Ronin Operators first One Take Promo

This is the only still from a one take music video we just completed for the artist Shakka.

We shot the video down in Brighton at the Saltdean cliffs around magic hour having choreographed and blocked the shot all day.

With multiple cues, costume changes mid take and camera hand offs, it was a recipe for disaster however we managed to pull off 3 good takes having shot almost 8.

I now think shooting steadicam is a luxury as holding a Ronin rig and camera for almost 4 minutes is extremely difficult and after take 2 lactic acid builds up in your arms making the rig almost impossible to raise up. I won't be supprised if I don't have huge shoulders before long or I'm finding it difficult to get though doorways.

One things for sure, I'll certainly be packing cans of spinach on the next shoot.....

DJI Ronin and c300 rig

DJI Ronin and c300 rig

Steadicam 'All Night Long'

I've forgotten how rubbish night shoots are. Luckily I didn't have to carry anything except my sanity as I hung off the back of this tracking vehicle all night shooting a mini commercial for a high visibility vest for Caviar.

No matter how safe you know you are being strapped in, there's always a little bit of doubt to make you soil yourself especially as the driver hears 'WRAP' and burns off to unit base forgetting I'm holding the rig.

Docklands have some fast and smooth roads at 5am until you hit a speed bump!


Bars & Melody - 'Hopeful'

Having watched the X-Factor and seen Bars & Melody perform live on tele its easy to see why they have become an instant success, obviously nothing to do with Simon Cowell though right!

So when I got the call to Steadicam for this I immediately knew who production were talking about, 'You know, those kids rapping about anti-bullying'.

However, the serious message of the song was met with a serious camera package. An Arri Alexa was to be expected but what I hadn't banked on was how big and heavy the new Cooke S5i's were. That on top of the usual accessories that are insisted be on the rig by the 1st AC, not to mention a production Matte box from the stone age that was forged from cast iron.

The Steadicam rig turned out to be a monster and almost bottomed out my arm, together with shooting inside on the hottest day of the year and having to wear somebody else's skin tight black hoody as we were shooting against glass for the first shot, really set me up for a sticky day.

Im sure all steadicam operators are hearing this a lot these days, 'We want it to be like a dolly shot', today was no different. The day was packed full of shots with not enough time to actually shoot them. As the steadicam rig was so heavy it help maintain level horizons, especially as half the shots were at that limbo height between high and low mode which is where I was flying the camera most of the day as one of the kids was about 4ft tall and sitting down. Ouch!!

Not sure I've hydrated from his yet but as they are on SYCO record label I'm sure they'll become a big success which will hopefully filter down to the guys that make them look good.

Check out the promo below and if you war to see me cameoing in their making of video, click here

Ashley Roberts - Woman Up

So I had the pleasure of meeting a Pussycat Doll a few weeks ago and it was all mine as she's such a nice girl.

The promo for Ash, as she likes to be known, turned out ok and it was certainly a novelty to shoot a studio based video as I usually find it's a location affair these days.

Once again I enjoyed working with Aaron Reid and a lot of old faces on set. Thankfully we shot on a very light weight  Red Dragon with some old Cooke S2's beauty lenses this time which makes a change in trying to fly a steadicam around with a fully loaded Alexa and the new Cooke S5i lenses all day which I had the misfortune of doing recently, ouch!

I think we created some nice imagery during the shoot partly because we implemented the use of some cutting edge lighting behind camera but I'll leave the decision up to you. 


Low Mode Slow Mo

See the crew reviewing the footage of this lovely little Steadicam moment on a glorious day. Then see the behind the scenes of how this simple but effective shot for a Kindle commercial was created.

Behind the Scenes.....

I came across this and thought I just had to put it up what with me having a cameo and all. 

It just goes to show, I had absolutely no idea any of this was being filmed, obviously because I was so busy (see previous post) however they have put together a nice little film of what goes on between artist and director and the vision that needs to be portrayed.

Sam Smith - Stay With Me

So this is my third and final posting on the theme of promos & steadicam and how it's a match made in heaven for getting your monies worth.

Once again every shot here is on the rig and I think it's a good one to end the trilogy on being with such a big artist.

This was a nice simple video put together by Jamie Thraves  at HSI and was shot by Catherine Derry and her team of other Catherines, very confusing on set let me tell you.

Sam Smith is a lovely guy, very professional and even made a couple of autograph hunters smile on the day when he scribbled on a piece of paper which turn out to be for the mother of the kid and not for the child at all, that made me laugh.....

Enjoy the video.....

M.O - For a Minute

Ok, so here is the next promo in the series of videos that I shot all on my rig. I remember this one was especially exhausting, on top of multiple takes there was alot of running about to keep the pace of the song going visually and with no time for my beloved tea breaks because of our crazy schedule, I was getting a little thirsty too.

