Filming with Dawkins, Ricky Gervais, the Ganges + Location Filming Tips
I have been escaping the Dubai Sumer heat and spending the past few weeks in the USA, UK and India. It’s been fun continuing the 3x 1 hour documentaries with Darwinist Richard Dawkins on SEX/ MORALITY, DEATH and THE MEANING OF LIFE! What subjects! It’s certainly been an eye opener learning about life with the differing religious points of view from Christians and Catholics to Hindus and Buddhists, oh yeah and of course a good amount of Atheism from Richard thrown in, the chat about life with and without a Supreme Being/ God has been interesting to say the least…
On a safer front, but still a little risky, Richard met up with fellow Atheist Ricky Gervais, yep the comedian famed for The Office and hero from the Golden Globes! I cannot believe how he got away with hosting the awards with that speech – it was a little shocking, but defo wet your pants funny!
Whenever you film with a ‘star’ the Producers and often Directors get nervous, not because they are intimidated by them so much, but because of how the manager has painted their client. I have heard so many times that the ‘star’ is only going to stay 5-10 minuets, you can’t do this or that, they will want to change the lighting or possibly the set up… However way more often than not they turn out to be Kool (with a K) and stay well beyond their time slot and I can count Ricky G in that category too! He was a pleasure to film with, fair enough he had a few dodgy jokes before the cameras rolled, but maybe Richard Dawkins made him a little nervous…
As well as filming for the documentary, I have managed to fit in a few extra days on other productions. Including a graphics/ title shoot for Jamie Oliver’s new 1 hour programme Jamie Cooks Summer, Produced and Directed by my very good friend Chris Faith. I also filmed a festival called the Big Chill with X Factor contestant and I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here winner Stacy Soloman and a days filming on the hit show Made in Chelsea which is a similar format to the Hills or The Only way is Essex.
I have noticed some similarities within the UK television industry since I left the shores in 2008 and some changes too.
The Big Chill was for an ITV This Morning feature about fashion and festivals. I was so surprised when the Director and top lad Sam informed me of the required camera format – Digi Beta! What Digi Beta? Are you serious! I used to love Digi Beta, it used to be the dream format. If you were shooting on Digi you knew you were doing something right.
But even to a nostalgic DP in 2011 it does seem a little dated but not one to complain I hired a 970, sadly not my favourite 790 as that camera seems to be no longer in existence and headed off to watch Kanye West play. Easy Taught me!
The Digi is what an old school Cameraman would call a real camera, it’s made for filming. True it is heavy, but in all the right places, it’s so well balanced that it is a dream to use. I was back to pulling off 180’s and my signature 360 spin (that MTV used to lap up) in no time.
Now for the change, Sony F3. On both Jamie Oliver’s shoot and Made in Chelsea it was the camera of choice, well actually it seems to be the camera of choice for most of the UK.
So what’s my verdict:
First and foremost it gives beautiful images, that cannot be denied and it has a PL mount which means it can take 35mm film lenses, something I always dreamed about as a nipper. They are the pros, and sadly there are pay offs. Like a lot of cameras in the current market it is a little bit of a pig to work with. With cards directly inserted in the camera it only records 30mbps, so to get higher res 5ombps you need to use a Nano Flash or ‘Nano Gash‘ as they seem to be referred to. It’s a bit of a pain as you have to record on the Nano Flash separately, plus the viewfinder isn’t great for focus and to get the Nano Flash on the camera + additional battery you have to add more bars, which means actually getting your eye to the viewfinder is quite tricky. So on both programmes I used an additional Cineroid viewfinder which is another iteam of kit to add onto the camera, which makes it more bulky and cumbersome and just not balanced and to be honest isn’t that good either.
I love how technology is changing and I believe we are right in the middle of it, with all these new amazing digital cameras and advancements in post being released.
I just read this on Stalk Book ‘He who wants the world to remain as it is, doesn’t want to remain at all’.
You can not keep the world from changing, and regardless of what camera format you are filming on filming on Location remains the same so here’s 7 Top Tips to help you:
1) Before leaving for location check your kit as it will be used, don’t skip any stage of this as the one thing you don’t check will more often than not work. Take spares
2) Make a detailed list of the amount of kit you have including number of boxes and bags
3) If you think you might need it take it. Even if you doubt you will use it, still take it and I guarntee more often than not you will be thankful you took it
4) Take an multi plug adaptor and 4way power extension. This way you will always be able to charge your batteries, phone, laptop without having to sacrifice other appliences in your hotel room i.e. the TV
5) Always take the business card of the hotel your staying at with the address on it and put safely in your wallet
6) If abroad learn some very basic words, ‘hello, thank you, yes please, excuse me’
7) Be aware of your location and potential hazards
It is a really exciting time at the moment, so enjoy whatever it is you are filming and if you want over 50 more Top Location Filming Tips then you know where to get them plus find out the key to becoming a highly successful and in-demand Cameraman/ DOP www.howtobecomeacameraman.com