Now available on itunes with all proceeds going to homeless charities. Chim Chim Che-ree by Turin Brakes

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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:

Donate proceeds from ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’
to Shelter UK and homeless shelters in Amarillo Texas
taken 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 listing 
1. Chim Chim Cher-ee – 
2. Rescue Squad 
3. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number 
4. 74-75
Catalogue 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!

Chim Chim Cher-ee - Single - Turin Brakes

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:


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:

You can see Turin Brakes live on their Optimist Tour. Check out the dates here.

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…

Original shot
Cropping a tighter shot (in red) with RED CINE PRO X
The new cropped shot, still more than HD resolution...

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…



























  1. Glad you shot this Phil. I worked with a homeless shelter north of Amarillo in the Oklahoma Panhandle for several years and each year would donate a video to help with Fundraisers at churches. I see your video doing potentially doing the same.

    This is the last video I made for the shelter before moving to Florida –

    On an off note, I always found a lot of homeless to have a great sense of humor, even when they were down and out. I remember you saw some great humor back in Venice Beach too, but many people will never know.

    Anyway, keep up the great work.


          1. I think it’s because you don’t crush your blacks or use much contrast, so the colors look more drab. Not complaining, but it makes the videos seem more grey toned. I usually notice this with a lot of RED One shot shorts. Maybe something in grading lends to less crushing/contrast. IDK. Still looks great to me.

              1. Yeah, just for fun I grabbed a wide frame from your Wooden Boats video that I thought could be crushed a bit more. It was the wide shot with the gent leaning on the boat. Trying with levels and curves, his face looked horrid and the sky was pretty bad. Without a big lighting set up and reflectors it’s no go on heavy crushing. And… over lighting and reflectors often make those sorts of shoots look sterile and rehearsed (and your result was the opposite). As I said, still looks great to me.

  2. Wow! You’re really hitting your straps. Lovely work. Great to see the crop factor working in your favour. Hope your Epic comes back from it’s evaluation more reliable. I’m really interested to know how you find the Bomb EVF. How does it compare to the Zacuto EVF or a broadcast camera EVF.
    Really enjoying your work. Thanks.

  3. A couple of years ago we shot a short movie on the Red one (4K, pre-Mysterium-X sensor) that you can find on . At the end, we were missing a close up. We tried to use a shot followed by the same shot but zoomed in 200%. Esthetically the image still looked good but the problem was the huge difference of grain structure between the 2 shots. It made it impossible to proceed that way. I concluded that unless you zoom in through out the movie, or maybe if you do it in between 2 very different shots, the argument of zooming into a 4-5K image isn’t that useful in actuality in a fiction. It’s hard to tell from a compressed movie on the internet if you were confronted to that same issue or had a different experience. I’m curious to know… Thanks.

  4. Beautiful work as always. In these situations, do you ever offer like $10 or $20 bucks at the end to a subject?

    Another request. I read you are going to Test the GH-2 with Driftwoods 176mbs setting. I, and I’m sure most GH-2 shooters would love to see a great shot like any of these Epic’s you took, with a similar focal length on the GH-2. I know they are not in the same ballpark, but to see color, and dtail comparison. Thanks!

  5. As i watched this, there’s the obvious talent of knowing what gear to use and what shots to take but the thing where i think Phillip shines is his ability to work with the homeless people. It must be very important to build up a relationship with the subjects quickly and easily. I don’t think this is a talent too many of us have and i reckon its as important as everything else. Especially enjoyed behind the scenes shots & of course the dig at Sir Vincent !

  6. Hello Philip,
    i really liked this piece. Once again you did a great work.
    And you made me L O L with the : ” two people who said no thanks they are on a contract with Vincent LaForet ” 😀

    I heard that you lose quality, detail and sharpness while shooting a Film at 5k with non-PL lenses like Canon or Nikon lenses because they’re made for photography, and it’s supposed to show all the drawbacks that can’t be seen at 2k…
    What do you think ? Is it relevant ?

