EUROPCAR + ARSENAL FC CAMPAIGN

Less than a couple of weeks ago I was lucky to be involved in shooting the Europcar and Arsenal FC partnership campaign. Here’s the full edit. I shot the Trudy Mertesacker bit (the bakery) without the headshot interview of Trudy and Per.

Directed by the brilliant Ben Fogg

Produced by the lovely Jade Fitton for Shaven Ape

Shot on Red Scarlet with Canon EF zoom lenses.

 

CoM CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

Please share the love and support!

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA MAKING OF

Here’s a funny making of video of the first half of CoM.

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA SECOND TEASER

Some time have passed now from when we had to flee Erbil in Kurdistan Iraq for fear of being caught in between Isis advance and the US air strikes, meanwhile our director, Lauand Omar, has been busy tweaking the script in Istanbul first and then editing complete scenes as well as a second teaser of the film to show potential investors and fans alike. Here’s a link to the teaser, I hope you enjoy. Peace!

Shot on Arri Alexa with Zeiss Superspeed Primes.

CURSE OF MESOPOTAMIA FIRST TEASER

Here’s the first teaser for Curse of Mesopotamia, a horror/fantasy feature film I’ve been shooting this summer in Erbil, (Kurdistan) Iraq.

We shot 50% of the movie but had to go due to the war that was looming over us. We’ll reprise production at the beginning of  the winter.

Produced by Visual K Production and written and directed by Lauand Omar.

Shot on Arri Alexa in 2K Apple ProRes 4444 with Arri Superspeed prime lenses.

Check the film’s FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/curseofmesopotamia

ALEXA 400 ISO RATING

I’ve been recently called to shoot a horror/fantasy movie in the Middle East. After many discussions and considerations we ended up choosing to shoot in with an Alexa (Plus HS Classic, with a 16:9 sensor) in 2K Apple ProRes 4444. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Alexa and its dynamic range, as well as its gentle roll off on the shoulder of the curve as well as its incredible handling of underexposure, but in this case the script required so many low key lighting scenarios that it was simply impossible to do it with a Red Epic for instance, even in its latest Dragon iteration. I’d say the Sony F65 (and the F55 maybe too) may have been able to handle that but there was also to consider the amount of data we were going to later have to ingest and since the region we were in wasn’t the easiest place to find professional hard drives’ suppliers we decided that the Alexa would also help streamline our workflow and it did.

Before principal photography began I organised a simple set-up for costume, make-up/hair and lighting test. I tested various lenses, exposures, filters and ISO rating. I decided to go for a 1/4 ProMist on the lens for the “period scenes” (half the film was set 600BC, the rest nowadays) to take a little bit of the digital edge off. If I had to find one thing I don’t like about the Alexa is that sometimes it feels a little bit too sharp – in fact I also decided to use a set of the old and trustworthy Zeiss Superspeed Prime lenses, which gave the image a more vintage look but also had the speed but not the cleaniness of say the Zeiss Master Primes for example.

The Alexa performed well with the various set-ups but upon rating it 400 ISO, moving the dynamic range towards the bottom of the curve gave that extra crispness to the shadows that was quite striking to be honest. It really allowed a 4+ stop underexposure to look clean and noise free. The setting basically add one stop to the already striking low light capturing capabilities of the German camera. This has allowed me to play with low light levels as well as to push the underexposed zones of the image without ever looking muddy. The feel is almost that of an added third dimension to an area of exposure that sometimes can look really flat. It benefited me by also allowing me not worry too much if I had an area I could not for some reason bring as up exposure wise as I would have wanted. I would then bring it up during grading without it ever adding noticeable noise.

For daylight scenes I would always go back to its standard 800 ISO rating though.

The 400 ISO rating can be a double edge sword only when you’re playing with too little light overall. The setting obviously forces you to open one stop on the lens so that has to be kept in mind. If with the light available your stop is T2 at 800 ISO then at 400 you’ll have T1.3 and that to me is way too extreme as base stop (although I would use it if that was the only way to bring a shot home).

In conclusion as long as lighting is not an issue, for a contrasty low-key lighting approach 400 ISO on the Alexa is a good trick of the trade.

SAVAGES – FUCKERS

Shot in December 2013 in Kentish Town with Sony PMW-5 with a set of Lomo Vintage Anamorphic lenses and some Canon 5D and 7D with Canon EF Prime and Zoom Lenses.

Directed by Giorgio Testi, photography by Leon Henry and myself (uncredited).

The first shot it’s me. ‘Nuff Said. 😉

JANET DEVLIN – HOUSE OF CARDS

Early last March I shot this music video for the lovely Janet Devlin.

Shot in Manchester on a pair of Canon 5D on Gemini recorders in Apple ProRes 422 with Canon Prime EF Lenses.

