This great little film produced by Talisker and Culture Trip features wild swimmer and offshore medic, Norman Todd.
I was commissioned to DP the section of the film featuring Norman's work life aboard the gas rig in the Irish Sea. As a BOSIET and MIST qualified, offshore DP I have the necessary experience and certifications to be able to work on oil and gas installations. After flying out from Blackpool I spend the night onboard the AP1 platform in the Morecambe Bay gas field and filmed Norman both at work and relaxing.
Producer/Director: Adu Lalouschek
DOP: Jasper Brown, Mike Harvey
Offshore DOP: Ben Barden
AP: Dan Laughton
Editor: Thomas Canton
Colour: Ollie Gill @ Nice Biscuits
Sound Design: Alex WellsReturn to Film Production
Working for Jago Miller I was hired to shoot a series of short social media films for Under Armour and Very.
Working with British Olympic taekwondo gold medalist, Jade Louise Jones MBE during a studio photoshoot, I shot mainly hand-held on the Canon C200 whilst Jago directed and shot gimbal footage with the EOS-R.
After the shoot I edited 2 sets of films for different seasons, these were in multiple aspects and durations for publication on Facebook and Instagram stories.Return to Film Production
I have held the BOSIET/HUET qualification for over 10 years which has taken me to some some really interesting places as an offshore cameraman/DP and photographer.
Having upgraded my tickets to include MIST and Escape Chute I'm qualified to work on oil and gas platforms all over the world and have filmed many installations in the UK, Dutch and Norwegian sectors.
Working offshore isn't just about having the right qualifications, having experience of permits to work and safety procedures onboard are vital. I'm always aware of keeping myself and everyone around me safe as well as keeping any disruption to a minimum!
My equipment has been honed down to a good size, easy to transport by helicopter but still including 2 cameras, grip, lighting, sound and time-lapse kit.Return to Film Production
I was commissioned by David Jackson, owner of the wonderful Castlerigg Hall camping and caravan site, to produce a promotional film to promote the business and it's magnificent Lake District location.
This is the 1st of 3 one minute films, each featuring a different group of holidaymakers.
The final edit will weave all three stories together when it's finished in summer 2019.
Shot with the most excellent Jago Miller on a stunning autumn day in September 2018.Return to Film Production
This short film follows a group of UK railway industry professionals cycling 450km across Rajasthan to raise money for the Railway Children charity during March 2018. It was commissioned to play at the Railway Ball, an industry event, to encourage more people to take on fundraising challenges.
Starting with a visit to a station in Delhi to see the plight of the many children living on India's railways, we then visited one of the charity's centres to meet some of the children, many with heartbreaking stories of abuse and neglect, that the organisation are helping.
Fully motivated, the group set off on their challenge from Agra, navigating dangerous roads, traffic and wildlife on their long ride to Jaipur.
As I was cycling for much of the route, as well as having to keep a very low profile whilst filming on the stations, I took a very basic filming kit. I also wanted to keep the value of what I was travelling with to a minimum.
1 Sony A7r ii camera, lens adaptor, 16-35mm 2.8l lens and a 24-70mm 2.8l lens, very compact carbon stills tripod with Velbon PH368 head, Rode Video Mic Pro and a Rode Smart Lav microphone with adaptors to connect directly to the camera.
The official charity partner of the Lion film starring Dev Patel, Railway Children provides protection and opportunity for children with nowhere else to go and nobody to turn to across the UK, India and East Africa.
https://www.railwaychildren.org.uk/Return to Film Production
When new Lake District hotel, Another Place - The Lake, started to market their stunning location they commissioned the excellent Sideways to produce a promotional film. As the hotel wasn't ready, they produced stunning footage of the area and people engaging with the landscape.
Once the hotel opened I was commissioned to film interior footage of the hotel and to cut that with the exterior footage shot by Sideways. The brief specified that no music was to be used so I created a sound design using audio from the original footage and foley that I recorded or found on sound libraries.Return to Film Production
I was commissioned by Queen Margaret University and Centrica to do a set of images for a profile piece on QMU alumni Norman Todd.
Norman is a former fisherman and now the offshore medic on the Morecambe Bay Gas rig in the Irish Sea.
As an offshore qualified photographer, holding BOSIET survival, MIST safety training and medical certificates I am able to work on offshore industry projects in much of the world. I really enjoy working in this environment and this job was no exception. Donning the survival suit and boarding a helicopter to fly out to a rig is really exciting, as is seeing the lives of the men and women who spend half their lives working offshore.Return to Film Production
I was commissioned by the Big Journey Company to produce a short documentary following a group of American tourists on their English Heritage Tour, run in conjunction with Diamond Resorts.
I travelled with them for 10 days and filmed their experiences along the way.
Before the shoot I contacted all the locations to arrange permissions and put together a kit that would allow me to be very discreet in some quite sensitive attractions including: Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge and Highclere Castle, otherwise know as Downton Abbey.
The guests reactions were to be an essential element of the film so it was vital for me to establish good relationships throughout the tour so they would feel comfortable around me and open up on camera.
The film was edited and colour graded in Adobe Premiere and exported in multiple formats for web publication.Return to Film Production
This one was a bit of a challenge, a promo for the Bike Mad indoor mountain bike park project, produced with Tom Urry and Morph Studio with me being director of photography, editor and colourist.
