It’s been a hectic and exciting time here at Upside Down Films. Zoran has enjoyed success with the film he shot ‘Bridge’ winning awards at international festivals and Alex is looking forward to the release by distributor ‘Soda’ of ‘The Lighthouse’. This is the last feature he shot and it is slated for release in mid 2016.
So far this year we have had the usual wide range of shoots from formal figurative pieces for the British Museum, equestrian documentaries for broadcast, channel idents for Bahrain TV and brand films and spots for many companies.
We have added to our equipment with a fantastic new range of lenses from Germany by Celere which are fresh on the market; in fact we are the first company to own them in the UK! Zoran tested the lenses with the generous support of Cintek who supplied a demo set to us and we were very impressed with the quality of the images.
Having just arrived we have finished the formal testing and Alex took the set out for their inaugural shoot working on a spot for Virgin Fitness. They performed beautifully which is just as well as both Alex and Zoran have already got them earmarked for features in preproduction. The first is ‘Solo’, a feel good film to be shot by Alex in Spain which kicks off in July 2016 with Zoran also shooting a feature later in the year.
Recent favourite projects have been a series of ‘off beat’ comedy spots for E-On Energy Drink and an unusual drama for optician Vision Express. Zoran shot the quirky spots for E-On through the agency Saatchi & Saatchi which feature, amongst other things, yoga dogs and moody crocodiles – although sadly the crocodiles don’t do yoga!
Alex helmed the photography of the Vision Express film which was a challenge due to the unusual aspect ratio of 7:1 and the huge scale of projection. This aspect ratio required a completely different way of thinking for camera movement and shot selection. This combined with also keeping an eye on the fact that it was to be projected on a 34m screen that curves around the audience made it a very successful brain teaser.
LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER
Another very interesting project has been completed. The feature film ‘LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER’. Its release is planned for around the end of this year and the beginning of the next one. Cast includes Juliet Stevenson, Henry Goodman, Lydia Wilson, Johnny Flynn…etc. The film was shot on locations in and around London and South Wales. We again supplied the equipment as well as Zoran being the Cinematographer on the production.
It was very exciting as a new experience in the set up itself. Actually there were two directors running the show. Ate de Jong (with whom Zoran completed the previous feature ‘DEADLY VIRTUES: Love. Honour. Obey’) and Emily Harris (a very creative and up and coming director). It was a completely new situation for both of them. The plan was for Ate to focus on performances and Emily to bring her unique film language to the equation. Naturally they overlapped and discussed all aspects of film-making with the creative crew on the set. Nobody knew how this would work but we had all the best plans laid.
The shoot went extremely well and this quirky love story should get the attention it rightly deserves.
OK, HOW COME IT IS ALREADY JUNE?
This year has just disappeared with a constant stream of different projects. Zoran has notched up another feature credit and Alex constantly seems to be on commercials and trails. The RED is very busy and we have now added a DJI Ronin to our arsenal of tools. It’s a terrific tool which is sometimes wrongly labelled as a replacement for a steadicam, in our view it offers different benefits and we have used it widely on drama and commercial films. So what have we been up to? Well following on from last year we completed another film for the British Museum which can be seen in the new Rothschild gallery. This was shot in Waddesden Manor, an amazing National Trust house. Shooting was, as always in these locations a juggling act of making sure everything looked beautiful whilst keeping within the strict restrictions of equipment allowed by the National Trust. It was an honour to shoot such a location and the film has come out beautifully. We have also been entrusted by RM Sothebys, probably the most prestigious classic car sales company in existence, to shoot several films for them. The most recent was for two cars that had a combined value of 25 million Euro!
