I’ve never really specialised in any area or genre of film making. It’s always been that if a project comes my way and I find it interesting then I’ll do it, however it is funny how things tend to come in cycles. This year I have shot a lot more food based projects than normal. Recently I have had the two opposite ends of the scale, one spot for luxury chocolate maker ‘Artisan du Chocolat’ and then a test comercial for a healthy eating campaign to play out in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi campaign is a centrally funded project where they, of course, want to make the food look as fresh and delicious as possible but it also needed to be accessible. It’s about saying ‘you don’t need to be a fantastic chef to make healthy and delicious food’. Each spot will hang off a vignette showing everyday life which will inter-cut with the food being prepared. We decided to shoot the preparation of the food at 200fps so that each glint of water or fibre of meat looked as appealing as possible, the slicing of a tomato captured as it slowly topples sideways. I can’t put the final film up yet but they have agreed to let me show you some framegrabs.

This was shot on the RED Epic at 2k at 200fps. It was directed by Nic Cornwall and produced by LittleBigFish Films for the agency WRG. All being well the plan is to shoot a series of 4 commercials in September, the food will be shot in the UK and then we will travel to Abu Dhabi to shoot the 4 vignettes to support them.

That’s all and good, but lets face it, in the world of indulgence, lettuce does not pose much of a threat to chocolate! When asked to shoot for the luxury chocolatier ‘Artisan du Chocolat’ it was not a very difficult decision, I believe my exact words were, ‘doh, yer of course’. The director, Harry Reavey, wanted the spot to feel rich in tone with a hint of mystery. There was a narrative but the main thrust of the pictures was to create an ambience of seductive elegance. I felt that one of the best ways to achieve this was to obscure the actors with gentle flares and use reflections to break things up a little.

We shot using my Epic on a steadicam, courtesy of steadicam op James Elias. The Nikon Primes came out again as they flare so beautifully and have a certain soft indulgence which was perfect for this film. We were shooting in the Marylebone Hotel in London which was a lovely location but unfortunately we had to work around the residents of the hotel as production, Diser films, could not buy the location out  in full. This meant that we had to use a small crew and small fixtures. So as always in these situations lots of battery panel lights came out and I made a special beauty light for our leading lady. I wanted something small, warm, soft and directional and this worked out perfectly. There’s a picture of it above, granted not 100% sophistication but did the job well and we could walk with it and follow our leading lady. The only time that we really lost out to the residents was with some shots of our actress sitting in an alcove area. This had mirrors behind and a strong top light. Normally I would have silked the top light but it was deemed too intrusive to the residents so we blocked what we could and added more from the side. It was disappointing but I guess that’s life. Anyway, here is the finished one minute version;