The tricky thing was that the park wasn't built, so with a series of empty and dark warehouses and few obstacles built from recycled wood by the project creator, the talented Gareth 'Stan' Healey, we managed to build some sequences with bikers Joe and Zac.
We only had power for 2 red heads and a smoke machine off the generator, which was a bit of a challenge as the buildings had no power or light.
The end shot was a masterpiece of drone flying by Jago Miller coming from inside the warehouse to a very breezy exterior lift. I was driving the camera on the gimbal so didn't see how much the Inspire was moving around.
I love the animation work Morph have done on the logo and I hope it helps get the amazing project up and running in the near future.
It will be in a different location within the area and will be a great facility for Cumbria.Return to Film Production
I was recently commissioned to photograph a set of wonderful sculptures created by renowned local artist Michelle Castles. Michelle’s medium is wire mesh and many of her pieces are in human form and in full size, so to photography them properly I needed a lot of space!
Zed studio was the ideal location, especially as Harry was available to assist. Using the very high beams, 5 meters above the floor, we suspended the larger pieces on fishing line and then used heavy C-stands to tie them off so we could continually readjust and fix the rotation.
To properly illustrate the shape of the sculptures it’s really important to get the lighting right and create shadow to show the contours. For the most part we used hard lights, and flagged them where needed to stop any harsh hotspots. Coloured gels were used to give some variation to the scenes.
Some of the pieces had other challenges to overcome, one that stands out is the pair of small figures, one a child, looking up at another, an adult, who is looking back down at the child. We needed to get the angle just right, so we built a rig using my favourite bit of studio gear, the mighty C-stand and 2 boom arms. The upper boom gave us a point to hang the figures, and the lower acted as the ground, placing a piece of black card over shiny stainless surface worked to mask the stand.
Michelle also needed some head shots with her work, I wanted to get her in the middle of several sculptures to give depth to the shot but I wanted her face to be lit softly, whilst keeping the hard lights on the figures. A medium soft-box in a Rembrandt style setup worked well to light her face, and the work retained the style we had established for the individual shots.
We had a great day with Michelle and her amazing work, it’s always great fun to do this kind of photography, as small changes to the position, strength and colour of lights make such striking changes to the resulting images.Return to Film Production
I’m lucky enough to shoot creative product photography for renowned paper maker James Cropper PLC in Zed Studio.
Working with Craig Butterworth from creative agency, Plain Creative, we’ve photographed a full set of imagery to promote their innovative recyclable product packaging product, R3D. http://www.jc3dp.com
The product requires careful lighting to show of the contours of the product and show the texture of the raw materials.
I love working with creative art directors like Craig as allows us to develop ideas together whilst ensuring that the imagery fully meets the client’s needs.
Another of James Cropper PLC’s product ranges is luxury bags for retail. Plain Creative got in touch to see if we could create a shot with a classic 1950s look to promote the product. I was given a reference image to match the general feel of and that dictated the style of lighting, clothing, hair, make-up and choice of model.
I started by working out how the original image had been lit by carefully studying the position of the lights and their size, I then did some test shots in the studio to refine the setup.
The next job was to find the model and after quite a bit of research I found Rachel Hayton who had exactly the right look.
To get the outfit right I got in touch with my hugely talented friend and fashion designer Eleanor Horsley. https://www.horsley.co.uk She created the beautiful jacket especially for the shoot and was on hand to ensure it was fitted correctly throughout the day.
It was a very enjoyable job to work on and Zed Studio provided a perfect location to do the shoot.Return to Film Production
Alex Showell expertly flies the aircraft whilst I control the gimbal and camera system. This is a very safe method of working and allows me to concentrate purely on the image.
Footage is captured in full 4K raw to allow maximum flexibility in post production. Showreel
Fully offshore qualified, (BOSIET, MIST), we can operate in a wide range of environments and an identical second aircraft and camera system gives clients reassurance that we will be able to deliver, even if technical faults occur.
Highline Vision: CAA number 2368Return to Film Production
I work closely with CAA licensed drone operator, Highline Vision to create striking aerial footage.
Alex Showell expertly flies the aircraft whilst I control the gimbal and camera system. This is a very safe method of working and allows me to concentrate purely on the image.
Footage is captured in full 4K raw to allow maximum flexibility in post production.
Fully offshore qualified, (BOSIET, MIST), we can operate in a wide range of environments and an identical second aircraft and camera system gives clients reassurance that we will be able to deliver, even if technical faults occur.
Highline Vision: CAA number 2368
I edited and colour graded the reel from raw footage in Blackmagic Resolve.
Arnside, Cumbria UK
Honister Pass, Lake District, UK
Place Fell, Ullswater, Lake District UK
Waternook, Howtown, Ullswater, Lake District, UK
Music licensed from www.premiumbeat.comReturn to Film Production
There's a little profile piece on me in Cumbria Life this month.
I'm not a fan of being on the other side of the camera but I really like this shot. Taken by the supremely talented Phil Rigby in Zed Studio back in March. http://www.cumbrialife.co.uk/ben-barden/Return to Film Production
In 2014 Tom Urry and I setup Zed Studio, a creative shooting space for stills and video in Kendal's creative hub, the Factory.
