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I shot: Brother and England at Wembley

Due to my commitments on GoalMouth and also to the fact that he’s got more staff now, I haven’t done much for Sheephead at FATV recently. In fact those who knew Channelbee will be happy to hear that Joe’s not only got Jon Dyson but also Tony ‘the Hammer’ Watson on board now which is great news as he’s a top bloke who knows his football even if you can’t understand what he’s saying most of the time. So naturally I was happy to get the call to do a day with the team up at Wembley covering for Dyson who was on U21 duty.

FATV seem to be growing as an operation and now have tv giants Endemol behind them so I fully expect them to go from strength to strength; think of the assets they have at their disposal (England players/footage, FA Cup) and the huge fanbase (pretty much anyone who’s interested in football) and you can see I’m hardly going out on a limb there. Joe and his team have the access, they have the creative experience and vitally they have the trust of the hierarchy at the FA and the end result is a great example of what branded content should be; it engages the audience whilst promoting the product. They’re not taking it easy either; on Saturday at various times I think I counted 8 pieces in production. That’s a lesson to any brands seeking to get into video; one glossily produced corporate or brand promo does not a digital audience make, unless you get lucky with one of those elusive ‘virals’. In my humble opinion little and often is the key to building brand awareness and eventually loyalty through video.

8 pieces on the go in one day also meant I was in for a pretty full-on day’s graft. First up was a 3 camera acoustic set and interview featuring Brother, hosted by ESPN’s Richard Lenton. Lighting conditions weren’t ideal and it was a fast turnaround in edit so it’s pretty rough and ready but we prioritised getting the piece out before kickoff rather than making it look and sound prettier:

Channelbee trivia point about Richard Lenton: he appeared as a guest in the original pilot show for the project. Back then he worked at Sky but not on camera, and came to us with a brilliant clip he had of him when he blagged his way onto an African channel as a presenter during the World Cup. During one game his co-presenter was caught short whilst he was on air…cue a lot of jiggling in his seat and an eventual panic dash off camera whilst Richard tried to hold the fort. Wish I could find the clip on YouTube…

Back to Wembley, and Brother duly edited and uploaded, next job was pitchside to pick up whatever I could for a low angle perspective on the game. I may have been 10 feet away from the Swiss keeper but I can tell you, crouched behind the goal isn’t the way to watch football. Stuck without a stool, hunched over a tripod just high enough to peek over the hoarding but low enough not to attract the wrath of the fans in Row A, sweltering under the mid-afternoon sun wrestling with temperamental kit…so I couldn’t tell you how we played but it was certainly a buzz. Then a mad dash into the tunnel for half-time, a desperate swap of cameras and off out onto the pitch with the England Women’s team for their official send off to the World Cup. Back into the tunnel for interviews with some of the Women’s team, back pitchside for midway through the second half, another mad dash upstairs after full time and another hurried edit to get the pitchside cut up on the site for 10pm. Again, priority for the edit was to get it up as soon as possible rather than creating a masterpiece, but I think it’s always interesting to view action from a different angle and here it is:

Today I edited the interviews with the Women’s team so that’s up now:

A pretty full-on day but as I say, I really believe in what FATV are doing and it’s a pleasure to put the hours in with them. Looks like I could be heading out to Germany to be the videographer for the Women’s team at the World Cup which if it happens would be a real honour.

Yazoo: LAFTAs

LAFTAS with Yazoo

In early 2011 I shot and edited a series of videos for Yazoo from the media run at the Loaded LAFTAS which they co-sponsored.  Starring Soccer AM/Channelbee’s own Robbie Knox and a smattering of the nation’s best loved comic performers including the likes of Jimmy Carr, David Baddiel, Keith Lemon and Vic Reeves

Robbie Knox and Vic Reeves at the Loaded LAFTAS with Yazoo

the videos deal with the weighty issues of favourite comedy films, funniest words and in Keith Lemon’s case all manner of strangeness.

Blog about the shoot is here and here’s one of the videos:

I’m going to Grand Rapids

Sorry to break the silence with news of someone else’s work, but this has just been tweeted by Mike Butcher of TechCrunch Europe, and it’s the best thing I’ve seen in blummin’ ages.

According to The Daily What, Newsweek recently declared Grand Rapids, Michigan, one of USA’s ‘Dying Cities’. Understandably the good people of Grand Rapids weren’t overly happy with that so they decided to do something about it. Something positive. What resulted was this astonishing video. Now I’m no fan of lip synching videos; I think they’re one rung below cats playing the piano, but they clearly do it for some people. But this is a lip synch with a difference. Watch this, marvel at the preparation involved and then imagine trying to get your town to do the same. Then imagine the pressure of filming it, and the discipline involved.

