What do unicorns, dinosaurs and planets have in common? Creating a Kickstarter Promo film!

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Last year I was approached by Artywren - they are a manufacturer of children’s clothing and were looking to put together a quirky promotional film for use on Kickstarter. From the moment I spoke with the clients I was in love with their products and their company ethos.

After a while I gave up explaining to passers-by what we were doing…

The idea behind Artywren was to create clothing designs that are gender neutral, with dresses and shirts available of each theme. They had several different themes including ‘Outer Space’ and ‘Prehistoric’, and the shirts were very environmentally aware - so much so that you could plant the clothing tags they came with and a plant would grow!

I was tasked with showing off the clothing and bringing their designs to life. I filmed at several locations in the spring, making most of the sunlight we were lucky enough to have throughout the shoot. Filming two children ‘sailing’ through a bluebell forest looking for treasure is an experience I won’t forget, the whole shoot had an element of magic to it that I tried to capture.

Reviewing footage in camera with my amazing clients!

Bringing their designs to life in After Effects was fun - I motion tracked each shot and then overlayed my animated versions of the designs in 3D space to allow the children to interact with them and again help bring to life the idea of a magical world of imagination.

The clients were over the moon (yes, almost literally) with the end video and I think of it as one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on in recent years.

There were two versions created - one for promotional purposes and another Kickstarter only version which had a piece to camera from the clients discussing raising funds. I’ve uploaded the promotional version (to keep the clients happy!) for you to take a look at. I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments below!

School Photography

The Sony a6300 with the Sigma 18-35mm lens - when the lens is much bigger than the camera!

One of my regular clients for photography is a company which designs websites for schools. I cover schools for the across the South West, but have also done some as far North as Carlisle. The projects tend to be a half day, so either starting or finishing around the school lunch break.

Each shoot has specific requirements and a schedule drawn up by the school - they often will cram their photography session with as many different activities as possible, and the weather is usually good at dictating what those activities will be! I’m asked to keep the focus of any images in the bottom two thirds of the photo, which allows the website to have banners and so on along the top of the image without cropping out anyone’s face!

My Sony A7Sii with Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART lens and battery grip

My go-to kit for photography is my Sony A7Sii - whilst purchased originally for stills, it’s full frame sensor with large pixel size means I have really nice bright images. I use mostly my Sigma ART 50mm F1.4 and leave it wide open to give me a nice shallow depth of field that really helps the subject pop out from the background.

For sports and other quick moving subjects I use my little Sony a6300 which has an incredibly fast burst rate and autofocus when using the Sigma MC-11 adapter in combination with any of my Canon EF lenses.

Each school is very different and it’s always fun making the most of the facilities and getting children to go read books in ‘random places’ (as I put it to them) - it makes for some really interesting images! An example of my work would be - http://www.wilton.dsat.org.uk/

I also create video backgrounds too for use on the websites - an example would be http://www.parsonstreet.com/

One school image I can safely share!

Creating a video for the British Neuroscience Association

Ruby Wax in a still from my BNA film

Ruby Wax in a still from my BNA film

I was approached by the British Neuroscience Association and asked to create a series of films that showed who they were, what they do and give an insight into the world of neuroscience.

About to interview Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

When I put together my treatment to help with my pitch for the project, I decided to try something a bit different. My idea was to have the interviewees sat centre frame on a wide shot, delivering straight to camera. I felt that this would give the films a more informal feel, allowing them to be conversational as opposed to the more corporate ‘talking head’ approach. Luckily the BNA liked the idea!

Sound recordist Matt Walker miking up Matt Eagles

The first film I was tasked with creating was a six minute educational film. The purpose of the film would be to encourage people to study neuroscience, whilst at the same time giving a little information about the BNA and neuroscience in general. Therefore the audience would be quite varied and we felt the film needed to be scientific enough to hold the interest of people currently in the industry, whilst at the same time being accessible to outsiders.

I brought together a crew for the film, including producer Chris Tuff to help with coming up with questions for each interviewee. We were given some amazing people to speak to, including Ruby Wax and other experts such as Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Paul Howard-Jones and David Nutt. It was amazing to speak to these people and the content they brought to the film was valuable in getting the messages across.

Speaking to David Nutt in King’s College London Chapel

I filmed on my camera kit, shooting on the URSA Mini Pro and the Sigma 18-35mm - I shot in 4.6k and at the wide end of the lens. This allowed me to have space around the speaker to add motion graphics and titles, whilst at the same time giving me the option to cut in to a close up and not lose any quality visually. We were only given a few locations so had to get creative with the angles. I tried to keep a sense of symmetry throughout and I think this worked and helped contribute to the whole look of the film.

I finally found a brain. Insert joke here.

