Annah Mac 'Celia'

Sony Music recently asked Director Darren Simmonds and myself to make a music promo for Annah Mac.

Darren wanted to keep the video looking fresh and vibrant, with a fun hand held feel. He wanted a quirky look with a lot of lens flairs, and a bit of a retro feel.


I decided to achieve this by using my Nikon lenses, shooting on my Sony EX3 with Letus lens adaptor and recording at a high bit rate to my NanoFlash.


I used Spencer Locke-Bonney as my Gaffer and the lighting setups were pretty straight forward. I lit Annah with beautiful soft light, and used every trick I had to flair out the lens!
My assistant Oliver Cross shot the band on the bicycle and playground shots with my Canon 5D Mark II, and also took these behind the scenes shots.


Edited by Paul Wedel in Wellington, graded by Andrew at ToyBox. Paul synced all of the clips using PluralEyes. It was a real time saver on set to not have to film a timecode reference each take.
Channel Four came along and made a small Behind the Scenes piece. The clip and Annah's album were just released this week, and already it's receiving very positive reviews.


Annah and the band were great to work with. It was another fun shoot in Auckland and I am proud of the look that we achieved on a very limited budget.

Young Lyre 'Cinema Smile'

Tanya Cathro from Fatboy Media Group asked me to DP this music video for Auckland based band Young Lyre.

Jordan Dodson was the Director. It was our first shoot together, and it came together nicely. Jordan wanted to capture the energy of the band hanging out together and having fun. I really liked his concept of a night shoot with the band, a bonfire and the fireworks. It felt natural, and fun to film and watch. The fireworks were great to shoot, and blowing up the tent reminded me of being back at Film School!


I had my choice of camera on this shoot, and I thought it would be a great test for the new Sony F3. I sourced the camera package from Gavin Stroud. The package consisted of the camera, a set of Zeiss CP2 primes and a NanoFlash. It was my first time shooting with the F3, and after a quick test I settled on a Cine Gamma Profile and decided to record at a very high bitrate to the NanoFlash (bypassing the cameras internal compression). I shot the whole video handheld, and although the camera was nice and light the ergonomics are terrible! It is not a shoulder friendly camera at all. I decided to pull my own focus for aesthetic reasons, and because we were moving very quickly in the dark, and shooting pretty much wide open. Despite all of the camera's design shortcomings, the image it produces in low light is quite remarkable. I lit by eye, left the meter in the case and was referring to my Sony PVM-740 HD Monitor to confirm my decisions - the camera was literally seeing into the dark!


Spencer Locke-Bonney was again my Auckland Gaffer of choice, and I kept the lighting very clean and simple, with just a few units coming out of his truck and using the bonfire and fireworks as one of my primary lighting sources. For the reflection shot of the fireworks in the window with the girl in the car I lit the girl with some subtle 'moon' light, and set off a small firework to fill in the shadows on her face and capture the reflection in the eyes. The firework reflection was augmented in post.


Everyone on the band and the crew was great to work with, and for me it was another really satisfying music video shoot.


Hanna Grace 'Red Lips'

I was on an Air New Zealand flight recently, and as we were boarding this clip was playing. The boys around me were all staring at the screen, the flight attendant commented 'If only you would pay that much attention to the safety video!' The irony was that as the DP I was responsible for the images!t if it is disabled in your browser.

Produced by Fish n Clips, the video was Directed by Sally Tran. This was our first project together. After this video we went on to shoot a short film called "Toi La Who" in Wellington. The film is not out yet, but it again showcases Sally's unique visual style.


We shot the Red Lips video in Auckland on location in one day. We used a Red One camera from Metro Film, and I was lucky enough to have Alex McDonald as my Steadicam Operator.


Spencer Locke-Bonney was my Gaffer and we made full use out of his fantastic combo truck. The art department and wardrobe were also instrumental in the look that we achieved, along with Sally's great choreography.


I find having a decent digital stills camera on set really helps me with my exposures. I have pretty much replaced my spot meter with a Canon 5D2, and a Zeiss 50mm prime. I am now setting the exposure using a combination of incident meter, stills camera, HD monitors, waveforms and histograms.


For this video I went with classic beauty lighting. Using big soft sources inside and a lot of daylight control outdoors. I used a little diffusion on the lens, and the grading was done at ToyBox.

Carlsberg 'Everest'

I was lucky enough to be the 2nd Unit Director of Photography on this Carlsberg commercial for Shoot disabled in your browser

The commercial was Directed by Daniel Kleinman from Rattling Stick. Danny is the most awarded Commercials Director in the world, and he was fantastic to work with. I am a fan of his work, and it was great to be on set with him.


The Director of Photography was Stephen Blackman. He shot the aerials on a Red MX using a Super G.


The rest of the spot was shot on 35mm film. My shots were all on the snow, I used an Arri 435 with Angenieux Zooms, Kirsteen Green was the Focus Puller.


We shot on the Earnslaw Burn Glacier during summer. It was kinda odd to be in the snow in the middle of summer, but seeing the finished commercial made it very worthwhile. It's been a while since I have shot film in the snow - and I really enjoyed it!

Say Yes

Barbara Williams from Shoot New Zealand put Director Darren Simmonds in touch with me. Darren is based in Wanaka, and wanted to make something special for his client 1791 Diamonds.

