Philip Bloom http://philipbloom.net Filmmaker, DP, Director Sun, 19 Apr 2015 05:07:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Rhyolite Ghost Town – flying and filming with the new Phantom P3 http://philipbloom.net/2015/04/19/rhyolite/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/04/19/rhyolite/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 04:03:20 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33667 prize-pool

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ETHICS STATEMENT:

This is not a review of the new DJI Phantom P3 nor will I be doing one. I was hired by DJI earlier this month to talk about my experience flying with the P2 & Inspire 1 at the launch event for the P3 in New York. So naturally it’s ethically unsound to have a review be me. I am sure many people who aren’t in the same situation who will do one. What I am sharing here is my 1st edit of some P3 filming I did after NAB, what I love about drones in general, some brief thoughts on the P3 over the P2 (remember not a review so please take this into account) and a little look comparing it to my favourite drone, the Inspire One.

There are purchases links for the P3 via B&H in this post. Using these gives me a small affiliate percentage which costs you nothing but helps in a small way to keep the site going, but please don’t buy based on my words alone here…seek out other opinions first!

The photos of the Rhyolite shoot are taken with the Pentax 645z medium format camera and were taken by myself or Chloe Baxter.

Thank you and happy flying!

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Both the models of the P3 have integrated cameras. The professional one is up to 4k 30p and the advanced is up to 1080p 60p. You cannot use a gopro or any other camera with the Phantom 3.

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Battery life is around 24 minutes. That’s under ideal conditions. When battling the wind that drops substantially. These are different batteries to the P2 ones and have four cells rather than 3 so are more powerful. It just means you have to buy new batts if like me you have a few P2 batts you were hoping to use with this.

Filming with the Inspire 1 for CNN's The Wonder List in Vanuatu. One of the rare times I have been able to use drones on commercial gigs.

Filming with the Inspire 1 for CNN’s The Wonder List in Vanuatu. One of the rare times I have been able to use drones on commercial gigs.

I am not a professional aerial cinematographer. It’s a tiny part of my work…really tiny. Very little of what I film is done flying. I “dabble” really, I have basic skills but I am always trying to improve upon them. By luck I managed to win best travel/ landscape film at the New York Drone Film Festival with my little film I shot on holiday in Thailand last May. Very flattering to win for sure of course!

Flying drones is a joy and if I can use them in my work, legality permitting, I will if I feel it can add something and not get in the way. Like most speciality gear, moderation is key. I haven’t put out an entirely drone shot piece of work since that Thailand film. This is the first thing since really, not really comparable and it’s only because it’s new and I am testing it out.

For me, these tools are ether greatest advancement in filming in years. So freeing, able to achieve movements in shots that would be impossible any other way or incredibly expensive and difficult. Also the ability to get angles which would also not be possible is a huge reason why I adore these.

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Taking a 360 degree photo with the Richo Theta camera in my hand

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA



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The impossible dolly shot, the jib shot that never ends…just wonderful tools. There are many downsides which were covered in a series of posts on my site a year ago which I thoroughly recommend checking out if you are looking to get into this, either professionally or just for fun.

It’s only been just over a year since I flew my fist Phantom and it was a learning curve. It’s easy to buy one of these and zip them up into the air stupidly high then go really fast in a direction. Of course that is a recipe for disaster. I have had my fair share of crashes with drones and lost one for good early one in the Atlantic when I descended too rapidly. The thing is you learn from these things…hopefully!

After that I practiced in the desert a year ago in Nevada so the controls would become instinctive. You need to do that. Things have also progressed a hell of a lot in a short time. From a hash together of 3rd party components to get an image and data from the drone to me…stuff like Lightbridge came along which gave a stunning clear digital feed and so much telemetry info,  but was very expensive. Then it was integrated into the Inspire 1 which also gave fantastic stability in wind the Phantom couldn’t fly in, dual control, 360 ability as the landing gear raised, removable camera, ability to fly indoors without GPS and be controlled due to sensors facing down clean HDMI out of the controller, full manual control of the camera from the same controller…just a total joy. Now DJI have put a lot of that into the P3.

Filming in Thailand with the Phantom 2

Filming in Thailand with the Phantom 2

This is what I used to use - Phantom 2 with ZenMuse 2 axis gimbal and GoPro hero 3+

This is what I used to use – Phantom 2 with ZenMuse 2 axis gimbal and GoPro hero 3+

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The camera I believe is the same one in the Inspire 1. This will make many question why get that more expensive craft then. If you don’t use dual controllers then there is a still a big difference. That stability is incredible and I missed it enormously when going back to a Phantom to fly. Phantoms are great in mild conditions but I love to do intricate moves and if that wind is howling a gale forget it! It’s hard enough flying it, let along trying to fly through stuff! Plus the clean full HD HDMI, removable camera, raised landing gears so the camera sits lower meaning no props in shot. There are lots of big plusses to the Inspire 1 still.

One of the best things to come across is the much much better controller. Being able to change camera settings like a DSLR on it is a joy, as it the gimbal tilt. So smooth. A world away from the plastic flimsiness of the P2 controller gimbal tilt.

It’s just the P3 is so damn cheap. $1,259 for the 4K version with all the toys? That’s amazingly cheap.

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Many will bemoan the loss of compatibility with GoPros. I totally get that. The GoPro Hero 4 is a gorgeous camera and I do love that ProTune. The P3 and Inspire 1 have a log mode but it’s not quite ProTune, hopefully things will improve on that front. It’s a pretty terrific little camera in the P3 though as you can see from my stuff I am sharing here. It also doesn’t have the distortion that the GoPro has, it’s a rectilinear lens with a 94 degree field of view.

I filmed in log mode with sharpness set to -1. Default sharpness is too sharp. Below -1 I find it goes a bit mushy and hard to pull back. -1 seems to be the sweet spot.

Here are some of the key features of the P3. You can learn a lot more by going to the DJI website about it where I took these images from.

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Getting all the parameters set up on the app. Can be android or iOS tablets. Glare is an issue of course so a hood is recommended

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Attempting intricate moves…just too much wind really

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Lovely, neat and powerful little thing!

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Using my iPad air 2 for the image display and app. Less glare than other iPads

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Yes…I could have flown an inspire through that massive hole easily too!

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It did struggle in the wind for sure, the Inspire 1 would have been fine in these conditions but it's a different craft and of course much bigger so therefore not so good at flying through tight spaces!

