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ISSUE 46
YOUR NEW GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING
Win an editing
Micro Panel
worth over
�0!
THE LOCATION
SHOOT
We head behind the scenes of
gritty drama The Necromancer
House of pain
Shooting a gothic tale in
the middle of rural France
The love bug
The trick to making a
modern day romance
Extreme measures
How Nico Edwards went from
novice to professional in one go
Dating game
We take a look at proof of
concept project Annie Waits
War of words
Elliot Hasler talks about making a
low-budget feature length drama
q&a
Filmmaking professional
Emma Dark tackles
another crop of your
questions on kit and
much more...
kit to get started
SONY A9
WOODEN CAMERA
PILOTFLY C45
SENNHEISER MKE2
Poisoned mind
Prolific filmmaker Tony Newton
reveals his top tips for success
Space junkie
Visual effects expert Adam Stern
on his love for science-fiction
FREEFLY MOVI XL
NIKON D7500
PLUS: DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS / LOCATION SHOOTS / PRODUCTION ADVICE
NEWS & LATEST KIT / STUDENT PERSPECTIVE / FILMMAKING TIPS & TRICKS
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Welcome to
ISSUE 46
YOUR NEW GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING
Win an editing
Micro Panel
worth over
�0!
THE LOCATION
SHOOT
We head behind the scenes of
gritty drama The Necromancer
House of pain
Shooting a gothic tale in
the middle of rural France
The love bug
ISSUE 46
Shooting any film on location is always a challenge, but when
you?re aiming for an authentic period piece then the going gets
even tougher. That?s why this issue we have a cover that shows
off the full glory of a feature being made in the wilds of Scotland
called The Necromancer. As you?ll see from the article that
kicks off on page 10, there were plenty of challenges facing the
team as they battled to make the film look right, but remain on
schedule and within budget. It?s the same old story really, with
perhaps determination being behind the bulk of the films we
see getting finished up and appearing in these pages. There are
plenty more location features along the way this issue too, as
well as a killer competition from Blackmagic Design who have
kindly put one of their Micro Panel controllers up for grabs. It?ll
help relieve the stress and strain of those long nights editing
your footage and comes with a retail price tag of over �0.
Find out more on page 106. And, don?t forget, we?ve still got our
regular giveaways that include some of the best memory cards
that money can buy. Keep an eye out for those as you pick
through another 116 pages of filmmaking fun. Issue 47 of Digital
FilmMaker is out on the 22nd of June, so see you then.
Rob Clymo
The trick to making a
modern day romance
Extreme measures
How Nico Edwards went from
novice to professional in one go
Dating game
q&a
We take a look at proof of
concept project Annie Waits
Poisoned mind
Prolific filmmaker Tony Newton
reveals his top tips for success
Filmmaking professional
Emma Dark tackles
another crop of your
questions on kit and
much more...
War of words
Elliot Hasler talks about making a
low-budget feature length drama
Space junkie
Visual effects expert Adam Stern
on his love for science-fiction
kit to get started
SONY A9
WOODEN CAMERA
PILOTFLY C45
SENNHEISER MKE2
FREEFLY MOVI XL
NIKON D7500
PLUS: DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS / LOCATION SHOOTS / PRODUCTION ADVICE
NEWS & LATEST KIT / STUDENT PERSPECTIVE / FILMMAKING TIPS & TRICKS
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ISSN 2052-0964
Registered in England. Registered Number 05450559.
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Digital FilmMaker
5
Contents
ISSUE 46
10
Battlefield chains
8. Digital FilmMaker news
30. Girl power
54. Ask the filmmaker
The lowdown on the latest developments
from the world of digital video filmmaking
Filmmaker Gurmit Samra talks about his new
movie project, Attract Any Woman Anywhere
Professional filmmaker Emma Dark tackles
another round of your kit and career questions
10. Battlefield chains
36. War of words
60. Smoke screen
The Necromancer is a mysterious new period
drama from Stuart Brennan set in Scotland
Elliott Hasler has been working on a full-length
feature in the shape of drama Charlie?s Letters
Kyle Kelley talks about one of the most
unusual projects he?s ever been involved in
18. The love bug
40. House of pain
66. Poisoned mind
We meet the team behind Finding Fatimah, a
light-hearted look at people trying to find love
Charlie Steeds is the filmmaker behind lavish
new gothic tale The House Of Violent Desire
Tony Newton is a prolific filmmaker who has
done it himself using the power of social media
24. Space junkie
48. Dating game
72. Eternal struggle
Adam Stern is the founder of award-winning
Artifex Studios and a whizz with visual effects
Actor and producer April Kelly returns to tell all
about proof of concept project Annie Waits
Filmmaker Rad Brown has been very busy
preparing to shoot new project Over a Book
36
War of words
6
Digital FilmMaker
40
House of pain
48
Dating game
Subscribe and
save today!
Get Digital FilmMaker at
www.dfmmag.com
Turn to page
110
24
Space junkie
18
30
The love bug
Girl power
78. Extreme measures
99. New kit
111. Hot 40 indie films
Nico Edwards talks about Sea Gypsies, a film
he made without any kind of prior experience
We pick through a whole host of the latest
hardware from cameras through to gimbals
We pick out 40 or so of the current most
talked about and anticipated new indie films
84. The student perspective
107. Next month
Claudia Merlini is a keen filmmaker currently
studying at Ravensbourne in central London
Make sure you make a note of the date when
the next action-packed issue hits the stores
91. Hardware advice
108. Back issues
We take a look at all of the latest kit plus
people who keep the industry ticking over
Complete your collection of Digital FilmMaker
magazine with this overview of what?s available
92. Interview with a pro
110. Digital subscriptions
Sales and Marketing Manager Tony Papa
discusses the history of ProMediaGear
Get Digital FilmMaker the easy way. Take out
a digital subscription and save money too
60
Smoke screen
66
Poisoned mind
78
Extreme measures
Digital FilmMaker
7
Digital FilmMaker
MAY 2017
News
A quickfire round-up of the latest film and video kit happenings
SPEEDY SONY
Sony has unveiled its latest
model, the a9. It features a 35mm
full-frame stacked 24.2-megapixel
Exmor RS CMOS sensor with
integral memory, 4K (UHD) Video
at 3840 x 2160 up at 24/25/30p,
BIONZ X image processing
engine, high-speed continuous
shooting of up to 20fps with
AF/AE tracking and 693-point
wide-area phase-detection AF.
The a9 also boasts 5-axis image
stabilization, dual SD card slots, a
new beefier battery, Ethernet port
and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
www.sony.co.uk
GIMBAL GUBBINS
STORAGE DREAM
DJI has announced the Ronin 2
gimbal. The new unit can handle
up to 13 kilograms, features
beefier motors and a built-in
touchscreen, along with foldaway
feet. There?s also a quick-release
mount, two-axis operation
mode and a carbon-fibre frame
construction. The revised model
is also expected to be better at
fending off the elements, thanks
to a splashproof housing and
vital power components being
kept firmly under wraps. You
also get hot-swappable battery
functionality and a raft of tweaks
to the design that should give it
an edge over its predecessor.
Take a look at www.dji.com
Lexar has announced the new
durable JumpDrive Tough, which
has been designed for intense
conditions that could suit any
kind of outdoor filmmaker.
The new device maintains its
high-speed performance under
impact or pressure (up to 750
PSI), weather (-13癋 to 300癋),
NEW NIKON
Nikon recently unveiled the
D7500, which features a DXformat 20.9-megapixel sensor
and EXPEED 5 image-processing
engine. It records 4K UHD (3840
� 2160/30p) and in-camera
timelapses. Files can be saved
as MOV or MP4 files, there?s
three-axis built-in e-VR image
stabilization when shooting 1080p
Full HD video and you can control
features and functions from the
touchscreen. www.nikon.co.uk
8
Digital FilmMaker
HIGH RESOLUTION
Blackmagic Design has taken the
covers off its DaVinci Resolve 14
editing software. The package
has been overhauled and finetuned, comes with a dazzling
array of new features and sports
improved performance. Thanks
to the integration of its Fairlight
audio engine, the application is
now better placed to cover audio
requirements with ease. It was
unveiled with a very impressive
price tag of just $299 and packs
in excess of twenty new Resolve
FX along with a stack of neat
tools and assistants. It?ll work
on the Mac, Windows and Linux
platforms. Find out more from
www.blackmagicdesign.com
and is water (up to 98 feet)
resistant and comes in a variety
of different capacities. It works
with PC and Mac systems, is
USB 3.1 compatible, backwards
compatible with USB 3.0 and
2.0 devices and comes with
EncryptStick Lite software. This
advanced security solution with
256-bit AES encryption helps
protect your essential files
against corruption, loss, and
deletion. www.lexar.com
MAGIC TRICKS
WATER WORKS
Magix has released the latest
version of its video editing
software, Video Pro X. From
10-bit HEVC decoding/encoding
and professional colour grading
through to 360� editing, scalable
Sennheiser has launched a
GoPro waterproof microphone.
It?s aimed at sporty types and
filmmakers who want better
sound quality alongside their
action camera video clips. The
mic boasts functionality up to a
depth of one metre and will work
with the Hero4, features 20 Hz
to 20 kHz frequency response
and weighs in at just 45 grams. It
costs $199.95. Have a look over
at en-uk.sennheiser.com
proxy editing, preview rendering
and hardware acceleration that
lets you edit real-time video in
HD, 4K and 360�, it does the
lot. Take a look at more of the
features over at www.magix.com
RED FEVER
RED recently announced its 6.4.21
beta build firmware release, which
delivers a series of improvements
to the RED Scarlet-W and RED
Weapon Magnesium (MG) models
including 4K ProRes and DNxHR.
Users will now be able to enjoy
increased useability although in
other news from the company,
RED has also increased the price
of the Raven brain to �790,
while the Scarlet-W and Scarlet-W
Monochrome are now �,130.
Get details on the specifications
and those hefty price increases
over at www.red.com
info@ProMediaGear.com ? www.ProMediaGear.com ? 708-263-4443
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Battlefield
chains
Stuart Brennan?s new project, The
Necromancer, is a mysterious drama
shot in Scotland and Germany and is
the second full length feature from the
BAFTA-winning filmmaker
10
Digital FilmMaker
Battlefield chains
The latest feature from BAFTAwinner Stuart Brennan is
an undeniably dark, twisted
fairytale that follows a group
of British soldiers who flee the
battlefield, to return home.
Passing through the Black
Forest in Germany they soon
find themselves embroiled in a
world where everything is not
what it seems and someone is
waiting for them. It?s the second
feature film from the writer/
director, who has enjoyed critical
and commercial success with his
debut feature, Plan Z. That movie
picked up the prestigious Best
Director awards at Horrorhound
(which is currently the biggest
horror festival across the pond)
last March and won Best Foreign
Film at the Canadian International
Film Festival. He has also seen it
nominated for Best Thriller at the
National Film Awards in London
and is expected to receive a
BAFTA Scotland nomination
for Best Film, after the movie
became eligible with its extended
cinema run in the UK, courtesy of
Cineworld.
Digital world
?I?m a digital filmmaker,? he says
on why his projects are tailormade for this magazine. ?I got
started in 2001 with PD150?s,
when I shot my first film and
since then I?ve been producing
movies for the last 16 years, all in
digital. Over the years, I?ve shot
on many of the top cameras and
have seen the digital landscape
change, from starting out editing
on Premiere 6.0, right up to
working with top post-production
companies like CO3 NYC most
recently. It?s been an interesting
journey to say the least and
the future is looking incredibly
exciting from a filmmakers point
of view. I?ve produced several
feature films, directing my first
professional feature called Plan
Z, released theatrically in 2016
through Cineworld. I?ve also
worked as an actor, picking up
?I shot the majority
of the film in
Scotland, with
some additional
drone work?
the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best
Actor in 2011. I started making
films at university and we did a
few student features that went
on to get distribution on TV
here in the UK through SKY and
on DVD and TV in the US and
Russia. Since graduating the films
I?ve worked on have been sold
around the world, won numerous
awards and played at a number
of great festivals. I?ve always had
to raise finance independently
and it?s been tough to break into
the industry with no connections
and being so young starting out.
Coming out of university at 21
and trying to be taken seriously
as a producer was really tough.?
Location magic
?I shot the majority of the film
in Scotland,? Stuart elaborates.
?With some additional drone
work in Germany, so the bulk of
the crew were sourced locally.
Our Director of Photography
was Thomas Dobbie, who is
well known on the commercial
circuit, working with high-end
fashion and jewellery brands
and who was itching to get
more into features. I produced
alongside Mark Paul Wake and
Digital FilmMaker
11
the next film I needed to make
was a horror. I?ve always been
interested in the Napoleonic
wars and wanted to make a film
with red coats, and the concept
of putting this period of history
into a horror film I found deeply
exciting. I have been playing
around with concepts for a good
four or five years, never settling
on something that would work,
but loving the character that
could be created. As soon as
I put the two ideas together I
knew I had something different
and fresh. It?s a film I wanted to
watch, so I went out and made
it.?
Passion project
Jessica Maxfield, who made
life for me much easier when I
was on set directing. We had a
superb make-up artist in Tracy
McCafferty too, who I?ve worked
with a couple of times now and
always makes me feel relaxed
when acting, as I know I?m in
safe hands! Barrie Gunning was
also on the camera team who is
a fountain of knowledge and one
of the kindest men you?ll ever
meet. The whole crew were all
lovely and very knowledgeable
about the locality we were filming
in, which is what I love about
hiring local crews. Time efficiency
is the key factor that makes the
most of a strong team, like we
had. With a main cast of six, we
were able to put people through
make-up immediately onto set for
close-ups and coverage shots,
before then being ready to do
12
Digital FilmMaker
the main scenes once everyone
was ready. This takes some real
creativity from each department
and requires initiative from all
involved. It meant that we were
filming from almost the minute the
crew arrived until the moment we
left.?
Solid storyline
The Necromancer stars longtime
collaborator Mark Paul Wake,
newcomers Austin Caley,
David Izatt and Charlie Morgan,
alongside Brennan and veteran
Scottish actor Marcus Macleod
(Book of Blood) as the ill-fated
soldiers. Victoria Morrison, Elanor
Miller, Gillian Dryburgh, Elizabeth
Venezia are among the supporting
cast, with multi-award-winning
actress Sarina Taylor (Solitary)
taking on one of the key support
roles. The film follows a group
of soldiers who decide to flee
when they get word that they?re
to face Napoleon at Waterloo.
Many soldiers did flee when they
heard that they were headed
for yet another battle and this
group are no exception. They
decide to go through the Black
Forest and avoid the marching
armies by taking a more direct
route home. The deeper they
descend into the forest, the
darker the film gets, the more
they lose their grip on reality and
fall into the dark realm of an evil
Necromancer, intent on feeding
on the distraught and broken
soldiers. ?It was written by myself
and inspired by the incredible
community that supports horror,?
says Stuart. ?My first feature, Plan
Z, got such an amazing reception
at the world?s biggest horror
festival, Horrorhound, that I knew
?I immediately called Mark Paul
Wake,? furthers the filmmaker,
?who I knew I wanted to play the
Necromancer and who would
be able to produce with me after
our success with Plan Z. Jessica
Maxfield started working with me
a few years ago and this seemed
like the perfect first feature for
her as a producer also. I spoke
to my financing partner Quintin
Pomeroy at Qulum Music and
Entertainment and the other
executives I?d worked with on
my previous couple of films and
they loved the idea and agreed
to co-finance with my company
Stronghold. Suddenly the film
was put together and, within
around six weeks of finishing
the first draft of the script, we
were on set. You never have as
much as you?d like in terms of
budget, but we had enough to
ensure that we could get the film
made to a theatrical standard,
but still had to call in a ton of
favours. With a cinema release
already under my belt and the
other projects on our slate, not
to mention the awards we?d
picked up, I?d started getting
approached by a lot of different
investors - which was incredible.
So I really focused on keeping
the numbers as low as possible,
so as to be able to offer the
investors, cast and crew as
much upside as possible. I like
to try and structure finance
deals where the cast and crew
Battlefield chains
can be cut into profits of the film,
so everyone benefits if it does
well and, in turn, it can reduce
the more immediate financial
burdens. Independent films need
as much support as possible
come release time and, certainly
with Plan Z, everyone has
helped push the film, so I feel it?s
important everyone is rewarded.?
with. The Leica?s are one of my
favourite sets of lenses, they have
that slight milky quality to them,
that pushes the digital look so
Quality kit
?Flamingo Post are
grading the film as
well, so it?s going to
look stunning once
it?s finished?
?I chose the Arri Amira as the
main camera, with Leica Primes,?
adds Stuart on the subject of
kit. ?I knew we were going to be
moving quickly and so I wanted
a camera that would give me
a full sensor and yet be able to
be operated on the fly. We did
almost a hundred set ups on a
couple of days, which was only
achievable by having lots of
planning and a camera that was
light enough to move quickly
much closer to film. On recent
films I?ve used the Alexa, the
Scarlet and the Dragon, amongst
others and I really liked the Amira.
If you?re after a handheld, want
to shoot quick, but need a big
sensor and controls at your hand,
that?s the camera to choose.
Visually, I think this movie is the
most striking thing I have done,
it?s a dark fairytale that draws
influences from the entire horror
cannon. I love the blurring of
fantasy and history as well, so it?s
a very creative piece alongside
the more traditional films we?re
doing. Technically, it?s a huge
step up from Plan Z, which was
shot on Canon 5D?s - a creative
decision as I wanted a fast-paced
frenetic energy, so we shot
with two cameras that could fit
anywhere. But the Amira, with the
Leica?s, make The Necromancer
a real thing of beauty. Flamingo
Post are grading the film as well,
so it?s going to look stunning
once it?s finished and polished.
It?s also quite gory, which I
haven?t done before. Each film
I direct and produce, I want to
explore new territory with and
improve technically with. My
attitude is if I keep improving,
then the films can only get better,
so I try and push myself and learn
from my mistakes.?
Finishing up
The Necromancer is currently in
post-production in France and
Scotland and will have a preview
available for buyers later this
year. It?s expected to be ready
for release in March 2018. ?We?re
just heading into the edit on the
film and starting on the visual
effects,? says Stuart. ?We?re
working out of the South of
France for our post, so we have a
few months with no distractions
and excellent wine! Once we?re
locked with the edit, we?ll be
making decisions to the various
visual effects we?ll be doing and
then also pre-grade notes, sound
design and music. It?s such a
visual film that I wanted to lock it
before we even think about music
and sound. They can completely
take the film to the next level,
so I wanted to push it as far as I
could without those things first
Digital FilmMaker
13
and then get really creative with
choices to maximize the terror
the audience will feel at certain
moments. We?ve had quite a few
focus issues, as we were moving
so quickly in a dark forest that
inevitably there are a few times
the shots aren?t as perfect as I
wanted ? however, I realized this
in the first couple of days and
so we shot a ton of coverage to
allow me to fully build the film
in the edit. This is at odds with
how I normally like to work. I
love a good storyboard. There?s
nothing better than turning up
to a set completely prepared
and watching it play out. It takes
all the stress out of the day. On
this film though we had so much
to get through on such a short
period of time, with everything
being shot on location, that I
decided to use the storyboard as
a guide, rather than a blueprint.
That sped us up and allowed us
to roll with the elements (literally
the weather changed every five
14
Digital FilmMaker
minutes). The few people I?ve
shared the teaser trailer with have
got incredibly excited about it.?
Promotional machine
Talk inevitably leads to promotion,
and what Stuart will be doing
on that front? ?I work a lot with
different film festivals and nothing
drives me crazy like independent
film producers who don?t think
about their marketing from day
one,? he sighs. ?The biggest
shock to me as a producer was
when I realized the distributors
of independent films don?t really
market your film. Sure, they will
fire out a press release or two, if
you?re lucky you may get a couple
of interviews and then they may
even pay for some advertising.
?We support the
film with fresh
content every step
of the way to keep
promoting it?
But that?s it. All those cool angles
you thought could be utilized;
won?t be. They don?t have time.
Most distributors are releasing
a ton of films each year and so
the amount of attention your
one is going to get is minimal.
You need to find those cool
angles and promote to them
directly - and you?ll need some
money for this too. When we
finance a film, we come up with a
festival plan to get the film some
exposure in different markets
and opportunities to win awards.
Next, we have target niche
groups, so for a film like this; fans
of fantasy, be that Dungeons and
Dragons fans, Games Workshop
players, World of Warcraft fans,
then we tailor individual marketing
campaigns to these groups.
This all happens by the time we
shoot the film, so whilst we?re
shooting we can be getting stills
and video footage that we will
tailor into marketing materials
to share alongside any work the
distributors do. We support the
film with fresh content every step
of the way and then have a whole
bunch of stuff to keep promoting
it for the coming few years as
well. If you check out our Plan Z
Facebook page, you?ll get an idea
of how much we keep pushing
out there.?
Keeping busy
Not only does Stuart have
Battlefield chains
The Necromancer to keep him
occupied, but there are also a
string of other projects on the
go too. ?The current films I have
in post are A Christmas Carol,?
he says, ?which is a modern
retelling of the Charles Dickens
classic. It?s directed by David
Izatt, with myself as Scrooge
and Sarina Taylor (Solitary) as
Bob Cratchett and Bonnie Wright
(of Harry Potter fame) as his old
flame Nell. We shot in Scotland
and Philadelphia and then
had split our post-production
between Hollywood, London and
Scotland. That is due out later
this year and has some incredible
talents working on it right now.
We also have Tomorrow in
?Horror gives me
great satisfaction as
a director... you have
to be able to create
suspense?
post-production, a drama that is
directed by Martha Pinson and
executive produced by Martin
Scorsese and Emma Tillinger
Koskoff. That?s just finished its
grade in New York and had its
VFX completed, so we?re finishing
off the music and the sound mix
and it will hit the festival circuit
later this year. I?m also developing
a TV series in Calgary, Canada
that is going to be announced
later this year - that?s pretty
special.?
Different strokes
?The Necromancer is a horror,
so thematically they are very
different,? adds the filmmaker.
?And, in fact, how we shot them
was hugely different too. For
Necromancer, I chose a very
tight crew, shooting light and
quick. A Christmas Carol was
spread over two countries, with
big crews on both sides of the
Atlantic and it?s a family film, set
in the modern day. It was quite
lavish and very relaxed and fun.
We filmed with beautiful cars,
like Rolls Royce and BMWs, at
beautiful locations like castles
and Balmule House. It was great
fun. Tomorrow was shot at the
end of summer in London, with a
top crew and a first-time director,
so it was a very slow pace - we
shot for nine weeks! But, every
shot was perfect and beautiful,
so the end result is a real thing
of beauty and it?s an important
film, where the focus is on the
acting. Necromancer was about
intensity and pace, so creatively
a very different project. I love
drama and particularly historical
drama. I love learning about a
subject through an enjoyable
film. My passion is acting and
I love watching actors totally
immersed in a performance,
gripping you with their intensity.
Horror gives me great satisfaction
as a director, as there?s a craft
you have to learn to be able to
create suspense. There?s an art
to drawing the audience into a
story and keeping them wanting
to know what happens next, even
though their fears are screaming
at them to turn it off. I find
something interesting in every
genre though, it?s important to
absorb as much from other films
and filmmakers as possible. I?m
constantly learning and pushing
myself to understand why a good
film works and what lessons I can
take to my next project.?
Wide variety
?I want to do a bit of everything,?
adds the filmmaker on what other
genres he?s tempted to try. ?I?d
love to shoot a crime drama, a
comedy, a historical epic. It?s not
so much about the genre for me
as the story. There are hundreds
of stories I would like to tell, all
different genres and styles. I
do plan on making a horror film
Digital FilmMaker
15
each year though, as I think it?s a really
supportive audience and to have got so
much goodwill and traction with Plan Z and
the buzz around The Necromancer, I feel
it?s a genre I want to keep exploring and
creating in. I?ve already started working
with some writers on new horror projects
and have a few things in development for
that. I?m constantly on the road at this
point, I?m either doing theatre somewhere
or making a movie, so I don?t have a
particular neck of the woods I call home.
Globally, I?d say filmmaking is on the rise.
Cameras are everywhere, affordable and
high quality and the editing programs are
easy to use, cheap and practical. It wasn?t
like this when I started! I feel like everyone
is picking up a camera and making a
movie! I love hearing people spend time
on development. The number of bad
scripts I read, that have been rushed and
then bad films I watch - that have been
rushed - it?s the easiest way to lose faith
with the industry and what you?re doing.
Filmmaking isn?t a job. It?s a career. It takes
time. Don?t rush.?
Give it time
?If your script needs work - give it some
more of your time,? advises Stuart. ?If your
film isn?t polished - take the time to polish
it. Shoot some pick-ups, colour grade,
push the envelope with the sound design.
It took us five years to make Risen, three
years to make Tomorrow, three years
to make Plan Z, three years to make A
Christmas Carol - why? Because when we
thought we were done, we took a good
hard look and said ?we can do better? and
we went back and carried on polishing. We
rushed The Reverend and it?s a film that
really suffered. If we had taken another
two months in post to polish it up, it would
have been a much better movie. I don?t
want to make that mistake again. If your
film isn?t perfect, you won?t sell it as well
as you could have. The pressure it ?to get
it out?, with so many films being made
now, it must be good. It has to be. Make
it good. Be proud of it. I worked so many
jobs when I started out, when we were
trying to get Risen off the ground (a period
boxing drama), we got messed around by
fake investors - that?s the main reason that
film took so long. But I found myself owing
a lot of money at 24-years-old (when the
investment didn?t materialize) and working
every job I could, so when we raised a bit
more investment we could shoot a bit more
- until we got the film finished. I worked in
bars, as a cleaner, in kitchens, even in a
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Digital FilmMaker
Battlefield chains
care home. When we finished the
film and it won the BAFTA for me,
things changed and suddenly
we were in a position to raise a
decent budget for The Reverend
and the films since then. So, I?ve
?We support the
film with fresh
content every step
of the way to keep
promoting it?
been making a decent living from
producing and acting for the past
few years. I choose projects to
act in carefully and the projects
I produce I like to have a solid
development time with too. I?m
not rushing, chasing the fame or
the big bucks, simply making one
little piece of art at a time, that
hopefully people enjoy and that
teaches me some lessons to take
to the next one.?
Future fortunes
?Currently, I?m about to launch
a new production company
with a couple of my favourite
producers,? adds Stuart in
closing. ?Which is incredibly
exciting and which will bring
with it superb distribution
opportunities and solid financing
structures. That will then give me
a pipeline to produce a number
of the films and TV shows I?ve
been developing to fruition.
