“Host” My first drama shot on the RED Epic now online

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Host (a Danny Lacey short film) from Danny Lacey on Vimeo.

Short film number 3 from writer/director Danny Lacey. Shot in October 2011 in one day and with a tiny budget of £300 (approx $500).

It’s all part of “The Filmmaker’s Journey,” something Danny started in 2009 knowing nothing about making films or the industry. Everything is self taught. The unique aspect of Danny’s journey is the way in which he’s sharing everything online via www.dannylaceyfilm.co.uk and www.twitter.com/dannylaceyfilm


Format: RED EPIC 5.5K

Starring: Raffaello Degruttola (www.imdb.com/name/nm0214860) and John Guilor

Written, produced, directed and edited by: Danny Lacey
Cinematography: Philip Bloom (www.philipbloom.net)
Camera Assistant: Sarah Estela
Lighting Director: David Beaumont (www.davidbeaumont.co.uk)
Production Sound Mixer: Johan Maertens (www.freelanceavs.co.uk)
Make-Up: Melanie Lenihan
Visual Effects: Chris Taylor
Composer: Richard Bodgers (www.musicjar.co.uk)
Sound Mix: Dave Armstrong
Grading: Andrew Dobson Broadcast Services (www.andrewdobsonbroadcastservices.co.uk)

Please do take a moment to rate the film on IMDb, here’s the link www.imdb.com/title/tt2325826/

Thank you for watching

Danny is an inspiration. It’s an overused statement, but he really is. Someone who decided to quit his day job because he wanted to be a filmmaker. He knew very little and has shared his journey from day 1 via his blog/ site and made 4 short fiction films. Two of which I have DP’D. “Host” shot on the Red Epic and “That Day” shot on the C300.

After doing the festival circuit all of his shorts are now being released online one after another. My other short with Danny “That Day” is released on the 8th of April.

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This was my first drama to be shot on the RED Epic, and although we had a number of technical issues down to a glitch in the firmware, it came out beautifully. The image from the camera is just superb.

These were the lights used, all powered from a domestic circuit.

2.5kW HMI
Kinos 3x 2ft 4tube

We used the KesslerCrane Cineslider for the slight moves.

Lenses were Zeiss Compact Primers and Zeiss ZFs.

Below are some images of the “Host” shot on the wonderful Red Epic back in late 2011. Pics copyright Julian Holtom.

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On set with Danny Lacey (right) on “Love like hers” with actor Vincent Regan

The Filmmaker’s Journey

by Danny Lacey

The journey started back in 2009 when I decided to finally take charge of my life and do what I’ve always wanted to do, make films. Now in my 30’s, I hadn’t been to film school or Uni and had absolutely no experience whatsoever. Nothing.

Fortunately, I’d had many years experience as an entrepreneur and working in the media industry (mainly as a radio broadcaster for seventeen years at various stations across the U.K.), so I was able to compile some sense of focus on what needed to be done over the coming years to be able to make a serious attempt to break in to this notoriously difficult industry – I was going to have to innovate.

Most of 2009 was spent with my head buried in books, watching endless hours of Making Of Featurettes, researching the Internet, and at the same time setting up my own Video Production company, Stada Media. I thought the production company would cross over nicely with the film work.

An essential part of my development was going to be to learn EVERY aspect of the Filmmaking process. This means scriptwriting, cinematography, directing, editing, producing, sound and so on.

The unique aspect of my journey was the way in which I was sharing absolutely everything online via Twitter, Facebook, the website etc.; the good, the bad and everything in between. I was the first Indie Filmmaker to host a regular weekly live Internet TV show that was an open account of the process of making a short film. This was 2009, and I was heading in to pre-production on my first major short film, Love Like Hers, shot on super 16mm. The live show was the catalyst for other indie filmmaker shows in the following years.

So, phase 1 of the film making career would involve making a few low budget short films. I’m not talking about grabbing a camera and shooting something random on my own at the weekend. That’s not how my brain works. I wanted to work with an experienced crew and actors, locations, professional kit and so on. How else am I going to learn anything?

