Exploring the Power of Visual Storytelling and Music in Film with Kitty Peters

Kitty Peters shares her process of shaping immersive narratives and leveraging the force of music to enrich her storytelling.

Cinematographer Kitty Peters

As the chief cinematographer of Atola Visuals, Kitty Peters’ passion lies in storytelling through film, exploring human resilience and self-discovery. Read her interview to learn more about what keeps her inspired, her favorite projects to date, and how she utilizes Musicbed to find the right music for her work. 

Musicbed: What sparked your passion for filmmaking/storytelling? 

Kitty Peters: I’ve always had a passion for filmmaking since I was a teen running around with friends and capturing moments with my camcorder. It was just fun to relive favorite moments with friends and family.  When I was younger, one of my favorite pastimes was being with my dad and watching movies on the couch. I thought it would be a sustainable career path the older I got, and I decided to choose filmmaking for my career. 

What keeps you motivated and creatively inspired?

Life experiences keep me creative and when I’m not making something, I feel a bit empty and unfulfilled. Creativity is also an outlet for me to stay busy so my thoughts and emotions stay grounded.  When I’m in a creative rut, I like to go outside to get a daily dose of nature. I’ve also taken up writing every day and to try new things as much as possible. Right now, I’m sewing a dress and doing a lot of woodworking. Different things keep me motivated and bring me new story ideas for when I need to do my next video. 

Kitty Peters filming with Sony camera

What makes a story visually appealing?

There are so many components to making a story visually appealing, but the most important factors for me are lighting and composition. Lighting helps bring life to the film and makes me feel connected to the story. It sets the mood for everything whereas composition is key to allowing me to focus properly on the subject and their environment.

What role does music play in storytelling?

Music brings the drama to storytelling. It provides the pacing and conveys the emotion of the scene. Music is also a universal language and in many ways helps to connect us to the story in a deeper way. For example, if you have really hype songs, those are good for like car, chasing fast cuts, just like building the tension, versus if you have like a melancholy song that really puts people into their emotions and maybe digs deep down and gets to their feelings, depending on what choice you use, you can really have someone feel certain emotions, and also helps with editing.

What elements do you think are essential for crafting a compelling story? 

I love stories that overcome a struggle. It is something we can all relate to and motivates us to take on reality after we’ve come back from being engulfed in a film. I almost feel like I become the character and grow as a person. It teaches me values and what’s important in life. 

How important is music in your work?

Music is a big part of my life. It has the power to heal, keep my spirits high, and spark my creativity. For these reasons, music is very critical to not just have within my videos, but to get me through the days. Music is not only good for my daily routine but sometimes when I’m stuck on a video editing it, and have no ideas, I’ll go search the music catalog and find something that really speaks to me.  It’ll bring my motivation back and help me drive the story in the shot list order and help with the pacing.

What advice would you give other filmmakers/creators just starting their careers? 

Shoot everything and don’t think too much about the technical stuff. At such an early point in your hobby or career, it doesn’t matter what you shoot on, so try not to get caught up in needing the best of the best. Find what interests you and show it from your perspective. 

Kitty Peters filming a McLaren

How do you balance pushing boundaries creatively and delivering what your client wants or audience wants to see? 

That’s a tough question! I still have trouble balancing what I want, creatively, vs. what a client wants. This might be one of the reasons I do very little client work these days! I think the best strategy here is to really communicate and understand what your audience or client wants. If it does not align with your values or vision, then pull back from the project, and use the time you gained back, to seek projects you’re really excited for.  

What is the most challenging aspect of being a filmmaker/creative? 

I’d say the most challenging aspect of being a filmmaker is how much time everything takes and trying to balance that all, to produce the results you want. Getting projects done promptly without getting distracted by a new project that needs priority has been a constant issue for me. I have so much footage shot for videos I want to post, but never get to them and they sit on a hard drive for years. 

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on? 

I really like my creative concepts that express my vulnerable feelings. I can put visuals to my inner thoughts that are difficult to explain and talk about what I’ve learned and how I overcame my problem at the time. I watch these back the most and look forward to watching them when I’m 90 to remember what kind of person I was when I was younger and how far I’ve grown. It’s my therapy. 

Kitty Peters taking photo in desert

How do you search for music on Musicbed? 

I typically search by genre or mood. I love music that is vibey and I’ll download a few that fit my scene and sometimes the one I didn’t think would work, works the best. Usually, when I’m searching for music, my go-to categories are ambiance and cinematic.  I like to combine those and that’s where I usually start to get my foundation.  Once I find something, I usually go to “Show Similar,” I’ll pick the artist I’m really vibing with, and see what other music they have. I follow a lot of great artists there.

What are your trips for other filmmakers to search on Musicbed?

When you find a track you like, hit the “Show Similar” button to get faster search results for the music you’re going for. Having friends with playlists to follow makes it easy to search things and it’s always getting updated. I love all the different playlists so I could check out new fun music from people that I know because everyone has a different style and vibe and that’s what makes it great because it’s such a diverse platform with really high-quality music.


Explore Kitty’s go-to music to use in her projects in a curated playlist of her favorite songs—all available to license only on Musicbed.