Monday, 23 February 2015

Death Instinct

If you know me, you know I enjoy creating things and stuff. If you don't know me, you should probably take a moment just to scroll down a bit and have a look at the rest of my blog. I'll give you a minute to do that.

Don't worry, it's ok, you aren't going to miss anything important if you scroll down. That's the magic of text, it will still be here when you scroll back up.

One downside of wanting to work on so many different things is that it can occasionally take quite a long time to get once of the projects done.

This project is one of those things.

Back in November, I had an idea. After I had shot a video on the Nikon D800 with my friend Tom after being nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge (hey, we were young, everybody was doing it, and if you fancy watching our take on it then you can watch it here) I really wanted to take the D800 and it's not-too-obvious-but-still-cool 60fps to the studio and shoot something with a bit more control. I wanted to try this out with something visually captivating and interesting. I wanted it to be shot in the studio, I wanted there to be movement and I wanted it to grab people's attention. So naturally I asked one of the most talented people I know to be a part of it - Miss Death Instinct. You can see her work here - - and you should be able to see why I envisioned this video with her involved. Her work is so intricate and bewitching, I felt it really suited the use of a slight time shift to highlight how important each action, each movement and each tiny dot is to the completion of the piece.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, the thumbnail is horrible. Please don't let that put you off, it doesn't look like that when you watch it. So watch it.

I had only used the 60fps mode on the D800 while outside, and foolishly hadn't accounted for the refresh rates of the lights when shooting in the studio, so the tech people among you may notice a slight flicker on some of the shots. I know it's there. Don't worry.

This will hopefully be the first of a number of short video projects I have ideas for. One is shot and ready to be edited (and is probably going to end up very similar to this one, but we shall see).

Just to show off the D800's photographic prowess also, here are some images I shot during and after the shoot

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this or watch the video or whatever it is you're doing here!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

In The Near Light

One thing I didn't mention during my last year of infrequent blogging was this - I was involved in making a short film!

...which you can watch on the Midnight Movies Vimeo page where you can also see director Tom Oliver's previous short film, Gone Tomorrow, which I helped out on as an assistant editor. This time around, I upped my involvement by taking on the role of cinematographer/director of photography.

I've had a small history of making very (very) short films and promotional videos, and the whole production process is something I've always loved from start to finish. As soon as I found out we could do a G.C.S.E in Media Studies which would involve shooting and editing your own short films and a music video, I didn't want to do anything but that. So much so that I even went to study a university course in Media Practice because, ultimately, I wanted to be a film editor. It was, however, while at university that I realised my passion for photography and steered myself in that direction and, in turn, it has been that continued interest and practicing of photography, lighting, and framing that has brought me full circle around to having an interest in creating films again. In the past few years I had been a stills photographer for a few short films shot at the National Film and Television School and a documentary that was aired by the BBC, so I was really looking forward to being given the chance to take on more of a role in that production situation. We were a team of about 11 people in total, including cast and crew, which was by far the largest group I had ever worked with directly on a personal project. I call this a personal project as the director, Tom Oliver, is a close friend of mine who I lived with for a year, so I feel like I have a direct invested interest in his projects. Also, as it's the first project that I've filmed which has been over five minutes long and has involved so many people - it does feel pretty personal. The amount of time and effort the whole cast and crew put it, it would surprise me if they also didn't feel like a decent part of them had gone into this film's lengthy production period from start to finish.

The whole process started in late 2013 with initial crew meetings and one or two small recky's that Tom and I went on in the most horrendous weather. During the production process, we were often held ransom by intense weather variations - epic storms, intense winds, hail showers and occasional heat waves. It sometimes verged on a being a little bit crazy, and I think the sporadic nature of...well, nature, tested all of us a little bit. But those bad days of weather made the good days of shooting seem even better.

It's been about five or six months since we finished shooting, and now rewatching the film, yes, I still see all of the mistakes I made. I see the shots that I would alter slightly or improve my technique on. I see the few shots where I was tired and not on my 'A'-game. But I feel proud of what we have created. At the time, I was more just  relieved that we had finally got it finished. Those early mornings and long days now seem long forgotten and totally worth it. 

Anyway, now for the main reason for this post - I thought I would share some photos I captured during filming, before they get lost into the archives of my hard drives. A lot of them are framed as they were in the film, as we didn't have a dedicated stills camera so most of the behind the scenes stuff was captured after the camera had already been set up for the next shot.


and the last image - the only decent image I took at the late night screening of our film at the Duke's at Komedia, our local Picturehouse right in central Brighton. Tom in all his glory

To finish us off, here as links to interviews and articles written about the film and Tom himself. There are a few extra pictures that I haven't posted on here on one of them! But you'll have to read them to find out which!

Enjoy those! Enjoy that! Enjoy the film!