The January Drop-In night at the Sydney HQ of the Australian Cinematographers Society was a standing room only event and featured two video camera related presentations. Firstly, Anthony Kable of Sony Australia filled in the latest developments within Sony's large frame sensor product range and with many recent model releases by Sony, it was a great opportunity for everyone to get up to speed.
I followed with a talk centering my recent assignment as a cinematography mentor on board Aurora Expedition's Polar Pioneer. In particular, the use of Sony A7R Mk2 mirrorless cameras paired with the Atomos Assassin 4K recorder to cover my 4K cinematography and stills photography during the springtime expedition to South Georgia Island and Antarctica.
Birds and seals South Georgia - Gold Bay King Penguins, Baily Bay Chinstrap Penguins and Antarctic peninsular landscapes
During November/December I travelled to the island of South Georgia and Antarctica on the Polar Pioneer for Aurora Expeditions, my role was as a guest cinematography lecturer. I shot video footage along the way. For this expedition, I chose to forgo my Sony PXW-FS7, taking only Sony stills cameras.
Here are are two short videos, shot in 4K, recorded on the Ninja Assassin and uploaded as HD. My camera/lens kit consisted of a Sony A7R Mk2, Sony A7R (stills only), Sony 70-200mm f/4 G zoom, Zeiss Loxia 55mm f/2, Sony/Zeiss 16-35mm f/4, Canon 400mm f/5.6, Sony RX100 Mk4, GoPro 4, Atomos Ninja Assassin, Miller Air tripod/fluid head, Zoom H4n recorder. I used standard gamma settings and the audio was recorded mainly by the A7R's stereo microphone. I used no additional camera accessories.
If weight was again a factor, I'd gladly pack the same kit for the next assignment. I was interviewed before leaving on the expedition.
Anne spent from April 2009 to July 2012 in Jerusalem reporting on the Middle East region. She is an experienced reporter by any measure. As a part of this camera training, I have devised a number of practice assignments, shooting with a Sony PXW-X70 video camera. It's been a great week - her video photography is coming together nicely.
We have some additional sessions planned for early 2016
Journalist Tim Lester has recently finished a solid block of video camera training with me here in Sydney. Since 2014 Tim has been with the Seven Network's political team in Canberra covering federal politics from Parliament House.
Tim is the former political bureau chief & online political editor for Fairfax. He is also a former foreign correspondent for the ABC and has covered events while living in Sydney, Melbourne, Washington, Bangkok, Hobart and Launceston.
As one of Australia's most experienced journalists with a career spanning three decades, Tim has worked with some of Australia's best news camera operators - he also has a great eye.
Home again, this time from Punta Arenas in the south of Chile and I'm feeling that warm Sydney summer sunlight. I have completed a three week journey to South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsular on board the Aurora Expeditions ship, Polar Pioneer. South Georgia is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. It is 165 kilometres (103 mi) long and 1 to 35 km (1 to 22 miles) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory. It was my first visit there and was an incredible experience.
I joined the expedition as a cinematography lecturer and mentor along with renowned Australian photographer Peter Eastway. My 4K video was recorded with Sony cameras fitted with Sony, Zeiss and Canon lenses. Sony A7R Mk2, Sony A7R & Sony RX100 Mk4 cameras and Sony 70-200mm, Zeiss 16-35mm, Zeiss 55mm f1.8 & Canon 400mm lenses. Some of the images below have been extracted from the 4K video footage.
My One-on-One camera training continues into 2016
I will be in Sydney for the next few months and happy to take bookings for One-on-One training sessions in January, February and March. My next shooting and training assignments take me to Thailand and Vietnam in March 2016. Email for further information on One-on-One and Small-Group training.
Sailing in the waters around South Georgia Island and Antarctica, the unexpected will happen. It's the nature of an expedition cruise. My recent excursion to Cape Horn was a great example. As its sole resident, the Chilean naval officer and lighthouse keeper stationed on this wild windy place doesn't get too many casual visitors. This is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and it's a treacherous, dangerous place.
Few ships call by for that reason. Aurora Expeditions ship the Polar Pioneer was in the right place at the right time - we were able to go ashore by zodiac in the relative calm of late afternoon to make that long climb to the top of the island. Conversing in my travel Spanish, I had a nice chat with the navy officer who allowed me to take his photo beside one of the few structures on this remotest of places.
These SBS cadet journalists have for the past days been attending my Sydney Video Journalism training course. While they may not have the wish to ever shoot feature films or documentaries, they do leave with the video and audio skills to enable them to shoot a news story when and if required. But who knows where video camera skills can take them? Nice to meet you (L to R) Rachael Hocking, Lydia Feng, Abbie O'Brien & Will Mumford.
We wrapped up the training quite late yesterday in Sydney’s uncomfortable afternoon heat. This morning I’m flying to Santiago Chile, to start my next training stint - an 18 day photographic expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica.
