Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bright Lights Big City

Well last week's burglary threw everything off kilter. Last Saturday's filming session for the new project was put back two weeks so Frazer's beard will continue to grow unchecked.

Some good news however. Andy at Syncrovise (who did the website for Bacalao Performance Company) has decided to bequeath humble little me with a continuous lighting softbox set! Two high powered lamps on telescopic light stands complete with reflective umbrellas, diffusers, and even storage bags. A gift!

Like this, only twice!

Anyone familiar with this blog will know that I've had a little trouble trying to find a solution to lighting problems, with professional level kit being so expensive, and lighting such an unsung hero of cinematography. Robert Rodriguez used table lamps and sunlight to light the scenes in El Mariachi. Lars Von Trier and the Dogme 95 guys put down a rule that special lighting (anything beyond the lighting existing in the scene plus one camera lamp) was not allowed in any of their Dogme films. People have worked around professional lighting in the past and with good results. But for me it was becoming a stumbling block that took up too much of my time during a shoot. Interiors are always so dark, especially for video. Any lights I put together from cheap kit were either fiercely bright or ineffective. Regular human living conditions are just not bright enough for Mother Video, who requires eye-straining brightness to bring life from the mud.

In a way, I'm happy that we hadn't already started filming our new project (although understandably less happy about the circumstances), as we can now use a professional grade lighting rig during filming (I should probably say "videoing" or "taping" but filming just sounds much cooler) and the whole project will look better. But don't get your hopes up, I'm still a fumbling amateur who can't walk and think at the same time. .

Andy is also looking for a video producer to help him shoot a couple of product information video for a business that he is building a website for, so he asked me if I would be interested. The answer is a resounding hell yes. So now I have two shoots lined up! Next weekend we are finally all-stations-go on the new project with Mark and Frazer, and the following weekend I will be filming three product information videos with Andy.

If it all goes well I will be happy to offer my services to Andy for any future projects. This could be the first step on a very interesting path. At the very least, I'm going to have some work for my portfolio, something I hadn't really given much thought to before now.

Andy was telling me that he would have had a difficult time getting his own company started if it wasn't for the generosity and support of his former employer, and he tries to keep that ethos in his own dealings with people and to offer the same support that has helped him get started. This is a principle I've tried hard to go by as well. When you are starting out, you have a big hill to climb. But meet people, help them out in their time of need, and a culture of reciprocation and support will go a long way especially when you don't have money or resources. When you find yourself stuck, you'll have a support network that will be there when you need them. That's a hell of a card to have.

This is what gets you places. A talentless person with contacts will get further than a talented one with none. We see it every day. If you can be both, then you'll have a bright future.

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