One of my favourites of these is
a horror called A Backpacker,
which is to be directed by awardwinning filmmaker Jose Manuel
Marin Minguez. He?s the next
Guillermo del Toro in my opinion
and we?ve been developing this
screenplay for four years - so it?s
incredibly creative and exciting.
We met at the British Horror Film
Festival and I was blown away
by his short film there and just
knew I had to work with him. I?ve
also got this TV show in Calgary
coming up and a big theatre tour
offer in Australia for next year, so
it looks like I?ll be moving around
a bit to say the least - maybe
one day I?ll find my ?neck of the
woods?.?
Digital FilmMaker
17
THE LOVE
BUG
Writer and director Oz
Arshad, producer Sol Harris
and cinematographer Phil
Moreton are the team
behind Finding Fatimah, a
light-hearted look at people
trying to find love...
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Digital FilmMaker
Finding Fatimah hit cinemas at the end of
April, representing the culmination of a very
steep learning curve for first-time filmmaker
Oz Arshad. Incredibly, before this project, he
had never made a short or written either. His
story sounds simple enough though. Having
being a school teacher for ten years after
leaving university, Oz embarked on a career in
filmmaking back in 2015. And, in that respect,
it makes for a classic Digital FilmMaker tale?
?I had read some scripts and learnt some
theory through books and podcasts,? says Oz
of his express lane progress towards making a
feature film.?
The love bug
?We had a tight budget, with
many time restrains too,?
notes his partner-in-crime Phil
Moreton. ?Not only to get the
film shot, but also in certain
locations. All crew had to dig
in and come up with quick
shooting setups.?
?The script took around four to
five months with rewriting taking
place right up until production
finished,? adds producer Sol
Harris. The shoot itself was 30
days in all, split over a period
of five months. Post-production
was a further six to seven
months on top of that, so the
team reckon that all in this is a
project that has been on the go
for just over a year.
New experience
Making the film wasn?t just
a new experience for Oz
either. Many of the crew were
newcomers to the filmmaking
sphere too? ?I hadn?t done
any narrative before, no short
films or anything,? grins Oz.
?This was my first narrative
make films the first day we
spent working on that project.
So it made a lot of sense for us
to take our working dynamic
and put it to use on Finding
Fatimah.?
Perfectly formed
So, armed with a cast of
between forty and fifty people,
the team set to work with
two phases of filming and
subsequent pick up days, which
resulted in them using upwards
of sixty crew in all. ?Oz and I
had a good working dynamic
from our earlier work together,?
reckons Sol. ?So we essentially
turned our methods towards a
new project. I think, if anything,
the film made great use of how
Oz and I are both all-rounders
with broad experience in a lot
of areas of media production.
For example, Oz helped me
out with producing the film at
?Teamwork is
crucial and without
listening to them
and trusting in them
there is no film?
times when he wasn?t too busy
directing and, on the same note,
I directed some second unit
stuff when he was busy shooting
something else or focusing on
the edit.?
?We also surrounded ourselves
with people who were more
experienced than us,? adds Oz.
?We had two line producers
Elaine Wong (first phase) and
Lucy Joan Barnes (second
phase). Lucy, who was also
post-production supervisor and,
I have to say, without these two
ladies, especially Lucy, this film
would not have been complete.
They supported and at times
lead Sol and I. Teamwork is
crucial and without listening to
your team and trusting in them
there is no film.?
Fun feature
?Finding Fatimah became
a light-hearted look at the
struggles of everyday people
trying to find love,? says Oz of
venture. Whilst being a fulltime teacher, I did a couple of
shows for small independent
TV channels in my evenings,
weekends and holidays. Which
is how I met Sol.?
?I had a little bit of experience
on no-budget features and
shorts,? agrees Sol. ?But I had
mostly worked in television.
Oz and I actually met on a TV
project that I produced and he
directed. I remember talking
with him about how what we
both really wanted to do was
Digital FilmMaker
19
the subject matter they chose for
the storyline. ?It?s a story about
how millennials in the Asian
community overcome cultural
hurdles to find love in 2017.?
?It?s a film in the long tradition
of British rom-coms that looks
to celebrate an area of British
culture that hasn?t really had
as much attention as the white,
upper-class characters that were
frequently portrayed by Hugh
Inspiring tale
?I had the freedom to write any
story as long as it stayed within
three parameters,? furthers
Oz. ?Firstly, it must appeal to a
Grant a couple of decades ago,?
adds Sol. ?Shahid, a divorcee, is
looking for love and the conflict
comes from people?s prejudices
towards the fact that he has
already been married. As the
title implies, he finds Fatimah
and they hit it off together. The
problem is that, at this point,
he?s been portraying himself
as never married, so he has to
choose between living a lie and
telling the truth at the risk of
losing the woman he?s beginning
to fall for.?
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Digital FilmMaker
?When we began
work on Finding
Fatimah, Oz and
I sat down and
outlined characters?
wide ?practicing? Muslim family
audience whose views range
from liberal to conservative and,
secondly, to focus around online
dating and the non-physical
aspects of the character?s
relationship. They also had a
third condition, which was that
there must be a Talent Show
in the storyline as they wanted
to use an upcoming event as
a backdrop (the event was
cancelled, but it was too late
to take that subplot out). I have
male and female friends who are
divorcees and come from Asian
and English backgrounds. From
my experience, English people
don?t really give a monkey?s and
get on and move on, whereas
with Asians it?s a cultural
sticking point. I found this
interesting as a point of conflict.?
?Oz and I worked together on
a documentary series looking
at Muslim marriage,? adds Sol.
?We had to carry out a great
deal of research, which, more
than anything meant meeting
and speaking to people and
hearing their experiences. When
work began on Finding Fatimah,
Oz and I sat down and outlined
the characters based on our
research so that Oz could go
away and write the full script
based, largely, on people we?d
met. Oz also has personal
experience with divorce and
so he drew on a lot of personal
experience to flesh the film out
further and make it feel real.?
Money spinner
The team also struck up a
relationship with a charity along
the way, which helped move
The love bug
things along on both sides of
the fence. ?We knew that the
charity, Penny Appeal, were
looking for events they could
use as a means to fundraise,?
says Sol. ?They frequently hold
stand-up comedy or music tours
and we knew they were looking
for film projects that would
appeal to their demographic
and could be taken on tour
in the same way. We struck
up a deal to produce Finding
?Tiffen provided
the filters in which
we used their new
multi-rota tray for
quick changes?
Fatimah for them through BMTV
(who financed the project). This
imposed various criteria as to
what the film could and couldn?t
be; most noticeably, that it had
to be a family-friendly romantic
comedy with appeal to a broad
spectrum of Muslims. A lot of
our cast and crew came on
board for reduced rates due to
the strength of the script and
we called in every single favour
that we could along the way.
Many locations were negotiated
for free, many props and items
of costume were borrowed and
our cinematographer, thankfully,
owns a camera kit rental
company and was willing to
give us an incredible discount,
meaning that we were frequently
working far beyond our financial
means. I think the finished film
Digital FilmMaker
21
looks like it cost three times
what our actual budget was,
which was in the very low sixfigure ballpark.?
Decent budget
A fairly decent budget and those
great connections made a world
of difference when it came to kit
options. ?We decided to shoot
on the RED Epic Dragon at 5K
2:1 with a compression of 6:1,?
says cinematographer Phil. ?We
occasionally had two cameras
and the RED Scarlet Dragon was
perfect for B cam. We used Arri
Alura Fuijnon Zoom lenses, 1880mm and 45-250mm. We tested
some other zooms, but after
viewing the results, myself and
Oz both felt that those two zoom
?I still can?t believe
what we achieved
given the project?s
humble origins and
the budget we had?
lenses would be our best option
for firstly weight and speed on
set, but also for the budget. On
some set ups we went with the
Schneider Xenon Primes mainly
due to weight. Each lens has
the same dimensions and donut
size so it made changing lenses
very quick on set, plus they also
cover the full image circle of
the Epic Dragon at 6KFF, which
we occasional shot at. Camera
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Digital FilmMaker
and lenses were provided by 09
rentals. Mattebox choice was
the Bright Tangerine DNA due to
their quick flexibility to change
from a three filter setup to only
using two filter trays. Again,
on lighter set ups we swapped
this for the Misfit Atom, which
is essentially the perfect clamp
on filter tray. Tiffen provided the
filters in which we used their new
multi rota tray, which provided
quick changes with the use of
the geared variable ND.?
Detailed work
Phil was keen to ensure they
got a professional look and
feel, so the crew spent extra
time ensuring settings were just
right. ?A gold diffusion FX filter
was used, which played a very
important part to help enhance
and soften the wide range of skin
tones,? he explains. ?It helped
reduce that digital harshness
that high resolutions can often
bring. We had a mixture of
different monitors on set, mainly
SmallHD 702s for the directors
monitor and B cam. The 1st AC
used the Pix-e5 for critical focus
and occasional playback. Our
grip equipment was provided
by Chapman UK, they have a
great and budget-friendly dolly
called the Cobra. It was used
on pretty much every scene,
if not every shot. It is great for
changing height quickly due to
its pressurised lifting column and
has a very compact design with
a smaller footprint than a tripod.
On top of the cobra we fitted a
50cm Rhino EvoPro slider to the
Cobra?s Mitchell head. This was
great to make quick and fluid
changes during a take if blocking
changed. Aside from the obvious
HMI and tungsten lights we
without a doubt used the Cineo
TruColour HS lights on each
lighting set up. This was due to
their colour accuracy and their
light output. The colour rendition
of these lights matched superbly
next to the traditional tungsten
and HMI lights. On some of
our quick and tight spaced
shots we used these 10inch by
10inch flexible light matts made
The love bug
by Wescott. Their flexible and
thin nature made it very easy to
manipulate where we wanted to
hide them in shot. My personal
favourite bit about them is the
Velcro on the back corners, so you
can very quickly and easily stick
them to a wall, ceiling or interior
of a car with no additional lighting
grip equipment.?
Ready to go
Now all the guys have to do is
wait to see what reaction to the
film is like, with feedback already
coming in it seems? ?The film
was officially completed in March
last week and had its first public
screening as part of the Penny
Appeal preview screening tour,?
says Sol. ?It comes out in cinemas
on the 21st of April. I still can?t
quite believe what we achieved
given the project?s humble origins
and the budget we had to work
with. Penny Appeal will be holding
a variety of screenings, including
Q&A sessions in order to raise
money for charity. We?re hoping
that these limited showings will
help to generate a lot of buzz for
the project ahead of its release.?
?Hopefully I can now make it to a
gym and enjoy some better eating
habits,? laughs Oz on what the
production experience has done
to his waistline. ?I have gained
two stone since starting this film.
Before this I was an avid gym
goer and watched my diet, had
good skin, less grey hairs. So my
big advice to other independent
filmmakers is that if you are going
to go down the rabbit hole that is
independent filmmaking, please,
please plan your meals guys and
girls! Or else you won?t be able to
get back out of the rabbit hole you
went down as your belly won?t fit!
Stay healthy.? n
Digital FilmMaker
23
SPACE
JUNKIE
Adam Stern is the founder of award-winning Artifex
Studios, which has created visual effects for over 60
feature film and television projects and earned an
Emmy nomination for its work on Fox?s Almost Human
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Digital FilmMaker
Space junkie
to 30th. FTL?s groundbreaking
visual effects are something rarely
seen in a short film. The team at
Artifex spent three months in post
working on these visuals resulting
?I recently went
back to school, at
least in an online
fashion, to receive a
masters certificate?
Not only an accomplished visual
effects artist, Adam Stern is also
a talented writer/director and is
currently developing a number of
new film and television projects.
Recently, Adam finished his
second short film, FTL, the story
of a lone astronaut testing the first
faster-than-light spacecraft. FTL is
currently making the festival rounds
and will have its world premiere
at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival,
held from April 27th to May 6th,
and its North American premiere at
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction
Film Festival, held from May 25th
in big budget, feature film-quality
effects. Adam has been using FTL
as a platform to showcase the
talent at Artifex and the product
reflects his vision.
Doing it
?I truly believe the best way to learn
filmmaking is to make films,? he
says when asked if he is someone
Digital FilmMaker
25
who sees formal qualifications
as a must-have. ?For some,
that means being immersed in
a school environment, while for
others it means forging ahead
on your own, outside of a formal
education process. I didn?t go to
film school, and although I don?t
feel at a technical or creative
disadvantage, I do feel I missed
out on the opportunity to meet
like-minded people early on -
which in my mind is the biggest
benefit. That being said, there are
so many ways to ?find your tribe?
these days. I recently went back
to school, at least in an online
fashion, to receive a masters
certificate in film/TV orchestration
from Berklee College of Music.
I?m passionate about music, and
I love scoring my own films. I felt
the need for some formal training,
and I benefitted immensely.
Early work
So what had come first one
wonders; the writing and directing
or the VFX work? ?I was exposed
to writing and directing through
working on many different films
and television shows as a VFX
artist and supervisor,? says Adam.
?So the VFX work came first,
although I have also been writing
?With FTL I wanted
to push what could
be done on
a purely
independent level?
for years. I am also an avid reader
of Digital FilmMaker, and love
learning about new gear, tricks of
the trade, and most interestingly
what people accomplish on every
budget and experience level.
I love both the technical and
creative aspects of filmmaking,
and with FTL I wanted to push
what could be done on a purely
independent level. I?m proud of
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Digital FilmMaker
what we accomplished, from
writing the script through finishing
the 120+ VFX shots, and hope our
process might be of interest to
other readers.?
Growing profile
?As a VFX Supervisor I?ve worked
on dozens of projects,? adds
Adam. ?And that experience
has certainly helped inform my
technical approach. I?ve also
done a small amount of second
unit directing, as well as writing a
feature and writing/directing two
previous short films. As a director,
I can confidently say I?m VFXsavvy. This lets me look at prep,
shoot and post with an eye on
how to maximize the efforts of our
team, and avoid having technical
Space junkie
Vancouver handled our grade and
conform, and the amazing VFX
crew at Artifex handled all the
visual effects. I wrote, directed
and scored the film.?
Learning curve
issues get in the way of telling
the story. I love what VFX can
add to your filmmaking toolset,
but I work hard to view it as such
- a filmmaking tool, just like the
camera or sound recorder - as
opposed to a crutch or primary
goal. I had the good fortune
of working with a number of
extremely skilled people on FTL,
both in front of and behind the
camera. We had a great cast, led
by Ty Olsson, Karin Konoval and
Aliyah O?Brien. I produced the
film along with Todd Giroux and
Sara Irvine-Erickson. Todd is a
phenomenal post supervisor and
producer who I have previously
worked with on a number of
shows, including Continuum.
Sara is a producer, director and
amazing assistant director (also
on Continuum) - and she wore
both producing and AD?ing hats
on FTL. The film was edited by
Jamie Alain (Continuum, Dirk
Gently and many others) and
DP?d by Stirling Bancroft. There
were a huge number of talented
people that jumped in on the
post side - Kelly Cole and Bill
Mellow were responsible for all
post sound from design through
final mix, a great team at Encore
How did that utilise his individual
skills? ?Directing is newer to
me, and was definitely my
most challenging role during
production,? smiles the filmmaker.
?I was able to utilise my previous
on-set experience to give me
some sense of comfort, but it?s
a whole new ballgame when
directing. I love working with
actors and crew, and know I
just need to keep doing it to
improve. I enjoy the challenge
tremendously and can?t wait to do
it again. On the post side, I was
able to draw on my skills to help
move things along as smoothly
as possible. It?s an interesting
experience being your own client,
after years of providing services.
For instance, you definitely view
the process differently as a
director providing notes to the
VFX artists. Our VFX supervisor
Dan Dixon and producer Sean
Gilhooly did a great job keeping
things looking great, and making
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27
media work! Hopefully we?ll
be able to use the festival run
and online exposure to push us
forward on the larger version of
the project.?
More projects
?Between the short film and the
feature script development, FTL
has taken up a lot of my time
recently,? reckons Adam. ?That
being said, I?m developing two
other features right now, and
Artifex remains busy in VFX. I?m
involved with a new series for
Syfy and Netflix, which should be
announced shortly, and we are
also working on several television
series and pilots. The two other
sure everything rendered in
time to hit our deadlines. I loved
scoring the film. For me this is
one of the few times other than
writing where I feel I can be
absolutely, individually creative.?
Spacey storyline
There?s certainly something very
classy about the aura coming
from FTL. What?s it all about?
?FTL is the story of the very
first faster-than-light test flight,
and the journey of its pilot,
Commander Ethan Kane,? Adam
explains. ?I wrote the film, and
can list a number of inspirations.
I grew up watching Star Trek
in its many incarnations, but
in particular am a fan of The
Next Generation (which will
be apparent to other fans of
ST:TNG when viewing the film). I
love Stanley Kubrick, especially
2001: A Space Odyssey, as
well as films like Christopher
Nolan?s Interstellar. The film
was produced by Todd Giroux,
Sara Irvine-Erickson and myself.
We didn?t have much of a
budget but what we did have,
however, were some excellent
resources. Working in the film
industry in Vancouver has
meant collaborating with a large
number of talented people. We
approached a lot of them, and
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Digital FilmMaker
the response was tremendous.
We shot with the RED Epic
Dragon and a set of Zeiss CP.2
superspeeds. We were able
to borrow an incredible set of
Leica Summicrons for some of
our shoot, which was amazing.
William F. White provided a
loaded truck at a great rate for us
as well, so we were covered for
overall lighting and grip gear. As
my second completed film after
?As a short film,
we?re hoping for
a good festival
run over the next
several months?
The Adept, I would say I have
a very new portfolio of work, at
least as a writer/director. So...
in that respect it sits near the
beginning. Not including the 70+
projects I?ve worked on in VFX.?
Bigger things
?FTL is a standalone short,
that?s also intended as a proofof-concept for a larger project,?
adds the filmmaker. ?In this form
it?s complete, and about to start
screening to audiences.
It?s looking good! We are just
going out to festivals now,
starting with our premiere at
Sci-Fi London, followed by The
Philip K. Dick Science Fiction
Festival in New York. At the same
time we are having a number of
conversations on how to take
the project to its next level. The
script for the feature version is
complete, and we are also looking
at how it could be developed as
a limited-run series. In its current
form as a short film, we?re hoping
for a good festival run over the
next several months, and to use
that as an opportunity to start
conversations. We are looking
primarily at genre fests, where
we think it might find a good
audience. Following that
we will be releasing
online, and
promoting in
the usual
ways lots of
social
Space junkie
features are quite different, one
is also science-fiction, but it?s a
grittier story with a world more
grounded in contemporary society.
The other is a drama, drawing
from some personal real-world
experiences. I truly love sciencefiction, and have ever since
watching Star Trek as a kid with
my father every Sunday. I
love the opportunities
the genre provides
- from the
completely
fantastical,
to the
cautionary tales of shows like
Black Mirror. There are so many
ways of telling stories, and so
many worlds to set them in.?
Other challenges
?However, one of the features I?m
working on is dramatic fiction with
no sci-fi to be found,? chuckles
the filmmaker. ?I?m interested
in tackling this one because it?s
a story with very deep personal
meaning. Vancouver is an
interesting place to be a filmmaker.
The film business here started
primarily as a service industry,
shooting tons of American features
and television. Vancouver has also
now become a global VFX centre.
In some ways, this is fantastic there are tons of skilled people,
lots of gear and support options,
and of course there are some
great places to shoot. That being
said, it can be hard to wrangle a
crew for independent projects,
as it?s an extremely competitive
marketplace, and people are
generally working on larger
projects. I?m hoping those of us in
Vancouver creating indie projects
can continue to push ahead, along
with providing services to larger
productions that come to town.
I?m not yet making money from
the indie filmmaking side but I?m
very fortunate to be working in the
industry, and have had a career
in VFX for a while. Of course, I
love the idea of making money
off my own projects, and hope
to do so in the future. I also hope
to see my feature projects out of
development and into production,
and to then go from there! I?ll
continue to work in VFX with
Artifex, and hope that in the nottoo-distant future I can provide
work directly to the studio from my
own films.? n
Digital FilmMaker
29
girl
power
Gurmit Samra is a filmmaker who loves nothing
more than a project that he can really get stuck
into, which was definitely the case with his
latest outing Attract Any Woman Anywhere
routines being taught actually
work. We subsequently take a
snap shot of the workshops and
then follow the men attending
to see how they are putting the
theory of ?attracting women? into
practice on the street during the
day and in the bars and clubs
during the night. It?s a fly on the
wall documentary and I take on
an observational view on the
subject matter.?
Spontaneous feel
?Attract Any Woman Anywhere
takes an in-depth look into the
world of attraction/seduction
seminars that are happening
across the world,? says
filmmaker Gurmit Samra when
asked what his provocativelytitled new project is about.
30
Digital FilmMaker
Unsurprisingly, he sounds like
he?s been asked the question
a lot. ?We follow three British
Master instructors and their
workshops based in London
and Las Vegas and meet men
willing to pay up to $4,000 to
attend. We explore whether the
?I actually wrote the treatment
for the script, however, I had
to leave it quite loose,? grins
Gurmit. ?Unlike a film, you can?t
anticipate the narrative that
will unfold in a documentary
as the events transpire on
your exploration of the subject
matter. I didn?t know what
we?d see in the workshops,
and I didn?t know how the
techniques would work with
the men using them, so it was
a case of keeping very close
by to the action and filming
everything, which allowed us to
see a narrative unfold before us.
I was actually inspired by the
film Hitch that came out in 2005
starring Will Smith, a dating
doctor, who helped men to
attract the woman they desired.
Later that year Neil Strauss?s
book The Game came out,
which was a very insightful read
and shed light on the Pickup
Community - which has since
become a multimillion dollar
industry.?
Quirky idea
Ten out of ten to Gurmit for
coming up with an unusual
concept and the making of the
Girl power
anyone watch it? I was more
driven to produce and create
something I?d want to watch and
then share that vision with the
world.?
Familiar route
film will certainly resonate with a
lot of low-budget filmmaker-types
out there? ?I feel this project
will be of most interest to Digital
FilmMaker readers,? he says, ?as
it takes them on a journey of a
true independent production from
crafting an idea from its initial
concept to producing and then
delivering the final format to the
viewing public. There?s always
highs and lows in filmmaking,
from rejections to overcoming
obstacles. I?ve been an avid
reader of Digital FilmMaker
magazine for some years now;
it always inspiring to hear about
how productions have come to
life and, just as importantly, the
process each individual filmmaker
has gone through in order to
make his/her vision a reality. In
this production, I have taken
100% charge for the outcome.
There was no studio backing,
it was all down to me. Would
Of course, Gurmit is well used
to the trials and tribulations
of filmmaking having already
developed a previous project...
?We?ve recently finished the
post-production of my debut
feature film Get Gone,? he
explains. ?We are currently
submitting to international film
festivals, working closely with
the British Film council who have
been brilliant in supporting our
work in getting it seen by festival
representatives. I?ve also been
producing and directing YouTube
commercials for corporate
clients from across the UK too.
For this project, I covered all
aspects of the production from
writing, producing and directing
to editing. I even self-financed
the film and shot it too. Now that
might sound like a lot of work,
but for any true indie filmmaker
out there, it?s just another day
in the office. On this level of the
playing field, unless you can find
passionate likeminded people,
you have to fulfil all these roles
to bring your vision to life. I did
however, call upon some services
for things that I wasn?t 100%
keen on fulfilling myself, nor
would I attempt, such as special
effects, which were produced
by Harry Dyer. He?s a young
talented editor that I use, as well
Olly Johnson who created some
3D models. I used a composer
named George Xoulogis from
Greece, Adam Fletcher for
recording my voiceovers and
?I think it?s fair to
say I had a very
clear eye as to
how things would
transpire on this?
Mark Hodgkin as my sound
designer. These gents worked on
Get Gone, my debut feature film
prior to this and so helped me out
by keeping their fees very nominal
and doing me a massive favour.?
Total control
Alongside being a very costeffective way of working, Gurmit
reckons that the process also
allowed him to maintain total
control over progress. ?By doing
75% of the work,? he says,
?from the treatment to making
the contacts, as well as scraping
in the money for the budget, to
filming and editing, producing
and directing, I think it?s fair to
say I had a very clear eye as to
how things would transpire on
this documentary. It?s my first doc
and I actually started it before
my film. I was happy that I was
able to revisit it and breathe life
back into it. The bottom line is
that I like to see work well done
and, just as importantly, I like
to see it get done. By being the
key decision-maker there was
never a difference of opinion in
bringing my initial idea to life.
Getting feedback was key, in
order to tweak and strengthen
the production at various stages
when I?d be looking at it for too
long.?
Digital FilmMaker
31
human interaction,? he explains.
?I?ve always been fascinated
with people and psychology and
all the elements here are so in
touch with a subject matter that
I believe has a huge life span.
My feature film, Get Gone, also
looks at people and the influence
from their surroundings, people
becoming a product of their
environment, so I guess there is
some relativity here in the themes,
?people and influences?. However,
in the case of the documentary,
we see men taking action on a
shortcoming they have, that being
on how to approach a woman
they?re attracted to.?
Whatever next
Purse strings
Going down this route also meant
that Gurmit got to keep an eye
on the finances? ?I produced
the project from start to finish,?
furthers the filmmaker. ?I had
to pause the project for nearly
a year to focus on my feature
film and then I came back to it,
polished it off and even re-voiced
it with three different voiceovers
including mine. I had a budget
of �,000, which as I said, was
self-financed. However, when
you take into consideration the
time spent filming, editing and
producing, I?d say we have a
value very close to �,000.
Most of the money was spent on
travelling, accommodation and
equipment. I used two Canon 5D
MK II?s and one Canon 600D, and
I can imagine most filmmakers
32
Digital FilmMaker
falling off their chair right about
now - but it?s a true story. I made
this some three years ago and
these cameras were perfect
because they shot in 1080p HD,
which I knew would be just fine
for HD viewing. For sound, I used
a Tascam DR100 and a Rode
in front of the camera thinking
I worked for the venue. The
amount of times I pretended to
take a pic and then follow up with
?You can find the pictures on the
clubs/bars website? still makes
me laugh.?
?I pitched it to
Channel 4, but they
said it wasn?t edgy
enough. That?s a
shame?
With its interesting concept,
Gurmit hopes that the resulting
documentary will strike a chord
with his prospective audience.
