I arrived for the brand new 'Shadows and Light' two day filmmaking workshop on Sunday evening, excited to hone in on skills and meet new friends. The drive was smooth, only an hour from Surrey down to Brighton where I was greeted by lovely staff and great room at the Umi (on the seafront).
I dumped my stuff and met my good friend and VFX/Director mastermind HaZ before heading to the pre-drinks to meet everyone. Informal drinks like this are perfect for networking, so remember business cards!!
I met Olly, the 'behind the scenes' filmmaker for the night and the first day and got chatting as he was using a 5D mkIII like me. I also caught up with Nino, and met the wonderful organizer of the event, Fraser, who did a great job of running the event, keeping everything in check.
HaZ and I also chatted to Ollie Kenchington about production for grading and many other things, another great person to meet!!
I also met Yusuf at the pre-drinks when talking about shooting on the A7S, and on returning to the hotel I met Giordano Borghi, an Italian wedding filmmaker who I really enjoyed chatting to over a whisky on the rocks.
Day one was hosted at 'Dukes at Komedia' theatre in Brighton town, great venue with comfortable seats for recovery from the late night.. I was enthralled by Vincent Laforets presentation about motion, in which I got grilled by Vincent in front of the professionals and attendees over my 'Seasons Are Changing' video. He commented it was beautifully shot, but the long takes with unmotivated movement would make the audience somewhat bored. It was fantastic feedback from him, despite the public screening!!
After a break, HaZ presented his talk about VFX in low budget film making, and also considering and directing it in your films. As always HaZ is just a fantastic chap and screened the whole SYNC film, which I was the 1st AC on (shot in Southend), and features one of my shots on the jib!
It was then I met James, who is incorporating film into his company. He's a fantastic dude, and it was great to meet him and chat more throughout the day. I look forward to collaborating in the future :)
Another talk that got me thinking was 'Colour Grading' by Olly Kenchington, who got in deep with shadows and light, and colour theory, and how to produce such grades in Resolve with ease, as well as enhancing the shots/scenes from OK to GREAT!
Day 1 ended with Philip Bloom's talk, followed by the party! Well done to the raffle winners, great prizes donated from the events sponsors; Miller, Rode, Adobe and more.
Day 2 comprised of intense group workshops covering many areas of filmmaking. We were divided into groups which was great for networking with new people attending, and headed to Philip Bloom's workshop on using gimbals (like the MoVI) for filming motion. We got hands on with a range of equipment to see what it's like to operate/walk around using an M5 with a Sony A7S.
Next on to James Miller's 'Lens Whacking' workshop, very hands on with old manual lenses out in the street. I met one of the models, Ruby, and had a great time filming her while trying to get the hang of 'whacking' the lens for 'ethereal' looking light leaks and almost 'tilt-shift' esque focusing.
Luckilly for us, the sun was beaming through the clouds which was perfect for trying to get some leaks in the frame. We stopped for lunch, then continued on to Vincent's workshop.. The BEST of the day!
Vincent talked through a number of movies with a moving camera, breaking down the scene to show how the narrative flows and is complemented by moving the camera, and the characters in frame. We then got hands on blocking out a small scene, which was fantastic to see to get to grips with working as a director when moving the camera.
Lastly was my good mate, Nino, who was talking about filming interviews and using motion control to add interest to otherwise uninspiring corporates. Using a bright window, we set up an interview scene with LED lights and the Kessler second shooter device to move the camera on the pocket dolly. This added much needed life to an otherwise 'standard' two camera shoot.
I had an awesome time, and was happy to give a piece to camera about my thoughts on the workshop. Over the two days I learned an incredible amount that I can directly apply to my work to make films that are more engaging and that have motivated movement! I made loads of new friends too, both from the UK and internationally. For networking and collaboration, there was no better place to be.