Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"Love has no Boundaries" on National Swiss TV

28th September 2011 was a big day for me with the launch of a documentary film I worked on for a period of about 6 months. The film really opened a lot of doors for me and on top of it all I loved every moment working on it. It also turned out to become one of the main marketing tools for the client and help justifying all the effort that went into the production.

This coming Sunday 18th December my "Love has no Boundaries" film will be broadcasted on National Swiss TV channel 3+ sponsored by Audi. It's great if your mum says to you... well done my son... you did a great job. But somehow it's not really enough. You need people to see your work, not just your biggest fan. Thats the only way forward. Very grateful of this opportunity.

Here is the TV trailer for the film.

For more visit www.beyondsinging.com

Friday, 9 December 2011

Life in a Day - The Full Movie

Here is the full film from Producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin McDonald that I had the privilege to be part of.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Got the shot, but paid the price

Had a wild weekend behind the camera. The most interesting by far was my first boxing experience.

I knew nothing about boxing. Yes... little did I know that I will end up in the ring myself.

It was for an insurance company where I had to shoot as 2nd unit a part of a 28sec commercial. My part will only be 2 to 3 sec. This however made it even more stressful, since I had to get a few very strong impressions. I worked myself stupid to cover all the possible angles. Shot mostly with 2 different lenses. CP.2 50mm and a very nice zoom 70 - 200mm 2.8. But time was of the essence. Just changing lenses could cost you a great shot. It was a real boxing match.. so there was not... like… "Can you please just punch that girl one more time in the face?" Oh yes... did I forget to mention it was a girl fight? I tell you… I will not stand for one round in the ring with those ladies. They are so fast… you just blink and you go down.

Well I pushed the limits as much as I could. Had this idea that the boxer should fight with the camera to give the impression that I was the opponent. So, as soon as she was done kicking butt… I jumped into the ring and she started boxing towards the camera. I got my 5 secs shot and said… it's ok, it's ok, I got it... but she just kept on going and started punching me in the ribs from all directions. Man do you feel hopeless. With the camera on my shoulder I could just run… but they were so fast. The audience loved it and did not want her to stop punching me. I got the shot, but paid the price.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bohemia Part 2.

I always thought that I don't mind traveling for my work, but prefer not to travel for my sport. Well be careful for what you wish... because it will happen. Lately more and more work away from home allows me to meet lots of interesting people and an opportunity to see more of the world. One of these projects is the Bohemia Restaurant re-invention in Zurich, Switzerland.

The refurbishment is now well underway and Part 2. of "Bohemia Re-Inventing Itself" is now available online. There will be one last film following and that will feature the new completed Bohemia. Bohemia is part of the the TwoSpice group who owns 12 restaurants all over Zurich.

The restaurant business is a tough business, especially in Switzerland. With the two biggest expenses namely rent and staff, the profits margins are low and it needs an extremely well structured business to function effectively and financially efficient. If I could just manage my own business as well as those guys I would have been so much further and have more to spend on my sport.
Enjoy the little clip.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

Driving around Europe

A wild few days of traveling all over Austria and Switzerland. At least 14 hours sitting in the car, hanging onto that steering wheel. Snowing with summer tyres is not a fun game to play. Back in Zurich I had to shoot 8 different short clips with a super 360° dolly track system. I arrived the day before to do the setup. Had this idea to build a stage half a meter high with the talent in the middle of the stage and the dolly track hidden on the floor. This way one could not see the track and it gave the illusion of a steadycam system, although the motion was far too perfect and synchronised for that.

It worked like a charm and was highly effective. I have to give a big shout out to Ahmet Akguel from Visuals Switzerland for their outstanding service in not backing down in any way, but being persistent in making things work and finding a solution to match my shots and budget.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Project Motion

One of the best photographers I know, asked me to participate in an action photography / cinematography project. I cannot really talk too much about it, but it's a great concept and the other day, just before the falling of the first snowflake we had our second shoot together. Magnificent results, I have to say.

Working with master Filip Zuan is an absolute pleasure and really makes me analyze every detail before pressing the record button. Personally I think my strength is in the editing, but with this project editing will play a very small part. It's purely based on perfect framing and ensuring all aspects are thought through before one starts rolling. Here patience and timing is the big test. Waiting for the right time of the year, the right time of the day and knowing when the moment arrives to start your campaign, is everything. It makes you sweat, but when it all comes together it's just magic.

