‘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!







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.



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











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!


Just wanted to post the latest commercial that I shot with possibly the nicest bloke in show business… Mr Alfie Boe! We shot it on my Sony F3 with onboard Ki Pro Mini Recorder  and using Angenieux Optimo DP Zooms. We had a 5D MkII as a small cutaway camera as well. I was a bit apprehensive about using the F3 wide open on a Jimmy Jib but our Focus Puller Fran did us all proud and held focus even though the jib was always constantly moving and never resting.

Here are two links to have a look at. I felt that the ‘Blue Streak’ Flare effect filter was a bit too heavy even on the lightest grade but we shot with and without the filter in case but the Directors Ed & Ross and the client preferred with so that’s what you see in the commercial!  Thanks to the Lemmon man for great Ac’ing and of course to all the help we got from Sean and Robert blacking out a very white studio!

Here’s a shot of my F3 on the JimmJib (excuse the iPhone grab!):



Here also is the other Alfie Boe commercial that was the first thing I shot on with the F3 with a bunch of stills Nikon primes:

Bring Him Home:


Virtual Beard stroking with Alfie at the end of the shoot





This is the upcoming debut release of Jo Birchall’s pop promo that we shot in the middle of July on a very hot sunny day. The location was an old Coast guards cottage overlooking the Seven Sisters. We had great fun working with Jo and her team and had an amazing short but sweet lunch overlooking the cliffs with waves crashing in methodically. On the drive down in the morning, it poured with rain the whole way down but luckily the location Gods looked down and smiled upon us and it sunned up pretty soon after we arrived with our very smelly generator as the house had no power! Once again the ‘Late Misters’ were directing this one having pushed for a great location there wasn’t much for me to do except point and shoot! I think Dave T has done a great job on the edit as well so I hope you enjoy it.
The other number ‘Don’t let it get to your heart’ shown above was shot in a warehouse in Hackney and was more straightforward but equally fun incorporating a small story of the photographer into the usual mix of guitars and lights!

Kit wise I used the trusty 5D MkII to give it that softness of image, first time with a new Zacuto EVF, my own shoulder rig and a LOT of ND filters as it was a very very bright day and I was shooting most of it at wide open with my 35/50/85 Primes so you work that one out how much ND I had stacked up!
Here is the Video for’Wonderful’ below and I love the 85mm shot of just her backlight face falling in and out of focus and the location of course…



Tenor after Tenor!

The title is not some cheap ploy for charitable donations I assure you! This June I have filmed two commercials for both the tenor Alfie Boe (Les Miserables) and the Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon.  Alfie was an extraordinarily humble and kind person and it struck me at the end of the shoot I noticed that I was the only crew member not sporting a beard hence my excuse for the silly expression of mine on to photo with Alfie. On several of the takes the Directors Ross & Ed (‘The Late Misters’) asked Alfie to perform at real working volume and the experience of standing next to a tenor at full intensity was incredible and you could really feel the low frequencies running up through the tripod!

Many thanks to the ‘Late misters’ for their great concepts and themes from the bright high clean key feel for Alfie Boe and Low key High contrast faded textural shoot for Rolando.
Both shoots were shot with my Sony PMW-F3 with MTF adapter, Nikon prime lenses and recording to ProRes HQ on an onboard Ki Pro Mini (Supplied by VMI) Pee Wee Dolly supplied by Filmscape media.
Produced for Decca Records by STEAM Motion and Sound. Produced by Clayton Jacobsen.

Here is the Vimeo link for the Alfie Boe commercial ‘Bring him Home’