I’ve been working with the Bookshop Band for more than four years, as they have progressed from playing in one bookshop (Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights) to concert halls and bookshops all over the country. They have written so many songs now that this year they are releasing one album per month for ten months! Below is one of my favourite recent songs, “Thirteen Chairs” which I filmed for them at the Micheal Tippett Centre in Bath. For concerts I use multiple cameras – a wide to set the scene and provide safety, and one or two more depending on having places to put them which have a good view. Clearly I can’t operate all of those so it’s just the close up camera which I man, trying for intimate shots of the musicians. I use my own audio recorders for quick turn around but at a gig like this the band were making their own recording so I was able to use that for later videos (such as this one).
Back in December I was hired by Green Buzz agency in Washington DC to film interviews for an award given to architect Richard Rogers. I put together a team (me as DP, a producer/interviewer, and a 2nd Camera Op) and provided all the camera, lighting and audio gear. We filmed the interviews with Richard Rogers and Mike Davies at the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners office, and Lucy Musgrave at her Publica office. We also shot B-roll of architectural models at Rogers’ office.
Shakespeare Live put on another fine outdoor performance at Lackham college in Wiltshire. This was the fourth year I have taken photos and filmed the play for them, always tricky given our uncertain weather! Outdoor theatre is extra challenging to video because the stage can be very wide and shallow, making it difficult to get a wide shot that isn’t so wide everyone appears tiny, or a side shot that is back-of-the-head rather than over-the-shoulder, but with three cameras and a separate audio recorder I managed to capture everything fairly well. Luckily multi-camera editing is straightforward in Adobe Premiere, so I can usually edit an entire play in less than twice the length of the play (i.e. less than 4 hours for a 2 hour play).
The above photos were all taken during the dress rehearsal. When I video a play I prefer to do so during a performance because the audience reactions improve the video hugely.
The annual Jane Austen summer Regency Ball, organised by the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, was once again a splendid success! Over 130 people attended the event, and 100 of those had been to the dance practice earlier in the day, which I’m sure paid off during the evening. Although I didn’t take any photos of the food, I can tell you that it was delicious :)
As well as the short video above, I took lots of photos of which I edited 404 and put them online for anyone to enjoy: http://owenbensonvisuals.photoshelter.com/gallery/Regency-Ball-2015/G0000zp3NFNHRZhY/C0000hJBcj4id8zo
Next up is the Jane Austen Festival itself, from 11-20 September – still tickets left for many events, if you too would like to join the Regency crowd.
A few weeks ago I worked as DP for Zebrafish Media on this corporate promo video for the wonderful Bath Cake Company which is run by Celia Adams who makes amazing cakes (both in taste and looks!) as well as teaching other people how to decorate cakes. We filmed one of her classes and an example wedding consultation.
One of the fun aspects of being freelance is that I never know what I’ll get asked to do next. Chowny rang me and asked if I could shoot someone playing his new bass guitar design against a white background. Of course I could, and here’s the result:
And you can’t tell that we were inside a transport container (those things on the back of lorries or container ships) repurposed as a recording studio. Not quite as much space as I would have liked but we pulled it off :) The audio you hear was recorded separately and synced to my camera audio in Premiere (very easy these days).
You can read more about the bass guitar on Chowny’s website.