It did struggle in the wind for sure, the Inspire 1 would have been fine in these conditions but it’s a different craft and of course much bigger so therefore not so good at flying through tight spaces!

Rhyolite is such a cool place, I haven’t been there for 6 or 7 years. Last time I filmed there was during NAB back then and with an EX1 and Letus Ultimate. Those were the days! :)

Oh, one last thing. The stills are also very nice indeed. 12mp raw. It’s easy to switch between stills and video with the DJI app. I haven’t gone into all the features like live streaming and the editing app. Check it out on the DJI website. I haven’t used these features but they are neat from what I have seen from others using them. 

So here is my little edit. It’s downloadable compressed 4K from Vimeo if you are a plus or pro member. If you aren’t then you can download the even more compressed Vimeo version. I might upload a native clip too when I get a chance…no promises…just remember pre-production unit! :)

This was graded with James Miller’s “DeLuts”  and with a bit of Colorista III from RedGiant. I would normally add some FilmConvert grain…I may still do that! :)

 

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Rhyolite ghost town – Phantom 3 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Below is a montage of shots shot on an Inspire 1 and Phantom 2 plus lots of Freefly Movi M5 with Sony A7s for the CNN series “The Wonder List” that I was director of photography for.

The Wonder List: Drone/ MoVI montage from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Koh Yao Noi from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Taking off the DJI Inspire 1 at Reculver Towers and Roman fort from Philip Bloom extras on Vimeo.

Rhyolite Ghost Town from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

 

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Custom made 3DLuts ‘Deluts’ by James Miller NOW AVAILABLE! http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/22/luts/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/22/luts/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 16:32:46 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33617 UPDATE:

3D Luts in .cube and .3dl – For use in most applications that support 3dluts.  FCPX will need a LUT loader or LUT utility. Adobe Premiere will need Lumetri that is built into current CC Premiere then controlled with an adjustment layer etc. In Photoshop CC you can load LUTs through adjustments / Colour Lookup panel. Resolve can also used the LUT’s marked for FCPX.

16 Grid LUT’s are the quickest to work with, of course 32 Grid LUT’s will cover more colour data but the difference is very small to notice. I recommend the 16 Grids though for most jobs.

Remember to control the LUTs with simple RGB curves and opacity. Make sure the RGB curves are behind the LUT in the order of plugins or adjustment layers or a node behind the LUT in Resolve. I will be publishing a more helpful guide very soon.

Please note although these luts are designed from LOG source material, you can successfully overgrazed existing footage using curves behind the LUT. Almost a reverse S-Curve does really help, but mostly exposure and balance.

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I have been using James’s LUTs for about a year now. We had planned to sell them for ages but like all things we keep getting distracting with other stuff. Finally it’s happened though. James has set up the store and made the first set available. Loads more to come! If you check of my edits on my Vimeo page from around the last year they all use these with modification off course for which I generally use the wonderful FILM CONVERT…over to James!

Guest Post by James Miller.

After many months (years really) I’ve got together a handful of my favourite LUTs that I create on my film projects. It’s been a lot of hard work and over the coming weeks as I find time I will keep adding them to the site. http://www.deluts.com

 

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I’m finishing off another set as I type. As a promotion I’ve bundled together sets 1, 2 & 3. Then next set will be an optional individual purchase.

I use Premiere mostly for editing and then best way to use the luts here is to use the inbuilt ‘Lumetri’ effect. With this you can select one of my Luts. It’s much easier to add effects as an adjustment layer.

To control the selected Lut its best to add a RGB curve behind the Lut. If you add the RGB curve after adding the Lut you limit the amount you control it.

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RGB Curves

This makes so much difference in the end result. Luts are based on a certain exposure and to balance that, basic RGB curves are needed. The same goes if your using the Luts in Resolve. You need the Curve adjustment on a node behind the Lut. Don’t forget you can also control the opacity here.

To control even more then use the fantastic Film Convert Plug-in. You can then mix film stocks and add grain.

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Here are a couple of pages from the website (work in progress) so you can see the results. http://www.deluts.com

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Daniel Peters has done a nice little video to show how to add the Luts and has a few examples on his website. http://danieljohnpeters.com/2015/03/21/deluts-by-james-miller/

Look out for more Luts to come.

Note: These Luts are a starting point, not a quick fix to a cinematic grade. There is so much more to grading of course, but these Luts can really help you achieve a beautiful look.

These Luts are based on footage being Log or very flat. But by using RGB curves and opacity you can use as an over grade for standard shooting profiles.

Luts suppled in .cube & .3dl formats. They are also in 16 & 32 pint grid resolution. I suggest using the 16 grid versions as they are much much faster to use. And if you are uing them in the Atomos Shogun these are your best choice.

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The most important documentary I have ever made…and it’s about my Dad http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/19/dad/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/19/dad/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:58:05 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33532 PB_deluts_ban3

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You can see the documentary about my dad near the bottom of this very in-depth blog post!

I love my dad, and of course my mum, I see them as often as I can. Even if I am only home between jobs for a few days I squeeze in lunch or something. They mean the world to me.

My dad, Arnold Bloom, or Arnie as he prefers to be called is 69 years old and a retired pharmacist. He has been immensely supportive through my life and my career both financially when I needed it, emotional and moral support.

He puts up with me wanting to take photographs of him all the time and occasionally even film him….actually he has appeared in quite a few things. Mostly smoking cigars which he likes to do as he calls it “his only vice he has left”. In fact if you go to B&H in New York to the ProVideo section he is often on a bank of screens there puffing away in a low light comparison test I did a few years back.

I have made documentaries on so many people for my work and a hell of a lot for myself via my “mini documentaries”. These are what I call my personal projects, things I make to keep me happy creatively as often with paid work it is either a bit dull or perhaps doesn’t end up as you would like it to. So for the past 8 years I have made a hell of a lot “personal films” and many of those are mini documentaries. At the end of the post I will embed a few of my favourite ones as well as dad’s appearances on camera for me. Below though is a super short one of him for a taster!

Romeo No.3 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

THE IDEA

We never know how long we have in life, I have lost close friends whose lives have been cut short far too early but some members of my family have lived to an incredibly old age. Now, all my grandparents have gone. I remember thinking back in 2001 how lucky I was to have them all alive. Within a year I had lost both my grandfathers to cancer. One to prostate and one to lung cancer. My grandmothers died a few years ago too.

