Freelance Lighting Cameraman


It’s what we have been waiting for…

As a Lighting Cameraman I have always been excited about creating images and for 20 years I always used 2/3rd inch broadcast cameras to create those images. My first camera was a Betacam sp a BVW200 then a 507 before moving to the dizzy heights of a 400a with it’s integral clear scan mode! Great for filming computer screens. Then came Betacam sx briefly and then Digital betacam. My DNW790 was a work horse. I loved using it. At the same time I also had a DSR 500 dvcam camera another great work horse. The point is though that during this period of analogue to digital we used and kept the same lenses. Then along came HD and it was HDW730′s, 750′s and F900r’s and we all had to buy new lenses & monitors! But we bought the same type and style of lenses. ENG lenses with handgrips and servo zooms, focus barrels with end stops and Iris’s that you could pull as you panned! The reason being that these lenses work they are the right tool for the job. Also with their handgrip in its location the camera would go from shoulder to tripod seamlessly. You could spend ages in relative comfort with the camera on your shoulder. Sometimes upto 12 hrs a day!
My only issue was though you could never really escape that 2/3rd inch look.
So when the latest trend of Super 35mm cameras where launched I was able re ignite my passion for creating images using a large sensor. Allowing me to create with a shallow depth of field.
The only problem was the lenses we have been using on super 35mm cameras have short zoom throws ie 24-70mm. They are par focal. So they may drop focus half way through a zoom! And they don’t have external Iris’s so pulling the stop and panning was a no no. Another issue is having to use “moose grips” on these cameras because of the lack of a hand grip. Moose grips are fine if you are working with a focus puller but I rarely do and when you take your hand off a moose grip to move it to the lens barrel you risk jarring the camera. Not good mid shot.
You only miss something when it’s gone! There’s a lot of truth in this saying as it’s those little things that as Camerapeople we where able to do with eng style lenses that made great images better. It was subtle things like creeping a zoom in or pulling the stop so gently that it couldn’t be noticed. Only Camerapeople would understand and miss.
Well thankfully it’s back Canon have released the 17 -120mm eng style servo zoom lens a true TV style lens for 35mm sensor cameras. I know Fujinon released the Cabrio before Canon, some time before Canon to, but the Cabrio is amazingly expensive and has a short zoom throw 19-90mm. With Canon entering into this market hopefully we’ll see the prices of these lenses drop slightly. Competition is a good thing after all. Maybe even Angieneux will bring something out!
Anyway my point is this new Canon lens has a longer zoom throw of 17-120mm that’s equivalent of 25mm – 180mm approx on a super35mm camera like the C300 and if you use an F5 in centre crop mode then it’s like having a 51-360mm with you as well.
Another great feature of this lens is the return of the macro on a push of a button and slide the back ring. Great for many different shots or even doing vox pops at a red carpet event when people get to close. Pop the macro in and keep them in focus.
The servo zoom will be great and come in handy it’s very quick if you need it to be and can be adjusted to a snails pace when required. For me though the external iris is just so handy and allows the operator to work so much quicker. Rather than turning some knob on the side of a camera 100 times to just move half a stop you can just adjust the iris ring!
Another great point is that an ENG lens like this turns every camera into a documentary camera! It’s not just the Amira. It’s really got my goat recently how Arri calls the Amira a documentary camera just because they have a viewfinder. You always see images of it with a Cabrio on. Surely it’s the lens that makes it a doco camera with its eng hand grip. So in that case fit an ENG style lens like a Canon 17-120 onto a F5 or F55 and you have a doco camera put one on a c300 pl and you have another one! Better still though as there aren’t very many c300pl’s about this new Canon 17-120 mm is available in ef mount so put it on a c300ef and you have made YOUR c300 into a documentary camera. I noticed it has a lens support at the bottom front of the lens so it attaches to your camera rails and then won’t put to much pressure on the lens mount.
So as you can tell I’m really happy about this new lens it’ll be the perfect addition to the Canon Cine Primes which is another feature it has above the Cabrio that the Fujinon doesn’t have a set of matching prime lenses. So there could be a difference between your shots from prime to zoom.
This lens is a tool that allows a skilled operator do what they have always done. Operate.
The only pictures I could find of the new lens are from john Fauer’s FD times a fantastic blog and I hope he doesn’t mind me reproducing them here. They are great images as the show the lens on both a c500 and also a Sony F camera. Here is a link to his website:

I found this video from Abel Cine a 1st look at this new Canon lens






With end of financial year approaching. Who’s filming your results?

With April being the financial year end for many companies it’s that time of year when CEO’s Have to give their year end results to share holders and the like. So if you are looking to hold an event and would like to have it filmed and then uploaded to the internet or streamed live to your website then look no further. Using High definition cameras, skilled operators and a portable production unit we provide a highly portable solution that will allow us to capture your event. We cut between live multiple camera feeds to your power point slides seamlessly. All avoiding lengthy and costly edits. Allowing people who couldn’t be at the event to watch it whenever they require and you to have the posterity you require.

