Grimsby videographer has seen a lot, captured it all, award nominated

By Mike Williscraft


Like a lot of kids, Mike Rilstone was bored growing up in Grimsby.

It didn’t take long for him to realize his time could be put to good use, though.

“I think it came from – like a lot of kids – I was just bored as a kid in Grimsby. There was not much to do, the nearest movie theatre was in St. Catharines,” said Rilstone.

“At a young age, similar to a lot of
people, it became my job to  pick up the family video camera. I just started playing around with it, doing it stop motions, making little movies with LEGO. My my older sister’s friend got into Sheridan college and I started researching it. I must have been 10 or 11, and I realized there’s a job here,  there’s a career.”

That career, for the 32 year old, has taken him all around the world and into some pretty tricky situations as a leading cameraman.

Last week, Rilstone was more than happy to add “award nominated” to his resume when it was announced he is up for an Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television 2021 Best Photography, Lifestyle or Reality/Competition award. The program is called the Canadian Screen Awards.

Rilstone was nominated for his work on the popular Scott Brothers Entertainment program “Making it Home With Kortney and Dave”. The episode was named “Meisha & Brian”. The program airs on HGTV.

“My phone just blew up with all kinds of congratulations, said Rilstone, a graduate of Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School.

“This nomination came out of nowhere. I was floored. This is the equivalent of the Grammys in American music or the Emmys for TV in the U.S. It’s a really big deal.”

Rilstone recalled the episode for which he garnered the nomination and said it included some special touches for which he is becoming known.

“I try to do some extra things with lighting, in particular. On that one, I put lights outside of windows lighting the room from different angles,” said Rilstone.

“I’ve been doing some very cinematic lighting in terms somethings that haven’t really been done in the genre. These things add a lot of production value to the show.”

He also said he uses different camera gear to create as interactive an experience as possible.

The show is hosted by Dave and Kortney Wilson and Kortney is very active on the set.

“I also shoot the show with a steadicam. Kortney loves to move around. She just wants to come in a room and she wants to wander,” said Rilstone, noting this allows him to shoot creative vantage points.

The awards night itself is planned for Thursday, May 20.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Rilstone, from his seat at Teddy’s Food, Fun & Spirits, which is co-owned by his mom, Sandy Jaskula.

When not shooting in Toronto – he has been typically based in Nashville, Tenn. of late but due to COVID-19 has stuck close to home – Rilstone is often at Teddy’s helping out.

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