Run and Gun Interviews with the Sony A7s

By | On Location, Technical | No Comments

Occasionally we’ll take on a project where for budget or schedule reasons it’ll be a one-man crew job. It’s a bit of a blast from the past of my first couple of years working freelance, where the majority of projects were just me on my lonesome – it’s been great in the last couple of years since forming 2V Studios to be able to work with more people behind camera, and now have my wingman Joe O’Hare on board to run sound or camera depending on the setup and project.

But last week I had an opportunity to film with Phil Topham on a Church in Wales project in Wrexham. It was a rainy day and an early start, so I caught a train up, which meant minimal bags and no more gear than I could carry!

Run and Gun A7S Setup Read More

Interview on BBC Radio Wales

By | Only Child | No Comments

Last Wednesday I was invited to join Nicola Heywood Thomas for the Arts Show on BBC Radio Wales to talk about Only Child. It’s the first time I’ve been to the BBC studios, or been on the radio (apart from when our lower school nativity play was featured on local radio back in Bedford, when me and my two best friends, also called Andrew, were playing the three camels – still remember the song… ‘We are camels, very important animals’… anyway I digress) so was pretty nervous about the whole experience!

But Tessa the producer and Nicola the presenter were both really welcoming and friendly. By the time it came to go on air, it felt like it was just going to be a pleasant chat about something I care about – which it was!

Joe also came along and filmed a studio-eye-view of it all, so you can watch my part of the show above. Many people have told me I’ve got a great face for radio! And stay tuned to the end to see what happens when you don’t stay tuned to the end of the interview…

Got any tips for radio interviews? Or any horror/humorous stories of radio interviews gone pear-shaped? Let us know in the comments below!

Show, Swap, Suggest: Mentoring

By | Teamwork | No Comments

As we’ve been developing ideas for our upcoming TorFilm workshops, we’ve been trying to get our heads round effective ways of shadowing, or mentoring. I’ve been in situations where the idea is to be ‘learning on the job’ or observing how someone works, but so often the dots don’t seem to be fully joined up. Shadowing always requires initiative on the part of the shadower – to ask questions, to volunteer, to be enthusiastic to participate. But equally I think the person teaching has a large, if not greater role in enabling the shadower to take on board lessons that stick.

So we’ve developed our triple-S framework, and share it here in the hope that other mentors/trainers/teachers will find it useful!

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Winning the Pitch Competition

By | Competitions, Only Child | No Comments

For almost the last year I’ve been developing ideas for Only Child, a short film about shared grief, based on the Bible story of David and Bathsheba. I entered Only Child into the Pitch competition back in September, and was selected as one of the ten finalists in November. But it was last week that I finally was able to present the idea to a panel of judges at Pinewood Studios. Amazingly, Only Child was unanimously chosen as the winner against some seriously strong competition! The Pitch team put together this short video with my initial reactions to winning, as well as a bit more about the idea.

I’ll be blogging more about Only Child in the coming weeks and months leading up to shooting, hopefully in June – so watch this space!

Green Screening: Lighting & Composition

By | Workflow | No Comments

Howdy folks!

I’ve been working on some green screening this week for a project called ‘Question’ we’re working on for Bethel Church, Cardiff.

Filming

Filming took place in the Bethel Church hall during the daytime. We wanted to control the light as much as possible and so blacked out any natural light coming through windows as much as possible, as well as turned off artificial light sources in the room. Up went the green screen – it was nice to use a pop-up one as you’re able to get a consistent surface far easier than pinning up green cloth. We got the camera set up in a rough position and our presenter (the glamorous Cynan) in front of the green screen.

Time for some light.

The green screen was lit with two portable floodlights each side that were positioned in order to get a consistent spread across the green screen. For Cynan, a keylight was set up fairly close camera right and a back light further away camera left. Adjustable LED’s were used for this with varying levels of diffusion, created by placing circular diffusers on mic stands in front of each light. We adjusted the positions of the lights in order to get a natural look with no heavy shadows.

GreenScreenBTS

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Amazing Cinematography from Khaled Mohtaseb

By | Inspiration | No Comments

While looking for reference material for Only Child I stumbled across the work of filmmaker and cinematographer Khaled Mohtaseb. He DPed the short above, which is, in my opinion, stunning.

I love that his scenes are not overlit – plenty of shadow, without the contrast seeming too harsh. The detail shots are beautiful, really painting a vivid picture of the world, a large part of which will also be down to the art direction. But most of all, I like how natural yet cinematic his images feel. At a time when it feels like the teal and orange blockbuster look must be at it’s over-saturation point in movies (please?) it’s so refreshing to see films like this which are beautiful precisely because they are not screaming for attention.

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