Blog

Working at The Shard

I recently worked on two shoots at the world renowned Shard building in London for Explain the Market, a thought leadership agency.

The project involved filming the first of a series of video podcasts the company’s director, Guy Shone, was producing to demystify the daunting world of money.

His second discussion was with Vivienne Hayes MBE, a prominent feminist and women’s rights campaigner. The pair looked at radical methods to reduce the gender pay gap – a debate well worth listening to.

The podcast can be found below:

While I was filming the second podcast, we had some good weather, so I took some shots of the views in between scenes. We were positioned on the Tower Bridge side of the building, looking out towards the now iconic Citi Bank and HSBC buildings.

You can find a selection of the photos below:

Making the most of the winter weather

My hometown of Cheltenham was covered in snow, seemingly overnight, on the weekend.

It’s quite sad to admit that the first thing that went through my head was that this would make for some great photos and film.

After a bit of sledging on Sunday afternoon, I came back to my flat just off Bath Road, grabbed my camera and headed out to do some street photography in the dark. The street lights and snow created some lovely effects. I pushed the shutter speed up to around 500 to highlight how heavily the snow was falling and boosted the ISO up to around 8,000, which my Sony A7Sii deals with comfortably with minimal noise. I edited the lot in black and white, which I think added to the mood.

The sun came out on Monday, which meant only one thing – get the drone up Leckhampton Hill. I ventured up with my dad and our family dog Seve. Due to road closures around the usual parking spots on the hill, the place was deserted. I popped the drone up for ten minutes and then edited the footage into the film below:

The Gloucestershire Echo, my local newspaper, ran a story on the drone film. The article can be found by CLICKING HERE.

I also grabbed some stills while up there. All shot on my Sony A7Sii with the Canon 24-105mm f4 lens:

A final note while on the topic of all things snowy and Christmassy, I had a ball filming Dean Close School’s ’12 Days of Christmas’ social media video campaign. Each day the school released a clip of a day of Christmas, with lyrics to fit in with the school’s going-ons, with the twelfth day being a full countdown, with outtakes at the end.

Filming was done across two days and, as always, all of the staff and pupils at the school were a delight to work with. Day 12 of the film series can be found below:

Behind the scenes of the jump racing world

I recently started shooting for Cotswold Eye, a new online video platform for the Cotswolds. We’ve been filming at Cheltenham Racecourse and legendary jump racing trainer Jonjo O’Neill’s yard.

Having got into horse racing earlier this year, it’s been great to get a behind the scenes look at the sport.

Filming up close and personal with the horses at Jonjo’s yard was certainly a learning experience. I quickly found out that shooting from low down is a no go. Apparently, horse’s view you as a predator ready to pounce when you get down on the ground – who knew?

We are still gathering footage from Jonjo’s before we put the first film out, however we have got some stunning shots so far. We arrived in the dark at 7am for our first morning shooting at the yard. As the sun came out we got out on the gallops and drove alongside a couple of the horses training. The video below shows me capturing the scene – I’m using the Zhiyun Crane gimbal and the Sony A7sii for the shot:

Getting access to Cheltenham Racecourse, the home of jump racing, has also been fantastic. Apparently the course get hundreds of applications to film there every year, so we were lucky to get season long access.

Before the season started we interviewed some of the key people responsible for putting on the fantastic race events at Cheltenham. You can see the film below:

Catching up on corporate work

I’ve had a ludicrous amount of freelance work over the past month so am playing catch-up with this blog a little.

It’s always good to be busy filming but after nearly three solid weeks of shoots it leaves a hell of an editing backlog. I always guarantee first drafts of corporate films within two weeks (latest) of being shot, so it’s been a case of getting back from shoots and editing all evening.

St George’s School, Windsor Castle

I spent two days in Windsor last month to produce a series of films for St George’s School, a stunning prep school set in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Schools shoots, due to the fact that they have to work around the kids’ lessons and teachers’ schedules, can be notoriously chaotic. Thankfully their marketing team had given me plenty of time across the two days, so I could get some cinematic shots.

