‘The Band’

Almost non existent pre-production on this one as there was so little notice to make a promo for Take that’ and their new Musical ‘The Band’ formulated on the following morning of the announcement of the winners of ‘Let it shine’.  Lots of dynamic lighting was requested as ultimately it was a very static set piece. In fact the lighting rarely stayed still!  Basic DMX mixer and lots of lights including T12’s for the Back wall and a Briese for the front fill…Shot in RAW 4K 50P and the chroma promptly removed!


We had only two hours with the guys in Black Island Studios, so I think for the limited time we did pretty well…


















Take me to the Alley


Had a very productive day in Hampshire street Studios recording a TVC sting for Gregory Porter’s new album ‘Take me to the Alley’. Gregory turned up at and was apologising profusely for having a cold and yet he blew us all away with his amazing charismatic Voice! We had a very minimalist team on this one so big thanks to Jono (gaffer) and Fran (1st AC) for your hard work. We recorded four of the numbers from the album in bits and really got a good taste of an album that I went out and bought it got under my skin obviously!


Techie Notes: We used the Canon CN-E Cineprimes (Mainly 35mm and 85mm) with a little Black Frost Diffusion and my Sk8Plate for simple dollying in and out.


Excuse the quality of the stills just quick grabs with my iPhone!








No not the James Bond feature unforunately but another fun Scalectrix commercial on back of the publicity of this movie….

No periscope lens this time sadly for me but a lot more intricate model work involved… There were some very quick moves that Dave Embury on the Jimmy Jib conducted perfectly with the help of his trusty side kick Giles so thanks to you two.

Because it was just to be shown before the movie we thought we’d go for a Cinemascope 1: 2.4 aspect ratio just by masking the image and shot in Slog 3 to give the grader as much latitude as possible. Lighting was much harder and lower than before with the F1 commercial as we were less worried about jib shadows. Still lots of Fluorescent lighting as we were told that the track expansion due to heat from lighting had caused lots of problems on previous commercials.


Here are some photos:


Two Dedo projectors on a dolly to simulate the tunnel lighting passing overhead


P&S Skater Mini Dolly for movement around model cars


An Idea of the Scale of the Model with Jimmy Jib


Simon from the modelling firm AsylumFX






Warren Buckingham (1st AC) pictured below on camera


Sk8Plate in underslung mode to track parallel to cars in chase


Lighting for Dummies!


On another cold winters day at the beginning of this year. We filmed at Black Island studios for Greg Holden’s music video for Warner Music. It was literally working with two mannequins which I joked about with Fran Weston (a very lovely 1st AC) that at least “they’ll do what they’re told and should hit their marks!” It was trickier than I thought in terms of lighting and involved a China ball heavily black wrapped down for the moodier shots and then went higher key for the later shots to try to relay the emotion and  give a tangible progression through time . I think that the Art Director and model manipulator did a pretty good job with very uncooperative talent! See the attached photos below complete with the drills for added articulation!










It was shot on an Arri Amira with Ultraprimes  for those that like to know those techie kind of things.

Thanks to Brett Sullivan and Natalie once again…

Pure Imagination


Abbey Road Studios are an inspiring and historic place to work in and this year I’ve spent quite a bit of time there. On this occasion it was for recording of Josh Groban’s new album ‘Stages’. I was blown away by the fact that so many of the mics, recording desks are just lying around that have witnessed some of the most famous musical moments in history. This EMI mic is indeed one of those hard working artefacts. Not as rare as the only two EMI RM-1B mics resident here but still iconic. On another shoot in Studio 2 I asked if an old upright piano could be moved out of shot because it looked a bit shabby to be told that it was the piano ‘Hey Jude’ and various other Beatles songs was played on!





We spent about a week in different venues, theatres and locations shooting different parts of the promotional video for this new Album. Here is Josh in Abbey Road Studio 1 with his musical collaborators as there was a full orchestral score which we also filmed being recorded. We had the whole of Studio 1 to use as a backdrop for some of the numbers and this is moments before recording one of them. We also shot the cover from ‘Charlie in the Chocolate factory’ number ‘Pure Imagination’ in a old warehouse in the outskirts of Dalston as shown above in the highlighted promo.




Bernie Herms, Josh Groban and Humberto Gatica at Abbey Road studio 1 after recording with a 75 piece orchestra. Here is a link to ‘Stages’ a look at the Album with Josh Groban




Here are the links to the other numbers from ‘Stages’ below that we shot during that week:


Bring him Home



What I did for Love


Anthem    (Worth a watch for the Lovely Steadicam work by Martyn Porter)





Last summer I was sent on a lovely little shoot in Positano on the Italian Amalfie coast to shoot a few promos for Alfie Boe’s new album ‘Serenata’. We filmed in several locations, the first being the Main town piazza where large crowds gathered to listen to Alfie belt out ‘Volare’ much to the pleasure of the locals and even the local priest came out to see what was happening and ended up dancing with Alfie!


