Yesterday I was filming at the Glencoe Marathon for the official partner, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust so I took the opportunity to I camp solo on the Rannoch Moor. This boggy expanse is a piece of real wilderness, unlike any other in Scotland. In the darkness, out of my pocket fell my iphone, amazingly I retrieved it, half submerged from a bog. Thankfully I can confirm the iphone in a bag of rice really does work. I had hoped to be filming a morning timelapse but the weather’s promise quickly disappeared after sunrise, with only a distant glow somewhere over by the Ben Lawers range.
Billed as Scotland’s toughest – the Glencoe Marathon saw me chase runners through some stages of their epic trail run through the heart of Glencoe and into the foothills of Ben Nevis. It was a very exciting event with a spectacular (if very wet) location. The resolve of the competitors was fierce as they all braved the wet and winds to raise money for a worthwhile cause. I think next time I should aim for the That would be quiet an achievement judging by the route which takes in the Devils staircase en route to Kinlochleven. I think I’d need to work up to that.
After the shoot I stopped off at the Boots Bar at The Clanchaig Inn for some food – I think it’s going on my personal top 10 pubs in Scotland….
Prince Charles on grandson George’s first day at school
Shooting for ITN News in Scotland we caught a quick interview with Price Charles and recorded the Royal Editor, Chris Ship’s video report.
Speaking to ITN News about his grandson’s first day at school, Prince Charles joked to Royal Editor Chris Ship that he had not given the youngster any advice ahead of his big day as he “wouldn’t take it from me at that age”.
The Prince of Wales added that school is “good” for children, jesting that it is “character building”. He continued he “hoped” that George would be happy at his new school, and empathised with the “poor old thing” who appeared anxious as he walked into his new school to join the rest of his reception class.
The 68-year-old conceded that “at that age you don’t worry quite so much about going to school as you do when you get a bit older” and the “business of meeting new people.”
Filming this Queensferry Crossing film as one filming unit of seven for Speakeasy Productions we collectively filmed the lighting up of the Queensferry Crossing. I was based a North Queensferry and filming on Canon C300 mk2 we pushed the ISO to 10,000 to get these images.
The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon led a procession of vintage and modern vehicles on to the new Queensferry Crossing – the stunning new Scottish icon which opens to traffic on August 30 2017. She thanked the workforce for their amazing efforts before truly turning the spotlights on the third Forth Bridge
This university video production was shot in collaboration with UAV drone operator Peter Keith for Tanami video production. I used my Sony FS7 together with my steadicam to create the look the clients sought. We filmed across Edinburgh and Galasheilds in the Scottish borders, so travelling light was key – one bag and and a DG Glidecam were used to create the cinematography style required.
Created for the School of Textiles and Design, this video for Heriot-Watt University shows just how accessible the Galashiels campus is from Edinburgh city centre. Featuring Heriot-Watt students, Tanami captured footage using two camera crews, including a drone pilot.
Ryan Blackwood is a freelance camera operator based in Scotland experienced across TV, Documentary, Corporate and Commercial work.
This HSBC Cycle Ride promotional video was commissioned by British Cycling to promote the HSBC Cycle Rides taking place in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“This is a huge moment for cycling in Great Britain,” said Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling. “Working together with HSBC UK, we will provide the encouragement and opportunities to make cycling the most popular activity and sport of choice in Great Britain. We want to help transform an increasingly inactive and unhealthy nation through cycling.”
British Cycling and HSBC UK will deliver events and programmes across local communities, towns and free to enter mass participation events to get millions of people on their bikes.
Edinburgh Zoo’s Trainspotting – a recreated a homage to the original 1996 cult film Trainspotting and the iconic ‘Choose Life’ scene that kickstarted Danny Boyle’s career. I shot and edited this campaign for Stripe Communications and it was definitely one of my more unusual days out….
‘Choose Scotland, choose Edinburgh, choose visiting the giant pandas, choose meeting a meerkat, choose brilliant birds, choose the penguin parade, choose Tiger Tracks, choose a great day out, choose Edinburgh Zoo!’