?This documentary takes a look at
Mic and lav. The kit was ideal
as it was small and light, perfect
for filming in the streets, clubs
and bars. No one knew we were
filming and, more often than not,
club goers would strike a pose
People power
?The project is done and being
distributed as you read this,?
adds the filmmaker. ?I pitched
it to Channel 4, but they said it
wasn?t edgy enough. That?s a
shame that because my private
test audience screening found
that it was a perfect fit for channel
4. However, I?m not quite sure of
how their acquisition department
works as they turned it down
fairly quick, the same went for
Channel 5, BBC and ITV. Did they
think of me as a one trick pony?
A random filmmaker knocking on
Girl power
Channel 4? Yes, because I feel
like they acted like a closed
shop as did the other channels.
However, I didn?t let it knock
my confidence, because two
months before pitching to
the channels I had a private
screening, which went very well
and, armed with the feedback
from individuals who loved it,
I knew I had something here
even if the acquisition teams
didn?t deem it ?edgy? enough.
their door trying to get access?
At the same time, I understand
the acquisition selectors
position, they work closely
with distributors who have a
catalogue of content they need
distributing, so if Gurmit Samra
rocks up out the blue with a
documentary and immediately
gets a look in - I think there
would have been a few raised
eyebrows amongst the content
providers. Am I pissed my
documentary didn?t get onto
?It?s an absolutely
awesome feeling
seeing how people
are responding to
your work?
That?s something I will never
understand as all things ?dating?
seems to be all the rave on
these channels??
Another option
?Having finished the
documentary, I teamed up with
Amazon Prime,? adds Gurmit.
?They never had an attraction/
seduction documentary before
so it was a great opportunity
and fit. I also teamed up with
Vimeo and, a month later, I was
looking at the streaming stats
of people renting, streaming
and watching the doc from all
over the world. It?s an absolutely
awesome feeling seeing how
people are responding to your
work. Two months after the VOD
distribution I was contacted by
Scorpion TV, a distributor based
in London who came across
the documentary via our social
media channels. They showed
great interest in the doc, and
one meeting later along with
ironing out the contract details,
I signed with them and they
took the doc to Miptv 2017,
where they sold it to a handful of
territories.
Social connection
Meanwhile, Gurmit reckons
that the social interaction has
Digital FilmMaker
33
been phenomenal. ?Promotionwise, I have a game plan and
am sticking to it,? he states.
?However, there is a degree of
tweaking it as you go along and
by finding where your target
audience is. My audience is
not everyone, it?s men aged
between 25-35 who are single
and interested in dating. That?s
my core audience, but sure
enough they?re telling their
friends, family and ladyfriends
about it too. I put so much
time, weeks upon weeks pulling
snippets from the documentary
together, creating visuals,
quotes and reviews of the doc,
but all in all it?s really helping
me to create a solid game plan
for our social media. I didn?t
have thousands of pounds to
pour into marketing like the TV
channels or the big distributors
do, so I started small and our
following is growing. I produced
social media ads, did my split
testing on the most effective
ones and continued to drive
traffic to our landing pages
and social media sites, where
discussions are taking place
and which, in turn, promotes
the documentary where people
go on to buy. Marketing is so
key, it?s not a case of ?build
it and they will come?, no,
its more of a case of ?build it
and then scream at the top of
?I took our press
release and ripped
it all to pieces
and started from
scratch?
your lungs to get everyone?s
attention? to come. Look, you
need to focus on the long tail,
get a film out and then keep
pushing it, tell people about
it enough and they take the
chance to watch it. They?ll
share it if it?s good - the market
decides if a film or documentary
is good, not us the filmmakers
or studios. The content/idea
has to be great and I believe
that?s what I?ve created here our private screening showed
this, our stats reflect this, and
the referrals of the documentary
shared amongst viewers
demonstrates this.?
Over hurdles
It?s not all be plain-sailing
though, as Gurmit
is quick to add?
?One of the biggest
obstacles came on
our launch,? he
grimaces. ?No
press wanted
to touch it
as ?Pick up?
34
Digital FilmMaker
had received so much
negative press in the UK and
the States. I took our press
release and ripped it to pieces
and started from scratch. I
made it about the Midlands,
London, Manchester, the
US, the individual instructors
and their stomping grounds.
Business professionals and
then women, and then finally I
hacked the process, the local
paper picked up the story,
followed by the Mirror, the
Sun and, just recently, the
Daily Mail. The spikes on our
Amazon Prime streaming stats
peaked time and time again,
and now I have blogs and
publications approaching me
to guest write. And, remember
that thing I said about ?long
tail?? It was announced in
November 2016 that James
Franco will by Playing Mystery
from the movie adaption of Neil
Strauss?s book The Game, so
you can be sure I?ll be back on
the battlefield later this year
in full swing, gunning in every
which way we can to promote
our documentary when their
film comes out. We feature Neil
Strauss and have an extensive
interview with Mystery and his
workshop (Mystery is said to
have spearheaded the Pickup
Movement).?
Arrival time
Meanwhile, Gurmit is excited
about his other project that will
also be making an appearance.
?We have Get Gone launching
this year,? he says. ?I?ve taken
my time with this film because
it?s my debut. I?ve had three
private audience screenings for
the film and from the feedback
I?m so excited about what the
market will think. It?s been my
baby and it?s my intro into the
film world of what I can do with
a great team of people. Again,
you?ll have to wait and see and
decide for yourself because it
Girl power
comes out this year and we?re
gearing up for its launch. Other
than that, I?m working on a
handful of film projects that are
in their development stages
and I am also about to start the
production process of a TV pilot
I?ve written. The films differ in
genre, from comedy to thriller to
crime drama, all with a different
message and outcome for the
characters involved. I love twists
taking the viewer one way and
then presenting something else.
It?s hard to say what my favourite
genre is and my top five films
keep changing and they?re all
from different genres. I love sci-fi,
crime drama and comedy, as well
as thrillers and let?s not forget
superhero films. I?ll have a go at
doing them all and when you see
the likes of Danny Boyle, Matthew
Vaugh and Ridley Scott doing
multiple different genres, why
restrict yourself to one genre?
I believe it?s story telling at the
end of the day, and the director
presents the best possible vision
of that.?
Welcome workload
Gurmit also sounds like his dayto-day business is going pretty
well too, with lots projects coming
and going. ?I recently got back
from LA filming a commercial for
a corporate client,? he reports,
?and am working two weeks in
London shooting yet another
commercial. After that, I?m in
?For me, the key
thing was to be
able to get my work
out even after the
knockbacks?
Manchester making it look like
London for another project I?m
working on. I don?t think there is
any longer a direct correlation of
where one is based and where
they are producing the work.
The documentary was filmed
in both London and Las Vegas
and my feature film was made in
my home city of Derby. I guess
the picture I?m painting is that a
filmmaker goes where ever the
work/back drop is. I?m taking
my next handful of projects to
Manchester, solely because of the
landscape and its architecture.
I love it. There?s spots that look
like New York and London and
the filming restrictions are not as
insane as filming in London.?
Positive vibe
?It?s been three months since
the launch of the documentary
and Amazon, Vimeo and the
distribution deal have come
into play,? adds the filmmaker.
?I?m overwhelmed to say I?ve
only just made back the initial
investment I?d put in. For me,
the key thing was to be able to
get my work out even after the
knockbacks from the terrestrial
channels. The documentary is out
and accessible to the world, and
people are out there discussing
and debating the subject matter.
That?s a real win for me. As an
independent filmmaker I wanted
to demonstrate a production skill,
a directing skill, a storytelling
skill and, in producing this
documentary, I believe I have
fulfilled these roles. Making my
return on investment on this
documentary is a bonus and
having a commercial portfolio
is proving to have its impact
too. I come to the table with a
portfolio and evidence that I can
take a concept from its initial
conception to completed product.
Currently, I have four strands for
the filmmaking world. Corporate,
commercials, TV and film. I?ve
produced something in all four
areas now and I?m growing. I
have a small team of people
around me, which is so important
as I now bounce off ideas for
potential projects and approaches
with them. I have a long way to go
in all the sectors I?m in, however,
I am seeing growth in contacts,
budgets and the scales of both
potential and up-and-coming
projects. I?ll continue to stay
creative by producing film and TV
ideas. We?re currently preparing
for a TV pilot in Manchester,
which I?m hyped about. Will the
acquisition teams of TV channels
pay attention to me? Maybe one
day, but until then I?ve got some
more writing to do...? n
Digital FilmMaker
35
WAR OF
WORDS
Elliott Hasler is a young filmmaker who has
created his own production company and
worked on several projects including his
latest work, a full-length feature in the shape
of Charlie?s Letters
Shot over five countries and three years in the making
comes aspiring Brighton-born director Elliott Hasler?s
epic depiction of his great-grandfather Charlie
Standing?s experiences in World War Two in the form
of a feature film; Charlie?s Letters. Charlie was a Private
in the Royal Hampshire Regiment and from Brighton. In
1943, he was sent to Tunisia where he was subsequently
captured during the ferocious and unsung battle of Sidi
Nsir. He was then sent to various camps in Italy as a
POW and, after the signing of the Italian Armistice, simply
36
Digital FilmMaker
War of words
walked out of the camp; alone
and in an alien world, miles
from home. Over the next 18
months he journeyed south,
evading Germans, living with
peasants and fighting with the
underground resistance, while
his wife and young son anxiously
awaited news back in Brighton.
Starting out
Filming began back in October
2014 in Turkey, around the
Kalkan area, after weeks of
meticulous research and
planning, including a trip to the
Brighton Keep to try and find
a newspaper article from 1944
detailing Charlie?s experiences.
Further scenes were shot in and
around Brighton at locations
such as Madeira Drive and the
Bluebell Railway. The production
then moved to Tuscany in May
2015 to film scenes of Charlie on
the run and being helped by local
Italians. Production then ceased
on the film, to allow for director
Elliott Hasler to concentrate on
his GCSEs. In June 2016 filming
started up again, around Lake
Como in Italy. While filming a
scene in which Charlie is helped
by a Nun (played by Elliott?s
grandmother) at a rural church,
the cast and crew were almost
arrested when the caretaker
phoned the Priest who turned up
?Filming resumed
back in England
with a twelve
hour shoot at
Pippingford Park?
along with the Italian ?Protezione
Civile?. When asked about the
ordeal Elliott stated ?I?ve never
seen my grandma move so fast
once she saw the truck with Civil
Protection written on it.? The
dispute was eventually resolved
and filming was permitted for the
following morning. However, the
scene was eventually cut.
Carrying on
Filming then resumed in England
with a twelve hour shoot at
Pippingford Park, involving a
German halftrack, a US truck
and around 40 extras, many of
whom were from local amateur
dramatics groups. ?It was a
very long day, but from what I
could make out, they got some
Digital FilmMaker
37
caves for a special scene with
a German soldier and he knows
exactly what he wants. I tried to
be a good pupil and I am looking
forward to seeing this movie. On
the way back, I also thought of
my own grandfather who was a
former military prisoner during the
second war.?
Blighty beckons
Back in England, more filming
took place in Brighton Town
really great footage!? said one
of the cast members. Later in
the summer, scenes were shot
in Sussex with emerging Sicilian
talent Luigi Patti, who plays the
role of an Italian Partisan who
accompanies Charlie on his
journey. When asked about his
experiences he said how it had
been ?an amazing experience
for me, I came over as a student
to learn English and ended up
playing an Italian in a World
War Two movie!? He returned
to England in February 2017 to
finish off his scenes, which were
filmed at Lewes Priory. Later in
February, filming took place in
and around the Puy de Dome
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Digital FilmMaker
area of central France.
Sick note
On a shoot at a waterfall, Elliott
drank water from the fall in order
to improve the realism of the film.
He paid the price for it, as that
night he was up vomiting till 4am
and at 7am the following day, he
had to make a four kilometre trek
up a mountain to film scenes at
a remote cave. Accompanying
them to the cave was French
amateur actor Franck Dhumes,
who plays a German soldier in
the film. The fact Franck was a
local also meant he was able to
act as a guide to the caves and
had this to say: ?Elliott wanted
?Additional scenes
were also filmed
down in the
Old Police Cells
Museum?
Hall and the Theatre Royal for
scenes involving Charlie?s wife
Ivy ?Tup? Standing, played by
aspiring actress Alice Rogers
and a Canadian soldier played
by actor Peter Walsh, who cited
Elliott as ?A director beyond his
years. He has a great confidence
behind the camera and the ability
to get great performances from
his cast.? The Mayor of Brighton
and Hove, Councillor Pete West
was also involved in the filming at
the Town Hall. Additional scenes
were also filmed down in the Old
Police Cells Museum underneath
the Town Hall, as before he was
sent away to Africa, Charlie was
arrested by the Military Police for
being late for a training exercise.
It was little facts such as these
War of words
that Elliott was keen to incorporate
into the film. ?Unfortunately both
my great-grandparents died before
I began making this film, and we
don?t know what happened to the
letters they had sent each other
during the war, so a lot of the film
had to be written in accordance
with memoirs of other soldiers who
went through similar experiences.
And, because of this, it was really
important for me to include all
the little details that we did know
about, such as being Charlie
arrested, to make sure that we did
justice to their incredible story, and
kept as true to it as was humanly
possible. It?s been fantastic to
work with so many great people
and especially on a project that
means so much to me personally,
it?s been a long ride and it hasn?t
been easy, we?ve had to pull a
lot of favours, take a lot of risks.
Now all that?s left is to make sure
that it is finished in time and that
the final product does justice
to the memories of my greatgrandparents.?
Seeing it
Charlie?s Letters will premiere in
May as part of the Brighton Fringe
Festival, and tickets are on sale
now on the Fringe website and
also via Elliott?s website over at
www.relsahproductions.co.uk.
Elliott is the youngest ever feature
film director to participate in the
Fringe Festival and his film was
shortlisted for the Pebble Trust
Fringe Awards. The film will also be
showing in July as part of the East
London Fringe Festival. Ultimately
though, Charlie?s Letters is a film
that resonates still about very
ordinary people forced to make
harrowing and remarkable journeys
in pursuit of an ordinary peaceful
life. n
Digital FilmMaker
39
HOUSE OF
PAIN
Charlie Steeds is the filmmaker behind
The House Of Violent Desire, an unbridled
gothic tale that was shot over the course
of a month on location in France
40
Digital FilmMaker
House of pain
It?s little wonder that filmmaker
Charlie Steeds sounds so
pleased with himself when
talking about his new project,
The House Of Violent Desire.
He needed to have a gothictinged backdrop that would do it
justice, and such a location isn?t
that easy to secure, unless of
course, you have deep pockets.
However, Charlie managed to get
himself just such a place to shoot
the film and it didn?t cost him
a penny. ?Shooting The House
Of Violent Desire was an indie
filmmaker?s dream come true,? he
says with a grin. ?This incredible
location was offered to me
empty, and even free of charge,
for a whole month! We flew out
to France and just inhabited the
space and told this thrilling gothic
tale. Yet we had nothing really,
just the money I could scrape
together, access to kit, some very
dedicated actors and the most
work I?ve ever put into a script.
It?s a haunted house movie like
you?ve not seen before!?
?Most important
were the locations,
attention to detail,
set dressing and
make-up?
Time served
Charlie is no stranger to
filmmaking, but the way this
particular project came together
sounds like it represents a
definite high point thus far. ?I?ve
been filmmaking for eight years
now,? he explains. ?After 20
shorts, I shot my first feature
film Labyrinthia, which at only
64 minutes was barely a feature.
Yet there was interest in it, so
I shot an extra 18 minutes and
the film got distribution in the
US, Canada, China, Germany
and so on. Realising we could
make something and actually get
it out there, I set about making
my horror movie Escape From
Cannibal Farm last Summer,
being very careful to give it
a certain level of production
value. Most important were the
locations I found, attention to
detail in costume, set dressing,
make-up, then perhaps the RED
Dragon camera helped too. The
film is now complete and awaiting
a DVD release.?
Light fantastic
Amazingly, the filmmaker has also
managed to get his best work in
the can working virtually unaided.
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41
is found bound to her bedposts
and drenched in blood, and a
mysterious seductive stranger
arrives in the night? From there,
things take a dark turn. I don?t
want to spoil it, but it?s the most
sinister and violent script I?ve
shot so far, which is not what
I?d expected from this gothic
?I produced the
whole film myself
and told my usual
team to keep the
shoot dates free?
period drama at first! Especially
when I just made a film filled with
cannibals and chainsaws. It?s all
about lust and desire, sexuality,
jealousy, it was incredibly good
fun to sink our teeth into.?
?As with my previous two
features (but not my shorts, oddly
enough) we were just a two-man
crew on set,? Charlie chuckles.
?That is my cinematographer
Michael Lloyd taking care of
lighting and camera operating,
and me directing the actors with
a boom in one hand, a follow
focus in the other and a monitor
around my neck. It shouldn?t
work, but I get the results I want. I
don?t intend to always make films
in this very guerrilla way, but it?s
a lot of fun, very hands on which
we love, not to mention cheaper,
and my aim is to provide an
actor-centric environment where
the actors are at ease and ready
to give their best. They own
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Digital FilmMaker
the set! We?re just a filmmaking
family, especially as I love to
bring back the same team of
actors every time, giving them a
chance to show their versatility as
performers.?
Chilling tale
?The film is set in the 1940s
in a remote hilltop mansion,
where some ghostly goings on
are disrupting a very uptight,
strict and religious family,? says
Charlie, outlining the plot. ?Lady
Whipley, her husband, and
their three young adult children
(and, obviously, the creepy
groundskeeper too). When a new
maid arrives, the father soon
vanishes, the youngest daughter
House of pain
Scripting magic
The filmmaker wrote the script
himself, which he says is an
essential part of the package
for him. ?Writing is my favourite
part of the process,? reckons
Charlie. ?And this script came
about in a rather odd way. An
actor from Escape From Cannibal
Farm offered me the location, a
huge and stunning 13th century
castle in France, for perhaps a
scene or two in one of my scripts.
When I saw the castle, I said
I?d write a whole script for that
single location if we could have
it for a month. So, we got it for a
month! Seven months later the
film was shot. I was super excited
to do something period and
very gothic? naturally it?d be a
haunted house movie, but there
was also this sense of grandeur
that reminded me of one of the
greatest scenes of all time from
Eyes Wide Shut, which is where
these sexual elements started to
creep in.?
Strong team
?I produced the film myself and
told my usual team to keep the
shoot dates free,? adds Charlie
on how he pulled it all together.
?I had to take out a small loan in
order to get the budget I needed,
but aside from that this film came
together by itself. I?m very lucky
to have such dedicated people
helping me along. I had to find
four new cast members, and I
think thanks to the attentiongrabbing Cannibal Farm trailer,
I had a great response, with so
many talented actors out there to
choose from. This cast has been
a dream to work with, such a
wonderful group of people, which
makes for an enjoyable shoot.
All with the help of my mum and
my auntie doing our catering, of
course! We didn?t have money
to play with, not at all. But, who
needs money when you have
a gorgeous 13th century castle
decked out in priceless antique
furniture, and an excellent cast,
and a relentlessly hardworking
cinematographer? The hard part
was the costumes. I scoured
the internet looking for vintage
dresses and accessories, along
with the usual charity shop
hunt, and I don?t think I did too
badly. The film doesn?t state
its exact time period, so I went
for what was visually pleasing,
red lace dresses and fur wraps.
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43
We couldn?t afford a horse and
carriage though it?s not quite right
for the time period, but it?s my
one regret.?
Camera power
?We shot on RED Dragon,? says
the filmmaker. ?Which I hire
through my cinematographer?s
own company The Night Factory.
Escape From Cannibal Farm had
a very gritty, rough, handheld vibe
about it, so for this I wanted it to
have a slow, brooding elegance,
so we used a DJI Ronin for many
long moving shots, through
dark hallways and down spiral
?I love the genre
because I can use
epic locations, light
and dark, every
colour to excess
stone stairways. The place was
so huge that we needed a lot
of light power, and we needed
to rent a strobe light because
it?s not gothic if there?s not a
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Digital FilmMaker
thunderstorm during every scene!
And our trusty fog machine,
creating those all important
atmospheric shafts of light. We
were also very specific with the
gels we wanted as we were
aiming to recreate that Italian
gothic style from films like Blood
And Black Lace and Suspiria,
two of my favourites. Horror films
have Mario Bava to thank most
of all!?
Quality product
As a result, Charlie reckons the
end product is something he can
be very satisfied with? ?I think
this is the best script I?ve written,?
he says. ?And may well be the
most visually impressive movie
we make for a while, thanks
to the location. I think people
sometimes look down on horror,
especially low-budget horror, as
if it?s all an indie filmmaker is able
to do because its cheap? That?s
certainly not the reason to make
horror. I love the genre because I
can use epic locations, light and
dark, every colour to excess, so
I?m pleased that this opportunity
came about to show how versatile
the genre is, say between this and
Cannibal Farm, two very different
types of horror. I went into this
film with a lot to prove to myself
House of pain
after Cannibal Farm. We?re all so
proud of that film (and with over
a million trailer views too), and
to shoot this just seven months
later and make it even better was
tough. I couldn?t be more pleased
with it though, the two films are
very different and I?m thrilled with
both results.?
Coming soon
?I?m currently editing the movie
and I?m super pleased with
what we?ve shot,? beams the
filmmaker. ?Not only does it look
beautiful, the performances are
strong and it?s a very dialogueheavy script, so that?s important.
We have a sales agent attached
already, so I just have to hope
the film gets some interest. I?m
?You?d be wise
to look at what?s
out there, the
blockbusters,
whatever?s popular?
editing every day, so if I can have
it completed by May I?ll be very
happy, then we can see it on DVD
as soon as this year I hope. It is
a very competitive marketplace,
so it helps to have really
passionate and talented actors, a
cinematographer who can make
beautiful images and a composer
with incredible music - I love my
team and that?s why I choose to
work with them. You?d be wise
to look at what?s out there, the
blockbusters, whatever?s popular,
and give people ?the same thing
but different?. It?s a film industry
saying any indie film producer
should live by, just do not forget
the ?different? part? Escape
From Cannibal Farm was pitched
as a British Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, people can think it?s
just a cheap rip-off, and that?s
okay because the horror fans
love Texas Chainsaw so much
they?ll buy a rip-off, even if they
buy it begrudgingly. The aim is to
make sure the film can be sold
that way, but has very different
and original content underneath
that packaging. My scripts are
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45
The House Of Violent Desire, so
my next film?s actually all about
having minimal characters in
a very confined setting. I have
some wild ideas brewing though, I
need sets to be built and I need a
practical effects team!?
Wide variety
The filmmaker doesn?t sound
short on inspiration or energy,
which is hardly surprising given
his penchant for any kind of
movie. ?I like many genres of
film,? he says, ?and I really love
films that embrace genre. There?s
so many modern films that have
completely forgotten the magic of
movies, dull everyday characters
in dull everyday settings is just
not enough. That?s why I love
Tarantino, look at a film like The
Hateful Eight and you can see
his love for cinema is so strong.
Horror is my passion, I?ve been
obsessed for years, and that?s the
genre I enjoy making most. I have
a thing for blood and carnage! But
then The House Of Violent Desire
is both a horror film and a gothic
personal to me, about things in
my life I want to express through
my characters, and so I?m in no
danger of making something too
similar. You can?t go wrong with
a haunted house movie though,
especially with The Conjuring 2
and Lights Out grossing huge
figures, so The House Of Violent
Desire should do OK.?
No stopping
And, as you?d expect from
someone with this level of
enthusiasm, Charlie can?t wait to
get this one out of the way so he
can move on to his next outing?
?Soon as I?m done editing, I?m
shooting a snowbound horror
movie, which I?ve pitched as
Misery meets The Thing,? he
says with another grin. ?My films
usually feature an ensemble cast
of characters, so I wanted to try
something with just two people in
a confined space. Two people and
a hideous creature in the snow
I should say? And, I?ve been
wanting to shoot in the snow for
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a long while, White Heaven In Hell
is one of my favourite films (1974,
check it out). I?ve written two
mammoth roles for actors David
Lenik and Rowena Bentley (both
from Cannibal Farm) as the film?s
a cat and mouse psychological
?Horror is my
passion, I?ve been
obsessed for years,
and that?s the genre I
enjoy the most?
thriller between the pair of them.
I think that?s the next challenge
to progress my directing skills.
Though the scripts I have in the
works are all still horror, the aim is
to increase the budget and quality
each time. For the first time, I?ll
not be spending my own money
on making the next film, which is
the dream really, it?s the first goal
I?ve been reaching for at least.
Each script grows bigger in scale,
but I?ve taken a big leap up with
period drama. There are so many
sub-genres that I?ll never need
to make two horror films alike. I
love science-fiction and westerns,
there?s a bit of western influence
in most things I write, and I have
horror/sci-fi scripts in the works!
I have a samurai script that I?ve
done a lot of work on, I hope to
make it one day but I?m not sure
how that would sell. You do have
to keep an eye on what?s coming
out and pick the right time to
move your scripts into production.
The new Leatherface film is what
prompted Escape From Cannibal
Farm to go ahead. I?m hoping to
time a script of mine to be made
just as The Conjuring spin-off The
Nun comes about. Maybe with
Westworld being popular I could
get a western off the ground, and
I have a creature feature set in the
80s, which is much easier to pitch
now, thanks to Stranger Things.?
Original roots
?Although I live in London now,
I?m from Bristol and there?s
always creative people pulling
House of pain
me back there,? adds Charlie. ?My
actress Kate Marie Davies is so well
connected, she?s introduced me to
horror filmmaker Oliver Park, and a
talented writer called Christopher
Lombard (the one to go to if you?re
looking for a new horror script!). There
feels like a real filmmaking scene
in Bristol, whilst London is great
for casting and networking, but not
practical for me to shoot indie films.
I love making connections with other
filmmakers though and seeing what
everyone?s up to. It?s a long process
for money to actually come through
from film sales (it?s almost a year ago
that my first film Labyrinthia was sold
to distributors), but I have the first
sales reports already and I know I?m
getting back a lot more than I spent
on it, which is what you hope for as a
producer! Since then I have these two
new films, which are so much better
than Labyrinthia that I?m positive they?ll
make more money and appeal to a
wider market. So, I now have three
films out there making money, and the
great thing is I?ve not spent enough
on them to be out of pocket, and any
return is just icing on the cake. You
make back so little nowadays that you
have to be careful what you spend.
Currently, it?s looking like I won?t need
to self-finance my films now unless
I choose to, there are enough offers
for funding out there coming my way,
which is such a relief I must admit.
You can only beg, borrow and steal so
much??
