Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thats right, Allyn and I are currently in our first week of pre. We have 4 productions in 3 weeks. They are as follows...
Water Under the Bridge- go to www.aftrswaterunderthebridge.blogspot.com
Sex With The Ex- details of blog to come
Kindle - no known blog as yet
Joyride - go to www.joyride-drama.blogspot.com

Go check these out, you'll get a fair idea of what we are working on.

I am 1st AC on WUB and SWTE, I will be 2nd AC on Kindle and Joyride.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Ten Canoes

1 Friday September 2006: The Australian Film Commission today announced that the feature film Ten Canoes is Australia?s official entry for nomination consideration for nomination consideration for Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th 79th Annual Academy Awards®.

Great News for Super 8

A word from Erika....

Hi all,
For those enthusiasts keen to shoot on super 8, good news! Richard Tuohy of Nanolab in Daylesford, Victoria has commenced operations processing Super 8, colour and B&W. They also supply film stock and also can handle 16mm.Check out their website! http://nanolab.com.au/

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Focus on the Dolly

Today Al and I really were able to put our focus practice to the test by getting on the dolly and having another moving object (A frame and focus chart on a dolly), threw a 200mm lens on the camera and started to really test our skills.

It was pretty cool. To finally really feel how the lens work focally with movement. Feels great to hit that mark. Although right now my eyes are a little tired and I will sleep well tonight. It was great. Loved it. Al and I are keen to get more of these exercises in.

Our Day At Panavision

Allyn and I spend Monday afternoon with Andrew Collier from Panavision Australia, going over their gear in detail. While both of us are already familiar with the staff and some of the services there, Andrew really took us over things in detail and we were able to drill him with any questions.

I was truely in camera heaven. I had never seen so many Zeiss lenses, I had never even seen a Cooke lens or the Frazier Lens System for that matter!!!

Andrew also showed us a gorgeous looking Panaflex G2, it had come back from Panavision USA with a complete reconditioning. The camera is over 30 years old and looked absolutly stunning. *sigh*

Camera Heaven....

We also went over the Arri 435, but Al and I are keen to get back and really start playing with that sucker:)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Steadicam with Boshe

Today Allyn and I had a class with Boshe re: Steadicam. In short... it was fabulous. I loved it. It was really wicked to finally try out something that I always wanted to give a go but had not had the chance to do yet. So, yes I need lots of practice, but the weight of the 570 did not bother me... although I can only imagine what an 16mm camera would be like let alone a 35mm!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great news from Ben Phelps

Hi Everyone,
Great news! A little bit more funding trickled in at the 11th hour last week which means . . . ."Thunderbirds are Go!" for the screening of Checkpoint in the World Comp at the Montreal World Film Festival! As per the rules, I'm heading over to Montreal this Friday. The 35mm print (with subtitles) has just landed there. It's been pretty frantic to organise with so little time. But it's all come together! Phew! Checkpoint screens twice on Sunday (2nd last day of the fest) and once on Monday (closing night). It should be a blast! I'll keep you posted.
In other news, Checkpoint has been selected in the "Best of the Melbourne International Film Festival" national screening tour. The response in Melb was really great. Better than I could have hoped!
Thanks for your help and/or enthusiasm!
Ben Phelps
(t) +61 413 131 788
(e) ben@benphelps.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Film School

Yesterday Allyn and I were playing with old school cameras. Yay. This is a Filmo. Today we were also lucky enough to be treated to the genius that is Stephen from Engineering. We went through the mechanics of the ARRI SR2 in full detail.... I am still in camera heaven.. Happy that I feel like I really know the camera inside out... *sigh* Later today we will learn more about the Intervalometer... Awesome:)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Think Outside the Square... Think 16:9

Hey Guys,

Well I am on my lunch break from my first day at film school. All is well so far. It is going to be a busy 10 weeks, but I am really excited about the stuff that I will be doing.

The head of Cinematography is Jan Kenny. This woman is really awesome. She was the first female camera assistant in the country her first job was with DoP Russell Boyd. (Oscar winning Aussie DoP) She worked really hard to prove that a female could do the job just as well as any guy even though traditionally women really never worked in the camera dept.

Now as a DoP herself, she is not only the Head of Cine here at AFTRS but the first women to be entered into the Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame.

All round I have alot to learn from her. And from what I hear I have alot of hard work and dedication ahead of me. Awesome.

The library here is brilliant. I've used it before but they really have everything. I was given the full induction today.