Shaun Bell of Stripe Communications was thrilled with the campaign which has received over 160,000 views and 2,000 likes!
Over the weekend myself and David climbed the White Mounth Munros circuit, a 29km hike taking in five munros: Lochnagarger, Carn a’ Choire, Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Cairn Banish and Broad Cairn (which barely qualifies as a Munro). Filming with my Sony FS7 camera I captured Red Squirrels, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail a lovely little Siskin feeding on Pine seeds, a Song Thrush and some very fast House Martin.
During the drive we drove up the highest public road in the United Kingdom the A93 at the Cairnwell Pass. On the drive we spotted a Grey Heron, but by they time we had a chin-wag with the landowner we was off. After leaving through Braemar we saw a strange lenticular cloud formation over Balmoral Estate – the kind of clouds that look like a UFO…
During the eight-hour hike we observed a Red Grouse and briefly caught a glimpse of a Mountain Hare bounding away. The route was long and we didn’t take camera kit the distance! You could drive as far as Glas Allt Shiel – a bothy on the Queens’s Balmoral estate, but we skipped the royal invite and camped in the popular Spittle of Glenmuick, this lovely upland moor at the back of the Balmoral estate is teaming with wildlife. It was an excellent place to camp with toilet facilities and the local mountain rescue team based there.
Brian Cox reading Jackie Kay poetry for Visit Scotland. Emmy award winning actor of stage and screen Brian Cox has read Jackie Kay poems as a part of a new Visit Scotland campaign. Very proud to have meet and worked with two of Scotland’s finest cultural contributors!
This track is from the theatre show Music is Torture which is touring Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness from 18 May to 1 June. This new piece of gig theatre tells the story of a struggling music producer, Jake, who discovers that his music is being used to torture political prisoners and charts his ensuing moral dilemma. Essentially a show about selling out, while also reflecting on how people respond to global conflict and how people respond to fear of terrorism.
Jake – Andy Clark
King Of The Insiders – Ronni Menzies-Stirling
Queen Of The Insiders – Louise Quinn
Horse Head Man – Bal Cooke
Sports Casual Shaman – Steven Westwater
The Philosopher – Robert Henderson
Makeup – Emma Cunningham
Produced by Tromolo Productions with support from The Space
Thanks to Tron Theatre
Telephoto lenses for wildlife
Most long telephoto wildlife lenses are out with the price bracket for many people. The Canon 70-200 is the ideal entry level wildlife lenses, but following on from there we investigated the options available. I’m not including macro lenses for really close up wildlife, but rather will run through a few long lens set ups fo aspiring wildlife filmmakers. In Britain some of the best wildlife to be found on our shores are the amazing array of birds, and to get them you need to go long or go home. Something like the 25-300mm Cabrio T3.5-3.85 is what would be top of many filmmakers list, but assuming you don’t have £35,000k to blow, here’s some other options to get started….
Assuming require a lens of at least 300mm and as fast as possible here are some wildlife lens options…
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L mk2
£1,600 NEW or you could get a mk1 2nd hand for £650
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L mk2 is a compact, high-performance zoom lens that’s ideal for action and wildlife. A 4-stop Image Stabilizer and high-quality optics deliver superb sharpness. We use this camera lens primarily for wildlife camera work for the Sony FS7. It’s super sharp, lightweight and used together with the Metabones Speedbooster Canon EF to Sony E Mount it’s an excellent solution for wildlife filmmakers and photographers.
With this FS7 wildlife setup this makes the lens equate to a 1.1x FOV crop so makes it like a 110mm to 440mm. You can also use it with our other Commlite adapter (EF- NEX) and this increases the magnification further, but can sometime have the drawback of not being able to change to iris after a lens swap – so you may be restarting the camera during that crucial moment. The Commlite adapter makes the angles of view equivalent to a 160-640mm on a full-frame camera.