It features a large infinity cove, that was previously owned by Pinewood Studios, a full set of continuous and strobe lighting, grip gear and an amazing sound system!
As well as shooting a lot of content in the studio ourselves we also rent it out to other photographers and film makers.
This was a little montage I shot and edited for our website header. www.zedstudio.co.ukReturn to Film Production
I was commissioned by EBC Brakes to produce an instructional film to show how to fit their braided brake lines to a car.
The shoot took place in a working garage that partners with the company, this created quite a few challenges with light and sound! We shot the presenter, Nick's bits to camera as well as the white product shots, at my studio, Zed Studio, in Kendal.
The film had to match their corporate style in terms of music and text.
The film is used to promote the product as well as a customer support tool.Return to Film Production
I was commissioned by Vattenfall to produce a film charting the construction of their Kentish Flatts Extension wind farm project.
Over the course of a year I visited sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and the UK to film components of the windfarm being manufactured and then installed onsite off the Kent coast.
As a offshore BOSIET, MIST and working at height qualified film maker, I was able to access the turbines and even film from the top of nacelles.
I spent several weeks editing this footage, as well as additional video files shot or supplied by my client, to produce a short documentary that Vattenfall have used to explain the project to engineers, staff and stakeholders in the communities around the wind farm.Return to Film Production
11Degrees commissioned me to edit some short films for social media to promote their summer 2016 collection.
During the SS2016 photoshoot, photographer Ian Wood shot some short video clips of Gaz Beadle from MTV's Geordie Shore modelling T-Shirts. The footage was supplied to me to create a series of 15 second cuts for InstagramReturn to Film Production
Clothing brand 11 Degrees commissioned me to make a film to highlight their sponsorship of motorcycle racing legend, James Ellison.
James was heading to Spain with his GB Moto British Superbike Championship team to test the new Kawasaki ZX10R at the Cartagena circuit so this seemed like the ideal opportunity to escape the UK winter and get some footage in the Spanish sunshine.
We wanted to show of the clothing as well as the excitement or 2 wheeled motorsport, over 2 days we shot some sequences between the vital test sessions both on and off track.
Using the Sony FS700, Atomos Shogun and Sony A7S we got some great footage. including lots of 200 frames per second slow motion and DJI Ronin-M gimbal shots from the boot of the hire car, which we were allowed to take out for 2 very sickly laps!
Including the 15 second edit for instagram the film was seen by over 50,000 people across 11 Degrees social media platforms in it's 1st week.
Cut on Adobe Premiere Pro and with a few of the very cool flash transitions from rampantdesigntools.com/
Music from marmosetmusic.com/Return to Film Production
Cumbria Tourism wanted to commission a short film to promote an electric car hire scheme in the Lake District. Originally they were interested in an interview led film giving information about the project but I had an idea for something a little more fun that would work better on social media.
The Renault Twizy cars are wrapped as sheep so I thought it would be good fun to have them being reared in the mountains by a hill shepherd and then released off to their new homes, which are the local hotels and attractions that serve as hire locations for the scheme.
It was a technically difficult shoot as we had 10 cars and drivers, several locations, 6 crew, and 4 different camera types to deal with. Working as director of photography and producer/director made for a very busy day! Matching the cameras in post was a challenge but shooting in log formats made it possible.
The film has been a great success and a second version has been edited as an advert to be shown in cinemas around the area.Return to Film Production
I was commissioned to produce a short film on the construction of the Clashindarroch Wind Farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland for Swedish energy company Vattenfall.
I spent 2 days in July 2014 on site filming interviews, timelapses and illustrative footage as well as trying to capture a turbine being lifted into position. Unfortunately, due to weather, the operation was delayed so I had to come up with a plan to cover the procedure. A time-lapse solution was decided upon, I rigged the equipment and trained Senvion engineer, Dean, to set the camera going when the lifting was due to start.
All went according to plan and the footage was compiled and edited into a 5 minute cut.Return to Film Production
I was recommended to owners Paul and Diane Gordon by Mike Andrew at Web Predators. Mike and I have worked together for years on some amazing projects in the Lake District, so when he called up to say that this one was special and I should go up and see the place as soon as possible I was intrigued.
It is a truly unique house with an amazing interior featuring a cinema, spa, wonderful bedrooms and a kitchen with the most spectacular views over Ullswater, one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District National Park. An additional barn is being converted on site to provide another incredible and truly unique bit of accommodation.
These are shots from my 1st visit, I will be going back in the next month once the leaves are on the trees and the barn is complete.
Watch this space!Return to Film Production
It was a bit of a gorilla style shoot, walking round the space and doing super fast setups with the models doing multiple changes as we went.
I was really pleased with the amount of images we got through in a relatively short space of time, the images were used as the initial stock to populate the brands website at launch.Return to Film Production
The Church Suites in Bowness are a new development of 4 luxury suites with amazing implementation of technology.
I was commissioned to produce films for each of the suites, the videos not only had to show the high quality nature of the rooms but also needed to showcase the cinemas, media control systems, lighting schemes and bathrooms.
http://www.thecranleigh.com/the-church-suites.htmlReturn to Film Production
Over the last few years I've attended the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas 3 times. It's an amazing place to learn new skills, network and of course party!