We shot these on the RED in the lakes of Northern Italy. One car was a full on racing Ferrari ( a 250GT SWB – for those in the know!) and the other a more relaxed Ferrari California Spider. As the Spider is really a touring car RM decided to make this a more stylish and languid 1960’s inspired spot rather than the full on track based film we made for the 250GT. Here it is;
THE END OF A BUSY YEAR
I don’t think it would be possible for us to end the year with more of a diverse selection of work than we have completed in December! We were tasked by the British Museum to film a number of ancient artifacts for their ‘in museum’ displays. The only trouble was that we had a very limited time with each piece and they wanted the end product in 1080 (HD) but both in 16:9 and 9:16 aspect ratios. Our solution was to use the full 6K capacity of the Dragon sensor where not only could we extract a 9:16 aspect ratio from the centre of the 16:9 recorded image, but there was still room for digital zooms with a full HD output. This meant we could shoot both aspect ratios in one hit. Zoran shot these and The British museum were delighted, they have commissioned more for next year all of which are being posted by our good friends at FGreat. Alex, in the mean time was working for possibly the best known department store in the world, Harrods. Also shooting on the Dragon he shot a commercial for them showcasing the extravaganza that is known as their ‘Christmas Grotto’. This sold out the day after the film was released.
Straight after Harrods, Alex went to Cardiff (Wales) to shoot his forth feature and second with director Chris Crow. This is a very dark tale based on the true life story of two lighthouse keepers from 1801 who get marooned on a lighthouse due to a terrible storm. It was a hectic four week shoot but everybody is very happy with the results and it is now going into a heavy post schedule.
So, what an end to 2014, commissions by one of the worlds leading museums, one of the worlds leading department stores and an intense feature to balance things out a little!
PLAYING BURTON WINS A WELSH BAFTA
More than a year ago now Alex had an opportunity to shoot a feature with director Wyndham Price called ‘Playing Burton’. Wyndham has worked with Upsidedown Films since its conception 20 years ago and we have enjoyed shooting pilots, short films and feature films with him. Zoran was originally slated to shoot this film with Wyndham but due to a schedule clash Alex took his place. The shoot was a marvellous experience which was largely down to Wyndham helming the film beautifully and creating an environment where we all felt free to explore our own creativity and energy. He also managed to enlist the actor Josh Richards to take the lead role. Josh really owned the role and gave an outstanding performance. It’s lovely that BAFTA Wales recognised the coming together of all these talents and awarded ‘Playing Burton’ the 2014 BAFTA award in the category Single Drama/Film. Here’s a short montage taken from parts of the film
ARTISAN DU CHOCOLAT
Upsidedown Films has always embraced a broad range of films and genres but there was not much persuasion needed when we were asked to film a spot for luxury chocolate makers Artisan du Chocolat. The film needed to be glamorous in it’s visual atmosphere with a hint of mystery. Alex who was DoP on this project wanted to introduce reflections and flares to partially obscure the action and add a little ambiguity.
We shot on the Epic with our trusty Nikon primes. These give a really beautiful soft hint to the pictures and allow the flare to creep over the action in an elegant unobtrusive way. The spot was directed by Harry Reavley and produced by Diser Films. You can check out the final one minute version here.
At the beginning of April we finished principal photography on the feature film BRIDGE.
Our involvement was considerable. Apart from supplying camera kit Zoran was the Cinematographer on the film as well.
Shooting took place entirely on locations in and around Kolkata (India). The story is a gripping psychological drama – world cinema genre.
The whole experience on this project was magical and we hope that will be reflected in the final cut of the film.
Food with Sir Michael Parkinson
We have just completed a series of six films for Parkinson Productions. These were chats between Sir Michael Parkinson and 6 of the leading UK chefs. Although each show cooked a favourite dish of the featured chef, it was really about discovering who the chef was in the way that only Sir Michael can. We shot on 3 Canon C300s in a working kitchen and had a enormous amount of fun.
A Busy Epic
Well we bought our Epic in December of last year and since then it’s been a constant stream of work for it. It’s been amazing how broad the spectrum of genres has been. We started with a motion control shoot for the BBC, then a series of films promoting a new Viking exhibition for the British Museum, closely followed by some beauty spots for Max Factor.
Since then we have shot a film for Vision Express on a 5:1 aspect ratio, 2 more BBC trails and a fashion spot for accessorize. The camera is already earmarked for a fully funded feature being shot by Alex in September, a series of commercials throughout Europe with Zoran and the first block of a new feature with Alex in Nigeria, it’s going to be a well traveled camera!