On our Sony FS7 and shooing in 2K crop mode (because we like 150fps rather than 4K!) adds a further x2 magnification, so this lens extends to up to 1280mm – ideal for bird and wildlife photographer. Just remember and pick up a very heavy duty tripod. We shoot with a Sachtler 18P which is heavy duty but light enough to carry together with the camera.
For me this lens trumped our old one for travelling light and I was surprised to discover it was even sharper than our trusted Canon 70-200mm lens! Of course also the Image stabiliser is a MUST for shooting wildlife video.
Sigma EX Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon F – 300-800mm – F/5.6 – 6.3
£6,500 NEW or £2500 2nd hand
The Sigmonster was the last wildlife lens we used, but it was too long and too heavy for our requirements one the Scottish Hillside. We used this again with the 2K crop function and a 1.4EX Teleconverterto achieve a whooping 2240mm. This is a lens for hides, or if your on the move you will require assistance.
Adding a DG Teleconverter you can use this lens as a 420-1120 mm F8 MF ultra-telephoto zoom lens with a 1.4x EX Teleconverter, or as a 600-1600 mm F11 MF ultra-telephoto zoom lens with a 2x EX Teleconverter.
Canon EF 500mm F/4.0 L IS USM EF Lens
£6,600 NEW or £4000 2nd hand
Two stops faster than the Sigmonster and probably an extra £2K, this lenses is a prime and offers two-speed Power Focus mode allows focus to be adjusted at a smooth constant speed – perfect when shooting video. The Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM is a super-telephoto lens with integrated Image Stabilizer technology and a fast f/4 maximum aperture. It features a lightweight magnesium alloy and titanium construction, and its optical design includes fluorite and UD lens elements to tackle aberrations and distortions.
Camera Support Systems
The heavier the setup, the more reliant on a strong camera support system you’ll become. If your a photographer go away and look at some gimble heads – but for video you need to move from 15mm rods to bridge plates with 19mm rods. Everything just adds to the weight of your gear in the field, but it’s required unless you want amateurish, shaky footage.
In July 1996, scientists at the Roslin Institute created the world’s first animal cloned from an adult cell.
Dolly the sheep was created in a laboratory using an adult cell taken from one sheep to fertilise an egg from another. The fused cell was then implanted into a foster mother.
It was a breakthrough in the history of genetic engineering. Researchers hoped it would enable new ways of treating debilitating diseases, but critics were worried it opened the door to human cloning.
Sir Ian Wilmut led the team of scientists.
You can watch Witness a these times on BBC World News.
Witness the stories of our times told by the people who were there.
Here’s a short promotional video for the Tiger Tracks enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Jambi is a male Sumatrian tiger and in the wild they’re found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In 2008 as the population was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals. The population suffers because they require natural forest area, and tend to use areas closer to forest centres – which are in decline due to human agricultural – largely palm oil plantations – destroying their natural habitat.
Through the RZSS – a conservation charity on my doorstep – Edinburgh Zoo are taking practical action on the ground to study and protect wildlife.
Filming for PBS Newshour, Ryan Blackwood is an Edinburgh based broadcast cameraman. Working for PBS Newshour anchor and senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown. I love getting to shoot as a news cameraman, it’s such an honour to shoot for real broadcasters historic events like Scotland’s referendum coverage.
We were filmed an interview with Scotland’s makar Jackie Kay at Stirling University as a part of PBS’ Newshour.
I spent a couple of hours testing the 150fps slow motion on the Sony FS7 camera at Edinburgh Zoo. Jen and Olly got to see Jambi, the magnificent male tiger up close through the new Tiger Tracks enclosure.
The Sumatran tiger is a subspecies of tiger found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and it is estimated that fewer than 400 of these majestic tigers are left in the wild. In 1978, experts estimated the population of Sumatran tigers at 1,000. Whilst these tigers are protected by law in Indonesia, increased deforestation and poaching has led to their significant decline and, without help, the Sumatran tiger faces the very real threat of extinction.
Don’t think changing to a tasty eco palm-oil free peanut butter can really make a difference. Only lobbying your politician or support an organization campaigning on these issues can really help at this stage. Fewer than 400!
