Sunday 28 July 2013

Helping out with the smoke machine on the new Amelle of the 'Sugarbabes' video

When I was running through the requirements of gear for the Amelle of the 'Sugarbabes' video 'Love is all we need' with Rodney Charters, the subject of a smoke machine came up, I said I had a super powerful one, Rodney took me at my word.

The smoke machine was going to play a key role in the back lit performance shot in the studio

All seemed good until it really started to sink in that everything in this shoot seemed to be so much bigger and remarkably engineered than most of the equipment I encounter when shooting video.

We arrived at studio 3 of Park Royal studios and soon the subject of the smoke machine cropped up, I pointed to the small bag that my smoke machine was in, and it would be fair to say that quite a few faces dropped, indeed there were murmurings that the machine was simply too small for the job.

It was a big studio after all and these folk did have all the gear delivered in a sizeable truck, I confess that even though I put up a spirited and confident defence of my smoke machine, that I did begin to have doubts.

Faces dropped further when I unpacked and powered up my Concept Colt 4 Turbo smoke machine.

'We can get another one if you like?' came a voice.

They were clearly used to much bigger machines.

Perhaps they had a point, the studio was 80 feet long, 47 feet wide.

As you can see from these screen shots I need not have worried.

As you can see more than enough smoke.

It is not how much smoke the machine emits but the quality of smoke.

Believe me this matters.

It hangs in the air for a considerable amount of time before having to be topped up, it is user friendly too, with the smoke aerosols being egg white, so safe to use.

The crew were suitably impressed.

More stories from the shoot coming up this week....

Saturday 27 July 2013

Umea helpers?

Less of a post more of a come on.

I will be shooting a very special project in Umea, Sweden on 22-23/8/13.

I'm seeking some local Swedish helpers for what should be highly memorable shoot.

If you follow this blog regularly you will have some sort of idea what it is.....

If you are interested mail me at

Monday 22 July 2013

I bought possibly the most expensive Canon 6D ever

The Canon 6D is a remarkable camera, a big bang for the buck.

Though it cost less than £1500 has cost me a huge amount of money.

Let me explain.

The 6D has many strong suits, small, light, quiet shutter, great low light performance but its killer feature is Wifi.

It takes photographic possibilities to a whole new place, giving me an advantage in remote shooting which enables me to get pictures that you cannot any other way (I'm still not quite ready yet to share the results but they are very impressive)

So far so good 'only' £1500 spent, where could it possibly go wrong?

Well it has, in the very best possible way.

A few years ago I bought one of the very first Phase One P65+ backs and I have been very happy with it.

In some ways I could not see how it could easily be improved over the short term to make me part with my hard earned cash, it has been my mainstay for 'The Forest' series which is due to debut its first phase in full at the Pingyao International Photography festival in September.

The all new IQ backs came along and with their new wonderful touch screen LCD and up to 80MP I was impressed, but not quite enough to pull the the trigger.

Why not?

I felt that there was something else coming, some further potential to be unlocked that Phase had not owned up to.

With the IQ2 backs my suspicions were confirmed and reliable WiFi made a bow.

All of a sudden it made sense, with no need for a laptop to shoot 'tethered' with challenging and complex setups.

One day, I thought

After the 6D experience I have come to realise that day is now.

There are all sorts of clever and highly lucrative jobs I have lined up for this back.

I went for the Phase One IQ280 as tempting as the IQ260 was with its capability of one hour exposures.

It is a sizeable investment BUT as I said the WiFi capability more than justifies the investment which I believe will cover itself quite quickly.

When I take delivery next month I will share my experiences with you.

Friday 19 July 2013

David Collins

There is a very sad link to my previous post, which was focused on skin cancer prevention.

This week interior designer David Collins died from skin cancer aged just 58.

You can read more about him in his obituary in Vogue

His magic touch transformed some of the biggest named bars, restaurants and hotels won him a place in the coveted GQ man of the year awards.

I was asked to photograph him at the Wolsey in one of his creations.

He was a high flyer but a really nice guy, witty and funny too, with a fine understanding of the important part that light and lighting plays in the ambience of a special venue, in fact we talked extensively about this.

So even though he was not a photographer he really 'got' lighting.

This shot was far from easy.

Lit with multiple lights in a busy high class restaurant, there were understandably lots of conditions we had to abide by.

I recall it was one Elinchrom Ranger bounced off the ceiling, another with a Chimera medium softbox as the key light, with one more concealed with a snoot lighting the wall behind him to give the little glow.

Not that this matters one jot, but I know some will want to know.

Skin cancer is something that many of us in the UK do not take seriously enough, not enough sun we think...

Well we are wrong.

As the video I posted earlier this week said, we should be more aware of the potentially harmful effects of the sun particularly in the beautiful weather we are having.

Rest in peace David.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

My latest corporate project - The John Lewis Golden jubilee trust.

I'm pleased to say, a very busy and diverse time I'm having at the moment.

Stills, moving and 'new' media too.

I really have a great deal of admiration for The John Lewis partnership.

A company which has an authentic commitment to the community with projects like the golden Jubilee trust, where they encourage selected partners(they are a partnership) to go on paid secondment out into the community helping charities take their work to the next level.

I was commissioned to shoot this short about Will Robbins.

All shot in one (very full) day with the Canon C300, with Zeiss ZE glass.

It was shot by myself and Ed Checkley, Edited by Melissa Tanti, with the music by Doug Black-Heaton.

We integrated a fun Banana time lapse by Wildern school which forms part of the campaign.

Friday 12 July 2013

Monday 8 July 2013

A fine video by the Bui Brothers- plus an interview with Lan

My very good friends the Bui brothers shot this superb 'adumentary' video for Manfrotto.

It could have been cheesy but wasn't.

I had a little chat with him earlier today and he gave an insight into the project

You can read about what it takes to pull off such an ambitious project here

Quite inspirational.

Friday 5 July 2013

Opportunity Knocks

A little over a week ago.

The phone rang.

Voice  'Hey Drew'

Me  'Who is that?

Voice 'Its Rodney Charters, would you fancy helping out on a shoot? I need someone to be first Assistant director'

Rodney is the highly respected DP of '24', 'Dallas' and 'Shameless'

Rodney with the Arri Alex M

Four days later I was in the middle of the most intense video shoot as first assistant director.

I cannot recall leaning more in such a short period of time.

Quite simply unforgettable.

It all goes public in a weeks time and I'm looking forward to sharing what exactly does go on behind the scenes of a music video when executed to the highest standards with heaps of drive and passion.