Paul Wedel.
All of the effects were achieved in camera. The only color correction was a very basic levels adjustment. The film was edited by


I used my Sony EX3 with Letus Lens Adaptor various Nikon and Zeiss Primes and recorded it all to my NanoFlash. Darren loved the picture on my new Sony PVM-740 Monitor. The picture is very accurate and allowed us to make fine adjustments in camera.


Darren chose some stunning locations and we scheduled the day around the best light.


I worked with natural light outside, adding a little bit of smoke to this setup - we calculated the sun position and used it to our advantage rather than working with large HMI's.


The bathtub setup was shot on the Canon 5D2 along with some of the other low light shots that we filmed in Wellington.


With the Wellington shoot we carried on our policy of filming at dawn and dusk. This setup was at 5.30am on the top floor of Wellington's tallest building. This was organised by Film Wellington along with The Museum Hotel, which pulled double duty by being a great location and a wonderful place to stay!

Overall I am very proud of this mood film. I am proud that we achieved all of the effects in camera. I believe that Darren is a hugely talented director and I look forward to working with him again soon.
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Paddock Hacks

David White from White Balance Pictures recently produced a TV Special called Paddock Hacks. I was lucky enough to be asked to DP the show for him.

We shot for five days in the Hawkes Bay. The countryside was beautiful, and in a way the cars were beautiful too! We decided that we wanted the show to be as cinematic as possible. I did not want to make the show in the edit, I wanted the cars to be graceful and look their best, which I know is odd for beat up Paddock Hack, but I think that by treating them with respect and filming them as I would a car commercial the look is really interesting and respectful to the sport.


To achieve this I decided to shoot on the Sony EX3 with my Letus lens adaptor. I used mainly Zeiss primes with a few telephoto Nikon primes as well. This gave me the shallow depth of field that I needed to separate the cars from the background. To help with the action we shot most of the car scenes at 50 fps. This gave us the slow motion look that we needed, and we could of course edit back to 25 fps or speed ramp in shot as required.


The promo does not show it, but a large part of the show is made up of interviews with the various drivers. We went to their work places and filmed them there, and also interviewed them. David White was the presenter and we decided early on that he would be very involved in the story. We put him in the action - literally in the case of driving the cars, but also in terms of the interaction with our guests. To fully capture this we decided that two cameras would be the best way to proceed. We sourced a second EX3 and Letus from Wellington and we were fortunate enough to have Paul Wedel to operate. Paul is the editor of the show and it was great having him on B Camera as not only did he film great coverage, but he also shot all the cut-aways that he knew he would need later on!


Wherever possible I placed Minicams in or on the cars. I used both the Contour HD and the GoPro HD Hero. The cameras were subjected to extreme knocks and so I supplemented the standard rigs by borrowing a mini rig kit from Josh Dunn and using that to securely lockdown the cameras. They did not miss a beat and the pictures were very impressive.


We also used the Canon 5D2 for some of the low light filming in sheds. I also shot a bit of tracking with it off the back of a Quad Bike with David driving in front of the Paddock Hacks. It cut in nicely with the main cameras and really added to the overall look.


The reaction to the promo has been huge! We have had over 70,000 views on YouTube. David has given radio interviews and even a piece on Campbell Live. Really looking forward to getting the green light and filming the show!
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Nike 6.0 Peetu Piiroinen

I recently received a call from Chris Kirkham at NZ Greenroom Productions. Chris very kindly put me forward to Shoot and Direct a Nike 6.0 spot for Phil Young at Urb-Orbis in London.


The concept of the spot was "Lone Man on Mountain". The backbone of the spot is made up with a very slow jib up his body (showing the Nike 6.0 product) as other riders talk about Peetu's skills in the voice over. Peetu is famous for being very softly spoken. He is quiet and does not boast about his talent at all, he just gets on with the job at hand. So in the spot, Peetu does what he does best, and other riders do the talking for him.


We decided to shoot at Snow Park as we wanted to take advantage of the golden hour light at dusk. The pipe was closed to the public, shaped and we had Sam Lee on a Skidoo to reset Peetu and move equipment.


The concept called for a slow motion, shallow depth of field look. To achieve this I decided to use my Sony PMW-EX3 with Letus Lens Adaptor. This allowed me to use my beautiful Nikon Prime Lenses. I used a Cine Gamma Profile that makes the images look really nice, and gives some room in post for the colour grade. I also added a NanoFlash to the camera. The NanoFlash is a fantastic box of tricks that allowed me to record at 4:2:2 220mbs 720 50P. So we were capturing everything in the highest possible quality and colourspace at 50 frames per second.


A bit of shooting was done on my Canon 5D2. I used it for the timelapses and for a couple of the shots of Peetu. It cuts in nicely with the main camera, even with the reduced colourspace. I used the same Nikon lenses on the Canon camera.


My Grip Josh Dunn helped me out on the mountain with a Panther Mini Jib from Chief Grips. The Jib was excellent. Fast and easy to set up and the movements were very smooth.


The only other bit of grip gear that we had was a ladder. It made for some great shots!

It was a great spot, put together quickly with a small crew and I really enjoyed shooting it.
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