It's nice to have a reason to take a trip back down memory lane. This past spring I had that opportunity. I spent days going through photographs and collating a batch, which eventually amounted to more than 500 photos, in preparation for the bands first book.
It's been a very busy end of year for me. It often happens, but not normally quite this busy. I've Directed 9 videos in the past three weeks, 6 of which I have also filmed and i'm in the middle of editing them all. I have 2 left to edit. Over the past few days three Christmas themed music videos have gone live for the three bands I am currently working with, here they are, along with some words (not many, don't worry), and stills...
I've just arrived in Lima, Peru for the start of The Vamps World Tour, South America leg. Was a long old day travelling with two flights and an airport stay of about 3 hours in Miami, pretty much didn't sleep for 24 hours. Did sleep when I got to the hotel though! First morning/afternoon here me and James decided to go for a trek just outside the city.
It was an eventful journey which I filmed for the start of the first episode from down here, so won't say too much, but it's safe to say our driver had no idea where he was going. I filmed on my Sony A7RII with the Sony 16-35mm F4 lens and the XLR-KM2 recording audio. I almost didn't have this mic for use here as when I opened up my camera bag after transit it had snapped clean off at the mic holder. Luckily I had some Gorilla Gel Glue with me, and combined with a bongo tie it was fixed within a few minutes.
The show was great. Atmosphere wise one of the best i've ever been to. Unfortunately due to how small the stage was I struggled to film with the Movi in the fashion i have been, but managed to get a song, there just wasn't room on that stage. My glue came to the rescue again, fixing Connors sunglasses! I ventured out with Glyn, security, to get some vibe shots of the city for my edit. Keeping it 'touristy' with my RX100 IV camera so I fit in and don't draw too much attention.
The next day we arrived in Chile. The flight was pretty great, LAN airways have a really nice fleet of new planes, I've never had so much space. I slept the whole way, feeling the effects of my cold kicking in and when we arrived at the hotel I went straight to bed for an hour to relax some more. It wasn't until a few hours later I realised how beautiful the view was from my room, so i setup my tripod/camera and Lens shade and took some photos and a timelapse before bed.
Show day in Santiago, Chile and the cold is at full power right now. It hurts moving my eyes, not just my limbs! James and Joe are going on a walk around the Andes and I'd love to go but need to get better. I think at present i'd make about 10 steps before becoming a wheezing mess!
The show in Chile is great, apart from a brief pause when power to the desks goes, it also features, for the first time i've ever seen a kind of sitting room area on the side of the stage. We make the most of it, and when I say we, I mean the tight seven. Myself, Fin, Joe and the band all eat a KFC order which is delivered to the 'live lounge'. In between songs the band come over and sit down when they can and eat (well, apart from James of course, who tucks into bottles of water instead of chicken drumsticks).
The tour ends after trips to Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. By the time we are ready to head home i've finally shaken off the cold. Here's a few more photo's from the tour and the episodes from South America. Apart from mine and James' trip out in Peru I think one of my favourite parts of the videos is the 9 minute opening to the Brazil video. That's one long take on the Movi and about as close as I can get to the band for that long, you can see it in the video below.
I am now three episodes into what looks like around an 8 Episode YouTube Documentary for this years tour. It would have been nice to have started this in Australia / Asia back in Jan/Feb but because the band needed a DVD for the I Found A Girl single release that couldn't happen. The plan with it is to make the 8 episodes (I say 8 it could end up being anything from 8 - 12) and then release a longer version with a bunch of unseen stuff around Christmas, i'm guessing that would be a DVD though i'm pushing for a digital version of it most likely on iTunes. As for what was filmed backstage in London, that'll be a little extra on the Live DVD I just Directed at The O2 Arena for the band. Anyway, onto the episodes :
The third episode was entirely shot on the new Sony A6300 and my Freefly Movi M5. It has the worlds fastest Autofocus tracking system in video mode and though it misses a few times (which if you watch very very closely you can see, it is in the whole 'mind bogglingly' good! The only problem I need to solve is if I have the 10-18 f/4 Sony lens on the camera the lens protrudes top and bottom and i'd end up damaging the lens if I mounted it on Movi. So at the minute I have the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 on at all times but thats a great lens anyhow, so not too worried. Have had some great feedback on social media on the series so far so thanks to anyone who's taking the time for that!
Sing it Belfast. You were LOUD tonight. This is awesome, and I know how much it means to the boys when they hear you sing with them, one big party. Tech info for those that care : shot on the @freeflysystems #Movi M5 with the @sonyalpha A7SII and 16-35mm F/4 Sony lens. Framed through an @smallhd 502 monitor with amazing immersive sound coming from the awesome @rodemic #SVMX microphone, which I love on this setup. Longer version will be in the second episode of the tour series, check out the first one on the bands YouTube channel that went live today. Not sure when the second episode will go live maybe at the weekend 👍🏼
I'll be updating my Flickr with a few photos at the end of the tour. All taken on the Sony A7RII. Here are a few for now and there are more on my Instagram too.
Yesterday the tour started. We are in Birmingham, it's day two today. I have as usual been super busy but just wanted to make a little screen video quickly to go through my organising workflow after ingest in FCPX, here's the video. Feel free to ask questions below in the comments.
Here's the teaser I mention in the video that was posted to the bands Instagram.