I can look up any DoP on their database eg Russell Carpenter who shot True Lies, Titanic, prob a heap of other block busters that you have seen. And it will give me a catalogue of all journals written about him and his work.

So I was able to locate an American Cinematographer Magazine from 1994 September issue that had an article on what film stocks, cameras and techniques that they uesd for True Lies. (LOVE THAT FILM!)

So then I headed to the Journals, where they have EVERY ISSUE POSSIBLE from American Cinematographer, and I found the Sept 1994 issue and was able to copy the article for my own studies.

Now this must seem really geeky to most of you but YAY!!

Just wait till I raid the Star Wars and Matrix issues!!!!

The books that I have access to, ahhhh, dream! Its great.

Every morning I have loading practice for an hour and then Focus Pulling practice. I will be able to judge distances by eye without a measure tape, although it will all be imperial. WHo cares!!!! I just want to know how to do it;)

now.... to the database to look up the film stats of .... Star Wars.... 1970 something:)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bin Appetit

I have just finished working a pretty interesting week. I have been camera assisting Devris Hasan on a documentry called Bin Appetit. The director and writer was Jenia Ratcliffe.

I think what was most interesting about this doco was the fact that I had never heard of the topic before. Dumpster Diving.

For those of you who don't know what Dumpster Diving is, this movie will open your eyes to a sub-culture I just didn't know existed.

I don't have any pics to show at this point, but it is one of those things that you have to see it to believe it. People don't go through the skip bins because they are starving and poor. It is because day after day we waste so much food and beverages that are perfectly ok to eat, that they believe that someone may as well have it. Even things that are in date and have nothing wrong with them, that people pay good money for are just thrown out at the end of the day to make room for the new days supply to arrive.

It is our consummer driven society that has resulted in food just being thrown away, and not given to the poor as it really doesn't appear to be an economical loss to the business. (its cheaper to disguard rather than feed the homeless) It is crazy, and lets not get into the legality of giving away food with liability. Some do it for a political statement, for religous beliefs, others believe that they are trying to keep a balance in our society that has over-produced waste.

What ever you think of it or who you think are doing it, think again. These are well educated people, who when you hear them, and you see the quality of the stuff that they are taking home and not paying a cent for, you can't help but feel like they are on to something.

Check out Dumpster Diving online for more info.

Now to the shoot!!!

It was a week long shoot. Started approx midday and ending at approx 10pm. We shot on Digi Beta, and ended up with 16 tapes of 40mins footage at the end of the shoot. Did some interviews and dumpster diving, met some fabulous characters.

Dev is great to work with. I find that this being the 3rd project that I have worked directly with him on, that I am understanding how he works and what rhythm he works in. It makes the job so much easier when you can be ready and waiting and know where your DP is at before they ask.

So there wasn't much room for learning focus pulling (we were on a zoom lens and there was plenty of other things that I needed to be doing) and other such tech stuff. However my learning experience was still just as rich. I have discovered how much I am remembering certain things about this camera. (last time I used it, I did a black balance for the first time!!!)

I also learned the value of communication. I saw Dev and Rich work so well together because they had a way of cummunicating without needing to say much at all. It made me realise how much a DP needs to be clear and work well with his soundie.

I was lucky enough to do a little operating on the last shot of the day. I wont get excited yet. I havent picked up a motion camera for ages, and don't pretend to be anything in the same regard as Dev. But it reminded me why I am assisting and that is to shoot myself. I love it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

John Seale- Metro Screen

I attended Popcorn Taxi's talk with Dion Beebe last night and I have to be honest and say that I didn't feel that the intervew was contucted well at all. So maybe more luck with Metroscreen, who are interviewing Cinematographer John Seale next month. Andrw Urban will be hosting and interviewing.

John Seales most recognised credits are-
Picnic at Hanging Rock - Operator
Gallipoli - Operator
Witness - DoP
Rain Man- DoP
The English Patient - DoP (Also won him the oscar)
The Talented Mr. Ripley - DoP
The Perfect Storm - DoP
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone- DoP
Cold Mountain - DoP
Poseidon - DoP (comming out soon)

Details are as follows:

Thursday 22nd June 2006
7pm-9pm (Doors open at 6.30pm)
$20 (unless you are a member of metroscreen, then it is $15)
Bookings are essential
612 9361 5318
Paddington Town Hall

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Day 3 of Frail

Pip the Grip on the dolly with the Moviecam.
Alex the Director in conversation with the 1st AD Joel.
Bonnie Elliott (DoP) and Morag (Focus Puller) working their craft.

