Smile 'Pyaw Aung Nay'

Smile 'Pyaw Aung Nay' from Ben Ruffell on Vimeo.

I travelled to Myanmar, (formerly known as Burma) back in 2013 to shoot and direct this music video for the pop star 'Smile'.


I bought one of my Red Epic cameras and a set of lenses. I picked up local crew and basic lighting and grip equipment.


I took advantage of a local nightclub for the dance scenes. We had a great group of enthusiastic extras. Communication was challenging, but I managed to control the club's lighting fixtures. I also supplemented the disco lights with beauty lighting on Smile and her onscreen partner.


The bulk of the performance was at the beautiful park location, that I shot past dusk... until we were ordered out by the security guards.


For the second performance scene I had the lighting team make up festoons of lightbulbs in a semi covered location. We only had the location during the day, so I blacked out two sides, used the ambient daylight for fill and keyed with HMI's.


It was a challenging shoot. We had limited access to locations, and no art department. The local crew that I had were a great bunch. We had very limited resources, but everyone was there to help and solutions were always found.

Mini Cooper 'Goodbye Pork Pie' Scene Remake

I was lucky enough to be asked to DP the Mini Cooper 2014 'Goodbye Pork Pie' scene remake.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 5

The original film 'Goodbye Pork Pie' is an iconic New Zealand film from the 1980's, directed by Geoff Murphy. It's a very popular movie, still to this day. I remember watching it when I was younger, and the film made quite an impact on me.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 1 (1)

Director Matt Murphy (son of Geoff Murphy) asked me to shoot the project for Mini New Zealand, and Production Company Goodoil Films.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 6

We filmed at Lake Hawea, near Wanaka. We had to keep the shooting day within 10 hours, including travel time and meal breaks. This left us with 6 hours and 15 minutes to shoot the job.

Fortunately, Matt was very organised, and he knew exactly what shots were needed to tell the story. We wrapped onetime, and I even managed to sneak in a couple of extra setups.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 3

I decided to shoot on Red Epic cameras. I used two, and kept one in production mode for the tripod shots and the handheld in the back of the Mini.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 7

The second Epic started the day in the MoVI M10 on the back of the tracking ute, after we go these shots it became the rig camera.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 8

Aerials were provided by Peter Thompson with his Cineflex.

Mini Cooper Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 2 (1)

With such a short shooting day, and so many stunts the pace was non stop. Fortunately all of my crew were very focussed. With a good plan, and good management, we moved from one setup to the next smoothly. It was a great day, and a really fun variation on the traditional car commercial.

Photo Credit: Simon Darby


Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (三菱アウトランダーPHEV)

Japanese Director Koshi Horibe had seen some of my previous car work and he asked me to DP this commercial for Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi Outlander TV Commercial for Japan 8

The commercial was for the Japanese market, and we actually scouted two completely different locations. After some input from the client, the decision was made to shoot in Queenstown.

Mitsubishi Outlander TV Commercial for Japan 11

I decided to shoot on Red Epic cameras, mainly because I wanted to take advantage of the small size so that I could use the MoVI M10 Handheld Gimbal Stabiliser on the tracking vehicle. I really liked the organic look of the MoVI, as compared to a crane and remote head. It also meant that I could devote the Libra mount to the Helicopter full time. Pete Bradshaw bought a lot of experience as Tracking Vehicle Driver, and I could count on him to line up the best moments freeing me up to work in with my MoVI Grip Josh Dunn.

Mitsubishi Outlander TV Commercial for Japan 16

I shot all of the aerials with a Libra stabilised head, Red Epic and a wide zoom. Alfie Speight was my pilot and we achieved some really dynamic images.

Mitsubishi Outlander TV Commercial for Japan 17

I had a third Epic with a long lens dedicated to my B Camera Team. Operated by Takashi Chiba.

Mitsubishi Outlander TV Commercial for Japan 12

Kanta Yamaguchi from Greentea Film & TV was the Line Producer, and we wrapped the shoot on time and on budget.

Comments (2)

Quechua 'Sac à dos Extend'

This is the first commercial job that I shot with the MoVI M10 in Queenstown. Scott Donaldson from Flying Fish was the Producer, and Romain Dec from Ores Group was the Director.


I was the MoVI Operator and shot the main camera. The talented Simon Favier was the 2nd DP shooting on his own Red Epic.


Logan Heaney was my MoVI Grip, and he spent a lot of the day running!


Romain was a wonderful Director to work with. He was very talented. It was a very active day for everyone!


Samsung Galaxy S5 + Gear Fit

I was the Aerial DP, and the MoVI Operator on this commercial for the new Samsung Galaxy S5 + Gear Fit.


For the Aerial sequence with the Base Jumper I used one of my Red Epics with an Angenieux 25-250 lens on the Continental Side Mount. Alfie Speight was my Pilot.


I also operated the MoVI M10 for the running sequence through the forest. The MoVI was such an amazing tool for this job. The Director loved the shots.


I used one of my Red Epic's with my new Cooke Mini S4i lens set. This combination is perfect for the MoVI M10. Small, lightweight camera package that shoots beautiful cinematic images.

It was some very fast running over rough and slippery terrain, but the MoVI handled it perfectly and I was able to concentrate on the framing and the footwork. The results were wonderful, and I am really amazed by what I can achieve with this new kit.

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