Wednesday 23 December 2009

Converge One - My Contribution

The Flash Centre Organized and ran 'Converge One' at the British Film Institute in London on the 11th of December

It was an event which aimed to celebrate and foster the use of DSLR's with video capability

It was aimed at both stills photographers and Movie makers

The event was a massive success, with guest Speakers including, Phillip Bloom, Richard Jobson, Dan Fung Dennis and many more too

I'm not going to give the full post show report I wanted to yet as I just have not been able to write anything meaningful yet, my apologies

I will however talk about my small artistic contribution to the event

When I was invited to speak at the event I accepted straight away.

I felt I need to show something new, after all if we don't make new work, stills or moving, we are not photographers, at best just talkers or dreamers.

Then I started to think.....

'Wouldn't it be cool if I could produce a mini short with actors and actress's for £500 or less?'

I LOVE big productions, and it would be my first using the Canon 5Dmk2 shooting full 1080p HD video

Here are some of my stills which inspired me to take this route

I directed and lit all of these shoots myself, so how different was it going to be doing the same with moving images?
Now for all sorts of reasons, I produced this shoot by myself too.
So first came the idea, which I came up with and developed with my collaborators Katherine Holley and Graham Trott, along with some storyline help with my good friend Peter Payne
Here is Katherine's storyboard, which as you can see was pretty close to how it all worked out

The premise of the shoot was a cleaning girl at a big fancy house who is not invited to the party, but dives into a broom cupboard and transforms herself, to crash the party and become the star

All set in the 1940's

We decided to the shoot outside of London, we chose Studley Castle, part of the best Western Hotel group, who are photographer friendly and did us a very good rate

It fitted the role of a big fancy house a treat, with the added bonus that is was very close to where the model Jay Jessop lives (yes, of Water buffalo fame!)

Putting together an (over)ambitious shoot like this means pulling in every favour you can

Costume came from Nicky Albrechtsen and a few charity shops too

Graham bought a few dirty Rain coats with him (for the photographers)

I'm lucky enough to own several MPP and Speedgraphic's so that was the photographers sorted out

The car came from Robin Crump who made the long journey in the torrential rain in his Austin Fairline

Did I mention the rain? Well agood portion fo the shoot was going to be outside, so we needed LUCK

This is what the journey up to Warwickshire was like....

A project like this is only possible with the help of willing volounteers and the shoot would not have been possible without the support of Henly College who supplied extras, hair and make up

They had quite a big team.

Which had to be catered for, remember we are trying to do the whole thing for under £500.

So it was down to me

So we had from 3pm until 10pm to shoot the whole thing.

The crew, consisting of Graham, Katherine and I, as hard as we all worked was way too small

In fact the shoot came close to failing as we simply could not move the equipment and people around fast enough

Yes, it was low budget but I took the size of the crew to something smaller than I would have used on a stills shoot of equivalent size

I was trying to prove something though

We did not have tons of lighting, the mainstay of what we used was A spot, one kinoflo, a Chimera Triolet, and some mini light panels

Yes, you can shoot available light on the Mk2 but But I wanted to control the depth of field and have my 'Signature' lighting

We left the location not really knowing if we had covered all bases, and that the whole thing was going to edit together well

But Katherine is a brilliant editor and I'm delighted with what she achieved

Sitting round after the edit I realized that project would benefit greatly from a unique score

I put an appeal out on this blog and in under 2 hours I had two very generous offers of help

Firstly from David Getfrid in Washington State, and then from Douglas Black Heaton in Helsinki, Finland

I liked both of these very different approaches and have used both of them

Thank you SO much guys

David pointed out that a degree of 'Foley' (sound effects of laughter etc) would enhance things

So, another offer of help came in for Foley from Conrad Norton in Wales

I was very apprehensive to see how the piece was received at 'Converge' but I need not have worried. The audience was most appreciative.

And yes, I got a shiver down my spine as I watched it on the big screen of the National Film Theatre on the South Bank

It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

Every time I watch it I see every last fault and failing.

But I did it

I produced, directed and shot it

And it cost £600, not £500

Hi Def to follow but in the meantime.....

Here is the Version with Douglas's music

'Cinderella' ' Music by Douglas Black Heaton from drew gardner on Vimeo.

If you don't want to wait for the high res Vimeo here is the low Res Youtube version

And Here is David's

'Cinderella' Music by David Getsfrid from drew gardner on Vimeo.

If you don't want to wait for the high res Vimeo here is the low Res Youtube version too


Unknown said...

Hi Drew, cannot hear any sound on the videos, might be just me but could double check. The visuals look stunning BTW


Unknown said...

Thanx Rich, I'm on it but out shopping at the moment



Chris Beaumont said...

Just to second that I can't hear any audio either :)

My sound is working fine ...

àsìkò said...

Fantastic video Drew, really loving what you produced with the mkII. Look forward to more.
Seems the sound is not there

excellent work and keep it up

Unknown said...

Hey Guys

Thank you for sticking with me

Posted with sound now

I'm really not sure what happened

High res on Vimeo in a little while too



Unknown said...

Nice job Drew!.. Very good lighting... wondering what you used as a continuous light source to create this??

Unknown said...

Hi Musashi

When she gets out of the car it is the Chimera Triolet, combined with the Light Panels

I used the Light Panels (the small ones) extensively throughout the whole shoot



Unknown said...

Hollywood - give this man a contract! Great video and especially considering the quick and cheap route you took.

I like the look of black & white for video: a throwback to good old cinema. Did you decide that at the very outset or was that something you thought would work better later?

mohamed (gpp)

Unknown said...

Thank you Moe,

You really are too kind.

It was concieved as black and white from the outset.

You may now be realizing that I'm in rather a different place to where I was earlier this year.

Watch this space for some bold and surprising developments

Best of luck with GPP 2010



Unknown said...

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Anonymous said...

Nice one, Drew!

Luckily by using music and Foley you've avoided the real problem with DSLRs and video - recording the sound and syncing it up again afterwards. DSLRs just aren't designed to do that yet.


Unknown said...

Thank You again Andy

Pleased you like it

Interesting comment you made about syncing the sound.

It is not the issue it once was thanks to 'Plural Eyes' a plug in made for Final Cut which helps solve this problem

But this whole HD DSLR thing is a minefield, right?

Which software...plug ins...gizmo's etc...

Watch this space, I will be sharing all I discover on my journey into moving image

The film boys seem to be running away with the whole HD DSLR medium and I want to help more of us who come from a stills background

We have so much to offer

Have a Happy New Year



Anonymous said...

Early in my career I spent quite a while as a sound engineer, including running the Outside Broadcast department at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. I still retain my membership of the Institute of Broadcast Sound, the trade professional body if you like. There are a host of sound engineers on there currently pulling their hair out at being given 5d2 video to "save", shot by people who didn't think about the sound as much as they did the video! :-(


Unknown said...

Hi Andy

Yes I agree with you

It must be VERY frustrating for them

Plural Eyes only HELPS sync the sound

But in so many ways video is just like stills photography, if you make a plan ahead of time (ie planning how you sync the sound) it is so much easier than leaving it all to fix afterwards, much like photoshop

Failure to prepare really is preparing to fail

Made all the more difficult when so many people in the process are not in fact part of the decision making

This is the real hell of the process at the moment