Definition August 2023 - Web

Welcome to our August edition, where we defy the notion of the “silly season” in the media. Despite the vacation fervour, this issue bursts with industry news from the Tribeca Festival, the Euro Cine Expo and with production features covering animation, cringe comedy and climate change. 


Barbie brought to life by a colour burst, plus the Unreal making of Brave Creatures

Do look down Bird’s-eye view at the best aerial filming kit on the market

Different class How the industry is guiding the filmmakers of tomorrow

Cringe comedy Sketching out a look for I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson

BRIGHT PUBLISHING LTD Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, CB22 3HJ, UK EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Roger Payne ACTING EDITOR Robert Shepherd CHIEF SUB EDITOR Matthew Winney SUB EDITOR Ben Gawne JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Lori Hodson CONTRIBUTOR Phil Rhodes ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 SALES MANAGER Emma Stevens 01223 499462 | +447376 665779 DESIGN DESIGN DIRECTOR Andy Jennings DESIGNER AND AD PRODUCTION Man-Wai Wong DESIGNER Emma Di’Iuorio JUNIOR DESIGNER Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press. COVER IMAGE © 2022 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

50 to express how much of an honour and privilege it has been to work with such a talented team. Now, as my chapter at the magazine ends, please join me in welcoming Nicola Foley, who will lead the charge for the September edition and no doubt take the magazine to even greater heights. As for me, that’s a wrap!

FAIRY TALE Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Adam Valdez helms a short film project that’s a showcase for Unreal Engine



he winds of change are sweeping through Definition and my time as acting editor has come to an end. Before I bid thee farewell, here’s what’s in store for our August edition. Get ready for a production feature on Between the Rains , the stunning Kenyan coming-of-age story that won the coveted Tribeca best documentary award. Are you interested in aerial shooting? Find out all about the different ways you can take your camera to the skies. Don’t miss a must-read review of Euro Cine Expo, a two-year-old event that’s already become an industry staple. Finally, as I reflect on my time as the face of Definition , I’d like


@definitionmags @definitionmagazine



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THAT AWKWARD MOMENT I Think You Should Leave’s stubborn social outcasts make for some madcap cringe comedy



Local knowledge aids a four-year shoot for the award-winning Between the Rains 16 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS What won at Tribeca, a boost to gender diversity in M&E and a de Menezes drama 26 A LOCKDOWN STORY Bury the Dogs was shot in a familiar setting

A top-down guide to the most awe-inspiring aerial kit – from cranes and helicopters to high-tech drones 37 REEL EDUCATION Training isn’t reserved for newcomers alone – we highlight creative courses for all skill levels 45 SWEET SFX Judicious use of special effects can really make your feature blow up 50 NINE-INCH TALES Unreal-powered animation Brave Creatures is a great illustration of the cutting-edge game engine tech 56 EURO CINE EXPO REVIEW A round-up of the Munich event as it marked its second birthday in style


LEARN TO FLY Marzano Films is one of a cluster of aerial experts on hand to survey the landscape

63 INNOVATION IN FOCUS A round table of industry experts discuss what the future holds for lenses 72 BEHIND THE LAUGHTER Cult comedy sketch show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson was shot in a matter of days – we have the low-down 79 CAMERA LISTINGS Our pick of the camera bunch


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TICKLED PINK The sheer abundance of the colour is apparent in every frame of Barbie

BARBIE Paint the town pink LIFE IN PLASTIC, IS IT FANTASTIC? I n a colourful twist of events, such

film or TV production, so we knew it would look great on screen. We can’t wait to see the finished film! I’m happy to say, Rosco’s fluorescent pink is back in stock for anyone thinking of creating their own Dreamhouse.” In other news, Warner Bros found itself in hot water as Vietnam raised concerns about a seemingly innocent map of the South China Sea. Denying a hidden agenda, the map was dismissed as a ‘child-like crayon drawing’ by the studio. That didn’t stop the Vietnamese state banning the film altogether.

was the demand for pink paint in the production of Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie that it temporarily left the global supply in dire straits. Well, that’s part of the story. “The sets were being designed and built in a time of global supply chain issues, but we delivered everything we could; they got it all,” according to Lauren Proud, vice president of marketing and digital experience at said paint supplier, Rosco. “Our paints are formulated specifically for theatre,

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The Turkana-Ngaremara people of Kenya are acutely feeling the effects of climate change. This Tribeca award-winning documentary, shot over four years, pulls the impact of global warming into sharp focus Praying for rain

WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Andrew H Brown/Ragtag Collective

ON THE BRINK This documentary follows a nomadic people and their struggle with drought



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ROCKY ROAD To reduce the amount of equipment around that would distract the community, the film was shot largely handheld on a Canon EOS C300 Mark III

F or centuries, humanity has stood upon the precipice of awareness. Climate change, melting glaciers and rising seas, unusually hot summers, dwindling forests and vanishing species remain resounding refrains in any environmental address. In this grand tapestry, the African continent stands as a storied backdrop, with its parched lands and age-old droughts causing constant consternation for the tribes that inhabit drier regions, like the Turkana-Ngaremara people in north Kenya. These communities have already begun to experience the consequences of climate change. Nowhere is this devastating story told better than in Between the Rains , winner of the best documentary category at the Tribeca Festival in June. The nomadic people’s way of life and relationship to nature are threatened by extreme drought, and these changes are rapidly altering their culture in the dry periods between rainfall. The film was blessed with rich local knowledge and experience. Co-director, DOP and editor Andrew H Brown partnered with Moses Thuranira (co- director/producer), a journalist and local activist who has devoted his life to ensuring the communities in Kenya’s northern region have a voice.

