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Month: October, 2015

‘Parasol’ Open Mic Night @The Hop – 22nd October 2015

There’s a plan in motion. The most precise, meticulous plan that has ever existed; well, to someone who enjoys his work it sure is. The goal for perfect audio has, for a long time been a struggle, struggle is probably not the right word. Challenge; much better.

It’s been a challenge to get amazing audio. So going to the second recording session (3rd for the event) Open Mic Night @The Hop (Unit 14, West One Plaza, Fitzwilliam St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 4JB) I though best to directly record the audio from a speaker, a Tascam, Directional Mic later we did that.

Myself and Josh Ward worked the positioning of the microphone, made sure to; if necessary move the microphone somewhere else if the sound was distorted. Long and behold after the event the audio is clean, much cleaner than the first time recording, the instruments and vocals sound separate but well mixed. Perfect Audio, almost like a live recording that we could turn into Live EP’s for the artists.

So for audio we were set.

Before the gig kicks off we take some time to talk to Anthony Smith ‘Parasol’ to talk about the event, some music behind the scenes and a chat.


Cameras we used Lumix GH4’s, easy to use cameras that shoot 4k, not bad. Light weight and easy to hold, plus the image stabiliser work wonders for shaky hands.

The night proceeded flawlessly, a relaxed atmosphere for us filming; usually the first time to film is always the worst; and second times usually get better. But with the cameras lasting a whole lot longer in battery life as well as how much would fit on the SD cards , made for a smoother filming session.

Looking forward to the next Open Mic Night. 4th November 2015.

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Update: The hard drive was stored on broke. So the footage is lost. (I was working on buying another hard drive for back up, just wasn’t quick enough)

Here’s the audio from the night up until the final act.


‘Parasol’ Open Mic Night at The Hop – 8th October 2015

A pretty cool guy who goes by the name of ‘Parasol’; Anthony Smith along with Dan Bull have begun what should be an interesting opportunity for musicians to come down to The Hop in Sheffield to play some tunes, have a good time and be filmed by yours truly. All in the name of music and purely for it, Anthony is one of those guys who gets what music is about and relishes in the fun that he brings to his performances.

I have this monster. A monster that I like to call “The Frankenrig”. Here you can see for yourself.


It’s a fantastic beast. Part Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera + Cage, part Mic & Stand + external battery, part Tascam Dr-60D Mk 2. It’s a beautiful monster. it does the trick.

The night started well, with high hopes. Anthony is excited for the second week to begin and for me the atmosphere elevated the experimentation for me as a film maker not to stick in one place, to be confident to move around. The same goes for my fellow camera man Josh Ward who helped film the event. With his fancy Canon C100, such a beauty.

The night went well, other than the fact none of the bands that were supposed to show up never turned up. No worries people came in, listened to the music and we filmed. The procedure was to record external audio for the Blackmagic (The onboard mic is awful), the C100’s sound is great so no worries there. The set up worked and the sound was great, the problem was distance, having the Tascam move around it would lower in Db and ultimately obscure the sound. Next time I think I will set it up in a permanent position near the speakers, having constant audio and at least every single peace of it, not missing anything.

A learning curve for sure.

The videos will develop over each gig. For starters I intend to make video highlights of the nights, eventually recording the whole of the nights as an official video for the event. Ambitious but will become a reality.

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This Is England ’90 – Second (Last) day of shooting (3rd February 2015)

I’m awake. At 6am I’m awake, get up!

The second shoot day of This Is England 90’. The last time I was preparing for an epic dance off to “Fools Gold”, now I’m waiting to become the greatest on screen art student extra. That should probably be my credit on the show.

Conveniently for me the shooting location is Norton College (The college I study at). Perfect. A weird change was the TV Studio, used as a costume fitting room.

Still early I wander through costume straight to hair & make-up where a lovely hair lady (not sure what to call her) puts me through whiplash as she pulls my hair from my skull. I wanted to laugh because it felt unnatural but at the same time hilarious, you would only understand if you were in that position.

At first after hair & make-up I thought that I wouldn’t be picked for scenes, to endure the day sat in a room making my own entertainment with the other extras. But behold my calling. The next 3 hours I had to endure, yes endure again through freezing temperatures. Imagine standing on top of  Mt. Fuji in a t-shirt. Yeah, that’s what it felt like.

There was a moment on one of the takes, we started walking and no one else was. “At that moment he knew he messed up”. So we had to improvise as though we were meant to stand around and chat, then decide to move on to the canteen.

A moment in the repetition of the morning, I worked with a kid named Dan. Later I’d find out he’s the son of Richard Hawley from Pulp. That happened.

Dinner time and we had the pleasure to eat on a bus dining room. Well, just a bus with tables, a unique dining experience for sure. It was weird but pretty amazing to be among Thomas Turgoose (Shaun), Rosamund Hanson (Smell) and Shane Meadows.

