Rozental

I made this one-minute black and white film of a visit to a graveyard in Poland to light candles at a grave. My wife Ania and her aunt Bozena visited the grave of Ania’s father when we were there in August 2016. Lighting candles and placing flowers at the graves of departed loved ones is an important custom in catholic Poland. The town, Rozental, is a pleasant farming village in rural northern Poland where Ania’s father lived, and where her mother still lives.

Sunday Morning, Richmond Bridge

In the summer of 2017 I spent a few weekends hanging around Richmond with a video camera. This short film is the result. It’s mainly an exercise in film-making, nevertheless I’m quite proud of it. It was shot on a Black Magic Micro Cinema Camera, which is a miniature cinema camera about the size of a tennis ball. At least, it’s the size of a tennis ball until you add a lens, monitor, mount, tripod, HDMI cable, batteries, and so on. Nice camera though.

The Mural

In February 2017 I shot this short film about a street mural that became a memorial in a back street of Brixton. I had stumbled upon the mural by chance the day before, when I shot some basic footage. Editing that initial footage, I realized it looked like a short, simple story with some of the bits missing. So I went back the next day with something approximating a plan.

Some of the shots involved unwitting ‘actors’ so I needed to watch people and use what I found. That’s a skill I’ve practised a lot during years of shooting street photography. It’s no coincidence that my short films so far have a documentary, street photography style. Luckily everything kind of worked out.

Cappuccino Blues

This is a short film I shot in my kitchen in the summer of 2017. I made it mainly as practice in film-making, and in that regard it was quite useful since it made me plan the shots and string together some kind of simple narrative.

Yet the biggest challenge actually turned out to be colour correction: getting the right balance between warm and cold tones. Unlike my previous camera, which was a camcorder, this camera doesn’t have auto white balance. All you can do is set the colour temperature in the settings, as a guessed value in Kelvin. After that it’s down to correcting the balance manually by tweaking sliders in post.

I quickly decided to shoot with only available light (daylight from a window) because I knew the mixture of different hues from daylight and overhead lights would be extra tricky. Even then, it was pretty tough, and I still don’t feel I got it completely right. I learnt a lot in the process though, and in particular I found out that the ‘standard’ colour settings on my monitor were hopelessly out – leading me initially to produce results that looked way off on other screens.