I love the craft of cinematography, but I think as someone who really really likes cameras it’s always hard not to get slightly geeky about anything technical, cool, funky or for that matter anything to do with cameras; still, moving or otherwise related to them. I think that most camera department people would agree that they still love to take stills, it’s a way of expressing your creativity through another form of image making (there’s also generally a lot less gear to lug around) and as cameras get smaller both in the moving and stills world it gives us even more flexibility to travel lightweight with this cool tech that allows us to capture moments (that sounds a bit to arty, but it’s true) in our everyday lives, on set, on location, on holiday, whilst on a bike, in a remote part of a mountain range with only a goat for company and the list goes on.
This long intro is basically my excuse for why I’ve just bought a new stills camera, I love my iPhone for taking Insta-bangers™ but it’s not the only camera available to photographers who just want to take great photos (there’s a whole world of compact cameras out there that aren’t apple branded). I’ve got a DSLR (Canon 7D) and it’s great, I’ve had it for about 3 years now and it’s still going strong (and heavy), the photos that it takes are great, but I do feel like I’m carrying a small child around with me (I’m not). So I thought it was time to invest in a proper compact camera that pretty much came close to rivalling my 7D. And I think I’ve found it, although it’s pretty early in the relationship (we’ve been taking photos together for 1 day so far) I can already sense that it’s going to be a long and prosperous one.
Introductions can sometimes be difficult and it’s taken me a good couple of months of searching around, talking to friends, reading lots of reviews and generally doing some shopping about till I found the perfect match, it was love at first site pretty much. I went for the Ricoh GR…
It’s pure and simple photography with this little beast, non of that wifi or geotagging mumbo jumbo, just an APS-C sized sensor in a small magnesium alloy body, with a great little 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens which keeps things all the more simple and makes you work a bit more for the perfect shot. We’ve only had one outing so far, but suffice to say it’s going well and we’ve not had any arguments, I’ll make sure to keep you updated and hope this is a long and fruitful creative partnership when I’m not attached to a movie camera.
Below are a few photos from yesterdays ride with a mate (Marin Team ride Chris Keeble-Smith).
This summer seems to be speeding past just as fast if not faster than previous summers, with good weather and a reasonable amount of work on you only get a few glimmers of chill time with friends and family. Last month I posted about working out in France for a week with Mavic filming their mountain bike product launch, these being some very cool new mountain bike wheels and here’s the finished film:
Mavic Enduro Adventure press launch from Mavic on Vimeo.
One of the other films that I shot last month was for Building Block Films and a small publishing company called Artisan Books, it was just a one day shoot, two very different locations. The first in a really cool book binders in London where most of the work is bespoke and done by hand, with the second location out in East Sussex being the polar opposite with the majority of work being printed by industrial printers. I also graded the film once they went into post with it being about a 2 week turn around time. I shot it on my Canon C100 w/ Atomos Ninja 2 recorder mainly using the Canon 28-105mm f/4 as my work horse. The film has come out more like a short documentary than a corporate which I’m really happy about, hope you enjoy it.
What is an Artisan Book? from Building Block Films on Vimeo.
One of the things that I love about filmmaking is the locations that I get to travel to and work in whether I’m working as a DOP or an assistant/trainee it’s always great fun and a challenge in equal amounts. This summer seems to be shaping up to be a busy one with the milage adding up, 3 jobs in France, 2 in Scotland and some potential one’s much further afield I think it’s going to be pretty full on.
Since I last posted lots has happened. The first TV docu that I’ve worked on as DOP aired on the Norweign TV Channel NRK at prime time the other week http://tv.nrk.no/program/koid22002614/ung-sprek-og-plutselig-doed which is awesome as the program came together really well. At the start of May I worked on my second small feature film as 2nd AC called ‘Making It’ which was great fun and real learning experience working with some awesome focus pullers and DOP Andy Alderslade.
I spent last week filming in the Maritime Alps, France with the cycling brand Mavic at a press launch of their new Crossmax XL WTS wheelset which as always was great fun, with some amazing riding and scenery and a great group of journalists and riders. The video should hopefully be up tomorrow.
The rest of May/June is looking pretty busy partly with new business coming in for myself and Dave Watt’s new corporate commercial company ‘Zion Creative’ http://zioncreative.co.uk/
In a couple of days I’m off to Scotland to cover the second round of the Enduro World Series in Tweedlove, Peebles for Singletrack Magazine as they are the media sponsor for the event. As one of the UK’s biggest mountain bike events in this summers calendar it should be a jam packed long weekend of amazing racing. So I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and capturing some of the action.