  7. hello philip, that is cool. I love the realism that you incorporate into your work. I love the stillness, the time taken and the two way acceptance in your images. always have done. Everyone is an equal when you look them in the eye. Great to see as well that you continue your collaboration with Turin brakes.

    If you get a chance check out my first music video called ‘tender roots’ by ‘adam stearns and the glass animals’ a young scottish band. I was inspired to try it, make it, after reading your blog and watching your excellent video for turin brakes “ascension Day’. enjoy! Thanks as always for the inspiration and if you get time to check my my video and let me know what you think! cheers, kathleen

  8. Philip, what computer and software have you used for editing? mac or pc? what kind of computer will be ok for editing 5k footage? sorry for my english :).

  9. Great job Phil, really liked this – very different beautiful images + had a engaging aesthetic with the 120fps + CU’s/ECU’s.

    Love the look of that Epic-lite rig ( no V-lock / cage etc ) looks like it would’ve been much more refreshing to setup and get shooting easily.

    Fantastic BTS info as usual, just curious – what are you transcoding to with red rocket ? Prores 422 HQ @ 1920×1080? Assuming you do the crops in Red Cine X and export from raw there yeah?


    ps bet this would look lovely in B+W

  10. PB. If I may ask, what was going through your mind as you filmed the people whom were homeless?

    Reason I ask is because I shot a doc called Rebel Scum and shot people and places very similar to what you have in this piece. For me it was very very tough.

    1. tricky questions to answer. Obviously focused on what I was doing, connecting with the people….I am fortunate/ unfortunate enough to have spent 17 years travelling the world seeing the worst things imaginable covering the news…It’s tough filming people in hardship for sure.

  11. Your use of people’s faces, I can always tell that it’s you behind the lens – you treat your subjects with a lot of respect and dignity. Did you need to secure releases or were they just happy to assist?

  12. Get a good win gaming pc/Premiere Pro and edit those r3d files without a rocket ;0)
    Works pretty well on my Asus. But there are even more powerfull systems out there that cost less then a red rocket alone.

  13. Philip,
    I’d like you to go home and pull out every camera you own and place them around you. Just the cameras and 1 lens mounted on each (We’ll get the idea of your investment in optics). Then while surveying them, start placing them in order of your most to least heartfelt camera. By heartfelt, think of what you would go to at that moment to create. Keep deducting and keep lining them up in order. All in a single straight line.
    Then, do a nice dolly from favorite to the end. All of them! Even the point and shoots.
    Anyway, great shots in this piece. Nice colors, nice grades. Little dreary. But hey, so is being homeless. To bad you couldn’t have charged a simple US dime to allow each viewer access to watch the short for donation to the two charities (with a free preview of course). That would have been $980 worth of easy dimes for a good cause.

  14. Hi There,

    nice images but man you’ve gotta cut back on all the slow mo…
    World aint slow-mo – ITs real-mo 😉

    Have you shot anything that isn’t slow motion ?
    Or is your site dedicated to slow motion shots ?

            1. I hear you. Once I simply put a comment about my concerns of Peter Jackson filming the hobbit at 48p on YouTube, and I was attacked by some other guy.

              Some people just don’t know better I suppose.

              Thank you for sharing your videos with us, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that they are inspirational masterpieces.

              Keep doing what you do 😀

      1. This is too funny. the SECOND I put up the ONE video I have that utilizes slo mo a guy came slumming out of the woodwork to say pretty much the exact same thing. Like I had made a bad decision with my life by even thinking of using a visual technique. Blows the nose man.

    1. Fail. Slow motion for this eery sleepy song actually works well and would look odd at normal speed in my opinion. Also a lot of PB’s stuff on Vimeo isn’t slow motion as already said.

      If you don’t like it don’t watch it.

  15. Slow-mo opens up a whole new feel, since the 7D I love shooting 50 Frames, I’ve revisited work shot at 25P and the results are amazing, not to mention the reactions from the clients 🙂

    Great video Philip, looking forward to see more on the Epic and once you get a hold of the Scarlet, look forward to your review.. 🙂

    When are you coming back to Australia again??