One thing I wish I had done was do a film on each of them. When my grandfathers died I was not making anything for myself at all, I was staff a jobbing news cameraman at Sky but I was freelance when my grandmothers died and I regret never interviewing them for a documentary.

After all I have made docos about total strangers who mean very little to me compared to my family. All I have left to remember the people I loved who have gone are a few photos and if I am lucky a bit of video. I did in fact make something about my mum’s dad Daniel 3 years ago for Movember because he died of prostate cancer. It was done through the memories of my mum and with photographs, although I would like to revisit that and make it better….longer, more in-depth and remove the stuff with me in it. Just the voices of my mum and her brother.

In my opinion, making a film about a loved one whilst you can must rank as one of the most important things one can do as a filmmaker. Sadly I still don’t have children, maybe one day, but at least my sister does and although they know him very well, inevitably one day he will be just a memory/ photos on Facebook (or whatever is around then) to them. I want them to be able to watch this long after he is gone and remember who their “papie” was and then be able to show their own children.

It would be amazing to hear my great grandparents words telling me their stories as I never knew them. Hopefully this and the one I will do for mum will rectify that for future generations.  After all documentaries are exactly what the words implies. To document something, and this film is to have a historical record of my father for future generations to see and of course for me to remember him after he has gone to the great golf course in the sky.

Ever since I did the video with my mum about her dad I realised I really should make docos about my parents whilst I can. After all I have the skills and the gear, I may not really have the time truthfully but when do you ever?

This is of course not a new idea and there are even businesses in the US that specialise in making “life stories” yet it’s still something so many of us just don’t even think about until it’s too late!

I was supposed to be editing my Sony FS7 review this week…sorry for those who are waiting…this took precedent! As does my much delayed Wonder List blog posts…they are all coming! Never enough time!

Dad and Mum celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary

Dad and Mum celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary

CONVINCING HIM TO DO IT

My parents aren’t old but they aren’t young. Mum is 71 and Dad is 70 this year. I have no idea how long I have with them, I hope many years but we never know. My problem is I am a lifelong procrastinator….why do today what you can put off till tomorrow? We all know where that ends up, nothing ever gets done!

I wanted to do dad first as I already had something of mum  (although I am going to do a film just about her soon) plus my dad’s health has worried me for quite a while now. Interviewing him was always at the back of my mind but he never seemed well enough, never enough energy, sleeping most of the time. Thankfully in the past few weeks he had some good news plus he found some terrific inner strength to beat something else, meaning he has gotten a lot a better.  I realised it was time to revisit the idea.

He had known I had wanted to do this for some time but about a week ago I texted him and said that when I come down to visit at the weekend I would like to do an interview for the documentary about him.

This could have gone two ways:

“God no, I don’t want that” or “OK”

He said “OK” :)

Dad at my house being suspiciously eyed up by Noodle!

Dad at my house being suspiciously eyed up by Noodle!

So with my truck full of gear I drove to Maidstone in Kent where I grew up and they still live and turned their house into my house…CAMERA GEAR EVERYWHERE!!

Dad asked me what I wanted to talk about, I just said his life. I think he was getting a bit nervous but I really don’t like to talk too much with an interviewee before hand about what I will actually ask as I don’t think it helps them. When people start preparing answers it rarely comes across well, a bit stilted and unnatural. I knew what I wanted to hear from dad and I simply said that we are just going to have a conversation about his life.

I will talk more about how I approached the content and structure of this film after this section about some info about the essential technical side…

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THE CAMERAS & THE SHOOTING STYLE

To make it easier this would need to be on two cameras for editing purposes. Yes, I could shoot 4K and edit on an HD timeline and use the lovely crop ability but I wanted to make this a documentary that would last, quality wise, and actually film it and edit it in 4K. Therefore barring any 8K camera suddenly coming into my possession two cameras it would be! Although the edit I have put up is only HD for now. Once I am satisfied and made my tweaks then I will put the 4K up…It’s a big old file so I don’t want to keep uploading it!

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Camera A was my super beast the Sony F55 recording internally at full 4K in XACV S-Log 2. I used the GL Optics rehoused Sigma 18-35mm cine lens for the wider shot and the Sigma 35mm ART F1.4 to get nicer bokeh on the tighter main shot.

This was the main shot, centrally framed and dad looking into camera. For many,  looking into camera isn’t the easiest of things to do but I love it as a way for the subject to address the audience intimately.

For many docos with direct to camera eye line I have gotten around around this by using  the “Eye Direct” system. This is a great way of getting them to look at camera but also for you to see them and them to see you. It’s not cheap but worth it if you do this sort of thing a lot. I was actually going to use it for this but I forgot it! I brought so much stuff down yet I managed to leave behind a couple of key bits (tip: always make a list of gear for a shoot then check them off as you pack them, which is what I normally do!) which were the Eye Direct and an XLR cable!

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The original master shot

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The “second” master shot

I asked Dad if he was OK looking at the camera and not me and he said yes, he has been filmed by me a few times as I said and he is very relaxed and easy on camera despite the only time he ever gets filmed is by me!

If I found he couldn’t hold the eye line I would have got him to look off camera towards me instead.

THE UNMANNED MOVING B-CAMERA

For the second angle I went off about 30 degrees or so from the main camera axis and used what is quite simply a incredible piece of gear. It can be used for so many more things than what I used it for here, timelapse, stop motion, VFX but I am using it in it’s purest form and a the main reason why it’s called what it is…the Kessler “Second Shooter” (SS)

This is a motion control system, much simpler than their top end “Cinedrive” but way better than the old Oracle system which did a good job but you couldn’t do what I did here and certainly nowhere near as easily and most defiantly not without an operator!

The second camera I used is my beloved A7s and Atomos Shogun (in S-Log 2 mode to match the F55) so I could also shoot 4K…now I could have used my FS7 but the set up I was using would be easier with a smaller camera as it would need more support for the heavier camera.

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The B-Camera on the second shooter on looping move. A7s and Atomos Shogun

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What I wanted from the B- Camera was a moving dolly/ slider shot offset to the side but keeping my dad’s head in frame which normally would require an operator to use a manual pan/tilt head on the slider but with this motorised system you simply set it up and then let it go!

Having the angle/ frame drastically differently means you can cut between the eye line of the main camera and the off camera one without it being jarring.

