A videographers diary of a working trip to Amsterdam

I left for Amsterdam at 4am on Friday 23rd, heading for Gatwick with Sam who really kindly drove me there! Having taken some equipment with me when I went to Amsterdam for the first time for IBC, however this time I would be covering a music event with multiple cameras so the kit list looked something like the following..

3 x DSLR bodies (2 Canon 60D, 1 Nikon D5000)

6 x lenses ranging from 17mm to 85mm

2 x Manfrotto ML360 LED lights

2 x Superclamp + magic arms

1 x Zoom H2

A load of extra things to cover my back just in case!

BZrcW6DCEAEX73b[1] Copyright Adam Plowden 2013.

I got to Amsterdam at around 9am and headed for breakfast. Knowing how busy the Damrak is, I headed West and found a little cafe to chow down on breakfast. Like England, Amsterdam suffers from grim weather, so rain it was.

420_2 Copyright Adam Plowden 2013.

Now re-charghed, I headed to 420 Cafe, where Steven 'fly' works; the guy I met while I was over here in Sept, and offered me the job to come over and film the gig he is playing drums at; John Sinclair & His Vipers, on the opening night of the 2013 Cannabis Cup. For those unfamiliar with John Sinclair, he inspired John Lennon, writes amazing poetry and produces podcasts for Radio Free Amsterdam. With a huge following and message, capturing his performance was key to promoting John and moving his message forward into the age of video!

After dropping off my bags at Stevens, we had a look at the venue 'Arkhnaton' just round the corner from 420. It is a small venue with a corner stage, dark and faded which added to the aesthetic of jazzy, smoke filled Amsterdam gigs.

DSC_0005 Copyright Adam Plowden 2013.

I then got to meet Mark from Iron Man records, and Claire, a producer back in 420 and got chatting about ourselves, the anticipation for that nights performance and how we can get the best material to push John Sinclair into the limelight. Through the cloudy room appeared John and Nick fresh off the train from England! We had a great time talking and relaxing in the great ambiance of 420.

After 26 hours of traveling, walking and getting settled back into Dam life, it was time for me to crash.

Up at 4pm the next day, recovered from the day before I was ready for a meal and to get on with the production that night. Steven and myself headed to John's favorite Indian restaurant on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and tucked into the best chicken madras I've ever eaten. Followed by a short walk across the road, we arrived at The Arkhnaton and began setting up for the gig later.

IMG_2128 Copyright Adam Plowden 2013.

Naively, I forgot to pack the power cable for the field monitor, so I had to suffice with the on camera screen and viewfinder. I had a 60D on a tripod central to the stage with the 85mm F/1.8, with another 60D to my left a couple of feet higher than myself for a wide shot (with a superclamp and magic arm). Over to the right I had a D5000 with a 35mm F/1.8 for an extra cutaway shot.

Ready for the gig, I chilled while the band set up and rehearsed. I got some snaps and shots of John and his Vipers performing to build up a collective of promo material.

DSC_0030 DSC_0033 Copyright Adam Plowden 2013.

The blues and poetry were in full swing, Steve Fly on drums, Vince on guitar, accompanied by a last minute sax and horn player to add a touch of brassy class. Having Magic Lantern on the cameras eliminated the restart issue, so syncing up in post would be easier. It was a fantastic gig, and great to hear Johns poems in person.

Knackered from another late one, I turned around the memory cards and equipment the next day, racking up 70Gb of footage over 3 hours or so! It was enough of work, and time to enjoy Amsterdam.

I had a fab time with the 420 guys Janne, Eli and Tias when we went on a trip around town for a Cannabis Refugee's project, I accompanied with my camera, capturing the nights events in a number of hotspots around the city; Grey Area, Greenhouse, ending back at 420 for some more giggles and fun.


It was my 22nd birthday on the 27th Nov, so in true celebratory style, cake for breakfast! Followed quickly by Wok To Walk, which is like a Chinese version of McDonands which they have brought to Soho!! Thanks to Steven and the guys I had myself an exhibitor pass to the Cannabis Cup 2013, so the rest of the Cannabis Refugee filming went on the road! As a tourist, it was create to experience this new open culture and lifestyle!


There's Annika! Stevens flatmate and my new found seed genius!

After that, I got to see The Wailers (minus Bob of course) at The Melkweg, a local gig venue to the Leidsplein, which was awesome!! They played all the best tunes, a great end to the day.

1474556_10153515152950510_1702651799_n[1] Copyright Adam Plowden 2013

Being a techie, its a bad habit of mine to check up on what the guys working are up to..

It was soon my last day in Amsterdam, it always comes around too quickly as I never get around to do all the things I wanted; museums, canal boat tour etc.. But it is winter and I was there for work so that is my excuse!

Now back home, I'm in the edit suite working on the multi-camera edit of the video!


I'm working on my laptop, so progress is a little slower than if I was working on a full powered machine, however I have got through most of it over the last couple of days, spending most of my time re-syncing the clips together.. Working with 3 cameras in post on a 1 man live crew is certainly interesting!

If you haven't already, check out some of my other stills I took, including a performance from Steven and Vince in a Squat house!

steve4 steve3



Thanks to Steven Fly for the job and for letting me stay at your place for my stay, thanks to Mark and Claire for your help with the video, as well as the guys from 420; Janne, Eli, Tias, Laura, Claire, Francesca, Annika, John and Caleb and anyone else who I've missed out!

Do you want video for your business, event or organization? Video is a powerful and vast marketing tool, get in touch at info@adamplowden.co.uk for more on what I can do for you!