Samuel Ekomol (producer) is an activist and science teacher, born and raised in the village where the documentary is set, while Naomi Kambura (producer) is an environmentalist, advocate for climate change action and teacher also based in the north of the country. Residing by a secluded river deep in rural Kenya, one society endures the repercussions brought about by an erratic and severe climate. The Turkana- Ngaremara people have adopted an agrarian lifestyle. But as grazing land and water resources in Kenya continue to decline, inevitable clashes and a significant deterioration of pastoral

“Climate change poses an immediate threat to the Turkana community”

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traditions prevail. It’s clear that climate change poses an immediate threat to the Turkana community. Between the Rains narrates the coming-of-age journey of an orphaned shepherd boy named Kole – ‘the boy who was born among the goats’ – who is attempting to find his place in a crumbling culture. It’s not just the story that’s been captivating audiences. Remarkable cinematography captures the delicacy and elegance of East Africa, including the rosy horizon at dusk stretching across vast savannahs, the colossal moon and starry skies, birds’ nests and spiders’ webs, radiant fires, swirling sand and majestic acacia trees. This incredible splendour stands in stark contrast to the harsh realities of human existence.

“We needed a turnkey set-up that could keep things streamlined – and let us run and gun”

all speak the same creative language,” remarks Brown. “Our team sees Adobe Premiere Pro as the standard. It’s the one editing software that everyone is familiar with – regardless of where on earth you’re located. While all companies have tools and new developments, Adobe goes beyond that. It sets the creative bar.” Further potential pitfalls cropped up during principal photography. “When filming in a remote and rural location, where the community has a confined amount of exposure to the wider world, it was important to us that we limited the amount of gear placed between the people in front of the camera and those behind it,” Brown explains. “We needed a turnkey set-up that could keep things streamlined – and let us run and gun without compromising the visual and audio quality. For that reason, we went with the Canon EOS C300 Mark III.

Documentaries like this are crafted with meticulous care, often requiring years of patient observation and relentless pursuit. Between the Rains is no different – filming took place over the course of four years, during a record low in annual precipitation for northern Kenya. That meant the team faced the unenviable task of whittling 800 hours of footage down to a punchy, digestible one hour 22 minutes. “Being an international editing team, we used Adobe Premiere Pro as a common platform where we could

VISUAL LANGUAGE Brown shot the film on Canon’s flagship L-series lenses, as well as a CN-E 35mm T1.5 for night scenes



management were the biggest challenges initially,” Brown explains. “That being said, we figured out a system where Moses would run back into town at night to charge batteries and dump footage, leaving me with enough batteries and media to continue shooting.” However, the biggest challenge came when Brown and his team discovered that almost everyone involved in the story expressed fear or discomfort in wearing lavalier microphones. “While being filmed visually didn’t bother our collaborators, all of them early on expressed a fear over what happened to their voices or words when the microphone captured them,” Brown remarks. “Despite trying to explain the microphone, we noticed how our subjects

In the middle of the day, when things were on the move, I used Canon’s L-series lenses – the 18-35mm, 24-70mm or 70- 200mm. At night, I would typically shoot on a Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5.” With gear decided on, the team then had to negotiate the constant movement in and around the shooting location. “Because it was important that we limited the amount of times we came in and out of the village, batteries and media “It challenged us not to rest on our laurels – but really tell a visual story”

locked up and became paralysed by fear whenever they were wearing a lav mic.” Having prioritised the collaborators’ comfort over the convenience afforded by lav mics, Brown made the call early that he would only use the Sennheiser MKH 8060 shotgun microphone. “That obviously dictated how close I needed to be throughout much of the filming – but it ended up creating a more immersive story in the end,” he adds. “It challenged us not to rest on our laurels – simply grabbing perfect soundbites layered with B roll to create the film – but instead really having to tell a visual story.” Between the Rains weaves a fascinating narrative, and is a wake-up call that the time to rally is now. Simply placing hope in the hands of leaders is futile. For some, the hourglass of fate has already run dry. Between the Rains will be at festivals this year, with distribution slated for 2024

TAKE THE SHOT Foregoing lavalier mics forced Brown to be nearer to the action while filming, and allowed the storytelling to become more dynamic


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Cody Lightning’s self-aware dark comedy gets the nod from New York-based Visit Films

“Indigenous filmmaking has many facets and Hey Viktor! is a brilliant dissection of fame and objectification, as rarely told in such a raw, entertaining way,” Visit president Ryan Kampe told Deadline. “Global audiences should be excited for this film.” Sarah Taylor, editor on Hey Viktor! , told Definition that post-production wasn’t always straightforward. “Navigating virtual editing was the most challenging,” she said. “We cut during Covid-19 and used Source-Live for our edit sessions. It worked pretty great in the end though.”