Of course if there was a long answer and the slider changed directions during it then it would be very subtle anyway but most likely I would cover one of the directions with the master wide shot.

LIGHTING

I lit dad with a Cineo Lighting Tru Color LS Remote Phosphor LED light as the main key. These lights are stunning. Amazing quality of light, bright if needed but dimmable. You change the colour temperature via the phosphors you put in front of the LED. The main ones I have are 3200K, 4200k and 5600k. I used 5600K throughout. There was some additional fill coming from the windows near where the light was from and some light coming in behind dad from another window.

We didn’t get the whole interview done in the morning so we had to break for lunch and as it was UK mother’s day on Sunday we went out to eat. After all I was making a documentary about dad on mother’s day! She was totally fine about it though!

 

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The LS ballast. I also have a Maverick which has the much smaller ballast fixed onto the back of the light where you can also power it via a v-lock

 

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Mum sat in with strict instructions to be quiet! I think you can hear her once in the end film! That’s the TruColor LS in front of her

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By the time we got back of course the light was drastically different in the room, way darker. So I made some adjustments to the key light brightness, added some practical decoration light at the back of the room and tightened the shot so I could put a kicker on top of the book case. Again I used a Cineo Lighting Tru Color, this time their little Matchstix on a gorillapod sitting on top of the furniture. Lovely lights indeed!

They have a Matchbox light coming out next which is a Litepanel mini sized light but with the truly special light and colour you get from these!

It was a pain having such different light for the shots but expected given we broke for almost 3 hours! So, a fair bit of work in the grade helps (huge thanks to James Miller for his LUTS) and it’s not bad. Although I am absolutely going to go back to it and make it perfect. I rarely let these things go so easily! :)

I did some additional work with Colorista II and Film Convert as always! Discount codes for both in the below banners.

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The Sony A7s/ Atomos Shogun recording the second angle on the Kessler Second Shooter

To get 4K on the A7s, as I mentioned, I used the Atomos Shogun. Although I had BETA firmware for the LUT display I was getting a weird effect on my dad’s skin….like airbrushing but it was phasing in and out. I didn’t notice this till well after I had shot it. Apparently it’s because I triggered the shogun directly and not via the camera record button. This is weird but it seems to be the case as I tested it out again to see. VERY ANNOYING! Dad likes the soft skin look mind…shane it drifts in and out which is very frustrating making it very hard to fix. SO BE WARNED! Always trigger the Shogun with the A7s. You can see what I mean below:

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Normal skin

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Softened skin

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A nice unobtrusive set up!

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The excellent screen (indoors where it’s not reflective) Atomos Shogun screen

RECORDING THE AUDIO

Audio was originally going to be my Sanken Cos 11 wired lav mic. I don’t like using wireless mics unless I will see a cable. Why risk interference or break up? Therefore for this it would be silly to use wireless BUT I forgot my XLR and the Sanken’s cable wouldn’t stretch. Luckily I had my Sony Wireless UWP Mic with a RODE lav mic on it instead of the standard Sony one which sounds much better.

I hate seeing microphones in my work, it’s a piece of gear. Hide it. I use Rycote Undercovers. Fabulous things. These are utterly essential. We used them for every interview on The Wonder List.

Audio was plugged straight into the F55 XLR port and the A7s scratch/ sync sound was simply the internal mic there, good enough to sync the manual claps in post. I tried plural eyes and it was just giving me grief…make sure to get a nice solid clap as it can help you manually sync and also help Pluraleyes a bit too.

I used the Senal headphones which I have just picked up. Never forget to monitor audio when recording it. Levels ARE NOT ENOUGH! You need to hear if there is any clothes rustling, any interference and much more. I cannot stress this enough. I hate using buds, they stop people talking to you, I like to wear proper headphones when doing stuff like this and half one side half off. Normally when shooting on location I use smaller headphones than these, just not buds!

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I monitored audio through these excellent Senal headphone s

I monitored audio through these excellent Senal headphones

THE INTERVIEW

So away from the technical stuff then what did I ask? What did I want from this film? How long should it be? All important stuff.

I wasn’t quite sure when I started this what it would end up being. I just wanted to get the interview in the can. We probably spent about 3 hours or so filming the interview. I didn’t want my voice heard, this was my dad’s film after all and I just wanted to hear his words so that meant he had to convey what the question was in his answers often…it took a tiny bit of coaching but he got the knack of it pretty quickly.

He was very serious most of the time, I wanted to try to get more of his humour across but I think that when he started remembering emotional stuff that made it much harder for him to switch to the light-hearted dad I know. I was surprised just how much some of his recollections made him emotional. Although I have seen my dad tear up a couple of times in my life it’s been rare. This I found hard whilst doing the interview. I didn’t want my dad to cry but I didn’t want to interrupt him.

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My mum!

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My dad!

Some of the questions are asked were simple background questions. Where his family are from, where he was born…that sort of stuff. There was quite a lot of this in the first part of the interview, he basically went through large chunks of his life briefly and without any real detail for me to connect to. He needed a bit of time to get used to be interviewed and we had time.

MOULDING THE FILM AND CHOOSING WHAT TO INCLUDE

I barely scratched the surface really, 3 hours to cover a life is not a lot of time. That’s why I decided to make two films. One was about the man, the other one which would be much longer, would be the man & his life. Lots of anecdotes of growing up, his friends, his family, of course stuff about me and my sister, my mum, his work etc…You have to draw a line and say THIS is what this film is about otherwise you would end up with a rambling mess. I did included a couple of anecdotes and stories about specific incidents but for most part they belong in the other edit. It was important to have some in here though.

This being about “the man” I wanted to know what made him tick, so stuff about his relationship with his parents was essential and his relationship with mum and how they met. I put in very little about my sister and I; although we are a massive part of his life I knew that if I went down that road it would become a pretty long section and overshadow other stuff which I didn’t delve into so deeply. There is enough in there as a “taster” for sure…he at least acknowledges us!

The really tough bit comes in the last act. The problems he has had and his battle to beat them and to address his own mortality and what has his life actually meant…has it had any impact on the world in any way? Will he be remembered. None of these are easy questions and certainly if you decided to make something similar leave the tough ones till near the end as they won’t be easy to answer.

I made the decision, despite having a fair bit of video of dad and of course the ability to shoot more stuff, to use just stills to illustrate his story. It’s keeps it clean and simple this way. I will use video and old super 8mm home movies I am getting transferred for the long version of this…for this one, I love just the stills.

