Lighting for the white screen studio look

The white screen ‘studio’ look is a tried and tested style used in many corporate and talking head videos. There’s a reason why so many people use it - when done properly it looks professional and high end. However, just shooting in an infinity cove or against a white backdrop isn’t enough to give it the ‘look’. Yes, you’re going to need a decent camera, but the secret to making it look professional is to create an effective lighting setup that ensures your subject jumps out to the viewer..

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Looking back over 2018

As we come to the end of another year I can’t help but think how quickly the time has gone. Perhaps it’s a sign I’m getting older or maybe I’m just enjoying work too much, but either way (both are true!) 2018 has flown by and its been an incredible year filled with exciting projects. As I look ahead to what 2019 is going to bring here’s a quick roundup of what’s been going on in my world in 2018..

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Completing the difficult first feature - Interview with 'Twenty Twenty-Four' Director Richard Mundy

In the music business it is widely known as the difficult second album, but in independent film the first venture could definitely be viewed as the greatest hurdle to overcome. It's certainly not unrealistic to describe the process of making a self funded feature film as a bit of a nightmare.

Talking of nightmares, 'Twenty Twenty-Four' (AKA 'It Lives' in the UK) tells the story of a man who may just be going through one himself..

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Surviving down time when you're self employed (with a filmic twist)

For the self employed 'when it rains, it pours', but sooner or later we will all face a drought. How might someone considering going freelance deal with the prospect of facing indefinite periods without work? Is there a trick to surviving down time or are all the professionals constantly living in fear?

If you're thinking of going self employed or are already in the industry then these honest accounts of what it's really like to experience a lack of job security may provide you some useful insight and advice, as well as help you make informed decisions moving forward in your own career.

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Ten terrifying films with haunting cinematography

Ooh, it's Friday 13th! Unlucky for some, they say..and Halloween is just around the corner!

I decided this month to take a break from the usual subjects and compile a list and share some links to some of my favourite scary films just for a bit of fun. Now, there are many horror film lists out there but this one has a slightly different angle. I won't just be focusing on what has scared the living daylights out of me (which of course is crucial to a good horror film) but I'll also be commenting on how tension and suspense has been created through the cinematography in these particular films.

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7 Key Qualities to look for in a Videographer

Choosing a video production professional to hire can be just as difficult as picking any other service or tradesperson. You may have done a Google search and found dozens of people to choose from and it could all seem a bit overwhelming. I know that feeling; where on earth do you start? Well, there may be a wealth of talent out there but if you go with the wrong person or company it could end up being an expensive mistake. So, assuming that you'd prefer to use a freelancer over an agency, I've listed here a few key qualities that you should look for when choosing your videographer..

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Five years of freelancing and what I have learned

As of last month I have officially been freelancing in video production for 5 years. It's quite incredible to be honest and I can't believe how quickly the years have gone. So much has happened in this time and it has been a rollercoaster of a journey.

For those of you who might be considering going freelance or have already taken the plunge - regardless of which industry you work in - you have probably stumbled upon this post because you're looking for tips and advice on how to survive or maybe even thrive (!) as a self employed person.

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What should I do with my finished video?

So, you've listened to the industry analysts and are embracing digital in your business. You've taken on the marketeers' advice and have invested in video. You've allocated a budget, hired a professional, made your video and it looks great! Bob's your uncle! But now what? Is that it?

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Looking back over 2016

2016. Wow, that year flew by. And what a year it was too!

Of course, if for just a moment we exclude certain controversial political movements, the ongoing threat of climate change and the never ending conflict in the middle east, 2016 has actually been an incredible year for business.

Now that Christmas is over and we prepare ourselves for 2017 it's a good time to reflect on the year's achievements..

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5 Simple lighting solutions (when time is money)

Following on from my previous post 10 Reasons why good lighting can be more important than the camera itself I would like to focus on the point that in video and film production, as in any business, time is money. 9 out of 10 productions you'll work on will probably have some sort of budgetary restriction meaning that you will only have a set time to do the work in and/or limited resources to work with. This is a harsh reality that anyone entering this industry must come to terms with but depending on the type of project you're working on, the amount of time you will be given to light can vary greatly. I would always push for as much time to light as I can get (unless I'm filming at an event for example) because as we know, good lighting can vastly improve the production values of a shoot. However, you have to be prepared to get less time than you'd like, in which case it would be useful to know as many simple lighting solutions as possible.

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10 reasons why good lighting can be more important than the camera itself

Anyone who has worked with me recently will know that I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to lighting. In fact, I rarely shut up about it. You might think it unusual that rather than playing with new cameras, steadicams and other gadgets I would rather be playing with bulbs, bounce and black wrap. The reason behind it is I believe that when composing an image, whether for a corporate video or a film, lighting is everything. Well, almost. You can't have a shoot without the other elements, but at least if you want your images to be memorable and perhaps even cinematic then you can't avoid the subject of lighting.

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United Magic Studios: Turning redundancy into a successful production company

I talked in an earlier post about job security and how I thought freelancing was in many ways no riskier than full time employment. One of the first video production companies I started working with after I graduated was Worthing based United Magic Studios whose founder, Jonathan Vinicombe, had recently been made redundant from his full time job. A few years later and United Magic has grown into one of the busiest corporate video production companies on the South Coast. With clients as varied as the Sealife Centre and Brighton Half Marathon the company has gone from strength to strength and now offers a range of video production services.


As one of my biggest employers I decided to catch up with Jonathan at his Portslade studio to find out how he was able to turn his brand into a success story.

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Freelancing: Living the double life

Have you ever had trouble answering the question 'What do you do?'

Do you occasionally find yourself dreading the subject of careers coming up in conversation at social occasions or family gatherings?

Ever felt like you live a double life? (And I'm not referring to a seedy one!)

For me, the answer to all of these questions is yes. You see, my work life is complicated.

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Nazi Vengeance - Interview with Director Tom Sands

Nazi Vengeance was the first feature film I ever worked on as an AC and as of earlier this week the film has been released in the US as well as numerous other territories around the world.

With the majority of production based in Brighton and the surrounding area I decided to catch up with the film's Director Tom Sands. I was keen to find out how a man in his mid twenties was able to turn his first feature into a reality, and just on his doorstep too..

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Nazi Vengeance - Interview with DOP Haydn West

Two years ago word got out that a low budget feature film was being made in the Brighton area and that they were looking for crew. With a few shorts under my belt and looking to step up I somehow ended up one morning in a Hove coffee shop sat across from a man who didn't look very pleased to see me. This man was Haydn West and he was the Producer and Director of Photography of what was to become Nazi Vengeance.

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