy to see why. The five boroughs form an iconic, world-famous city filled with thousands of intriguing nooks ready to tell stories. But with all the traffic and the millions of people thronging the sidewalks, filming in New York must be a monumental headache. Apparently not, according to Jean Pierre Kathoefer, New York resident and founder of Johnnypuetz Productions.
Whether in person or on a video call, Kathoefer is bubbling with enthusiasm, especially when the conversation revolves around filming, motorcycles or cars. It is easy to discern that he prescribes “if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of your ability”, for the passion is clear as day. But he was not always interested in cinema.
After moving to New York eight years ago for a job at an IT company, Kathoefer didn’t know many people and wanted to experience the city he now calls home. He turned to Youtube and started following vlogger Casey Neistat. Soon after, an inspired Kathoefer purchased his first GoPro, but the cinematic experience he sought remained elusive. “I started filming myself making breakfast and shopping for groceries, but soon realized that people don’t want to watch that stuff. It’s just boring. Kathoefer added, “That’s when I realized I had a passion for videography.”
“I had to find my niche. I love filming and I love motorbikes. I have ridden most of my life. So it made sense to bring the two together. His early projects were with motorcycle apparel brands, filming content for websites and social media.
Initially, most of the brands he worked with had small budgets, so payment usually came in the form of free jackets, helmets and gear. “It was good at first, but it got to the point where my girlfriend (half-jokingly) said ‘if you’re bringing home another jacket or helmet, don’t bother coming home “and that flipped a switch.” So, in May 2019, Kathoefer turned his hobby into a life and founded Johnnypuetz Productions.
His first major project was The Distinguished Gentleman which premiered at the 2019 Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival in Ontario. This was the first time Kathoefer had secured financing and was able to pay the crew. He opened a few doors. Filming creatively in and around New York takes practice, but once you’ve developed the skills, it comes more naturally, which shows through in the final product. Famous Porsche collector Magnus Walker noticed and collaborated with Kathoefer to film Big Apple Outlaw. It is currently Walker’s most viewed Youtube video, with 512,000 views.
It’s not just the famous subject that helped the short film rack up so many views. Kathoefer and his crew used their motorcycling skills and combined their creativity with their knowledge of city streets to film a fast and energetic hit that even non-car enthusiasts could enjoy.
The part that requires the most skill is filming and editing. The easiest part, says Kathoefer, is working in New York. “It’s actually ‘cinema-friendly’. New York loves when people film in the city because it acts as free marketing for the city itself. The city supports creative projects and therefore NYC is a hub for creatives. »
Depending on the size of the shoot, Johnnypuetz Productions has an arsenal of support vehicles. From the crew’s own motorcycles, a Zero electric motorcycle and ATV, to a Tesla Model Y equipped with a motorized camera crane. “For large projects, permits are required. To deal with NYC traffic, we will work with NYPD. All you need is a permit, which is relatively easy to obtain. However, Kathoefer admits, “It helps to know someone at the NYC permit office,” but says it’s still available.
“If it’s necessary, you can get an escort from the NYPD, plot an approved route, and they escort you through traffic. There is an option to close a street, but it is more complicated and much more expensive.
When it comes to physical filming in New York, Johnnypuetz Productions has the proper staff and street sense. “Most of our crews are experienced drivers which is great for shooting car-to-car and weaving through traffic. We also have a long list of locations to choose from and present to customers as options. , reducing the time spent searching for locations.”
If Kathoefer’s history and catalog of work proves anything, it’s that anyone can pick up a camera and start filming, but to be proficient and produce high-caliber video work, you need a team like Johnnypuetz Productions. Filming in New York is easier than you think. Making an entertaining short film that has garnered over half a million views on Youtube is a whole different story.