If you can do try to make documentaries of your family…don’t leave it too late. You never know how long they have. A friend of mine lost her dad just a couple of days ago really suddenly. It happens. Don’t say “I will wait until I am older”…do it now! Not because I want to panic you into thinking they might drop dead but it doesn’t have to be made at the end of their lives. You can film them many times over the years which would make a lovely record of their life.

Will this 22 minute film of my dad be of any interest to people who have never met him or heard of him? I don’t know. If you watch it all the way through and enjoyed it or at least learnt something about him from it then my job as a filmmaker has been a success. I wanted this edit to be watchable by strangers.

For me personally? This was a wonderful experience. I learnt stuff about my dad, some details about his background and growing up, but mostly I learnt more about who my dad is. I feel very much more connected to him today than I did a week ago and we are pretty close already.

My mum summed it up the best on Sunday when she said after the interview “I love him even more now”.
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My Dad, Arnie Bloom from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Romeo No.3 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The parents at 240 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Scarlet-X review test footage from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Arnie vs the Cohiba: Low light comparison between the FS100, F3, AF101 and Canon 5DmkII from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Video review of the Sony A7S from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

A man called Jack from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

An Amish Man from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Portrait of a Percussionist from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Portrait of a projectionist from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

If not now when: The documentary from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Bangin’ n Clangin': The Redneck Hippie from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Booths & Bodies: The life and work of Anthony Vizzari from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Great Wooden Boats: RED EPIC from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Huge devastation in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam hits. Please help them if you can http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/14/vanuatudevastation/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/14/vanuatudevastation/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 02:36:00 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33505 _81641987_026312141

The Wonder List team with men from Rah Island dressed up to perform the snake dance

The Wonder List team with men from Rah Island dressed up to perform the snake dance

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The island nation of Vanuatu is a very special place and one that became special to myself and the rest of “The Wonder List” team when we filmed there in November for our premiere episode of the new series.

It’s been almost two weeks since that episode went out and for most people it was the first time they had heard of the country and seen how magical it is.  Vanuatu is full of some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Now it is in the news for the wrong reason as I am sure many of you know.

Cyclone Pam hit yesterday with winds up to 200mph causing massive devastation and an unknown death toll which is feared to be in the dozens._81636005_new-cyclone-map

This is a very poor nation with little infrastructure in most of the islands, most don’t even have proper roads let alone hospitals. The cyclone has reported flattened whole villages. There are confirmed deaths in the capital of Port Villa but there is no word from the other islands which is not surprising given the strength of this storm and the very poor communications on the islands. Very few people have phones so it’s going to be days before we find out the true devastation this cyclone has done to Vanuatu.

They need our help for the immediate relief and most likely for long term aid, as it’s going to take a long time for these people to recover from this. If you can spare anything to help please consider donating to one of the many organisations who have mounted campaigns for help. You can see a list of them and updates on the situation there on the CNN Impact Your World page.

Below are some videos/ clips from the show and some photos I took whilst there to remind you what a magical place it is. I just hope all of these wonderful people are safe and whatever help they need the can get as quickly as possible.

Tanna Island where the Yakel Village is based it apparently the worst hit of all the island. This is terrible news and we wait to hear more and especially about these beautiful people below.

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The Wonder List: Yakel Village, Vanuatu from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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The Wonder List: Behind The Shot first 6 BTS episodes http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/13/behindtheshot1/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/13/behindtheshot1/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 02:34:32 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33390 gratical_affiliate_728_3a

These aren’t the BTS videos put a playlist of additional clips for the show

The Wonder List is a new original documentary series for CNN that airs from March the 1st at 10pm EST in the US. It’s also available on CNN on demand. Other platforms and especially international I don’t know yet, but as soon as I do…

It’s a series about going to special places around the world that are on the brink of change, for whatever reason. We travelled to 5 continents and 8 countries for the 8 episodes over a period of around 6 months. It was truly epic.

I also chose (rather insanely!) to really put a huge amount of production value into shooting the series, despite shooting this more or less as a one-man-band (apart from the B camera and occasional C camera operated by the two producers.) We are talking Sony F55/ FS7 including lots of super slow motion, Sony A7s with Movi was also used a huge amount and, when permitted, I used a “drone” as they are now pretty much officially called, for better or worse. I used a Phantom 2 with GoPro first then switched to the DJI Inspire 1.

 

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 1

VANUATU: DRONE VS VOLCANO

As part of the additional online content for the show, I have made a series of videos with CNN called “Behind The Shot”. The premise is simple: I take a key shot from each episode and explain the background and thinking behind it. The first episode is about a specific shot I did with the Inspire One that is the debut episode filmed in Vanuatu, which is in the South Pacific.

The Wonder List: Vanuatu "Band Photo"

The Wonder List: Vanuatu “Band Photo”

The Inspire 1 at the time hadn’t been announced. I was use an early pre-production one. It worked pretty well, but the gimbal tilt wasn’t working so I could only point straight, and there was no ability to tweak the picture profiles. Other than that it was an absolute joy. So stable in the air and could take wind that would have blown my Phantom 2 away! I loved the way it sat in the very windy sky angled at 45 degrees (the gimbal of course keeping the camera level) as it was effectively accelerating hard into the wind to keep it in the GPS position!

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Here are some frame grabs taken with the Inspire 1 in Vanuatu

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It’s the below frame in particular that is the subject of the first episode of “Behind The Shot.”

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Click the image below to be taken to see the the first episode of “Behind The Shot”

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 2

INDIA: WAITING FOR THE MONKEYS

Episode 2 is about the time we were out on safari in India looking for the very rare tigers to film and how I divided, foolishly, to film monkeys flying through the trees at 180fps! They made me wait! Click below to see that one! This is very different from the first episode of Behind The Shot! That was about an epic shot…this is about when things don’t go to plan! :)

 

The Wonder List: India "Band Photo"

The Wonder List: India
“Band Photo”

 

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Producer Julian Quinones who put together these videos. Famed for being asked in India “HOW are you so good looking?” :)

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Super slow motion is of course wonderful, but my god, it eats up data. With no cache recording in either the F55 or FS7 (unlike the internal slow motion of the FS700) it’s all continuous. This is good and bad. Good because you are unlikely to miss a moment, bad because you eat up SO MUCH DATA!! Let this be a cautionary tale for you! ;)

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 3

THE DEAD SEA: THE BAT CAVE

In the third (and final for now, we are hoping to shoot 5 more next week) episode the focus shifts onto using the Movi M5 stabiliser with the A7s and how, after one particular experience in the Dead Sea episode, I know this combo was going to be essential for the look and feel for our show. It was damn hard work and bloody exhausting after a while but totally worth it.