Bigger picture
?My plans for the next year or two are
to essentially get through the scripts
I want to make one by one,? says the
filmmaker wrapping things up. ?I know
my next five films, with one already
funded and with a full cast and shoot
dates. It?s a tough industry to navigate,
but there?s one sure thing and that?s
if you just keep making films you?ll
keep moving forward. Chase after
your ideas, spend money sensibly and
create the stories you want to tell as
best you can. I can?t predict where I?m
heading, but I do hope my films will
get bigger and better, and I hope the
horror crowd enjoys the stories I?m
telling.? n
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47
DATING
GAME
Actor and producer April Kelly returns to tell all
about Annie Waits, a proof of concept taster
that has been made to promote a TV series
currently in development
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Digital FilmMaker
We?ve all waited for ?the one?. The one who
catches our eye, the one who keeps our interest,
the one who won?t expect us to trudge down that
conventional path. Annie Waits tells the story of lust
and disappointment, as a twenty-something waits for
her adult life to begin. And that?s the premise of our
teaser Annie Waits. It?s an 8-minute proof of concept
short for a TV series we?re currently developing. The film
stars myself along with five other male co-stars, Andrew
Simpson (Notes on a Scandal, Rebellion, Road Games),
Sam Swainsbury (Mum, Fearless), Moses Gomes-Santos
(Youngers), Sam Gittins (The Smoke, Ripper Street, Mr
Selfridge) and Matthew J Ovens (Humans). All five lads
were an absolute joy to work with and eagerly jumped
on board after reading the script. They will hopefully be
a part of the TV series when it?s made and all of them
were brilliant at bringing a unique character to their role.
We wanted to get a variety of ?types? in the men Annie
Dating game
dates to capture the playful
London dating scene. We toyed
with adding a female date to the
mix, but time and availability
constraints meant we sadly
couldn?t make it work. That said,
Annie is a bi-sexual in the TV
series and she has dates with
both men and women!
Shooting time
The shoot itself was a joy,
which definitely came down to
a terrific cast and crew, as it
was a logistical nightmare! Our
director was the fabulous Marnie
Paxton Harris, whose extensive
experience as a script supervisor
makes her directorial debut both
overdue and highly anticipated.
We first met her when she
worked on our last short film
Edith directed by Christian
Cooke (as seen in issue 45). The
budget for Edith was tight as it
was an adventurous film to make
and, when Christian suggested
a script supervisor, we said ?no
way we couldn?t afford it?. But,
he persisted and thank God he
did. Marnie was invaluable on
set and when she shyly told us
she?d always wanted to direct,
we jumped at the opportunity.
?Our writer was the
young but talented
Chris Anastasi,
who is making a
name for himself?
Working with the likes of Tom
Harper, Richard Laxton and
Jeremy Web, Marnie?s credits
span across high-end TV and
film and include War & Peace,
The Woman in Black, Silk and
Merlin to name but a few. She
was exactly what we knew she?d
be on set: patient, focused, bold,
passionate and warm. We?re
super excited to see how her
career will develop and can?t wait
to go on that journey with her.
Writing talent
Our writer was the young but
talented Chris Anastasi, who
is quickly making a name for
himself as ?one to watch? in 2017.
Method in the Madness, his
debut feature, is set to release
very soon. It was directed by
Jason Mewes and stars Kevin
Smith, Teri Hatcher, Stan Lee
and Vinnie Jones! Chris first
approached April to play Annie
over a year ago. They then put
their heads together to develop
the concept as well as the full
series. We achieved this creative
development in a variety of ways,
the most effective being when
April, Chris and Rachel (King
? an incredible photographer
and Chris? significant other) sat
Digital FilmMaker
49
down with a bottle of gin, mood
lighting and a notebook full
of questions which Chris had
always wondered. As you can
imagine, it started rather tame
but the more that bottle of gin
went down the more Chris was
enlightened to the depths of the
female psyche.
Production power
Annie Waits is co-produced by
Christian Cooke, who continues
to emerge as one of Hollywood?s
most engaging and sought after
talents. His acting credits include
Cemetery Junction, Hello Carter,
The Art of More and Romeo &
Juliet. We worked with Christian
on Edith and since then have
become good friends. He?s been
a huge support and is helping
to push the series out as we
pitch it for TV. The shoot itself
had a lot of locations. We didn?t
quite realise how many logistics
would be involved until we were
a few days before shooting. We
mostly shot in Wandsworth,
but managed to blag a bunch
of amazing locations including
cafes, launderettes, restaurants
and houses around the area, for
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next to no money. We were so
grateful for the local support and
thanked everyone with copious
amounts of wine and chocolate.
That said, the locations often
had huge time constraints. It
meant we had to work extra
?Our crew were
just the best.
Martyna Knitter
was amazing as
our DOP?
hard to shoot quickly, without
compromising on quality. On
one of our main restaurant
locations, we filmed right up until
the place opened and had about
5 minutes to help the waiters put
all the tables back and lay the
restaurant for guests, it really
was all hands on deck!
Star crew
Our crew were just the best.
Martyna Knitter was bloody
amazing as our DOP and Daisy
Caton-Jones was a superb 1st
AD. It was really great to have
a female director, DOP and 1st
AD all in one go and proved that
things are starting to change
in terms of females in the film
industry, but it?s also our jobs as
producers to actively encourage
that happening. Included in
our powerhouse female line
up were Cat Corderoy as our
make-up designer, Catriona
Renton as our 2nd AD and
Dating game
Alicia Jones and Lucy Roper
as 3rd AD/runners. Plus, there
was the awesomeness that
is Jess Barrell on production
design, assisted by Charlotte
Belsham and Geoff Tapping.
We had vibrant Mademoiselle
Ginger on costume, who added
colour to every single one of
Annie?s outfits. We also had Nua
Watford as our script supervisor
and it was lovely to give her an
opportunity to meet and work
with Marnie.
Male help
Now, that?s not to say we didn?t
also have some brilliant men.
Paul Harris was the all-round
camera lighting guru on set,
plus he did all the second
unit cinematography. George
Burt did a cracking job as our
assistant cameraman and Tom
Beale, Miles Berkeley-Smith and
Victoria Whitehead were all over
the sound department. We were
fortunate from the get-go with
this project and are continuously
grateful for the support we?ve
had from the big dogs in the
industry. Kit was supplied by
1Film and the legend that is Al
Eales. We shot on an Arri Alexa
with Cooke lenses. The Alexa
is usually our go to if we can
get our hands on it. We can?t
express enough how supportive
Al has been over the years and
highly recommend 1Film for kit
hire. Al and his team are always
so thorough, with extensive
knowledge and amazing
customer service. The superb
Joe Fletcher, Chloe McGill
and Will Coker from Encore
jumped on board for postproduction with Robbie Gibbon
our editor over at Goldcrest at
the helm. Envy Post provided a
helping hand with a studio and
technician for the voiceover.
Chloe McGill helped with all
our final deliverables and online
edit, she was an absolute star
in helping tie those loose ends
together. We can honestly say,
?The film had
three previews
around London to
gauge audience
reactions?
if it wasn?t for those talented
people who give us a chance
and believe in our work, then not
only would this project not have
happened, but we wouldn?t have
been able to grow and progress
as a company.
Audience time
The film had three previews
around London to gauge
audience reactions and to
make sure that it was actually
funny (!) before our first industry
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51
screening in April. It?s now
embarking on its own festival
circuit and, although this wasn?t
the goal for shooting the teaser,
we saw an opportunity for it to
be a short film in its own right.
We soon realised that the more
audiences it could reach, the
more proof we had of it working
as a series. In some ways, it?s
now becoming ?Annie Travels?
which we love. It?s also great
that men are relating to Annie
as much as women, which we
believe is not only important but
overdue within the media. For so
long we?ve been told that women
are from Venus and men are
from Mars when, in fact, they?re
both from Uranus? Make of that
innuendo as you wish.
Telly challenge
The TV version of Annie Waits is
a 30-minute returnable scripted
comedy, giving an honest voice
to twenty-something year olds
and ringing true to people who
feel alone in London and making
us all feel okay that we haven?t
quite figured out life yet. It?s a
voice we all know, yet very rarely
allow to go any further than a
thought process. We want to
create the UK version of Girls
with a dash of New Girl! We
also want Annie Waits to bridge
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the gap between mainstream
television and the online world
by developing it into transmedia
content. If you?re reading this
then you?re most likely a part of
this wonderful, unpredictable
industry of which we?ve so
?The TV version
of Annie Waits
is a 30-minute
returnable scripted
comedy?
foolishly (and brilliantly) chosen
as our careers. A recent article
from Woman & Hollywood on the
statistics of women in film told
that of the top 100 grossing films
of 2016, women represented 4%
of directors, 11% of writers, 3%
of cinematographers, 19% of
producers and 14% of editors.
And, of the top 250 grossing
films of 2016, only 3% of
composers were women.
Big issue
A female cinematographer has
never been nominated for an
Oscar and Kathryn Bigelow is
the only woman to ever win
the Academy Award for Best
Director (only four women have
ever been nominated). In the
Dating game
top 100 films of 2016, females
comprised 29% of protagonists
and of the female characters on
our screens, 76% of them were
white, 14% were Black, 6% were
Asian, and 3% were Latina. Yet,
shockingly, women account
for 52% of moviegoers! These
stats show that there still is an
imbalance in the film industry.
We hope that the team we
brought on to Annie Waits shows
our fight against inequality
and helps to take a step in the
?Aside from Annie
Waits, we currently
have two other
films doing the
festival circuit?
right direction in addressing
this issue. We?re much more
interested in being proactive
with our producing rather than
nagging people about the
issue? With that in mind, we are
continuing to develop work that
is diverse and challenges these
issues.
Other projects
Aside from Annie Waits, we
currently have two other films
doing the festival circuit. Edith,
which you may have read about
in last month?s magazine. It was
long listed for a BAFTA and
stars Peter Mullan and Michelle
Fairley and Not The Devil, our
LGBT film, which premiered
at BFI Flare in March and had
a transgendered woman in
the lead. We?re developing
our debut feature, Love, Sex
& Killing directed by Henry
Scriven and are also developing
another television series called
Brunette Baby, which is a crime
drama with two females in the
lead, about online undercover
police officers. We?ve also shot
a teaser for this series, which
was directed by Abner Pastoll
and is currently in post. Lastly,
we are relaunching Acting On
A Dream, which is our positive
media company. This will be
an online hub for inspirational
articles and videos. We want to
use our production resources to
make content that matters and
has the power to make change.
If you?re curious, then head on
over to: www.actingonadream.
com to get notified when
the website goes live. We?re
interested in creating content for
charities and good-causes, so if
you?re reading this and you have
a project that fits the bill then
please get in touch. n
Digital FilmMaker
53
ASK THE
FILMMAKER
Emma Dark is an
award-winning
filmmaker who faces
challenges every day
of her career. Here
she takes some time
out to answer a few of
your questions?
Short cuts
Being a relative
newcomer to making
films I?m still learning
the ropes about many
aspects of it. I?m
planning to shoot a
short film in the next
few months and it?s
horror based, so will
need lots of the usual
atmos in order to make
it work. In that respect,
I would like to know
what I can use to create
a fog or mist effect
when we are filming
in the countryside. I?m
sure there must be
some process that can
generate it, but is there
a technique that doesn?t
cost money? Or, will I
need to rent some kind
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54
Digital FilmMaker
??
Ask the filmmaker
I use portable LED lights by
a company called Neewer
because the smaller panels you
can power with AA batteries
of specialist equipment
in order to make this
happen? I don?t have a lot
of cash to play with, so if
there?s a cheap and easy
way to do this then that
would be great.
Alex Redfern, Maidenhead
ED: Hi Alex, without an industrial
fog machine and a portable
generator, the cheapest way
to do this as a practical effect
(to my knowledge) is to use
smoke grenades. You can pick
up professional level grenades
cheaply from most airsoft stores.
Be aware that they only last
a certain amount of time, and
you?d need to probably test
one before shooting. So, I?d
keep these for a few key shots
really. Also, be aware of health
and safety using anything like
this of course. You might find
a large tactical grenade gives
off too much fog, so try small
smoke bombs too. You can also
experiment with using a haze
filter or stockings on your lens
to add to the look and help tie
up shots across your scene. You
can also use plug-ins in post
to add some haze in your edit.
Experiment some time ahead of
shooting, that way you have a
better chance of predicting how
these tools might work on the
day. Hope that helps!
the larger panels come with a
power adapter and need lithium
batteries for outdoor work. You
can pick up a couple of the
larger panels with stands and
temperature control filters for a
couple of hundred pounds from
Amazon. You might be looking at
another � for some third-party
battery packs and a charger. If
Light show
I?m keen on filmmaking
and make good use of
my Panasonic GH4, but
I?m increasingly on the
lookout for a decent but
portable lighting solution.
I see there are plenty of
compact designs on the
market, but wondered
what you tend to use
when you shoot your
projects. I?ve got a couple
of hundred pounds that
I can put towards a
purchase but want to
know what to look out
for in terms of features
and functionality. If I buy
a light, will it be able to
be used both indoors and
outdoors? I?m planning
on doing a lot more
shooting in the outdoors,
so want to make sure that
any light I purchase can
fend of the elements, in
particular the rain!
Michael Peters, Stockport
ED: Well, shooting cheap you
probably won?t get kit that?s
going to come with sturdy
light stands and rain covers.
I use portable LED lights by
a company called Neewer
because the smaller panels you
can power with AA batteries,
Stream it
I?m about to shoot my first web series and have
a desire to make it a hit. However, getting it seen
is obviously the tricky part so I am considering
streaming. What I?d like to know is the best way to
do this and is it realistic to offer this myself, or do I
have to go through a streaming service that handles
all of the technical stuff. Can you talk me through the
basics and let me know of any potential issues with
going down this route. I have no budget and little
experience, but do have enthusiasm, so hopefully I
can make it work. I?m just not sure where to start with
this particular problem.
Roberto Giovanni, Turin
ED: Hi Roberto. In all honesty you might be better
off going through a distributor if you want things
kept simple. This is, of course, if you want to place a
payment barrier on your series. There?s a whole heap
of tax paperwork to deal with if you do this on your
own too. If you don?t want a payment barrier and
you just want views then a service like YouTube or
Vimeo might be a better option for you. Be aware of
pirates with free to view/stream platforms though. My
film was ripped and available on multiple pirate sites
in less that 24 hours after placing on a free to view
service.
Digital FilmMaker
55
you go down this route you can
always weigh your stands down
with homemade sandbags, and
there are a million and one ways
you can adapt or create your
own rain covers. Just be aware
that the cheap stands probably
won?t take much wear and
tear in bad conditions and you
may have to replace them with
something sturdier eventually.
Screen dream
Atlantic challenge
I?d like to shoot some scenes
for my crime caper while I?m
on holiday over in the USA later this
year. However, I?m going to need
some extras and wonder
what you think is the
best, and most costeffective way to get
in touch with people
there. Also, how do you
think I should handle the filming
side of things, bearing in mind
I?d like to shoot some footage in
prominent locations, such as Las Vegas.
Can I get away with a ?run and gun? approach or am I
going to have to contact the relevant authorities and
legal departments. I want to keep things as simple
as possible but also want to avoid getting in touch
with the authorities. Any advice would be gratefully
received!
Andrea Newton, Edinburgh
ED: Hi Andrea, yep, the same rules regarding
permission and insurance still apply in the US.
Here?s a link to the Las Vegas film office - http://
bit.ly/2puSsXC. Run-and-gun and the risk involved
is entirely up to you. Regarding extras then I?m
assuming you don?t want to go through a casting
agency as they will probably cost a bomb, so your
best bet is to use casting sites online and advertise
in Facebook acting groups for the area. You could try
approaching any local amateur dramatic societies.
Best of luck, and have a lovely time in the US!
56
Digital FilmMaker
I?d like to make more
short films but I struggle
with the writing side of
the process. You don?t
have to look far to see
the sheer volume of
?screenwriters? listed
on Twitter and other
social media outlets, so
I?m wondering where
they all get the talent for
this from. Do you think
being a screenwriter
is something you are
born with or is it a skill
that can be learnt?
I wouldn?t mind
doing a course,
either at a college
or online, but I could
do with some guidance
on where to start. I?m
anxious to improve my
skills and get the script
right before I start, so
what do you think my
next move should be?
Julia Groves, Anglesey
ED: To answer this question
I asked screenwriter Richard
Ask the filmmaker
Talking shop
??
??
Don?t fall into a trap of believing
your first or even second or
third draft is the final. The most
important advice is to have fun
Humphries (imdb.com/name/
nm2117279) for his advice:
?The first step for screenwriting
is learning the basic rules of
formatting. Once you know the
rules, read a few screenplays
and you?ll realize that there?s
immense freedom. For example,
in a feature I?m currently
presenting, I use bold for scene
heading and italics for characters
on the radio/phone. That?s just
the tip of the iceberg, but try not
to get fancy; it can be distracting.
The next step is read and write;
read not only screenplays but
fiction and non-fiction, you can?t
be a writer if you?re not a reader.
I?d say start short for writing,
one/two page stories and work
your way up. It?ll get you into a
rhythm and you?ll start to find
your voice as writer and discover
what interests you. Don?t fall into
a trap of believing your first or
even second or third draft is the
final; the screenplay I mentioned
previously was on draft twelve
before I started to show it
around. The most important
advice I can give is this: have fun,
if you?re not enjoying yourself
or your story; you can?t expect
anyone else to.?
I?m frequently intrigued
by the many and varied jobs
shown on the list of credits
at the end of a film but
would really like to know
about online and offline
editing. What exactly are
these roles and how do they
differ. Is
this the sort of thing that everyday filmmakers such
as myself will encounter over time, or is this style of
editing limited only to big budget movies? There are
lot of weird job titles in the world of filmmaking, so I
was wondering if you have come across any others
yourself that have turned out to be more, or less,
strange than the couple I mention. It?s a slightly
trivial topic, but I am intrigued.
Lucy Elms, Weybridge
ED: To
be honest, with being a short filmmaker,
it would be unusual for more specific titles to be
given to crew, purely because one person is usually
taking on multiple jobs. It?s more difficult trying
to find one all-encompassing title that accurately
describes the multitude of things an individual
has done on a film. Bizarrely, I?ve seen post-ups
online from short filmmakers appealing for editors
with the role spec asking them to be able to colour
grade, create VFX, and provide sound design and
mixing too! I think that?s on the extreme side really,
and couldn?t just be classed as editor, but usually
an editor on most indie films will take on offline
and online editing roles as standard. So, what are
those roles?? According to the web, an offline
editor edits the film using a copy of the footage. An
online editor finishes this footage by adding titles,
integrating VFX and perhaps colour correcting the
footage.
Festival fever
I don?t know about you
but it seems to me that
everybody and their dog
is currently launching
a film festival. So, that
might sound good on
Digital FilmMaker
57
face value, but I actually
think that this is having
a detrimental effect on
the filmmaking scene,
simply because there
are so many options to
choose from. Do you
think it is time that some
sort of quality control
should be used over the
volume of these festivals
because some of them
seem to be ill advised
and others don?t always
have the best interests
of entrants in mind. Do
you think some are just
money making ventures?
Also, what would be your
advice on choosing the
better ones to enter?
Andy Howe, Warsash
Marked man
There are plenty of people around these days who
have striking tattoos, but I have a movie project in
the planning stages that will need an actor to have
a specific collection of body art. In that respect, I?m
going to need to find an actor that will be happy
to get this ?look?. More importantly though, I am
wondering how I can create the specific tattoos
that I?m after. How do they do this in Hollywood
movies? Are tatts painted on or are they transfers?
I?m sure big name actors aren?t going to have real
ones, so presumably these are created by artists
for the scenes where they are visible. Any idea how
I can get the same sort of look, but on a budget?
Neil Ellis, Canterbury
ED: To
answer this question I asked SFX artist
Mike Peel of roguecreationssfx.com for his advice:
?In terms of Hollywood tattoos you are correct in
thinking that they are mainly transfers as opposed
to being painted on. However, having said that,
painting on is one way to achieve a realistic tattoo
along with using a stencil and either silicone or
alcohol airbrush inks. There are several sites online
where you can (with the right ink and tattoo transfer
paper) create and print your own tattoo without
breaking the bank. We created two sleeves of
tattoos a few years back for a character and, due
to budget, we opted to paint them on with alcohol
inks, which held up well for the look of the film.
These days I would definitely choose to use the
transfer method, so it?s worth checking out www.
tinsleytransfer.co.uk for temporary tattoos.?
58
Digital FilmMaker
ED: That?s very true Andy. You,
me, anyone could launch a paid
entry online festival on a site
such as FilmFreeway, happily
take our entry fees, watch the
films in bed one morning with last
night?s pizza, pick our friend?s
film as the winner anyway and be
quids in. It?s not very regulated,
and having been scammed by a
festival in the US myself a couple
of years back and seeing only
glowing reviews on FilmFreeway
you can?t really trust on site
reviews either. The best thing to
do is look at festivals with a track
record of excellence and a high
standing reputation. Anything
that looks cheap and dodgy then
follow your gut instinct and avoid.
Also avoid anything that glitters
too much, but doesn?t seem to
be backed up by much more that
glamourous PR photos. Speak
with friends who have submitted
or had films screened in the past,
read independent press coverage
available online, and attend more
festivals and screenings too it?s pretty easy to spot
the good from the bad
then. Just remember, there are
bad festivals but there are also
great festivals out there, so be
selective.
Manage it
Having read Digital
FilmMaker magazine for
a few years now I see
that many people along
the way seem to end up
doing much of the work
on a project themselves.
I have a short film in preproduction currently and
am tempted to be both
the producer and director
for this. However, I also
wondering if I should
stick with one thing or
the other ? I?m good at
organising and managing
money, so do you think
I should therefore
gravitate towards
Ask the filmmaker
??
??
a short film is generally quite small
and I believe I have the capability,
so why not. Some people like to
just pick one role because they
only have time/capacity to take
on one, they might want more
objectivity, or they may only really
suit one or the other of those
roles. Obviously, you should only
do what you feel you can do well,
so don?t compromise the quality
of the film for a title. Dangers
to be aware of with having two
It?s not very regulated. Anything
that looks cheap and dodgy then
follow your gut instinct. Avoid
anything that glitters too much
the producer role? I?d
rather do one thing than
the other if it means the
project will be better as a
result, but I?m also keen
to retain control on the
look and feel of the film.
Is being the director best
advice? Your thoughts
please!
Aiden Quinn, Belfast
ED: Some people choose one or
the other Aiden, and other people
do both. Personally, I always do
both because my viewpoint is that
individuals taking respective
roles are, number one - creative
differences. I?ve seen lots of films
blow up before they even get
around to production because
of that. The second danger is
that the director often has the
tendency to get more credit than
the producer on indie shorts. So,
if it?s ?your? film you might find
that you aren?t getting the creative
recognition you thought you might
for your passion project when all?s
said and done. n
Keep up with Emma and her work at
www.emmadark.com
Effects fest
I?m keen on filmmaking but am not at the level
where I can afford to create slick scenes that would
add extra value to productions. So, I?m always
hearing about how much modern-day special
effects can help me transform my projects, but am
unsure about how to take this forward. For starters,
what is the best VFX package to use if you?re a
relative newbie with a lack of experience. Is there
a ?bells and whistles? software bundle that can get
me started? And, the other thing is can you advise
me on a few do?s and don?t?s when it comes to
using computer generated special effects. I?m not
exactly shooting James Bond-style movies, but I
think the right VFX touches could help to spice up
some of the shorts I?m working on.
Mark Reynolds, Tonbridge
ED: To
answer this question I asked VFX artist Davy
Simmons (imdb.com/name/nm3380466) for his
advice: ?There?s not exactly any kind of ?one size
fits all? VFX package out there, but After Effects
is a pretty versatile 2D compositing program
for beginners and advanced artists alike. Being
layer based will mean users with at least some
editing experience even in pre-installed programs
(Windows Movie Maker, iMovie and so on) will
already be familiar with some of the features, like
the timeline and the project panel, as well as being
one of the comparatively cheaper options available.
For 3D, Blender is a great package to start with, a
good way to familiarise yourself with 3D work and
the node based system, and it?s completely free.
As for dos and don?ts; certainly don?t undervalue
the practical effects. It?s easier to integrate both
seamlessly than it is to do it wholly one way or the
other. Do always plan for the visual effects, I can
never stress that enough. And try not to overdo it.
It?s tempting to go wild, and sometimes that works
but sometimes the best VFX are the ones you don?t
notice.?
Digital FilmMaker
59
SMOKE
SCREEN
Filmmaker Kyle Kelley has been working on one of
the most unusual projects he?s ever been involved in,
namely a series of public service announcements?
60
Digital FilmMaker
Smoke screen
Video productions come in
all shapes and sizes, but one
of the projects handled by
American filmmaker Kyle Kelley
is right up there with the best of
them when it comes to unusual
subject matter. ?I don?t think a
project like this has come across
your readers before,? reckons
Kyle. ?This is a pretty shocking
Don?t Smoke Public Service
Announcement (PSA) Campaign,
and it?s so shocking that our local
news stations will not air them.
We had an amazing crew to help
bring these to life. We shot four
complete PSAs in just three days.
It was insane, but very well worth
it. For one of the PSAs we built
a 20?x16? set to resemble an old
city apartment and, as a result,
I am really proud with what we
were able to pull off with this
campaign.?
?Each filmmaker
brought their own
specialized skill to
the plate to help
create these PSAs?
Strong message
?As you know, filmmaking is a
huge undertaking,? furthers Kyle.
?There is no way just one person
could do all of this on their own.
As the producer, I am really good
at getting everyone on the same
page. I know what I need to do
to get the projects done. I?m
also good at surrounding myself
with individuals that are great at
what they do. Each filmmaker
brought their own specialized skill
to the plate to help create these
PSAs. The way the Director of
Photography shaped, and build
the light on these was amazing.
His knowledge of light, and his
gear brought my ideas to life. Our
awesome and hard-working crew
were a breath of fresh air. They
did their jobs beautifully. This is
the smoothest shoot I have ever
Digital FilmMaker
61
shows four non-smoking adults
explaining how their deaths were
hastened by the smokers they
love. A third spot shows two
children reacting to their mother
smoking in the car, while the
fourth depicts the untimely result
of a young man ignoring the
dangers of smoking. I wrote them
a while back, and once I finally
decided I was ready to make
them, Andrew Pritzker came on
had. Alexandra Lambdin, for
example, recorded audio for two
of the films and did a great job
by not missing a beat. Similarly,
Sean Joseph who did our VFX
brought these PSAs to a whole
other level. The smoke he created
for the car scene looked real. You
really feel like you are watching
two kids choke to death on this
toxic smoke. The effects he did
really blew me away? To bring
all of the PSAs together was
CJ Drumeller. He created such
62
Digital FilmMaker
powerful, beautiful sound design
and scores for these PSAs.?
