I’ve been fascinated in watching movies for as long as I’ve been fascinated in photography. Over the years I’ve also dabbled in making moving pictures. 2017 is the year for getting back to that….
Over the years I’ve occasionally been asked to get involved in movie projects, more often as a stills photographer but occasionally in other roles too: director of photography, art director, assistant director. I’ve more recently provided the music for a couple of video projects.
Thinking and shooting for movement through the frame is vey different to shooting stills. But it’s an eye I think I have and I am looking forward this year to getting a little more involved in the world of moving pictures.
I’ll soon be making a short film for a friend and for that production I’ve already written the music track. I have a couple of friends who run a production company and they are trying to pull me onto a few productions this year not as the stills guy but as DP.
I’m also just thinking more every day in movement, shooting little bits of video and starting to keep a scrapbook of items that relate to movies, grading, dialogue, techniques. If nothing comes of it, none of it is a waste as exercising one’s eyes and mind as a stills photographer is always necessary and good for me.
Here’s a timelapse I did recently. Music put together by me too.
I’ve always looked at my city, Tokyo, as if it is a giant movie set anyway. It helps me with the street photography, editorial and fashion work I do.
Going that one step further and actually filming moving pictures here is not a huge leap in the mind, just with the gear and because of the fact that as a stills guy I can pretty much do everything myself. It’s just me, my camera and my subject in the moment. Film-making means you need other people. That’s nice, because stills can get a bit lonely sometimes and I like the collaboration. But, it makes the mechanics of doing things different and more reliant on additional help.
So, as I muse about where this is all going and start playing with things…. I’ve started putting a scrapbook together of places, looks, sounds, clips, ideas, short stories, poems.
Here, below, is a little taste of part of how my stills photography is helping me start to pre-visualise and think about the movie work. These were mostly shot on the Hasselblad. All are cropped, in post, to a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which is a ratio I like a lot and one that is widely used these days.
Obviously my stills cameras don’t shoot in 2.39:1 but I can easily think in this ratio and see it when I am shooting. It’s the same as shooting for the printed page and visualising vertical, double-page spreads, the page gutter, text etc.