Heading back to college, I bump into Thomas and talk for a moment, only to find out that the trousers I’m wearing (MC Hammer parachute pants to be exact) has the effect of everyone around wanting to pull them down, Thomas started the trend and was almost adamant that he was going to.

For a while it seemed like I wouldn’t be in anymore scenes, until I get asked to take part in a scene that involves Shaun & Poppy in the series, the amazing aspect of my day came from filming this scene. I was in the background of the scene clear in view, no chance of being cut out. Walking onto set I was nervous, especially walking in and there’re at least 10 crew members present.

As part of the background I had to act as though I’d be packing away my things, walking over to my friend, asking the teacher if we could leave, pretend we forgot to get something and walk out. All miming, which is a lot harder than it sounds, being un-coordinated through out we had to plan what we would be doing and stick to it. It was the 3 W’s. Wes, Will & Will. We started with the route we would each take, a few times Will (other student) would kick the tripods he had to pack down and put away. Sometime my bag slipped off my shoulder. We were very professional, we kept going without stopping the take if I say so myself.

It was an interesting experience to see what a professional set looks like, how it operates, how well it operates too. It’s poignant to me in the way that it makes me even more thankful for every member of a crew, a team effort is the key to a great production. You see everyone in the role they are hired for, and it lets the Director direct, and the others work to the vision of his.

The last scene of the day involved attending a lecture which amazingly was filmed in one take, the actor who played the lecturer sold a 5+ minute monologue in one take as natural as possible, and it was a spectacular lecture because I wanted him to carry on after the take was cut.

It was sad to leave the set, but like anything it will come to an end, and it did. My time on This Is England 90’ was an eye opening experience and one that I wont forget.

This Is England ’90 – First day of shooting (29th September 2014)

This is England ’90 Blog – 18th September 2014

Arrived at the place where we got fitted for out costume which was a task in itself, hiding in plain sight, behind a warehouse. Inconspicuous, clever. I like that. So I go inside register that I’m here and meet some of the costume designers, a woman called Maria, Maria who I’d be meeting a few times fro costume fittings. Did the usual look through multiple outfits to find the characters look. All in her hands I am her canvas.

Most of the time was waiting, the reception was welcoming, the hair & make up truck was intimidating. What are they going to do to my hair, how will I look for the show?

Met Andrew Shim AKA ‘Milky’ to make the day (the costume fitting day) end with a high. I bump into him. What a cool moment.

Filming day – 29th September 2014

Arrive at 7am (1hr 30 min early) being punctual is reeling on my energy. Eagerly my interest in the day keeps me awake and motivated. The time waiting for crew to arrive, which was a long time by the way wandering back and forth, passing coins marking no parking for non crew members (General public), no need for time wasted shoeing people away from the set, essentially ruining the continuity of the 90’s with their Peugeot or Mazda.

We all congregated in a hall opposite a church in Frecheville. Looked like a kitted out cafeteria in school and backstage on the west end. Make up areas sealed off. You know for privacy.

Here’s essential a point by point explanation of the filming day.

  • walk in the group that is needed for the shoot to the community centre
  • Entered just staring at all the camera gear etc (Arri cameras)
  • get organised into dance groups
  • told to beats of the scene
  • Lasted 10 – 15 minutes at a time
  • sometimes dancing to no music at all. Having to keep the beat in your head
  • at least 3 hours of that
  • got to walk in front of camera several times (looking like I have pulled [Steph])
  • Multiple times to walk through crowd in shots
  • Lack of fresh air, was slightly exhausting
  • breathers outside taking continuity photos for make up & Hair & costume
  • More dancing
  • Dinner time was amazing, free food and a few hours to sit with other extras
  • Had a lot of fun for a few hours talking, having fun
  • times up for our long break, back into the community centre
  • this was a little different we went into a room and were picked in groups to do a scene
  • Was set up with a group and in the scene we were supposed to work out before a fight between the main characters and the goth broke out
  • I was with another girl that I met in the episode (thats 2 so far)
  • We walked out several times starting with different starting positions, stood holding hands, leaning on each other, sat on the ground as some guy on the scene tries to suggest a threesome (no thanks)
  • After several takes we had finished
  • the goths would smash through the door to where we would be waiting
  • The cast are really nice people, checking out if the goths where okay after each take (they had a fight)
  • For my final scene I was picked and was meant to walk in with another girl (3 now)
  • Setting up outside to walk up the street in to the rave
  • the first few takes where to establish blocking, walked in front of the camera that was to the left
  • change of plan moved around the camera on it’s left and appeared from that side
  • one take I fell into a little ditch, then crunched on a coke bottle
  • after several takes we wrapped
  • Oh yeah, the whole time I would be filmed I was without my glasses (So pretty much dancing in the dark, having to have the girls let me know when we would be cued to move)
  • Long day ended at roughly 10pm

First official day on a TV set and it was on the other side of the camera. An interesting perspective, seeing how busy a production is behind the camera and how it’s the complete opposite on the other side. There’s a lot of waiting around. But a lot of excitement in the air too.