New York sales company Visit Films has acquired international rights to Canadian comedy-drama Hey Viktor! , which premiered at the Tribeca Festival in June. The docu-comedy follows Cree former actor Cody Lightning as he attempts to revive his fortunes by producing a self-made sequel to Smoke Signals – the 25-year-old film from which he had a brief spell in the limelight as a child star. It also stars Colin Mochrie, famed for his appearances on the British and US versions of the improvisational TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

BIG APPLE New York’s Tribeca Film Festival celebrated its 22nd year in June



Tribeca: A Strange Path, Cypher and Between the Rains win in NYC

and Moses Thuranira) as well as receiving best cinematography in a documentary feature (Brown). “We take great pride in recognising this year’s diverse collection of works and creators,” said Cara Cusumano, festival director and vice president of programming. “Today’s honourees are a compelling testament that storytelling across genres and platforms is on a vibrant and inspiring trajectory.” The Tribeca Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff to boost the economic and cultural renaissance of Lower Manhattan following 9/11.

Brazil’s A Strange Path , USA’s Cypher and Kenya’s Between the Rains were crowned best international narrative feature, best US narrative feature and best documentary at the Tribeca Festival. The former dominated in the international narrative section, winning best feature (Guto Parente), performance (Carlos Francisco), screenplay (Parente) and cinematography (Linga Acácio). Director Chris Moukarbel was recognised for Cypher , which follows YouTube rapper Tierra Whack as she navigates the world of fame. Between the Rains was awarded best documentary feature (Andrew H. Brown

BLESS THE RAINS Kenyan documentary Between the Rains was recognised at the Tribeca Festival


US NARRATIVE COMPETITION Founders award for best US narrative feature: Chris Moukarbel for Cypher (United States) INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION Best international narrative feature: Guto Parente for A Strange Path (Brazil) DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION Best documentary feature: Andrew H. Brown and Moses Thuranira for Between the Rains (Kenya) BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR AWARD Hugo Ruiz for One Night With Adela (Spain)

ALBERT MAYSLES AWARD FOR BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR Jude Chehab for Q (Lebanon, United States) NORA EPHRON AWARD Gabriella A. Moses, Boca Chica (Dominican Republic) SHORTS COMPETITION Best narrative short: Annie-Claude Caron and Danick Audet for Dead Cat (Canada)

AT&T PRESENTS UNTOLD STORIES Color Book (United States) For an exhaustive list, visit

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LIVE ACTION Sony’s camera is a stepping stone to 4K productions


Apple TV+ series Metropolis has been shelved due to the ongoing writers’ strike and rising pre-production costs. The adaptation of Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi classic was part of Sam Esmail’s deal with Universal Content Productions (UCP). However, the latter said the project would not be moving forward due to ‘push costs’ and uncertainty related to the strike. It has been reported that Metropolis had been facing an uncertain future for several weeks, with the show’s script drafts incomplete when the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike began on 2 May. Production was slated for this summer, but UCP decided to pull the series after weighing up risks associated with the strike and how it might impact the shooting schedule, resulting in higher costs for “building and holding expansive stages, labour and VFX work.” The writers’ strike has impacted several shows and movies, with Disney said to be delaying the release dates of its Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar movies. The WGA is advocating for equitable contracts with producers and studios; improved conditions within the TV sector, such as increased residuals and minimum writers’ room sizes; and safeguards against the use of AI technology.


companies looking for a flexible way to switch at will between 4K, HD and HDR,” said Norbert Paquet, head of live production, Sony Europe. “They may still produce most commissions in HD but know they need to future-proof and want to be able to respond to briefs with a 4K or HDR component.” Other key features include a single chip 2/3-inch 4K CMOS sensor with B4 mount enabling 2000 TVL resolution, and a 4K licence available on weekly or monthly basis – or purchased as a permanent feature. The HXC-FZ90 also offers simplified cabling with prompters or PTZ cameras by network trunk (Ethernet), a stereo mini jack connector for simple headset connection and an advanced focus-assist feature.

Sony has unveiled a new live-production- system camera, described as an affordable option for broadcasters and events companies needing a quality solution for a 4K-ready production system. The HXC-FZ90 camera is designed for event production companies, esport organisations, houses of worship and educational institutions that are looking to switch from HD to 4K. Its familiar design and operations make the camera easy to switch over and it also supports HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and S-Log3 for Sony’s SR Live workflow, which enables HDR production in either HD or 4K. “As production formats diversify according to projects, we are seeing more

Cineworld files for administration

Cineworld Group, the world’s second-largest cinema chain operator, is set to file for administration in the UK as part of a restructuring plan to tackle its $8.8 billion debt. The London-listed shares will be suspended in July, while administrators will transfer all assets to a new subsidiary called Crown. The lenders will become the sole owners of Crown with Cineworld relinquishing its interest. This will release $4.53 billion of debt, add $1.46 billion in new financing and raise $800 million in a rights offering. The owner of Regal and Picturehouse had abandoned plans to sell businesses earlier.

