Friday, 11 March 2011

First day of filming done!!!

On Tuesday, I was exceptionally lucky to be able to film some underwater segments of a dream type sequence for the film, at an underwater stage with the brilliant Hugh Fairs.

An early, 8am start meant that I was up and about at 5am which hasn't happened for a very long time! When I'm away on diving trips in wonderful, exciting foreign lands, these types of pre-dawn starts are pretty much the norm but when the cold, wind and rain is what awaits you, it's a lot harder to muster the enthusiasm to alight from a comfy, warm bed! In this instance, the prospect of actually getting some film "in the can" was all the encouragement I needed and from the second Megadeth startled me out of my slumber, I was buzzing with excitement about the day ahead.

My good friend and talented film-maker, Liam from Banter Media was helping me document the day on both film and photos so when he arrived at 6am, I was more than a little relieved that he too had managed the early morning start. The drive itself was a doddle and we arrived pretty much dead on time to find Hugh already starting the arduous task of setting up the camera he was using for the day, "The Phantom."

Hugh was there to do some aerodynamic testing on the housing he designed for use with this camera for a filming job he has coming up. The biggest benefit of this camera is the enormous frame rate at which it shoots, meaning slow motion looks phenomenal, think of the BBC footage of the Great White's breaching at Dyer Island that was featured in the Blue Planet, that sort of stuff. It doesn't come cheap though, £100,000 at last valuation! As he was there doing a testing session, I was able to help him out and also get some footage filmed so the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone was too good to pass up.

The concept behind the segment I was shooting is really, pretty simple, an underwater sequence but dressed in your typical office wear, it might not make a huge amount of sense now but you'll have to wait and see the finished result when it definitely will! This meant jumping into the tank several times, with weighted ankles and getting various angles of these jumps, plus a couple of longer, underwater swimming shots. 

One of the most exciting parts of the whole process was watching the footage back, it really did look absolutely stunning and actually being able to direct the action and get the images in my head onto a screen was a hugely fulfilling experience and what was actually a long day flew by in no time. If this is what the film-making process is really like, sign me up right now! I have to give a huge amount of thanks to Hugh, Neil, Lawrence and Liam for their help and I am delighted with how it all went.

The rather crudely edited video at the top of the page is a bit of behind the scenes footage from the day, shot on my Canon 7D as my outdoor, maneuverable filming rig is now almost complete. There's a bit of work to be done on it yet but it's all looking good. The footage was captured using a Canon 15-85mm lens with a UV filter and the camera settings set to completely flat, as per the recommendations of none other than the incredible Phillip Bloom.

With regards to progress, things are going very well, I met with Canon again on Monday at the Focus on Imaging show at the NEC in Birmingham, to discuss a number of exciting propositions moving forward. I have also been in discussions with a Salford based company called Future Artists, who specialise in the production, distribution and marketing of film and television across a wide section of media platforms. Their last documentary was the Oscar nominated "Restrepo" and feedback so far about "From the Office to the Ocean" has been nothing short of exceptional. Keep an eye out for progress on that front!

For all you facebook fiends out there, I have made a new, more manageable group which allows me to keep in contact with you all on there in a much more efficient manner so if you haven't already, join up here, simply click "like" and hey presto, you're sorted!
There are some incredibly exciting things in the pipeline at the moment which I'm working on that could have a hugely positive effect on localised shark conservation efforts, at this stage, I have to keep them under my hat for various reasons but rest assured, you will know about them as soon as I am able.

Finally, well done to Guam for passing it's legislation regarding shark conservation, it seems as the weeks go by, more and more nations are making efforts to help the world's declining shark populations. Of course, we are still a million miles away from where we need to be but every step is a step in the right direction.

I hope you are all well, as always, please feel free to get in touch with any comments, questions and suggestions, I love hearing from you all.

Thanks for all your continuing support!

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