Category Archives: Workflow

Buzz Radar

 

Buzz Radar Social Command Centre from Buzz Radar on Vimeo.

I am very luck to have met some very nice and exceptionally talented people over the years, one of which is Patrick Charlton of Buzz Radar. Buzz Radar is a company that helps businesses and organisation visualise social media data in real time.

Earlier this year Patrick asked me to help make a short 2 minute film explaining what Buzz Radar was all about. Along with this Patrick wanted a shorter version which we used some of the key components but using a slightly altered script. Both of which had to be delivered within three days as they we being used at Cannes Festival Of Creativity.

The films were assembled using a combination of footage, some of which had perviously used in other forms for Buzz Radar including a testimonial film by Angelic Films about  Marks and Spencer  and their Social Media Wall as well as footage I had previously shot at Twitter London Live Studio. Along with this there was footage from another film Buzz Radar Skype Broadcast as well as this we used news footage from HLN CES report.

The already existing material we went to Google Campus to shoot some new footage on my Canon C100 showing the Buzz Radar platform working in a real world environment. The final pieces of footage were recorded using my Atomos Ninja 2 recording a full screen output of the visualised data which would be seen on a monitor or display.

We created the initial edits using Final Cut 7 and then Patrick crafted the voice over message along with a Nicky another of the Buzz Radar team who was in New York. Patrick then took himself off to a recording studio in Soho to record the two versions getting the best quality audio possible. The tracks were then emailed to me and I edited them into the videos and then mixed in the music. The edits were then delivered digitally using wetranser.com

Below is the short version of the film.

 

 

Made in Hackney Fundraising Video

A few weeks ago the guys over at Made in Hackney – Local Food Kitchen asked me to help them make a fundraising campaign film for them to be used on the Crowdfunder website. Made in Hackney is a charity based in Hackney that teaches  vital food growing, cooking and composting skills in their own bespoke basement kitchen. The Charity won a Lottery grant in 2012 which is now reaching its end and are now to replace this funding using both the Crowdfunder website and direct donations.

Sarah Bentley, one of the Co-Founders  fronted the video as well as organised for some of the past and current students to come down and share their experiences about the project and what it meant to them. In between interviews I filmed one of the classes with the most of the interviewees involved and best of all I got to sample some of their results.

Having spend the day there and meeting some of the students those who run it I can see why this project deserves to carry on, their agenda is simple to make health people and have a health planet.

I shot the video on my new Canon EOS C100 and recorded on a Atomos Ninja recording to ProRes 422LT which meant a broadcast quality recording.  Lighting was achieved using my Lishuai LED-1024ASVLK Bi-Colour LED Panel from Proactive. As there was quite a lot of background noise from fridges and walking on the shop floor above sound recording was a little tricky and I used a Rode NTG-2 Mic as close to the interviewee’s as I could get a way with. Music came from Pond5.com as they have some great tracks at really low prices.

For for info on Made in Hackey check out their website www.madeinhackney.org

Gillhams Solicitors Mediation Service Video

Gillhams Solicitors is based in Park Royal, London and were launching a new Mediation Service for Court of Protection Disputes and asked me to help them make them a short video explaining what the service is about and how it works. The shoot took place at their offices in Park Royal and edited the same week to tie in with the launch of their service launch. I also helped Gillhams create a dedicated youtube channel which should increase Gillhams search rankings for the new service.

Strawberry Fields

Summer may now be over but a few months ago I was commissioned by London Farmers’ Markets to make a short  promotional film centred around a strawberry farmer who sold at their markets. The aim was to explain how strawberries are grown to extend the British growing season.

I travelled out to Colchester to film on Fiveways Fruit Farm to film strawberry plants in various stages of growth  as well as interview Julian Mead, one of the partners in the farm.

The following day I met up with Julians brother, Alistair at Parliament Hill Farmers Market and filmed him working at the market. There we also got the chance to  grab a few words with food critic Giles Cohen extolling the virtues of Alistair and his strawberries. A few hours later I and Cheryl Cohen of London Farmers’ Markets travelled over to Walthamstow for a strawberry promotion at which we met managed to get  couple of words with Gennaro Contaldo as he tried some strawberries.

Shot on the Canon 5D with interview audio recorded on a Zoom H4N and a Rode NTG2 and edited using FCP7

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Steaming

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A few months York of York Smith Productions asked me to shoot some publicity stills for an up coming production of theatre play Steaming written by Neil Dunn which is to play at The Elgiva Theatre in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. Because the publicity material needed to be created months in advance of the play itself so there was no actual theatre set to shoot on and the plays Director/Producer Liz Mente Bishop arranged for the shoot to take place at Ironmonger Row Baths – Spa in London.

