Oxford Road

Over the past 6 months I’ve worked on a project called Oxford Road, which includes using film as research, mapping and working with archives. You can read more about the journey and my directing experience at the blog Oxford Road here: oxfordroad.wordpress.com

As part of the project, working with my usual collaborator, writer Erinma Ochu, we have made a 10 minute film. A draft cut was screened in june 2011 at Ptich!, an event at The Stables in Milton Keynes for the Cultural Leadership Programme.

I recently attended a weeks training in Craft Editing and a week on Single Camera Directing at BBC Academy, both which really helped delivering the first draft of the film.


Sony EX1

I’m working on a project filming Oxford Road and unfortunately there were no Canon 305 cameras in stock this weekend. Instead I’ve hired out a Sony EX1. The hire place doesn’t supply memory though. I bought a MxM card from PROAV with overnight courier delivery to arrive on Saturday, and combined the MxM with a class 10 SDHC card bought from my local Calumet (£19.99).

I was taking a bit of a risk here trying to find a cheaper way to use the camera. Once I had set up the MxM card, inserted it into the slot and turned the camera on, a message appeared on the screen saying ‘media not accepted’. This just means you need to format the media and you can do this ‘in camera’ using the menu.

So far it seems the combination of MxM and SDHC card doesn’t support playback on the camera, but you can see the clip in the viewer and thats okay with me.

To transfer clips from the SDHC card using a Kingston card reader, to Final Cut Pro you need to download the log and transfer utility from Sony, here is the link to download: http://www.sony.ca/xdcamex/software.htm

BFI Boom Britain Post War Documentary

Boom Britain, A landmark project bringing overdue recognition to Britain’s post-war documentary film–makers, has been released, including a DVD, a book and a UK-wide tour.

I am very grateful to have be involved in this project as the cameraperson for each interview with the directors of the featured documentaries.

Alongside the BFI curators, I travelled around London to meet inspiring directors such as John Krish in their  homes. For anyone interested in documentary filmmaking, I thoroughly recommend this season of groundbreaking films.

Check out the BFI’s webpage to the project here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/boombritain.html?q=boombritain

And buy the DVD box set, Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-War Britain 1951-1977 here: filmstore.bfi.org.uk/acatalog/info_17997.html

The City Film Notes

In this shot, Mikhail Kaufman acts as a camera...

Image via Wikipedia

Working with non-human subjects for films can often be tricky in securing interest from funders and writers. Personally I find films that focus on place, space, animals and objects fascinating.

One artist/filmmaker working with such subjects (although not animals as far as I know) is Sarah Morris.  Her new film, Beijing, will be screening at the Architecture Foundation in London on Thursday 4th November. Sadly, I cannot go to as i’m based in Manchester but i’m looking forward to seeing this one, being a huge fan of her earlier work including Los Angeles and Capital.

Wikipedia: The city symphony

The continental, or realist, tradition focused on humans within human-made environments, and included the so-called “city symphony” films such asWalter Ruttmann‘s Berlin, Symphony of a City (of which Grierson noted in an article[12] that Berlin represented what a documentary should not be),Alberto Cavalcanti‘s Rien que les heures, and Dziga Vertov‘s Man with the Movie Camera. These films tend to feature people as products of their environment, and lean towards the avant-garde.


Cuts are Lies to Truth

“Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth.” Wolf Koenig

Wonderful article at DFG online called EVERY CUT IS A LIE: DISCUSS


Onwards Hoy…

I’m thinking about where to go next with a film. I’ve got a substantial list of fiction and documentary ideas I want to pursue. Often its a matter of matching the idea to the right scheme.

One idea that I have recently submitted to a scheme and I think it matches, is a 5-minute documentary based on the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Its called NoQu.

The purpose of this 5-minute creative documentary is to develop, discover and renew attitudes towards the Northern Quarter, its architecture, its spaces, its people histories and its evolution. The film will be a powerful lament to NoQu’s creativity, dynamism and vibrancy as an area with a diverse cultural heritage.

Learning Curve

The making of Cote D’Azur has been an incredible experience for me. I’ve learnt so much in terms of constructing my own film together which is a very different mind space to having previously worked in a single role (i.e. editor, art direction, camera, producer).

I feel my creativity has finally found its space in being able to work with various people to draw together a whole piece. My favorite moments have been firstly, working with the writer to really develop the idea and build the script after we had shot the footage. We worked with the dialogue sheet and a basic shot sequence to exactly fit word to picture and shape the story. I think we have an honest and true to life film thats captured a little of the world of cycling thanks to this process.

Second, sitting in the edit room with the editor to work things out. Usually its up to me to get down to business with Final Cut and i’ve realised (probably obvious) its much easier to direct if someone is operating FCP for you.

I understand so much more about myself and the films I want to make now. I have confidence in my choices, for picture or narrative, again this makes me a much stronger director – learning to trust your instincts, because I’ve got an end product I like. I want to keep making sure each film is about something I enjoy and have passion for.

Cote D’Azur

I’ve been working at the BBC for about a year now, first as Knowledge Organiser and now as Partnership Manager for the BBC Academy Programme Connect & Create in Manchester. I’ve just been awarded ‘Aspirations’ funding by the BBC to produce and direct a short film. Although the film is for internal use only, its a great opportunity to make a film with BBC resources. This includes access to a BBC production mentor, editing facilities and equipment. We’ve also been given a very small cash budget to cover expenses.

My film is called Cote D’Azur, and the logline is as follows:

Lewis, a track cyclist prepares for his next big sprint by visualising the perfect race from the starting line of the velodrome track; to get a head start and stay above the ‘cote d’azur’ (light-blue painted area) of the Velodrome track, Lewis must casts aside memories of past races and the struggles and uncertainties of everyday life.

I’m working with a number of collaborators including a writer and the North West Film Archive. There’s lots to do with both producing and directing.

The film will be completed and screened to other filmmakers, contributors and BBC staff at the end of July in Manchester.  Over the next couple of months I’m going to document my progress of the film in another blog.


One of my short films, Ostracism, is being shown at Film/Video/Performance, Wimbledon Space. Ostracism explores how indexes of a tragic event in social memory can be replayed to enable movement into a future beyond fear. Check out the press release below:

“Shape has produced s showreel featuring work by some of the most exciting artists working today.

The showreel will be screened as part of Film/Video/Performance exhibition at WIMBLEDON Space on Wednesday 17 March 1.00pm-6.00pm.

The showreel artists include: Katherine Araniello, Abdul Hye, Caroline Ward, Steam Control, Aaron Williamson, Alison Jones, Helen Petts and Penny Pepper.

The Film/Video/Performance exhibition is free to attend. Click here for more information about the Film/Video/Performance exhibition at WIMBLEDON Space”

Social Marketing Compass by Brian Solis and JESS3

Social Media is an essential chapter in the rise of new media. The Social Marketing Compass identifies the physical direction of social marketing and its media.

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