I have been invited to join renowned Australian photographer Peter Eastway for an exclusive photography expedition cruise sailing through the stunning landscapes of Antarctic and South Georgia. With just a few places still open, I’d like to extend an invitation to join me on board our 18-day Scotia Sea Springtime voyage.
To tempt you, Aurora Expeditions is offering my facebook followers and LinkedIn contacts a generous, last minute 25% discount.
To visit Antartica is an unforgettable experience and November may well be the best time to go. Develop your skills through a program of photography and video story telling lectures and workshops on board the 54-passenger vessel Polar Pioneer. With so much to see; birds, waves, clouds, shorelines, icebergs and sometimes pack ice, I’ll be there to guide you.
Learn new camera skills, polar photography tips, video story-telling and editing techniques on this trip-of-a-lifetime. Download a brochure with all itinerary, dates and pricing. I was interviewed about the expedition by Aurora.
There is a common push to require television journalists to shoot there own video stories. It's the changing face of journalism in Australia and around the world. My task is to train them to do this in the best way they can. Siobhan was in Sydney last week to brush up on her video photography skills. Expect to see Siobhan's images on ABC News in the near future.
Back home from Goondiwindi Queensland. I've finished six solid days of training in video camera, camera movement and lighting for Wayne Pratt Photography. Wayne is a is a leading freelance photographer based in Goondiwindi, Queensland. He has made a major investment into cinematography by purchasing the best Black Magic camera equipment available.
Thanks for the invitation to visit your beautiful and peaceful part of the world. I'll now be preparing for my next shooting assignment starting later in the week - India and Bhutan.
Marg and Steve Hogan have completed four days of bespoke training here in North Sydney. They started Red Moon Creative in 2004 and from their base in Bathurst they've built a reputation as one of the leading graphic design/communication studios in regional NSW. They love doing what we're doing and it shows. Their enthusiasm and appetite for learning all went to make my work with them a pleasure. They are also aways up for a laugh as you can see.
Network Seven cadet journalists, soon to be video journalists, have just completed a solid first day of video camera training in North Sydney.
I am spending much of July working in the United States. This time I'm filming with one of my favorite directors, Bill Bennett. This will be a feature documentary for cinema release and it tries to understand what intuition is, where it comes from, how to tap into it so it can use it in everyday life. It is an amazing story and you can follow Bill's detailed blog for a round-up day by day.
Clinical psychologist Dr Robyn Dolby. Robyn is producing an observational documentary that can be used within the early childhood sector to familiarize other educators with the Playspace structure and its benefits.
At James Cahill Preschool in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo, the educators have pioneered using a structure called Playspaces at key times of the day to support them to be physically predictable and emotionally available to children.
Robyn's documentary will engage educators and motivate them to be brave, to try the next step of training in Playspaces because they see how it works and what they are going to get out of it. Robyn will spend up to six days training using the Sony PXW-X70. Her training program will include guided location shoots.
Indonesia, Sabah, Brunei and Vietnam, locations for my recent series of South East Asia cinematography talks, screenings and video camera workshops. Travelling with rock music commentator and historian Glenn A Baker for two weeks for a British cruise line.
The annual National Awards of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) was the main show in Hobart this past weekend. An event for almost three hundred over three days that included equipment expos, technology talks, film screenings with Q&A sessions and an evening reception at Government House hosted by the Governor of Tasmania, Kate Warner.
I was pleased to have been asked to run a two-hour masterclass for cinematographers and students of the craft as one of the many supporting events. The packed room was a standing-room only session.
This film has been so warmly received by people from many countries during my recent international speaking trips. My role in this production was as Director of Photography.
In four corners of the globe, in each of the four seasons, four outstanding violinists guide us on an extraordinary journey through their four distinct homelands. From the springtime blossoms of Japan, into the blistering heat and thunderstorms of an Australian summer; from a joyful autumn in New York, to the unforgiving cold and human warmth of a Finnish winter. The resonant and much-loved music of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and the timeless stories they tell, form the backbone to this bold and engaging celebration of friendship, homeland and the cycles of life.
Please click on the image
I’ve taken PDV video training to Wyangla near Cowra NSW this week. The sessions are being staged in the old shearers quarters of the historic property, Riverslea. This is an initiative of the Upper Lachlan Landcare in conjunction with The Corridor Project for a group of local indigenous filmmakers. Aside from our location shoots on the bank of the Lachlan River just less than a hundred meters away, There was a stunning view of the classic wool shed from my verandah this morning.
Shooting continues for the documentary "Women in Blues". From Austin Texas, Ruthie Foster is a featured singer/guitarist and I recently went to the Byron Bay Blues Festival to film a few sequences with her. Director Lisa Eismen U n Me Films and myself will hopefully be back in Chicago, Mississippi, Louisiana and a grab bag of other locations mid-year to follow her on the US tour. I took this photo mid performance on my Sony A7s 10,000 ISO with the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom.