 

The exceptional Sony F55 with VOCAS gear on it. Superb add ons to make the camera more user friendly handheld

Filming with the F55 at the Dead Sea

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Setting up the Movi M5 with the A7s at the Dead Sea

In later episodes I took this up a level. A three hour walk/ climb through a sea water mangrove swamp in the Galapagos and in Florida, again surrounded by salt water, I went Kayaking with it on my lap for a few hours. Dicing with gear death maybe…but the results speak for themselves when you see the episodes!


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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 4

THE GALAPAGOS: Mangrove swamp

 

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 5

IKARA: Keeping up with the some of the oldest people on earth

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 6

VENICE: Filming the floods

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I hope you enjoyed those! If you want more, then don’t miss the series Sunday’s at 10pm (Eastern)  only on CNN and CNN Go and  on demand. International broadcasters to be announced.

Oh…in the meantime here are the trailers and two personal edits!

The Wonder List: Fernandina Island, The Galapagos in 4K from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The Wonder List: Yakel Village, Vanuatu from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

 

CNN’s “The Wonder List” Trailer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo

“The Wonder List” New Year Teaser from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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My film “Koh Yao Noi” wins best travel/ landscape film at the 1st NYC Drone Film Festival. See all winners here! http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/08/nycdroneff/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/08/nycdroneff/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 12:02:16 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33472 PB_BH_Banner_04

This is an incredible honour to win this award. I have only been flying a year, and this film was shot in May last year whilst in holiday in Thailand.

It was made with a Phantom 2 and GoPro 3+ You can read all about how I shot it and how I created the look in post in my blog post here.

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TRAVEL/ LANDSCAPE

Koh Yao Noi from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Since then, I haven’t actually flown that much. I have used drones on “The Wonder List” where I have been legally allowed to. The most I used them was in the premiere episode from last Sunday in Vanuatu using the Inspire 1.

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I wasn’t able to be at the awards last night despite just being in New York for the launch of “The Wonder List”, I had to get home earlier this week as I am currently about to jump on a plane to Hamburg for a gig there. Really wish I could have made it, especially to see all the incredible films that were shown, not just the ones that won!

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I am trying to get a list of all the winners, but here are the ones I know of. As soon as I know the rest (and am back online in Germany after my flight) I will add!

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 AUDIENCE AWARD

Trailer Mexico City International Airport from above – NYCDFF from Postandfly on Vimeo.

 ARCHITECTURE

The Fallout from AeroCine on Vimeo.

 X-FACTOR

DRONIE

Floating from Florian Fischer on Vimeo.

BEST NARRATIVE/ BEST FILM

 

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The epic “My Rode Reel” film competition returns for 2015 and it’s bigger and better than ever! http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/05/myrodereel/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/05/myrodereel/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:19:28 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33464 600x315_second_shooter

My RØDE Reel 2015 with over $200,000 in Prizes from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.

Last year’s “My Rode Reel” was an exceptional film competition. I was lucky enough to be on the judging panel, and the quality was just exceptional.

This was last year’s “Judges Prize” winner and my favourite…

The quality of the entries were so impressive last year, and I am expecting even better quality this year with people seeing the high standard of stuff that was in competition last year.

What makes this competition different is the need to have two videos. The actual film and a behind-the-scenes showing how you made it. This makes it both incredibly creative and also educational for people watching the entries.

I am judging again this year alongside Ryan Connolly, Vincent LaForet and Rodney Charters.

There are more categories/ genres which are also more refined than last year. This is defiantly going to a big help, and I am certain a couple of those categories are going to have a lot of entries! :)

Although making a great film is a prize in itself, having the chance of winning amazing prizes helps a lot, and this year the prizes are bigger and better! Just LOOK at them!!

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This is how long you have left to enter. Don’t wait until the last-minute! Entries close on the 1st June at Midday Sydney time  

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From the official press release:

Monday March 2nd 2015, Sydney Australia – Pro-audio brand RØDE Microphones is excited to announce that the ‘My RØDE Reel’ international short film competition – first launched in 2014 to huge international acclaim – will return in 2015, with an increased total prize pool of more than $200,000 in prizes.

My RØDE Reel’s inaugural competition saw RØDE receive a staggering 1,120 entries from 76 countries worldwide, with nine category winners sharing a total prize pool of over $70,000, making it the largest short film competition of its kind.

Entrants to ‘My RØDE Reel’ are required to create a short film of three minutes or less, as well as a behind-the-scenes reel that features a RØDE product being used during the production of the film. RØDE has provided an entry pack that steps through the process, as well as templates for scripting, storyboarding and more, available now by registering at www.myrodereel.com.

There are three main awards and prize packs of filmmaking gear available to win — a Judges’ Film award for the best short film in competition, a Judges’ BTS award for the best behind-the-scenes reel, and a publicly voted People’s Choice award for the most popular short film.  Each of these award winners will be presented with an enviable production filmmaking kit valued at more than $40,000.

Additional technical and genre awards and prize packs are available for Best Sound Design, Best Soundtrack and more, and for the first time in 2015 RØDE has announced a Young Filmmaker award, to acknowledge and encourage entrants under the age of 18.

Joining an incredible list of sponsors and bringing the 2015 total prize pool to more than $200,000 are Atomos and Freefly Systems, supplying their Shogun 4K RAW Recorder and MOVI M5 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer respectively to multiple prize packs.  They join an already illustrious list of sponsors including BlackMagic, Carl Zeiss lenses, Miller tripods, RedRock Micro rigs, SmallHD and Teradek monitoring equipment, Kessler sliders and jibs, ThinkTank Photo bags, Event studio monitors, G-Technology storage solutions, software from Adobe and RedGiant, licensing credit from The Music Bed and Film Supply, and of course plenty of RØDE microphones. A full list of the prize packs is available at www.myrodereel.com.

Once again, RØDE has brought together a respected judging panel for ‘My RØDE Reel’ that includes inspirational pioneer filmmakers Philip Bloom, Ryan Connolly, Vincent LaForet and Rodney Charters.