The Post/Production World programme allows delegates to choose various masterclasses in subjects including, lighting, sound, business, interview technique, colour grading and editing. I've attended dozens of session but the ones I have learnt most from have been those run by Jem Schofield of The C47.
This summer he is running his Film Makers Intensive course in the Scottish Borders and I'm really excited to be helping him. To get a 10% discount just mention this page when booking.
Here's a run down....
The 2014 Filmmaker's Intensive (TFMI), is a one week program that was designed for a select number of people (up to 20), who want to learn the craft of lighting & shooting for documentary, corporate & narrative filmmaking.
TFMI is an immersive environment. Students learn and work together. It is truly a unique learning experience which will prepare you for shooting in the real world & your further education in this field.
This year we have chosen the Scottish Borders as the location for the course. Probably one of the most beautiful and ideal environments for learning the craft of video production & filmmaking.
Additionally, this particular intensive is focused on learning to effectively approach different types of production. It is not designed to be a 48 film contest or a documentary filmmaking exercise where the final result is an edited piece to screen to other students. This particular intensive is focused on craft and helping you get better at lighting and shooting in different scenarios (documentary, corporate & narrative).
We understand that the program requires a commitment in terms of time, energy and finances to be a part of The Filmmaker's Intensive. As a result, we have worked hard to make this unique program as rewarding and financially feasible as possible. We have instructors and students coming from all over the world and have designed the program to be as immersive as possible. It's not a program for the faint of heart. Come prepared to learn & then do! Focus will be on learining for application. No tests here. Just getting your hands dirty and getting better at your craft.
We only have 20 spots for this year's program and that's it. Applying, being accepted and registering early will ensure your spot in the program. We also only run The Filmmaker's Intensive every two years so the next program won't take place until the summer of 2016.
Please visit www.thefilmmakersintensive.com to find out more and apply for the program.
Location: All Scotland ,England, Wales, Northern Ireland, InternationalReturn to Film Production
The Homesick Truant's Cumbrian Yarn - 10 days walking, 10 giant murals by Oliver East at The Factory, Kendal. Commissioned by Paul Proctor, Julie Tait & Andy Smith.
A time-lapse covering 1 day of Oliver east at work on this exiting project.
To capture this short film, covering a full working day, I mounted my SLR high up on a beam above the work area. With an exposure captured every 30 seconds, I ended up with around 1000 very high resolution raw files. I processed the individual images and then created a film at the same high resolution as the raw files and then was able to animate my 1080 video frame around it to follow Oliver as he worked.Return to Film Production
After the chaos of the NAB show in Las Vegas I needed a bit of open space, Matt and I travelled out into the desert with his drone, a pile of video kit and very nice Dodge Challenger hire car. We wanted to find a dry lake bed to stretch the rental's legs and have a play with the cameras, Google came up with Jean, Nevada, only 30 miles away.
I hadn't brought any sound kit, or even a fluid head tripod on this trip across the pond, so we planned a short sequence and put together a shot list utilising the gear we had.
The dry lake bed was an amazing location and the light, stunning as we worked through the later part of the afternoon. I was amazed how good the footage is from the drone, Matt has really developed a great technique with it, I will be offering aerial video/stills using drones to clients in the UK soon.
The car ended up in a bit of a state, we toyed with the idea of pulling up at the valet parking outside the Aria, but in the end opted for the car wash and a feed at In and Out Burger.
Next morning Matt got up at 5AM to drive the car back to the hire company at the airport and fly on to San Francisco, unfortunately when he went to get in it he found a flat tyre and a lot of missing tread, I guess the sand is more abrasive than we'd thought!
Whilst waiting for my flight back to Blighty I edited this short cut in Premiere on my 11" Macbook Air with it balanced on my knee, I'm amazed how well that tiny thing does with 1080 footage. I did a light grade in Speedgrade when I got home to my big machine, the 11"Air's screen isn't quite up to colour work! Overall we're pretty pleased with it. I would have loved to have have my FS700 with me for super slowmo, and my sound kit, and my Miller tripod and and and......There's always next year!Return to Film Production
My wealth of experience experience includes filming in suspension at height using IRATA rope access techniques and offshore installations including gas rigs and wind farms. I hold current BOSIET, MIST, Escape Shute and offshore medical certificate and am insured for work offshore. I am used to working in hazardous industrial environments. My work has appeared in projects from corporate promos to BBC news and documentaries.
I am dual national and hold British and Irish (EU) passports as well as working through legal entities in both the UK and Czech Republic (EU)
My current kit available for freelance work.
Canon C200 (internal 12 bit raw, 4K)
Canon EOS R with Blackmagic Video Assist (4K 10 bit ProRes)
Sony FS700 (240 fps)
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
Autonomous time-lapse cameras
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 17-755mm f/2.8L IS
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 A (EF)
Lee 10x15cm ND grad sets, hard and soft
Lee circular polariser
Lee filter holder system and adaptors for all lenses
5 x Red Heads
1 x Westcott Flex
1 x Litepanels Fresnel (Daylight LED)
1 x Aputure Al-F7
1 X Boling P1 RGB
Rode NTG2, suspension mount and dead cat
Sennheiser G3 lav radio mic set
Beyer Dynamic M58
Rode Smart Lav x 2
Sony MDR 7506 headphones
Miller DS10 tripod head and carbon legs
Manfrotto stills tripods
DJI Ronin - M Gimbal
Full set of clamps inc quacker
Rigging for working at height/offshore
A combination of full rivers high winds and massive tides made for some huge waves crashing into the shore at Morecambe, Lancashire, UK.