With cast assembled we had just four hours to get in, shoot and get out and a shot list to get. As steam and cameras don’t really mix I bought some cames of Magic Smoke which once sprayed in the room looked like steam without the moisture or heat.  The cast played out some scenes on location allowing me to set up some shots evoking the essence of the play. I shot everything on the Canon 5D using a mixture of available light and my trusty 150w LTM with a large piece of with poly board

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Steaming is on from Wednesday 18th until Sunday 22nd September more info can be found on the Steaming website www.steaming.me

Getting Up Close and Saving Cash

Strawberry flowerWe all love seeing the world like no other, seeing things others don’t see. One way to go this is using macro photography, whether it be film or a still image there is something magical about seeing the world from a bugs persecutive. Over the last couple of years I have needed to shoot macro photography and every time I have planned to do so I find myself looking to picking up a macro lens for my Canon 5D. About thirty seconds later I head up stairs, not for my credit card but for my old Olympus OM kit.

I loved my Olympus OM2n, I still do and would never sell it, I’m emotionally attached to it, and to be honest it probably has very little cash value anymore. I bought the OM2n to replace, and as an upgrade from my first camera an Olympus OM10 which I shot my A Level photography with. At university, a time before digital had really hit the main stream, I shot my degree worth with the OM2n. From that point onwards it’s lived most of its life in a flight case along with lenses, filters and extension barrels. Continue reading »

Stills into Motion

As someone that got into photography as a way to get into film I have previously experimented in using still images in sequences, sometimes as story boards and sometimes as actual story devices accompanied by sound tracks. But up until now I have never turned my portfolio into a moving sequence. I may be a little late to the party as applications such as Aperture already have built in tools for creating such things, I have in used them to create event slide shows in the past. But although great I chose to use Final Cut to turn my photographic portfolio into a short sequence, partly due to the being able to fine tune transitions, size and add text. Continue reading »

SayNay

SayNay was made for London Farmers Markets campaign against long supply chains and to saying yes to food you can trust. Shot in one day at Queens Park Farmers Market using a poem written by Essington Farm.

Shot using Canon 5D and editing using FCP.

Martins Pond

 

Matins Pond is situated in the idilic village of Potten End, Hertfordshire. This short film was designed to increase the pubs profile online by creating something that could be used on many platforms, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and set it apart from others in the area. The interior part of the soot was shot one day and the exteriors another due to the snow.

Shot using 2 Canon 5D’s and edited using FCP

Case Study: Stocks Farm – Getting The Brand Out

A project I am currently involved in is a series of videos for a small organic farm in Suffolk, Stocks Farm. The genesis for the project came from a conversation on how to increase awareness of the farms brand, products and where to buy them. The farm until this point had, had almost zero presence on the web and practically no marketing to speak of.

The first thing we did was create a Facebook page and Twitter profile for the farm along with a temporary website. Having worked with a few people from the word and mouth industry I realized the importance of interaction with people on the web as it’s a key tool in building up brand awareness as it’s a great way to get very targeted messages out to the right people. Continue reading »

Bahamas Olympic Team 2012

Olympic 4x400m Gold Medalist winners Chris Brown + Demetirus Pinder from Christopher Hughes on Vimeo.

Just before The Olympics I started work on a project for Bahamas Olympic Team sponsor BTC. Essentially I was tasked with producing media assets, both photos and videos for BTC to use to get their message out about the team and BTC’s involvement in their Olympic dream. Initially I covered the project on my own but as project evolved we brought on a photographer Neil Rouse allowing me to concentrate on the video side. We shot for five days over three weeks and produced sixteen videos along will delivering individual 290 images and shot at the Bahamas High Commission, Claridges Hotel and the International Maritime Authority head quarters The highlights being meet and film some of the athletes including former Olympic Gold Medal winner Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and, Chris Brown and Demetrius Pinder who went onto win gold  as part of the in the mens 4 x 400m team London Olympics.

All the videos were shot using a Canon 5D mk2 and edited using Final Cut 7.

 

Making It Look Good.