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ACADEMY SETS NEW THEATRICAL RELEASE REQUIREMENTS FOR OSCARS The Academy’s Board of Governors has approved new theatrical release requirements for films hoping to be nominated for the best picture Oscar. Starting with the 2025 ceremony, in addition to a one-week qualifying run in one of the six US markets, films must also meet additional areas regarding their theatrical release. They include: • Expanded theatrical run of seven days, consecutive or non- consecutive, in ten of the top 50 US markets, no later than 45 days after the initial release in 2024. • For late-in-the-year films with expansions after 10 January 2025, distributors must submit their release plans to the Academy for independent verification. • Release plans for late-in-the-year films must include a planned expanded theatrical run, as described above, to be completed no later than 24 January 2025. • Releases not within US territories are able to count towards two of the ten markets. • Qualifying non-US markets include the top 15 international theatrical markets plus the home territory for the film. These new standards were formed through conversations with distributors and historical data study. The Academy has put emphasis on the importance of a healthy theatrical environment for the continuing success of Hollywood.

Rise, the advocacy group for gender diversity in broadcast media technology, has announced the dual appointment of its newly selected managing director Donna Smith, who will also be responsible for the Rise Up activities, plus Carla Maroussas as the new mentoring manager for UK and Europe. The group offers a range of exciting programmes that aim to address the gender skills gap in the media and technology space. Smith has over two decades of success in blue-chip and multi-billion-dollar companies, including NBC Universal

ON THE RISE Carla Maroussas (left) and Donna Smith (right) are Rise’s newest leadership additions

and TiVO. Maroussas has built a career specialising in delivering training to a diverse range of clients. Rise said the appointments will help the group achieve new heights and create lasting positive change within the world of media and entertainment technology. “The goal of Rise has always been to help foster a diverse and gender-balanced workforce in the M&E technology space and we are delighted to have Donna and Carla working with us,” said Sadie Groom, founder of Rise.

GOING GREEN EMG’s new outside broadcast trucks represent an industry-wide transition towards lower carbon emissions


EMG has launched four front-end OB vehicles designed to promote remote production and sustainability goals. Nova 51, 52, 53 and 54 are more economical than traditional outside broadcast (OB) trucks, are powered by biodiesel and have 1700W solar mats fitted to the roofs to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. They also use more power-efficient equipment and contain thermal insulation to maintain better cabin temperature, reducing the workload of air conditioning. The OB trucks can be used alone or be scaled up to work together, and reduce staff requirement on site while providing a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure.

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INJUSTICE UNVEILED The events around the 2005 police shooting are set to be dramatised

Disney developing de Menezes drama Disney+ is developing a drama titled Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes , about the police shooting of the innocent Brazilian national in the UK after the 2005 7/7 bombings. The series will centre on the manhunt for a group of would-be terrorists and the tragic killing of de Menezes, who was mistakenly identified as a suspect and shot seven times at Stockwell station. Considered one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British history, the Metropolitan Police was found guilty in 2007, prompting the resignation of Commissioner Ian Blair. De Menezes’ parents and relatives are acting as consultants for the series.


emerged after OceanGate’s Titan imploded, killing its five passengers, during a trip to the wreck in June. Kemp’s agent at InterTalent, Jonathan Shalit, said the company carried out checks on the submersible and deemed it unsafe. Kemp has previously taken part in programmes involving deep-sea diving.

Documentary maker and actor Ross Kemp’s plan to film a show involving a dive to the Titanic wreck in the OceanGate submersible were cancelled due to safety fears. Kemp planned to visit the site in the Titan sub last year, but TV company Atlantic Productions deemed it unfit for purpose. The decision

Vine wins FX award Cambridge-based VFX studio Vine FX has been recognised for best effects at the RTS East Awards 2023, for its work on Fox television series War of the Worlds Season 3. The award came in the post-production category. Vine FX founder Michael Illingworth said the award was “fantastic,” and “reflects the dedication and creativity of everyone involved.” Judges praised the studio’s ambition and innovation on the project, as well as its “beautiful storytelling”. The RTS East Awards recognise excellence in the television and media industry. Vine pointed out that the win highlights the company’s technical skills and expertise in integrating effects into high-end shows.



