Red Bull 'Conquer the Crown'



Director Ryan Heron asked me to be the Director of Photography for this clip for Red Bull.

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To be perfectly honest, when we first started talking I thought "what a fantastic idea… it will never happen…they will never give permission for a road closure." When Ryan called me up with the green light I couldn't believe it!

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This job involved a lot of logistics. There was plenty of prep, and we had a great, experienced crew. We were able to section off the road into three parts. With each section we were able to have a five minute road closure every thirty minutes. Which mean't we could send Mad Mike Whiddett through for one run each block. With such a small shooting window we needed to make the most of each run.

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We used several cameras on the job. Two Red Scarlet's shooting at 4K so that we could reframe and stabilise in post. I shot one of the Scarlet's for the establishers and end sequence, and it was also the camera I had on the tracking vehicle. Simon Tutty operated the other Scarlet on the tripod shots. Jamie McKenzie bought down his Sony F5 and he was shooting the slider shots. Daryl from Phantom Effect came down with a Phantom V642 which we shot at frame rates up to 2500fps. Minicam expert Ben McAlister was in charge of the Go Pro Hero 3's. Finally, we had Peter Thompson there with his Cineflex in the helicopter.

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We were lucky enough to have Pete Bradshaw as the Grip / Precision Tracking Vehicle driver. It was the last job for the 'Expert' vehicle before retirement… and I think we gave it a good send off. I shot from both the front and the rear using a gyro stabilised bungy system. We planned through the shots careful, and chose the corners where mike would be at a close (but safe) distance to the lens. We essentially kept to separate lanes and Mike would then drift the car through frame with Pete holding a safe line, and me holding on and locking into the frame that I wanted. It was fantastic seeing the control that Mike had and the shots that we were able to pull off.

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Post Production was handled by Mandy in Auckland with Smoke Artist Andy Timms and Colourist Dave McLaren.

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This was a great job to shoot. Really different to conventional car commercials where we have to stay at the speed limit and keep within the white lines!

Photos courtesy of Graeme Murray and Miles Holden

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Nikon 'D5200'




I was the 2nd Unit DP / B Camera Operator on this TV Commercial for Nikon.

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Henrik Hansen was the Director and Marc Flennert was the DP.

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Big Fish was the production company and Leilani Tomaszewski from the Sweet Shop handled the production in both Australia and New Zealand.

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We filmed exclusively on Nikon D800 cameras. At the time they had only just been released, and we were pleasantly surprised by the image. They were great to work with, and provided a really nice picture.

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We mostly used their Prime Lenses, and a semi flat picture profile. We did tests with an external recorder, but found that there was little benefit for the added bulk and complications.

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We filmed part of the spot in remote Fiordland, New Zealand with access by Helicopter.

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We filmed the other part of the commercial at Lake Gairdner, Western Australia. We stayed at Mt Ive Station. It was a major undertaking to get the crew there. We travelled in convoy, in Toyota 4x4's with extra water, tyres, and in constant radio contact. It was a very long journey… but the location was worth it.

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Lake Gairdner is a Salt Flat Lake, and it was beautiful. We travelled all that way for the early morning reflections and we spent about a week to get the perfect shot.

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Our Australian crew was excellent and their expertise at working in the outback was very appreciated.

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We also shot a few more stand alone clips for Nikon, and they will be released over the coming months.

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It was a great shoot with a wonderful crew, and I am hoping to work with my Australian friends again soon.
Thanks to Joe Wigdahl and my assistant Paul Shakeshaft for the photos.
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Ssang Yong 'Rexton'




Leigh Hart from Moon TV asked me to be the DP on this car commercial for the new Rexton.

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We only had one day to shoot the job, and there was a lot to get through. Stunts, pyrotechnics, bonnet rig, side rig, dialog, tracking vehicle and aerials. The only way to achieve all of this in one day was to shoot without road closures. Moon TV found a great private track at Boomrock, just outside Wellington.

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I flew up from Queenstown with my Grip, Josh Dunn. All of my equipment is packaged for travel. I bought up a Red Epic, Red Scarlet, Leica Primes, Canon Zooms, Monitors, Mattebox, Filters etc. Everything we needed for a two camera shoot. Josh travelled with his full rigging kit and even a 3' slider. With my Air New Zealand status we flew with all of this gear for only $60 excess luggage costs!

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We picked up the rest of the crew locally, with Roger Fenstra on focus, and Kim Thomas assisting.

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Because we had a very small crew we were able to move quickly and efficiently. Leigh was Directing as well as staring in the commercial. Once I was happy with a take, we would review playback directly from the Red camera and move on.

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Having both the Red Epic and the Red Scarlet on set was a huge time saver. I was able to shoot one of the cameras while the second one was being pre-rigged for the next set up. This allowed us to move very quickly. Also, because of their small size I was able to rig both cameras on the bonnet at the same time, so we could shoot a two shot and a close up simultaneously.