“Last year’s My RØDE Reel was really one of the best film competitions I have ever judged.” commented Philip Bloom. “The calibre of entries from all over the world was superb. I can’t wait to see what we get this year, it’s going to be even better I am sure.”

“I’m really excited to engage with the next generation of filmmakers and to see what they come up with in the RODE Reel competition in 2015” added Vincent LaForet. “2014 was an impressive year and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time!”

Putting its “money where its mouth is”, RØDE has put together its own short film plus a complete series of behind the scenes tutorials to highlight the production process. Hosted by filmmaker Clinton Harn and the RØDE Production team, the course guides viewers through the filmmaking process from pre-production through to shooting and on to post-production.

Entries for ‘My RØDE Reel’ are open from March 2nd and close June 1st. All entrants will receive the exclusive 2015 My RØDE Reel Directors T-shirt, and a free subscription to Hollywood DP Shane Hurlbut’s “Inner Circle” online community.

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For one week only watch the entire first episode of “The Wonder List” for free, no region restrictions! http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/02/wonderlistepiosdeone/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/03/02/wonderlistepiosdeone/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:47:13 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33451 600x315_second_shooter

Last night was the premiere episode of the series that has taken up most of my time for the past 7 months, “The Wonder List.”

It’s been an epic endeavor and has taken us to 5 continents and 8 countries.

The series airs a new episode at 10pm (EST) every Sunday on CNN in the USA, but it’s not on CNN International. It’s being distributed globally for broadcast on numerous TV channels worldwide. I don’t have a timetable or know who or where…just that it’s coming!

Fantastically CNN.COM have brilliantly put up a the entire first episode for anyone in the world to watch via streaming from their site! It’s for ONE WEEK ONLY then it gets pulled.

I am really happy this has happened, as so many people have asked when and where they can see it. It’s not ideal, it’s a very compressed HD stream, but it’s better than nothing! This won’t happen for future broadcasts. Just this premiere episode, so watch it while you can. As soon as I know of when and where it’s showing globally, I will share this info!gratical_affiliate_728_3a

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Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7

Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7

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Filming on Tanna with the Movi M5 and the Sony A7s

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Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!

Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!

So click here or on the image below to be taken to the page where you can stream this!

Below this is a little edit I did for myself of some footage shot for the first episode featuring the Yakel tribe. They feature in the episode but not in the format I have done. There is just so much wonderful footage that it’s great to be able to do little things like this! wonder list behind the shot

Also there is the 8 part “Behind The Shot” series where I take a look at a specific shot from each episode and explain some background about it. The first 3 episodes are up and the rest will follow soon!

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Next week’s “The Wonder List” is about the Galapagos so be sure to tune into that if you can!

The in-depth blog posts are still coming, just a little bit behind. Always playing catch-up! :)

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The Wonder List: Yakel Village, Vanuatu from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

 

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3 day documentary filmmaking workshop in NY with B&H and Canon! Free BVE Talks and win a MoVI M5 whilst at the show! http://philipbloom.net/2015/02/19/bcvemovinewyorkworkshop/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/02/19/bcvemovinewyorkworkshop/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:10:30 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33408 1_192610_BVE-2015

Two, no, three big things here about stuff coming up. The first, in chronological order are the two free talks I am giving for BVE next week.

They are on the first two days at 1345 and 1330 respectively. The first is on 4K of course. I have done talks on 4K before, but time progresses. Where are we now? Has much changed? Should you be shooting 4K?

The second is about shooting the new CNN series “The Wonder List” and how I chose to make my life hell by using said 4K, super super motion, drones and a MoVI M5!

Don’t forget to register for the show! Click here to do that!

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Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55

Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55

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On the subject of the MoVI M5, I have teamed up with makers Freefly to give away the same system I used throughout shooting The Wonder List,

Freefly MōVI M5 Essentials Bundle (M5, Pelican Case, Spektrum Controller)

 

 

Toad In The Hole Quick Release

 

 

MōVI Ring

 

Total Value: $5395 USD 

 

How can you win this? 

 

All you need to do is swing by the Freefly booth and get your badge scanned to be entered to win. Once all entries have been collected, a name will be randomly selected and the winner announced. Must be present to win! This will happen just after my second talk, so around 2:30pm or as close to that as I can get, depending on how much I get stopped trying to rush over there! :)

 

It will be great to see everyone at the BVE show. I am only there until this giveaway, then I have to race to Heathrow (yes…right the other side of London!) to catch a plane to New York to be there for shooting more “Behind the shot” episodes and for publicity, as the show premieres on Sunday the 1st March! Very exciting!

CNN’s “The Wonder List” Trailer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo

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3 day New York documentary filmmaking workshop!

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“We’ll Whack Manhattan” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

After the great success of my 2-day filmmaking workshop at B&H last October, (above is what I shot of the attendees in action!) we are doing another one and making it better by making it longer! This time the focus is specifically on documentary filmmaking, and Canon are sponsoring this one. Each attendee will shoot and edit their own mini doc in New York. The subject? That will be up to you.

This is a FREE workshop and is limited to strictly 25 places. It’s also NOT on a first come first served basis. Much like the last one, you will need to apply for a place. Myself and B&H’s director of marketing Jesicca Bruzzi will assess on the applications.

This will be an intense 3 days and is certainly not for everyone, and is from APRIL 19th till the 21st.

Day one: You will be in the classroom working in teams with me, practicing various exercises and techniques covering moment, visual storytelling, advanced composition, audio and interview technique…all designed to enhance your documentary filmmaking skills in preparation for…

Day two: You will be challenged to find your own story and create a 2-3 minute mini documentary.  I will of course give you lots of guidance on day one, but here you will be left to your own devices! You will not see me on Day two unless you need to. This is valuable time to find and shoot your mini documentary. You will also be expected to start editing at some point that day. There will be edit time on day three, but I thoroughly recommend at least clipping everything up to make your life easier the next day.

Day three:  We will return to the class room to finish your edits and then in the afternoon, whether they are fully finished or not, we screen your work!

This is not a beginner’s class. Attendees will need to be familiar with shooting video on your chosen camera and be a proficient editor. While I will be there on day there to help you out, if you don’t know how to edit, please do not apply. This is a very important skill that you will need to attend this workshop.