Public venture
The concept is not an original
one, but the delivery sounds like
a neat take on the format, as
Kyle goes on to explain. ?This is
a Don?t Smoke campaign that
consists of four unique, gripping
and emotional announcements
that you will not soon forget,?
he says. ?They are to make,
you the smoker, think ?not only
am I hurting myself, but I am
also hurting others around me?.
The weird part is, every TV
station we showed the PSAs to
refused to air them. We crafted
a groundbreaking series of PSAs
to serve the public, but have
been thwarted by the stations
opposition to our work. One
ad shows a school girl with an
asthma inhaler refusing to blame
her mother for smoking. Another
?Most of the actors
I had worked with
before, so I knew
who I wanted in
each one?
board to help me do a re-write.
We both had the same outlook on
what we wanted to achieve. The
inspiration came from everyday
interactions with family, friends
and strangers. It angers me to see
parents driving the car with the
windows up and smoking while
their kids are in the back seat. We
know that smoking is bad, and
yet parents still could careless
that they are not only hurting
themselves, but their kids as well.
Interactions like this are what
helped us dive into these PSAs.
They will stick with you and make
you think.?
Hard road
As producer, Kyle soon realised
that he wouldn?t be able to
make all of the concepts, simply
because he had several in mind
but not the resources to complete
them all. ?It was a real challenge
for me to get these going,? he
explains. ?I had ten ideas but
I knew I would not be able to
finance and film all ten of them at
Smoke screen
one big, amazing family. But, this
is hands down the best work I
have ever done. From writing the
first ad, to casting, hiring crew,
directing, to completion. I am very
proud of this project, and I do
think they will get people talking.
They?ll anger some, but get
others talking about the effects
of smoking and secondhand
smoke. We know the dangers of
smoking. People need to wake
up. The life they might save
could be their own. The films
are now completed and can be
found online through Facebook
and YouTube. They can also be
found on my website at www.
centuryroadfilms.com. We would
like to try and submit them to
festivals ideally and would also
love to get these into a movie
theatre to play before films, or get
them to a place where they can
be seen on a daily basis.?
Other work
Aside from the PSA collection,
Kyle is also busy with other
filmmaking projects, not least
of which is a project called
the same time, so I narrowed my
ideas down to the best four. Once
Andrew and I finished with the
writing, I began forming the crew.
Morgan Cooper came on board
as Director of Photography, and
he and his team did one hell of
a job, once we had the crew set
and cast every role. Most of the
actors I had worked with before,
so I knew who I wanted in each
one. We had just enough money
to make this happen. We didn?t
have a large budget, but everyone
was paid on this campaign. For
the team we pulled together and
with the budget we had, I could
not be prouder with the results.
No one is doing campaigns like
this, on the independent level.
We had the best of the best in
Kansas City working on these and
I have such respect for everyone
involved. They were shot using a
RED Scarlet-W with Zeiss Otus
lenses and Kino Flo?s, plus Nila
Lighting.?
Seeking perfection
The results might be great, but
Happy Birthday. ?It?s our most
emotional and best short film
to date,? he enthuses. ?The film
centres around a broken man
who has dinner with his daughter
on her birthday. It is during this
dinner that we get to see just
how broken he really is. The film
is an emotional ride. We had an
amazing private screening here
for the cast, crew and family. Now
we are submitting it to festivals. I
have high hopes for this film. We
are now in the early stages of preproduction for our next short film.
This film centres around a life; the
journey of it, the ups and downs.
This will be another emotional
project. We plan on shooting it
?I never let the
negative feedback
on my work get to
me. It?s helps me
become better?
all the effort is wasted if people
don?t get to see your work, which
is something that Kyle is wellaware of? ?I have been making
short films since I was a kid,? he
says. ?I have made movies that
will never see the light of day,
because I did not like the way that
they turned out. I have also made
movies that I thought were great,
and audiences did not like them.
However, I never let the negative
feedback on my work get to
me. I allow the feedback to help
me become a better filmmaker.
I enjoy every aspect of the
process! There are hard, stressful
and amazing times when making
films. That is part of the joy of
filmmaking. Having fun, working
with friends, with people who
you can call family. A set really is
Digital FilmMaker
63
in July for a 2018 release. Happy
Birthday has been an emotional
journey for me as a filmmaker.
The film has such a back story
that affects me on a very personal
level. So, to see it in front of an
audience was very emotional for
me. During the screening, we
showed the PSAs too, so I was
able to see how the audience
reacted. For the film, people were
crying and able to connect with it
?With drama, you
get to play with the
audience emotions.
They get to feel
happiness, sadness?
on a totally genuine level. Then we
got to hear reactions to the PSAs
after showing them. Some people
were really upset and they are
getting people talking, so they?re
definitely doing their job.?
Mind games
Little wonder then that Kyle
64
Digital FilmMaker
embraces a strong sense of
drama within his projects in order
to stir up emotions? ?Drama is
one of those genres that can be
beautiful, scary, heartbreaking
and happy all at once,? he says.
?With drama, you get to play with
the audience emotions. You get to
help them feel happiness, sadness
and all the rest of it. Drama is just
an incredible way to create an
environment that the audience can
dive themselves into. To create
emotion in someone?s heart is
the best thing you can do as a
filmmaker. Once you grab them
by the heartstrings you have done
your job as a storyteller. I want
to do a horror film though. But, I
don?t want to do the typical blood
and guts thing, and the girl who
runs upstairs instead of running
out the front door-type of film.
I want to make a film that, after
you watch it, you genuinely are
terrified to sleep alone, or sleep
with the lights off. Horror films are
so great. I want to do a horror film
that is talked about decades from
now.?
Smoke screen
him the bigger break he is looking
for too? ?I hope that there will be
bigger filmmaking opportunities
to be a part of,? adds the
Prime spot
And, being based in Kansas City,
Kyle reckons he is well-placed
when it comes to teaming up with
the right talent. ?Kansas City is
smack in the middle of the map,?
he says with a chuckle. ?There
is so much damn talent here. My
suggestion to filmmakers, and
studios outside of KC is that if
you are looking for amazing and
driven talent plus crews too then
come to Kansas City. Come and
see what we can do. We work just
as hard, if not harder than the big
time studios. KC Filmmakers have
heart. If you have never been to
Kansas City to see the talent then
get off your butt and get out here.
Let us show you what we can do.
As for making money, I never set
out to make money off of these
PSAs but I wouldn?t turn it down
to sell them if it was for the right
reasons. I don?t plan on profiting
from them though. I created these
to get them on television and the
internet, and to help do my part in
telling people how bad smoking
is. We know the dangers. I just
think people sometimes need a
refresher course. These PSAs are
based on the latest research data
compiled by the CDC and the
American Lung Association, and
were created to deliver the hard
realities of smoking in a visually
evocative way.?
?I want to be able
to make a living
from doing what
I love by creating
stories that move?
filmmaker in closing. ?I would love
to direct and produce TV shows
and movies for Netflix. I love
the content that they produce.
They are so damn good. They
create beautiful shows, and films.
Some of my favourite shows are
House of Cards, Orange Is The
New Black, Stranger Things and
The Crown to name a few. So, if
you know of any open spots at
Netflix please let me know! In all
seriousness, I just want to keep
working. I want to be able to
make a living from doing what I
love by creating stories that move
and inspire. Filmmaking is my
passion, and I want to one day
earn an Oscar.? n
Looking forwards
Kyle feels that his persistence and
quality output will eventually get
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65
POISONED
MIND
Tony Newton is a
filmmaker who has
done it himself but
uses the potential of
social media to get
his message across
to thousands of
prospective fans?
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Poisoned mind
A good story is the start and I
have been writing for as long
as I can remember. I started off
ghost writing and script editing
for other filmmakers, and it was
then I realized screenwriting
was something I had a passion
for. I always liked telling stories,
so scriptwriting was a great
way of not just telling stories
but actually bringing them to
life through the medium of film.
I write every day, be it a book
or a writing project or working
on a screenplay. Before I had
any books published I wrote to
Author Ray Bradbury for advice
on writing and he sent me a
letter with a piece of advice that I
still have on my office wall to this
day! in bold felt tip pen he wrote
?Just write it!?.
Go for it
Far too many people worry
about if the writing is good
enough, but the thing is to just
write it down and then you can
go from there. You can edit and
re-edit until you are completely
happy with the end product,
but if you don?t write anything
down then you can?t edit it!
You can?t edit a blank page!
Whatever you plan to film, be it
a short, a feature or even a web
or TV series, write the damn
thing down. Be sure to get a
first draft done, leave it at least
a week and then start editing.
I always write my first draft on
?I always write my
draft on paper.
Using an app
you miss that
connection.?
paper because for some reason
the connection between pen
and paper just works. When
you?re writing using an app on
your phone or laptop you miss
that connection. I always start
writing my first draft on paper
because, in the past, I have lost
so much work that I didn?t back
up. At least this way I will always
have an original physical copy
to hand!
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Up and running
Once you have your screenplay
you are ready to plan around it!
Make sure your output is good,
and that the story you are trying
to tell is unique, gripping and
something people will want to
watch. You?ll want them to keep
watching to find out what happens
next! Keep the viewer intrigued
and on the edge of their seat!
Read other screenplays of all
genres, write every day, give your
characters depth and be sure to
make them interesting. Don?t be
afraid to shock or kill off beloved
characters, grab the viewer and
try to keep their attention at all
times. When writing, also be sure
to keep your budget in mind and
be realistic, a huge car chase or
house being set on fire is probably
not practical for your first short
film!
Board game
Storyboards are a very useful tool
for filmmakers. Once you have
your script locked you can begin
to storyboard the production
breaking your story into scenes,
which will make a storyboard. The
board should have a clear picture
of each scene with a detailed
description of what is going on in
the picture, usually hand drawn.
Using these storyboards you can
make use of a detailed account
of the shots you want to get and
the use of angles throughout the
entire production. The storyboard
is basically like a comic book and
you can have full pages or multiple
pictures on a page, which is good
if all the action is happening in
one continuous scene moving
on to the next! Give a detailed
description of what happens, so
in other words? CUT TO: POV
of Jack moving, we follow his
actions, he looks left, then right,
he then walks straight ahead,
he starts walking faster until he
begins to run, as soon as he
enters the forest the camera goes
black. CUT TO: Tilt: the camera
moves up and down to follow the
action as the demon jumps onto
mike! Schedule the scenes you
are filming and be sure to include
the scene number, the location,
actors, props/clothing and even
the cost of each scene.
Schedule it
When creating your schedule try
to plan to film all the scenes in the
same location one after the other
and also try to group scenes
together. This will save you time,
although it may seem like it?s
easier to film from page one of
your script and so on. However, it
certainly isn?t and it will cut down
the time you need locations for.
I have hired the same location
twice in a week when costs could
have been cut down and we
could have shot all the scenes
in the same location in one day!
Plan and schedule, making sure
to include time for multiple shots
of the same scene from different
angles. Use a clapperboard or, at
the very least when cueing action,
state which scene and which take
it is you are shooting. This will
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Digital FilmMaker
save a huge headache in the edit
suite! Back up your video and
sound files daily and if you have
the time then make two copies.
Just to be on the safe side, use
separate hard drives and ideally
store on everything on a PC or
laptop and external hard drives.
?It goes to show
you can make
a film with an
iPhone and for
very little money?
Just do it
Make the film against the odds!
And that?s even if everyone
around you says that you can?t
do it! Remember you can. Use
everything at your disposal, call
favours, be ready to put any
money at your disposal into the
film, ask family and friends, try
to get investors. Setting up a
crowdfunding page can be useful,
or even setting up a PayPal link
Poisoned mind
on your website for donations.
Give people perks or even
percentages of future profits from
the film and be sure to commit
to make the film. It won?t be easy
but it will be rewarding in so many
ways. The first anthology film I
produced was Virus of the Dead,
which will be out later this year
and most of the content for the
film was shot on iPads, iPhones
and other handsets. It just goes to
show you can make a film with an
iPhone and for very little money. In
fact, there have been a few films
made with iPhones that are really
great! I think for people who are
starting out and young students
then iPhones and iPads are a
very useful tool to get them into
filmmaking. After all, not everyone
has access or the money to buy
the best equipment there is.
Possible pitfalls
There are downsides to filming
with an iPhone or iPad though.
You will get noisy images in
low light filming, the built-in
microphone will pick up wind
and other background noises
that can be hard to edit to a
good standard. But, on the
upside, you are ready to film
at all times and have a video
camera in your back pocket
whenever you need it. If you
are filming on an iPhone or iPad
I suggest you get an external
microphone and a stabiliser or
smartphone rig. There are plenty
on the market that do a great job
and you can even get lenses for
the iPhone including wide angle
optics, telephoto lenses and even
a macro offering. Another plus on
this front is the apps that are now
available for iPhone filmmakers.
There are plenty of these on the
market that will help you to create
some fantastic footage, and you
can even edit your footage on the
iPad using associated apps and
editing software. So, with talent,
passion and flaming enthusiasm
you will find a way to make your
short film or your feature film
against the odds, even if it?s with
an iPhone!
Smart thinking
Think outside the box, and
remember that rules are meant to
be broken. We are in the midst of
change? the way we watch films
is changing, digital filmmaking is
where it?s at. Indie film is on the
rise and more and more people
are creating art, which can be
showcased online through sites
like Vimeo and YouTube, or
monetised on VOD sites. These
sites never existed years ago.
When I was a youngster we
would rent a VHS camcorder for
the weekend and shoot direct
to VHS and then had the most
horrible editing system that
would take weeks to master in
order to make even a low-budget
horror film in the backyard look
anywhere near watchable. There
was no hiding that the blood was
tomato ketchup! There really was
nowhere to showcase films. Even
my granddad couldn?t sit through
the full 25-minute horror feature
we made in the garden without
going out for smoke breaks.
Sounding out
If you are going to shoot on
iPhones or similar then you need
to make sure that you have an
external microphone, which is
good quality and compatible for
use with external sound recording
equipment. The post edit can
save a few things, but working
with bad sound is not advisable!
Most film distributors will not
even bother watching a screener
of your film if the sound quality
is poor. Therefore, your audio is
a must, irrespective of what your
film is shot on. For beginners, go
for a shotgun microphone like a
Rode mic or similar, then go up
from there. I always think sound
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69
is underrated and that needs to
be your priority too. I have seen
bad horror films with good audio
being picked up by distributors
for release and, conversely, good
films with bad audio turned down!
Spotlight vision
Lighting is a big factor too and
be sure to make use of natural
light whenever possible. If you?re
filming with lighting equipment
and when it?s used correctly
this will raise the bar and show
just how professional you are.
Be sure to look out for shadows
from external light sources. Silks
and similar light diffusers are
great for creating the perfect
mood lighting and you can make
use of things like colour gels for
optimum effects and to enhance
the atmosphere you?re trying to
create. Lighting is trial and error
however and what works for one
scene will definitely not work for
all your scenes. Overexposed
lighting will not give you that
cinematic look that all filmmakers
are after. Another tip is to try not
to shoot a scene with a blank or
white plain wall behind, unless it
is needed and is in the script. Fill
white or plain walls with pictures,
paintings, art, lamps or even
furniture.
Editing magic
There is magic in the edit. By
making good use of editing
you can even turn footage shot
on iPhones into a cinematic
masterpiece. Colour grading your
footage can be the difference
that will make your work stand
out! When you?re buying a
camera, don?t just go for the
most expensive model because
there are a lot of DSLRs that are
reasonably priced and do a great
job. Don?t put all your money
into buying the best model then
start using the sound capturing
capabilities of the camera and
have no lighting either. It?s far
better to have a decent camera,
good sound/audio equipment
and lighting as it will be a mixture
of all three that will give you the
best overall end product. Try to
avoid capturing shaky footage
though as there is nothing more
unprofessional, so invest in
tripods, a monopod, a steadycam
or shoulder rig. You ultimately
want smooth movements. If
you have spare money or a
bigger budget for the camera
it?s probably better to put the
?Music will be a big
factor of your short
film or feature and
the score can really
enhance it?
money into the production than
having the best model money
can buy and then scrimping on
everything else. It is a mixture of
all the elements that will make
your production stand out from
the crowd, not just using the best
camera. Of course, it?s worth
having a variety of lenses for your
DSLR and although these do cost
a lot of money they do also hold
their value. Finally, music will be
a big factor of your short film or
feature and the score can really
enhance the production value of
your work. So, make good use of
this and ensure you?re using the
right music that suits your work.
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Poisoned mind
stress this enough. Before you
start filming, make it good practice
that you get every actor and even
extras to sign a release form. I use
crew release forms as well. Also,
get signed releases for any music
featured in your film too. I learnt
this the hard way because, for the
first short film I made with friends
and friends of friends, I didn?t think
I needed to have releases signed!
But I did! I ended up wasting
money and time on filming and
post-production for nothing!.
Go Social
Social media is, of course, a very
big factor. Try creating a brand
around your work, have a go at
blogging, giving tips, or even
Heavy metal being played during
a romantic love scene is a no go
even if the band is your brothers!
Careful planning
Plan everything, make sure you
are organised and have plans
in place for every little detail.
What if an actor can?t make the
shoot? Have plans in place! Short
films are calling cards, so not
only are they great to show to
potential investors but they are
perfect for building a fanbase if
you are creating regular content.
That said, I would advise you to
make your short film password
protected on a site like Vimeo and
send off your short to film festivals
to try to pick up a few awards,
rather than just putting your short
up on a site like YouTube for free.
There are many video on demand
sites that will host your short film
and give you money on a pay-perclick basis.
Free content
If you put content online for free
then this is where it will stay.
Most distributors don?t want
stale content that has been given
away for free, they want fresh
material. My advice is to send it
out to film festivals? try offering
them the premiere of your film. Do
insights and news in the same
field as your work! Make use of
hashtags that filmmakers use
on all social media platforms.
Self-promotion is a big part of
being a filmmaker, but do try to
incorporate news and events
relating to your genre. It?s great
to promote yourself but mix it up
a bit with other content, so you
aren?t just promoting your own
work 24/7! I?m always working on
horror anthology films and looking
for completed horror short films,
and very interested in joining
unique film projects. If you need a
release form template then please
feel free to contact me and I can
send one over! Get in touch at
tony@bodybagfilms.com n
this to each country separately.
Then, if it?s a feature, send a
screener along with a covering
letter and get the film out to as
many potential distributors as
possible. If you have no luck
with a DVD/Blu-ray release then
hit the VOD sites and only use
online hosting sites for free as
a last resort! If you do opt to do
this then use it in your favour by
creating promotion and a fanbase
around it! The same goes for
short films. Why not create your
own anthology of your own work.
?Plan everything,
make sure you are
organised and have
plans in place for
every little detail?
Always send screeners or any
professional correspondence from
an established email and avoid
generic ones as these will get lost
in the spam filter!
Release forms
Whether you?re making a
documentary or a standard film,
before you start filming you need
to get the actors to sign release
forms. This is a must. I cannot
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71
ETERNAL
STRUGGLE
Rad Brown is a keen filmmaker who has been busy preparing to
shoot his new project, a dark romantic drama that goes by the
name of Over a Book?
Rad Brown could take the easy
route and make a film about some
sort of humdrum topic, but instead
he has opted to go for a project
that tackles both Alzheimer?s and
domestic abuse. As a result, his
new production called Over a Book
looks all set to be a challenging
watch, although currently he?s still
tackling the ever-present battle to
get the thing underway. ?They?re
two subjects that can affect anyone
from any walk of life,? he says. ?We
feel the two subjects have been
cleverly, yet tactfully connected
within the story to try to explore
how the emotions and morals of the
intertwined characters are raised
and faced by them individually.
For instance, in the case of David
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Osbourne, his wife and job have
been his world for as long as he
cares to remember. What or where
would he be without them? Even
the slightest ripple would seem like
a wave in the life-stream of such a
character.?
Battle ground
The filmmaker might be finding it
tricky moving this one along, but he
has a decent chunk of content to his
name from previous ventures. ?In the
lead up to pre-production of Over
A Book we have so far produced
several shorts,? Rad explains. ?A
couple of corporate videos and a
horror feature titled Last Weekend.
Most of the shorts have been posted
to social media and our YouTube
Eternal struggle
channel. Our sci-fi short titled
Dobson?s Anomoly, written by
Heather Thompson is currently
in post-production and we may
well submit that to festivals.
Last Weekend is also in the final
?The feature itself,
although seemingly
straighforward at
first glance, is in
fact, fairly intricate?
stages of post-production, but
as yet we are undecided on its
distribution path, although we do
plan a few previews at selected
venues.?
Bright idea
It sounds like Rad has quite a
lot on, but much of it seems to
be ?pending?, so does he think
he can focus enough on Over a
Book to get it done and dusted?
?As yet, the main film is still in
pre-production and hopefully
set for shooting in September
2017,? he ponders, ?although
we (Hard Road Films) have put
together a
trailer to
assist promotion. The feature
itself, although seemingly
straightforward subject matter
and storyline at first glance is,
in fact, fairly intricate and will
draw upon everyone?s individual
skillset to the max. I will be
directing and have overseen the
casting. I also edited the original
script written by the talented Guy
Barnes, who will also be playing
the male lead David. Script
revision was also undertaken by
myself and Hannaj Bang Bendz
and Hannaj will be taking the
female lead role of Judy. Main
cinematography will be shot by
the combined awesome talents
of Andy Qualtrough and John
Peters whilst Felix Dembinski will
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73
and relax. Still, he continues to
commute to visit his Mary. Then,
whilst in the village local pub, the
enigmatic, young Judy enters
David?s life, turning his world
upside down and wrenching at
every one of his emotions and
principles. Will this end in tears or
be a ?Happy ever after???
Power plot
?Although it was Guy?s first
attempt at scriptwriting, we felt
that the story had truly been
written with passion and was
certainly worthy of becoming
?The film hopes to
show that two very
different souls can
find each other and
connect?
be shooting the filming behind
the scenes as well as utilising
his skills in editing, colouring
and scoring. The ultra-organised
Georgia Donaldson will be
working alongside Felix as well
as keeping us all in order as
Production Manager.?
Strong concept
Surprisingly, Rad says he
doesn?t even have a behind
the scenes photographer
however, which is going to
make the job of promotion a
harder one than it needs to be.
Nevertheless, he does think the
film has legs mainly because
of the strong storyline. ?Over A
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Book essentially examines and
questions emotions and morals
when faced with unavoidable
circumstances and dilemmas,?
reckons the filmmaker. ?We feel it
will tug at each viewer?s emotions
in various ways. Here?s the
synopsis: David is a very reserved
and conventional middle-aged
man. The kind of man you
wouldn?t look twice at in the
street and has worked a 9-5 in
the city since forever. David has
always been completely devoted
to his wife Mary, even now the
debilitating illness she has been
battling for years finally results in
her residence of a hospice. He
visits her daily, taking flowers and
chatting to her, never really sure
how much of his Mary remains.
Following an altercation with his
boss who has been concerned
about David?s state of mind
and the effect on his work, mild
mannered David snaps and quits,
not only his job, but his home
also. He sells up and moves to
a quiet country cottage where
he hopes for the solitude to fulfil
his dream of becoming a writer
a movie,? adds Rad. ?Guy?s
inspiration for the script came
from the encounters during his
life with several women who had
suffered horrific domestic abuse,
their strength of character to
escape and their resolve to try
and rebuild their lives. The film
hopes to show that two very
different souls can not only find
each other and connect, but
also help each other heal. The
Alzheimer?s aspect, although
intended as a catalyst to help fuel
the story is nonetheless just as
important a subject and adds a
poignant emotional dimension.
The film is being produced by
Eternal struggle
Hard Road Films and hopefully
some executive producers.
Although being based in Dorset,
our talented team is drawn from
all over the south and south west.
From day one we have worked
with Guy on various drafts to
transpose the story from page to
screen, ensuring that the cast are
perfect for the characters and that
the locations suit the scenarios.
The devil is in the detail and,
sometimes, compromise isn?t an
option.?
Money woes
Rad sounds like he will be
struggling to cover costs too?
?Funding the film is the biggest
and most frustrating obstacle
to overcome. Raising finance is
a job in itself. There is no easy
route. It?s a lot of time and effort
spent networking on social media,
emails and phone calls to relevant
businesses and individuals
and compiling crowdfunding
campaigns. Occasionally,
there?s the person or business
that approaches us and offers
to help. This usually takes the
form of investment where they
hope to get a good return on
the distribution or by way of
sponsorship, where their business
or product is advertised within
the film itself. We have also shot
corporate videos as a thank you
to a couple of previous sponsors.
As yet we have had no takers
on this project, but we remain
confident. We feel that Over A
Book will sit nicely alongside our
portfolio of other work. Pitched
as a dark romantic drama, it adds
a new dimension and contrast to
the genres of crime and horror
that we have already shot or plan
to shoot. That said, this particular
film does, I guess, have some
elements of both those genres
depending on your perspective.?
Well prepared
The filmmaker recognises that
he is up against a million and
one other projects, all vying for
investor cash, which is why he
hopes he has all the pieces of the
jigsaw in place if they do secure
funding. ?We have our cast in
place and almost a full crew,?
says Rad. ?We are gradually
confirming the locations and are
just about to do a full cast script
read-through. A concept trailer
has been shot and we are actively
seeking the finance to bring this
great story to life. Everything
so far is looking promising, but
then in this industry you have to
be optimistic. Negativity cannot
exist. Sure, you?re going to get
knocks and setbacks, but instead
of seeing problems you need to
see challenges. The first step is to
know that you have a great script
backed by a great cast and crew.
We feel we have that in spades!
Word of mouth to whoever will
listen is one tactic, as well as
pitching to distributors. Also,
these days with the popularity of
all the various platforms of social
media, you have an extensive
audience right there at your
fingertips. This naturally includes
crowdfunding, although recently
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75
a fairly tidy collection of work,
which should also help them
build up their profile. ?We have
three micros out there,? he says.
?Made for fun really. They?re
titled Dinner As Usual, NightFall
and Just Another Job. Then
we have our first short, Sweets,
which is a thriller with a twist,
and that?s also on social media.