Clients include: The Foreign and Commonwealth office, Amnesty international, The AA Hilly group, The GSMA, Questex and Ashbury Labelling.

If your interested in a quote for your event please don’t hesitate to contact us we do get booked up very quickly at this time of year so please don’t delay: or 07976-327130.


Canon C300 High iso test

Canon have just released new firmware for the Canon C300 camera & one of the new features is iso 80000. The C300 has always been fantastic in the dark with a max iso of 20000 but now this iso 80000 means that the C300 really can see in the pitch black!
I will agree with you when you say it’s a noisy image at 80000 but this was shot in the most extreme conditions with no street light at all & as you can see from above the tree line it’s picking up the light pollution from the local village which is over 2 miles away! Also if you are in a situation where you just needed to see an image ( Hard news) then maybe this iso80000 would get you out of a fix.
I also used the new Wide Dynamic Range Gamma table to try & get the most out of the image that was possible next time I’ll test it on the C log.

I conducted this test in as near to pitch black conditions as I could get. So I actually think it’s amazing what you can see as I couldn’t see this much detail with my naked eye whilst I was shooting the footage. I was using a Canon Cine Prime lens 24mm wide open at T1.4.


Two shoots & two time lapses.

I recently bought a Go Pro 3+ camera & to try it out I took it onto two shoots in time lapse mode. The thing I like the most about the GO Pro 3+ is the App. I know that you can use the App with other GO Pros but quite frankly I find these cameras so fiddly without the App & with this Go Pro 3+ they seem to have really cut down the latency between camera & phone to just over a second. I thought I’d share them as ” Behind the scenes” videos.
Both of these shoots where commercials for different products & I shot them on the Canon C300 with Canon Cine Prime lenses. Mainly because of the high quality of images from this camera but also because these new Canon Cine Prime lenses are really fantastic on skin tones.
The first  was a Green screen shoot that was shot in a small boardroom on location in London. The main  problem was that the client wanted the shot to be ” An American ” which after quickly looking up on Google is a very old term for a shot that is from the top of the Stetson to the bottom of the gun holster! It was a term that was coined by Europeans when talking about early American cinema. Anyway this meant that I ended up having the camera squeezed right up against the back wall in this small room. I used a 24mm lens on the A camera & a 50mm lens on the B camera. As the Canon C300 has a super 35mm size sensor you have a magnification factor of 1.53x on the lens so this means my 24 mm lens has a field of view which is roughly the same as a 36mm lens & the 50mm has a field of view that is approximately 75mm. You may ask why I didn’t put the Green screen along the length of the room. Well the reason is that there was a lot of daylight on the left of the room so I used the Green back drop to blank out that daylight so that I’d not have any uncontrollable light on the green screen, which would cause issues with the chromakey. I lit the green screen with 3 x Kinoflo 4ft 4 bars & a Kinoflo Diva light 400. All with Tungsten tubes & all the lights had Lee quarter white diffusion on to spread & make the light more even. I was also only running 2 tubes per unit, as the green screen doen’t need to be overly bright it should just be even. I was getting a stop of T4 evenly on the green screen. My Key light & fill light where also Kinoflo 4ft 4 bars with all tubes switched on in the key light & only 2 tubes on in the fill light. This gave me a 1 stop difference between the Keylight (T8) & the fill light (T5.6). I set my working stop to T6.3 at 850 iso.
And finally here’s the timelapse:

greenscreen timelapse

The second shoot was for a new children’s ipad app. This was a high key shoot in an infinity cove studio. Unfortunately the studio in question although asked didn’t provide the all the lighting we had asked for & had only bothered to put up 4 space lights & not the 6 Iris 1′s I had asked them to put into the ceiling. This meant that the walls of the studio weren’t as even as I would have like them to be. So in order to try & create the “infinity” look of the cove I had to use two Strand Arturo 1250watt lights to fill in the gaps. Another issue was that the studio floor was filthy so we had to repaint it before we could start to film as you’ll see in the timelapse we used a space heater to try & dry it quicker. Far from ideal!

I used a Kinoflo 4ft 4bar as a keylight & a Kinoflo Diva light 400 as a 3/4 backlight with a Lowel Tota 1000watt light in a soft box Chimera as a fill light. In the end I was working at a stop of T7.1 on the face & a stop of T11 on the back walls.
After all the hiccups from the studio The shoot went very well though & the kids were great.
Here’s the timelapse:

Infinity cove timelapse


Kino Flo Diva light tips

Here are two video tips on how to get the best out of your Kino flo Diva light. The first is in terms of power output, especially on a cold winters morning on location & the second in terms of Colour stability. I hope you enjoy it & if there’s anything else you’d like me to do a video about please just tell me & I’ll see if I can do it.

