July 2016: 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.
Our list of shooting locations is spectacular. Dallas, Springfield Missouri, Los Angeles, Big Sur, Mount Shasta and a number of other west coast locations. We are covering this sector of the shoot by road, driving from LA to the far north of California and into Oregon. This particular three week shoot wraps in Chicago after a brief side trip by road to Toronto via Niagra Falls.
I will be conducting my training with One-on-One clients in August. Equipment used for this assignment:
• Sony PXW-FS7 4K • Zeiss Loxia 35mm & 50mm f2
• Sony T* FE 16-35mm f4 zoom • Sony T* FE 24-70mm f4 zoom
• Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom • SONY 28-135mm f4 zoom
Freelance writer and editor Neil McMahon and myself have had an absorbing three days. Here at PDV Digital Cinema, I’ve taking Neil through an intensive video journalists camera and lighting course. We are now editing the footage shot over the last few days.
Neil McMahon is a widely respected freelance journalist and author who has covered politics, war and more trivial pursuits in Australia and abroad since 1985. He is a regular writer for the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
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.
May 2015: 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
The National Association of Broadcasters, NAB 2015 Las Vegas is an humongous international event. It overwhelms. My series of masterclass sessions for Australian camera support leaders Miller Tripods went nicely and there was abundant nearby entertainment coming from another great Australian company, Atomos. In the face of girls clad in body paint, wheel of fortune style give-aways resulting a fun carnival-like atmosphere at the Atomos stand, I still had more than a decent rollup for each of my 12 x 30 minute sessions over the four days of the show.
It was full throttle and I delivered twelve cinematography talks to NAB visitors from around the world. Good to see so many Aussies stopping by.
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
Topics for each of the 30 minute talks will be:
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
This week I presented a camera and post update for Foxtel's production team at the ACS Headquarters, North Sydney. With an emphasis on 4K, I brought in an array of video production cameras including the Canon C500, Sony PXW-X70, Canon 1Dc plus Sony's popular PXW-FS7 and A7s 4K models. Thank you Lemac Film and Digital and VA Digital Hire for providing some of the camera packages.
The group of fifteen Associate and Senior Producers, Production Supervisors, Production Co-ordinators was headed by Duane Hatherly, General Manager LifeStyle Channels and Director of Production at Foxtel. Duane below, and a few producers get a feel for the handheld charms of the FS7.
Typically at this time of the year, between training and shooting schedules, I am invited by US based Italian boutique cruise line Silversea
to join one of their immaculate ships to deliver talks and screen examples of my work for the guests. This time on the Silver Spirit; a life on the sea for weeks at a time in some nice locations. These images were taken on an iPhone6 using a limited panorama sweep.
On this most recent voyage, I was able to catch up with good friend and colleague Judith Curran, a senior producer at NHNZ in Dunedin New Zealand. Below is our early morning sail into Port Chalmers the port servicing Dunedin New Zealand.
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.
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.
Course details and bookings
"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!'
Ralph Barba Creative director - Four Diegos Media Melbourne - September
"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"
Therese Woolnough, pro photographer Wagga - September
"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"
Greg Dyett, Journalist SBS Television Melbourne - September
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
Back from a road trip through the heart of the Mississippi Delta Blues. "Women in Blues
” is the title of a new documentary being produced by U N Me Films
. Chicago Illinois, Clarksdale Mississippi and down through Louisiana to New Orleans - all the way, filming and photographing the story of American Blues music and in particular, the women who sing the blues.
The camera I have used for all the video and stills images is a Sony A7s plus some nice Zeiss lenses - a 55mm f1.8, 35mm f2.8, 24-70mm f4 and the sweet and lightweight Sony G series 70-200mm f4.
Here are some still images taken along the way, some at ridiculously high ISO settings. I hope to go back soon to shoot another episode. The women who sing the blues will be there.