Usually, people look better in photographs than they do in real life. Occasionally a couple come along who defy that rule and just look stunning all the time. Krystina and Nana are such a couple.
They approached me about shooting their wedding and after an initial consultation we found ourselves headed for a quiet little Cheshire village to embark on our first photo shoot together.
I always advise that couples take the time for a pre wedding or engagement shoot. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and get used to relaxing in front of the lens.
Over the course of the shoot I learned more about Krystina and Nana and their lives together. Their look favoured an editorial feel and I used more off camera lighting than usual. This created some truly dramatic shots as the sun fell lower.
I love the ‘model’ look this couple have. I can’t wait to shoot their wedding..
If you’ve seen ‘Kingsman, The Secret Service’ you’ll know just how incredible those Matthew Vaughn fight scenes are. If you haven’t I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.
Done? Fantastic wasn’t it. After watching THAT scene (which I won’t spoil for any of you who didn’t see it) I desperately wanted to make my own. Fortunately Off The Ground Theatre were just gearing up for their summer tour of The Musketeers and had a whole set of elaborate sword and fist fights ready to go. The first show was in 2 days so the challenge was on. How good a fight trailer can I produce in 24 hours?
After watching the fights in rehearsal we worked the camera into the action rather than direct each shot separately. The result is as close as I could get to what I wanted with the 30 or 40 minutes of filming time available. Check out the results below and if you can’t wait to get to the best bits. The scrapping starts at 0:35s.
So how this was put together?..
Producing the Musketeers film ala Vaughn presented several challenges to overcome, not least of which was the total lack of preparation and planning. I knew they were rehearsing and I knew I was going to film something. I had no idea what to expect.
Well that’s not entirely true. I used to choreograph fights for the company myself and have been on twelve of their summer tours as an actor and producer before I was a photographer. Once I’d been shown the amazing fights they had prepared for the stage I could see the style I wanted straight away. The fights are fast and technical with details that shouldn’t be missed so I had to get in there and be part of the action. I didn’t want to make a typical film fight where every hit is a cut and you never see a landed blow. These fights flow and move and are a real spectacle on stage. I wanted to try to capture as much of that feeling as I could.
I shot everything using a Hero4 at 1080p, 120fps. Filming at such a high frame rate allows me to slow down the action to 20% speed and still have it look totally smooth at a nice cinematic 24fps. The ability to speed up and slow the footage is needed to keep the action exciting when shooting the fight in single takes. This was achieved in Premiere Pro then coloured using Adobe Speedgrade.
To smooth out the action the camera is mounted to a DJI Phantom 2 carrying a Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal. The gimbal keeps the Gopro smooth and level giving it that film glide cam look whilst the Phantom drone provides the power, and transmits a live feed to an external monitor so I can see what I’m filming. There is a smooth pan in there that was shot from the drone in flight too.
Some acrobatics were required and I didn’t escape without a good sword thwack to one hand (It was my fault for forgetting the moves) but I’m pleased with the results. Not bad for a days work.
It was mid afternoon when I got the phone call..
“Hey Jon-boy! you want to shoot a cool video for me?”
This isn’t unusual for Nick from Zerofour Hairdressing. He’s one of those creative people for whom nothing can arrive too quickly. He wants cool new media that people will enjoy and then he wants to replace it with something newer and cooler. I’ve worked with Nick before creating all sorts from toy shop images to movie poster styled advertising.
With no preparation time I grabbed the video go-bag: Nikon D800, Canon 5D mkII and Gopro Hero 4 as well as a set of DE-300 lights that work great as low level continuous fill (although they do get hotter than the sun).
I’d been called because Nick was doing a fairly extreme long to short cut with great results. Rather than the usual 15 minute slog of chatter and repetition offered by hair videos I went for a snappy music driven edit.
As always I love to hear what you think so leave a comment and enjoy.
On a shoot, just occasionally everything falls exactly into place.
Andy and Annika’s engagement shoot was one of those times. Blue skies with wisps of cloud make for a fabulous backdrop as the couple splashed in the waves at Hoylake beach and enjoy the sun. A shoot like this is a great way to learn to relax in front off the camera but Andy and Annika were perfect and looked completely natural for the camera.
During a quick stop off in a farmers field Andy braved his hayfever to capture these beautiful moments in a field of pollinating flowers. Totally worth it.
Congratulations to them both and look out for the next post for their amazing Liverpool wedding featuring a shot from above, framed as a guest book for them to hang in their new home.
Just a quick one today. A little look into what I get up to when I’m not behind the camera.
I’ve always loved circus skills so I joined a couple of friends for a late night fire poi session.
A few minutes with a Hero4 and Gopro studio and… this!
A little something I cooked up last year. I love the Gopro for it’s versatility and quality but I didn’t want to pay out for a motorised slider so I made my own.
Here’s the result. If there’s interest I’ll blog the build too so leave a comment if you want to make your own.
Whether you’re want to improve your skills or are looking for a unique gift for a fellow photographer you can’t go wrong with a night photography workshop from JonHallPhoto.
Learn to get out of auto mode and free your photo potential with a 3 hour night walk around some of Liverpool’s most famous landmarks. All you need to get started is a DSLR camera, a tripod and a sense of adventure..
Dates have been added for December and January with more to follow in the new year.
Check out the details on this site and grab your voucher for just £29 here.