Larry Thorpe’s take on Canon Cinema Lenses

Mark Moreve:

Fascinating stuff here about the Canon Cine Prime lenses.

Originally posted on :

canon eosSeveral months back, Canon held an event at their Hollywood HQ showcasing their complete line of Cinema Eos products, but focused on (pun intended) their cinema lenses. There were a couple of speakers; one ,who’s name escapes me at the time of writing this, coming from a new-age cinematographers point of view talking about the benefits of modern image sensor technology and compact, lightweight style shooting – and the other, Larry Thorpe. If you’re not familiar with Larry Thorpe, he’s basically a guru of all things image acquisition. He’s worked for RCA, Sony, and now Canon. One may jump to the conclusion that he loves Canon lenses so much simply because it’s his job being a marketing exec. at Canon… But Larry is truly passionate about his work and optics in particular and it shows.

Larry’s presentation at the Canon event revolved mainly around optics and discussed current and future…

View original 40 more words


The Canon CPS roadshow. Two Products I really like from Lexar & Gekko light

I have been talking today on the Canon CPS roadshow in Manchester all about the Canon C300 & how to use it. I was lent two items by two very different companies. The first was a set of lights from Gekko technology. I used them to do a 3 head interview. They are a new set of lights that include 1 soft light & 2 rocket shaped LED spot lights. All in a neat back pack & can either be powered off mains or V lock batteries.

The soft light is LED Bi colour, so you can switch it between 3200 kelvin & 5600 kelvin or anywhere in between. You can also dim it without colour temperature loss. It’s a really handy size that will easily pack away for traveling. It comes with a great little diffuser that fits on the front & you could use it direct on the face or I would like to see how it would work suspended from a ceiling if you had to light a scene of 4 people sat around a table. As with the diffuser it works like a Chinese lantern. On another note it would be nice to see a 1/2 diffuser in the kit & also a black sided diffuser with a silver interior so you could control the light more. another good feature is the compact driver that lets you switch between daylight & tungsten and also one side is a V lock battery plate the other is the light controls.

The rocket shaped LED spot lights give a good punch of light & are daylight balanced but have a flip down diachroic filter to change them to 3200 kelvin & a diffuser. Which can also be dimmed without colour temperature loss. They are very handy for quick interview set ups for a back light or putting a bit of colour on a wall. They don’t offer as much control as a Dedolight though but are smaller than a Dedolight.

Most importantly though is the fact that these Gekko LED lights have a Television Lighting Consistency index (TLCI) which is in the high 80′s. This means that they don’t have a magenta or green cast & work very well with other lights ( They play nicely!) Quite frankly to me this means they are worth every penny they cost as I’m so fed up with bad LED’s that cast Magenta or Green. I really like the way they pack into a tiny back pack & set up very quickly. As a freelance Cameraman I feel that setting up a quick 3 head interview on certain shoots should take no longer than 15 minutes from walking into a new location spotting the shot & being ready to film and this compact kit of lights would certainly help you achieve that goal.

This is without diffusion screen attached.

Gekko Karreslite 100

With Diffusion screen attached.

With Diffusion screen attached.

Gekko rocket LED

The other product I was able to show in my seminar today is also one that I’m excited about. As a Freelance Cameraman I have for years done the shoot & handed either the tape or disc to production at the end of the day & gone home. Now with the introduction of tapeless cameras we have another job at the end of the shoot & that is as a data wrangler. So now at the end of a shoot I have to spend time depending on how many cards I have shot downloading the cards on to a hard drive & making a back up.So if it’s been a long days shooting it maybe up to 2 hours extra work at the end of a long day. Now this extra two hours maybe if your lucky being paid for but more often than not these days it’s just assumed your do it in your own time. Time that you could be… down the pub! So this new product from Lexar has got me quite excited really & straight away I have nicknamed it “The Get you to the pub hub” It’s a 4 interchangeable bay card reader that runs on USB 3. So you can use upto 5GB/s transfer speeds & also and most importantly download 4 cards in the time it takes you to download 1 card. So therefore getting you to the pub quicker!
One of the really handy aspects of this Lexar hub is that you can interchange the 4 card readers between Compact Flash & SD cards of all varieties & it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a C Fast card reader which will be great going forward with large capacity cards taking 4K footage & for cameras like the Arri Amira.

Also all 4 of the card readers come with their own USB3 cable so if you don’t want to take the hole hub on location then just take the a single card reader.

I tried the Lexar Hub with three programs today Photo Mechanic, Adobe Lightroom & also Canon XF Utility. It worked perfectly with all these programs & allowed me to download 4 cards all at one time. Marvelous. A real winner. Here is a link to the Lexar website so you can see for yourself because for me this product is a no brainer!

Lexar Hub

Lexar Hub

If you are a video cameraman and not a member of Canon Professional services you should really consider it as there are loads of advantages. Her’s a link to there website.


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