Autosport International was impressive!
This was our first visit to the Autosport show and we were bowled off our feet by the quality and variety of cars on display. Whilst at the show we were called on to do some filming and put the Panasonic EVA1 through its paces on location at the NEC. We can't show you everything we filmed but we can bring you a few little teasers from Liberty Walk, the main arena and Nero.
I'm not going to bore you with loads of text, check out a few of our pics and our four little teaser videos below!
Major Studio Refit
The beginning of November saw a major studio refit - big thanks to the skills and attention to detail of Cover it Up... Our black end is now fully draped (ceiling and upper walls) with a curtain to separate the infinity cove from it too, giving us a 100 sqm black box to work in complete with turntable. We've added a spray curtain the other side of our infinity cove curtains as well so Emma gets to spray without clearing the whole studio out first! Picture below shows the studio before the refit with some of our equipment popped temporarily into the cove.
Our platform above the office / kitchen / toilet space is fully railed round too, very reminiscent of ships railings in fact and there's an ideal opportunity for a little titanic mock up in one corner. Drum kit and keyboards now permanently in position for anyone who fancies a jam mid studio session!
Picture below shows railings completed and ceiling ready to be draped.
Adam Audio popped in just after the refit (see the lovely rails and curtains and absence of horrible industrial ceiling in the black end!) and set up their 5.1 surround system so we could get a feel for how it would sound in the studio. We can report it was totally excellent and we road tested it with some audio from one of Rupert's other projects, the Live from Abbey Road show.
All this refitting happened just in time for the end of year rush and we had lots of lovely people coming in to use our improved space. Photographer Jayson Fong brought a couple of stunning vehicles in for a private client, one of which had an impressively large wheelbase but fortunately still fitted on our massive turntable. As the session was for a secret present I can't divulge any more details although I'm sure Jayson will send us through some images when all can be revealed.
Car photography and more car photography
We've also been busy in the studio with music, Astons and a Jaguar - all of which you may have clocked on our social media - before Andrea and Rupert took a trip up to the NEC to Motorcycle Live, just one week on from Rupert and Emma's trip up to the Classic Motor Show. This is the time of year for the indoor motor shows and for getting together with clients past and present. At the Classic Motor Show we met up with Hemmels to do a bit of filming and photographing on their stand. They had the 280 SL model on their stand that they have built their reputation on as well as a much admired 300 SL. More on Hemmels in another post...
Rupert and Andrea interviewed CCM at Motorcycle Live ahead of them visiting the studio some time in the new year. How they manage to build these superb machines for such a reasonable price is beyond us but they are literally flying out the door! Here's a link to the interview
DMS Media dry hire the infinity cove
We welcomed DMS Media into the cove for a week this month for some work on the Lexus Hybrid models and the Toyota Hybrid models. We were very impressed with the Lexus LS, now there's a car I could happily be a passenger in for a very long journey. The seats are moveable, reclinable, totally customisable and they even massage you! Perfect!
Lots more to share with you in other blog posts, there's just too much news for one!
It looks like any other Aston Martin V8 Volante right? Well yes! Only it is 4:7 of the size...
This is a true Aston Martin. It was so much fun having this little mini motor in the studio, we even brought in a mini model to show it off! Here are a few more details about this special car...
The then Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., Victor Gauntlett, said in 1989 “Our aim has been to produce as near an exact replica of the real thing as possible. Only best quality materials and parts will be used, as befits any car bearing our name.”
A hand crafted replica of Aston Martin’s flagship V8 Volante – just on a different scale. At 8 feet 6 inches long (2.5098 metres) and 3 feet six inches wide (1.0688 metres), this two-seater sportscar was driven through five forward and one reverse gear via an automatic clutch.
A Briggs Stratton engine gave it a potential top speed of 40mph and road holding assured with shock absorbers and coil springs and steering a reassuring rack and pinion set up.
Creature comforts, being an Aston Martin, came from Connolly hide covered seats and Wilton carpets while the pedals were adjustable to suit children of different sizes. And when we say “children”, rumours persist of after-hours “road tests” at Newport Pagnell when these cars were in production.
The production values included a body of hand laid glass reinforced plastic, strengthened windscreen pillars and a header rail to act as a roll over bar. The seats may have been hide covered but they have the strength of their steel frames, a 12-volt battery maintenance free battery supports electics that include twin 4 inch head lamps, running lights, fog lights, horn and even a radio!
The final touch were a full set of specially made alloy wheels fitted with tyres to suit any hard surface. A proper Aston Martin !
Acquired from Aston specialists, RS Williams, by the current Belgian owner, as part of a static collection that itself includes a number of full sized Aston Martins – ownership of this V8 Volante Junior served to confirm the car’s position as a true collector’s piece.
Presented today in outstanding condition, it would make a handsome addition to any Aston Martin collection or perhaps is destined for the Christmas stocking of who loves the full sized version in their parents’ garage and would like one of their own!
These Juniors rarely come to market and this is a great opportunity to own a piece of true Aston Martin Heritage. Contact www.allastonmartin.com for more details.
