Archive for the ‘ People & places ’ Category

Harley-Davidson 110th Celebrations

To celebrate 110 years of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and 30 years of the Harley Owners Group®, riders have gathered and partied in cities around the world. In Europe, Rome became the home of Harley-Davidson® for four days in June – an epic event that I had the pleasure of filming. I wasn’t working alone on this one though, I had help from Will Middleton, a camera operator that I met working on a project in London last year.

The Rome event was set on multiple sites, including the Vatican City and nearby beach resort Ostia, hundreds of thousands of passionate Harley-Davidson enthusiasts flocked to this beautiful part of Italy to commemorate 110 years of the legendary motorcycle. I’m not at all a religious person but none the less I was really honoured to be allowed to film inside the Vatican during a special Mass for the Harley Owners Group and also to film the Pope himself  when he was paraded in from of the thousands of Harley riders in the Vatican Square.

The rome event did however throw up a few extra challenges. The police and security people in Rome and especially those surrounding the Vatican are a tough bunch to deal with. One moment I would be told that it was fine to stand in a particular location and the next another security team would tell me to stop filming and move on, it was probably one of the most stressful places I’ve worked as yet, especially as many of the security people didn’t speak english.

One of the photographers that we were working with also had a Nikon D3 stolen on the train, he thought nothing off an old lady asked him a question but didn’t realise until 15 minutes later that at the same time his back pack had been unzipped and the camera body removed. It’s never a good idea to carry camera gear in a back pack, especially on a cramped train! Luckily the photographer was insured and ended up with a shiny new D4 body but the shots that he’d taken were lost forever… well maybe until the scrote who stole it posts them on facebook!

Here’s one of the videos created from the Rome event.

Moving on from Rome I shot again for Harley at the European Bike Week event in Faaker See, Austria. I’ve shot this event many times now and it becomes increasingly difficult to make it look different as in reality the event is pretty much the same each year. The addition of some shots with the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveller and the fact that I was supplied a rather excellent Jeep for the duration did however give me some new options.

Ecosystem Justice Matters

This was a fun little talking head film I made for the International Development team at the University of East Anglia. The guys at the UEA had opted for a style they wanted to use so it was really just a case of lighting and framing accordingly to achieve the desired results.

One interesting challenge was that I didn’t want the backdrop framing to be changing between shots so we had to set the camera fairly high and then use a stack of magazines to raise the subjects to the desired height, which was fun! In the end I opted to crop into some of the shots anyway and the background changes were not overly noticeable but it’s better to air on the side of caution sometimes.

The subjects were lit with a single Rifa softbox on the left and a reflector to throw some of that same light back onto the right side of their faces just to bring up some detail. I also used my Litepanels 1×1 to throw some light against the white backdrop. I wanted to achieve a very shallow depth of field so I used the Canon 50mm f1.2 throughout at an aperture of f1.4.

One of the nice things about the modular design of the C300 is that you can remove the audio controls and LCD unit from the body of the camera. I set these up on a light stand so that I could adjust the audio levels etc without any risk of causing unwanted camera movement.

  

I actually shot with two cameras, the Canon C300 with the 50mm f/1.2 locked off and my 5D on the Kesller Stealth slider. I’d planned to show some shots with the camera tracking towards the subjects face as they talked but in comparison to the images from the C300 the 5D material looked mushy. The 5D produces great results but it does stand out as being soft when compared to the C300, I’ve decided to pre-order an EOS C100 to use as a B cam in the future.

You can just see in the image above that I monitored both cameras with SmallHD monitors, the DP6 on the C300 and the DP4 attached underneath the Stealth with a Noga arm.

The audio was all recorded from an overhead Rode NTG-3 and I haven’t messed around with the EQ at all on that. I’m really impressed with the results from that mic.

Comments welcomed.

15th European Bike Week

Once again, the picturesque and mountainous region of Carinthia played host to Europe’s biggest bike event in early September. Approximately 110,000 people descended upon the area surrounding Faaker See, turning the tranquil landscape into a tumultuous party of roaring V-Twin engines.

I flew out to shoot the event for Harley-Davidson again this year and as with previous years it turned out to be a very hectic yet amazing experience. I used the Canon C300 exclusively, mostly with the Canon 17-55 EFs lens although I did break out the 70-200 at one point to grab some close shots of the crowds enjoying bands.

The C300 is such a great all-round camera for this kind of work, during the day I configure it with the full monitor rig and a shotgun mic and then when I prefer to be a little less conspicuous I tend to remove the handle and monitor and just run either without a mic at all or with the Rode VideoMic Pro.

Towards the end of each rally I ride pillion in the parade and again the C300′s modular build proves useful as I hang my smallHD DP4 around my neck on a lanyard and just run the camera with it’s handle attached allowing me to shot using many angles that would be impossible using the cameras onboard monitor.

Because I had to fly out to Brasil to shoot another rally for Harley-Davidson soon after returning from Austria this one was edited by Paul Pearson (@pearsonpost) on twitter.

The wonderful, “Wild Blood” by Lovedrug was supplied by The Music Bed.

 

Using the Canon EOS C300 for a Harley-Davidson event

The post production for the event I shot for Harley-Davidson in St Tropez is now completed so I thought I’d share my thoughts on using the Canon EOS C300 on an event shoot for the first time. Previous to this event I’ve been using a Sony EX1 and Canon 5D mkII combination which have produced some nice results. The EX1 has been my main camera for event work over the last few years and even though I’ve felt the results from the 5D2 have been better at times the functionality and ease of use that the EX1 provided meant that it was just a better all around camera for my needs.

My shooting days at these events involve a lot of walking, I’m generally out shooting from 10am until the early hours of the morning for three or four days in a row so it can be very hard on the feet and becomes tiring after a few days. Because of this I tend to try and avoid carrying too much kit around with me and certainly didn’t like carrying both the EX1 and the 5D at the same time with all the batteries and lenses that go with them. My preferred method was to head out for a few hours with the 5D and my Glidetrack grabbing some more stylised material and then head back and swap over to the EX1. This worked well most of the time but invariably there would be times with the 5D that I missed the EX1′s over cranking feature and shooting aids, likewise when using the EX1 I’d really miss the ability to shoot really wide and have more control over the depth of field of my shots.

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European Bike Week 2011

Filmed for Harley-Davidson in Faaker See, Austria during European Bike Week in September 2011.

Both the Sony EX1 and Canon 5D MkII were used to shoot at the event. The only lens I used on the 5D was the Canon 24-105 IS which I generally have fitted with a Fader-ND filter . The tracking shots were done with my Glidetrack Shooter.

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