Well, like I said.. cannot give too much away, but here is a few behind-the-scenes shots of Filip and me in action. Can't wait for our next mission.

Monday, 17 October 2011

European Waveski Cup - Commercial 2012

A 30 sec commercial for the European Waveski Cup 2012 I shot in Portugal last year during a waveski film trip. I know the waveski fans are hungry for some new footage so here is something little to keep them entertained.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Kaufleuten Premier - Children Beyond

The Kaufleuten in Zurich was the venue for the Children Beyond release party and film premier. With a jam packed cinema and 400 people filling the red chairs, it was an experience of a lifetime.

After 6 months of pumping so much energy into the project it was surreal to see my film playing on the big screen. I was standing on the side by the technical department and just looking back at the reaction of the audience. A rewarding experience.

After the film Tina Turner, Regula Curti and Dechen Shak-Daysag performed live together with the 30 children - while the media went bananas! My first Tina concert... heeehaaa. She is just an incredible bundle of energy.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Passion of leaving a Legacy

Two more films completed for the company Legacy Parks to help explain the concept of leaving a legacy. I loved this project and it was a great challenge to transfer the message by showing the artists' passion for what they do though the moving pictures. Thanks very much once again to Dr. Petrie Prins from Prins & Prins and Veronica Bell from the music group Zamar. One more Legacy film will follow soon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bohemia - Part 1.

This is the first of 3 short films about the Bohemia restaurant / coffee bar / cigar bar located in the heart of Zurich city in Switzerland. It celebrates the last 12 years of the finest cigars and the best coffee in Zurich. Bohemia is now closed for a 4 months refurbishment. The 2nd film will show more of the rebuilding process where the last film will focus purely on the new Bohemia.

For more visit www.bohemia.ch

Monday, 5 September 2011

Stuck in Zurich

The plan was to go to Zurich for 3 days. Attend a congress, work on the score for the Children Beyond film, go to a trade fare and then back home... but my car's ABS unit exploded and left me without brakes down a pretty steep hill. With some back gearing and the hand brake I came to a halt somewhere in Zurich. Anyhow.... the 3 day trip to Zurich turned into a 7 day stay with friends outside Zurich.

Switzerland is a remarkable place. It was very expensive to replace the ABS unit. Although being a new client, the garage let me go without paying and said I could pay at the end of September. Then on the way home I filled my tank with CHF 92.- worth of petrol. Somehow my card did not work and I had no cash on me. They let me go with their bank info and it was ok to pay the next day. In Switzerland people just trust each other.

Roland Frei and I worked on the Score for the Children Beyond 20min Doc. It was the first time I gave so much attention to audio. Roland is a master and came with wonderful creative solutions for audio craters in the film. Check out NJP Tonstudio for more on what Roland does.

A few days later I had to present the film in front of Universal Records Germany, Prosieben TV station, Audi and all the other advertising companies which form part of the marketing campaign for the project. It went down just perfect and everybody loved it. Since the 1st of September the new website www.beyondsinging.com has been launched and it's great to see the project unfolding step by step. The official CD release party and film premier is on the 28th of September and the music will be in stores from the 7th of October.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bohemia - Shoot 1.

Two weeks break and back in the shooting game in Zurich at a restaurant called Bohemia. Bohemia is famous for being the first restaurant to roast their own coffee beans and as a result making the best coffee in Zurich. The place has got so much character and colour. Originally it started off as a butchery and then was taken over as Bohemia Cigar Bar, but since the smoking law kicked in things changed and Bohemia needed to move with time. The place asked for a make-over. Although clients don’t understand why they have to change something that suits them perfectly, the inside were old and very un-economic. The huge fridges originally for the butcher to hang his meat where a complete waste of energy.

I was asked to document the old Bohemia for what it is and then over 4 months follow the process of refurbishment all the way to the new Bohemia. From this I have to cut commercial films which they will use to keep excisting clients informed and for advertising purposes.

Together with my IT man, Benjamin Walz we developed this killer timelaps system that is made of 3 HD cameras taking a photo every 60 sec's. The photos are then transferred via wi-fi to a main computer where they are backed up x2 on external drives. Everything happens automatically. Even in case of a power failure battery power will provide energy for an entire day with enough memory to store 3 days of photos on every camera. As soon as power is restored the system will automatically start-up and download & back-up all unsaved data. I even have the possibility to access the files from anywhere in the world by logging in via an online server and check on the status of the cameras, external drives, and photo quality for dirty lenses etc. Let’s hope it all works out the way we planned it.