2017’s Salon Prive loomed larger than ever and this was our first year as their visual partners. This year the event kicked off with a tour of the countryside around Blenheim with stops for drinks and lunch at The Swan in Bibury and Slaughter’s Inn in Lower Slaughter respectively.
Tour day started out wet, immediately presenting the usual outdoor photography challenges. Wet cameras and lenses at the beginning of a long few days of shooting is a definite no no although we’re yet to find camera rain covers that you can actually see anything through…
We actually really enjoy the artistic aspect of rain on cars, it offers lots of opportunity for arty narrow depth of field shots of water droplets on bodywork but these aren’t particularly useful in terms of the photography brief on these events.
We last saw Bruce Lavachek's beloved Ferrari 500 TR on the lawn at Blenheim Palace, when he was invited back to enjoy Salon Prive a year on from winning Best in Show.
This car was restored by DK Engineering and David Cottingham went on to race it at Goodwood in 2015.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to photograph this very beautiful vehicle in the infinity cove. James at DK Engineering arranged to have the car transported to us and we planned a full on day of photography and filming.
We started the day photographing from every angle using our Profoto flash kit and our industrial turntable in the infinity cove to enable us to create one of our trademark interactive hi res spins. The set up for this takes a great deal of time to ensure the lighting works without any reset as the car turns round. We took images from various heights and distances to make a choice of spins.
Rupert was in charge of filming and was using the Panasonic Varicam LT with a variety of lenses. He set up a black backdrop whilst leaving the car in the cove. This gives us the added benefit of being able to bounce light around whilst showing the car off against the black.
Being able to use the turntable to move the car around saves an awful of time and equipment rental! No dolly and track required for those turning shots when you can choose the speed and direction of turn with the touch of a button. Rupert was filming under tungsten light, even with the ongoing development of LED, there is nothing to beat the creamy highlights and complete gamma that tungsten offers - one of the few constant light sources that miss nothing on the colour spectrum and produces no flickering whatsoever at any frame rate.
The final part of the day was turned over to Boo Hunnisett and her extraordinary eye for detail.
One of the most important things on these sorts of shoots is preparation, not only of the camera gear and the details of the shoot but also of the vehicle you are shooting. It is worth mentioning that this Ferrari was delivered from DK Engineering with possibly the finest degree of valeting and detailing we've ever seen - you can see this particularly well from the engine shot below. Thanks DK Engineering!!
This past week has definitely been an eclectic mix of work!
Laurent Amann, the creative force behind Storik (www.storik.co.uk) brought in the Rafale motorbike (pictured above) for a photography session. Creativity simply flows when two extremely passionate people come together and this was evident from the word go on this particular session with Rupert and Laurent immediately connecting over the Rafale. This motorbike is quietly confident, it has a gentleness about it, every piece has been meticulously designed and crafted and yet it doesn't scream in your face 'look at me look at me look at me'. It is beautiful, it is art and craft all rolled into one and although I didn't hear it start up I bet it's a different beast the moment the engine turns over. I found the bike drew me in little by little and it felt loved - this is testament to Laurent's painstaking desire to create perfection no doubt. Check out Storik online (link above) to be kept abreast of their creations.
An Aston Martin DBS Vantage up next, a pretty baby blue coloured beast that roared into the cove earlier this week! All Aston Martin are one of our regular clients so this is generally a nice straightforward job. Particularly enjoyed this car, every one of them are very different and all paintwork has to be treated slightly differently in post. This colour required a careful hand, not too much contrast or clarity so as not to 'muddy' the paintwork. If you fancy owning this lovely vehicle you'll be able to find it on All Aston Martin's page shortly via this link http://www.allastonmartin.com/aston-martin-cars-for-sale.html
Not too strange a week you may be thinking but here is the final piece of the puzzle...Gun Hill Studios got their community head on and joined Anthony Lilley's team in the Laughton School Production of The Lion King. This has been a massive undertaking for a little school but Ruth and Anthony have pulled in a million favours from all the professionals in the area and it's been a pleasure to be on board. The kids have all worked super hard, final night filming for us tonight but the show continues on Saturday. Big up to the kids!
This post comes with text heavy warning!
We work in an industry that is so overrun with competition it’s ridiculous. Every man and his dog now own a camera - be it a DSLR, a point and shoot or a phone camera - ok maybe the dog doesn’t own one but you get my point. Everybody is a photographer.
But it’s not just that everybody is a photographer, everybody is also a videographer and with more and more user friendly / lite editing programs being made available, everybody can also edit a video.
Presets on camera phones, on 3rd party apps, on photo editing software gives everyone the ability to produce some pretty cool stuff; sometimes even some show stopping stuff.