Currently in post-production
is a sci-fi short penned by the
talented Heather Thompson
and our first feature, a horror
titled Last Weekend. Meanwhile,
on the backburner we have
a script for a British gangster
backing through this route has,
we feel, declined somewhat due
to some unscrupulous individuals
taking funding for projects that
never see the light of day.
Festivals are another avenue of
promotion and we also hope to
promote through the two charities
we intend to support should we
receive financial support; refuge.
org.uk and The Alzheimer?s
Society. 5% will go to each
of these from any third-party
contributions we receive.?
Diverse portfolio
The filmmaker also reckons that
he and the team are building up
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Digital FilmMaker
?It?s not like a job
where you just get
on with the task in
front of you. You
have to believe?
feature titled Narrow Line. This
is cast (in principle) and merely
awaiting the funding. We also
have several scripts in various
stages of draft. Last, but by
no means least, we shot two
corporate videos for our constant
supporters, Disappearing Ink of
Bournemouth and The Village
Green Cafe of Wimborne. I?m
sure it would appear that our
projects are crime or horror, yet
nothing we undertake is of a
specific genre. Whether written
by one of the team or a thirdparty, every script we view needs
to make us feel we can get
behind it with passion. It?s not
like a job where you just get on
with whatever task is in front of
you. You have to believe in it.?
Second guessing
?I enjoy anything with a good
story, but if I had to choose I?d
say I like mystery and intrigue
best of all,? adds the filmmaker.
?Especially something that
doesn?t spoon-feed me clues.
I?m also particularly fond of a
good British gangster movie. Not
because of gratuitous violence,
but because of the almost
surreal ironic humour, both
visual and dialogue, that usually
accompanies them. Genres I
would love to tackle personally
are period dramas, from any
era. These are a real challenge
Eternal struggle
because the devil really is in the
detail. Costume, vocabulary,
location. Artistic license is really
minimal on these, so to pull off
a production in a period genre
would be awesome. Here in
the south west the filmmaking
?Even when shot
and edited, there?s
still the expense
of certification,
festivals and so on?
climate is definitely looking
sunnier all the time. I won?t be
moving any time soon. Everyone,
for some reason, seems to
aspire to Hollywood or London,
but many locations are sourced
from our neck of the woods. And
with a steady stream of talented
filmmakers from our universities,
along with an abundance of great
actors, we have it all.?
Soldiering on
?We?re still putting money into
all of our projects,? reckons
Rad. ?Even when shot and
edited, there?s still the expense
of certification, festivals and all
the rest of it. The harsh reality
is, that if you enter the world of
filmmaking with the belief that
it?s a get rich scheme then you?re
in for a rude awakening. Don?t
get me wrong, you may get lucky
or have the next blockbuster,
but as a rule you need to put
a shedload in to get anything
out and the thing you must
constantly put in is passion.
Passion is the reason that we do
it, not the pay cheque, although
financial success would indeed
go a long way to helping us
make more movies. Where do we
see this filmmaking route taking
us? Who knows? We all want to
see our movies at the number
one slot on the shelves and we?d
all love to stand in front of the
paps whilst holding up the little
golden fella, but for the moment
we would just be happy to be
making movies that people want
to watch.? n
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77
EXTREME
MEASURES
Nico Edwards talks about Sea Gypsies, a film he made over the
course of three years without any kind of prior experience but a
whole bunch of enthusiasm for seeing the world
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Digital FilmMaker
Extreme measures
highly laborious process, as the
camera just spits out 24 photos
a second into a folder that then
requires hours of rendering to
stitch into a video file. Audio had
to be recorded separately on an
external recorder and synced up
by listening to a beep the camera
makes to indicate the first frame
has started. Often the beep
was not audible due to the loud
?You don?t see films
made in Antartica
on a $2,500 camera
you can purchase at
Best Buy?
background sounds of the ocean
and the audio and video had to
be synced up by mouth reading
and other clues. It was also a
hard drive-intensive process, as
a 64GB CF card holds only 10
minutes of footage, and the total
project is about 15 Terabytes.
But, with more time than money,
and with a full 14 stops of
dynamic range in a fully weather
sealed body, this rig creates an
image quality you just don?t see
in many feature films made in
Antarctica on a $2,500 camera
you can purchase at Best Buy.?
Amazing feat
?This is a feature film made on
a very small budget, with few
crew (directed/shot/edited/
produced by one person),
using hacked equipment that
demonstrates just what?s
possible thanks to the current
revolution in digital filmmaking
technology,? so says accidental
filmmaker Nico Edwards. ?Sea
Gypsies utilized some of the
first truly disruptive pieces of
hardware/software. The entire
film was shot on the very first
beta version of the Magic Lantern
Raw hack for the Canon 5D Mark
III, possibly the first and only
feature film to do this. This was a
Well this project certainly sounds
like a feat of endurance given its
location work but, as we touched
on at the beginning, perhaps the
most impressive aspect is the
way Nico hasn?t done much of
this stuff before. ?Nothing, this is
my first film, prior to this shooting
and editing was a hobby,? he
goes on. ?I taught myself to
make films by watching a lot of
movies, reading a lot of blogs
and working as a production
assistant. The film was made
over the course of three years
and was directed, shot, edited,
written, narrated and produced
by myself. When you can?t afford
to hire people, you can always
just do everything yourself, with
the help of the internet. The
actual adventure was made
possible by a band of skilled old
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79
money I edited the whole thing
around the clock, seven days a
week on a laptop while living in
?The film follows
the crew from the
construction of a
vessel to an epic
voyage?
an extremely cheap/seedy hotel
in Bangkok, surviving on canned
coffee and $1 Pad Thai. This is a
school sailors who don?t mind
taking a lot of risk, with only the
experience as reward. The music
was provided for little to nothing
by some amazing big name
bands and musicians, showing
just what is possible with no
connections, if you beg a lot and
persistently, though it took about
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Digital FilmMaker
two years to get all the music
licenses. The budget for the film
was about $30,000, $8,000 of
which was provided by Telluride
Mountainfilm for post-production
as part of their Mountainfilm
Commitment Grant. The rest of
the budget came from personal
savings and driving Uber. To save
dirtbag film.?
Terrific locations
?The film follows the crew from
the construction of a vessel that
could survive the world?s most
extreme weather conditions,
to an epic voyage which saw
them encounter the raw fury
of mother nature in the form
of an ice hurricane, waves the
size of buildings, hurricaneforce winds, mountainous
icebergs and temperatures
so cold that sea spray would
Extreme measures
SmallHD DP5 monitor ($600).
Optics for the project included
a Canon 70-200mm stills lens
($1,800), Canon 16-35mm ($900),
Canon 50mm ($350) and a Canon
24-105mm ($600) plus we had a
Glyde Cam 2000 ($250) and ND
Filters ($200). Rounding it out
were four 4TB 7200rpm Touro
hard drives daisychained to a
laptop via USB 3.0 (each one
cost $149). Finally, there was
a PC gaming Laptop ($3,000).
After production I sold all the
equipment (almost at cost) to pay
for post-production expenses
(apologies to the buyers for the
salt damage).?
Striking out
freeze in mid-air plastering the
yacht with ice. The crew?s other
adventures on the trip saw them
make friends with penguins on
Antarctica, become embroiled
in a thrilling game of cat-andmouse involving infamous
eco-warriors Sea Shepherd
and a Japanese whaling vessel,
throw a never-ending series of
rowdy-rum-fuelled parties, and
witness some of the world?s most
uniquely stunning and unspoiled
landscapes.?
Bright idea
All well and good, but what got
him to that point in the first place?
?Much like the character Ishmael
in Moby Dick, I was finding myself
growing grim about the mouth
with nothing much in particular
to interest me onshore,? says
the filmmaker. ?So, like him, I
decided to run off and see the
watery bits of the world. Through
sheer luck and a classified ad, I
found a very eclectic and visually
interesting community of itinerant
ocean wanderers who reside on
Despite the fact that Nico hadn?t
done this before, the exercise
in making a ?proper? film has
succeeded in getting him some
solid exposure around the world.
?We are just wrapping up a year
of film festivals, where it won
awards and has been accepted
to about 20 ?official selections? so
far,? he says. ?That includes all
the top adventure film festivals,
such as BANFF Mountainfilm,
Telluride Mountainfilm,
Vancouver mountain film and NZ
Mountainfilm. It has also played
in a lot of non-adventure film
festivals, such as the Napa Valley
Film Festival and so on. The film
has been licensed for BANFF
Mountainfilm on Tour, Telluride
Mountainfilm on Tour, Vancouver
Mountainfilm on Tour and Ocean
Film Festival on Tour as well,
where it will be screened for
over 100K people in 40 countries
over the next year or so. Moving
forwards, we are reviewing
distribution offers right now and
?It seemed like a
story worth sharing.
I wrote the story/
narration as it
happened ?
a giant all-manual, handmade
sailboat right out of the 1970s,
drifting around the massive global
commons of the Pacific Ocean,
on a never-ending voyage of
nomadic exploration. I wanted to
broaden people?s perspectives
about what kinds of lives are
possible, and it seemed like a
story worth sharing. I wrote the
story/narration as it happened.
As for the kit, we did it on then
this is a bit simplified, but gives
you an idea of what we had and
the budget? There was a Canon
5D MKIII with Magic Lantern
Raw hack ($2,500), a handful of
fast Komputer Bay CF cards that
failed quality control, so they were
sold at a steep discount ($200),
a Zoom H6N audio recorder
with Rode NTG3 shotgun mic
and wind blimp ($1,200) plus a
Digital FilmMaker
81
hope to have the film available
for everyone to see in the next
few months. It?s a brutally steep
learning curve, but we are learning
as we go. We have been very lucky
to have been chosen for so many
on tour programs, where so many
people get to see it and it costs
us nothing. We even get paid
for the screenings. It is from
these screenings and film
festivals that we have gotten
most of our breaks thus far.
Success story
Now that the momentum is
gaining, Nico and his pals have
also been persuaded to start
thinking about a follow-up
venture? ?We have just signed
up with Peter Berg?s Film45 to
turn our sequel project, Sea
Gypsies: The NorthMost Passage,
into a series for network TV,? he
explains. ?The same boat and crew
plan on sailing from Papua New
Guinea to the top of the world,
?It?s possible to do
a lot with very little
if you are willing to
cut a whole load of
corners?
attempting to reach Alert, the
northernmost inhabited settlement
on earth, in the process sailing
further north than any boat in
history. This project will have the
same spirit of adventure and will
take the audience to a place few
ever get to see, to experience
just how much more dramatic
climate change is at the polar
regions. We sail Summer 2018,
hopefully with a bigger budget,
but we have already demonstrated
that it is possible to do a lot with
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Digital FilmMaker
Extreme measures
a little, if you are willing to cut
a whole lot of corners. I like
documentaries, because the real
world is fascinating and often a
lot stranger than fiction. It?s also a
whole lot cheaper to find a story
?I live in Northern
California at
present, so
there?s not a huge
filmmaking scene?
and document it than to create
one on a set where everyone
wants to be paid for their time.
This is also the one genre where
you don?t need connections to
get your start, you can just read
a blog, buy a camera and hit the
trail and see what you can find.
It won?t be easy at all and you?ll
probably fail miserably, but I?ve
found that it?s way better to start
difficult tasks completely ignorant
of what you are getting into,
because if you knew just how
difficult it was, you would never
attempt it.?
Wise words
Nico makes some undeniably
sound points there, and it?s also
an endorsement of the ?just go
for it? philosophy that many a
filmmaker has adopted in order
to start somewhere and get a
project underway. Would he
consider anything in a different
field or genre perhaps? ?Not
really,? he adds. ?The rest
seem like jobs. I live in Northern
California at present, so there?s
not a huge filmmaking scene
here, but enough to get odd
jobs and stay busy. I have just
started making money back
from this, thanks to all the on
tour licensing and from some
festival screening fees. It will be
a while yet until I break even,
but I get gig work and can drive
Uber on the side. I would like to
keep making adventure docs,
pushing the limits with affordable
technology and telling compelling
character-driven stories of
people living creative and
alternative lifestyles and broaden
people?s perceptions about life?s
possibilities.? n
Digital FilmMaker
83
The student
perspective
Claudia Merlini is an enthusiastic filmmaker and
student on a BA (Hons) Digital Film Production
course at the well-respected Ravensbourne in
central London
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Digital FilmMaker
The student perspective
My name is Claudia Merlini,
but everyone calls me Cloud!
I?m from Croydon, South
London and I?m 21-years-old.
Education-wise, I feel I have been
extremely lucky. I went to Coloma
Convent Girls School, which
really cultivated and instilled my
work ethos. During my GCSEs I
came into some health difficulties,
which led to me having to be
home tutored for most of year
11, though I still managed to
attain 12 GCSEs grade A*- B. For
college, I really wanted a change
of scenery, however my health
issues were still rather prominent
at this point, which led to me not
being allowed to sit any of my
AS exams apart from AS Media
Studies.
Radio work
I had volunteered at my local
radio station as a DJ, and I also
ran the youth broadcasting club.
These factors combined is where
I really realised that my main
passion was creative media.
Growing up, I loved to read and
write. I had often been told I was
a good storyteller. Whilst I was at
the radio station, I was introduced
Digital FilmMaker
85
unlike any other university or
college. It is so industry focused,
and you are actively encouraged
to go out and work on external
projects. Within my first two
months on the course I got my
first paid job producing a music
to Ravensbourne. I went to an
Open Day during my first year of
college and decided that was the
only place for me. I also decided,
after some desperate pleading
with my parents, to drop out of
A-levels. I enrolled at East Surrey
College to study Film and TV
Production, in an effort to make
myself the best candidate for
Ravensbourne. During my first
year at East Surrey, I applied
for Ravensbourne, assuming
that I would not get in, as I
knew it was highly competitive,
as around 1,000 people apply
for the course each year. To
my surprise, I was offered an
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Digital FilmMaker
interview and subsequently
a place, so I dropped out of
college again to accept the offer.
?The course is
extremely practical.
You make four
films in your first
term alone?
The place
To me, Ravensbourne was it.
It was either a place on their
digital film production course
or another career path. I loved
Ravensbourne because it is
video, and I then used that
money to set up my first website
and buy my business cards. The
course is extremely practical.
You make four films in your first
term and, by the time you leave,
you should have made about
The student perspective
30 internally, but we all come
out with a lot more due to the
external work we take on. These
external offers come through
daily, whether it be through other
students, clients contacting the
college, or the staff, it?s just the
point of being the person to
stand up and say ?I?ll do it!?.
Best kit
It also helps that we have topof-the-range equipment that
is easily accessible and plenty
of workshops in the course
that teach you the practical
aspects of filmmaking. Don?t
get me wrong, we learn some
?theory?-based things too, but
it?s always to do with what we
are working on or making at the
time. There are always weird
and wonderful things happening
at Ravensbourne, from being
covered in paint whilst filming
one day, to having to make a
prosthetic copy of my head for a
film the next. I?m currently in the
last few months of my third year,
with the big bad world looming
ahead of me. Over my time at
Ravensbourne, I have produced
and directed music videos and
worked in a number of different
roles making short films. I?d say
my main roles are producer,
director and art department.
I?ve produced online content for
GHD, Persil, Cornetto, Vodafone,
Lipton Iced Tea, Kerastas�
and The Post Office. I?ve done
fashion and music photography
on the side too. I?ve had my
work featured in national and
international film festivals, and
am now setting my sights on
the higher tier festivals! I have
been lucky enough to attend
the red carpet at the London
Film Festival and, recently, I was
invited to the Empire Awards.
Tough going
Third year has been absolutely
mental though. I chose art
department as my specialism
and this meant I learnt how
to be a production designer,
costume designer, props master
plus I gained knowledge on
how to build sets and how to
?We decided on
the ?10 films in 10
weeks? idea initially
to really challenge
ourselves?
dress them. In the first term of
third year we made 11 films.
That was one film a week
for my specialism unit and a
documentary. We decided on
the ?10 films in 10 weeks? idea
initially, to really challenge
ourselves. The college hired out
Digital FilmMaker
87
a period drama film, which is
something I have always wanted
to do. I directed and took the role
of production design for the film
Evelyn, which is based on the
story of my great grandparents
lives in England, during World
War Two.
an external space for us to use
for the duration of the unit. We
had two days a week in it. We
would spend one day building
and dressing a set, and then
the next day filming and tearing
it down. Amongst my other
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Digital FilmMaker
university work and holding down
a part time job, it resulted in an
amazing portfolio of films, and a
severe lack of sleep, but that is
why I love this industry. It was a
brilliant experience, and it ended
up with me being able to direct
Production duties
I?ve quickly established myself
as a producer, more so than a
director, I?ll begrudgingly admit.
I like being in control, and being
able to be involved in all areas of
a film production. As a person,
I?m a natural busy body. I don?t
The student perspective
do too well having nothing to
occupy me for a long period of
time, and I?m happiest when
I have something to work for
and am surrounded by people.
So, this is why the film industry
?At Ravensbourne
you are a part of
the industry from
the very first step
that you take?
is what I live for. I grew up
watching films with my parents
and friends, and I?ve always
loved how a film can make me
feel and question things. I?ll
never get over the feeling of
amazement, watching credits roll
in a darkened cinema, hearing
a sweeping score, and thinking
?This. This is how I want to make
people feel.?
Next steps
Right now, I?m working on my
graduate films and my major
project is a heartwarming
drama, which I hope to get into
film festivals. We?ve got a killer
cast, including Clive Russell
from Game of Thrones. I?m just
so excited to get started. I?m
working in various other roles
on my other graduate films,
either producing or in the art
department. Am I scared about
going into the working world of
the industry? Sure, it?s daunting
after having spent over a decade
in education. However, that is
the thing about Ravensbourne,
you are a part of the industry
from the very first day you step
into that building. It?s given me
the absolute best start and skills
I could have ever asked for, and
I have every confidence in myself
that I will find my way in the
years to come!
Challenging moves
It?s come with difficulties, but
what is life without them? You
need trials and tribulations in
order to grow and improve.
Ideally, I?d love the opportunity
to work on some features, or
for an established production
company, either as an assistant
director, assistant producer or
within the art department. I never
want to stop telling stories. I
hope that some of the work from
my graduate year can go into the
higher tier festivals as that would
be a dream come true for me.
My friends laugh when I say I?d
like to have a BAFTA nomination
under my belt by the time I?m
30, and yeah sure, I know that
sounds crazy. But, if you don?t
ever go for it, you?ll never get
it! In the end, I had a rocky
start, and the journey through
education hasn?t been easy, but
Ravensbourne has given me the
best kickstart into the industry.
I?m so proud to have been a part
of such a growing institution. I
fully believe that if you want to
be a filmmaker, Ravensbourne is
definitely the place to go! n
Digital FilmMaker
89
Next issue
41
HARDWARE ADVICE
The DFM team offers up essential
advice on getting started and takes a
look at some of the best kit currently
available for filmmaking
92
New kit
99
Interview
with a pro
Digital FilmMaker
91
with a Pro
Interview
Sales and Marketing Manager Tony Papa discusses
the history of ProMediaGear and how a practical
modular workflow can seamlessly fit with today?s
photographers and videographers
92
Digital FilmMaker
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
ProMediaGear is a growing
family owned company
created by three brothers
Tom, Matt and Dariusz
Fudala, who each received
engineering degrees from
the University of Illinois in
Chicago. PMG designs and
manufactures products in
the United States using the
finest materials and machining
capabilities with the highest
attention to detail.
The history
Matt and Tom have over 25
years of photography and
videography experience and
have provided services for
multiple private customers,
corporations, local businesses
and stock image sites. Their
passion for flawless engineering
and functional design skills
translate into the products we
see today. With an MBA in
Business, Dariusz meticulously
designs and tests prototype
equipment. Using his strict
business acumen and keen
eye, he holds a tight grip on
the company making sure
PMG meets and exceeds its
milestones and deadlines.
In a flash
And, to think, it all started out
with a simple flash bracket.
Tom and Matt always wanted a
great flash bracket to eliminate
shadows while shooting events
and weddings. They couldn?t
find a bracket that fit all their
needs. Reasonably enough,
?With an MBA in
Business, Dariusz
meticulously
designs and tests
prototypes?
they wanted a bracket that
wouldn?t twist, or become loose
while shooting and also be
lightweight and comfortable to
use for 12-16 hours at a time.
It just so happened that at that
time Matt and Dariusz started a
successful machine shop. The
Digital FilmMaker
93
machine shop provided the tools
necessary to build what Tom and
Matt had always dreamed of. With
great interest from friends, family
and local photographers alike,
this was an awesome time and
opportunity to mass market their
ideas.
Quality products
If professional videography or
photography is your passion, then
you know that when you make
an investment in new equipment
then it needs to perform well in
?We believe it?s
better to have an
itemized vision
of what gear is
necessary?
the field. In 2009, ProMediaGear
was established to take on these
challenges and provide the
industry with fresh new gear, bold
designs, unsurpassed quality and
iconic products.
Modular solutions
In a real world scenario many
videographers and photographers
are going on location to shoot.
The question arises? What
equipment do I require to get
the job done right and what am
I actually capable of carrying to
my production location on this
budget? The first answer that
pops into your head is that you
require or desire everything for
94
Digital FilmMaker
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
every situation. Not to mention
the kitchen sink from the studio
or rental house, until you quickly
realize you can?t possibly carry or
afford all of the gadgets on your
wishlist. Adding to this quandary
is the very familiar scenario
whereby you over pack with all
manner of kit and never even pull
out this ?must have? equipment.
We believe it?s better to have an
itemized vision of what gear is
necessary and pair it with quality
accessories to make the job
easier and create a less stressful
workflow.
frequently and at a higher rate of
success. PMG has designed
many creative, lightweight,
functional and compact
accessories that allow
you to utilize the quality
gear you own in a way that
fits your shooting style and can
enhance your capabilities. Many of
our PMG products were designed
to fit seamlessly into your
production workflow and allow
your creativity to thrive and leave
you not even having to think about
the gear itself.
Careful planning
In the last 10 years?, portable flash
power packs have shrunk and
allowed for convenient travel into
remote locations thereby providing
much higher quality photography
and videography set-ups. LED
technology has also improved
with incredibly high CRI, longer
battery life and many feature
Having a precise, controlled,
repeatable product is vitally
important in today?s world of
photography and film production
and makes you stand out as a
professional. If your equipment
becomes second nature to you,
it?s more likely to be used more
Portable power
variable brightness and colour
rendering features on offer. On a
hybrid shoot recently I grabbed
the Elinchrom ELB400 portable
battery pack and began scouting
my location by slinging it over my
shoulder. However, as I walked
down the path it painfully bounced
?Having a precise,
controlled,
repeatable product
is vitally important in
today?s world?
around a bit more than my liking
and forced me to get with the
team for a better carrying solution.
Being a smaller battery size I was
able to throw it into my Think Tank
Backpack, which helped a ton to
get me to my location. I couldn?t
have done that even just a few
short years ago! I liked the overall
Digital FilmMaker
95
adult-sized hands to quickly grab
the pack securely. It features
a 5/8? Light Spigot holder that
mounts to four mounting spaces
on the pack. The adapter instantly
gives you the ability to mount your
head onto the pack for convenient
carry access, add an instant kicker
background light stand, or a useful
storage solution. On the side of the
cage, PMG offers many accessory
options by placing multiple �-20
threaded adapter holes. The
size/weight/
power ratio of the
complete system.
Location challenge
Once on location I?m always fearful
of where to put the pack down.
Dirt and moisture terrify me. Do I
gently hang the strap over the light
stand and hope it doesn?t slip and
break or do I test the manufactures
recommended ?dust and water
resistant? claim in the field with
no backup nearby?! I can?t afford
a failure in the field. Like many
professionals, time is money,
and in some cases, in those very
remote locations for example, it?s
often a ?1 take? opportunity. Our
team of engineers, mad scientists
and professionals laboured over a
rigid high-grade aluminium cage
that had to accommodate many
functions. It would have to fit the
sleek Swiss
styling of
the Elinchrom
ELB400,
complement the pack, add as
little weight as possible, connect
with ease and also provide
field necessary functionality.
As a result, the ProMediaGear
BLELB400 Aluminum Cage was
born.
Perfect package
The cage slides quickly over
the top of the ELB400 packs
outer soft plastic gasket. With
two simple machined pivots, the
cage is anchored into the original
Elinchrom strap eyelet holes. We
replaced the strap connection area
with a similar loop, so you can still
carry the unit using the supplied
Elinchrom Strap. The cage offers
two handles large enough for
?The top of the
Boomerang is
designed to mount
many optional
accessories?
two most useful accessories are
the BLH1 and BLH2 light stand
adapters. The BLH2 mounts
directly to any tube or stand
19mm-42mm in diameter. The
adapter features a �-20 threaded
screw with knurled knob that
quickly and rigidly locks onto the
pack and stand. This will allow
you to mount the pack firmly to a
monopod and create a lollypop
style apparatus that is strong and
locked down. Another option is to
mount the pack onto a light stand
to keep the unit off the elements
and also keep it secure. When you
want to grab and adjust the light or
quickly move to a new location the
unit will not fall off. This makes it
great for moving the light and pack
from shot to shot.
Smart thinking
The cage for me and many other
photographers is a welcomed
accessory that follows form and
function principals. It will help
you in the field tremendously.
Meanwhile, the most useful
accessory in our modular system
paired with the Elinchrom cage
is our Boomerang Modular Flash
Bracket. Our award-winning
Boomerang Flash Bracket, BBX/
BBGv2 is a modular, machined
aluminium
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Digital FilmMaker
flash bracket with locking detent
pins that allows the flash head
to be positioned in two optimal
shooting angles. This will assist
in eliminating red eye as well as
quickly adjusting from vertical to
horizontal positions and creating
proper shadows by keeping the
flash above the lens at all times.
The top of the Boomerang is
designed to mount many optional
accessories from Speed Lights
to Portable Strobes, such as
the Profoto B2 or Elinchrom
ELB400. To mount the Elinchrom
light head, you only require one
additional accessory mount, the
BLSA 5/8? adapter with built in
anti-rotation. This will get screwed
onto the Boomerang bracket plate
and allow the larger light to get
mounted directly on top. For more
flexibility, to get the light higher
and also use a small light modifier
we have designed a 5? riser,
BLSA5A (Aluminum) and BLSA5S
(Stainless Steel). These adapters
are rigid, sturdy machined
components.
Adapter range
Finally, to round out the adapters
we offer, we recommend one of
our two rosettes, BLS1 and BLS2.
The machined rosettes allow you
to mount the 5/8 adapter of your
choice to the top and let you enjoy
the convenience
of
rocking the
weight
back over
the centre
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
balancing point of your camera.