You need to bring your own equipment: as in Camera, lenses, filters, audio recorder (or if you have a proper video camera record in camera), lav mic for interviews and of course a good tripod and maybe even lights!

B&H will have a series of Canon DSLRs and lenses on hand for loaners if you would like to try something new.

Does this sound like the workshop for you? If so myself, B&H, and Canon would like to invite you to apply for this workshop. Please sign up using this page, but also send the following information to Jesicab@bhphoto.com

Tell us about you and your work?

What equipment do you currently use?

What do you hope to get from this workshop?

How would you rate your shooting and editing skills?

Send us a short video of something you have shot and edited.

You will not be considered for this workshop unless you complete the entire application process and give us answer to these questions. We expect the demand to be very high for this workshop, the one in October had quite a lot of applicants! You have until March 15th to apply! So get cracking!!

Who sort of person do I want to be at the workshop? I am not looking for the best filmmakers. I am looking for people who I feel could benefit from this workshop. How I will decide this will be very much based upon the video you send us and what you say. So please, be 100% honest about everything. Don’t brag, don’t be too humble. Just straight down the line please! :)

You will also need to register on the Eventbrite website when applying

To give you an idea on what is possible in one day, I shot and cut this mini doc below using the Canon 1DX. Nothing was set up. I didn’t even start looking for a subject until 2pm that day, then came across this old movie theatre, spent a couple of hours there, and this is the end result. This is longer than I want from you so don’t worry!

 

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Shadows & Light: A unique 2-day filmmaking event in the UK in March. Great seminars and workshops! Tickets on sale now! http://philipbloom.net/2015/01/31/shadowslight/ http://philipbloom.net/2015/01/31/shadowslight/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:14:38 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=33363 gratical_affiliate_728_3a

EDIT: Don’t miss out on the film competition to win a place at the first ever “Shadows & Light”!

I am really excited to announce that booking is open for the first ever “Shadows & Light”. An 2 day even for filmmakers in Brighton on the 23rd and 24th March.

We created this event based on your feedback after I posted a few months back asking what it was you wanted to see from an event like this. Well this is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and it’s going to be totally worth it. 2 days of fantastic, inspiring talented speakers like Vincent LaForet, Nino Leitner, Haz Dullul with more to be added. Plus mini workshops covering a multitude of filmmaking topics, terrific networking, socialising from the Sunday night through to the end with my favourite test spot for new cameras, Brighton Beach, right on the corner.

Below is from when I was last there in December with James Miller testing out the Shogun and the A7s. The first shots are from my home town of Richmond. Below that is my A7s low light test film “Now I See” also shot in Brighton! Thankfully it will be much warmer at the end of March!

James Miller shooting in Brighton

James Miller shooting in Brighton

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Now I See from Philip Bloom on Vimeo. Tickets are on sale now at an early bird discount of £495 for the two days. This is until February the 21st. After that the price goes up to the full £595. There are limited spaces of course, so don’t wait too long, as we expect this to fill up quickly! We also have a fantastic location. A terrific classic cinema in the lanes of Brighton. Full details about topics, speakers and everything on the website here!

BOOK HERE!!

Screenshot 2015-01-31 16.00.10 Why do we need something like this? Here are my thoughts…

Education in filmmaking is more important than ever. Back in my day, there really were just two choices: film school, or some sort of apprenticeship in a company. Self-taught filmmakers were few and far between, due to the prohibitive cost of equipment, both cameras and editing software. Things have changed drastically, of course. With the onset of affordable but high quality cameras and editing tools, it’s a great time to be a filmmaker.

Now it’s down to the individual, their skill, their ideas, their talent. There was a time not so long ago when the people getting lots of work making corporates and working for some broadcast shows got these jobs because they had the gear. Not because of their talent.

Thankfully that has now changed! My path that started on October 9th 1989 when I was 18, was taking a job at Sky TV working in a portacabin with a degaussing machine recycling tapes. I peeled off labels, ran them through the machines and put new labels on…for six months for £145 a week.

I got my foot in the door and from there moved up a step to a newsroom runner, where I bugged everyone because I wanted to learn. Once in that position, I learnt from some incredibly talented cameramen. It was one of the best forms of education I could do to become a cameraman. It was a journey and took time, but it was totally worth it. It was the best training I could have had.

Seventeen years after starting at Sky, I left to become freelance, and in those eight years since, the learning has gone overdrive! That is key. You never stop learning. You never know it all. You make mistakes – and you learn how to improve from those. This process takes time. Your lifetime! When you realise you never stop learning is when you begin to take your work up a notch.

wonderlist blog posts

First post now up! Second coming soon!

To be a good filmmaker, you need to know how things are done. Personally, I believe you should know how everything is done. Not so you do it all, which sometimes you will of course, but to give you a better understanding of the process. A better respect for specialists and what is achievable. A full understanding of the filmmaking craft.

Through my website I have given back, and it’s become much more than a place to help me get jobs. It’s become an educational resource, and in the seven years it’s been running, I also started doing workshops and seminars. It has been my way of giving back. My way of helping people learn, like I was helped by cameramen when working for Sky. Screenshot-2014-09-18-00.19.58-670x355 That’s what brings us on to Shadows & Light.

There aren’t enough events like this outside of the U.S. and we’ve decided it’s time to correct that! Having spoken at numerous multi-speaker events over the years, I know what works and what doesn’t. The closest thing to this I have done is the excellent “Masters In Motion” in the US that I have been involved with for years…but that’s always in Austin, Texas!

We had the Converge event a few years back which was also similar, but there were only two of those. It really is the time to have a new event for filmmakers with accomplished filmmakers speaking and covering different filmmaking topics…not just fantastic seminars but 4 excellent mini workshops that all attendees get to do. I will be taking one of them.

There are still some speakers to be announced, and that will be very soon, but I promise they will be of a very high quality indeed!

EDIT: Great news Vincent LaForet will be joining us!

Nino Leitner

James Tonkin

James Tonkin

I have never been involved in organising an event before. I am always hired in. I have been co-organising this with Fraser McGruer who has a lot of experience in organising things like this. I am on board to offer my advice, leaving him to do all the work! It’s a bit like when I make films, I really hate producing but love the creative side of things! :)

Tickets are on sale now at an early bird discount of £495 for the two days. This is until February the 21st. After that the price goes up to the full £595. There are limited spaces of course, so don’t wait too long as we expect this to fill up quickly!

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