Overall it was an excellent shoot. I was presented with challenges and was lucky enough to play with new gear. Like all focus pullers I have worked with so far, Morag teaches me so much and she reminds me that every day you learn new things. I love learning and never want to stop:) Posted by Picasa

Day Two of Frail

My slate
My 1st EVER 1000' loaded magazine of 35mm film!!!!
Morag, my focus puller with the Moviecam.
What a beautiful way to wrap day two! Posted by Picasa

Checkpoint Premiere

This is the invite I was sent for the premiere of Checkpoint (the first film I loaded 16mm for last year!!!!) Dan and I will both be attending Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 1 on the set of Frail

On the set. Frail is a short film made by Azure Productions.
Believe it or not, these mags, which are so simple to load, gave me grief this morning when we had unexplained noise comming from the mag. We opened them up and had a good look and couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong. All of our theories were wrong, and then even wierder is that fact that they all stopped making the noise and we were able to shoot as per normal.

Thank goodness as we had done a gear check yesterday at Panavision and the mags were silent!
The camera built. It has the Angeniux 250mm lens on it with a 400' mag and a 6x6 matte box.

Tomorrow I load the 1000' mag. Again I am such a nerd. I am so excited!

We are shooting on old stock.

Kodak Eastman 5218 096 014 01

For black and white... should be wicked!!!!
Bonnie Elliott the DoP, operating from a high angle in teh dolly. Our grip for the shoot is Pip the Grip! He is awesome! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

National Geographic Shoot

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be asked to work on a National Geographic shoot with Hugh Miller and Katie Rose. I was to be the Clapper Loader on the Hawkesbury segment of a series of 90 second vingettes on "What Makes An Expert".

They filmed 3 all together, 1 in South Australia, 1x in Central Queensland and 1x in The Hawkesbury River. (I was not part of the first two but both Hugh and Katie said that it was unreal!)

It was a great shoot. The locations were unbelievable! To think that just minutes from Sydney is a world away from what most city folk could even imagine. We truely are the lucky country and it was one of those shoots, that even with working from magic hour to magic hour (Sunrise to Sunset), I could not help but think to myself that I really have it good.

The lenses that we used, the shots that we got, and then the personal journey of cultural experience just made the whole thing priceless. But enough blabbering on about how much I loved the shoot.

You can view these vignettes online at the National Geographic website. Go to...



Today I spent the day at Panavision learning a new camera that I have never worked with before, Moviecam. We tested the gear and did an insurance test. Here is the focus chart that we used to test the lenses.
Our gear. We managed to condense the amount of hard cases that we are carrying on Morag's car to fit it all in.
This is the chart that we use for the steady test. Basically it is an insurance test to ensure that the camera is in working order. We shoot the grid so that the cross in the middle is straight, we then in a dark room wind the film back and re-shoot over the exposed stock wih the grid tilted on an angle.

When you view it back at the lab, if the lines move over each other it is not a good sign. But our test was fine. (as expected)

For more info on insurance tests read Eurbank or Harts manuals on camera assisting. They are good reads.
This is an actual nice pic of the Moviecam we are using. Go to www.moviecam.com or www.panavision.com.au for more information. It will be my first camera on 35mm where I have loaded a full mag of 1000'. How exciting. I am such a nerd:) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

If Magazine News Article 16th May

This article was published on the If Magazine website. I worked as a camera assistant on both Black Rain and Brown Trash.

Black Rain was shot by Bonnie Elliott on 16mm, with Morag Mankar as the Focus Puller.

Brown Trash was shot by Andrew McLeod on Mini DV and I was the only camera assistant.

Metro Screen: Multicultural Mentorship Scheme & Raw Nerve screenings (NSW)

WHEN 16 & 17 May WHERE Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall

Short productions made through the Multicultural Mentorship Scheme [MMS] funded by NSW Film and Television Office [NSW FTO] and Raw Nerve funded by the AFC will have their premiere screening at the Chauvel Cinema May 16 and 17.

Metro Screen runs these schemes in partnership with the NSW FTO. These schemes provide culturally diverse and first time filmmakers the opportunity to produce short drama’s, documentaries and animations. Each of the nine filmmakers showcased over the two nights has access to equipment, facilities hire, stock, post production facilities, and a $2,000 budget. In addition, each filmmaker was mentored through the process by an industry professional. These schemes run annually.