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A few of the behind the scenes pictures of the 'camera crew' being taken out by the water were 'leaked' on Facebook before the commercial was released. This caused a huge amount of feedback, and the viral campaign was a great success.

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Here is the infamous 'Camera' that was taken out during the filming of the commercial… (rest assured, everything went as planned).

I really enjoyed shooting this commercial. Everyone involved was fun to work with. The script was refreshing, and I am very happy with the result.

Thanks to Brady Dyer for the photos.

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Sarah Alainn 'Breathe in Me'



Universal Music Japan asked me to be the Cinematographer and Director for this music video for Sarah Alainn, for her debut album 'Celeste'.

(This online copy is a very low quality short version. There is a HD Blu-ray disc included with each CD).
The Album has just been released in Japan, and is currently ranked at number 5 in the iTunes charts.

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We filmed around Queenstown for two shoot days, taking advantage of some of the beautiful locations. Miz Watanabe was the NZ Line Producer. The Japanese Production company was Cinq. I had worked for them previously, almost 10 years ago, and it was good to strengthen the relationship.

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I chose to shoot at several spots around the region where I have not filmed at previously. Taking advantage of the sun at each location.

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I shot on my Red Scarlet camera, and used my vintage lenses. I decided to use a lot of lens flares and optical effects to make Sarah look ethereal.

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Sam Strain was my grip and we used a Panther Mini Jib extensively, along with some tracking shots in the forest.

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Stu Gotting was my DIT and we delivered Colour Corrected ProRes 422 movie files at the end of the shoot.

It was a great shoot with a high quality result achieved by a small team. Sarah is hugely talented and I really enjoyed working with her. I am confident that her album will be a success.



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Nurofen 'Be Sure'



Sam Scott asked me to shoot this commercial in Auckland.

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Because we had a lot of visual effects involved, along with a dolly track and focus pull I decided to shoot on my Red Scarlet camera. The camera gave us 4K resolution which really helped the compositing. It also gave us a Raw image to grade from. Andy at Metro Film rented me a set of Zeiss Ultra Primes. Bryce Swainson was my focus puller.

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Sam Scott was also responsible for the 3D set. (The only physical set in the bathroom is the mirror, cupboard and the green set flat that it's attached to. Everything else is generated).
I had the light boxes built into the set, and we lit the first scene to be quite harsh and abrasive. With the flickering lights really adding to the sense of discomfort.

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Then, in the pharmacy I went with a classic soft beauty light on the talent.

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Miquel Ubeda was the 2D Compositor and the Colorist. Spencer Locke-Bonney was the Gaffer. It was another successful shoot with a small crew, and the client is very happy.

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"Toi La Who?" Short Film



Producer David White from White Balance Pictures and Director Sally Tran asked me to be the DP for this short film shot in Wellington. I had worked with Sally on a music video for Hanna Grace, and she was keen for me to shoot this interesting story.

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Sally's unique visual style again came through with this film. The art direction and costumes are bold and interesting. The performances and choreography are amazing. Having twelve children moving through set and all synchronized together was a pretty huge achievement. Best of all, the script was good, and the story compelling.

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The film was funded by through Creative New Zealand's Independent Film Fund, and David also secured some great sponsorship deals. The script was very ambitious, but with such a strong and compelling story many suppliers and crew gave their time and equipment generously.

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We shot in Wellington where myself and Steadicam Operator Alex McDonald were kindly accommodated in fantastic apartments by The Museum Hotel. We had two days filming on location, and the rest of the shoot took place on set in a studio kindly provided by Camperdown Studios and Jamie Selkirk.

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We shot on Red MX cameras provided by Rubber Monkey. The bulk of the shoot was shot with two cameras, as we were on a very tight schedule working with a lot of young children.

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Matt Hearte was my Gaffer, and we worked with a small lighting package also provided by Rubber Monkey and Portsmouth. Working closely with Rubber Monkey was fantastic. They supplied me with a great camera and lighting package, a Panther dolly, and viewing the days rushes in their comfortable screening room was excellent.

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The Wellington Camera Assistants and Grips also gave their time generously and I was lucky enough to work with a great roster of locals... we even managed to pull Claude Dasan out of retirement!

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Without giving the story away, there are two distinct looks throughout the film. I achieved these different looks with on camera filtration, and lighting cues. This was all tied together nicely in the grade and visual effects by Miquel Ubeda.

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This is just a small montage of shots from the completed film, please be sure to keep an eye out for it at a festival near you soon.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Carlsberg 'Everest'



I was lucky enough to be the 2nd Unit Director of Photography on this Carlsberg commercial for Shoot NZ.is 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.

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

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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.

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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!
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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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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