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When was the last time you looked into a homeless persons eyes? I mean REALLY looked into them? That is what this piece is about. A chance to really look into their eye. Albeit in this film. A chance to see they are just like you and I. People who have just ended up in a really bad place…
EDIT: Thanks to Turin Brakes the song is now on iTunes with all proceeds going to the two homeless charities who helped me make this film and to Shelter UK.
This is the press release below:
TURIN BRAKESDonate proceeds from ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’to Shelter UK and homeless shelters in Amarillo Texastaken from “Xerox EP”which includes new original song“Rescue Squad”
Turin Brakes have just released a new EP called Xerox EP, which includes a version of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins and new song ‘Rescue Squad’.
Olly Knights from Turin Brakes explains they will be releasing “our cover of Chim Chim Cher-ee on iTunes and donating the iTunes sales revenue to the two homeless shelters in Amarillo Texas that helped to create the amazing video made by Phillip Bloom, we will also donate to Shelter UK.”
Here’s a link to the video;
“We chose to record this track because we loved it’s eerie haunting magic and the idea of all these alternative lives playing out in the shadows and rooftops of London.”
“When we asked our friend Phil Bloom to create a video for it he came back with some incredibly moving portraits of people living in the streets and shelters of Amarillo Texas, galvanising the meaning of the song and reminding us all that there are always lives being played out in the shadows of our towns and Cities, which we often ignore and at this time of year when it’s cold and family time is most heralded the right thing to do was for us to try to help these people in the film and to contribute to people in similar situations in the UK.”
Xerox EP Track listing1. Chim Chim Cher-ee –2. Rescue Squad3. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number4. 74-75Catalogue Number TCA 002
You can buy the track in the US by clicking the buy logo below, knowing that it is going to help people who really need. To buy on UK store click here otherwise just search Turin Brakes and Chim Chim in iTunes music store to find it!
Two music videos in two days…both in Amarillo Texas of all places. Part coincidence, part convenience and luck that worked out perfectly! My other video coming up soon is a more traditional lip synced piece by the incredibly talented Soren Bryce. You can check out frame grabs from that one here. I should have it cut within the week.
But let’s get to the piece at hand…Chim Chim Che-ree… A familiar, formerly jaunty song performed by the man with the best English accent ever laid to celluloid, Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins…My friends and London band Turin Brakes, have covered this in a beautiful haunting way that turns the song on its head! You can check out our previous collaboration on the music video Ascension Day here: http://vimeo.com/18956665
Since that video and between stealing my lenses for his GH2, singer Olly Knights and I have been concocting a way to work together again on a video with them in it. My crazy schedule has made this difficult…we will soon though…in the meantime he sent me this track from their new EP “Xerox” to shoot a video with them not in it…which set off all sorts of ideas in my head. So I couldn’t have the band in it, as they were on tour in the UK with their THE OPTIMIST: Live tour and I am in the US… so I threw ideas at Olly to see what stuck!
I wanted to capture some haunting images and this came to mind…It may technically be a music video, but this is real. These people are real. The situation they are in is real. I wanted to do something important with this piece in my own small way…Info on how to donate to help these people is a little bit further down this post…
You can buy the EP: Xerox here: http://gopb.co/xerox
You can donate to the two missions in Amarillo, Texas who helped us make this. Please help them and the people they help!
Thanks to Vicky Taylor-Gore, Iris Greyson-Brown and my assistant for most of this shoot, Brian Cates.
This was shot on the RED EPIC using Canon L series Lenses. I loved shooting on this combo. The footprint of the camera was small. I used my small Miller Solo tripod with Compass 20 head and a selection of Canon lenses. Mostly the 50mm F1.2 and 85mm F1.2 L series as well as the 70-200 F2.8 IS.
I also used a Heliopan Vari ND filter to control my exposure.
My Epic rig was simply the brain, side handle, bomb EVF, Red Volts and a cage from View Factor. As I said, this was so nice and light compared to when I use V-Lock batteries. A real joy and perfect for this job! Although I had Brian on hand to help me out with passing lenses for the second day filming, I did it on my own (4 hours day 1, 90 minutes day 2). It’s like working with an oversized (and crazy expensive) DSLR! Nice and stealthy and does not attract too much attention which was key for this, as this was like shooting a doco not a music video.
The majority was shot at 120 FPS at 5K 2.4:1. The 5K of the Epic is about the same sensor size as a 1Dmkiv…so bigger than S35, APS-H…ish…Which is great as it is closer to the full frame aesthetic, fine with L Canon lenses but not so good with EF-S ones and some older PLs…A few shots are 2K 300 FPS!!
