WORLD TOUR #4 : SOUTH EAST ASIA 
After the success of the previous South East Asia shows, the 2 shows in Bali came as much of an unknown. Our first stop in Jakarta demonstrated the diversity of the countries surrounding; the area around the venue felt like what I imagined India to look like, a mass of scooters and tuk-tuk’s drivingly chaotically down the roads.
When we arrived, the band were lead swiftly into a ‘press conference’ a small room where mostly Indonesian was spoken and the band questioned by local journalists. Bizarre, but interesting footage for me. I shot this on the Nikon 24-120mm, which gave me a nice range to pick out faces and the bands (numerous) perplexed expressions, whilst also capturing the wider room. It’s not so much a cinematic lens, but for events like this, where the focus of documenting the event comes foremost it’s ideal.
Rather than filming (parts of) yet another soundcheck, I took the opportunity to explore the area around the venue and grab some location shots. I only had to turn the corner of the venue car park and immediately felt like I was in a much harsher environment than the countries we’d visitied previous. Poverty was immediately evident, and although visually intersting, I didn’t feel entirely safe carrying the FS700 with it’s larger Rode shotgun mic, zoom lens and rails kit – it’s not the most discrete of setups.
FS700 w/ 24-120mm + Rode NTG-2
After a relatively bizarre afternoon it was show-time; the 1200(!) cap venue partly filled, though it was another disappointing gear/sound setup. I made the most of what I could shoot, predominantly ‘stock’ slow-motion, although the lighting engineer’s refusal to use anything but an all blue cast didn’t help matters. Probably the most disappointing footage I’ve shot on the tour so far, despite working through numerous focal lengths in different angles, I couldn’t find much I was particulalrly happy with. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes though, and after the success of the the shows the nights prior it didn’t hugely in the grander scheme of things.
For shooting all my live stuff I use a Zoom H2N for room audio, situated as close as possible to (or forward from) the front of house desk. I’ve done this for years since shooting live stuff with DSLRs. Their on-camera audio even with a mic is unuseable from close to stage, especially as I often end up stood infront of speaker stacks (ALWAYS wear earplugs!). If I’m touring with a sound engineer I’ll try to use a direct feed from the desk, although this can sometimes be quite dry. (Ideal setup is an additional ambient mic to capture crowd noise, in addition to the mixed FOH). The FS700 audio setup of twin XLR’s and manual controls is much better than DSLR, although it’s still good to have the full set captured. I picked up this window-sucker to 90 deg 3/8″ mount just before we left, and it’s super useful for GoPro’s and the Zoom mic.
The excitement the morning after the show was evident not just in myself but by the whole band, as we caught an early flight to Bali. Without much idea if the show would be a success, the 3 days off following it to explore the island and relax had everyone in good spirits. I knew some killer footage was to come.
We arrived to find a bizarre rock club, situated off what felt like the island’s only dual carrigeway… Venue aside; we were presented with the most incredible back stage area, a ‘Royal House’ where the venue owner and his 2(!) wives lived. This gave the most exciting opportunity for original shots in the last few days. The tropical garden was steeped in Indonesian culture, bathed in the late afternoon sun.
Times like this is why I
drag carry my large peli from airport to airport. Being able to use my slider and Glidecam in situations like this really adds a serious production value even when I only get a short amount of time to setup and work out shots; there was actually less than an hour of light left when we arrived, and in these cases it’s often just a case of minutes until the sun drops behind a wall or building.
A new favourite technique is doing full low-to-high Glidecam lifts at a fast walking pace, combined with super slow motion mode to iron out any small wobbles. It gives the impression of a large jib or track, the multiple planes in the fore, mid and background make these shots in the garden look really incredible.
I’ll let the story of the actual gig tell it’s own tale in the final film, fair to say it was a particularly interesting one to say the least – an out of town monthly metal night, with drums set on a platform to the far side of the stage…
After a night in a local hotel, the next morning we were out early to explore the island. We ended up at a beautiful spot named ‘Dreamland Beach’, where we spent the day.
Aside from the gear+sand hell I’ve discussed before, the FS700 absolutely thrives in this envrionment. Masses of light mean the cleanest possible slow-motion footage. The built in ND filters are an absolute necessity – I can’t even remember how I shot without them before. Having lens-filter mounted ones would be a real inconvenience, with many of my lenses at different thread diameters variable ND’s per lens would be quite a cost. Being able to shoot low aperture at low shutter speeds is really key for me. I shot a mix of wide angle on the Glidecam, and hand held 50mm/135mm. The golden light touching the waves throughout the afternoon provided stunning visual.
FS700 w/ 50mm f2 + Rode NTG-2
It’s often easy in these situations to become trapped in super slow motion mode. It’s a cliche – but
everything so much looks incredible, it’s a danger to shoot everything at it. Looking back at the footage I got on that day, there’s much more slow-motion than real-time. I’ve been very conscious since to shoot atleast equal amounts, especially as there’s no audio on the slow-motion tracks, even if I were to speed them up to near/real-time in the edit. It’s important to get enough ambient audio and conversation with the band in these situations, rather than solely slow-motion to overdub with music in the edit – that’d get a little boring for a full length film!
The following day we headed to new accomodation where we’d spend our rest of time at the island. Very kindly hooked up by Yopy at Macbeth Indonesia, we arrived at an incredible private Villa on the edge of a cliff over-looking what must be utopia to many surfer’s, and certainly as close to paradise as I’ve ever been.
Again, I was in footage-heaven, immediately setting up timelapse camera’s (7D w/ 7mm f3.5 fisheye + GoPro) to capture the incredible sunset, switching a new position & to the 11-16mm f2.8 once dark to cope with the low-light better.
As we had a slgihlty more relaxed schedule, I made sure to catch up on interviews and some of the guys thoughts on the last week of the tour, focusing on the differences between countries and relative music cultures.
FS700 w/ 35mm f1.4 + Rode NTG-2
2 days relaxing here everyones got some decent rest and sun and I’ve captured some of the best footage of the trip. After 2.5 weeks in Asia, everyone is somewhat eager to experience some western culture again, as we spend 4 days in New Zealand before Australia. It’s been an incredible beginning to the film so far.