This greatly lessens finger fatigue
during a long shoot. Offsetting
the weight just a few inches
makes a tremendous difference
when shooting something like
a wedding, or long running
event. The BLS1 offers a rigid
rosette that requires some initial
assembly. The BLS2 offers a
quick knurled knob that allows
the 5/8 accessory, cold shoe or
other item to be mounted without
taking the unit apart. The strobe
system can quickly be converted
from a standalone light stand
unit using a wireless transmitter
?The integrated
adapters turn the
accessory into a
perfect, portable
carry solution?
to the top of our Boomerang
flash bracket in seconds. When
using the Boomerang with the
Elinchrom system, PMG also
manufactures and recommends
a belt holster, the SH1. The
holster will allow you to swap the
power pack between your stand
mount with the BLH1 to your
body quickly and easily. You can
balance the weight of the pack to
your side or back, depending on
where on your belt you decide.
The integrated �- 20 adapters
and sphere-shaped carry solution
turn the accessory into a run-
and-gun rig and that is a perfect,
portable carry solution.
Modular systems
Our entire Boomerang system
Digital FilmMaker
97
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
with its modular technology was
very well designed and built
around the Arca-Type standard
plate system. If you are able to
take a tripod or monopod with you
into the field you can conveniently
place the entire flash bracket onto
your Arca-Type ball head too! We
even make a C60 clamp to retrofit
other style of pods on the market
today into Arca-standard. If you?re
?If you are
producing a more
video-centric
piece, we offer a
full line of cages?
shooting video then you may also
decide to install our HB70 Quick
Release Handle to the bracket
plate. It attaches directly with a
thumb screw in under 20 seconds!
It?ll allow you to instantly create a
98
Digital FilmMaker
more stable shot. The top of the
handle features a �-20 adapter
port, which is perfect for a cold
shoe fitted with a microphone,
video recorder, monitor or more.
The camera with Arca-Type
bracket plate can also attach to a
ball head on our complete line of
PMG-Duo double sided sliders,
adding dynamic movement to
any production. If
you are producing a more videocentric piece, we also offer a
full line of cages and NATO rail
options as well. PMG delivers
high quality, made in the USA
equipment to fit any budget. Visit
our website today and check out
our entire line of products over at
www.ProMediaGear.com. What
fits into your workflow?! n
New Kit
New Kit Reviews
PANASONIC
360
CAM
Panasonic just made
shooting in the round that
little bit easier to capture with
this new camera
SONY
A9
Can Sony pull in some more filmmaking fans
with the very nicely put together a9 model?
Sony has been making
good ground in the evercompetitive camera market
and the very tasty new a9
looks set to make plenty
of new friends too. It?s a
beefy proposition too, with
a 35mm, full frame stacked
24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor
that will deliver 4K (UHD)
video at 3840 x 2160 up at
24/25/30p with ease. And,
of course, the best thing
about it is that the price tag
is sufficiently less than rival
models from the likes of Canon
or Nikon. The mirrorless body
is a real treat on the eyes and
follows on from the success of
other recent models. It?s also
being widely praised for its
capabilities too, with speedy
performance and a raft of
features and functions that
make it a great all-rounder.
Filmmakers will love the 5-axis
in-body image stabilization,
for example, but the a9 also
packs in Full HD up to 120
frames per second Super Slow
Motion and battery life has
been improved to ensure
you can keep shooting for
longer. There are dual SD
card slots, an Ethernet port,
built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
plus much, much more.
VERDICT
The Sony a9 is a more than
capable new camera that
delivers what it promises and
does an awful lot for less
money than its rivals. While not
everyone out there is going to
be in the market for something
that costs as much as a
secondhand motor, it?s clear
that the features and functions
crammed inside that gorgeous
body should see it do well. And,
it?s particularly good to see
that Sony have beefed up the
battery enough to handle all the
extra performance it delivers.
Another one for the wants list
we think.
Price �500
Web www.sony.co.uk
Much has been written about
the appeal of 360-degree
filmmaking and we?ve
covered our fair share of it
in this very magazine. So,
it comes as no surprise to
see that manufacturers are
getting in on the act with their
own new models. Panasonic
is never a company to shy
away from innovation, so this,
their own attempt at offering
360-degree video capture to
the masses, is timely. The unit
is able to shoot footage in
uncompressed 4K/30p using
the familiar stitching method
using quad cameras built in
to the design and it seems to
work to great effect. Of course,
it also depends what you?re
shooting to make the effect
even more impressive, which
is why 360-degree video is
such a hit within the world of
sporting events, as well as
live concerts and suchlike.
Anything that makes people
feel like they were there, even
if they weren?t. Cleverly, the
device does a very good job
of stitching video as it goes,
and without any glaring seams
and discrepancies that you
might be expecting from such
a process. Panasonic have
certainly thought outside the
box when designing this and
the end result is something
that takes it a step beyond the
slightly distorted footage we?ve
been used to seeing from this
new format.
VERDICT
This is a really clever bit of
kit and the possibilities are
certainly endless. It all depends
on how much the camera will
cost, and you?ll need both the
base unit and the camera head,
so it?s not likely to be cheap.
However, professionals who are
looking for another angle when
it comes to televising events
and adding more appeal to
their sales pitch when bidding
for new clients could seize this
Panny with open arms.
Price BC
Web www.panasonic.co.uk
Digital FilmMaker
99
New Kit
SENNHEISER
MKE2 MIC
BLACKMAGIC
DAVINCI RESOLVE
Sennheiser has come up with the neat idea of
making an action camera mic that can beat the
Relieve the pain from your post-production
duties with version 14 of DaVinci Resolve
Lots of filmmaking folks
will tell you that Sennheiser
is a brand you can trust
and it?s true, the German
manufacturer builds great
products by and large. They
come well designed and
engineered and, if treated with
respect, tend to go on forever.
Anything Sennheiser-related is
therefore unlikely to fall apart,
which seems like a very good
reason for them to make this,
a waterproof microphone for
the GoPro. Now, while action
cameras have been delivering
great quality footage for a
number of years now, the audio
side of things has not been such
a great success. We?ve all seen
footage that looks great on the
eye, but subsequently falls short
due to fuzzy sound. So, now
that Sennheiser have worked up
this mic, things could be about
to change for the crazy video
crews that are dotted around
the world in vast numbers. It?s a
shrewd move by the Germans,
as this is a big market, so
the arrival of the mic shows
perfect timing. It?s completely
waterproof up to one metre,
or three feet in old money and
boasts a water protection rating
of IPX7 so it?s more than ready
for anything. Plus, there?s a
wind protector that also aids
recording quality. Unfortunately,
the thing only works with a
GoPro Hero 4 at the moment,
If you?re just starting out
on the filmmaking path
then there?s an awful lot to
learn, not least of which is
getting your head around the
post-production process.
Blackmagic?s DaVinci Resolve
is therefore a dream come true
if you?re looking for a quick
solution when it comes to
getting finished video and the
accompanying audio ready for
delivery. Version 14 has been
completely revamped and really
sparkles thanks to the addition
of the Fairlight audio engine
that lets you tackle soundtrack
chores with ease. The multitrack
timeline is a breeze to navigate
while mastering the dark art of
colour grading is simple and
straightforward. And, even
though there are many more
features, such as an array of
new FX filters, the software runs
like a dream, so much so that
you?ll happily be able to tackle
a 4K edit using your laptop on a
train or plane. With an interface
that is reasonably easy to
understand, this is a package
100
Digital FilmMaker
although Sennheiser says that
if you pair it with one then it?ll
be good for speeds right up to
60 miles per hour. It weighs just
45 grams too, so you?ll hardly
notice it?s there.
VERDICT
This is a cool idea and answers
the prayers of many a GoPro
owner who has grown tired
of wishy washy audio to go
with their captivating action
footage. The action mic comes
realistically priced and should,
if other Sennheiser products
are anything to go buy, provide
dependable service for many
years to come. Maybe the
lack of model compatibility is
something they are hoping to
expand once they?ve judged
the reaction to this. We think
it?s sure to be a hit and, for
that sort of money, plenty of
folks will be happy to give
it a whirl in order to boost
their filmmaking credentials.
Price $199.95
Web www.sennheiser.de
perfectly suited to novice
editors, but Blackmagic Design
has been sure to keep plenty
of features for professional
people. Something like the
face enhancement tool option
though, has universal appeal.
VERDICT
Full marks should go to
Blackmagic Design for helping
to develop DaVinci Resolve
14 into the post-production
powerhouse that it is today.
With version 14 there?s been
a whole revamp to the way it
works and, as a result, it now
works better than ever. With
a price of just $299 it?s a hard
act to follow and will surely
become the tool of choice
for many people who want
a fast and efficient way of
editing footage and improving
the audio potential of their
projects. Well worth a look if
you?ve never used it before.
Price $299
Web www.blackmagicdesign.com
FREEFLY
MOVI XL
The stabilizer from Freefly lets filmmakers
capture smooth shots from any vantage point
New Kit
CAMTREE
GRIPPER G-51
Take the strain out of your next high-octane
moving vehicle shoot with this tidy new accessory
Freefly have pretty much
been around since the
beginning of the gimbal
having had a range of
products available for a
number of years. Therefore,
they?ve become very adept
at working out what the
customer wants, which is why
this new MoVI XL model is
such a neat idea. This is like
a beefier version of their MoVI
Pro accessory and has, as
you?d expect, been developed
to handle a more substantial
payload. That means it?s
likely to appeal more to
the professional end of the
filmmaking spectrum because
it will work in tandem with
high-end models, including
cameras from Arri, RED and
Sony. In order to do this,
Freefly has integrated high
torque motors that are able
to move the heavier camera
models without breaking into
a sweat. Meanwhile, clever
use of the design has meant
that the unit is still reasonable
lightweight and portable but
carries with it everything a
pro might need. For example,
anyone using a RED Epic with
the MoVI XL will find that they
can exercise total control of
the features and functions,
while it works beautifully with
Mimic, the MoVI controller. It
also benefits from the option
of using twin batteries, and
that should ensure that you?re
got plenty of up time even if
you?re on a shoot for extended
periods of time.
VERDICT
The MoVI XL is certainly no
slouch when it comes to
providing a substantial helping
hand on more elaborate
location shoots. If therefore
comes as no surprise to
see the very large asking
price, but this is of course
something aimed at filmmaking
professionals and rental houses
who will be able to claw back
the cost of their investment
over a long period of time.
And, the way this thing is
built, it should also perform
for many years to come. That
said, this is still a fairly easy
bit of kit to use, thanks in
the main to some very cool
control options that come
within the Mimic controller or
via the iOS and Android apps.
Price $22,000
Web www.freefly.com
Filming from a moving
vehicle seems like a great
idea in principle and, if you
get it right, the end result can
often be hugely impressive.
Unfortunately, if you get this
precarious pastime wrong
then it can have disastrous
results. In which case you?ll
want to be doing it right, and
the Camtree Gripper G-51
might just be the accessory to
help you do it, both safely and
securely. What you get here is
a keenly priced bit of kit that
seems nicely thought out with
a build quality that is actually
better than what you might
be expecting. The great thing
about it is the flexibility of the
design, with lots of different
component parts that enable
you to adapt it to suit a variety
of fitting scenarios. Ultimately
this is a car mount, but your
creative imagination might
soon have other ideas for it
such is the variety of mounting
possibilities on offer. Central
to the mounting side of things
is the suction cup, which is the
business end of an accessory
like this and in the case of the
Camtree model, that?s very
robust indeed. The makers say
it?s industrial-grade, and that
means it?s going to give you
confidence when mounting
it to the roof or wing of your
chosen vehicle. What?s more,
the accessory will hold up to 4
kilograms of camera, and that?s
ideal for many indie folks who
have that kind of kit.
VERDICT
This is a fine little accessory
that comes with everything you
need to make car-mounted
shoots less stressful. The
design features very durable
components, there?s a handy
padded case for storage while
the shock-absorbing aspect
is very appealing. Better still
is the speed of setup, so if
you?re on a shoot and time is
money then you?ll be good to
go in no time at all. You might
be sceptical of something that
costs just over 100 dollars, but
it?s a lot better than the ?value?
tag might suggest.
Price $135
Web www.proaim.com
Digital FilmMaker
101
New Kit
FILMPOWER
NEBULA 5100
FilmPower continue to develop their gimbal
collection with the new Nebula 5100 model
SEAGATE DJI FLY
DRIVE
FilmPower always draw
in the crowds when they
open their booth at the
tradeshows and it?s easy
to see why. Their pistol grip
gimbal stabiliser looks like
the business, with the Nebula
4000 Lite model attracting
praise wherever it?s unveiled.
At NAB in Las Vegas this
year the team turned up with
a new model in the shape of
this, the Nebula 5100. Again,
it?s a looker and the thought
that has gone into it, plus the
quality of the manufacturing,
makes it a potential hit with
anyone looking for smooth,
seamless handheld footage.
Believe it or not, you can
load up to 2.5 kilograms onto
this unit, and that?s pretty
impressive by anyone?s
standards. Quite how long
you?d want to carry that
sort of weight for and how
comfortable you?d be doing
it with something like a Sony
FS5 remains to be seen, but
it?s possible nonetheless. The
Nebula 5100 comes fullyloaded too, with high-torque
motors, concealed cables
to aid outdoor durability,
plus a joystick design that
allows optimum shooting
convenience. FilmPower
reckons that it?s good for
nearly ten hours thanks to
its beefy batteries, while the
360-degree rotation for all
three axes means it?s suited to
any kind of scenario.
VERDICT
There?s a lot going on inside
this natty accessory and while
there are cheaper alternatives
out there, FilmPower has
done a good job at packing
in plenty of great features
that make the extra cost
justified. There are add-on
accessories for this model
too, such as the Tactical
Expansion Pack, for just $99
that give you smartphone
capability, while anyone who
needs monitor support will
want to add in $88 for that
too. Even then, you can get a
potent accessory package for
about $1,000, which given the
feature set on show, seems
like money well spent.
Price $859
Web www.filmpower.us
102
Digital FilmMaker
Does this new drive offer the filmmaker anything
more than an exercise in co-branding?
With everyone clamouring
after more and more storage
this new collaboration
between Seagate and DJI
seems to make plenty
of sense. What the two
companies have done is to
develop a portable drive that
will be perfectly in tune with
drone enthusiasts ? by that
we mean videographers who
rapidly fill up cards and other
media with chunks of footage
when they?re out and about in
the wilds. Therefore, the Fly
Drive is an answer to that sort
of scenario, so there?s plenty
of storage obviously, in the
shape of a whopping 2TB, plus
a handy MicroSD card slot,
so that you can have the card
out of your drone and moving
content quick as you like, no
matter where you?re parked up.
With Seagate behind it the unit
is obviously well engineered,
and has also been put together
with durability firmly in mind.
It?s a decent bit of kit and
the usefulness of it is without
question. You?ll get, so they
say, some 60 hours of 4K 30fps
video on one of these beauties,
which is no mean feat. There?s
a practical USB 3.1 Type-C
interface means that data
transfers can be done safely,
securely and pretty rapidly too.
VERDICT
At around the hundred quid
mark this is a top value
purchase that will give you
extra flexibility when you?re
shooting on location. The drive
will also appeal to anyone
else who needs a beefy bit of
storage space too and with
2TB of offer then it?ll doubtless
be popular. The only downside
is that it?s a conventional disk
drive rather than the more
durable SSD unit that many
other rivals are choosing to
push as their storage tool of
choice. Still, given the price,
it?s definitely worth picking one
up.
Price �0
Web www.seagate.com
New Kit
PILOTFLY PISTOL
GRIP GIMBAL
This natty new grip is aimed at helping you
achieve super smooth footage without hassle
WOODEN CAMERA
UFF-1 FOLLOW FOCUS
Wooden Camera return with another accessory
that is sure to be a hit with filmmakers
There are oodles of different
gimbal designs out there in
the filmmaking marketplace
and choosing one can often
be a bit of a chore. However,
this new Pilotfly model has a
really appealing aspect in that
it allows you to view the rear
screen on your camera with
no obstructions. That?s a real
treat for anyone who has been
used to trying to view the
LCD while its encased in an
obtrusive gimbal. Cleverly, the
Pilotfly folks have managed to
engineer this bit of kit so that
the axis motor is moved out of
the way, which seems like a
simple enough thing to do but
has probably been a design
challenge to make happen in
reality. This is a potent little
unit too thanks to a 32-bit
controller that delivers full
360-degree rotation and
sublime stabilizing capability.
We also like the way that you
can take better control of
the movement using a 4-way
joystick, which is ideal when
certain locations demand a
more precision approach.
Piltofly reckons that the
battery is good for up to six
hours of use, which is pretty
good too, while the overall
build quality and more than
capable motors means that it
should be well-suited to any
professionals who want to
improve their kit arsenal. The
Bluetooth control option is
another highlight.
VERDICT
Pilotfly has managed to tackle
an issue that has bugged
many a filmmaker on the go
by adding a much more userfriendly shooting experience
to a set of features that make
this gimbal a real treat. For
the money, the C45 looks set
to become a hit with anyone
who wants to get the job
done swiftly and without the
guesswork involved in having
a screen obscured by the
framework of their gimbal.
With practice, the options on
offer here could transform the
way you manage your next
project.
Price $599
Web www.pilotfly.de
Wooden Camera started out
as a tiny little outfit designing
quirky accessories that
suited certain filmmakers.
Now though, the company
has grown into a business that
offers a wealth of options for
all corners of the filmmaking
marketplace. This product,
for example, is a brand new
follow focus unit that will be
useful to a wide variety of
prospective customers thanks
to its versatile design. It?s
quick and easy to setup and
use too, thanks to clamps that
let you adjust the rods you?re
using within seconds. It comes
complete with a swing arm and
also the lens gears, which can
be adjusted to allow maximum
productivity when you?re
shooting. It?s clearly been well
thought out with a hand wheel
that allows finite movement and
the whole thing will work quite
happily with the likes of the
Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro, the
RED Scarlet W and, at the lower
end of the budget scale, the
Sony A7s II. The unit will also
work with the latest Panasonic
GH5 too, so it?s a package that
should have a very long shelf
life indeed.
VERDICT
The universal follow focus
from Wooden Camera is a
really nice twist on a traditional
theme and it?s very nicely
made. It might well cost a fair
bit, but using one of these
accessories can really improve
the production values of your
shoot so it could be worth
investigating if you?re looking
to pick up more clients or
make a film that stands a
cut above the rest. If you?ve
never used a follow focus
before then give one a go so
you can see just how much
of a helping hand it gives
you in the production stakes.
Price $1,250
Web www.woodencamera.com
Digital FilmMaker
103
New Kit
DELL ULTRASHARP
27-INCH 4K HDR
A good quality monitor can transform the way
you handle your production workflow
ADATA V90
PREMIER ONE
Get more from your filmmaking activities by
ensuring that you have safe and secure storage
We?ve covered a lot of
memory cards in these pages
over the years. And, while
they continue to get smaller
in terms of physical size but
bigger when it comes to storage
capacity, reliability is always
a key aspect when it comes
to which brand to buy. Adata
Technologies are more than
ready to take on the storage
demands of users who shoot
4K like it?s going out of fashion
and have a well-established
foothold in the world of SSDs
and suchlike. Little wonder
then that the company has now
diversified into SD cards, with
the V90 Premier ONE UHS-II
SDXC looking like a very good
choice if you?re looking for
capacity and performance.
Indeed, Adata reckons that the
64GB and 128GB versions of
the card shown here will deliver
decidedly zippy read rates
of 290MB per second, with a
write speed of around 260MB
per second. The V90 in the
title presumably refers to what
Adata say is the ability to record
90MB of video every second,
and they think that is more
than a match for most people
104
Digital FilmMaker
out there who shoot everything
from 4K through to 360-degree
footage.
VERDICT
Most card companies these
days offer all of the obvious
features and Adata?s new range
of cards is no different. They?re
waterproof, shockproof and
X-ray proof, but above all that
the performance of these new
cards looks to be very tempting
indeed. While the brand might
not be as instantly recognisable
as, say, Lexar or SanDisk,
there?s no disputing that the
read and write speeds make for
impressive reading. So, perhaps
it?s time you tried a different
route for your recording needs
because early reports suggest
these cards are not only speedy,
but they?re pretty hardy too.
Price BC
Web www.adata.com
Dell is well-known the world
over for its PCs but less so
for its monitors even though
they sit on many an office
desk around the globe. The
Dell UltraSharp 27-inch 4K HDR
Monitor, on the other hand,
has been designed with a very
different kind of customer in
mind, with a hulking design
that offers up plenty of screen
acreage via 10-bit UHD. That
delivers a very respectable 1,000
nits and offers HDR capability
too, so it?s therefore being
targeted at folks in the creative
industries. Nestled in amongst
those are, naturally, filmmakers,
and also post-production bods
too. In fact, if you spend any
degree of workflow time in front
of a monitor trying to wrangle
footage into good shape then
the Dell might be one to look
at. The specs are certainly very
tidy, with 100% Adobe RGB
and sRGB coverage plus 100%
REC 709, 97.7% DCI-P3 and
76.9% REC2020 according to
the manufacturer. The latter
consideration, says Dell, allows
for much better results in the
dark and bright areas of your
work and the designers behind
this have video editors firmly
in their sights on those points
alone.
VERDICT
Dell really has upped its game
with this monitor ? there are
a couple of other newbies in
the rage too ? all of which will
appeal to production people.
What you get is a factory
calibrated bit of kit that, whilst
it isn?t bargain-basement, does
come with a solid specification
and a build quality that
suggests it?ll be good for a few
years? service. When you?re
looking for a bit of kit that?s
going to pay its way then this
Dell should happily do that,
and to look at alone, it?s a far
cry from those dull boxes that
sit in offices round the world.
Price �800
Web www.dell.co.uk
New Kit
NIKON
D7500
Nikon unveils another DSLR but does it pack
enough of a punch to appeal to filmmakers?
Nikon has never been the
go-to brand for anyone
looking to do filmmaking,
but the company continues
to enjoy loyalty from stills
photographers. Nevertheless,
the Japanese outfit have been
doing all they can to entice
people to move over and
give the shooting potential
of their current range a
go. The D7500 is, on face
value at least, just another
Nikon with little in the looks
department to make it stand
out from the other models.
Still, it?s got some decent
enough credentials, with a
DX-format 20.9-megapixel
sensor, the well-respected
Expeed 5 image-processing
engine that has helped other
models like the D500 gain
plaudits, and there?s also
a sizeable ISO range from
100 to 51,200. Nikon might
claim that it offers potent
4K UHD video capability,
plus timelapse functionality
too, but there?s nothing
particularly groundbreaking
going on here really. We
like the 3-axis e-VR image
stabilization feature though,
which works well during 1080p
Full HD video work. Nikon
has also built-in plenty of
what you need ? and expect
? from a modern camera, so
there?s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a
headphone and microphone
jack and files can be saved
as MOV and MP4. You can
even plumb in an external
recorder via HDMI to make
your filmmaking kit complete,
while the touchscreen and
user-friendly Nikon menu
system works a treat. So, it?s
got plenty to make it a likeable
proposition even if the camera
itself leaves you feeling a tad
underwhelmed.
VERDICT
Nikon fans who want to stay
loyal to the brand might like
the appeal of this new model
and it?s certainly got a decent
meat ?n? potatoes specification.
However, with other camera
options out there, such
as models from Sony and
Panny?s GH5 oozing a lot more
credibility and being better
cameras for filmmakers into
the bargain, it?s hard to see
the humble D7500 setting the
world on fire. Nevertheless, if
you love a Nikon then there is
plenty here to keep you happy
if not very stimulated.
Price �000
Web www.nikon.co.uk
ACER PREDATOR
X27
MONITOR
This new monitor from Acer aims to offer better
performance and superb picture quality
Acer recently unveiled a raft
of new products, with one of
the more relevant ones to this
magazine being the sizeable
Predator X27 Monitor. Which
could be useful if you?re an
editor looking for a capacious
screen to get those jobs
done. It might have its roots in
gaming but the specification
makes it a real possible
purchase if you need lots of
power and a crisp and clear
image. The display itself is a
10-bit 4K with an impressive
3840 x 2160 resolution,
along with 4:2:2 Chroma
subsampling, HDR, super wide
colour gamut and a simillrly
impressive 144Hz refresh rate.
The unit also packs a neat line
in LED backlighting while in
terms of positioning to ensure
an enjoyable workflow, there
are 178-degree horizontal
and vertical viewing angles
on offer. Perhaps the most
impressive feature though,
particularly if you?re looking
for quality, is the quantum dot
technology behind the screen.
This, says Acer, promises to
deliver deeper blacks and a
much better overall colour
reproduction. That said, you?ll
need a beefy 10-series Nvidia
graphics card to make this
work to its optimum levels and
on top of that the Predator
X27 Monitor is likely to be very
costly to buy in the first place.
VERDICT
While it might be more
specifically aimed at the
gaming fraternity, this Acer
monitor might actually be
ideal for editing work during
post-production. It?s nicely
screwed together, comes
with plenty of muscle in the
specification department and
delivers robust performance
for anything that?s memory
hungry. Granted, Acer might
not be a normal consideration
for editors, but in the case
of the Predator X27, all that
could just be about to change.
Price BC
Web www.acer.co.uk
Digital FilmMaker
105
KIT
DAVINCI RESOLVE MICRO PANEL WORTH
OVER
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WIN A BLACKMAGIC DESIGN
Speed up your workflow
The DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel is a high
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three high resolution trackballs and 12 precision
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essential primary colour correction tools. Above
the center trackball are keys for switching
between log and offset colour correction, as well
as a key to display DaVinci Resolve?s full screen
viewer, which is great for use with laptops.
Dedicated keys
Eighteen dedicated keys on the right side also
give you access to the most commonly used
grading features and playback controls.
Portable solution
DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel is perfect for
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Fast and efficient
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All-round appeal
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trucks, great for education and much more!
How to win
Simply send an email with the title ?BMD? to the
editor - robclymo@digpe.com - with proof of
purchase following your download of this issue and
we will pick one winner at random. The competition
closes on the 21st of June, 2017
Competition closes on
June 21st, 2016
Find out more at
www.blackmagicdesign.com
Next issue
44
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What?s
hot?
The Nice Guys
The team singles out current
and forthcoming indie movies
plus documentaries that are
creating a buzz!
Breaking a Monster
The Shallows
Set against the backdrop of 1977 Los Angeles,
two private investigators are hired to uncover
the truth behind the alleged suicide of a fading
adult film star. But
hippies, strippers, drug
lords and a government
conspiracy all try to
impede their mission.
