Behind the video with Sergey Stovba

Sergey Stovba is a Ukrainian video content creator living in Krakow, Poland, who started making music videos back in 2018. He’s worked with Polar, Endless Heights, Nubia and more and is also in a band called Not Enough.


Serhii Stovba

Tell us about your gear – everything from your camera and lenses to editing software.

I started my journey with a very basic set-up. It was a Sony a6000 + Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens. After a few months of using the Sony a6000, I switched to a Sony a6300 and used that for about a year and now my full time camera is a Fuji xt3. I have native Fuji lenses: Fujinon xf 18-55 and Fujinon xf 35. For almost each of my projects, I use a gimbal – zhiyun crane 2. I also own a few lights: godox sl60, yongnuo 360. Depending on the project, I might rent professional lighting or camera equipment. 

In terms of software, I use Premiere Pro for editing, After effects for compositing, and VFX and Davinci resolve for the color grading.

How did you get into videography?

That’s a long story. When I moved to Poland I was working in a сorpo job, which I didn’t really like, so I was searching for other jobs that might fit. Meanwhile working on this job, I managed to start a band called Not Enough. So, we recorded an album and we were needed to shoot a music video, and believe it or not we were really struggling to find a music video producer that we liked. We ended up bringing Matty Daleyy from ClearWayMedia in. He and a 2nd operator Joshua Blewitt flew from Liverpool to Krakow just to shoot it because we desperately wanted to get a good looking music video.  So during the shoot, something sparked in my mind and I thought: “Hmm, maybe I can shoot music videos too? I kinda have a vision of how it should be done”. So, right after that I got my first Sony a6000 camera and started shooting everything I could: traveling videos, workshops, lifestyle, etc. But I knew that I wanted to only do music videos, so I was searching for a good opportunity and one day when I saw that the Never Say Die 2018 tour been announced I just went on Facebook, got a list of all the band’s managers and emailed them asking for a photo pass. Luckily Northlane’s manager answered and I got my first photo pass. After that, it snowballed. I got more passes, shooting music videos abroadand for my own band, etc.

If anyone would like to follow in your footsteps, where’s a good place to start? 

I know it sounds like a cliche, but you need to start with what you have. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” In order to be successful in this field, you need to find a way to be proactive, no one will bring you this kind of a job on a silver plate. I would recommend choosing a niche where you wanna work (shooting, editing, composting, VFX etc), learn the basics, do some free work in order to have some kind of a portfolio, and try to think how you can bring value to the other people. After you have it figured out, go to Instagram and DM artists you would like to work with, could be in your area or anywhere in the world, but be humble and remember the value part. The hardest is to find the first client. 

Walk us through the process of creating a music video? How do you come up with the concept etc?

I always start with the song and listen to it a couple of times. From the first listen, I’m trying to get the overall look and the mood – like when I listen to the instrumental part, some movie scenes can appear in my mind and I can take it as reference for the colour palette. After that, I’m going through the lyrics and coming up with a story. When it’s done, I send ideas over to the band to accept the concept. When the concept is approved, I start writing a detailed treatment for the story and references for the shots. During this process, I also come up with an idea of what gear I wanna use for this project (lighting, cameras, lenses, etc). So, after everything is shot, I’m doing a quick rough cut of the music video, we accept it with the band, and only then, I’ll do VFX and color grading. 

Can you share your favourite project with us? Why do you love it so much?

So far my favorite project is for a band from Switzerland called Artifiction. This music video is not out yet, but I really love what we’ve done with the guys. I love this project because we’ve been able to achieve a great result no matter what obstacles we’ve had. Apparently COVID-19 affected the music video shooting process, so guys from the band decided to shoot it themself and send me the footage to edit it. It was a great collaboration, can’t wait to see the feedback when they release it. 

If you could have dinner with five people who’s either inspired you or who you’d consider a muse, who would it be?

They’re not necessarily related to the music or video scene, because I really think that you need to be a jack of all trades in some sense in order to a successful artist. So my list is:

  1. Dave Mayers. He’s just one of the greatest music video directors. Every music video he makes is like a short movie. 
  2. Tim Ferris. He’s a great author and you can learn a lot on how to be productive and efficient, which is a must-have if you’re a freelancer. 
  3. Gary Vaynerchuk. This guy is great a great motivator and a businessman. You should follow his advices on content creation.
  4. Thom York. I’ve always been a fan of Radiohead, I would like to get in Thom York’s head.
  5. David Fincher. One of my favorite movie directors. He has a very unique style. 

Any other tips?

I would recommend not to fall into a gear trap. Obviously, cameras and other gear are really important, but you can lose tons of hours watching YouTube gear reviews, believe me, I’ve been there. Choose what you can afford at the moment and start creating. You can try to copy someones else’s work in the beginning, just for the sake of learning. Follow artists you like on Instagram, look at their behind the scenes, DM them, ask for feedback. Watch good movies, learn design and marketing.

See more of Serhii work on Instagram (@sergey_sartr) or

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