Go on, watch it to the end of the song; you’ll thank me for it.

PS I’ve been taking another break from the site because of my involvement with GoalMouth but I’m back on it now so more to follow shortly…

Sky Sports 3D behind the scenes, voiceover stars, Soccer AM’s Steve and Jonty

I love a good behind the scenes video. Yes I pick up a lot of work making them (really wish I could have done this one) but watching them brings out the geek in me; I really want to know how things are done. So when I saw @cinescopophilia tweet this today I had to check it out…it’s a pretty in-depth overview of how Sky Sports put together a 3D sports OB:

A few points I noted in particular which may or may not be of interest…firstly it’s always music to my ears hearing the great Bruce Hammal on a voiceover. Now that certain people have…ahem…departed Isleworth, there’s certainly an argument to be had that he should be crowned King of Sky Sports for his long and distinguished service. I had already been a fan, having watched TransWorld Sport for years, so when we started using him for voiceovers on Soccer AM it was an honour. Robbie had the good fortune to be producing him on his sessions and I don’t think he ever got used to hearing that voice behind everyday conversation…so you’re thinking “THE TITLE DECIDER….TWO GIANTS GO HEAD TO HEAD…MANCHESTER UNITED VERSUS CHELSEA, LIVE, ON SKY SPORTS 1 AND HD 1″ and you’re getting “Ah, Robbie, feeling a little worse for wear this morning?” There’s a half decent sketch about living with a voiceover guy – this one the equally great Peter Dickson – here actually:

Sorry, I digress. My second point about the 3D video is that an accusation often thrown at technology is that it cuts jobs; 3D has done the opposite. In this case, Sky Sports now have two separate teams broadcasting two different feeds, and completely new roles have even had to be created; it’s someone’s job to calculate the perceived depth on any particular shot, for example. On a slight tangent, the video explains why the shots chosen on the 3D feed are often very different to those on the standard feed…

…which brings me onto my final point. Soccer Am viewers should notice another familiar voice, if not face, from the piece. If you didn’t, go back and listen to it again when they’re at the OB…

The match director wearing the specs is Steve Smith…of Steve and Jonty fame. We’re going back a long, long time, and I only joined the team towards the end of the Steve and Jonty run, but it has gone down as one of the most fondly remembered items. Top blokes who went on to become two of the most senior football producers and directors in Sky Sports. Anyway, if you fancy a dip in nostalgic waters…

The Badgers v Williams F1…I’d forgotten they used Colonel and Ginger as mascots because we weren’t good enough to play for them. Seem to remember having a decent day out though; had a random love note posted on my car (planted I’m sure by someone on the team), met Dean Whitehead who then was just a young pup making his name at the mighty Oxford United, and then, as always with Badgers matches, had a few drinks with the boys. I do seem to remember this one ending very abruptly when a few local lads turned up to cause trouble but that’s another story, mainly because I can’t remember what happened.

I think I started this talking about 3D technology and ended up talking about a ruck in Didcot but that’s my career for you.

Edit: It almost completely slipped my mind to mention Mr Lovejoy’s hair, more accurately Steve and Jonty’s description of it looking ‘like an onion’, and that penalty miss…think it marked the very start of the ‘Lovejoy’ penalty cry we would hear often over the next few years…

Resolution Square on Vimeo and YouTube

As I intend to devote more of my time to the site this year I’ll hopefully be posting up more video content. Admittedly at the moment I’m only making content for other people so some of it may not be to everyone’s taste but I’m building up my Vimeo and YouTube channels where I’ll be hosting a lot of the vids I’m making (apart from the tv show; you’ll have to watch that on the old skool box in the first instance).

If you’re not familiar with Vimeo, I’d describe it as a more discerning YouTube. You won’t get as many cats playing the piano or fat blokes miming to Europop but it’s the film-makers’ choice mainly because it treats its source video with more respect; basically your videos look better after uploading. There’s also an option which lets subscribers offer their videos for download if they choose to which is handy for various reasons. As for YouTube…well it’s YouTube. I’m putting videos there because there’s always a chance that something will fly completely at random and any publicity is good publicity; my ‘No Trousers’ video from last week has already been viewed over 6000 times which is a bonus:

On my YouTube channel as well as uploading new videos I’m trying to locate some of my old work (especially from Channelbee) which has been uploaded to other people’s channels and these are in the Portfolio section in the right hand sidebar. If it’s there I’ve either shot, edited, directed or appeared in it; if you need to know which just drop me a line. There’s a varying quality because the videos span a few years and therefore (hopefully) a steady improvement, but if you’re a prospective client I’d suggest checking out my Vimeo channel instead which is more relevant to you.

I’m not obsessed by subscriber numbers, likes or comments but do get involved if you feel the need; I’d be grateful (assuming your feedback is positive).

