I haven’t done an update in a while, it’s been a fairly quiet start to the year but things are picking up. I’ve been working with some great musicians shooting live performances and music videos as well as shooting adverts and docs, editing features, lots of grading. Really looking forward to doing some drama again it look likes there could be some sci-fi on the horizon.
One of the bigger bits of news is that I have teamed up with Jam Art Factory and will be selling my photo prints (namely my exposures series) through them. They have been so great through the whole process and sent me a coupe of test prints which are absolutely fabulous. The matt finish on them really suits the texture of the film, I’m really impressed by them.
I’ll be adding more prints over the year and of course continuing the project. I’ve got two rolls just gone in to Conns Cameras to be developed, Conns have been great during the pandemic allowing me to develop my pictures through the post. I did try going to a few other places that were within walking range but it turns out a lot of places have either gotten rid of their developing machines or they are broken and the repair company for those kind of machines is based in the UK so yet another Brexit problem.
One of the prints I have left in is black and white so I’m excited to see how those shots turn out.
More updates soon, I’ll try be better at doing this more regularly.
Well I think it’s safe to say it’s been an overall shit of a year but there’s been a lot of positives it’s over now. After a busy winter season a nice quiet Christmas was very welcome. It’s been a while since I’ve posted so here are a few things I meant to post about but didn’t get around to:
As a factory driver for Colourlab Ai I did a video testimonial outlining one of the ways I use the platform to optimise my workflow. It really is a fantastic program and I’m excited to be using it along with Look Designer 2.0 on my next project but more on that later.
I’ve got to work alongside some amazing people on Other Voices in Dingle and in the Storehouse and shot some amazing music with Jameson Connects. I was blown away by the serious amount of Irish talent out there it was a nice pick-me-up of a job and I even went so far as to buy a physical album from one of the artists.
There were many more shoots that were all great fun but too many to mention and some I can’t anyway.
I was very happy with the results of my multi-exposure expired film experiment the method really give some interesting results that you just wouldn’t get with a digital camera. I’ll definitely be exploring this method further next year, I still have three rolls of it to develop so god knows what’s going to come out of that. I’ll be putting the prints up for sale in the new year so there’ll be a link appearing on the website soon.
We’ve had to shut down for the holidays (mainly cause everyone else did and I can’t get much done aside from project development with everywhere closed – covid didn’t help there either) So I’ll be doing inventory of my gear while it’s quiet and seeing if there’s anything don’t use anymore that can go up for sale and what new bits I need to get, cause as we all know the gear list never ends. I’m looking forward to getting shooting again and working on new projects so happy new year, stay safe and lets hope 2021 gets better and better.
So the past week I have been in Birr Castle, Co. Offaly assisting an amazing camera crew shooting on the Alexa 765.
It was amazing to get to work with this camera, there are only seven of them left in the world and only five working.
This camera is certainly a challenge to work with, aside from the extra stress for the focus puller shooting on large format with these lenses it weighs a whopping 38kg when loaded with a 1000ft magazine. Normally this would limit the way you would shoot a film because aside from the weight it is top and front heavy but we still managed (just about) to shoot a scene hand held.
I like the precision shooting on film requires, every decision has to be deliberate so there’s no ‘lets just roll on that for a few minutes’ cause those few minutes will cost you around 2k. But there is also the downside of having to constantly take light meter readings and make tweaks and adjustments to stops, filters and lights. It is definitely not a format to pick for speed.
The Location was absolutely amazing, the castle is home to a giant telescope that at the time it was constructed would have cost the equivalent of one billion to build. It was also home to a few little visitors that came over to the camera to keep us company.
I have to say a big thank you to out DP Halyna Hutchins, Focus Puller Ivan Vountidis, Camera Tech Sascha Mieke I really learned a lot from them and it was great craic working with them. And of course our trainee Nathan Campion was a massive help. It’s back to shooting digital next week, I don’t think I’ll get to see 65mm film again soon but I look forward to working with film again.
For anyone that’s interested here is the playlist we listened to while we were wrapping the camera gear after wrap. I took us till around half one in the morning. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/66lqP6W3FZEUY3BkTg9iWV?si=tzVgevhdQ_eVQDx6de0gbA
During the lock down I got very used to having a regular wage for the first time since 2008. I tried to keep myself occupied with a number of projects but after cleaning out the shed, painting every room in the house, planting a vegetable garden and learning how to make bread I was seven days into lockdown.
I am not a person that can sit still so I began to think of ways to improve my work while still being paranoid about going outside. On my shelf I have had two antique stills cameras for years. A 1921 Kodak Girl Guide Camera (similar to the pocket brownie but made specifically for the girl guides). It had belonged to my mother and was a gift from her uncle Frank but had not been used since the 60s.
This camera takes 127 film which is an unusual size and no longer in general production. There are a few places that still make this film but it is pricey. You could also get 120 film and cut it to fit the camera but thats a whole other pain. The camera is in good condition, what I find really interesting is that the exposure is controlled by a metal disc with four different sized holes in it that you can rotate in front of a meniscus lens.The shutter is completely manual and it’s designed to be shot from the hip.
I shot a roll of 127 black and white film on this camera and developed it only for them to come out completely black (over exposed) and on closer inspection of the camera I found a number of very small holes in the bellows meaning light was getting into the camera and ruining the negative. It is a shame cause I took some really nice scenic shots near Kerry with this and was really excited to see how them came out. So I have ordered a tube of black silicone to fix this and will try again once repaired.
The Second Camera I have been shooting with is a 1932 Coffee Can Camera (I cannot find the correct model name for it but it’s what they were commonly referred to) It was given to me by my uncle a number of years ago, I don’t know where he found it but he brought it down to the house saying it was broken but he knew I was into cameras so would I like it as a display piece. So I stuck it on the shelf and aside from it being a nice display piece I haven’t given it much thought till now.
So on inspection it seemed to be working perfectly fine. It needed a plastic reel to collect the film but aside from that all the parts were there. I ordered one online along with some colour and black and white 120 film for it. It has a number of controls on the front, There is a big lever that you slide up and down and it moves the whole front element back and forward to set the focus, you set the shutter speed by turning the front of it, then pull the top lever across to lock that in and prime the shutter. You can set the stop with the lever on the bottom the once the shutter is primed release it with the lever on the side
The first reel I shot and developed was over exposed and had a lot of motion blur so in trouble shooting the problem I found that the dial on the front of it actually controls the shutter speed and I had set it far too low so the blur and exposure issues made sense. The second roll I shot was exposed fine but was out of focus which was odd cause the focus on the eye piece seemed to be fine. so I did a number of tests and found that the focus dial on the front was giving the correct reading but the eye piece was giving a different reading so the two lenses were out of sync. The solution is to frame with the eye piece and ignore it for focus, just go with the numbers of the dial. I currently have my 3rd roll loaded into the camera and am hoping the next one will come out well.
During this time I also got an old stills camera (Canon AE-1 a 1980’s film camera). It takes 35mm film.
I love this camera. The texture of the shots is amazing. I have had to get used to relying solely on a exposure metre and not the eye piece which can be tricky at times when you’re so used to new technology and seeing the finished shot in front of you but there is something exciting about not being able to see it and having to wait to see if a picture came out. Its more tangible and means more then just taking 50 shots on your phone that you’re probably never going to look at again. It also forces you to think about what you’re doing and be specific about your framing.
Nowadays we are in such a rush for everything and shoot schedules are getting tighter and tighter it has been really nice to take my time and be able to think about my process and how to approach different issues. I know its not practical to shoot stills on film all the time but I’m definitely going to see where I can fit this in to my work in the future.