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: 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: Praying Mantis | National Insect Week

Praying Mantis!

I was recently comissioned to produce a short film for National Insect week, working with the Royal Entomological Society and presenter Dr Tim Cockerill. It was an absolute blast to shoot and a wonderful location, filming inside the colourful bug houses of insect breeders Janice and Graham Smith! I think I may get one as a pet!

Check it out below.

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Video: Blood, rats and anticoagulants

Blood, rats and anticoagulants: The story of Warfarin

Warfarin is one of the worlds most widely prescribed drugs and its history is littered with the bodies of sick cows and poisoned rats. This film I produced for Nature tells the story of how a bloody beginning gave rise to the life-saving medication.

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Video: Showreel [2017]

Here’s a showreel covering some of my work over the last few years.

Everyone has a different take on how a showreel should look, I decided I wanted something that was almost an original work in itself. I was interested in re-purposing my existing material and having a bit of fun with the edit, hopefully to catch the eye of whoever was watching it and encouraging them to explore my body of work in more detail.

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.

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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.

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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

Video: Entropy and the Arrow of Time

Providing direction to time’s arrow

A short film I made for the Royal Institution that explores the relationship between entropy and time. The piece formed part of the larger Ri Advent Calendar project which explored the four laws of thermodynamics.

Animation: Marie Tharp – Revealing the Secrets of the Ocean Floor

Mapping the ocean floors

An animation I produced last year with animator / illustrator Rosanna Wan for the Royal Institution.

Rosanna’s distinct visuals incorporate a hand drawn style that tell the story of cartographer Marie Tharp, whose work helped to detail the complex geography of ocean floors around the world.

Her maps helped to demonstrate that the ocean floor was in fact a complex assortment of peaks and troughs – which went against conventional wisdom at the time. Despite fierce opposition, she stuck fast to her findings and as more data was collated, the tide of opposition turned, paving the way for our modern understanding of plate tectonics.

Directed and animated by Rosanna Wan.

Produced and scripted by Ed Prosser.

Narrated by Helen Czerski.

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

VIDEO: The Story of Zero

Here’s a short animation I wrote and produced with animator / illustrator Andrew Khosravani.

The piece is narrated by Hannah Fry and tells the story of how zero became a number. We were very happy about it getting a “Staff Pick” on Vimeo!

The scripting for the piece was tricky, it took several weeks to wrap our heads around the subject and then boil a significant amount of history down into around 3 minutes… inevitably details had to be cut and even after recording the voice-over with Hannah we had to make some difficult decisions to make further cuts. All in the name of reducing animation time – which was significant for a piece like this – Andrew did an incredible job!

Oh and the chapter numbers are obviously all in binary.