* Multicultural Mentorship Scheme screening, Tuesday May 16 at 6pm.Productions screening include: Patti Tsarouhis’s drama Timoleon, George Barbakadze’s drama Black Rain, Alia Alexandra Eva Hassim’s animation The Green Grass of Home and Alina Gozin’a’s drama Closing Stages.

These films are a bitter sweet array of stories dealing with loss, the distance between old and new home lands, Chernobyl 20 years on, sacrifice, tradition and the beauty of finding humour in any situation. These films reveal the migrant experience, cultural discrimination and conflicting value systems.

* Raw Nerve screening, Wednesday May 17 at 6pm.Productions screening include: Luc Anthony’s experimental drama Composure, Tresa Ponnor’s drama Brown Trash, Michelle Bleicher’s experimental drama The Hat, Maree-Louise Evans’s documenatry Squeegeeing, and Sam Phelps’s drama Falling for Grace.
These films deal with dark comedy, sex, adventurous hats and the age old notion that a kiss is not just a kiss. See unlikely circumstances producing romance, introverts on a winter’s day and discover an absurd rollercaoster of uncharted sexual awakening.

Metro Screen invites the public to these complimentary screenings to acknowledge the work and success of these new independent filmmakers and to experience new stories and ideas produced by young Australians.
Venue: Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall Cnr Oatley Rd & Oxford St
Time: 6pm to 7pm
Fee: complimentary, reservations not required.

A Welcome To Country by Lester Bostock will start each screening.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The last 4 days saw me work as Clapper Loader on a short film "Starcross'd". It was created by Digi Media Student Pat Clair, who directed the piece. In short it is his pet and I think it will be fabulous. We had proffesional dancers come in for the shoot, Amy, Sarah Jane, Kaylee, Jason and Ethan. They were brilliant. The moves these guys showed us were really really good. They were masters of their art from breakdancing, hip hop and freestyle these guys were great.

Andrew McLeod was the DoP and Bonnie Elliott was the operator and Brie Walsh was focus puller. Tigs was the 1st AD, which was great. I last saw her on a short film we shot out at Richmond for 3 days "Checkpoint"

Day 1 and 2 saw us with support, so it was a big couple of days. We knocked over approx 30 shots each day which was what we were aiming for. Day 1 we had the Digi Beta, and then for the rest of the shoot we used a HD camera.

Day 3 and 4 saw us with support, Gaffers, Grips and Design support too. The crane came out on day 3 and we used the dolly on day 4. (yay for Turbo, Boshey, Jason, Ryan and Rowan!)

Over all the shoot went really well, Pat even spoilt everyone with a bottle of Cab Sauv wrapped in celophane with candy hidden inside after we wrapped.

My slating is definatly improving and my camera notes are more detailed now, and I am no longer relying on Brie to give me the details for my sheets. (With prime lenses I am fine, but we were working a zoom lens and I found myself needing to always check what mm we were at because it changed so frequently)

I liked working with the HD, from an assistant's perspective the split is far easier to work with and it has a much clearer picture. Have a look at the pictures below, they will give an idea of what I am talking about. The whole shoot was blue screen so I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

The crane

Day three saw the crane come out. On the crane is Bonnie Elliott, the operator and Brie Walsh the Focus Puller. Posted by Picasa


STARCROSS'D is a short digi based film created and Directed by Pat Clair. The DoP was Andrew McLeod and Bonnie Elliott was the operator. Brie Walsh was Focus Puller and I was Clapper/Loader.

The first two days were unsuported, so we had no Gaffer and Grips dept, so that was a pretty hectic couple of days.
The prosthetics were a little weird on this, the lights kept drying the makeup blending the prosthetic to the skin and as a result was cracking. Loads of KY was needed to keep it moist.
The tracking marks are for the digi supervisor. So when perspective changes whilst the camera is moving, the background will move accordingly. Posted by Picasa


These pics were taken on day four of the shoot.
Turbo cutting light
We shot on Digi beta for day one and on HD on days two, three and four.
Boche's dolly Posted by Picasa

Welcome Note

This is really a personal blog for myself to remember and note the films that I work on. Anyone is welcome to read, however most will find the information quite irrelevent for themselves. For fellow film buffs and work mates, you will likely like a little read. If entertainment is what you are after, go to the social page jaxlives.blogspot.com