Poetry In Motion

Poetry In Motion

This week I purchased a Minolta XG-1 – what a blast from the past, old school analogue. I spent some of this morning re-acquainting myself with the all manual controls (took about 2 minutes!) – and ordering Ilford HP5 B&W film for it (when was the last time you did that, I ask?) This was the exact make and model of the first camera I ever owned. As a distraction from my motorbike obsession, my parents bought me a camera for my 15th birthday – they thought it would be a safer pastime! I then proceeded to take pictures of my motorbike, which I led them to believe belonged to a friend and another obsession was born. Never did I think that obsession would lead to being strapped in a helicopter, hanging out & shooting, while flying sideways into the wind up a beach in South Africa or waist-deep in freezing Jersey surf being pounded by the tides.

BOSIET training

BOSIET offshore safety training – prep for shooting on a North Sea oil rig – just before being turned upside down in a helicopter crash simulator…

When I say I’m a Photographer today, assumptions are often made, that I can be found camped out in a muddy field somewhere with my thermos and a zoom lens with my trigger-finger at the ready to capture the ‘moment’ and preserve it to ‘film’ – 15-year-old me laughs heartily. Thankfully things have changed for me – customizing my old/new XG-1 purchase makes me realize how far things have come. This old XG-1 doesn’t require a settings menu for every single function in comparison to my Sony AR-7 MK IV which, thanks to my pals at London Camera Exchange, was not only the lastest Sony addition into my equipment collection but it was also one of the first ones to come into the entire country as well! You saw it here first guys!

Sony A7R mkIV

Sony A7R mkIV

I now add the title ‘Director’ to my list of accomplishments because the call for photographers like me isn’t just to capture an image anymore. We are also required to be able to tell a compelling story in cinematography as well. Looking back I should have always used that title – storytelling using Still Images also requires the vision for the piece to come from me, but there’s no place to hide if a moving image piece doesn’t have the impact you want it to on your audience.

Triumph Motorcycles Speed Twin teaser 2 from Harniman Photographer on Vimeo.

Lights, Camera, Action – it’s true – so let’s start there for a moment.
At gigs today stage directors will often employ ‘VJ’ light effects as the backdrop for the performer onstage. It’s an easy light effect film at its most basic. For films, the same effect can be obtained with a projector but not the old 1970’s carousels that may spring to mind.
Take 1: Triumph in Studio. For the triumph video, which was done in studio, I used two, 15K Lumen Digital Epson Laser projectors which give the same background effect only better. If the budget stretches, we will always use full digital backdrops. Specific to the Triumph shoot, the two projectors were installed throwing the same image onto the backdrop from either side – which, of course, eliminates the object in the foreground from appearing onto the backdrop. In the Triumph clip you can see the image created at roughly 14 seconds in. It’s a symmetrical, graphic design which is also reflected into the treated floor. It works perfectly to offset the motorcycle as part of this film, however, had I needed to, a glorious still shot of this setup would also have looked phenomenal. Gentlemen start your engines!

behind the scenes back projection

Behind the scenes back projection

The other outstanding effect I was tasked to create by the shoot’s Creative Producer Danny Morris and Creative Director Matt Walker, was the Light Tunnel. He sent over a storyboard of the vision he had and asked me to produce it. I knew there was only going to be one way to do that…. properly.

Triumph Speed Twin light array storyboard

Triumph Speed Twin light array storyboard

So, off we went to commandeer another fabulous car ‘nut’, my friend and colleague James – currently re-creating his classic Renault 5 Turbo – and handed him the CD’s specs. Once James got to work, his professional approach sold the creative and, as you can see, the original storyboarded vision of the Light Tunnel soon came vividly to life almost exactly as it was scamped. Nailed it, James.

Dr James & the electrical ninjas

Dr James & the electrical ninjas

behind the scenes set build day

Behind the scenes set build day

Take Two: Enfield on location.

Royal Enfield KX Concept Reveal film from Harniman Photographer on Vimeo.

To create the stunning visual video light effects behind the Royal Enfield bike, on location, we made use of a Pixel Stick (basically, a portable 5ft light bar), and Ninja Justin’s ability to dance around like a fairy (sorry dude!) waving it around, while I got the shots in. Isn’t that a glamorous thought?! It certainly turned out that way!

Thanks for the on-set entertainment and the final result acheived Ninja Justin!

15-year-old me couldn’t possibly have known when I first experimented with this old XG1 and my clandestine motorbike, where this epic ride would have taken me, so far, it’s exceeded all of my expectations…. that’s a wrap for today folks…

More film and motion backstories on recent blogs…

Triumph Speed twin

Royal Enfield KX Concept

International Motor Film Awards 2019 nominations reel

Join me on Facebook and Instagram for updates & more behind the scenes.

Feel free to share on the social media icons below – thanks!

Comments are closed.