I ventured down to the coast with my Sony FS700 and some nice Canon glass to capture the action. One of the reasons I bought the FS camera was because of its ability to shoot at high frame rates. This footage was 200 frames per second which gives a great slow motion effect. I used a shutter speed of 1000th of a second to really see the detail in the water.
I love using high frame rates to get a completely new perspective on movement, clients seem to like it too!Return to Film Production
In November 2012 I set out to film a group of school kids from inner-city Manchester getting their 1st experience of the great outdoors as part of their Duke of Edinbugh award. Many of them had never been out of the city before, and the prospect of navigating through and camping in the rugged moutons of the Lake District was pretty overwhelming for most.
Working with Sam Sykes Ltd., a fantastic local firm who deliver DofE expeditions for schools, I followed them over three weekends, it was fantastic to see their skills and confidence grow, the sense of achievement they all felt when they finished was amazing.
To tie the story together I went back to the school 6 months later and interviewed the teachers and pupils. I was so pleased with the amazing performances of all of them, I shot 6 students and 2 teachers in around 1.5 hours including a light and sound setup.
To tell the other side, I shot Sam and his staff in their offices, it was quite a challenging space to work in but I managed to get 3 separate setups and they all gave great interviews.
I'm a great believer in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, my grandfather used to run it in the 50s and I did all three levels at school. It's so important to give young people a taste of adventure and responsibility, especially those in who wouldn't have any other exposure to wilderness areas. I hope this film may help to highlight the huge benefits of the scheme to young people and persuade more schools to run the award.Return to Film Production
In March 2012 I was commissioned by Centrica Energy to do some PR photography to illustrate a pilot medical scheme that used the NHS to provide medical support to people offshore.
I donned my survival suit and boarded the helicopter from Blackpool with 2 NHS consultants for the short flight out to the Morecambe Bay gas rig. They were on a familiarisation visit to see how things run offshore. It was fascinating to get a tour of the facility whilst we set up shots. I had also been asked to grab any other photographs of the rig and it's operations as I worked so it was great fun to shoot the helicopters coming in. The food on board was a real treat!
As an OPITO BOSIET certified photographer, I am qualified and insured to work on any oil, gas or renewable fields in the UK.Return to Film Production
Back in the depths of January I booked my now annual adventure to the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Now I know what you're thinking, jolly, right? Well I'm not going to pretend that their isn't any socialising involved but these trips make more of a difference to my work than any camera, software or computer ever can.
The 1st time I went, I went alone to do the Post/Production world training programme. This is 6 days of intense training in editing, colour grading, production and post audio, lighting, interview technique and documentary producing and editing from the very best in the business, Hollywood decamps to Nevada for the week. After learning so much the 1st time round I had to go back.
This year I've concentrated on sound and colour. With corporate and short films, the quality of the audio seems often to be regarded as secondary to the images, but if you think about how much of your message needs to communicated through sound it really should be given equal consideration. I've always been conscious of this and made great efforts to be painstaking in my approach to it. In the NAB sessions I have massively expanded my knowlege and skills, especially for recording in less than perfect locations. This coupled with some excellent post production techniques means that the audio on all my video projects will be even better than ever.
For years now I have shot all my stills exclusively in raw format, this gives me latitude to make major adjustments to the files in Photoshop or Lightroom. When I'm shooting I am constantly thinking about the information that can be extracted from the camera file to ensure I have captured enough data to produce the image I want at the end of the process.
Every image that is delivered to clients goes through a conversion and retouching process to correct colour, contrast and noise as well as to give images a punchy and vibrant look. It's long been a source of frustration that I haven't had quite the same flexibility with video, as until very recently, cameras able to capture raw video weren't really available. That said I have always set my cameras to record in the flattest available picture profiles so I can make some corrections, indeed as with photography, every shot that makes it into an edit for a client is corrected and improved to some degree.
We are now entering the raw video age, my FS700 will be unlocked by Sony later this month and that is so exciting, given that I will be able to do so much more I wanted to do some extra training on the industry standard DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Designs and Spedgrade from Adobe. These classes were intense and in a couple of days I really got to grips with the hugely diferent workflow from that used in stills post production. Being able to push the quality of work that I deliver to clients to whole new level is thrilling!
At the end of long days intensive learning the evening product launches and networking events kick off. Over the last 2 years I have met masses of wonderful and inspiring people working both in Europe and the USA. This is leading to some great opportunities one of which has been the creation of the Going Postal podcast a radio panel show on post, production and pop-culture.After a solid week of all that I was exhausted, I escaped the mayhem of Vegas for a time-lapse expedition in the dessert before heading to LA for a meeting and flying home. I never tire of that landscape! The time-laspses will be posted shortly.
Still think it was a jolly? Well maybe just a little.Return to Film Production
Allied bakeries commissioned a set off photography showing their staff at work at 7 of their facilities across England.