Support an organisation like the WWF to donate to help stop poachers from killing these beautiful animals.
I just caught this segment TV I shot with Jeffery Brown about Jackie Kay. I was the lighting camera operator for the interviews, poetry, and steadicam work.
For this Smithsonian Channel featurette I was hired through Finestripe Productions in Glasgow. Within this film Actor Roanna Davidson walks us through the challenges and delights of becoming Winnaretta Singer, the provocative heir to a major sewing machine fortune and one of the bold women featured in season 2 of Million Dollar American Princesses.
Teacup Travels isa 25 episode adventure series for children created by Plum Films as a major commission for CBeebies. I created two films for Plum films, this behind the scenes and a museum to screen featurette.
Filming as 2nd shooter for Foundlight Films this Scottish Enterprise film recounts the A Proctor Group’s journey from life manufacturing textiles and supplying flax to Scotland’s mills, now, four generations later, it is a specialist manufacturer and supplier of innovative breathable membranes and vapour control layers.
Get to know Glasgow, one of Scotland most vibrant and exciting cities. Great food and drink, incredible culture and nightlife: it’s also famously friendly. Produced by Visit Britain this film was shot over the 5 and 6th of August with directed by Mark McKenna. It was a a fast paced most shoulder mounted shoot, filming at over dozen venues a day. From foodie places like the legendary Ubiquitous Chip and the super-cool Stravaigin, to Porter and Sons the Oran Mor and The Finnieston – where I had the freshest, tastiest fish I’ve had all year! To display the city’s cultural wears we visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the hyper-modern Riverside Museum and the People’s Palace and the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tearooms. I had never been to the Auchentoshan distillery before and we had a whistle-stop tour of the place. We also had a quick mixology lesson at the Corinthian Club before. I think Butterfly Films should shoot some weddings there, a landmark venue! The whole shoot was mesmerising, I felt like I got a full on Glagow experience during the crazy 2 day shoot. The film was shot using a Canon C100 with a Ninja Blade recorder and a Sony A7s with metabones adapter.
Reporter Kaylum arrives in Edinburgh for the UK Premiere of Macbeth and talks not only to Lord Macbeth himself, actor Michael Fassbender, but the cast and crew behind the film.
Yesterday I was filming the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Scottish Open at Archerfield Link Golf Course. Archerfield Link Golf Course is the latest venue for the running of the 23rd Scottish Senior Scottish Open. This year Prostate Cancer UK became the new title sponsor and they asked me to produce a promotionl video for next years event. The disease affects over 40,000 men in the United Kingdom and the charity hopes to raise awareness and target men through sport. Two notable people I had the chance to interview were England Test cricketer Ian Bothham and Alex Salmond. The former first minister took the time to have a photo taken and later that evening brought me his autobiography and signed it. A true gent.
Today I was shooting for Prostate Cancer UK shoot at the Open, in St Andrews. I was filming senior professional golfer and radio 5 live commentator, Andrew Murray. He has been actively raising both funds and awareness within the golfing community after his golf mentor Brian Nield was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I also interviewed Des Smyth, a former member for the European Tour (25 years) a former Ryder Cup player he represented Europe in 1979 and 1981. The video was designed to capture engaging content from professional golfers to share and raise the profile of Prostate Cancer UK among the golfing audience
We were working with the british number 1, Andy Murray,the day before his wedding. I was 2nd shooting on a Panasonic AF 101, while Jason’s A-cam was a Sony F55.
I remember when Andy Murray won against Novak Djokovic to win wimbledon, definitely a memorable moment for Britain. The man himself was lovely and it was another successful shoot with 20/20 Productions.
Here’s the ”Burns Masterclass Toast To The Lassies” I was assisting with last week for Foundlight / Visit Scotland. It was shot with the Sony A7 it was lit by little more than the candles….(okay a very small dedo softbox and a tiny amount of backlight), still I was very impressed.
A project lasting over two years now, Erin at Beyongolia Productions and I shot this series of films to a communicate their values and mission. Each department is represented with a video interview with the Programme Director and students on the programme.