Please take a look at the finished film below. I really enjoyed working on the film and I’d love to hear any comments below.

I am looking forward to jumping back into the rushes and working on the other films for them over the next few weeks!

Filming on St Martin's, the Isles of Scilly

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This week I was lucky enough to travel to the Isles of Scilly on a shoot with producer Chris Tuff (CTV), to create a promotional film for ‘Scilly Flowers’ as part of an advertising campaign produced by Cornwall Living magazine.

Grab from the film - Scented narcissi growing on St Martin’s

Getting to St Martin’s was an interesting experience. A drive to Land’s End from Portishead, followed by a 20 minute flight to St Mary’s (the main island) and finally a boat to St Martin’s. Once on the island it was fairly simple to get around by walking, quad bike or van on their only road! Scilly Flowers grows flowers all year round and the purpose of the film was to show where they are based, what they do and give an insight into the process and the people behind it.

Another grab from the film - picking narcissi in one of the many flower fields

The first day we arrived with blue skies, no wind and the sun feeling like the middle of June. I filmed location shots of the island, as well as in the flower fields and on several beaches. We stayed on the island for one night at the farm in a holiday flat before waking up to a more typical English February day - wind pushed me and my camera about and I was rained on a few times! Thankfully, this is all part of life at St Martin’s and showing a variety of weather benefits the film by showing the growing conditions on the island.

Equipment wise I was travelling light - so only about 5 cases! Shooting the film on the URSA Mini Pro 4.6k was so much fun - the ability to keep both highlights in the sky and shadows when the sun was high gives the film a great look. I shot mostly wide on the Sigma 18-35mm with one or two macro shots on my Canon 100mm 2.8. I mainly shot wide (I usually favor the 35mm end of the lens but this time kept a lot at 18mm) as I wanted to show the scale of the island and also give some context to people and their surroundings.

Just after landing on St Mary’s - a fun flight!

Overall it was a fantastic experience - landing back at Land’s End (after a rather bumpy flight that was lucky to actually take-off!) we all felt like we’d been on an adventure of sorts.

Island life certainly seems to be fun, and I’m really looking forward to putting the first edit in front of everyone at Scilly Flowers!

DataSpace2019 - Event Filming / Photography

The URSA Mini Pro on location in the Clydeside Distillery, Glasgow

The URSA Mini Pro on location in the Clydeside Distillery, Glasgow

Last week I drove up to Glasgow (a bit of a trip from Bristol!) to attend the DataSpace 2019 conference. My job was to capture highlights of the event on video, and at the same time do stills photography for press / website use. It was an interesting event covering a variety of space / satellite related topics and I did find myself getting sucked into a few of the presentations!

My URSA Mini Pro set-up for vox-pops, using RodeLink wireless lav mic on the interviewee

I’d normally bring along an assistant to help with either photography or videography, however on this occasion it wasn’t possible so I ended up managing both. This involved moving around the venue with the URSA (my main video camera) and two stills cameras - I definitely had a good workout over the 2.5 days! My set-up is quick and portable so once I’d moved to where I needed to be I could quickly capture events / highlights in both video and stills from the same position.

When presentations took place in the main hall, I set up the URSA and my stills cameras so that I could get a wide and close of each speaker, as well as showing off the venue. I used a 10mm lens on the URSA and my A7Sii to give the hall an epic wide view that really shows off the scale of the event.

As I was only shooting highlights and not capturing the sessions in full, I just recorded 20 second snippets of presenters when they were their most animated, and took stills at the same time.

People usually ask why everything looks red on the camera - the red actually outlines anything that is in focus - really handy in a situation like this!

Me with my URSA and the Sony A7Sii - picture taken on my a6300 with the Sigma 18-35mm lens

Two highlights of the event were both the reception drinks at the Clydeside Distillery and a gala dinner at a stunning converted church venue in the middle of Glasgow on the second night.

The footage from the more informal events always looks great as you capture the delegates really enjoying themselves and networking outside of the conference environment. It’s also a great thing to have on film to promote any further events!

Matti Hemmings Photo Shoot

Today I spent half an hour with Guinness World Record holder and BMX wizard Matti Hemmings doing some stills photography.

I’ve known Matti for a few years now - as he lives around the corner we often meet up to shoot some stills and video for his social media. I always enjoy getting out the office for half an hour to shoot some fairly amazing tricks, usually around the marina in Portishead.

Today I shot on both the Sony a6300 and the A7Sii - I’m so used to shooting on the A7Sii that when I have a play with my a6300 the speed of the camera takes me by surprise, it’s so quick!

Shot these images on a mix of lenses - mainly the Sigma 10-20 F3.5 and Canon 70-200 F2.8.