A short review of my year

If I've missed something I apologise. It could be the Pina Colada I'm drinking while I write. This post links to many relative blog posts and photo galleries and towards the end is a link to a playlist of videos which also is relative to the post. Hope you enjoy reading it just a smudge as much as I've enjoyed looking back on 2015. Let me know your favourite bits in the comments below and I'll stop by to reply when I can.

2015 In Review

The year started in snow for me. Laid on my bed checking the sensors on my cameras were clean I took some photo's of Imogen (our cat) and then ventured out into the snow to take a photo of my new Nike trainers. Yes, you read that right, and if you so wish, you can read about it and see the photo(s) here. We started the year in Sydney, Australia and I started blogging. I firstly summed up my first 'First' experience with British Airways aboard the plane for some 21 hours on a flight I didn't want to end which tells you about how much I enjoyed the experience. Once we landed, I remember immediate plans were made for a day trip to Taronga Zoo. With clearance made for me to film, there was no chance of rest from the long flight, I packed up and off we went. The video was edited that day as well and shown the next morning on an Australian breakfast show (I forget the name, please do remind me if you remember!).

After an amazing Australia tour we stopped off in Manila. I instantly fell in love with the country and it's people, both very polite and passionate about life. I found this infectious and enjoyed my time here. I look forward to our return in 2016. From Manila to Japan. Another country I love spending time in. We had a day off and some of us visited Mount Fuji, a sight like no other I've seen. I filmed the day, of course and it's one of my favourite sections in a video for the band to date. We also squeezed in an impromptu cover on a cable car, maybe it could become a theme for our channel? I like the sound of Cable Car Covers! In Japan I also met up with Dave Spearing, friend and fellow filmmaker as he was over with McBusted. I joined Dave with James, Harry and Matt from the band for a Jetlag induced breakfast.

Once we returned from the Asia-Pacific tour the band went into rehearsals only with a brief trip to Bahrain to pause production for the up coming UK arena tour. Bahrain was a very tiring experience and I didn't really see much of the country unfortunately. We landed around 8pm and at 330am I climbed into bed exhausted after a frustrating experience trying to get our screens to work ready for the show the next day. Still, from what I did see it's a place I'd like to visit again. The start of the U.K. Tour saw the beginning of my 'Dear Diary' series. An idea I had to run alongside the lyric from the bands opening line in Girls On TV. The plan : Shoot, edit and upload from all dates on the tour (London had to be excluded due to my Directorial duties for the Live DVD) within 48 hours. It was a tough task, I'm not going to hide the fact it wore me out completely. Most nights I didn't get to bed until 4am. The main time constraint, I was also shooting 'On Tour With The Vamps' at the same time, a feature length film to be released alongside the 2nd album and the live DVD in November. I also knew, that due to our schedule I wouldn't be able to edit the film till September time. That meant I needed to be diligent with my key-wording and organisation of files ready for my edit, otherwise, I'd forget everything and need to re-watch all my footage and that would have lost me days in the edit.

After the UK tour a short trip to Paris with Sophie was followed by some European dates with the band and then a splattering of summer shows in the UK and summer visits to coffee shops in London. Around this time I received my Apple Watch and a few weeks after blogged about living with this futuristic companion before heading out onto a 5 week tour of North America and Canada with the band, it was in Canada my stills camera got to work the most, and also in Boston. Whilst on the tour we celebrated 3 years of The Vamps and I suggested the band play a bit of Vegas Girl, their first cover on YouTube whilst we were in Chicago on that day to mark the occasion. When we arrived in LA Brad received an idiot sandwich from Gordon Ramsey and Brooklyn Beckham made a guest appearance in the bands first music video for the 2nd Album 'Wake Up'.

Back home, we launched In Bed With Brad. A spur of the moment iMessage to Joe and Brad launched the series and hopefully it will continue into 2016 with some sporadic guest appearances. We realised early on that trying to stick to our Sunday night at 8pm schedule was virtually impossible as the bands schedule just doesn't allow it at times. Sophie and I went on another trip, this time to Brussels, It was my first play with the Sony RX100 MKIV and I shot this little test video in 4K, this one to test the slow motion capabilities and took some photo's as well.

From Brussels to Stockholm and the start of 'the revolution' our campaign leading into the release of Wake Up. Whilst in Stockholm I managed a few night walks to take some photos, one of the rare occasions my edit schedule gave me some free time in a country. Back on UK soil again a lyric video for Cheater was planned. The shoot would have to take place at the bands hotel in London, and it would be after a long day of pr pieces were filmed by me for various countries around the world. In the end we literally had 30 minutes to shoot this video, and with that in mind I like the outcome. I posted a blog post about what's in my 'B' bag for those of you interested in the gear I use (and in a few days I'll be posting a 'favourite things of 2015' blog too which is based around the gear I use for my job mainly).

As always, though a little earlier in the year than usual, we posted a Bloopers video from the year. First posted on the bands Apple Music Connect page and now on YouTube we've made three of these now and I think in some ways they best show what my job is like on a day to day basis working with the boys. Next up was the Fanfest tour of Europe followed by a few Christmas radio show dates on the east coast of America. After the radio shows we headed to New York where I had some time to visit Brooklyn and a few other sites in the City I hadn't seen before on previous trips, it's also one of my favourite videos from the year.

My 2015 YouTube video playlist

Into 2016

In reflection, 2015 was a wicked year overall. Mixed unfortunately as always with some heartache both on a personal level and related to the band. Now's a time to reflect as I take a break and enjoy some personal time. On the whole it seems a massive (62 million minutes watched / 26 million views / 42,500 comments) amount of you are enjoying the videos. There are like in every creative endeavour, some negative comments, and that's ok (trolls aside, that's not ok), most of the time the negatives are due to one of three things :

  1. "Why isn't [insert name] in the video more?" Reason - Well, more often than not they were busy doing other things, mostly work related but sometimes wanted some personal time and, you have to remember, these are 4 different personalities and their personalities reflect in their video time (Brad and Connor are two sides of the spectrum here) and that's fine, it's who they are, and I'm in no position, nor would I want, to change who they are.

  2. "Why isn't [insert song title] in the video." Reason - It's just not possible for me to film and edit every single song from every single show, I shouldn't really have to explain this, but I still get asked it ;)

  3. "It's not long enough." Sometimes not enough happens to be honest. There have been few occasions where I haven't got enough to make a full video, but it does happen. Sometimes there are venue restrictions on filming, so I can't film anything, and sometimes I'm holding footage back for a bigger project.

At the end of the day If I feel that I got what I needed from the project, I enjoyed it and achieved what I needed and wanted to get from it then I'm happy and that's all that really matters to me. Oh and as long as the band keep enjoying my work as well of course. Lastly, for 2015, I'd like to say thanks to all of you who watch and, I hope, get some joy out of my work, here's to a content filled 2016. Cheers.