I created this series of videos to promote the ecology centre Sonairte. The centre is located less than a mile from the seaside, close to where I grew up in Laytown, Co Meath. Founded in the 1980’s, it was set up to promote hands on learning about the environment, and to exhibit alternative energy, a radical idea at the time. It’s a remarkably tranquil place, where visitors can walk a nature trail or learn sustainable growing techniques in a seizable Victorian market garden.
I shot these videos over two days at the centre, and developed the campaign around promoting the distinct experiences available, from Yoga classes to delicious organic fruit and veg. I may have stolen a few apples, hanging from the heavily laden branches of Sonairte’s twenty-seven distinct species of apple tree.
Sonairte are actively seeking volunteers, especially people with experience in organic horticulture or fundraising at state and European level. You can contact them by phone on 041 982 7572 or by email at email@example.com.
Everything was shot on the Panasonic G80, with a Sigma 18 – 35 Art lens. Most shots were captured on the Crane 2 gimbal. Editing and grading was done in Da-Vinci Resolve, and titling in Final Cut Pro.
There’s a long tradition of puppet music videos, from Gabriel Byrne’s cameo in the Rubber Bandits’ ‘Fellas’, to Ed Sheeran’s muppet of muppet. But as far as we know this is the first time someone’s remade ‘Smack My Bitch’ up with marionettes. Inspired by the tough guy lyrics of Shy Mascot’s new track ‘Pardon Me’, we imaged a puppet on an odyssey through Dublin, leaving a trail of mayhem and broken hearts behind him.
An off the wall idea turned into six months of preproduction, as special effects guru Frances Galligan created uncanny wood and plaster replicas of Shy Mascot’s Jamel Franklin and Fia Gregg. We shot these diminutive rebels everywhere from sex shops to jewellery stores, Dublin buses to cat sanctuaries.
A tiny crew headed up by writer / director Gareth Stack and DOP Siobhan Madden combined storyboarded action sequences with improvised guerrilla shooting. Whenever a location lent itself to leprechaun scale hijinks we found a way to take advantage. Volunteer performers mixed with season pros to seduce and battle lil’ Jamel’s bad ass homunculus. Probably the most ambitious scene features a bloody dustup between Dublin based performance poet Raven (playing a cassocked street preacher) and Jamel’s balsa wood hard nut. We shot in the crumbling remains of O’Devaney gardens while dozens of local kids milled around and cars pulled donuts between abandoned tower blocks.
We fought everything from tangled strings to reluctant sex shop proprietors to get this video made. Our action packed finale even had to be reshot when a memory cannibalised itself This happened after we’d snapped off one of lil’ Jamel’s feet and broken his back flinging him through the air first time around! Fortunately, after a short operation this little legend soldiered on.
Our favourite scene features a date between marionette Jamel and our moonlighting DOP Siobhan, shot in Dublin’s only barcade ‘Token’. To sex up this smokey seduction, we used the golden-age Hollywood technique of stretching cotton stockings over the lens for a poor mans glamour filter.
All in all, the shoot took nine days, and the edit another three weeks. But the memories – bench pressing Ireland’s largest sex aid, laying half naked on the floor of the Glimmerman’s ladies while a marionette vomited, fighting allergies to give a puppet a chance to visit a cat sanctuary were absolutely worth it!
The new Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4k camera is due at the end of the month. Black Magic have released some test RAW and Prores footage here.
I grabbed it and did a quick test grade (literally 20 minutes) last night. Results below. Video is only 1080p (as I have the free version of Resolve, although the full version comes with the camera). Overall I’d say it’s incredibly easy to grade – although the basic footage out of the camera is a little sepia by default and a little noisy prior to grading.
As you can see, the default LUT included for the camera in Da Vinci is way too strong, so you’d want to key it back if you were going to use it, which I wouldn’t recommend.
I graded about half the available clips, might have another mess around later with the other half if there’s any interest. Also might try a more ‘creative’ grade than the neutral one below.
Two years back I was visiting New York, and didn’t have anywhere to stay. I put “friends who live in New York City” into facebook, and messaged everyone who came up, asking for a couch. Ray Brown, a guy who I’d met for thirty minutes at a yard party years before, said he couldn’t put me up but offered to take me out on the town. That night we visited the legendary Sidewalk cafe, the East Village anti-folk bar where Ray has been a regular for over thirty years. Ray introduced me to a cute girl and I fell head over heels in love.
Ever since, Ray and I have been friends, and on his most recent trip to Ireland (where I live) to record a record, I did some shooting in the studio, thinking to one day make a documentary about his extraordinary life. Only afterwards, with the album already in pre-production did it occur to me that this footage might make a cool music video. So I’ve been hacking away at this for the past week or so. It’s shot on my humble Panasonic G85, with the Sigma 18 – 35, just in whatever light we had in Alfionn studio – a tiny independent space in Dublin; and graded in DaVinci with Red Giant Universe.
Recorded at Alfionn Studios, May / June / August 2018.
Performing – Ray Brown, Myles Manley, Nick Boon, Chris Barry, Brandon Perdomo, and Ali Byrne.
How can an undead villain search for love in the age of tinder? What if you were socially awkward and a monster? Join one sexy vampire, OK maybe not that sexy, as he tries to find the love of his life, again. This anachronistic horror comedy takes its cues from the eighties feel of recent work like ‘It follows’ and ‘San Junipero’, and springs from the lively Irish comedy scene. The writer and director preciously collaborated on absurd comic shorts like ‘Lads’ and ‘Spaghetti D*ck’, and the series co-stars rising Irish talent like Nicole O’Connor (‘FACTS’), Joe O’Neill (Little Shadow Theatre Company), as well as legendary Irish actor Roger Gregg (‘About Adam’, ‘Space Truckers’).