You can see one of the films I produced for the school below. The whole film was shot on the Sony A7Sii with a variety of Canon, Sigma and Sony lenses and the Zhiyun Crane gimbal. Audio was recorded with the RØDELink Filmmaker Kit.

Michelle Blake Style Consultancy

I also produced a corporate film for style consultant Michelle Blake. The shoot had to be wrapped in under two hours which made for good practice of shooting on the fly.

It was shot almost entirely on the nifty Zhiyun Crane gimbal and can be found below:

Bastford drone

I managed to fit a bit of drone filming for a passion project in between the corporate shoots recently at the wonderful Batsford Arboretum at the Cotswolds. It’s part of a film I’m producing to capture some of the stunning Autumn colours in the region. I’ve got a few more shots to gather before the edit can begin and will of course share it on this website when it’s complete.

Many thanks to the team at Batsford for allowing me access to the arboretum before it opened to get the shots I needed. We didn’t get the sun the forecast promised however the morning mist made for a nice bit of variety in the film.

Below is a shot of my preparing the colour profile settings on the drone before takeoff.

Drone promo-1

Outlook Festival 2017

I was flown out to Croatia to film for my favourite festival in the world earlier this month – Outlook Festival.

This was the tenth year the festival had run so it was amazing to be a part of it, this time on the other side of the ropes.

The opening party of the festival was held at the imposing Roman ampitheatre in the beautiful town of Pula, a short boat ride from the festival site. This concert featured DJ Shadow, Dizzee Rascal and the incredible Outlook Orchestra, who brought a symphonic sound to some underground dance classics.

I had pit access for the night so was able to get some nice angles for photos. Below are some of my shots of the opening party:

It was great to have one of those pictures featured by Resident Advisor to their quarter of a million Instagram followers.

On the Saturday night I was filming the Deep, Dark and Dangerous boat party. The label is run by the prominent New Zealand dubstep producers Truth and featured some of my all time musical heroes, including dubstep originator Youngsta, with Sgt Pokes and Killa P blessing the mic.

Some of my favourite shots from the boat party are featured below:

The after party film I shot for the boat party can be found below:

The rest of the festival was a joy, despite the weather. I was sharing accommodation on site with another photographer, the insanely creative Sam Kirby (Insta: @samuel_kirby), so it was good getting back after a long night shooting to discuss photo ideas and the creative process.

I have a couple of edits due for the festival, which I will of course be sharing via this blog when they’re ready, so keep eyes peeled.

C

’24 Hours in Slovenia’

I was lucky enough to spend some time with my family in Slovenia recently and was blown away by the place.

I had my camera with me, as always, and got some shots of the stunning landscapes, a selection of which are below:

I put the footage I captured into a short film which can be found at the bottom of this page. Slovenia is truly a photographer or videographer’s dream.

For those interested in the camera side of things, the whole thing was shot handheld with my Sony A7Sii and through the Sony 28mm f2 and Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 lenses. The picture profile was S-Log2, which I’ve found a delight to work with recently.

It took some time to choose the track. I eventually landed on a stunning, cinematic piece by composer Josh Leake, aptly called Family. It had the right pace and progression to it, with different sections providing alternative tones for the film to flow through.

I’ve called the film ’24 Hours in Slovenia’ and it can be found below:

First blog

Being a filmmaker has taken me around the world and has allowed me to meet people I would never have had the chance of meeting before.

I’ve decided to start this blog about my work as a freelance filmmaker to give an insight into the things I film and how I film them. Sometimes the idea of hiring a one-man film crew for a shoot can seem daunting – I’m hoping this blog will help overcome this. I’ll be using this space discussing my weekly shoots and uploading some behind the camera pictures and film, as well as sharing some thoughts on film/camera news and some images of my wonderful hometown, Cheltenham.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page or message me on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.

Enjoy.