I met Will North from the M-Word marketing agency at Allied Bakeries' head office one cold March morning and we got started with the shoot. Working together we decided on the best style for the job and I continued on my road trip alone. I met some wonderful people from truck drivers to master bakers all over the country, there were some challenging conditions in dark corners of hot bakery but I, and more importantly the client, were very happy with the results.
After a week leading an Alan Partridge style existence living in Premiere Inns I returned home with thousands of raw files and 48 muffins, result!Return to Film Production
30 years ago I loved nothing more than tucking into a lunch of cheese and cucumber sandwiches in front of our insanely tiny TV.
The wondrous fantasy worlds of Button Moon, the Magic Roundabout and Rainbow had me enthralled, but it was the simply illustrated tales of Mr Benn that really sparked my imagination.
For those of you who didn’t grow up in the 70s or early 80s, a quick education; in each episode Mr Benn, a sharp dressed gent in a bowler hat, leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he tries on a particular outfit. He leaves the shop through a secret door at the back of the changing room and enters the world of his new attire, an adventure laced with gentle morality plays out before the shopkeeper leads him back to the changing room and his dark suit.
To my delight, it recently occurred to me that my working life is starting to mirror that of Mr Benn. The modern trend for comprehensive PPE affords endless opportunities to the working snapper with a penchant for dressing-up. Here are a few of my favorites from the last year or so.Return to Film Production
Timel-lapse is a fantastic film making tool. I frequently use them in corporate and documentary films to show convey the passing of time, they also add a real impact.
They can also be really usefull to chart large engineering and construction projects. Slow operations can be compressed down to a few minutes to allow a viewer to understand how things are built.
Working on the Ormonde Wind Farm film, I managed to capture some stunning time lapse footage of an offshore wind turbine being installed from a camera placed high on a neighbouring turbine.
During this project I also attached a camera to the underside of the famous Goliath crane at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, to capture the loading of a vessel. These videos was used by the BBC and were their most popular videos on the BBC news website for several days after publication.
You can see the offshore time-lapse here.
I can provide solutions to capture time periods from a few hours right up to several years.Return to Film Production
As a qualified IRATA L1 rope access technician I can provide photography and film at height. I can work with a companies own supervisor or working with Alex Showell (IRATA L3) operate independently.
Using industry standard IRATA rope access techniques, we can place cameras in amazing vantage points. In the past we have captured stunning time lapse footage of an offshore wind turbine being installed from a camera placed high on a neighbouring turbine.
During this project we also attached a camera to the underside of the famous Goliath crane at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, to capture the loading of a vessel. These videos was used by the BBC and were their most popular videos on the BBC news website for several days after publication.
You can see the offshore time-lapse here.
In 2010 we took an unusual rope access shot from the outside of the 40th of floor of West Tower in Liverpool. It was an incredible experience and we achieved a really unique shot. The full story of the rope access photography shoot is hereReturn to Film Production
Beards are in this year, just look on TV, but it's a pain growing facial hair, it itches, food gets stuck in it and if you happen to be a girl....
Step in the Beard Beanie!
I was commissioned to do both a studio and location shoot for these great fun products. We had a brilliant day out on a cold March day in the Lake District and came back with some interesting images.
The studio shoot was a simple white backdrop setup to give a full product set for use on the company's website.Return to Film Production
As far as I'm concerned Gilpin Lodge and the Lake House are the best hotels in Lake District, bar none. Run by the wonderful Cunliffe family, they offer unparalleled levels of luxury and style whilst never feeling in any way stuffy.
I always love working on photography projects with Barney and Zoe, the subject matter is always interesting and the stunning interiors and surrounds are a photographers dream.
Since opening in September 2010, guest have been blown away by the Lake House. One couple commented “it’s like a decompression chamber for stress – you simply feel your body relax”. Six individual suites share a fully staffed boutique hotel with bar, dining room, lounge, swimming pool and lake.
Before work was completed Barney asked me to get a shot of the building, showing the rowing boat and jetty on the private lake. After an initial recce it became clear that this was going to be no easy task. The ideal position to get the shot with the angle of view I required was in the middle of the lake, under normal circumstances this would simply be a case of going out in a boat, however as this was an evening shot I needed a long exposure which meant the camera would need to be static. The lake is too deep to put up scaffolding so after a bit of head scratching I came up with a solution.
The camera was attached to a very stable inflatable boat, this was then positioned and locked into position with 4 anchors sunk at a distance away from the tender in 4 different directions. By using ratchet straps to tension a line from each corner of the boat to the anchors it fixed it firmly in place. The camera was then left onboard as I returned to shore to allow any ripples to vanish before firing the camera remotely.
The exterior lighting wasn't ready so we lit and placed several hundred tea lights to make the outside areas glow.
I think it's one of the most complicated setups I've done for a single shot but I think it was worth it.Return to Film Production
Well after many months of procrastinating I finally got round to having a new site built. The old one had served me well but it wasn't easy to update, well that's my excuse, and it just didn't show off my work as effectively as I would have liked.
Over the last 18 months my business has changed hugely with video becoming a huge part of what I do. I really needed some way of showing off films and photo shoots from the homepage as well as being able to give lots of detail about those projects.
Sean and Nick at Rmdy have done an incredible job and I'm so chuffed with their work.
