Secret of the Pop Song

Just started a documentary for BBC2 with a working title of ‘The Secret of Song’ about the processes involved with songwriting. These are photos of Ceelo Green who was over here on the back of the Brits awards and Jessie J also for interviewed for the ‘Pop’ program. I hope to grab some more photos whilst working. We have Interviewed more contributors now including Boy George, Neil Tennant, Brian May and Sting to add some celeb background to the main content of the documentary. Today we interviewed Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss from Faithless for the Anthems program shortly after they have announced to ‘close the book and return to the library’ on their 15 year and six album collective…..

This program is now due for Broadcast on conecutive Saturdays starting with ‘Ballads’ on the 2nd July…

Director of Ballads: Clare Beavan

Director of Anthems: Matt Tucker

Director of Pop/R&B: Linda Brusasco



Here is a grab from the Neil Tennant section of the program:




Rumer ‘Slow’

This is a shoot we did a couple of weeks back in Paris for Rumers single ‘Slow’. We shot the Main house sequence at a Castle Gibson site in Dalston. Shooting on an Arri Alexa and all the second unit stuff on Canon 5D Mk II and the location shoot in Paris in a ‘run & gun’ style. The footage has been graded in ‘Colour’ with a faded aged film look to the whole piece. There is another version coming out with a bit more Paris in it for the American market I believe. I will post a few photos of the shoot once I can source some. We had a vintage Citroen DS car to film in which was fun and an owner who didn’t mind me sticking suction cups and K- Clamps all over it! I loved the way the car exterior footage worked out considering it was left to it’s own devices while we were shooting the sync interior footage. Thanks to Clayton and Brett for indulging me!

Director Brett Sullivan
Second Unit Director Clayton Jacobsen

Here is the American edit that I prefer with a bit more of the romance of Paris.



Natalie Merchant

On a very cold dark winters day we filmed a two camera shoot in St. Augustines church near Maida Vale in London. It was so cold in that church that I never took off my Beanie hat the whole day! Brett Turnbull was DoP again was Brett Turnbull. Lighting wise we had a large 240 Briese key light and several smaller sources (HMI). Two dollies and straight track and two Red Ones with the Angenieux 24-290 *13  zoom lens. Director was Brett Sullivan.  I was operating the second Red One on a dolly. (1st AC was Warren Buckingham and Alex Tate as Grip).

At the time it was standard practise for the Rental company (Take 2) to provide a back up Red One body with each rental body they were that flakey in the beginning!

Girl & Heatwave

This is the second of the three of the Music Promos shot with Phil Collins and the legendary ‘Funk Brothers’ (from Motown fame!) More anamorphic fun with Lomo anamorphic zooms on two Red Ones and a lot of very fast dollying whilst craning up and down. Felt pretty dizzy by the end of the day! Lots of beautiful strange flares and 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  We shot three promos that day and had a afternoon/evening of Prep where Brett had to realign the anamorphics as they seemed way off on the Red Ones compared to an Arri 435. So using a  bit of an impromtu test chart involving a grid made out of a gaffers trolley and a plumbline and 5 hours later we were ready to go to bed ready for the shoot in well just a few hours!


Here is the Second number ‘Girl’


Going Back

This was a Phil Collins shoot in a Geneva based recording studio for his latest retrospective album called appropriately ‘Going Back” I was the second operator on this shoot to Brett Turnbill who was the Director of Photography. We used some beautiful old Russian Lomo anamorphic zooms which had a maximum stop of about T6.2 which meant we needed a LOT of light on the shoot. I nicknamed the shoot “Going Black!”, which as you can imagine required some big lamps and a bit of grading!  Thanks to Paul Burns for bringing that **** load of light and allowing us both to put some lights into shot to flare deliberately in a very beautiful analogue and unpredictable way on those old lenses for the number ‘Heatwave’ ! Here is a link to a mini documentary about the whole making of this album:

Making of ‘Going Back’