We’ve lost count of the number of times someone has said ‘yeah but those photos you take are only that good because you use an expensive camera’. This is probably one of the most insulting things you can say to a photographer. Rupert is always ready with the perfect response for this one, he says ‘give me your camera phone and I’ll take a better picture on that than you can take on my expensive camera’. You see it isn’t about the gear, it isn’t about how much you spend or how long you take fixing something in post, it’s actually all about composition and experience. Some people have the knack with composition and some people can learn it. Composition is the difference between a good photo and an outstanding photo. This also applies to film.
We are so privileged in many ways to see heart stopping composition in series on Netflix and Amazon (and not forgetting the BBC), such as Preacher, Hand of God and American Gods (ok so I’m sensing a religious theme here but go with me on this one). HBO have made some stunning series over the years too and let’s not forget how epic Game of Thrones is. Yes there is CGI, yes there is green screen involved but the shots and the finished film are all somebody’s vision and composition. The lighting in the shows is nothing short of breathtaking.
I remember waxing lyrical recently about a scene from Hand of God where Crystal Harris is sitting in a cafe having not seen her husband for a while (I won’t spoil the plot) and the light is early morning, dust particles gently float in the morning sunshine, she’s drinking coffee, the light isn’t too warm but it is definitely setting the mood. The dialogue is sparse, the composition and lighting choices have set the tone. Pernell Harris is in the cafe and he has sent something over to his wife via the waitress (she doesn’t know he’s there yet) and when she realises that her husband has sought her out the camera tracks across on a wide shot as she looks up to get a visual on Pernell. The camera tracks past some stained glass, putting the glass between the camera and Crystal. As Crystal’s reaction to her husband’s presence appears on her face the camera is moving past pale blue glass and it seems to drain Crystal’s face and entirely changes the mood of the moment, almost as if you are feeling her heart sink. Then the coloured glass is warmer again as the camera moves on but you know the mood cannot return to the start of the scene; there has been a shift and all thanks to the subtleties of lighting and framing. The effect is perfect.
When a photographer produces a shot that is emotive it is perfection itself and that shot may not always be entirely in focus but that may be the point of it. It is like listening to a song where the vocal isn’t perfect but you can hear the feeling in every note. You don’t want to make that note perfect and suck the life out of it you want the rawness, you want the very thing that made you feel what that song was written about - or the very thing that made you relate to it. The perfect shot is not always crystal clear, it can be whatever evokes a feeling, stirs a passion, makes you go back to it time and again. You have caught a moment.
When I started writing this article what I really wanted to write about was how all of the skills I have been describing above are taken for granted and not given their proper value. We work in all sorts of areas from music to film, from car photography and products, to live stage performance photography; it is very varied and we see into many different industries. There will always be someone willing to work for free to bolster their portfolio - something I think we’ve all been guilty of from time to time. The trouble with this though, is that a true professional who has spent years learning their craft is constantly devalued or doesn’t get the respect they deserve. Experience is worth paying for.
The image your business or your band or whatever you are promoting puts out to the rest of the world is one of the single most important things you can buy. Don’t underestimate the value of a carefully thought out photograph or video. We do judge a book by it’s cover these days, we are instant decision makers, consider your own online habits and 9 times out of 10 you will subconsciously buy something based on a great image or a professional look regardless of the text that accompanies it.
Take the time to make something artistic and professional; bring the right people with the right skills to the table and your imagery will stand the test of time. Trust creative judgement, trust the experience, knowledge and expertise a professional has and see what a difference it makes; and never forget the triangle!
We've been out and about this week in the beautiful sunshine! You might recognise this arm from previous shoots we've done for Colour of Noise...in a change from the music scene Bruce has taken his other passion from hobby to business and started up Brighton inshore fishing with his business partner. We popped out to take some photos for him this week and the weather was perfect to capture some coastline, making Brighton reminiscent of the Med! A little too hot for the fish to bite and as Bruce told us they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk so we'll be back another day to get some full on fishing action. You can find them at www.brightoninshorefishing.co.uk, well worth a trip out!
Although we love the British Summertime it's rather nice to get back into our nice cool cove to get down to some car photography. We had Jim Stokes Workshop in this week with a simply stunning Alfa Romeo - we can't show you any pictures out of respect for the owner's privacy so you'll have to trust us on this, it was an absolute beauty!
With Aston photos delivered to Prestige Paintworks (see this lovely Amethyst pic), we got down to some planning for a show we've got in development - all will be revealed in due course but for now we'll have to leave you guessing!
You may have noticed some pictures from the TT on our feed social media feed. Our roving reporter Felix Unger-Hamilton was in attendance and wrote us a lovely piece for Drivetribe as well as shooting some great footage from the grid. You can find the full article here: Drivetribe
While we've been in the nice cool cove we've been experimenting with graphics for another project we're developing (again, such a tease I know but details must remain under wraps for now). Some of the graphics we've been looking at are appearing in a music video and we've been editing in the infinity cove itself. It is an excellent screening room and perfect for that final stage of editing where you need to stand back far enough to see the full impact of your project. It is available to hire as a screening room / small theatre space (seating approx. 100) with or without technicians. We have plenty of onsite free parking available too. Well worth a visit even if you're just curious ;-)