LOCAL VARIETY LOL: Last One Laughing is Amazon Prime Video’s international comedy show that has been adapted for countries all over the world



A film editor lost an appeal related to self-employment grants worth £14,070 to which he was not entitled. Thomas Merlin Ash made an appeal at the First Tier Tribunal against an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) assessment stating that he was not eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) during the tax year 2020/21. However, he had already received grants of £7500 and £6570 in May and July 2020 during the pandemic. The SEISS scheme required that businesses had traded during the tax years of 2018-19 and 2019-20 and that there was an intention to continue trading during 2020-21. HMRC contacted Ash in October 2020, stating that because he had stopped trading in 2018, he was ineligible for the grants and had to repay them. Ash argued that he had completed the claim without looking at published guidance. The appeal was dismissed, with the judge suggesting that clearer wording might have prevented the erroneous claim.

features franchises like LOL: Last One Laughing , which is expanding to Denmark and Norway with local comedians. Other productions include Girls of Oslo , starring Norwegian influencers Sophie Elise, Nora Haukland and Anniken Englund Jørgensen, plus Swedish reality shows Parneviks All In! and Bingo & Julia .

Amazon Prime Video has unveiled a slate of 12 new unscripted reality and entertainment series in the Nordic market, reinforcing its commitment to the region. The titles are part of Prime Video’s long-term investment in the territory and will be included in the Amazon Prime membership at SEK59 a month. The plan

BONJOUR PARIS! (From left to right) Rodeo FX’s Hubert Bolduc, Pierre Fitzgibon, Marie-Eve Jean, Isabelle Langlois, Sébastien Moreau

Rodeo rides to Paris Montréal-based visual effects studio Rodeo FX has opened a fifth international studio with a European expansion in Paris. The offices in the French capital’s 11th arrondissement will create new opportunities for artists, clients and partners worldwide, complementing the studio’s existing service offerings in North America. “We are thrilled to celebrate this inauguration and to share this special moment with our Québécois and French partners,” said Sébastien Moreau, founder and CEO of Rodeo FX. “We are also pleased to join the visual effects community of Paris. We have always had a special relationship with France, through our shared language and values. This relationship grows even stronger today.”

Derby targets film studios

The former Aida Bliss factory in Derby is on track to become a major film studio after Damien Walters Limited, in partnership with Marv Studios, purchased the 80,000 sq ft premises from Derby City Council. The proposed £13m transformation into a purpose-built studio will include Europe’s first dedicated stunt training facility. The older part of the building will accommodate three film studios, while the final phase will include a new rehab centre catering to elite sportspeople and stunt performers.



KITCHEN SINK Shot on Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pros and DZO Vespid Primes, Bury the Dogs evokes a stylised look that’s grounded in reality



Inspired by lockdown

Bury the Dogs was the result of the creator being locked down in her childhood bedroom

WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Cosmosquare Films/AB Photography

A s the world grappled with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, most people spent the best part of two years not knowing when they would next see their family and friends, let alone find creative inspiration. However, that’s exactly what director and writer Beth Rowland did when she found herself moving into her family home in Stoke during lockdown. The result is Bury the Dogs , a short by the BFI and Cosmosquare Films, which centres around Ant and his relationship with new-found father figure Tosh, a charismatic ex-squaddie who takes the teenager under his wing while feeding him far-right rhetoric. The former introduces his best friend, Emily, to his new mentor – in the hope they can build a three-way friendship. “I went back in lockdown and just being in my childhood room brought back so many memories and gave me a number of ideas,” Rowland remarks. “I was working full-time in care and couldn’t see myself returning to filmmaking any time soon – it reminded me of the frustration I felt growing up in Stoke as a teenager.” Rowland had wanted to write something on that subject for a while but had been finding it hard to get back into the same mindset. Then, the idea was there: a coming-of-age story. “Without giving too much away, Ant’s beliefs are challenged as Tosh’s ideals bleed into his

“I was working full-time in care and couldn’t see myself returning to filmmaking any time soon”

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psyche, leaving him with a question – does he stay loyal to Tosh? Is it worth it?” LESS COMMERCIAL DOP Dave Galloway has a CV boasting clients such as the BBC, Apple and Nike, as well as a nominated documentary at Tribeca Film Festival (2019) – but this was a very different style of film for him. “Beth and I broke down the visual style of things when it came to shooting,” he explains. “It was a combination of realism, with a hint of stylised lighting, so I immediately knew what I needed.” Galloway had used the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K G2 on music videos and shorts in the past, but had never embarked on a project with the aim of pushing this camera to the limit. With various tests and comparisons, he decided the Ursa Mini Pro 12K and 4.6K G2 were the right choices for Bury the Dogs . “Shane Meadows, executive producer of the film, has shot lots with these cameras,” he adds. “They have a fantastic look. If you’re going for a premium image at an affordable price, I think they’re excellent. I’ve used them as B cameras alongside the Arri Alexa Classic and Mini. However, the Blackmagic cameras are a quarter the

price. When we went into this, we wanted that very rich look with good colours and textures, and something that would give us enough information in the grade to try and push the tone that we want.” The team used DZO Vespid Primes, which Galloway says also lend themselves to the edit. “They’re relatively new to the market and sit perfectly between the Samyangs/Rokinons and Canon CNEs in terms of cost. For an affordable price, they are really sharp and give a good picture, so when you take the rushes into post you can add a bit of flair to the image.” IT’S COMING HOME Galloway adopted a multicam approach, but it was the lighting that proved the biggest challenge on set.