Angel of the Night was the first short film I wrote, produced and directed (I also edited and was sound man on the day). I’d managed to convince three talented actors and a small crew, including an experienced DP to get involved, for free. No easy task. Luckily for me, they’d seen what I’d been up to online with the live show and Twitter and could see that I was serious about what I was trying to achieve.

It’s not the best short film you’ll ever see, but that’s not the point. It’s about focus. I’m learning and we all have to start somewhere. The film did however make it in to the top 10 of a national horror television competition and is still being played on the channel today.

One of the big things for me is building a talented team around me, a team that I could work with on this and future projects (and especially ones with a budget). I think this is an essential part of any filmmaker’s development and often overlooked. My message has always been: surround yourself with talented people and you will learn lots.

Love Like Hers (Teaser Trailer 1) from Danny Lacey on Vimeo.

Next, throwing myself in at the deep end with Love Like Hers. A short film that was going to need at least a £10,000 budget. This was easily one of the biggest challenges of my life and I learned so much from this valuable experience. I wrote, produced, directed and raised over £10k via Crowdfunding to make the film. The project included 30+ crew, 5 actors, 6 locations over 3 filming days, a low loader, facilities vehicles, catering and we were filming on S16mm!

It was also the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. I almost closed the film down halfway through day one as I didn’t believe in myself due to my lack of experience. It was quite an experience, one that I managed to get through in one piece and I believe has made me a better filmmaker.

Love Like Hers was in post-production for what seemed like an eternity. I had an experienced editor working on the film in London, but then he had to fly out to LA to work on a feature film and suddenly we were six-months behind. There were other circumstances that meant things were moving along at almost a crawl. So I decided to take action. I was going to shoot another short film in the meantime.

In 2011 I’d started working on a short film idea that would put my writing skills to the test. A story set in one location, with one actor and shot in just one day. The result was a screenplay called ‘Host’. It was at this time that a good friend of mine Chris Jones (Oscar shortlisted filmmaker and author of the Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbooks) had mentioned my name to Philip Bloom. This prompted Philip to find out more about Host, so I sent over the screenplay and before I knew it, I had Philip Bloom on board as DP. This was a very big deal! We also had a lot of help from some of the team from Love Like Hers. Host was shot in October 2011.

On set of Host

It didn’t stop there – in December 2011 Philip asked me if I had any other film ideas up my sleeve as he had some spare time in February. At the time, I had nothing in mind, but did not want to pass on the opportunity. Suddenly, this idea for a short sci-fi film came to mind and in a little over a month I’d written and finished the screenplay. In late February, we shot ‘That Day’ with a big crew, 3 locations, 3 days filming and 10 actors with a tiny budget.

‘Host’ Teaser Trailer (a film by Danny Lacey) from Danny Lacey on Vimeo.


An important point to make here is: I’m not making these films to break any records and make loads of money, far from it. It’s a very important part of the learning experience. So, despite the lack of any budget, I now have a large team who have been more than willing to help and support this stage of my career. It’s the next phase where the pressure really starts.

That Day (teaser trailer) from Danny Lacey on Vimeo.

Making ‘That Day’ (Behind the Scenes) from Danny Lacey on Vimeo.

Danny Lacey (writer/director)









  1. Taking the plunge is the hardest for all aspiring filmmakers.
    But it’s great that Danny was able to find like minded people to work alongside him on his journey and WOW, that’s some awesome crowd sourcing for a short film!
    So, how do you convince people to volunteer their time on a project? How do you decide on who gets paid if there is money involved?

  2. I’d love it if you could expand a bit on how you lit the piece in relation to the time of day you tried to portray.

    Good work!


  3. I loved the video! I’ve really got to work on my networking if I ever want to take the plunge beyond wedding videos. Just to rent a RED, or the lighting would cost me more than $500.00.

    Any advice at keeping the costs down on a project like this.


      1. Looking at what I typed, I must have been sleepy or something. Let me rephrase the question.

        What are some tips at keeping a budget low on a project. I was really impressed at the quality of “Host” and the fact it had such a nice budget.

        Thank again, and your work is amazing.


  4. Hey Philip,

    Great job!
    I stumbled upon your blog in search of some Red homework.

    Do you have a bit on the choice of lenses you used?

    Would love to hear back. Thank you


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