Recently I shot a wedding for a friend and as part of it I found myself doing something that has become fairly rare for me, actually printing the photographs. I love prints, despite most images that I create now only ever seen only electronically there is still something far nicer than a print or set of prints. Try sharing and passing a stack of photos around a room with family or friends with only one computer screen or iPad. It’s not a social experience unlike a set for physically printed photographs. In the past I have got prints produced by dedicated photo printers in London but on this occasion I decided to try myself as I was only needing prints no bigger than A4. Continue reading »

Shooting in an Instant: Vosene #Vosing

A few years ago millions of cameras screamed and then when silent. Polaroid had stopped film production . Millions of camera’s were consigned to cupboards, landfills and memories. As the very last factory was closing something amazing happened two people talked about restarting all those cameras hearts and the Impossible Project was formed. More about which can be found here

So why shoot using instant film today when we have instant sharing through the use of mobile phone cameras and the internet? Well for me it brings a little bit of the magic back to taking pictures, watching the image develop before your eyes. It’s also subject to a little pixie dust as you’re not one hundred percent sure how the image will come out as its subject to so many more factors than electronics and computer logarithms. Continue reading »

Chasing Dreams: Making a Short Film

Chasing Dreams is the title of my forthcoming short film. It was shot late last year with two actors and a skeleton crew over several days. The film is now close to being finished and was largely the result of twitter. I say that because both the actors Tristam Summers and Elisa Armstrong both came via twitter as did Hannah Mizon our make up artist. Also a couple of relationships started on twitter contributed to the film, Robin Schmidt who leant me a radio mic and Sol and Matthew at RewindFX who have done the visual effects on the film. Continue reading »

Pedigree IR Triggering Camera System

Recently I was asked to put together a system to automatically take photos of dogs as they jumped over a small hedge and then could be be easily uploaded to Pedigree’s We’re For Dogs Facebook page.

Safety was my main concern for both the dogs and us humans involved in the affair. Traditionally race line finishes which take photographs use lasers. This is normally fine as the chances of a laser hitting an eye, human or animal is very small due to the positioning height of such devices in relation to the things passing them being relatively constant. Dogs, just like humans come in all shapes and sizes, which leads to uncertainty when positioning possibly eye damaging lasers. To get around this I opted for and Infra Red trigging system. After trawling the internet for a ready made system I came across on made by Cognisys in the US. The Range IR is a clever devise as it is a self contained unit firing out a harmless beam of IR which can be varied in length as desired. When the beam is broken the sensor sends a signal out to the camera and a photograph is taken. Quite frankly I believe its the work of magical Pixies and that’s fine with me. Continue reading »

Facebook Photos & Gala Bingo Metrocentre

A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Gateshead to photograph the relaunch of Gala Bingo Metrocentre for the guys at 1000 Heads to be used on the Gala Bingo Facebook page. Facebook allows individual bingo players an online community and place to engage with one another and Gala Bingo itself. Like all online media content is key and photographs are a great way of  to both engage an audience and allow interaction especially through Facebook which people can comment on photos and tag themselves in them. Gala Bingo Metrocentre like a lot of the Gala Bingo sites has it’s own dedicated Facebook page from which you can find the whole gallery of photos from the shoot and info on Gala Bingo all of which were edited in camera and handed over on the day for overnight uploading to Facebook. Continue reading »

Nokia Lumia and the Steadicam Smoothee

Last year I worked on a project with Angelic Films for Nokia converting some Steadicam Smoothee’s for the Nokia N8. See here for details. Time has progressed in the mobile word and Nokia have now released the Lumia 800 into the world and again come back to us to see if we could again adapt the Steadicam Smoothie for their new phone. The phone’s camera is head and shouldered above Nokias previous N8 it terms of quality, ease of use and control. If I wasn’t so wedded into the Apple ecosystem this is the phone I would choose right now.

The Lumia 800 has a slightly larger form factor that the N8 but after testing it we found that it still fitsthe Quick Release Stedicam Smoothee Mount for iPhone 3GS, which was also the mount we previously modified for the Nokia N8. There was however on additional modification we had to make, milling down the top clip so it didn’t rest on one of the buttons.

We did this using a Dremel with a barrel sanding attachment. Without this modification the clip presses the button stopping the camera working and potentially turns the phone off as well. The sander actually heats up the plastic whilst it spins sometimes leaving a melted area on the edge which can easily removed by snapping it on once cold. When milling out the recess for the button it is important to have the Smoothie mounting plate does not move. I found the simplest way was to use my tripod as the Smoothie mounting plate actually has a 1/4 inch threaded hole in it’s base precisely to do this.

Next we created the aperture for the camera to look though. The Lunia unlike the N8 is flat which is a great thing for your pocket but also means that the camera lens sits a few mm’s back from front plate of that of the Smoothee mount. This means the hole needs to be slightly bigger that that of the previous N8 Modification. Drilling though the actual mount requires care because it is a sandwich of plastic and metal, the metal being in the middle. We found the best way was to first of all drill a small pilot hole using a 4mm HSS drill bit then using a 13mm HSS drill bit in a drill press. It is important the drill bits are sharp or the friction created with actually cause so much heat it will melt the plastic.  This won’t actuallybe big enough but it is the most efficient way of  doing it cheaply. To keep the metal heating up too much I spayed it with water whilst drilling.