GOING PUBLIC One of the biggest challenges was getting lighting set up in active locations

“Most, if not all, of the environments were active locations, meaning the public had access 90% of the time – the corner- shop scene opens the film and it was a location we only had for a limited time,” Galloway recalls. “Getting the overhead rigs positioned, blacking out the shop’s practical fluorescents to replace with our own Astera tubes within the time frame, all while trying to get the specific look we wanted – it was a challenge, but we managed to overcome it.” In fact, remarks Galloway, there was some serendipity at play. “In that process, you do uncover some happy accidents, where maybe the lighting didn’t align with your plans due to time constraints – then on camera you say: ‘Hey, we worked with what the environment and location can give us. We didn’t plan for this but it’s actually added to the look.’” Bury the Dogs had a first screening at Home Theatre in Manchester and is due to go on the 2023 festival circuit. “We want to use it as a calling card because the story has a lot more places to go, the characters do as well,” Rowland enthuses. “When we finished, it felt like there was so much more we could do with it. We’re now developing the treatment of the feature film.” Bury the Dogs is currently touring festivals

“The visual style was a combination of realism with a hint of stylised lighting”

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Aerial filming has soared to new heights over the years, with cutting-edge technology complementing the tried and true. We look at the different options available to filmmakers, while detailing some of the best work in aerial cinematography

WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Various

I n the vast world of cinematography, the quest for breathtaking visuals has always been an integral part of the director’s storytelling. Over the years, filmmakers have relentlessly pursued innovative techniques to elevate their craft and transport viewers into captivating realms. One such technique that has undergone a remarkable transformation is aerial filming. Its roots can be traced to the late 19th century, when pioneers

LIFTING THE SCENE Jean-Marc Selva AFC ( Lakadbaggha , Un été à Boujad ) has been using cranes throughout his career, relying on them long before the arrival of drones. “I embrace new technologies eagerly whenever they can offer me options to devise interesting shots. However, I do still use cranes regularly, like for complex shots where an operator is riding the crane and gets off it at the end of the move to keep shooting at ground level,” he explains. “Also, the type of shot when the camera must come in or out of an interior location though a window.” Selva says this is not always possible with a drone due to the sensors that prevent it from coming too close to obstacles on its way. “The propellers may make too

experimented with cameras on hot- air balloons for static shots. These early attempts, though limited in scope and technical capabilities, set the stage for what was to come. From the acclaimed use of cranes by Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard, to the iconic inclusion of helicopters in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now , the art of aerial cinematography has spawned countless unforgettable moments that remain landmarks in the history of cinema.

IN ASCENSION Advances in drone technology have revolutionised aerial cinematography

“I embrace new technologies eagerly – however, I do still use cranes regularly”




DAVID RAEDEKER SPEAKS ABOUT WORKING WITH THE HELICOPTER GIRLS “I was dreaming up an opening shot to dive straight from an aerial view into the personal drama of our characters,” explains David Raedeker BSC, DOP for the acclaimed BBC One drama Best Interests . “It was important that it didn’t draw attention to itself and that we could record dialogue. I passed this challenge to [drone pilot] Pete Ayriss and his team at The Helicopter Girls and I expected some head shaking. To my surprise, he told me about a piece of kit they were keen to try out which could disengage the drone from a gimbal seamlessly during the take. The team rehearsed the move beforehand, but I was sceptical. There were two very good takes from just three attempts, with hardly any rehearsal on set – impressive! We didn’t have to disguise the moment the drone got disengaged as it was imperceptible. The final shot seems effortless and subtle, following our characters smoothly from an aerial view right into the living room of their house, all while listening to their dialogue.” Ayriss explains: “Previously, drone hand-catches and releases have been limited by the fact that you couldn’t remove the drone once you’d caught it without seeing unwanted movement in the footage. This becomes limiting because where you can go with the shot is then dictated by the footprint of the drone – shots moving from outside to inside are impossible as you can’t fit through the door. Griphaus’s Shotdock is a mechanical system designed to enable a fast method of docking and un-docking a camera gimbal during continuous sequences. We worked with Griphaus to adapt the system to be light enough to fly on our drone and it gives us the seamless transition that we need.” “It’s the first time that aerial cinematography can connect with the camera on the ground seamlessly without a cut,” Raedeker adds. “I am sure this will open the way for many more exciting shots. I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with next, it’s a truly liberating tool.”

Achieving the impossible

PHIL ARNTZ, AERIAL DOP “The Aerial Film company has been very busy on Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Two . These films required a lot of complex and challenging flying. [Director] Christopher McQuarrie wanted dynamic movement, high-speed flying and extreme proximity in the air. This pushed us to develop lighter systems, allowing greater helicopter flight performance, and bolder lens choices, giving audiences a new perspective on the action. Most importantly, however, we established a way of working together that’s built on an unspoken understanding.”


