Bridgestone 'Blizzak VRX'



Director Toshihisa Koike asked me to film these two commercials for him in New Zealand. The agency was Dentsu, the Production Company Dentsy Creative Cross, with AJ Films working as the New Zealand Line Production Company.

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The two commercials were both very different, and very technical. We had to shot the Tyres performing on very specific road conditions.

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To achieve this, we filmed at SHPG near Queenstown, New Zealand. They had the facilities that we needed to make various road conditions. Varying from pure ice, solid snow and slushy snow with road surface below. Art Director Ken Turner did a great job liaising between the various teams to deliver the surface that the client needed.

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We experienced some extreme weather on the first day. A storm came through and we experienced wind chill of minus 18 degrees celsius. We achieved a few shots before the weather forced us to wrap early. Thankfully, it cleared and we had good weather for the remaining two shoot days.

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I used two Red Epic Dragon cameras. I always prefer to work with two cameras when shooting car commercials. It saves a lot of time, and lets me move from one set up to the next with no delays.

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We had a mixture of rig shots, built by the great grip team of Sam Strain, Josh Dunn and Chris Thomson.

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We also shot a variety of tracking shots, where I used the MoVI M10 on a small tracking buggy.

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The second spot involved a few stock shots from Japan and also several VFX shots, where the background was composited in to match with the foreground elements that I shot in New Zealand.

With 15 second spots, so much of what you shoot on the day does not make the final broadcast edit. There is also an online web version.

It was a great shoot, and the client is very happy.






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Smile 'Pyaw Aung Nay'


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Aerials were provided by Peter Thompson with his Cineflex.

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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




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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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



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Appalanchia



I was the Director of Photography on this Korean Commercial for Appalanchia Bikes.

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Michael Cha from Oyster was the Director.

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Michael came well prepared, and we had several discussions about the look that we wanted to achieve. We decided to shoot on the Arri Alexa XT using Zeiss Ultra Primes.

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We wanted to place the family in nature, and our Location Manager Phil Turner gave us some great spots to work with.

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For the tracking scenes I used a bungy rig, and had Josh Dunn as my key grip.

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It was a fun shoot, and most importantly, the client is very happy!

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Uketamau

I Directed this Documentary Film in Japan in 2012, where I was invited to be an Artist in Residence. This was an incredible shoot. Very physical, it was hot and humid and there were many challenges.

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I travelled to Yamagata Provence in Northern Japan. It was an amazing place. Very spiritual, and I did not see another westerner for a week.

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My crew consisted of Mile Nagaoka from Green Valley and Camera / Sound Assistant Taigo Kawaguchi. We communicated in pigeon English. We were here to film the Yamabushi training. Essentially, this involved us taking part in the training, as well as making the film.

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Fumihiro Hoshino is a 13th generation Yamabushi, someone who guides people on Shugyo ascetic training in Japan. He was the Master, and I decided to structure the film around him. It was very challenging interviewing him in loosely translated Japanese, but after spending several days with the group - I was confident that I understood the sentiment.

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The first night was wonderful. An amazing meal with just the crew and the Yamabushi Master. The next day was a little bit different….

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We began to walk. Lot's of walking. Day one I was told that we would take a short stroll… we walked up 4500 steps to a temple. This in itself was a challenge, but to throw in the heavy Red Epic camera equipment, and the awkward clothing, and I struggled. Myself and my crew did not make it all the way, we were carrying too much weight and my giant western feet that stuck out of the split toe Japanese slippers were in pain.

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We were all living in the same tatami mat room. I grabbed a corner for battery charging and downloading.

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A far cry from the first night's meal, we were now on a starvation diet consisting of one bowl of rice, soup and two vegetables. The chanting and prayers stopped at 11pm, and after a mosquito filled night we were woken at 4am.

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This was the big day, and I had negotiated to be allowed to wear my own clothes and shoes. This was to prove to be a great decision. I stripped back the camera equipment to two lenses, 3 batteries and 3 Redmags. Weight was going to be critical. (I must also admit that I cheated and packed some extra water, a Pocari Sweat Isotonic Drink… and a couple of candy bars…)

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I was told that the walk would take us about 2 to 3 hours… so I assumed 5. In the end the hike up the mountain took over 8 hours. It was a massive day. I had to film the group as they would pass me, then run ahead to catch up and repeat the process. It was tough, but it was also absolutely beautiful and satisfying.

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Chanting and prayers again along with the starvation meal. Everyone was exhausted. I was so tired that I really had to concentrate on my downloading… I could not afford to make a mistake.

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Up at 4am again, woken by the sound of the conch. We loaded up and started off back to the 4500 steps that had defeated me earlier. I have to say, after the previous days marathon, it was a breeze. I practically ran up the steps, and the morning light was beautiful to work with.

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We got to the top, and the temple was very cool. I looked over… and a car drove past. I couldn't believe it! Apparently there was a road up to the top, but we took the steps!

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The weekend was over. Everyone was tired, but we all had a great sense of accomplishment. We sat around and had a feast, including the biggest cup of Sake I have ever seen. It was a great experience, and I was honoured to be invited into the group and I am proud to be Yamabushi.

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Peugeot 208 GTi vs. Jaden Leeming



Following on from our Red Bull: Conquer the Crown film, Director Ryan Heron asked me to DP this clip for Peugeot and Red Bull.

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We filmed at Auckland Film Studios which bought back memories as the last time I worked there was back in 1990's when I was camera assisting on Hercules and Xena.

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Ryan wanted the piece to be dark and moody. It was a great lighting challenge. I decided to put in a row of Par Can's along the back wall to add some visual interest and backlight the smoke. With the shiny black Peugeot I was basically playing with large reflected sources.

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Tane Kingan was my Gaffer, and I had access to a lot of lighting fixtures… keeping my lighting team very busy! I used a bunch of 5K's and 10K's, pulling power from two and a half studios.

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I shot on Red Epic as the main camera. Haimona Ngata was my B Camera Operator on a Red Scarlet.

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We bought in Daryl from Phantom Effects with his Phantom camera on the second shoot day. I shot this at 1000fps, for the stunt sequence. This involved a pretty substantial relight to lift the levels for the Phantom exposure, while keeping the dark moody look that we had established.

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I am really happy with the final film. It was a big job and a busy couple of days. With everyone working together we came in on time, and on budget. There will be commercial cut downs on broadcast television soon.

Thanks to Graeme Murray and my Camera Assistant Jymi Best for the stills photographs.

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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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