The Steadicam mount is quite tricky to hold securely because of it’s shape and because it, being made mostly of plastic it flexes under presure. To get around these issues I used an old cork sanding block and cut a section out so the mount would grip around it. This solved the shape problem. to solve the flexing problem I added a small bit of MDF on top of the sanding block

This meant The mount could be clamped down securely onto the drill press.

Once the 13mm hole had been been drilled out it was time to move onto enlarging the hole. Initially we used the Dremel with metal cutting bit this is very quick and efficient but doesn’t always leave the prettiest of finishes. So to finish of the camera aperture I used a Rucko HSS step drill bit. As the hole needed to be approximately 18mm in diameter the step drill is ideal. The only minor problem using the step drill I used was that the actual steps were not deep enough as the Steadicam mount is about 5mm thick and the steps on the drill 4mm. Not insurmountable but worth being taking into consideration as it means tuning the mount over briefly to drill out the extra 1mm from the mount. All that was need next was a small bit of filing, a quick wash under the tap to get rid of any metal dust, and a permanent black marker pen to colour in the exposed metal. The reason for this is not just because it makes it look pretty but it also stops the metal reflecting light into the lens, preventing ugly flares which would spoil all the hard work. Job done!

 

 

Testing Times

 

Testing kit is essential, whether it is a new purchase or just something you’ve hired in or borrowed. User manuals are great as are the hundreds of user videos on Vimeo and YouTube but actually testing and playing with a bit of kit gives you the opportunity to try things others have not thought of or in situations unique to you.

Next week we’ve got a time lapse running from Monday to Wednesday for a client using a GoPro HD Hero2. The reason we have opted for this camera is a result of several factors but mainly due to power, the GoPro can be powered from the mains using a mini USB adapter. This means the camera can be set up and left to run for the whole time using a large SD card. This brings the cost down for the client and hassle for us.

On this occasion the client is supplying their own camera but relying on us to capture the sequence. To that end I have bought my own GoPro HD Hero2 and started the testing. It is something I have wanted an excuse to buy any way and am sure it will get used in the future anyway. So today the testing started with a time lapse test on a drive from home to Pinewood Studios. I set the camera to shoot at half second intervals and I turned off the spot meter.

One thing I find out that I hadn’t read about was the fact that the GoPro seems to have a folder max size of 999 images and when it hits that limit it creates and starts a new folder. This of course means that multiple image sequences had to be created in QuickTime Pro. These were then edited together in FCP 7. Music came from audionetwork costing a whole £1 for a non commercial licence . Rather that then ripping something off itunes and not paying for it even if the project is non profit. Musicians are artists too. There are many instances where the internet becomes enraged when a filmmaker or photographer has their work is used without permission and shared with the world so it’s a shame so many don’t seem to have the same respect for other artist’s work.

 

Not Sexy But Essential: CF Card Readers


This is not a sexy subject by any means but memory card readers are essential if you have multiple cards for your camera. Today I received my sixth or seventh in the last fifteen months, I loose count because at least four have broken, and that is why I always like to have at least two, one as a back up. If you like my are reliant on Compact Flash Cards the choice is far more limited that other flavours of card. SD cards are the king of memory cards right now.  Most card readers are so poorly built and designed that when you see them you think when will it break rather will it break. Having said all that the second one I bought the Lexar FW800 still works like the day I bought it. It is well designed, when built has Firewire connections and is now discontinued. Now it is almost impossible to get a CF card reader with FW800 connections unless you want to shell out $250 for one from RED which is just an insane amount. I’m a Mac person so of course I have Firewire and prefer it to USB, mainly because I can daisy chain drives together. Essential if you have like me four hard drives connected to a laptop with only two USB sockets. Continue reading »

Workflow: Backing it up

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This week a good friend of mine had his car broken into and had his laptop, ipad, and back up hard drive stolen loosing everything. This is a a fears for most of us in the digital age with our whole lives centred in one place, diary, photo album, music collection, love notes, emails, and work. Hearing this first hand is the equivalent of a digital mortality check.

Backing up is important but so is separation of back ups especially when traveling. On the off chance your bag gets stolen you wont loose everything. But it’s not just the fear of theft we should be worried about it’s failure of equipment, computers and hard drives do have a tendency of stopping work, no matter what their age. I had a LaCie rugged hard drive I was using as my portable hard drive, it lasted less then a month. Clients have phoned slightly panicked to ask if I have a copy of the footage I shot for them as their drive had failed, strangely enough another LaCie Rugged drive, and yes I did have a copy. Continue reading »