A Crack at Moving Image

When the first professional DSLR cameras with HD video capture started to appear I realised this was something interesting that I needed to get a grip of. Not since student days, messing around with expensive super8 film edited with scissors and viewed against living room walls, had I played with moving image. Suddenly it was becoming possible to produce video with equipment I already have, but more importantly to an amazing cinematic standard. The limits now being my own rather than equipment, reminiscent of the time when digital photography burst onto the professional world.

I made a few tentative steps with clients but, as a photographer who has spent years developing my reputation, I did not want to destroy it all with a few dodgy filming commissions.

This was countered by the natural 'can do' nature of being a pro photographer. One of my favourite clients is the Royal Exchange Theatre and I had been talking to them about producing the odd trailer for up coming plays. When they called to see if I fancied having a go at one I didn't hesitate and agreed.

Now I'd done a little and in the process had formed a good working relationship with a couple of very talented people with a lot of  experience in post production and editing for advertising and TV so I felt confident.

My confidence, however, was snuffed out in an instant when I realised the director of the play was Michael Buffong,  a talented and very experienced TV Director as well as theatre.  I wasn't going to be able to baffle with bullshit and my every move would reveal any lack of knowledge.

I have Michael to thank for what turned out to be an exciting and thoroughly successful little shoot. It was a simple recreation of a scene whilst in rehearsal. No real set in place but with great actors and, for me equally important, a director who graciously nudged me in the right direction when he saw my angles may not edit well or made suggestions for close ups when my brain was struggling to cope with all we had to do in a very short amount of time.

This was indeed a baptism of fire. Very limited time, lots of actors with plenty of other things to worry about and the huge technical challenge of low 'house' lighting combined with difficult focusing.

The resulting clip has been on this blog earlier but I have added it again to save trawling through my earlier waffling.

The reason I bring this up now is that I can only assume I did something right as I have been asked to go to Leicester this week to photograph Michael Buffong's latest production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at the Curve Theatre. And absolutely delighted I am to be working with him again.