Yesterday I shot a teaser for the bands upcoming UK tour whilst they were in rehearsals in London. Knowing last week I wouldn't get much of their time, I wrote down an idea, as you'll see in the video, that pretty much meant I only needed to annoy them for about 10 minutes (the hardest shot to get right was Tris's drum stick spin because of the speed he picks up a stick up and does it!). The basis of the idea was to portray an empty, eerie rehearsal room that is coming into life more and more by the end of the video before the graphics part kicks in, hopefully I achieved that!
About 90% of it was filmed using the awesome Movi M5 3 axis digital gimbal made by Freefly. Before I go into how I've set my Movi up here's a little 360 video shot on the Ricoh Theta S which I had mounted on the Movi handle. Some browsers aren't supporting 360 video yet, it works on my phone and hopefully it will work for you too.
On my M5 I have the A7SII by Sony with a 16-35 f/4 Sony Vario lens. To frame my shots I'm mounting the excellent Small HD 502 monitor mounted using an Xtender 2 with a super thin cable so it doesn't pull when the gimbal tries to turn/balance. I've also got the Movi wifi adaptor connected so I can control tilt/pan and more using the Freefly Akira app on my iPhone. The A7SII is notable for its poor battery life so I am also going to test powering it via a USB charging bank, however that would mean I'd lose the ability to connect the Fotga remote control which enables me to stop/start record without awkwardly reaching down to the camera whilst operating. That 'issue' aside the Movi is already proving its worth. It's also great fun! I've got a few shoots in the next two weeks before the tour starts that involve the Movi a lot and involves some complex blocking with camera moves, should be fun!
Tour teaser I shot yesterday now live on the bands YouTube channel (search for The Vamps YouTube). This is a teaser of the teaser 🙈 shot mostly on the @freeflysystems #Movi . Just about to write a little blog about the shoot and my Movi setup so far , it may include a 360 interactive video (that works on my iPhone so hopefully will work for you!) I'll post a link on Twitter later this evening.
I thought last night I may have gone too far with the 'eeriness', so i sent a quick 30 seconds edit to the band and they all loved where I was going with it. Always good to make sure you're not going down the wrong path if you can!
N.B. The banner photo for this post was taken at the end of the music video I Directed in LA for The Tide. That video was signed off yesterday and goes live soon. I'm really happy with how it turned out on such a small budget.
I've been in LA for a few days now in preparation for the Music Video I am Directing and a photo shoot too. Most of my time has been spent in my room at the hotel in Hollywood planning and prepping, which isn't all bad. The view is pretty great, in fact while I write this blog post sat on my bed I can see the Hollywood sign perched proudly over the hills. When I get chance I've been popping outside to stretch my legs, take in some LA and of course always have a camera on me.
Sunset time-lapse of 'that' sign. Sony A7SII plus 70-200 f/4 Canon lens. Also to note, I unscrewed a few window parts to get this shot. Don't try this at home kids. The window is back in full working order as well of course. I had already uploaded this but there was some weird compression artefacts caused randomly during the upload.
This morning I popped down to Coffee Bean by my hotel to get some coffee and work on my shot list for tomorrow. I sat next to, what turned out to be, a pretty damn great Zach Galifianakis lookalike. We spoke for about an hour about his job, people would keep asking for photo's and he would oblige, happily, getting straight into character, he was really good to be honest. Before he left I asked for a photo, not a selfie, just a photo of him. I gave him some cash and he said goodbye. After that I walked back to my hotel and en-route was stopped in my tracks by a homeless man. He didn't ask for money, just wanted to show me a trick with a banana. His trick didn't work and when the banana hit the ground he got upset as that was his breakfast and he didn't want it to bruise. I spoke with him for a bit. He told me he used to be a zoo keeper, one of the best. Unfortunately though the zoo was closed down, and he couldn't find work. Fast forward two years and he's homeless, so sad. I said goodbye, but headed back to Coffee Bean to get him some food. I asked him to tell me, if he didn't have the banana, what would he most like for breakfast, and he just said "Cream cheese, I love me some cream cheese." I came back with two bagels and a bunch of cream cheese, he was ecstatic, and I hope you can see his happiness in the photo's below. Making his day better definitely made mine better too, nice to meet you Nati-Boy (which comes from him being from Cincinnati).
Dubai today, on the flight I answered some questions From Pro Movie Maker magazine who are doing a piece on me for an up coming issue. Dubai is a very surreal place and has its own unique beauty. It reminded me a little of Bahrain and Singapore combined. Apart from a sick show, the band were scanned ready for their first 'action figures' to be made and the owners asked if I wanted one making of myself, couldn't pass on that offer!
Japan is one of my favourite places in the world. A culture so far from my own that teaches me new things every time I'm here. It's educational and beautiful and has a cool colour palette like no where else I've been. Again, another wicked show that was only topped, for me, by getting to climb Mount Takao the day before flying home. I also visited a shrine in Asakusa and did a little street photography. I always wish I had longer when I'm here.
Manila is always a fun part of the tour. This my second visit to the Philippines. As always the show was great and we had the pleasure of flying to Cebu where the boys performed in a mall and did a signing for the album. Already looking forward to the next trip back. I wish we had had more time to explore. One day myself and James tried but ended up so stuck in traffic we had to turn back to the hotel.
The bottom two panoramas are viewable bigger here on my Flickr profile.