Directed by Henry Steedman, who cowrote it with Janet, the video reflects the singer’s playful nature.

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Me Panoroid

I’ve began making panoramic shots more as a technical exercise than anything else, then I obviously fell in love with it. May it be for their inherent “cinemascope” feel or just for the unpredictability of the result (to a certain degree obviously), it has brought me back to my film days, when I was exposing and developing it myself waiting to see if my calculations were correct, if they were reflected in the density of the negative. Then there was the print: the choice of its contrast, the eventual reframe, dodge, burn. Of course all this and beyond happens digitally, but the thrill is partly lost – a lot more hair are growing back and there’s much more sleep at night during a motion picture production for the cinematographer, whatever type of product it is, a commercial, promo, documentary or feature film. At the same time, for me that I don’t work as a paid professional stills photographer, not being able to see right away what the result would be, brings back a certain excitement that I’ve been gradually losing since the advent of digital photography, with its onboard monitor and live views. When I shoot motion I don’t mind that actually, it is quite nice to be able to see what you’re going to get and I don’t believe in the saying “now everybody feels the right to state their opinion on the image out loud by the monitor”, if they do it means they’re unprofessional and should’t be working on a professional film set; on the other hand that is a practice that has always happened even when the image from the camera was fed through a low definition camera shooting through the camera prism and sent to (often) a nine inch CRT monitor (how the hell all those people could judge a picture from that sort of set up, when the cinematographer in charge wouldn’t have hoped to do that, remains a mystery – I guess there must have been herds of super skilled directors of photography among them). Then the excitement has grown even bigger once I started including HDR into my panoramic picture taking, I almost always shoot for that but often I end up not using it, making the panoramic stitch from the correctly exposed shots. Other times I’ve used  the HDR to get rid of the noise and have a bit more to play with during the grade although I try to keep it subtle, I don’t like the super saturated, solarised look of most HDR photography and I downright hate HDR on people’s faces. I find that a good way to age anybody of 20 years in one clean swoop is to use HDR on them. Going back to the cinemascope feel of panoramic shots (the name is in fact a synonym of it in itself), and the extreme way you can achieve that, I have to say that I find it very romantic. When that is achieved, even if you look at the picture let’s say fitted within the a 15” screen, and you can obviously see it in its entirety there’s something in your brain that forces to you to “read” it along its width, from let to right or right to left, making it an experience in time, therefore filmic. As silly as it may sound it is almost as the viewer’s eyes are used as a camera panning within the landscape so that they are prompt to analyse bits at a time, creating a longer experience. I’d love to incorporate human figures in my panoramic shots, to create a sort of storyboard, a tableau vivant, a story. We’ll see, so far I’ve only done it with my daughter and it worked quite well!

The following gallery includes pictures taken during a recent trip to Sweden, and will be added to my pictures page where you can find many other panoramic shots I’ve taken in the past.

Click on the title above to access the post and see the pictures in their entirety. 

Gaslight Anthem New Video

Gaslight_Logo

A new music video I shot a while ago for the Gaslight Anthem will be out soon. It’s going to be a dynamic one, great song and performance. If they happen to play near you go see them, they’re great live.

http://www.thegaslightanthem.com/

 

I shot their video with a combination of cameras from ARRI Alexa with Zeiss Ultraprimes to Canon C300 and 5D MKIII with Canon Zoom and Prime EF Lenses, mostly hand held. It was shot during the span of a two-day gig in London the guys played last April. I supervised the lighting on stage and made it right for our different formats, which wasn’t as easy at it sounds, but I managed quite well, adding a few pivotal lights on stage to give it a bit more of an edge, mostly 2K Fresnels and 4-light blinders. We also had the chance to shoot for a time during sound check the second day and that made for a big difference in terms of shots, allowing us to intercut with close-ups and details that otherwise would have been impossible to capture during the actual performance.

We finished the video in crisp black and white and it now has an old school RnR still photography feel to it, pretty much like the photography of Jim Marshall, an all time great, as well as Mick Rock, Charles Peterson, Janette Beckerman, Kevin Cummins among others and obviously Anton Corbijn, probably my favourite one. If you like music photography you should check them out.

http://www.jimmarshallphotographyllc.com/

http://www.mickrock.com/

http://www.charlespeterson.net/

http://www.janettebeckman.com/

http://www.kevincummins.co.uk/

http://www.corbijn.co.uk/

I loved working with the band. The promo was directed by the always talented Giorgio Testi (who also directed “45” for the GA).

Brian performing on stage at the Troxy

Brian performing on stage at the Troxy

Giorgio (with hat) having a chat in the backstage
Giorgio (with hat) having a chat in the backstage