I'll be updating the blog with what I'm up to but I'm also going to talk a bit about about video and photography technology and equipment.
Thanks very much for visiting and keep bobbing back!
Thanks to Ian Wood for my mugshot. You'll be pleased to hear the charity moustache is now long gone!Return to Film Production
Winner of Best Mountain Culture Film at Kendal Mountain Festival 2012, Capetown will tour in The Best Of Kendal.
Made with local climber, fell runner and cyclist Rin Colombi, this 10-minute film is a moving insight into Hound Trailing through the eyes of Yvonne Wilson, trainer of her young pup called Capetown (Yvonne calls her Bess) that takes an unexpected, heart-wrenching twist.
Hound Trailing is a traditional Cumbrian non-blood sport that requires the same level of training, passion and dedication as any other elite Lake District pursuit. Hounds are trained to run unaccompanied over fields and fells, for up to 10 miles, following a scented trail to the finishing line. The dogs are as fit as any athlete and love every minute of the race, howling, barking and wagging their tails throughout to meet their owners and bucket of food at the end.
We have loved our journey through the making of this film since late 2011 and are indebted to so many people of the Hound Trailing community for their time and energy.
To buy the full 10 minute film with extras, DVDs are on sale at http://www.capetownmovie.comReturn to Film Production
After producing marketing photography for Windermere Marina Village over many years I was really excited to be asked to come up with an idea for promotional film to show off their excellent self-catering accommodation.
I teamed up with PR supremo, Ellis Butcher, to come up with an engaging story that we could use to show off the marina without doing the usual dull walk around. Ellis came up with the idea of following a couple during their stay and then, fuelled by gallons of coffee, we figured out a way to put a twist in the story. A walker finds a camera, he looks through the pictures on it which show the couple's weekend and where they are staying, he then takes it back to them. Now almost delirious from the caffeine overdose I decided we could shoot all the couples story like a flip book using thousands of stills. Not quite realising the amount of post production work required we settled on the idea and took it to Tracii Monet, marketing manager at WMV.
She went for it and planning began. We shot it with our models Rachel and Ian in real time over 2 days and ended up with 6565 still images to edit down.
We found a great piece of music from local musician Pete Lashley which he very kindly allowed us to use. This really was the polish on the project and added to the emotion.
It's wonderful when a client allows us to go a bit out there and produce something really different, the client ended up with a film that substantially increased bookings and has a big hit across social media with 20,000 views on youtube alone.Return to Film Production
We provide location services to film and TV production in the Lake District and Cumbria. We can help with initial location scouting, detailed location surveys, local accommodation, transportation, crew and full production location management.
Having worked on major Hollywood productions, national and international TV programmes and commercials during pre-production and shooting, we have a comprehensive understanding of what is required in terms of access, unit bases and permissions. Our experience and thorough knowledge of our native Cumbria coupled with extensive contacts in the tourism and local government sectors make us ideally qualified to help with productions looking to film here in the Lake District.
Miss Potter - Location scouting and location management
Snow White and the Huntsman - location scouting
Seven Seas ITV Weather Stings - location scouting and management
Multiple Bollywood Films - location scouting
Boden catalogue shoot - location scouting and management
Hollyoaks - location scouting
Dunlop Tyre Advert - location scouting
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Heads Nook Hall is a beautiful building near Carlisle, recently converted from a private house to a hotel. I was commissioned at the very beginning of the process to capture the unique features of the property.
It was quite a challenging job as many of the spaces are unevenly lit so I've used a mix of ambient and strobe lighting.
Here's what Michael Murray, the owner, had to say.
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"We started a new Business venue early in 2011 – A luxury Country Guest House, Heads Nook Hall near Brampton in Cumbria www.headsnookhall.co.uk
He came to do the shoot fully prepared, and carefully considered what would produce the best end result. He even gave valuable advice to us about access to Photo Libraries during a coffee break and Bacon roll!. The end photographic work produced by Ben was to the highest standard, showing the building’s unique features.
He supplied all the finished Photos on a DVD in all the data formats we could ever required, and these have formed the foundations for everything going forward Website design / Uploads to other websites/Leaflets etc.
Because we started the recipe with such high quality photos everything else that followed in terms of quality web design etc fell into place.
Ben's work is of the highest calibre and highly recommend his services to anyone"
In 2008 Cumbria Tourism commissioned me to produce a set of images to promote the alternative camping products that are available in the county. We covered yurts in Rydal, retro VW camper van hire and tents on the shore of Derwent Water.
After a recce I recruited Sandy and Ian to model as the couple. The final job was to source props including, food and drink, clothes and an orange tent that would glow when lit internally at night.
The shoot spanned 2 days in late September so the models had to brave the dropping temperatures to make it look like a barmy June day, such dedication! We had a fantastic time and the client loved the photography.Return to Film Production
A film made with Debbie McGowan for the 2009 Kendal Mountain Festival about the Lake District Ski Club.
The club runs a ski tow on Raise in the Helvellyn range. To get to the lift skiers must negotiate a steep path for an hour carrying their skis and boots. Members run the club on a voluntary basis and the film tells their story.
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A commission for Aggregate Industries at a quarry in Cumbria.
We turned up to photograph various operations on a cold and wet February day. The light was incredibly flat so I decided to stop down the ambient light and throw some flash at the big dump truck. Using 2 500w studio heads with large umbrellas I managed to get enough light to really drop the background.