  16. The way Red images are shot, they tend to very often appear soft to me. I have yet to see an amazingly sharp moving image shot on the Epic that looks better than 35mm.

    Take for example 2:22-2:27 in the short above. Here I would have liked to have seen sharp DOF ranging from his chin to the front of his ear, with DOF falling off slowly from behind his ear.

    Phillip, you are an exceptionally talented DP, but I generally find digital cinematographers tend to overuse shallow DOF, and even when they use it, it isn’t meticulously thought out (which you would think one would do when you limit DOF). I think if we shoot the Epic that pushes more towards greater DOF rather than less, we open up an entirely new image aesthetic for the camera and capture technology (and also in my opinion moves the aesthetic closer to film).

    In short, it would be great to see more Epic users shoot with maximum DOF, super high apertures, with normal and wide lenses, 50mm and below. Basically apply every tool in the book to fully maximize DOF, and demonstrate the maximum ability of Epic to resolve sharp images.

    1. Jonathan,

      Am confused as to why people post like this? Why can you not just accept this was my choice to shoot it like this? Do you own thing the way you want and I will do things the way I want! Simple!

      These comments have been really exhausting!!



  17. Lovely work! Your edits are always very musical. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how your cuts line up with the music you’re using, or is it something that just comes out organically through the process? My background before working in film is as a musician and music producer, and I tend to think in terms of creating a complimentary rhythm to edit to – sometimes going so far as to use markers or cuts on the timeline to map out the cadence of the edit before cutting any footage in. I wondered if that’s something you think about before dropping video on the timeline particularly with promos, or if you just cut where it feels right as you go.

    As much as there are always people who feel the need to criticize, many of us are greatly appreciative of your willingness to share both knowledge of the craft, as well as your story as somebody who has built both an admirable reputation as an educator and a career through hard work, passion, and dedication. For every vocal detractor there are dozens of thankful people whom have benefited from your openness. Thanks for doing what you do!

  18. Hallo Philip,

    that’s really an amzing piece of work! It’s incredible what power those faces unfolds by overcranking. And the 5K-cropping is something i ever wished myself to have for video since shooting stills.

    In many ways for me this one of your best films.

  19. Philip just a idea if you gave Chim Chim Che-ree by Turin Brakes Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed) Other people can upload the video and leave in annotations that there is a iTunes link in the description box.

    Philip if you are a youtube partner then Chim Chim Che-ree by Turin Brakes I do not think is in the content ID system in youtube servers. And I think you can just let people upload it if you say its okay and still have the video in a Standard YouTube License.

  20. Wow. This is sublime! It’s really beautiful! Congratulations Philips. The 120 fps help the concept of the whole video. Stop time and watch these people in their eyes, stop our time and observe more closely. We usually get used to not want to look.
    This is social cinema. I wish there more of these projects. Sorry for my little English. I am Argentine and I do everything that Philips. You’re a great!

  21. Spoke to Phil their keyboard player earlier, they’re up for a live recording of the gig. How about you with your preferred rig plus three Driftwood GH2s and whatever rachel’s got recording Brighton gig? Could be a nice DVD for them. Unless you are just going to watch? Be great to meet you anyways. Nick 🙂

  22. To come back to the tripod for a moment…
    I was looking for a Miller tripod – for “your” DS20.
    But it seems that the DS20 is just the fluid head – without the stuff underneath.

    Have you used the Compass20 or the DS20 at the shoot (in the post you`ve said Compass20, in the comments you`ve said DS20 😉

    Which one of these do you exactly have?
    Can I buy a Miller tripod with a spreader and unmount it if needed?

    I would be glad if there would be a Miller-Tripod-Post – with comparisons and advantages of the different types you`re using and your personal expieriences.

    Yes, I`ve seen this video
    but it doesn`t compare a Miller with a Miller

    I`m lookikng forward to it!

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