Canadian DoP under Co-Production Treaty

I recently established that as well as being a UK Citizen I qualify as a Canadian DoP for any work done under the Canadian Co-Production Treaty.This is because I hold a Canadian Permanent Resident Card


Life of Pi 3D

Saw Ang Lee’s movie last night and its a brilliant interpretation of the book. Everything looks much the way I imagined it when I read it years ago. There’s also the added magic of superb visual effects. Stunningly beautiful.
Only a few years ago fur and water were the two things you had to try to avoid in CGI/Animation. And here’s a film featuring wild animals on the Pacific Ocean. The technology moves so fast….although it has to be said the movie did employ 14000 people…most of them get credited! The only disappointment is that for me it falls down at the end….I fell about laughing at this part of the book originally and did so again when I re-read it this morning to check. Perhaps thats the only part of the novel that really did turn out to be unfilmable….but I suspect other reasons……



Just wrapped principal photography on Hinterland, a low budget independent feature film written and directed by Douglas M. Ray. Shot on extremely meagre resources the film stars Eva Birthistle (best known for her award-winning role in Ken Loach’s “Ae Fond Kiss”). I had previously worked with Eva on “Days of Flowers” which premiered at Edinburgh Film Festival this year. Other principal actors are Paul Hilton and Antonia Campbell-Hughes. There are also inspired improvised cameo appearances from comics Matt Berry and  James Lance. Hinterland is a comedy thriller with a rather unusual tone.
The film was a challenge as it had to be approached in a “guerilla” style with a tiny and largely inexperienced unit, virtually no monitoring, no dolly, track or Steadicam, very few facilities and very little lighting. I photographed it using the lightweight Canon C300 and a set of Arri-Zeiss Ultraprimes. Much of it was shot in the woods of Black Park next door to Pinewood. The minimal equipment meant we were able to move extremely fast in rough terrain. Also the C300 provided excellent image quality often in extremely low light. Many interiors around London were shot with no lighting at all.
Its exciting how, with new cameras  cinematography is changing so rapidly towards obtaining an attractive look without having to burn huge amounts of watts !



The Wicker Tree is now a top seller in the UK DVD/Blu-ray market

Anchor Bay, distributors of The Wicker Tree have announced that it is their topselling DVD/Blu-ray of the year. 2 weeks after launch it was also 3rd best seller in the entire UK DVD market….surpassed only by Iron Lady (Meryl Streep) and a Tom Cruise film…..which is pretty good for a film with no stars, other than a cameo by Sir Christopher Lee.


An Idiot Abroad highest ranked programme ever on Science Channel

An Idiot Abroad is officially the most viewed programme ever on The Science Channel in USA.
The channel claims to be “home for the thought provocateur” and “a playground for those with audacious intellects” so you can see why an Idiot might thrive !
Meanwhile across the pond in Britain An Idiot Abroad 2 has been nominated for an RTS award in 2 categories:
Best Popular Factual and Features and Best Presenter (for Karl Pilkington).
This particular parade will be hosted by Rob Brydon at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on March 20th.
Dawn on a live Volcano...JP and KP with Albi, The Happiest Man in the VillageAn Idiot Abroad 2 Africa-with Jessica Hippo in her living roomLeaving Karl's Desert Island


Mary Whitehouse rhymes with Toilet

Big Banana Feet, a feature length documentary made in 1975 was screened on Sunday at Glasgow Film Theatre. Shot handheld in available light by push-processing slow 16mm film stock it follows a very young Billy Connolly on his tour of Dublin and Belfast at the height of the Troubles. Connolly was emphatically warned not to go…3 members of a showband had died in an attack very recently…but he went anyway…and he came back in one triumphant piece. A small film crew followed him shooting just about everything he did, including his stage shows for about 48 hrs non-stop.
Murray Grigor (Director), David Peat (DoP) and Paddy Higson (Producer) were all at the screening along with other elder statespersons from the period. There were many escaping eyebrows, knowing stoical looks and tired legs but no flared trousers. There was also alot of laughter. To my bemusement the extremely youthful camera assistant was there too….that was Yours Truly !


The Decoy Bride

I saw this movie recently at Glasgow Film Festival and its delightful. A script by Sally Phillips produced by Ecosse Films and directed by Sheree Folkson, its witty, gorgeous-looking and heart-warming without being cheesy. I did some work on it more than 2 years ago when it was shooting in Scotland and I’m pleased to say almost all my footage has made it to the screen!  I remember when I arrived on set being told it was a very “girly” film. I was seen lowering my viewfinder  when exploring shots for the opening scene and immediately pulled up by the director. It seems low angles are not for lassies! I’d never really thought much about gender-specific camera angles before but I suppose if you think about Rocky 2 or Rambo 19………anyway being somewhat bendy I loved this girly film…most particularly because its a funny film. There are superb lead performances by David Tennant, Alice Eve and especially Kelly Macdonald. She plays the local island girl who inadvertently becomes a “decoy bride” to distract the paps from the wedding of the century. David plays a blocked writer and (naturally) a twit and Alice plays (naturally) the world’s most beautiful film star to whom he is incomprehensibly betrothed. Its all set in the sheeting rain and soggy bogs of  the Scottish West Coast …and its all good…..


National TV Awards Bulletin

National TV Awards O2

Well, like the valiant Andy Murray we didn’t win. Not only that our Idiot Abroad 2 clip, lovingly crafted by Richard Yee our Series Producer fell victim to the only visible technical cock-up at this spectacular show-biz event. None of the other Nominees in this category got their clips shown either! On the plus side we got a fantastic cheer when the programme was announced, there was plenty of champagne, some fancy little tarts described by staff as “Haggis” and we all had a superbly condensed education in popular British television. It was also a rare opportunity for me to wear a skirt….prompting the staff to offer me whisky at every opportunity.
Every important TV face was there. The men in their suits and the women poured into impossible dresses with the help of other attentive behind-the-camera folk. I enjoyed it all. Karl Pilkington would have hated it.


An Idiot Abroad 2 (The Bucket List) starts airing in USA 21st Jan.

An Idiot Abroad 2. Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington, Stephen Merchant

Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchant

An Idiot Abroad 2 starts its North American airing at 10pm on The Science Channel, 21st January. Its been screened in UK already with record ratings and has been nominated for a number of awards.
Its a very funny comedy travel series in which Karl Pilkington is sent round the world by his two friends Ricky and Stephen in order to broaden his mind.This series is “The Bucket List” or “Things to do before you Die”. As cinematographer I and the team followed Karl to Alaska, Route 66 (starting in Santa Monica), Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, South Africa, Uganda, Russia and China. Many adventures were had and Karl’s take on them is off the wall and hilarious. You will occasionally see the camera shaking uncontrollably!


Eve Arnold

Let’s mark the passing of Eve Arnold, photographer extraordinaire who has been one of my enduring models for all my picture-making days. 99yrs old…..and what a life!  She had an exhilarating eye driven always by kindness…..

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