The joy of 5K is what you see below. The ability to re-frame a 5K image to create a different shot from the original…
When shooting 120FPS, you have to go to 2.4:1 which is an aspect ratio I love (96 FPS in FF 5k max). For this piece I used the aspect ratio in a way that really took advantage of it. Lots of negative space and exaggerated composition. For the instrumental, I also needed a LOT of shots…I shot most of the half frame faces on the shoot optically…but not enough….I knew this on the day and that is the huge plus of the 5K resolution.
This is never going to be shown in 5K. It is shot in 5K because that gives me the full sensor and the key aesthetic and also the ability to get even more extreme half frames and tights that I did not get on the actual shoot. I wanted to be as quick and painless with each person as possible. No more than 3 or 4 minutes MAX. Some even less. I also didn’t want to stick the camera RIGHT in their faces…this is the joy of the post crop. I knew how much tighter I could get with that feature…
Is this going to promote lazy cinematography? Possibly, but this should not be a replacement for getting coverage…the DOF characteristics are lost with a crop as opposed to moving in optically. This is a very handy tool for editors and directors. The DP should still get all the shots optically if they can. There are times of course when you simply cannot. Of course stills guys have had this ability for years…
I kept the shutter speed to just over double the frame rate, and almost all the shots are wide open at F1.2! The Canon 85mm F1.2 L lens is a beauty. Heavy, pricey (but not compared to Cine lenses) and a lot of glass….I hate the focus wheel on it though as it is VERY loose and not tactile at all, but with my Arri follow focus it was much tighter. To kept the lens wide open, I used the Heliopan Vari ND. Nice and sharp as you can see!
Of course everybody was asked if they wanted to be in it. I explained what it was for and almost everyone (bar two people who said no thanks they are on a contract with Vincent LaForet) were happy to do it. The ones in “tent city” were particularly friendly! I love the lady who dressed up as Santa…check out her tent, complete with chandelier! I asked them all to look into the lens, so they could stare into you, the viewer…the joy of 120 FPS is them looking into the lens for 10 seconds means you get 50 seconds…and you should get a solid 15 seconds or so of a single shot…that should be your rule of thumb for most shots…
Post wise, I was able to knock together a quick rough cut on the night of filming due to my Mobile Rocket…which is the RED Rocket PCI express card housed in an er…housing, that plugs into my express port of my MBP 17″ and gives me half real time conversion. If I was at a Mac Pro then it would be real time, but the express port on the MBP is a bottleneck. Until we get a thunderbolt version, that will be the case. Still…it’s about 6 to 10 times faster than conversion to pro res WITHOUT a RED Rocket card. That is the downside of those huge R3D Red files. Lots of data and resolution that needs to be shrunk…With the rough cut done, I knew that I needed 3 more people ideally and some more b-roll. So I went out with Vicky again. Got the people, and key for the piece was the extra b-roll, especially the man down the underpass (you see him near the beginning too) and the dilapidated building with the Texas and US flag on it.
In total I shot three 128gb SSDs and half of a fourth. Overcranking eats up your cards even at 9:1 or 10:1 REDcode.
Once I had these shots, I was happy. I do edit in my head as I go along, this is not a storyboardable piece, but can be roughly shot listed ideally but this was shot doco style. I knew EXACTLY when I had enough shots to tell the story of these people in Amarillo and to fit with the music perfectly.
I did a very light colour grade on this. Mostly within RED CINE PRO X, correcting the exposure on a few dark shots and evening out the white balance. I then used MAGIC BULLET Colorista II for secondary minor colour correction, in particular to give it a slightly grim underexposed feel but without looking overly fake bleach bypass.. I wanted a very real, simple and unflashy look to this. Often it’s easy to get carried away with grading. I myself am often guilty of that! If you want Colorista II or any RED GIANT Magic Bullet Software for 20% off click here and enter code: bloom20 at checkout!
All in all, a good positive experience with the Epic. My 5th shoot with it, but not my camera. Mine is in for diagnostic repair after it failed badly on the short film “Host” where it was skipping frames but not telling us! This camera was a loaner. Host is rescuable, Strongman was compromised when the camera failed on me on day two. The only issue I had was my bomb EVF started to posterise during the shoot. That now has gone back to RED to be looked at…Shooting with RED can be frustrating as hell BUT the images are worth it…