tim kotthoff | editor extraordinaire

This is Tim Kotthoff. He's a man of many talents and one of the most talented and knowledgable editors I've ever worked with. I'm privileged to call him a friend! Tim's the kind of editor that can take an otherwise uninspiring mess of footage, sprinkle his magic editor dust on it, and deliver you something that will leave you asking yourself if you really shot it. His dedication to his craft is unmatched, and I've witnessed him continually learn and hone his ability over the years. His passion keeps him sharp as a tack, and his gentle way of directing a project brings the best out of everyone involved. I look forward to our next great adventure!

Cheers, sir.

Ryan Walters  |  St. Louis Photographer + Cinematographer

old boards

This is a simple short film of my family spending time together on the deck at the house I grew up in. This weekend marks a year since my sweet mother left us, and I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world. My parents built this house when I was two, and moved our family from a tiny old house on my grandparents farm in Essex, MO. We spent many hours together on the deck, just enjoying each other's company and having some of our best, and toughest conversations. The original deck was about six feet longer, and had a wooden swing on one end. I can remember my mother holding me and swinging on it in the fall when I was little, how the wind rustling through the trees sounded like ocean waves against the shore, and crickets chirping in the distance. There's a stillness here that calms my soul. I also remember my siblings and I "playing" on the deck barefoot, which always led to splinters in our feet. Mom had a tender way of removing them for us. My dad and brother and I built the deck as it is today. Mom loved being out there in the evenings with a fire and her family. I'm sure it was one of her most favorite places in the world. My heart aches for those days, and I cherish all the memories we made on these old boards. This is for you, Mom. I miss your strength and your spirit, but I can feel your soul here. I love you.

Ryan Walters  |  St. Louis Photographer + Cinematographer

spaced out | dropkick the robot

Please be sure to select HD for the best viewing experience. Simply click the "HD" logo near the lower right of the video, then click Play.

This is the first of a series of live music videos shot in studio with Dropkick the Robot. These guys are phenomenal musicians! They are dedicated to their craft, and their music reflects it. We had the opportunity to collaborate with them to produce a series of seven songs, which were all performed and captured live.  This is the biggest video project we've shot to date! It involved several months of planning, production meetings, putting a solid team of operators together, innovating some lighting methods for a relatively small recording studio, and executing a nine camera shoot in full 1080p!! We shot everything at 24fps to lend a film look to it, and I lit the studio with a cinematic style in mind.


This is 1 of 6 songs captured on a Sunday evening in March. The remaining 5 will be published very soon, so check back if you're interested in seeing them!

The band, Dropkick The Robot, is based within the Midwest, containing a huge range of musical talent with a variety of sounds that are showcased within this meeting of creative minds.

The production utilized a mixture of Canon 5D Mark ll's, Canon T2i's, Arri D Flex kits, and several assorted Canon L Series lenses.

In Post-Production (handled entirely by the very talented, Tim Kotthoff), the H.264 files were immediately backed up to multiple drives and then transcoded to ProRes 422 and ProRes Proxy files. These transcodes were also backed up. The ProRes Proxy files were then all synced in Final Cut Pro 7 and cut/assembled using Multi-Cam within Final Cut. After all of the cuts were approved each of the songs were taken offline from ProRes Proxy and reconnected online to the ProRes 422 transcodes. They were then all color corrected and graded within Color.

We hope that you enjoy it!


This project couldn't have gone as smoothly without the following people's dedication and willingness to help:

Tim Kotthoff | Producer, Co-Director, Editor, Colorist

Ryan Walters | Producer, Co-Director, Director of Cinematography

Eric Becker | Camera Operator

Cari Smick | Camera Operator

Gary Winchester | Camera Operator

Michael J. Kraemer | Camera Operator

Eric Witthaus | Camera Operator

Dan Mehrman | Sound Engineer

Big thanks to the band as well!

Ryan Walters  |  St. Louis Photographer + Cinematographer



Recently I've been investing what little free time I can scrape together into studying 5D cinematography, and it led me to appreciate the 16x9 aspect ratio of a frame. Although I don't assume it will become a habit with my still work, these images are cropped with a cinema ratio in mind. They were shot as stills and intended to better illustrate the look of a short film I'm considering producing. The post work seen here would be the goal of the color grade for the final look, although I'm not sure I'm capable of replicating it with film. My ability to create a look for still photography far surpasses my ability to grade film at the moment, although my goal is to equal those aptitudes in the near future. The first image was lit with an ordinary household lamp, and the keyboard shots were lit with a small flashlight. I am absolutely in love with the shallow depth of field the 5D is capable of producing, provided the right lens is utilized. Here, all three images were shot with a Canon 50mm ƒ1.4, wide open.

As a side note, you may have noticed this is a slideshow featuring multiple images. It's the first of it's kind on my blog. As a viewer, I'm usually not a fan of slideshows as a means of presenting images in a portfolio. This is generally because I prefer to choose how long I view a particular image. Pausing seems like a viable option, though most slideshows I've seen on the web have incredibly abnoxious controls that distract from the image being displayed. In the past, if I wanted to publish multiple images from a shoot, I accomplished it by publishing one with my writing as an excerpt, which meant only one image would be displayed. To view the accompanying images, clicking on the title of the post was necessary. I've often wondered if anyone realized more images were available when publishing them in that manner, and I've experimented with different ways of improving the issue. My preference is to maintain a very clean, minimal aesthetic on my blog, and nothing really lent itself well to doing that...until this slideshow feature came about! This particular slideshow doesn't stray too far from the minimalist design of the blog, so I'll try it in several upcoming posts to get a feel for it. To freeze on a specific frame, simply click the image when it appears. Once frozen, hover your mouse over the left or right center and controls will appear, allowing you to advance or go back. Please comment if you find the slideshow distracting, or if you prefer it over the original method. Your feedback is welcome.

Ryan Walters  |  St. Louis Photographer + Cinematographer

treadway monologues | vietnam

I wanted to shoot some video tests with a new light and the 5D Mark II, and Dave was happy to oblige my creative endeavors. He wrote a couple monologues for the shoot, and delivered them as the characters they were written for. Here, he riffs through a Vietnam script. Please note, the purpose of this video is to inspect visual elements, so Dave isn't in costume. We realize a Vietnam Veteran would probably have a very different appearance.

Thank you to all who served and fought for our freedom.

Ryan Walters  |  St. Louis Photographer + Cinematographer