Bohemia looked well after us and there were never a hungry or thirsty moment. Gaffer Pietro Bartesaghi did a great job setting up our gear and making sure we could pump out the interviews and creative filming. Thanks also to Visuals Switzerland for all the rental gear. It helps so much to have a personal relationship with a rental company that goes out of their way to serve you with the best equipment. Three to four weeks from now the first film will be online.

Here is just a test film I made 2 months ago to show the client what Bohemia looks like through my camera lens. Nothing official.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Leaving a Legacy

A heavy last 2 weeks of work, completely burned out. It started with a career highlight as one of my hardest script writing voice over attempts became a reality.
It was between 12 and 2 in the morning in Barcelona when the inspiration just started flowing. By the time I put the pen down and went to bed, I had no idea what I wrote. I just wrote as fast as possible to get all the ideas down, however had a feeling I was onto something.

4 days later in a Zurich studio I got goose bumps as we recorded one of the world's most iconic voices reading the script that was written by a monkey. Pretty special moment.
The next day I departed to South Africa to work on a project that has been coming on for the last 10 months. The concept is something I have always been interested in and was stoked to finally get started.
In many ways it makes sense shooting in South Africa as it is a country that is extremely well geared for rental of filming equipment. Especially Cape Town has got it all. With my long relationship of rental with Panalax & Panavision and a reasonable budget for the project it was the perfect opportunity to take things to new heights.
During the last week we worked with 3 great companies to transport the concept & explain the message from the client about leaving a legacy. Art, music & diamonds were our subjects. First, we spent an entire day with what is probably Cape Town's most respected diamond cutter; Prins&Prins. What they are doing there is just one of a kind. With all the big bully monopoly companies it's refreshing to know that magic still happens in the heart of the mother city.

We shot a trade master at work with 41 years of experience in diamond cutting. Just incredible to watch his dedication and precision. The owner, Dr Petre Prins is a gentleman and he spoke from his heart as we captured his passion for diamonds on camera.
Next was the commercial kitchen artist Frans Groenewald. Very interesting creative character. It was raining cats and dogs that day and we briefly faced the elements in-between showers and pulled some pretty special shots off. One of the highlights of the shoot for me was shooting plenty of extreme close-ups with a 100mm macro lens. To be able to get so close to the action and capture so much detail was essential for the production.
Last was the beautiful music group, Zamar. The funny thing was that my dad told me first about the band. For me, who has the reputation of not listening to him, it was kind of remarkable to follow his recommendation. Just shows you, I should have started it ages ago.

We focus on front woman Veronica Bell to tell her vision of her mark she leaves in people as their music inspires rhythm in all of us. Again, we were challenged by the one storm after the other, but like always the clouds gave way and just gave us enough time to do our magic.
I have to mention gaffer - Barret de Kock & assistant - Dieter Fouche for their incredible commitment in making the production work. Barret is going to get far in this world since no problem is too great for him. The fact that you can just leave him to sort it out and you carry on with something else is priceless. Dieter on the other hand planned and scheduled our extras to make every scene flow into the other. This way we spent less time struggling and more time setting up the shots to get the most out of every scene. Thanks guys.
One scene worth mentioning is the last shot on day 5 of production. I wanted to have a tracking crane shot on top of a mountain panning out while a couple walks into the picture. The crane has to move outwards, revealing location as the sun sets with Table Mountain in the background. Logistically it was a mini nightmare. We already had to postpone the shoot with 2 days because of rain. Then it was the 10 meter crane to take up the mountain and none of us had a clue how to really construct the monster together. By far the biggest thing I have ever worked with. But it worked out like always with a few minor changes and the last 15 minutes gave us 14 takes to get one perfect shot. We shot with a wonderful Compact Prime 18 mm Carl Zeiss lens. Very thankful for the smooth aperture to stop down as we pulled back with the sun into the lens. But yes, keeping the right composure, exposure & focus was a great challenge for a humble camera operator.

The last two days I filmed for my brother's wine business, BLANKbottle. Always fun to be with him on the road. We cruised all over the Boland, even popped in at world renowned winemaker Eben Sadie, and shot some beautiful Swartland landscape. The snow covered peaks made it chilly, but stunning pictures.
Pieter H. Walser film I made a while ago.

Now there, a bucket full of editing ahead, but that's ok, would not mind if I don't have to pick up the camera for 2 weeks or so.