Official Selection at London International Animation Festival

Screening at the Barbican

I was dead chuffed to hear that Blood, rats and anticoagulants made the official selection at this year’s London International Animation Festival, to be screened at the Barbican.

It was amongst a fantastic line up of films and I was particularly chuffed to get a science story in front of a non-specialist audience.

The film was comissioned by Nature, working with the fantastic Shamini Bundell and with the awesome animator Jules Bartl at Dog and Rabbit.

Video: Behind the scenes at the Almeida Theatre

Before sets have been built and costumes designed there usually isn’t much to help promote upcoming theatre productions – which means creating a buzz before they launch is tricky.

So the Almeida Theatre in London has been commissioning me to produce behind the scenes films to help promote upcoming shows.

These have been quite demanding shoots, learning to work with a small footprint and minimise disruption to the directors and actors in the room.

As with all shoots it’s about getting the footage you need for the edit – capturing a sense of what’s happening in the room as well as the themes of the play in rehearsal. The location set-up is often only seen on the day of the shoot – meaning I’ll make a very quick assessment and mental shot list as I walk in.

Access to the rehearsals can be anything from 20 minutes to an hour – which means there are strict time limits to capture enough footage – this is stressful, but it also forces me to be efficient.

It also means that shoots are usually handheld and dynamic, with lots of camera movement to help emphasise action. During the shoots I’m quite procedural, using my mental shot list to make sure I get a range of close-ups, mids, wides – camera movements,  detail shots – and slow motion – all of which I know I’ll need to make a compelling edit.

Interviews and access to the actors is also very limited – so quick decision making in setting up the look of these is vital. These pieces are used to promote upcoming productions, so getting the key sound bites that really sell the production and describe the tone of the play is vital.

The edits themselves usually start with music selection – which is how I tend to approach most edits –  so finding the right track can take some time before cutting even begins.

Grading is also another useful way of communicating the tone and language of the production, for example with the Tragedy of King Richard II, I chose cooler colours to emphasise the starkness of the play’s content.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the Almeida because they’ve been very supportive in producing adventurous work – something that not all organisations have the confidence to do!

Video | Covering Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival

Over June I covered Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre – directing and producing shoots across the festival to create highlight reels and band interview videos.

It was one of the most intense working weeks I’ve pulled off in a long time, completely fuelled by coffee and adrenaline, but totally worth it. Getting to film upfront during performances of bands such as Deftones, Manic Street Preachers and Mogwai were definite highlights.

I learnt loads of lessons during this project – particularly the need for agility and the importance of hanging around backstage to grab last minute interview opportunities!

Special thanks also needs to go to Philip Jenkins and Ben Smith who provided much needed production support!

Mogwai

Yonaka

Deftones

Experience Composite (Video Commission)

What is in the contents of your head at the moment of the beep?

This film was commissioned as part of a residency within the Wellcome Collection’s Hubbub Group and exhibited at the “Rest & its discontents” exhibition at Mile End Art Pavilion, London October 2016.

Using playful imagery the film presents a collection of short vignettes that explore the strange and often abstract nature of our everyday inner experiences.

The experiences were documented through a process called descriptive experience sampling (DES), a technique developed by American psychologist Russel Hurlburt that aims to document inner experiences – the thoughts, feelings, sensations and bodily experiences that constitute our everyday consciousness.

Participants of DES wear a small beeper which sounds randomly throughout the day, at the moment of the beep, individuals are instructed to note down the exact contents of their experience (this could include internal monologues, physical sensations or visual imagery).

Follow up interviews tease out the information of the experiences and distill them into short summaries. These so called “beep summaries” provide wonderfully vivid depictions, almost like a dream diary, for seemingly mundane everyday experiences.

Using material gathered by several members of the Hubbub team, this film translates and re-interprets the contents of the beep summaries, referencing the distortions and adaptations that occur when we try to conceptualise our inner experiences with others.

The film was shot over the summer of 2016 on a Sony A7s. I used old M42 lenses to help give the piece a faded, dream like quality – which was further aided by adding film grain and muting the colours slightly in post. Most of the portraits were shot on an old Takumar 50mm 1.4 lens which has a beautiful vintage bokeh, which is full of character and lacks the somewhat clinical precision of a modern lens.

Find out more about the Hubbub Research group here: hubbubresearch.org

Animation: Marie Tharp – Revealing the Secrets of the Ocean Floor

Mapping the ocean floors

An animation I produced last year with animator / illustrator Rosanna Wan for the Royal Institution.

Rosanna’s distinct visuals incorporate a hand drawn style that tell the story of cartographer Marie Tharp, whose work helped to detail the complex geography of ocean floors around the world.

Her maps helped to demonstrate that the ocean floor was in fact a complex assortment of peaks and troughs – which went against conventional wisdom at the time. Despite fierce opposition, she stuck fast to her findings and as more data was collated, the tide of opposition turned, paving the way for our modern understanding of plate tectonics.

Directed and animated by Rosanna Wan.

Produced and scripted by Ed Prosser.

Narrated by Helen Czerski.