Don’t be afraid of the dark, the shadows are the best bit…
I love the first read of a film script. When you read that script for the first time there are no preconceived ideas about the scenes, locations or characters. The idea that you have a visual blank canvas in front of you is utterly exciting. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing the image you had in your mind when reading the script come to life in the viewfinder. There’s a delicious moment when you see the actors, the art direction and the light come together in frame for the first time. This is a moment I never tire of.
I thrive in the preproduction of a feature film. The planning is where the creative juices really flow. It’s good to remember that any thinking, chatting and planning done before the shoot is thinking, chatting and planning time you won’t spend on set.
I had no idea how painful it could be for a director to wait for a DP to light a shot until I dipped my toe into the role of director myself. Now I'm always mindful of this when lighting a scene.
This is where I started my journey over twenty years ago. I’m a naturally inquisitive person and love people-watching and picking up on a person’s characteristic. Lighting an interview is where I first experienced the thrill of seeing how different faces carry the same light in a completely different way.
I learnt how to light with the sun. It may sound ridiculous, but learning the ability to work with the sun, and not battle it, is a skill worth having. Harnessing available light is the core skill of any documentary cameraman and is particularly important when shooting drama reconstruction on a shoe-string budget or an interview in a public place.
My years of documentary lighting in a hurry and to a budget have helped me immeasurably in the narrative world of feature film, and having experience as a feature film cinematographer, in return, has enabled me to significantly raise the bar in drama recon for documentary.
Advertising has fascinated me since I was a child. I still have tunes from advertising campaigns from the 70s and 80s in my head. I guess this was what ‘going viral’ was before you could go viral. Today I enjoy working with clients and getting under the skin of their product and being part of their world for a moment. This is the area where I thrive as a shooting director and a creative. The hours spent creating, pitching and delivering the finished piece is worth every minute when a client’s excitement is fuelled by a film I’ve created.
CREDITS - (Just a selection)
The Village In The Woods - Feature Film (Cinema Release) - Brake3 Ltd 2018
Dangerous Game - Feature Film - Best Wishes Films Ltd 2017
History: The Interesting Bits - 8 x 60 mins - Curiosity Stream - Impossible Factual - 2022
Worlds Most Evil Killers 3 - 20 x 60 mins - Sky Living - Woodcut Media - 2018/19
WW2’s Most Daring Raids - 6 x 60 mins - Smithsonian Channel - Impossible Factual 2015
Conspiracy (3 Ep) - 12 x 60 mins - Channel 5 - Channel 5 Productions 2015
Myth Hunters (Series 3) - Docu/Drama - History Channel - World Media Rights 2014
WWII's Greatest Raids - Docu/Drama 6 x 60 mins - National Geographic - Impossible Factual 2014
The Great Martian War - 120 mins - Feature Length Scifi Docu/Drama - History Channel - Impossible Pictures 2013
The First - Docu/Drama 4 x 60 mins - History Channel - Impossible Pictures 2013
The Wereth Eleven - 2012 Emmy Nominated Feature Length Docu/Drama - National Geographic - Ardennes Group LLC
Wanted: Interpol Investigates - 4 episodes - National Geographic - New Dominion Pictures
The Science of Evil Genius - 8 x 60 mins - Curiosity Stream - Impossible Factual - 2022
Mend It For Money (Pilot) - 1 x 45 mins - Channel 4 - Chalkboard TV - 2019
Flying Across Britain with Arthur Williams - 4 x 60mins - Channel 4 - Reef TV 2017
Britsh Library ‘My Favourite Things’ - 6 x 60 mins - Sky Arts - Nutshell TV 2016
Girls Can Code - 2 x 60 mins - BBC3 - Nutshell TV 2015
T-Rex Autopsy - 1 x 120 mins - Feature Length Factual - National Geographic - Impossible Factual 2015
Mummies Alive - 6 x 60 mins - History Channel - Impossible Factual 2014
Human Swarm - Factual Documentary - Channel 4 - Impossible Pictures 2013
Diagnosis Unknown - The Harold Shipman Story - Discovery Channel - New Dominion Pictures
Raising the London Eye (Timelapse) - Archive Footage - BA - 16mm Film - BA Film & Video
Touching The Void - 1 x 120 mins - Sky Arts & Live Stream - Bristol Old Vic - 2021