The client was made up with the shot and I have to say it's one of my favourite industrial images.Return to Film Production
This is a short film about an amazing fund-raising cycle ride some friends of mine did in September 2012.
Organised by Steve Longcake, who's daughter Poppy received a liver transplant last year at Leeds Children's Hospital, they rode the length of mainland Britain from Lands End to John O' Groats in 12 days to raise money for the hospital.
the team: Steve Longcake, James Mackereth, Andy Davis, Paul Ridley, Richard Ducket, Calum Donnelly, Gareth Thomas, Ben Doige and Stephen Whiteley.
For further information or to donate please visit justgiving.com/Poppysride
My good friend Ian Wood had arranged to do some promotional photographs for the team to help with their fundraising efforts, he had it booked in for a Saturday afternoon on some quiet country lanes. I thought I'd tag along and help out positioning lighting etc. Just before we set off, my Sony NEX FS700 camera arrived after months on order so I brought it along to shoot some test footage. The FS700's party trick is it's capability to capture super slow motion in full 1080p HD so I thought cyclists would be a good subject to learn the new kit.
After a couple of runs filming out of the back of Ian's car I shot a very fast interview with Steve, he was very nervous but he told the story behind the ride brilliantly, I had a bit of a lump in my throat as I was shooting and knew there was a short film there. I got home and cut it in about an hour, it was then put straight onto their facebook and just giving sites and got great coverage. Hopefully the film along with Ian's stunning team photograph went some way to helping them raise an incredible £20,000!
Stills photographer and driver: Ian WoodReturn to Film Production
I've worked for Pete and Sharon Garner for several years photographing their lovely guest house and self catering property in Keswick. Pete called me in spring to tell me about their exciting new venture, Fjell Event Tipis, and I thought it sounded really exciting. The tipis can be combined to make huge spaces for weddings and events.
The Keswick mountain festival had hired a double tipi to house their bar, as it was going to be sited on the shore of Derwent Water it was the ideal setup to grab a striking promotional image so Pete commissioned me to spend the day photographing and filming it in use.
The day arrived with grey skies and frequent showers so to get the striking shot we needed I decided we would have to wait until evening. Once the light dropped to be slightly darker than the light inside the tipis the warm glow came spilling out and the grey skies turned a nice gentle blue to contrast against the orange light from the doorway. To add to the effect we added small flares around the edge of the structure.Return to Film Production
Craghoppers commissioned this short film to show the work involves in putting together their media campaign for 2012.
Following the project from conception, through photo shoots and design to the final product on display on the London Underground.Return to Film Production
The complete construction of the Ormonde Wind Farm in Cumbria, UK
Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, commissioned me in 2010 to make a film charting the construction of their ground-braking wind farm in the Irish Sea.
It was a hugely challenging project that saw me all travelling all over to film the various stages of construction. From setting up timelapse cameras on the famous Harland and Wolff cranes high above Belfast, to living onboard the installation vessels during construction it has been a truly thrilling experience.
The film has been used by Vattenfall over Europe and I continue to work for the comapany on many exciting new projects.Return to Film Production
Scott Rose on Black Combe
A short guide to a mountain bike route over Black Combe in South West Cumbria.
Presenter Scott Rose leads us over the spectacular peak and down the long fast decent.
Commissioned by Cumbria Toursm's Adventure Capital project and SouthCopeland TourismReturn to Film Production
This image of a couple looking out of the 40th floor penthouse in Liverpool city centre was one of the scariest shots I've ever taken! 2 years of planning, an expensive training course, the complete development of a vertical mounting rig and a risk assessment that made War and Peace look like a light read finally got us over the edge of the 459ft West Tower.
As a qualified IRATA Level 1 technician I had come up with a vague idea for this shot during my training, but until I met Alex Showell, a highly experienced Level 3 that I was unable to start putting the unique camera mount together and test it.
After a few test runs in Hodge Close, a disused slate quarry in the Lake District, we had the method down. Now all that was required was a skyscraper that would be up for letting us go and play on the outside of it. After many letters and calls to buildings all over the UK, the Beetham organisation were barmy enough to grant us access.
Climbing over the high parapet for the 1st time was terrifying, I'm good with heights but this was the tallest structure I'd abseiled off. By the time we'd rigged the gear I'd settled into dangling high above the Merseyside skyline and the hour we spend hanging there waiting for the light to get to the perfect level was amazing!Return to Film Production
I am an offshore photographer and offshore video specialist with experience in both the renewable and oil/gas sectors.
Qualifications and certifications include; current offshore medical, BOSIET, and IRATA L1, I also hold a LOGIC card.
From PR shots and induction films to full documentaries on complex construction projects, we have the experience to produce creative and effective imagery in the most dificult locations. Using traditional filming along with advanced time lapse techniques that show slow operations in a fraction of real time.
Recent offshore work:
Project: Ormonde Offshore Windfarm construction documentary filmed over 2 years
Project: PR shoot to cover medical services onboard the Morecambe Bay gas rigs
Client: Dong/Signal Films
Project: Filming induction films for both the Walney and Barrow offshore wind farms.
Project: Production of an induction film for the Ormonde offshore wind farm.
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