We did shoot a whole narrative piece involving being in the piazza for first light, which involved getting the key from the mayor for the clock tower, which had the only thirteen amp socket in the the square so lighting was pretty minimal!  We only had a small slider and a very very lightweight carbon fibre crane arm. Unfortunately the narrative piece got dropped but you can still see glimpses of it with scenes of the Alfie with the bicycle in the album trail for ‘Luna Malinconia’ here. This was meant to be a reference to ‘Il Postino’ and it’s fabulous setting of Positano and the Almalfie coastline.














All these photos were taken and provided by kind permission of Ray Burmiston

Please don’t reproduce these without his prior consent.


Periscope Up!


Here filming with the Optex Excellence periscope, which is a lens that I’ve always wanted to try and managed to persuade Tom (Director) to use it on a Scalectrix commercial. We hung it off a GF-8 crane to give it more mobility and added to the equation a big model set courtesy of Asylum and a lighting forest with Ultrabounce!  The lens seems to eat up light internally for breakfast and has a minimum stop of T5.6 so we needed a lot of soft light for those 100 Fps shots!

The Optex Periscope comes with 4 dedicated lenses from 120 degrees to 60 degree angle of view. These are small and very sharp after T5.6 . Many thanks to Martin at ‘Pirate’ for the use of this. The best shots were from the camera being suspended vertically and scrolling the lens very close to the cars. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this but you can see this in the commercial once I can post a link to it.

The small thumbnail photo on the left is on the test day also using the borescope attachment which was great for the hairpin corners. I really felt like this lens gave an immersive element to the commercial and put your perspective on the same level and scale as the cars.



GFM GF-8 Crane which suspended the rig both Horizontally and Vertically.




Pictures below including my own underslung Sk8plate dolly in use for the Macro pursuit shots.




Spot Dom (Producer) on the RHS, looking slightly stressed but keeping respectfully quiet!




A glimpse of the Lighting Forest of Kino Vistas (Thanks Andy no shadows for sure!)






This is a quick blog to show the latest commercial we shot at Centrestage studios in Islington. The brief showed a lot of iconic images of bands like Queen with the Bohemian Rapsody cover and also the Police album cover so the idea was to replicate these iconic poses and replicate the lighting with the American band called ‘Fun’. We used yes a RED MX (yes they’re still a good workhorse!) an Arri Alura zoom lens 18-80mm and a lot of Kino Flos and a ladder pod for some high angle shots. This shoot also wanted to use a clever post gimmick of passing around a blue frisbee as a postproduction tool to move the action around supervised by the very capable co director Jeremy Mansford.

Here are some photos of the shoot and you can get an idea of the lighting involved. Thanks to Brett, Clayton, John (2nd AC) and Andy Mac (aka the Wookey) of course…

Check out the website for Fun. here











Mummyfying Alan

I was lucky to be asked to be involved in the climax to the program ‘Mummyfying Alan’ in the unveiling of Alan Billis’s mummified body. I spent four days up in Sheffield in a Mortuary there filming with some very passionate and respectful people. I’m glad to say for all the production team that it won not only an RTS award but finally in June this year a BAFTA for best science and natural history based documentary. The director Kenny Scott was a very thoughtful and intelligent director who I had never worked with before but I was struck with his empathy and compassion for the whole team and subject matter around him. The Program won an RTS and then a BAFTA for the best specialist factual program

My last part of the shoot was shot on a Sony F800 and I believe that some of the program was also shot on a Sony F3 for particular controlled parts of the mummyfication procedure…

You can watch the whole program on 4OD player here


Here is Alan Billis and his wife Jan:




All gowned up to film in the mortuary:


Here is the Daily Mails take on the program

Toddla T and Shola Ama

Had fun on this near Mid-summer night shoot in Gunnersbury Park… Saloon Films got the commission for this shoot and squeezed out a relatively smooth shoot out of a pretty low budget. We ran out of time really with the light only starting to drop at 10.30pm. The shot on the kids roundabout was shot on my C300 on C-log Gamma at 720 50P to give a half speed slow motion. It was very tricky to anticipate the focus as each person would react to the spinning in different ways but it did get a good reaction out of those on shot! We didn’t really have a lot of time to test the rig strapped down and especially not at that speed that it needed up going at!

Thanks to Mr Lemmon for helping out and also for Salvador stepping up to being a gaffer for the night and of course the Late Misters for being themselves!