The reason things’ve been a little quiet on the blog of late (my humblest apologies, dear readers!), is because I’ve been up on the Isle of Arran, off the Western coast of Scotland (read: ‘the middle of nowhere’) hanging out with some pals & shooting a music video!

Clare, my pal Reeko & I headed North and left at Carlisle and boarded the ferry from Saltcoats to Arran

This is my buddy Dave & his wriggly dogs Ruby & Mo!  His mam lives on Arran and went away for a week so we took over.

Dave’s in a band with his girlfriend ODi, called, er, ODi (check out her music here).  I used to play bass with them once upon a time, and thought while I was up I could test our some new follow focus toys I’d bought for my camera.

On our first day there we had a good nosey round the Island, to sight sea as well as scope some locations for the music video.

The above shot, and a few of the images in this post were shot with the tilt-shift effect on my new Canon 1000HS compact camera.

Loch Ranza

Deer roaming wild.  Apparently rutting season is over and it’s now culling season.  Not a good time for deers.

Being this tame is a bad call when men with a license to kill are knocking about. Deer me.

Arf arf

It’s amazing how a little selective blur makes an image look miniature, eh?

Looking back towards Brodick

One night we played the ‘Isle of Arran’ edition of Monopoly.

In spite of owning several hotelled strips, as well as the Mayfair blues with 3 houses on each and a tasty sting of £1500 per visit, I was bankrupted by Dave

It was fun learning the names of the islands towns, so as we passed through them over the stay someone’d say “Blackwaterfoot! I had that!”.

The song we were shooting a video too is called ‘One In A Million’ (check it out on ODi’s site here), a fantastic track written by our friends Dan & Emily Norton of the band Man & Wife.

It’s great to shoot a video for a track that’s already ace, cos the video doesn’t have to be quite as good as if the tracks bonk!

If you like their tunes, become a fan on facebook here, cos they’re always up to something interesting these two.

Anyhoos – once we’d set on a few locations I set about pre-production & storyboarding to a few glasses of mulled vino.

It’s all about pre-production, and as a one man crew, with Reeks & Clare on hand to be grips, it was always gonna be a mission!

But with enough tea, anything’s possible.

Clare was excited to roadtest her fine new hat

So off to it we went!

Reeko was a legend

I did some lugging too!

For the geeks: For support we’re rocking a 50cm Glidetrack attached to a Manfrotto 503 pro fluid head & leg combo. Round my neck is a Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x and in the left hand is my Canon 5DmkII strapped into the new follow focus rig (described here)

Here’s me givin it stance, with my trusty ReekoGrip bouncing a bit of light in with a cheapy 5-in-1 reflector.

Here’s a 100% crop of the above image to show the Variable ND filter I was using on the end of my lenses.  Basically, shooting HD video you’re generally limited to shooting at 1/50 or 1/100th of a second.  At these settings, at the lowest ISO (100) in outdoor daylight a correct exposure can be around f8 or greater, which limits that tasty low depth of field vibe that DSLR HD footage does so well.  So by screwing in a variable ND filter, you can set your camera to what you want (100ISO, 1/100th @ f2.8 for example) and turn the vari-ND till the shot is correctly exposed.

They ain’t cheap, and can be semi-replicated by screwing two polarisers together, but they’re great at what they do.  They can be applied to stills situations, so as to loose up to 8 stops of light and create tasty motion blur shots.

The Glidetrack is another ace gizmo to create a cinematic quality with DSLR footage.  Essentially it’s a mini ‘dolly‘ that you slide along to create foreground movement.  I did a fun test with mine a while back at a derelict mill in Bradford (post here).  It’s impressive what an effect you can get with 50cm of pipe.  From experience, I’ve found the best glidetrack footage is shot wide angle, near the ground, and past near foreground elements.

Anyhoos – enough geekin’…

We spent a good day & a half out in’t cold but got some cracking footage.

I shot a few stills too, which can be hard to remember to do in the middle of running a one-man movie operation!

I wanted to tale of the video to be a really simple narrative piece.  Which you’ll hopefully enjoy soon, once it’s all chopped together.

I liked these old wooden steps.  Somehow I convinced ODi to walk barefoot down a Scottish beach in November!

Another cool beach location was in some tall reeds.


The rations!

Space raiders & tuna mayo is a winner for me

The following day we spotted some cool stepping stones and shot another quick scene there.

As the light faded we got Dave involved at the ruins of the castle at Loch Ranza.

Most of the video was narrative-based wandering, but we sang some parts to camera & used a battery powered CD player to mime along in time to.

My jacket made it into the vid, as did D’s trademark train driver hat.

Shooting stopped while we had a bizarre visit from a poorly baby seal.  He seemed to wanna check out the music & bark a lot.

Looking distinctly cold (in Clare’s coat!)…

…and Dave working his best meloncholic-vacant-rocker-goes-acoustic stare

A final groupshot and THAT’S A WRAP KIDS! Great teamwork all round & massive thanks to all.

Off tut’pub to celebrate…

…with a round of hot chocolates by a log fire while the sky set into night.

Happy days.

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