I think it turned out well, and as I ended up humming the tune on the drive home it must be catchy.

Thanks to Aaron Reid for putting me through my paces again, he always does, and Carly Cussen for liking my 'sick shots' as she put it.........

Look out for the next one.........

Kodaline - One Day

So I thought I'd start posting all of the music promos I've shot however that would be way too many so the twist is I'm only allowing promos that were all steadicam, Thats right every shot and there are quite a few even when you might think otherwise.

I work with many Dp's but there are some that like to sap all my energy and utilise my skills all day, every single second without even allowing me a tea break as we mostly always have ridiculous schedules. However the results are evident and we do turn out good work, so after patting myself on the back and without further ado............I present the first of probably a few, Kodaline - One Day shot by Jonos Mortensen at My Accomplice

The Woman In Black - Angel of Death

So I just finished a day on the Woman in Black sequel at the weekend and we were shooting in the old disused Aldwych Station which I've always wanted to visit.
I figured I'd be shooting with Daniel Radcliffe but then remembered what happened to him at the end of the first film.
It's always nice to be asked to complete shots on big budget features and a big thanks to Dp George Steel for requesting my services on the show.
George who shot 'Peaky Blinders' was by far the stand out work from last year and it looked absolutely fantastic so if you want to find out more about how they created the look, then there is a great article here by black magic design.
We were shooting anamorphic again today but luckily I was done before lunch which was a relief, because as you can see, it wasn't light.



Dr. Easy

I came across this interesting short made by the guys at Warp Films in an old copy of Televisual Magazine I found on my desk.

The film is a prologue to a planed feature based on the novel 'The Red Men' by Matthew De Abaitua so it should be something to look out for if this is anything to go by.

The film drops you straight into a situation and ends with no real closure however its still a good piece of film making made all the better by the fact its sci-fi of which I'm a big fan.

Oh, and its shot by the mighty Barry Ackroyde 

Happy New Year

Hope everybody had a good festive period, I'm certainly carrying a little holiday weight that I hope to shed with this banger!
First steadi job of the year an it's come in hard.
I'm calling it an ADAA rig, all day anamorphic Alexa, ouch!
Nothing like easing yourself into it......



Yesterday and today's lighting set up on some channel idents.
It's amazing how much light I threw up for what turned out to be just one subject.
As it was a locked off tracking shot I think I only touched the camera 6 times during to course of the day, let's see if I can beat that today....


Movi Test Day

So, I tested the new Movi 10 rig down at Decode as they were opening their doors for one day only and I thought I'd take them up on their generous offer.

After an in depth summary of what the rig could actually do, given by the in house camera boys, we were finally allowed to get are hands on it.

Once I'd picked it up and ran around the test bay for a while I realised you probably couldn't hold it for more than about 10 minutes.

The rig was set up with an Epic, an ultra prime and a cmotion LCS.
The rig can take a payload of 10 lbs below the gimbal but the lads reckoned it was more like 12lbs.
Above the handle was a a 'Terradek Bolt' and a Vlok battery to power the accessories. This can also be configured to power the camera instead of the 'Redvolt' battery which only last 30 mins or so.
The rig was put together to be the lightest it could possibly be which was needed to extend operating time before strain starts kicking in.

So what's it like to operate?
Well it's different, gyroscopic with a robotic feel and a lag in the pan and tilt. That's if you are operating it in solo mode.
The unit can be handled in 3 modes, operated only, operator and remote operator or 50:50.
The guys were raving about 50:50 mode as it opens up even more options when flying the rig around.
The jury's out on that one as I only had a few minutes with the rig but I'm sure, with a lot of practice and a compatible copilot, you could create some fantastic shots.
In the moments I had with it, I was more akin to operating it all myself like I do when I'm shooting on steadicam however the lag, which can be trimmed to suit, was somewhat difficult to get my head round.

What we all want to know is can it be taken seriously as another feature/drama/promo stablisation rig and what sort of camera can we get on it?
The answer is yes it can, but it's limited to Red Epic and as yet untested to whether it can have a clip on matte box to hold all the filters we may need.

The lads at Decode are constantly trying and testing new methods for accessories, power and extending operating time so watch this space for more info.

For the moment the rig will only be available for wet hire until technicians get to grips with it, how it works and how to set it up.
It's priced at £800 with one technician or operator should you wish, the rig itself which comprises of the 'terradek Bolt' wireless send, batteries, battery belt, remote control unit and Bluetooth monitor and possibly an LCS but I can't remember if that was included.

I'm sure in months and years to come the Movi 10 will be a regular on our sets but for now, as Decode have one of 3 in the country for rent, it's a working progress.

The unit will be shooting on an new Johnny Depp feature in the new year and I believe its the first movie to utilise the rig.
No doubt next year we'll be seeing numerous shots created especially for the Movi 10, I just hope it's not overkill..