Slightly delayed post, have kind of let the stories collect slightly over the past month or so. On a cold and rainy early January morning I found myself in the basement of a cool bar in Shoreditch, London (where else for a music video) 2nd AC’ing for DP and NFTS grad Andy Alderslade having worked with him previously on the feature ‘Two Down’ in October it was a pleasure to work with him and 1st AC Luke Jeffery again. Working with the Red Epic and Arri Ultra Primes on the Chapman PeeWee dolly. We were shooting mainly all high speed stuff at either 50fps or 100 fps. I doubled up as DIT for the day, which definitely made the shoot even more interesting as we had 4 x 128GB drives which we were almost constantly rotating. We finished the 13 hour day on 56 slates, pretty good for a one day music video shoot. Hope you enjoy the end result, was a great cast and crew.
A couple of weeks ago me and some friends decided it would be fun to make a little christmas short film to get everyone into the christmas spirit. Here’s how it came about and the resulting film:
The project started in Mid-November with a blank notepad and some coffee to fuel the story’s conception. We wanted to keep it christmassy, simple, small, cheap and most of all fun for us as the filmmakers and for you as an audience. We spent a couple of weeks developing the script, casting, and sorting locations etc. We got the crew together for the 1 day shoot in the first week of December and spent the following 12 hours frantically capturing the story around the small Oxfordshire village of East Hendred. 3 days of solid editing and music composition followed and here’s the finished film. Hope you enjoy it and have a great christmas.
It was originally going to be called ‘Christmas Tree’, but we decided to change it once we got into post.
A couple of screenshots from the film:
It feels like it’s been a whirl wind couple of months, from filming an interview in the house of commons, to standing on top of mountains working with some of the worlds top mountain bikers and finally working on a great feature that we’ve just wrapped on.
The feature is called ‘Two Down’, directed by Matthew Butler and DP’d by Andy Alderslade. It was a two week shoot over in Crouch End, London, with a fast paced schedule. I was working as Clapper Loader, with a really great hard working crew. I’ll make sure to post a trailer once it’s been released.
It’s been a long while since I lasted posted work or a general update, sorry about that, it’s been a busy old summer. I graduated from Uni back in June with a 1st in Film & Video Production which was great, but my main aim over the past year or so has to really try and work in film as much as possible. This has lead to a massive variety of projects, it’s been a great summer and I’m really looking forward to the years ahead. This summer has been a mixture of 1st AC work on various short films with some awesome cast and crews and i’ve learnt a lot, i’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really talented people. I’ve also been shooting some awesome adventure shorts with Trans-Provence a mountain bike race based in the Maritime Alps in Southern France to be released soon, as well as Mavic components over in France.
My main focus at the moment is working as a camera trainee or assistant on shorts and features to really gain a good understanding of larger scale productions and the way the camera department functions in those environments.
I’ve also been mixing in a bit of documentary work to keep things interesting. A crew of 3 of us are setting off on Sunday for 8 days to film the progress of director/presenter Michael Dorgan as he run’s from London to Brussels as part of a new documentary ‘Is Running Good For Us?’ (working title) that i’m lucky enough to be working on as camera operator. Four days after that I head off to work as camera op and editor on Trans-Provence 2013, which is set to be an amazing 7 days of racing and adventure.
I promise to post a bit more often from now with updates etc :)
(Above): Alexa sitting outside a dark tunnel whilst 1st AC’ing on a night shoot in Telford, UK.
(Above) 1st AC’ing on a short film down in surrey in a slightly derelict house.
(Above) On top of the world, shooting a short adventure film for Trans-Provence this summer out in Maritime Alps, France.
(Above) Evening on an Island off the coast of Croatia as the sun is setting on the horizon, this was a holiday not work ;)
(Above) 1st AC’ing on a short film in an College building in Wallingford, UK.
(Above) This was just a cool dog who was watching us pack away gear whilst on the Trans-Provence shoot in France.
On thursday we wrapped the 5 day shoot for 'Love Endeavours', our final graduation piece, it was a great 5 days on location in the Peak District and Derbyshire area of the UK with an amazing cast and crew. We were shooting on the RED Epic with Cooke Mini S4i's (re-branded Panchro's) on O'Connor 2060HD head tripod and Mantis shoulder rig. We had a pretty lightweight lighting set-up as we we’re travelling every day pretty much to new locations in cars to keep cost down, so I had a 2K HMI, 1K Arri Fresnel, 650w Arri Fresnel, 2x 300w Arri Fresnel, Solaris LED panel, a Kino Flo Diva 400 (which I didn’t use in the end) a couple of 2K open faces as back-ups, reflectors and loads of gels and difs etc.
I was really pleased with how the Epic dealt with a massive range in shooting conditions, as we shot a mixture of natural and film lit scenes as well as some very low-light shots.
My gaffer, Ben Turner did a great job on the shoot and was a joy to collaborate with as well as my 1st AC Maxwell Ainley and 2nd AC Ola Mesmer. It was a real team effort to get the shoot finished.
Dave Watts, the director of the film did a stunning job at pulling the whole production together and was great to work with again. Really looking forward to getting into the grade in a couple of weeks time once the edits locked. Will hopefully be able to post a link to the trailer for the film in a couple of weeks time :)