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payloads and usually yield about six minutes maximum flying time before a battery change is required. The Inspire 3 can stay aloft for over 20 minutes, which is very useful on a film set.” HYBRID APPROACH Miller details a modernised version of a crane move using the drone, where it starts high in the air, descends, then is caught by grips on the ground as the rotors are switched off. “They carry the aircraft, so it then becomes purely a gimbal shot that I continue to operate,” he explains. “We’ve done this very successfully on several films lately. It’s a potentially dangerous manoeuvre that requires a lot of rehearsals and concentration, as there are many components and technicians at work. If executed properly, you’ll never see the transition.” Drone pilot Carys Kaiser says a lot of thought goes into choosing the right aerial kit for the job.

seeking to push boundaries and captivate audiences with awe- inspiring visuals. Once limited to only a handful of options, there’s now an abundance of choice for the modern cinematographer and drone pilot. “DJI released the new Inspire 3 drone with the X9-8K full-frame sensor and dual ISO – among other things,” says Darren Miller ACO ( The Crown , The King’s Man ). “It’s ground-breaking tech and we now have one in our arsenal. However, a heavy-lift aircraft like the Freefly Alta 8 or Alta X, or VulcanUAV Raven would be our go-to aircraft if the production wants to fly a Sony Venice or Red Monstro, for example, with either spherical or anamorphic lenses. These are extremely heavy

much wind,” he adds, explaining how this can cause objects from the set to be blown around. “I will use different cranes depending on the height needed,” Selva continues. “Whenever possible, I like a crane I can ride on, so I can operate the shot directly from the point of view of the camera. This is much more intuitive than controlling from the ground with a joystick. I like a GF-8 from Grip Factory Munich or a Foxy Panther. For shorter moves, a Felix by Movietech is also a great choice. And for remote shooting, the Scorpio cranes and Supertechno telescopic cranes are fantastic.” RISE OF THE ROBOTS The innovations of recent years have propelled aerial filming to

GET TO THE CHOPPER Battery limitations mean that camera drones still can’t compete with the enduring helicopter in many applications

“It’s a potentially dangerous manoeuvre that requires a lot of rehearsals and concentration”

new frontiers. The introduction of lightweight, high-resolution cameras, coupled with increasingly sophisticated drone technology, means that filmmakers have gained unprecedented creative freedom. Aerial cinematography has now been democratised, completely transforming the industry. Moreover, drones have brought about a new era of versatility and efficiency for aerial filming. They can be equipped with a wide range of cameras and accessories, enabling filmmakers to capture cinematic footage in any setting. Whether it’s capturing wildlife in its natural habitat, documenting extreme sports or shooting dynamic action sequences, these machines have become an indispensable tool for filmmakers

All-out aerial action

JOHN MARZANO, FOUNDER OF MARZANO FILMS, DESCRIBES SHOOTING THE AERIAL SEQUENCES IN MEG 2: THE TRENCH “In Meg 2 , we used a combination of technologies to produce the finished article for the aerial sequences. On one hand, we were using the Mini Eclipse, an airborne, helicopter- mounted, military-grade camera system with a state-of-the-art high-resolution camera. We fixed a fish-eye lens for all the background plates, then we shot spherical for all the air-to-air stuff. Coupled with that, the other half of the team – the drone boys – were out on a catamaran flying state-of-the-art FPV hybrid drones, filming stunt sequences for Jason Statham as he was racing around on jet skis.”

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BLADE RUNNER There are still situations where the more powerful option of a helicopter is better suited. Kaiser says this could be when regulations won’t allow a drone to fly. “Perhaps you can’t get there on foot or by car – maybe a shoot high up in some mountains – or it may be that drones have been temporarily restricted, for example if there is a presidential visit,” she explains. “Cranes and jibs come into their own when you need to do the same movement over and over on a busy set, and also in places where drones aren’t able to fly.” “Helicopter work is scarce,” adds Miller – and it’s serviced by a privileged few. “I have done both helicopter and fixed-wing work in the past, either strapped into a Tyler mount or shooting handheld,” he

“If we’re tracking a car at speed then we may well need a two-person crew: one drone pilot and one gimbal operator,” she remarks. “I have done car tracking and regularly still do as a one- person drone pilot, but that’s for low-budget factual TV and there’s always a compromise. It looks great, but most directors see high- end TV car chases and want to you to replicate that with one operator.” One person simply cannot recreate the accuracy, points out Kaiser, and so more budget is required. “I try to explain this to directors of documentaries; some understand and some get frustrated,” she continues. “I always offer a two-person team but the budget often can’t cover it. However, if the budget is there, the sky is the limit – pun intended!”

notes. “It’s part of the industry I’m trying to gain a presence in, given my experience.” From the early days of cumbersome contraptions to the advent of cutting-edge drone technology, aerial cinematography has evolved into an art form that’s forever changed the way we watch cinema and high-end TV. As taking to the skies becomes a commonplace option in even low- budget productions, it’s left to the innovators to continue to find ways of pushing the envelope.