She is an extraordinary entertainer, singer and guitarist from Austin Texas seen here in a very Aussie setting at the Byron Bay Blues Festival. Thanks Ruthie Foster for a brilliant interview and a very personal insight into your life for our documentary "Women in Blues"
For those fortunate to be heading to Las Vegas for the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters show this April 13-16, I would like to remind you that I will be conducting a series of cinematography talks at the Miller Tripods exhibit. There will be the top team from Miller Australia and USA showing their latest and greatest in camera support. We'll be right opposite popular Atomos stand - two fabulous Aussie companies in the one area, how good is that? If you’re passing by, come and say G'day or better still, sit in on one of my sessions - it will be an open seating area and very casual. You can catch some of the following topics and they're free! But wait, there's more....Click here for all the details
- Finding Good Angles in Bad Locations
- Following Movement—Handheld on the Tripod
- Selective Focus: Large and Small-Sensor Cameras
Pre-Shoot Preparation and Avoiding Common Shooting mistakes
Chicago. It's just so easy to get caught up in the excitement of this great American city and the excitement of this documentary. Clear crisp spring days photographing stunning architecture - filming the finest blues artists in the late of the night. Shooting continues on "Women in Blues".
I am shooting this production using two of the newer Sony digital video cameras. The Sony PXW-FS7 is being used as the principle camera and the Sony A7s as a second camera for our performance scenes. The FS7 comes into its own for the handheld cinematography, largely in the blues clubs at night. This camera is a joy to use, fitting so snug on my shoulder. Location audio is being recorded by Tammi Veriga-Glover using the Sennheiser MKH 418S microphone encoded in Mid-Side (MS) Stereo connected to a Tascam multi-track digital location recorder.
We have more to do. Produer and Director Lisa Eismen and myself intend to travel back to Chicago and the Mississippi Delta for the next leg of the shoot. On this recent stint, all of the filming took place in Chicago - there's enough going on there to keep us busy for a while. You will find out a lot more about this fantasic documentary right here
In between two international shoots, I’m running One-on-One training in North Sydney each day this week. Kicking off with Yaelle Naidoo from 3RDiCreative. The training is adding to her many existing cinematography skills.
I have been on shooting on the Tahitian islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. Working in 4k with the Sony PXW-FS7 combined with Sony/Zeiss lenses, it gives a new lease of life to standard (Full) HD and I've discovered some excellent post options.
I’ve combined this trip with a Silversea cruise lecture series, presenting a number of cinematography talks and screenings on the luxurious Silversea cruise liner, the Silver Whisper in place of flying back to Australia. So thank you Silversea, guests and crew for an enjoyable couple of weeks on the Pacific high seas.
The Sony PXW-X70 is a hit camera for documentary and corportate shooting. Shannon Anthoness of Little Dog Productions joins me for some One-on-One camera and lighting training in North Sydney.
There were ten presenters onboard P&O's Bucket List CruiseBreak. A few days of fun with bow to stern workshop events - I delivered two, including my Top Ten GoPro Camera Tips - "how to mount, shoot and wow"
This image taken on my iPhone between talks. The nicest time to observe the ocean.
October and November has seen busy times at PDV Digital Cinema. Plenty of video shooters leaving with new skills.
So much colour and action here at the two-day Morobe Show in Papua New Guinea. I could not wish for a better event to run a location practice shoot for my students at Ahi Media, Lae. 3 x GoPro Heros+, a Sony FS700 at running at 400fps, Sony NX5, Canon 5DM3 - I shot these images with one of my favourite cameras, the Sony A7s.
Part of the training that I’m delivering here concerns Slow Motion cinematography. Shooting on a Sony FS700 at 400 frames per second, I've captured Aussie FMX rider Matt Schubring doing an impersonation of Superman at last weekends’ Morobe Province show.
Why not join the final CAMERA, STORY and LIGHT weekend workshop for the year? The video camera training is designed for anyone with a desire to get beyond menus and dials and is suited to users of DSLR and conventional video cameras alike. If can't make it for the two days, then just come along on Saturday - there is still lots you'll learn.
"Pieter's workshop was brilliant. By the end of the weekend I walked away with more confidence and faith that I can communication great stories using film and with renewed inspiration to produce outstanding work for my clients.
If there is a passionate filmmaker in you that is bursting to break out Pieter de Vries workshops are a must!'
"I really enjoyed your weekend workshop. Thank you so much. It was friendly, fun and I learnt some great techniques to improve my video skills"
"Pieter has clearly done it all over many years so you can be assured investing in his training is money well spent because you'll be learning from one of Australia's most accomplished cinematographers"
Our market location shoot today in the tropical heat went well with Malcolm Gautheir and Nicky Polosi of Ahi Media behind the camera. I’m in Papua New Guinea running two weeks of video camera and lighting training for this fast growing company, eager to make a mark in corporate and commercial video production in PNG. They are well on the way.
