Tag Archives: Film

A Very British Cult on Indiegogo

 

This week sees the launch of the Indiegogo campaign for  November Films “A Very British Cult.”   A Very British Cult is going to be a feature length documentary about the 1970’s and early 1980’s self help group Exegesis. A group that was  not short of controversy every resulting in questions in Parliament and a BBC program about it.

Louis Price our director grow up in the program with both his parents members of the organisation and is exploring what really went on and examining how it has effected his and the other members lives.

Most of the documentary will be shot digitally just like the above pitch video which we filmed main on my Canon 5D. However there is the intention is to shoot part of the documentary using dramatic re-enactment the on 16mm film, which will be more in keeping with media production of the time . This will probably be the last time I get to shoot on actual film which is both an exciting and yet sad prospect.

November films have a good track record in the documentary field having already produced Beyond Biba, and distributed several documentaries in the UK.

To learn more about the campaign or the film click here to take you to the Indiegogo campaign page

 

Weekend Warriors: Canis Belli.

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Many months ago I met up with filmmaker and blogger Robin Schimdt or as he is knows on Twitter  aka_elskid, at the London screening of  Zacutos Camera Shootout 2011. In the pub after the event he talked about an ambitious short film he had written set in the trenches of the first world war, Canis Belli. I told him if he needed a hand to give me a shout. Now when you usually hear about plans for short films of this scale you very rarely hear of them again. The ambition and scale usually halts any prospect of actually shooting them.

Fast forward almost five months and I get a message on Twitter from aka_skid to see if I was available as he was about to shoot the film along with co-director Gez Medinger, aka JerzyBondov. The film was to be shot over two and a half days on a permanent standing set just north of  Ipswich on Trench Farm. The set was been used from many major productions including Downton Abbey Continue reading »

A Very British Cult

A few months ago I had the privilege of working for James Collie and Louis Price of November Films shooting some teaser trailer footage for their upcoming documentary “A Very British Cult” which is based on events of the late seventies and early eighties, it should make for a fascinating documentary, one I can’t wait to see knowing a little bit about it.

James will be heading to the Sheffield Documentary Festival next week with the trailer so if you’re going you may get to see it on the big screen. For more information on the project contact James
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The “Film Look” is more than an F stop

DSLR film making quests for the film look of shallow depth of film. Film or more over cinema in turn quests for verisimilitude, a dream like environment, surrounded and wrapped by Dolby surround sound in a darkened room. We watch films and by this I mean films that end up in multiplexes in darkened places, cut off from the world outside, our only connection to the outside world or a world beyond though what we hear and the screen in front of us. The choices made by the film maker determine where our attention lies leading us through their vision. Film makers have many tools to focus out attention, crafting great performances, set design, lighting, sound and of course the camera, our visual connection to the world. The camera frames and focus’s ultimately what we see or not as the case may me.

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Winner Takes All

Winner Takes All from Christopher Hughes on Vimeo.

Back in the dark ages, 1997 I directed a short film, Winner Takes All as part of my final degree course work at the University of Westminster. My course Contemporary Media Practice spanned four disciplines, Film, Photography, Video and Digital Imagery, that and having a rather good time. Looking back I think I may have highest marks in the having rather good time part.

Winner Takes All has barely seen light of day ever since it was made, but for a couple of degree show screening, back in 97. The copy here is only on I have a digitised version of a Beta Sp playout from the avid it was cut on, so quality is not the best compared with todays technical standards.

The Film was shot over five days, easter 97, in Essex, Islington and Harrow campus of the University of Westminster. The film was shot Kodak negative  using 16mm Arriflex SR2 and prime lenses. The negative was processed and TK’d by Metrocolor. Editing was done on Avid at  Jim Bambrick and Associates.
Winner takes All stars Tom Lovegrove, Tony Gabriel and Mark Benton, with me doing a bit of a Hitchcock at the end.

Death of 16mm Film Somewhat Exaggerated

Twitter has been alive today with reports that Soho Images will no longer print 16mm film. There has even been a petition set up to get them to change their  minds  Now Deluxe, Soho images new owner has it’s main UK lab in Denham and as for as I am aware it stopped processing 16mm film back in the day when it was called Rank ilm Labs and  that was some time ago.

Should we be worried by Deluxe’s plans? I think not. Sad? A little possibly, less people will get the experience of playing their rushes on a projector or cutting it on a Steenbeck.  There is something very tactile and gratifying about film, but it is also very frustrating sometimes.  I’m lucky I learnt to edit on four and six plate Steenbeck’s. But today there is to real arena for 16mm projection or need for printing with the advent of relatively cheap edit systems like Final Cut Pro and Avid.  Films that are shot on 16mm like most 35mm films these days go through a digital intermediate process, scanned to telecine it, edited, selectively scanned, graded and then shot back to film or mastered into a DCP (Digital Cinema Package). Very little 16mm film is actually edited by hand. and the skills are somewhat redundant.

16mm or super 16mm is still a great format for image acquisition film has a huge latitude beyond the digital poster boy, The Red. It should be noted that widescreen 16mm,Super 16mm does not have room on the negative for an optical or magnetic sound track, making it pretty useless for projection without the use of a double header projector, running the film and sound separately.

16mm and super 16mm  cameras are more generally reliable than the Red camera by a country mile as well, less to go wrong.  The film itself can be manipulated to get fantastics looks with a good DOP and there is still lots of great kit that was designed to last a life time.  Film cameras don’t get replaced, they get repaired that is how they were designed and there is still lots of it around with sets of gorgeous image producing lenses. So lets not shed too many tears yet, 16mm is still alive and will. Improvement in film emulsions and scanners will along with people wanting to create interesting looks probably will keep 16mm around for some time yet.

Recent films shot or partly shot on super 16mm film include, Black Swan and The Hurt Locker.

Freeing Old Negatives

There use to be a time when people would quite often only shoot one roll of film a year.  The roll would either contain 24 or 36 exposures and would have a family Christmas at the beginning then a sumer holiday and then at the end of the roll the start of the next Christmas.  Today we all takes more pictures than ever before. Not only do we take more we probably share them more with email, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.  But what about all those old negatives we have in draws, packets and files? Just like that pile of CDs that are now on the computer it’s possible to do the same with those negatives.  Film scanners can be relatively cheaply bought either new or on Ebay.  Use it  to scan all your  archive and then you can stick it back on Ebay or pass it on to a friend to do theirs. Last thing any of us want is another un-unsed box cluttering the place up.

Here are a few I scanned in the other day.  Most of the negatives are from my work as Picture editor at the University of Westminster Students’ Union fortnightly magazine, The Smoke.  Most of the photos were shot using either my  my trusty Olympus OM2n, using a mixture of Ilford HP5 and Delta 400. The scanner is no way be means up to modern standards, it’s ten years old and has lived in a draw for much of that time. The software is not great and the whole thing is rather temperamental but its nice to rediscover images that I had forgotten. The scanned negs have not been altered but for the removal of the odd bit of dust, just shows how good the faithfully thirty something year old OM2 is.

 

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