WITHIN REACH Drone operator Carys Kaiser often shoots aerial footage for lower- budget TV productions

“If we’re tracking a car at speed then we may well need a two-person crew: one drone pilot and one gimbal operator”


PANTHER FOXY PRO Panther says its main focus on the development of Foxy Pro was an improved payload. This has been achieved with a newly developed anchoring system that can be upgraded immediately from existing Foxy and Foxy Advanced models. Compared to the previous model (Foxy Advanced) there is a payload increase of up to 10%.

DJI INSPIRE 3 An all-in-one solution, the DJI Inspire 3 is a streamlined full- frame 8K cinema drone, ready to meet the needs of top-level movie productions. It offers cinematic- grade flight performance, plus a full ecosystem that can be seamlessly integrated into any

film set. The Inspire 3 supports both RTK-powered Waypoint Pro and omnidirectional sensing to perform flights with higher precision and repeatability than ever before.

BELL 407HP The Bell 407HP from Helicopter Express is a popular choice for filmmakers. Upgrades to the Honeywell HTS900 propulsion engine have made it a more powerful and fuel-efficient machine. The chopper’s speed, agility and dependability, paired with its ability to perform well in nearly any weather conditions, establish it as a leading contender for capturing challenging sequences.



In the dynamic world of filmmaking, where technology and techniques evolve rapidly, the notion that training is exclusive to aspiring filmmakers is a fallacy. Even the most accomplished and experienced must seek opportunities Reel education

WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Various

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M astery in the world of growth. The finest filmmakers don’t rest on their laurels, but are constantly exploring approaches and technologies that provide a gateway to expand their creative horizons. What’s more, cinematographic language is constantly growing its vocabulary, bringing forth innovative camera techniques, lighting methods and post-production advancements. New avenues for expression are always arising. It’s by embracing these innovations that experienced filmmakers can invigorate their visions, push boundaries and breathe life into their work. “During my twenties, I had the privilege of starting my TV career in a staff job at the BBC, where I was fortunate enough to partake in numerous valuable training opportunities,” explains Lucy Shepherd, executive producer. cinematography is not an endpoint, but rather an ever- evolving journey of artistic “These ranged from courses in camera operations to mastering both sound and lighting. Now, 20 years on as an executive producer, even though there are courses that would benefit me, finding the time and resources to enrol has become a challenge. Instead, I have to embrace the approach of learning on the job, constantly evolving and honing my skills through real-world experience.” To that end, several industry players are contributing to the growth of the art by providing training courses for aspiring filmmakers and broadcast technicians. TOMORROW’S WORLD The Tiffen Company is a well-established US manufacturer of imaging accessories for the motion picture, television and broadcast industries. Dan Hallett, director of sales, professional markets, explains how the company recommends that the best route into proper use of Steadicam is via live training courses. “The physical nature of the Steadicam means that the sensations of operating it, like correct posture and movement, are just as important as the technical side,” he explains. “Current multi-skill requirements for crew mean that our “Several industry players are contributing to the growth of the art by providing training courses for aspiring filmmakers”

FORESIGHT Creative methodology is constantly evolving alongside on-set equipment advances



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TAILORED TO YOU Training for Steadicam is offered in both week-long workshops and shorter group sessions

sets to be involved in the aerial world,” says Dani Rose of CineAero. “Unlike a Steadicam or U-Crane arm, the drone gimbal is constantly moving in-flight so adapting to this comes with practice. Also, most camera operators are used to using wheels when operating, however using stick controls is more common in the drone world so putting some time into these will be advantageous.” Rose also has some tips for the would- be drone pilot. “For those looking to fly, there are courses available for anyone to apply and get their CAA qualifications – we recommend Global Drone Training,” he says. “It is important to familiarise yourself with all the regulations and technical specifications for the UAVs you are looking to fly, and this isn’t an overnight task. Getting in as many hours as you can, to get used to how the drone flies and its limitations, is important. In future, it would be terrific to see courses specifying in drone operations for film, as it is a multifaceted skill requiring a technical and creative outlook.” COLLABORATION, MENTORSHIP AND DIVERSITY Education and training offer established filmmakers an opportunity to collaborate with emerging talent. Sharing knowledge and experience will inevitably foster a growth environment, where seasoned professionals can mentor aspiring filmmakers and broadcast personnel.

workshops are more popular than ever, with everybody looking to increase their diversity. We offer both short, boot camp- style workshops that offer students the experience of Steadicam, as well as week- long total immersion. Both types have staged across the globe.” One of the most significant technological advancements in recent years has undoubtedly been the rise of drone cinematography. While drones have existed for some time, their integration into the industry has transformed how cinematographers capture breathtaking visuals. They are far more commonplace in filming, allowing for unprecedented perspectives and dynamic shots that were once all but impossible to achieve. “Drones have become a staple on almost every film and TV set. Due to growing demand, it means crew such as camera operators and first ACs are looking to adapt their existing skill

“It would be terrific to see courses specifying in drone operations for film, as it is a multifaceted skill requiring a technical and creative outlook”

SOARING POPULARITY Drone use has increased massively, with many productions using them to create inventive shots


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