Video: Behind the scenes at the Almeida Theatre

Before sets have been built and costumes designed there usually isn’t much to help promote upcoming theatre productions – which means creating a buzz before they launch is tricky.

So the Almeida Theatre in London has been commissioning me to produce behind the scenes films to help promote upcoming shows.

The Tragedy of King Richard II

These have been quite demanding shoots, learning to work with a small footprint and minimise disruption to the directors and actors in the room.

As with all shoots it’s about getting the footage you need for the edit – capturing a sense of what’s happening in the room as well as the themes of the play in rehearsal. The location set-up is often only seen on the day of the shoot – meaning I’ll make a very quick assessment and mental shot list as I walk in.

Access to the rehearsals can be anything from 20 minutes to an hour – which means there are strict time limits to capture enough footage – this is stressful, but it also forces me to be efficient.

It also means that shoots are usually handheld and dynamic, with lots of camera movement to help emphasise action. During the shoots I’m quite procedural, using my mental shot list to make sure I get a range of close-ups, mids, wides – camera movements,  detail shots – and slow motion – all of which I know I’ll need to make a compelling edit.

Interviews and access to the actors is also very limited – so quick decision making in setting up the look of these is vital. These pieces are used to promote upcoming productions, so getting the key sound bites that really sell the production and describe the tone of the play is vital.

Dance Nation

The edits themselves usually start with music selection – which is how I tend to approach most edits –  so finding the right track can take some time before cutting even begins.

Grading is also another useful way of communicating the tone and language of the production, for example with the Tragedy of King Richard II, I chose cooler colours to emphasise the starkness of the play’s content.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the Almeida because they’ve been very supportive in producing adventurous work – something that not all organisations have the confidence to do!

 

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Video: DRAG – Meet the curator | Hayward Gallery

Senior Curator Vincent Honore introduces us to the DRAG: Self-portraits and body politics exhibition in my latest piece for the Hayward Gallery.

The exhibition is free – so go check it out!

Video: Robert Smith’s Meltdown

Over June I covered Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre – directing and producing shoots across the festival to create highlight reels and band interview videos.

It was one of the most intense working weeks I’ve pulled off in a long time, completely fuelled by coffee and adrenaline, but totally worth it. Getting to film upfront during performances of bands such as Deftones, Manic Street Preachers and Mogwai were definite highlights.

I learnt loads of lessons during this project – particularly the need for agility and the importance of hanging around backstage to grab last minute interview opportunities!

Special thanks also needs to go to Philip Jenkins and Ben Smith who provided much needed production support!

Mogwai

Yonaka

Deftones

Video: GAIKA – Basic Volume Combat Sports

I was recently asked by Warp Records to provide production for Gaika’s video streaming show, BVCS. The stream is a mix of DJ sets, live performances and interviews curated by Gaika.

The line-up for the featured episode:

Ikonika
Amy Becker
Tony Njoku
Kamixlo

All the sets were recorded at Somerset House in London and streamed online.

Video: Andreas Gursky: Redefining Photography

A new film I produced to accompany the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the Hayward and re-opens the gallery after two years of refurbishment.

Welcome back Hayward!

“Driven by an interest and insight into ‘the way that the world is constituted’, as well as what he describes as ‘the pure joy of seeing’, Gursky makes photographs that are not just depictions of places or situations, but reflections on the nature of image-making and the limits of human perception. Often taken from a high vantage point, these images make use of a ‘democratic’ perspective that gives equal importance to all elements of his highly detailed scenes.”

This retroyspective exhibition spans Gursky’s entire career and features over 60 of his prints. These works are also absolutely huge and have to be seen in the flesh to truly appreciate them.

 

Video: William Boyd’s Book Club

Here’s the first film in a new series I’m making for the Southbank Centre called BOOK CLUB – inviting writers, artists and performers to share the books which matter to them.

First to take us on a tour of his extensive book shelves is the novelist and screenwriter William Boyd.

In William Boyd’s Book Club the author talks us through some of the ‘over 10,000’ books that occupy the shelves of his London home, from the miniscule Victorian Thumb Dictionary, to the more contemporary novels of David Szalay and Evie Wyld.

Video: What to do with space debris?

My final film for the Royal Institution features engineer Hugh Lewis and explores the growing problem with space debris. With over 18,000 objects being tracked in orbit and another 170 million too small to be tracked – the problem threatens not only our satellite infrastructure, but the future of space travel as well.

VIDEO: Experience Composite

What is in the contents of your head at the moment of the beep?

This film was commissioned as part of a residency within the Wellcome Collection’s Hubbub Group and exhibited at the “Rest & its discontents” exhibition at Mile End Art Pavilion, London October 2016.

Using playful imagery the film presents a collection of short vignettes that explore the strange and often abstract nature of our everyday inner experiences.

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 10.36.09

The experiences were documented through a process called descriptive experience sampling (DES), a technique developed by American psychologist Russel Hurlburt that aims to document inner experiences – the thoughts, feelings, sensations and bodily experiences that constitute our everyday consciousness.

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 10.34.44

Participants of DES wear a small beeper which sounds randomly throughout the day, at the moment of the beep, individuals are instructed to note down the exact contents of their experience (this could include internal monologues, physical sensations or visual imagery).

Follow up interviews tease out the information of the experiences and distill them into short summaries. These so called “beep summaries” provide wonderfully vivid depictions, almost like a dream diary, for seemingly mundane everyday experiences.

Using material gathered by several members of the Hubbub team, this film translates and re-interprets the contents of the beep summaries, referencing the distortions and adaptations that occur when we try to conceptualise our inner experiences with others.

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The film was shot over the summer of 2016 on a Sony A7s. I used old M42 lenses to help give the piece a faded, dream like quality – which was further aided by adding film grain and muting the colours slightly in post. Most of the portraits were shot on an old Takumar 50mm 1.4 lens which has a beautiful vintage bokeh, which is full of character and lacks the somewhat clinical precision of a modern lens.

Find out more about the Hubbub Research group here: hubbubresearch.org

Audio: SOME LIKE DARK

There was a lovely edition of BBC R4’s “Four Thought” broadcast last week called “Capturing Moonlight”. In this short programme, poet Astrid Alben discusses her experiences of using art and science together to better understand the nature of moonlight. What is particularly interesting to me is hearing about Astrid’s endeavour to navigate the complexities of science in order to deepen her own artistic practice.

Back in 2015 I collaborated with Astrid and Hester Aardse of the PARS Foundation to produce a listening experience for a Wellcome Collection event called ‘Some Like Dark‘, which formed part of her investigation into moonlight.

Together we crafted an audio work which centred around an interview recorded with physicist Sir John Pendry. The piece explores how our modern understanding of light developed through investigations by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th Century and concludes with a playful discussion about trying to capture moonlight in a box (excerpt 4).

The 30 minute piece also included readings and audio works from theatre maker Jan van den Berg, lighting designer; Jennifer Tipton and sound poet; Jaap Blonk.

You can listen to excerpts below:

Excerpt 1

Excerpt 2

Excerpt 3

Excerpt 4

VIDEO: Particle Accelerators and beyond

Two new videos produced recently for the Royal Institution that take you inside the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility in Oxfordshire.

This is a scientific research facility that uses a high-energy proton accelerator to generate neutrons which are then used by visiting scientists to research the structure and properties of materials.

Find out about how they power the facility and an example of the cutting edge research taking place in the videos below!

Proteins and Particles

How to Power a Particle Accelerator