Saturday + Sunday, September 20th & 21st - course details and booking HERE
THE CAMERA, THE STORY and THE LIGHT. These three elements form the foundation of successful video cameracraft and are the foundations of this workshop, designed for anyone with a desire to get beyond menus and dials. This course is designed for the users of DSLR and conventional video cameras alike
This week at PDV Digital Cinema it's been One-on-One training with Sydney filmmaker and producer, John Meredith from Sydney based production company Mondo Bilgola. He has a great setup from LanParte Germany and I prefer DSLR camera rigs that are at home on the tripod as well as on the shoulder. John seemed right at home with his Canon 5D M3.
"Thank you for the last two days...it was really valuable for me and great fun" - John Meredith
I'm currently shooting in Chicago with some of the town's finest blues singers. Each of these amazing artists burst into song during the filming - spine tingling behind my camera! Thanks Grana Louise, MzPeachez Williams and Liz Mandeville
I've met a number of other Chicago based blues singers and I've photographed and filmed them for the documentary Women in Blues. Drove to Mississippi (11 hours) for a few days of shooting in Clarkesdale. The annual Blues Festival down there is run by actor Morgan Freeman and we stayed at his amazing blues pub. Video and stills images are being shot on a Sony A7s camera with a Zeiss lens package with some wider shots being recorded on a GoPro Hero 3+.
Thanks MzPeachez Williams, Peaches Staten, Mary Lane, Claudette Miller, Laretha Weathersby, La La, Grana Louise, Shirley Johnson and Liz Mandeville
I’ll be hitting the Southern region of the United States in early August with Producer, Lisa Eisman of U n Me Films. It will be phase one; researching a documentary about how the blues and gospel women singers/songwriters and musicians have influenced music today. "Women in Blues" will be an assignment close to my heart.
The weekend workshop went very well and thanks to everyone who came along to make it one of the best. We pack a lot into the two days and I know that you draw on your new confidence next time you hit the record button.
"As soon as I got home, I downloaded the shots and before I knew it, it had taken shape and had a life of its own. It was an inspirational weekend".
Tristan Parry, Creative Director and Cinematographer, Media One Creative Agency".
Also this week, popular Sydney photographer Paul Wright seems happy with his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. Paul spent a few days with me at the North Sydney venue upgrading his skills to get his video shooting up to speed.
I filmed this short and sweet advertising spot recently during the Adelaide Festival. For Sennheiser’s new pro MOMENTUM headphones, it's part of a series of short documentary spots that feature talented sound artists from all over the world - you find out more about them, their stories and see how each artist uses Momentum headphones. Pure inspiration for anyone who loves sound. Thanks Dan Hughes at Page 2 Communucations for the tight edit and to good friend and location producer Martin Ireland from Sennheiser Australia.
I'm working on a series of great promos this month. Featuring boxers and boxing trainers Chy Chuawiwat and Mark Pitts. TV presenter Caroline Pembertone is chucking a few punches along the way. I'm predicting A fast and pacey edit with strong a thumping music track. These are noisy and motivating training sessions and it's not hard to let the energy of the room influence the camera moves. for this spot I am cinematographer/director. View completed video is here
Chy Chuawiwat, CEO and Ric Holland Director of Digital Agency Solutions, both from Sydney IT company 0ffis, a company that provides Instant IT infrastructure. Two keener guys you'd be pressed to find. They will soon be adding their freshly crafted home grown footage to the already abundant array of video content on the Offis website.
More Articles ...
- May assignment: PNG & West Sepik region - Aitape and Tumleo Island
- April CAMERA STORY LIGHT Workshop
- February training courses in Sydney and Canberra
- February assignment - Central Queensland for the Stockman's Hall of Fame
- January - Guest speaker at Dragon Image Camera Movement Workshop
- 2014 - off to a good start with Dept of Communications Canberra
- Final weekend workshop for 2013
- Nov/Dec 2013 - Indonesia's Forgotten Islands Photography Cruise
- Vietnam lecture tour
- The Forgotten Islands Photography Cruise - wait list only
- SBS Television's big training week for cadet journalists
- October - Sony PMW-F55 & F5 review
- Photographer Jason Ney completes DSLR video training
- Kuala Lumpur, Osaka & Seoul: Asia 3D for VMware
- Fairfax Media Sydney workshops
- DSLR and video camera weekend workshop
- Saturday & Sunday 10th & 11th - small-group workshop update
- New York, Cincinnati Ohio, Maysville Kentucky to Chennai India
- Journalist Ruth Ostrow and Stuart Bathurst One-on-One training
- One-on-One DSLR video training - always popular