This film tells the story of the unexpected and
astronomical success of a teenage rock band.
A success that transcends their childhood and
puts them to the test as
they try to adapt to the
new found success they
have always dreamed
about.
When a great white shark strays into shallow
waters off the shore of a secluded Australian
beach, a young surfer fights for survival as she
tries to make her way
safely back to dry land,
which lies only 200 yards
away. Survival horror at
its best.
Director
Shane Black
UK Release
June 2016
Language
English
Duration
116 minutes
UK Certification
15
Director
Luke Meyer
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
92 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Directors Jaume Collet-Serra
UK Release August 2016
Language
English
Duration
90 minutes
UK Certification
PG-13
Turbo Kid
Sing Street
Set in an alternate 1997 where the world has
become a barren wasteland, a comic book
fanatic takes on the persona of his favourite
character and battles
an evil overlord in this
homage to the low
budget futuristic flicks of
the 1980s.
Set in Dublin in the 1985, Sing Street is the tale
of a young musician who suffers a troubled
home life, and in an attempt to escape this sad
existence, he begins
a rock and roll band,
attracting the attention
of an aspiring model in
the process.
Director Fran鏾is Simard
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
93 minutes
UK Certification
15
Director
John Carney
UK Release
May 2016
Language
English
Duration
106 minutes
UK Certification
12A
Destined
A story of two parallel worlds and one man
who lives out two lives; one as a successful
business man, the other as a criminal of a
drug-fuelled underworld.
Destined explores how
one man?s future can
be changed by a single
moment.
Director
Qasim Basir
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
95 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Swiss Army Man
Take Me to The River
A gay Californian teenager plans to come out
at his family reunion in Nebraska. His intentions
are put on hold when his attention is drawn to a
bloodstain on his young
cousin?s dress, which
leads him to unwittingly
suspect she is being
abused by the family.
Director
Matt Sobel
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
84 minutes
UK Certification
15
Buzzard
A young man is shipwrecked, stranded in the
wilderness and desperate for help. Just as he
attempts to take his own life, he befriends a
dead body with bizarre,
grim powers. Together
they embark on a surreal
journey in an attempt to
get home.
A bored office employee by he name of Marty
sets out to steal from the bank he works for
by cashing dozens of refund cheques, whilst
living on the streets. But
when his grand plans
begin to fail, his world
spirals into paranoia and
violence.
Directors D.Kwan, D. Scheinert
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
95 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Director
Joel Potrykus
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
97 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Digital FilmMaker
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111
26/06/2016 19:21
Orthodox
Dough
An old Jewish baker struggles to keep his
small business afloat when sales dramatically
begin to fall. But when his young apprentice
intentionally drops
cannabis into the dough
mix, business starts to
boom again in this fun
British comedy.
A boy victimised in his neighbourhood for this
religious beliefs takes up boxing as a means
of self-defence. His involvement in unlicensed
fights alienates him
from his beloved Jewish
community, and the
criminal life that comes
with it lands him in jail.
Director John Goldschmidt
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
94 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Creative Control
Director
David Leon
UK Release February 2016
Language
English
Duration
98 minutes
UK Certification
18
Fraud
This film is based in a future version of
New York City, where a yuppy marketing
professional uses a new augmented reality
technology - enabling
people to immerse
themselves in alternative
realities - to pursue a
taboo relationship.
A found-footage-style film in which a family try
desperately to live the high life, but in truth, are
drowning in debt. Out of sheer desperation,
they turn crime to fund
their pretentious life. The
director initially claims to
have stumbled across
the footage on YouTube.
Director Benjamin Dickinson
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
97 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Director Dean Fleischer-Camp
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
52 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Green Room
An American punk rock band are witnesses
to a violent murder in a music venue run by
white supremacists. They are forced to fight for
their own lives, coming
face-to-face with the
murderers, who are
intent on covering up
their crime.
Pandemic
An unidentified disease that has swept across
the planet in the near future has claimed the
majority of the population. The film follows our
protagonist, Lauren,
who leads a party of
four doctors to unearth
the truth behind the
outbreak.
Director Jeremy Saulnier
UK Release
May 2016
Language
English
Duration
94 minutes
UK Certification
18
Hotel Dallas
This documentary begins in the late 1980s, when
the country of Romania was shown the TV series,
Dallas, for the first time. It was so popular in the
eastern bloc country, that
a Dallas-themed hotel was
built, where guests could
play out the fantasy of
living in 1980s America.
Director S.Huang, L.Ungur
UK Release
2016
Language Romanian, English
Duration
74 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
112
Director
John Suits
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
91 minutes
UK Certification
18
Intruders
Short Stay
Daringly shot on 35mm film, Short Stay tells
the story of Mike, who seeks to change his
mundane life and heads to Philadelphia, where
friends, colleagues, and
potential love interests
prove that the grass isn?t
always greener on the
other side.
Director
Ted Fendt
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
62 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Tale of Tales
An anthology of three twisted tales, all set in
the same macabre world. A world filled with
mythological beasts and tyrannical kings. From
a queen?s bitter quest, to
two sirens who seek the
passion of a king, to a
man?s obsession with a
giant flea.
Director Matteo Garrone
UK Release
June 2016
Language
English
Duration
133 minutes
UK Certification
15
High-Rise
A man moves into a newly designed, futuristic
building, home to only the wealthiest of society.
He soon finds that his new life is controlled by
a secret society from
the stories above. A
black comedy about the
absurdities of wealth and
social classification.
Director
Ben Wheatley
UK Release March 2016
Language
English
Duration
119 minutes
UK Certification
15
Backgammon
After her brother?s passing, Anna inherits all of
his money, but when word gets out, thugs enter
her home with the intention of stealing the cash.
Anna cannot flee because
of her acute agoraphobia.
But agoraphobia isn?t her
only psychosis. A thriller
with a twist.
After a house party is broken up after an argument,
two remaining revellers find their feelings for
one another may be more than platonic. Soon
noises are heard from the
darkest corners of the
house. Could one of the
angered guests be hiding,
waiting to seek revenge?
Directors Adam Schindler
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
90 minutes
UK Certification
15
Director Francisco Orva馻nos
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
89 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Digital FilmMaker
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26/06/2016 19:21
No Home Movie
An experimental documentary, No Home
Movie follows the life of the filmmaker?s aging
mother as she goes about her life in Belgium,
often frustrated and
only interacting with her
daughter via the internet
as she travels the world.
Directors Chantal Akerman
UK Release
June 2016
Language English, French
Duration
115 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Knight of Cups
Knight of Cups tells the story of the slow
deterioration of Los Angeles womaniser, Rick,
who lives off the memories of a past care-free
life in Las Vegas - a life
that he still longs for
- whilst undertaking a
series of love affairs with
six different women.
Directors Terrence Malick
UK Release
May 2016
Language
English
Duration
118 minutes
UK Certification
15
Almost Holy
A documentary in which self proclaimed
superhero and maverick clergyman, Gennadiy
Mokhnenko, acts as father figure and lawman
to a drug and povertystricken neighbourhood in
Ukraine. Helping as many
as he can, but using
controversial methods.
Director
Steve Hoover
UK Release
June 2016
Language
English
Duration
100 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
No Men Beyond This Point Borealis
This comedy documentary-style film looks at
an alternative world in which men have become
obsolete. In fact no male has been born since
the 1970s. 37 year old
Andrew Myers is now the
youngest man on earth,
in a battle to keep men
from going extinct.
Directors
Mark Sawers
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
80 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Miles Ahead
Jonah, an addicted gambler, and a man who
has made a series of life-changing mistakes,
takes his teenage daughter on a dangerous
road trip to Churchill in
Canada to show her the
Northern Lights before
a disease renders her
completely blind.
Director
Sean Garrity
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
95 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Demolition
A biographical feature about the life and music
of jazz musician, Miles Davis, focusing on his
mission to retrieve a session tape stolen by
greedy music producers.
The film?s finale is a
reenactment of his final
performance in 1991,
shortly before his death.
An investment banker struggles to cope on his
own after he loses his wife in a sudden accident.
As his situation worsens and his life spirals,
he finds friendship and
solace in the unlikely form
of a customer service
rep of a vending machine
company.
Director
Don Cheadle
UK Release
April 2016
Language
English
Duration
100 minutes
UK Certification
15
Directors Jean-Marc Vall閑
UK Release
April 2016
Language
English
Duration
100 minutes
UK Certification
15
Hello, My Name is Doris 3rd Street Blackout
Doris has been inspired by a recent self-help
seminar. The 60-year-old Staten Island woman,
in the wake of her mother?s death, pursues an
unlikely courtship with her
much younger co-worker,
John. A bittersweet tale
of loneliness and the
acceptance of aging.
Director Michael Showalter
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
95 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
During a New York black-out, a couple
are forced to concentrate on their flawed
relationship, rather than the technology around
them that has always
been a constant
distraction. As they
become closer, secrets
are revealed.
Director N.Farsad, J.Redleaf
UK Release
2016
Language
English
Duration
87 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Soy Nero
Closet Monster
Nero, a Mexican deported from the US,
returns to his spiritual home illegally in search
of his true identity. In an attempt to legally gain
US citizenship, he joins
the US Army as a Green
Card Soldier, but finds
himself fighting his own
battle in order to stay.
Set in the 1990s, this film follows Oscar, a
young tortured genius, desperate to move
away from his small hometown and the awful
memories of the troubled
childhood he suffered.
An often psychedelic
coming-of-age film with
a twist.
A Thailand nurse cares for local soldiers who
have been struck down with a mysterious illness,
bringing with it a coma-like state. Her long days
are spent discussing
their ailments with other
nurses, but the arrival of
an American soldier sees
a new relationship bloom.
Director
Rafi Pitts
UK Release
2016
Language English, Spanish
Duration
117 minutes
UK Certification
TBC
Director
Stephen Dunn
UK Release March 2016
Language
English
Duration
90 minutes
UK Certification
15
Directors A.Weerasethakul
UK Release
June 2016
Language
Thai
Duration
122 minutes
UK Certification
12
Cemetery of Splendour
Digital FilmMaker
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113
26/06/2016 19:22
best of
the rest...
A Birder?s Guide...
Despite his father?s constant pleas, a birdwatching obsessed teenager and his friends
steal a car and take to the open road in pursuit
of an extinct duck, the day
before his father weds the
nurse of his late mother.
Director
Year
Language
Duration
UK Certification
Rob Meyer
2013
English
86 minutes
12
The Road Within
After the death of his mother, young Vincent who
suffers with tourettes, is left with his estranged
father. But his right-wing father is running for
political office and doesn?t
want Vincent ruining his
chances on the campaign trail.
Director
Year
Language
Duration
UK Certification
A young man with Asperger?s syndrome,
struggles to cope with the death of his brother.
With his parents in denial and unable to deal
with the loss themselves, a
new group of friends come to
the rescue.
Quentin Lee
2012
English
93 minutes
12
A sex addict becomes disillusioned with his
playboy lifestyle, preferring the false intimacy
he experiences whilst watching pornography.
But his attitude towards
sex changes when two very
different women enter his life.
After visiting an ATM cash machine in the
dead of night, three friends find themselves
in a desperate fight for their lives when they
become trapped in a
small kiosk by a potential
murderer.
Director
David Brooks
Year
2012
Language
English
Duration
90 minutes
UK Certification
15
A group of teenagers with varying sexual
orientations join an after-school club to reveal
their most intimate secrets in confidence, but
will their stories be revealed
to the peers they are trying to
hide the truth from?
Director
Year
Language
Duration
UK Certification
An unlikely romance blossoms between an avid
thirty-something toy collector and black sheep
of his family, and a damaged, self-loathing
woman, still raw from her
recently failed long-term
relationship.
Gary Entin
2012
English
84 minutes
12
Dear White People
A long-waging culture war comes to a
head between black and white students
at a predominantly white school when the
college radio station begins
a controversial debate
regarding cultural differences.
Directors Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Year
2013
Language
English
Duration
90 minutes
UK Certification
18
Dark Horse
ATM
Geography Club
Gren Wells
2014
English
100 minutes
18
Don Jon
White Frog
Director
Year
Language
Duration
Certification
Releases by inspirational
filmmakers that may have
passed you by
Director
Justin Simien
Year
2014
Language
English
Duration
108 minutes
UK Certification
15
Whiplash
An ambitious young jazz drummer, desperate
for fame, suffers under the tutelage of his
ruthless new teacher. Known for his savage
methods, he pushes the
musician to the brink of his
ability and his sanity.
Director
Damien Chazelle
Year
2015
Language
English
Duration
107 minutes
UK Certification
15
Director
Todd Solondz
Year
2011
Language
English
Duration
85 minutes
UK Certification
15
Keeping Rosy
Listen Up Philip
When Charlotte?s once-promising life
disintegrates, and she fails to gain respect from
the media agency she once worked so hard
to create, she sets out on a
journey of redemption and
danger.
Hits
A troubled author, reluctant to publicise his
latest book, is pushed out of his troublesome
neighbourhood and takes up residence at
the home of his literary idol,
where finds peace and quiet
and time to reflect on his life.
A talentless teenager from Upstate New York
believes she has what it takes to succeed in
the music business, and with the help of her
loud-mouthed father, will do
almost anything to get on to a
televised talent show.
Director
Steve Reeves
Year
2014
Language
English
Duration
93 minutes
UK Certification
15
114
Director
Alex Ross Perry
Year
2015
Language
English
Duration
108 minutes
UK Certification
15
Director
Year
Language
Duration
Certification
David Cross
2014
English
96 minutes
R (Region 1 only)
Digital FilmMaker
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26/06/2016 19:22
WIN!
WORTH
OVER
�0!
LEXAR
MEMORY
CARDS
Professional media
Lexar has just unveiled the new industry-leading
512GB Professional 3500x CFast 2.0 Card. The
doubled capacity allows cinematographers,
filmmakers and content creators to capture
highest-quality 4K video and beyond.
Endless storage
To help celebrate the launch of this new card
Lexar is giving away a 64GB CF card or a 64GB
SD card, plus reader, for one reader each issue.
Key features of the new card
n 512GB Lexar Professional 3500x CFast
2.0 card provides read transfer speeds up to
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n Captures highest-quality 4K video and beyond
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n Also coming soon is the 512GB Lexar
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ARRI� cameras.
How to win!
Simply email the editor - robclymo@digpe.com with proof of purchase following your download of
this issue and we will pick one winner at random.
The competition closes on the 21st of June, 2017.
Find out more at
www.lexar.com
part time job, it resulted in an
amazing portfolio of films, and a
severe lack of sleep, but that is
why I love this industry. It was a
brilliant experience, and it ended
up with me being able to direct
Production duties
I?ve quickly established myself
as a producer, more so than a
director, I?ll begrudgingly admit.
I like being in control, and being
able to be involved in all areas of
a film production. As a person,
I?m a natural busy body. I don?t
The student perspective
do too well having nothing to
occupy me for a long period of
time, and I?m happiest when
I have something to work for
and am surrounded by people.
So, this is why the film industry
?At Ravensbourne
you are a part of
the industry from
the very first step
that you take?
is what I live for. I grew up
watching films with my parents
and friends, and I?ve always
loved how a film can make me
feel and question things. I?ll
never get over the feeling of
amazement, watching credits roll
in a darkened cinema, hearing
a sweeping score, and thinking
?This. This is how I want to make
people feel.?
Next steps
Right now, I?m working on my
graduate films and my major
project is a heartwarming
drama, which I hope to get into
film festivals. We?ve got a killer
cast, including Clive Russell
from Game of Thrones. I?m just
so excited to get started. I?m
working in various other roles
on my other graduate films,
either producing or in the art
department. Am I scared about
going into the working world of
the industry? Sure, it?s daunting
after having spent over a decade
in education. However, that is
the thing about Ravensbourne,
you are a part of the industry
from the very first day you step
into that building. It?s given me
the absolute best start and skills
I could have ever asked for, and
I have every confidence in myself
that I will find my way in the
years to come!
Challenging moves
It?s come with difficulties, but
what is life without them? You
need trials and tribulations in
order to grow and improve.
Ideally, I?d love the opportunity
to work on some features, or
for an established production
company, either as an assistant
director, assistant producer or
within the art department. I never
want to stop telling stories. I
hope that some of the work from
my graduate year can go into the
higher tier festivals as that would
be a dream come true for me.
My friends laugh when I say I?d
like to have a BAFTA nomination
under my belt by the time I?m
30, and yeah sure, I know that
sounds crazy. But, if you don?t
ever go for it, you?ll never get
it! In the end, I had a rocky
start, and the journey through
education hasn?t been easy, but
Ravensbourne has given me the
best kickstart into the industry.
I?m so proud to have been a part
of such a growing institution. I
fully believe that if you want to
be a filmmaker, Ravensbourne is
definitely the place to go! n
Digital FilmMaker
89
Next issue
41
HARDWARE ADVICE
The DFM team offers up essential
advice on getting started and takes a
look at some of the best kit currently
available for filmmaking
92
New kit
99
Interview
with a pro
Digital FilmMaker
91
with a Pro
Interview
Sales and Marketing Manager Tony Papa discusses
the history of ProMediaGear and how a practical
modular workflow can seamlessly fit with today?s
photographers and videographers
92
Digital FilmMaker
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
ProMediaGear is a growing
family owned company
created by three brothers
Tom, Matt and Dariusz
Fudala, who each received
engineering degrees from
the University of Illinois in
Chicago. PMG designs and
manufactures products in
the United States using the
finest materials and machining
capabilities with the highest
attention to detail.
The history
Matt and Tom have over 25
years of photography and
videography experience and
have provided services for
multiple private customers,
corporations, local businesses
and stock image sites. Their
passion for flawless engineering
and functional design skills
translate into the products we
see today. With an MBA in
Business, Dariusz meticulously
designs and tests prototype
equipment. Using his strict
business acumen and keen
eye, he holds a tight grip on
the company making sure
PMG meets and exceeds its
milestones and deadlines.
In a flash
And, to think, it all started out
with a simple flash bracket.
Tom and Matt always wanted a
great flash bracket to eliminate
shadows while shooting events
and weddings. They couldn?t
find a bracket that fit all their
needs. Reasonably enough,
?With an MBA in
Business, Dariusz
meticulously
designs and tests
prototypes?
they wanted a bracket that
wouldn?t twist, or become loose
while shooting and also be
lightweight and comfortable to
use for 12-16 hours at a time.
It just so happened that at that
time Matt and Dariusz started a
successful machine shop. The
Digital FilmMaker
93
machine shop provided the tools
necessary to build what Tom and
Matt had always dreamed of. With
great interest from friends, family
and local photographers alike,
this was an awesome time and
opportunity to mass market their
ideas.
Quality products
If professional videography or
photography is your passion, then
you know that when you make
an investment in new equipment
then it needs to perform well in
?We believe it?s
better to have an
itemized vision
of what gear is
necessary?
the field. In 2009, ProMediaGear
was established to take on these
challenges and provide the
industry with fresh new gear, bold
designs, unsurpassed quality and
iconic products.
Modular solutions
In a real world scenario many
videographers and photographers
are going on location to shoot.
The question arises? What
equipment do I require to get
the job done right and what am
I actually capable of carrying to
my production location on this
budget? The first answer that
pops into your head is that you
require or desire everything for
94
Digital FilmMaker
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
every situation. Not to mention
the kitchen sink from the studio
or rental house, until you quickly
realize you can?t possibly carry or
afford all of the gadgets on your
wishlist. Adding to this quandary
is the very familiar scenario
whereby you over pack with all
manner of kit and never even pull
out this ?must have? equipment.
We believe it?s better to have an
itemized vision of what gear is
necessary and pair it with quality
accessories to make the job
easier and create a less stressful
workflow.
frequently and at a higher rate of
success. PMG has designed
many creative, lightweight,
functional and compact
accessories that allow
you to utilize the quality
gear you own in a way that
fits your shooting style and can
enhance your capabilities. Many of
our PMG products were designed
to fit seamlessly into your
production workflow and allow
your creativity to thrive and leave
you not even having to think about
the gear itself.
Careful planning
In the last 10 years?, portable flash
power packs have shrunk and
allowed for convenient travel into
remote locations thereby providing
much higher quality photography
and videography set-ups. LED
technology has also improved
with incredibly high CRI, longer
battery life and many feature
Having a precise, controlled,
repeatable product is vitally
important in today?s world of
photography and film production
and makes you stand out as a
professional. If your equipment
becomes second nature to you,
it?s more likely to be used more
Portable power
variable brightness and colour
rendering features on offer. On a
hybrid shoot recently I grabbed
the Elinchrom ELB400 portable
battery pack and began scouting
my location by slinging it over my
shoulder. However, as I walked
down the path it painfully bounced
?Having a precise,
controlled,
repeatable product
is vitally important in
today?s world?
around a bit more than my liking
and forced me to get with the
team for a better carrying solution.
Being a smaller battery size I was
able to throw it into my Think Tank
Backpack, which helped a ton to
get me to my location. I couldn?t
have done that even just a few
short years ago! I liked the overall
Digital FilmMaker
95
adult-sized hands to quickly grab
the pack securely. It features
a 5/8? Light Spigot holder that
mounts to four mounting spaces
on the pack. The adapter instantly
gives you the ability to mount your
head onto the pack for convenient
carry access, add an instant kicker
background light stand, or a useful
storage solution. On the side of the
cage, PMG offers many accessory
options by placing multiple �-20
threaded adapter holes. The
size/weight/
power ratio of the
complete system.
Location challenge
Once on location I?m always fearful
of where to put the pack down.
Dirt and moisture terrify me. Do I
gently hang the strap over the light
stand and hope it doesn?t slip and
break or do I test the manufactures
recommended ?dust and water
resistant? claim in the field with
no backup nearby?! I can?t afford
a failure in the field. Like many
professionals, time is money,
and in some cases, in those very
remote locations for example, it?s
often a ?1 take? opportunity. Our
team of engineers, mad scientists
and professionals laboured over a
rigid high-grade aluminium cage
that had to accommodate many
functions. It would have to fit the
sleek Swiss
styling of
the Elinchrom
ELB400,
complement the pack, add as
little weight as possible, connect
with ease and also provide
field necessary functionality.
As a result, the ProMediaGear
BLELB400 Aluminum Cage was
born.
Perfect package
The cage slides quickly over
the top of the ELB400 packs
outer soft plastic gasket. With
two simple machined pivots, the
cage is anchored into the original
Elinchrom strap eyelet holes. We
replaced the strap connection area
with a similar loop, so you can still
carry the unit using the supplied
Elinchrom Strap. The cage offers
two handles large enough for
?The top of the
Boomerang is
designed to mount
many optional
accessories?
two most useful accessories are
the BLH1 and BLH2 light stand
adapters. The BLH2 mounts
directly to any tube or stand
19mm-42mm in diameter. The
adapter features a �-20 threaded
screw with knurled knob that
quickly and rigidly locks onto the
pack and stand. This will allow
you to mount the pack firmly to a
monopod and create a lollypop
style apparatus that is strong and
locked down. Another option is to
mount the pack onto a light stand
to keep the unit off the elements
and also keep it secure. When you
want to grab and adjust the light or
quickly move to a new location the
unit will not fall off. This makes it
great for moving the light and pack
from shot to shot.
Smart thinking
The cage for me and many other
photographers is a welcomed
accessory that follows form and
function principals. It will help
you in the field tremendously.
Meanwhile, the most useful
accessory in our modular system
paired with the Elinchrom cage
is our Boomerang Modular Flash
Bracket. Our award-winning
Boomerang Flash Bracket, BBX/
BBGv2 is a modular, machined
aluminium
96
Digital FilmMaker
flash bracket with locking detent
pins that allows the flash head
to be positioned in two optimal
shooting angles. This will assist
in eliminating red eye as well as
quickly adjusting from vertical to
horizontal positions and creating
proper shadows by keeping the
flash above the lens at all times.
The top of the Boomerang is
designed to mount many optional
accessories from Speed Lights
to Portable Strobes, such as
the Profoto B2 or Elinchrom
ELB400. To mount the Elinchrom
light head, you only require one
additional accessory mount, the
BLSA 5/8? adapter with built in
anti-rotation. This will get screwed
onto the Boomerang bracket plate
and allow the larger light to get
mounted directly on top. For more
flexibility, to get the light higher
and also use a small light modifier
we have designed a 5? riser,
BLSA5A (Aluminum) and BLSA5S
(Stainless Steel). These adapters
are rigid, sturdy machined
components.
Adapter range
Finally, to round out the adapters
we offer, we recommend one of
our two rosettes, BLS1 and BLS2.
The machined rosettes allow you
to mount the 5/8 adapter of your
choice to the top and let you enjoy
the convenience
of
rocking the
weight
back over
the centre
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
balancing point of your camera.
This greatly lessens finger fatigue
during a long shoot. Offsetting
the weight just a few inches
makes a tremendous difference
when shooting something like
a wedding, or long running
event. The BLS1 offers a rigid
rosette that requires some initial
assembly. The BLS2 offers a
quick knurled knob that allows
the 5/8 accessory, cold shoe or
other item to be mounted without
taking the unit apart. The strobe
system can quickly be converted
from a standalone light stand
unit using a wireless transmitter
?The integrated
adapters turn the
accessory into a
perfect, portable
carry solution?
to the top of our Boomerang
flash bracket in seconds. When
using the Boomerang with the
Elinchrom system, PMG also
manufactures and recommends
a belt holster, the SH1. The
holster will allow you to swap the
power pack between your stand
mount with the BLH1 to your
body quickly and easily. You can
balance the weight of the pack to
your side or back, depending on
where on your belt you decide.
The integrated �- 20 adapters
and sphere-shaped carry solution
turn the accessory into a run-
and-gun rig and that is a perfect,
portable carry solution.
Modular systems
Our entire Boomerang system
Digital FilmMaker
97
Interview with a pro: ProMediaGear
with its modular technology was
very well designed and built
around the Arca-Type standard
plate system. If you are able to
take a tripod or monopod with you
into the field you can conveniently
place the entire flash bracket onto
your Arca-Type ball head too! We
even make a C60 clamp to retrofit
other style of pods on the market
today into Arca-standard. If you?re
?If you are
producing a more
video-centric
piece, we offer a
full line of cages?
shooting video then you may also
decide to install our HB70 Quick
Release Handle to the bracket
plate. It attaches directly with a
thumb screw in under 20 seconds!
It?ll allow you to instantly create a
98
Digital FilmMaker
more stable shot. The top of the
han
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