Channelbee viewers…I did save quite a few things before we left the building so I may upload some of them in the coming weeks. For obvious reasons I’m still debating as to whether to upload the never before seen shoot where I took salvia on camera as an experiment!

I’m not overly set on the YouTube design at the moment but again it’s something I’m sure I’ll tinker with in due course. Hopefully if I start picking up enough hits I’ll unlock more flexibility in the design options.

So take a look around and drop me a line if you have any questions!

A modern fable

I may or may not make a habit of blogging great vids I’ve seen or have been sent but this is so good it had to go up.  Thanks to Sheephead for sending this through; I’m sure we all know someone like this (no names) or perhaps even recognise it in ourselves?

Tipp-Ex cellent video

Have you seen this superb new interactive Tipp-Ex online ad?  I won’t spoil the fun, I’ll leave you to discover what you can do with it so have fun finding all the different combinations of things you can do with the bear…

Just goes to show that with a bit of thought, a decent coder and presumably the help of YouTube, you can produce something a lot more engaging than a linear video.  Will it persuade me to buy Tipp-Ex?  No, I’ve got a backspace key now.  But it’s gone a long way to putting the brand name back out there in the blogosphere and beyond…

I shot: the leader of the FIFA Inspection Team

The 4th and final day of the FIFA Inspection Visit, and a thankfully somewhat less hectic day than the previous one.  It certainly started better than the day before; the Midland Hotel saw fit to put on a breakfast rather than put a bag with breakfast in outside your door as they do at the Travelodge Sunderland Central.

Manchester Central was the venue for the closing statements

Closing statements at Manchester Central

and subsequent press conference which formally ended the week’s inspection visit.  Nothing particular to report; Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the Chilean leader of the FIFA Inspection Team

Harold Mayne-Nicholls

made some very positive noises and certainly seemed happy with the ‘perfect’ way in which the visit had been organised, but naturally giving nothing away in terms of our chances of winning the bid.  He did, however, allay fears regarding the two negative angles which the press had conjured up (David Cameron’s decision not to meet them and the lack of a visit to a match) which must have gone down well with the team.

Andy Anson, the CEO of England 2018

Andy Anson and Harold Mayne-Nicholls

then offered his thanks and goodbyes

A farewell to FIFA

and it was off to the airport for the delegates.  Back to the press room for me and an upload of the videos before returning to the stage a couple of hours later for the bid team’s closing press conference which seemed to be handled without major incident or niggles from the assembled journos.  I did hear the odd grumble from them in the press room afterwards though; why some people feel the need to drum up a negative angle on these things when ultimately they’d be good for the country I’ll never know, but that’s why I’m not a journalist.

Train home, another long encode (this trip has made me realise that I’m wasting a lot of time just waiting for files to finish…it’s a long and very dull process even to explain how digital files get made so I won’t trouble you with that just yet) and a Friday edit putting together a montage of a very long and memorable week:

I shot: Nick Clegg and Fabio Capello

Quick one this; I’m on a train most of the way up to Darlo with 50 minutes of battery remaining on my Mac.  Boo North East trains for not having plug sockets on your trains.

So this week I’m doing a pretty hectic but hopefully fruitful job; I’m the embedded cameraman/editor for the England 2018 team, tasked with documenting the movements of the FIFA Inspection Team.  The schedule is pretty hectic although I haven’t been involved in the London visits today; yesterday was Downing Street for the official welcome from Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

and other opening speeches from the delegation.  First time in Downing Street but to be honest I was so concerned with getting the shoot right I didn’t have time to nose around.  Good location though; really central, handy for work.

Then it was a hop onto the Jubilee line up to Wembley Park, editing on the way.  Hardcore.  I was there at the station to pick up the delegation as they arrived behind me; they then were taken on a tour of Wembley with Fabio amongst others in attendance

Fabio Capello and FIFA delegation at Wembley

The organising committee did a great job of getting a load of local kids in to welcome the delegation and kick a few balls around on the pitch; I was impressed so I hope that rubs off on the honoured guests!  Again a whistlestop tour round the place, then onto Altitude for the evening soiree.  Canapes, champagne and entertainment (including Boris Johnson speech) for the invited; a laptop and Final Cut Pro for me.  Managed to get B-roll footage of Wembley and Downing Street ready for upload to journalists/news agencies who couldn’t cover it, although such is the life of a digital producer that one of the encodes crashed part way through meaning I’m writing this now on 3 hours’ sleep.  Onwards and upwards; Boro very shortly and then a very big day tomorrow….more on that soon.

Techwise, I’m shooting this week on Sony PMW EX1; when you get it right it’s a really fast workflow for decent quality.

More soon…