A while ago, as in a few years ago, I leant Ainslie a box of pocket watch parts which I had bought from Now and Then. A couple of years ago I gave him a light box. I haven’t seen Poppy in ages.
I love how Ainslie’s work keeps leaning towards showing the process as a fundamental part of the visual.
It is the end of February 2014, and I have not posted anything on this blog for a year and a half. Embarrassing to say the least. So you might wonder what I have been up to, and I shall attempt to summarise this in simple bullet points, or links, or something.
I Am Tom Moody has done pretty well, it won a number of awards, but sadly we did just loose the BAFTA this year.
I say that we didn’t win the BAFTA this year, because we totally did win it last year, with The Making of Longbird.
I made another video for Poppy Ackroyd
Then I went on a residency at The Soup Lab in Norwich, where I worked on a series of images based on Hoffmann’s Struwwelpeter. The show which came out of the residency was called Tray. I also experimented quite a lot with Harman’s Direct Positive paper.
Then I made a music video with Unkle Bob
Then I made a music video with John Lemke
And to be honest, that was the last time I charged the batteries for my GH1! But this means nothing, other than the fact that I have not felt compelled to use a digital camera since then.
I worked on a big project with Maja Borg, as part of her ‘Dream Team’ (with Sarah Cairncross and Ruth Paxton), which will become a film in the near future. I also built sets and acted in Monkey Love Experiments, a forthcoming release from Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson. Despite all this, I have not used my studio space all year, mainly to do with a period of transition, moving to an actual studio which is not also my limited living space. I have collaborated on a number of shoots with Ian, in which I have been pushing towards freeing up my style – trying to be a bit more snapshotty.
In 2013 I also started volunteering at the Bike Station, and consequently become a bit obsessive about another kind of simple machine. But this one means that I am also getting a bit more exercise. A bit more to the point that I built up two Moultons and went on a 370 mile tour of the west coast of Scotland, which is documented in another blog HERE.
A few weeks ago I shot this video with Poppy and John at the Witespace Gallery, in Edinburgh.
I shot it with available light, with the GH1 mainly handheld, wide-open with the Nikkor AF-D 50/1.4. I think we ran through the track four times, to make sure I’d have enough redundancy to make a decent cut of the track.
As per my usual, I edited in Final Cut Express 4.0.1. I decided to transcode the AVCHD footage to AIC for simplicity, and since I’d exposed the footage pretty light, I didn’t feel I would loos any dynamic range in this conversion. I think I was right, even though the whites did display some banding, both before and after transcoding.
The colour grading was done using free filters. To do this, I make a new Sequence, and slap the edited sequence in the new sequence’s timeline, and do all of my grading on this encapsulation of the editable edit. Firstly I increased the exposure with Image Control/Brightness. Then I used CHV/Silk and Fog, radio-clicked for “silk”: I used this to subtly make a little bit of glow on the highlights, which made the footage look a bit more filmic. I then used CoreMelt’s Pigment RGB Levels and Curves to adjust the exposure curve. This is – so far – the closest I have found a video filter to work like Photoshop’s curves, though it is still limited. I then converted the image to B&W using TMTS Color’s Black & White, which gives you a good RGB mix in the monochrome conversion, so you can make skin tones look smooth.
I’m quite pleased with how the high-key look came out, using only available light and manual controls. If you use Final Cut, you might as well download these free plugins, as they do seem to perform pretty well.
And of course, look out for more from Poppy HERE.