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WORLD TOUR #6 : AUSTRALIA

Arriving in Brisbane, the scale of a large westernized city was a significant change to the past few weeks. This echoed in the scale of the tour also, with The Amity Affliction’s massive popularity and number one charting record, extra dates added across the tour due to demand. We would spend Monday through Friday in Brisbane, with 4 shows back-to-back in the same venue. No daily flights, venue load-ins and 5 nights in the same hotel room was a very welcome change to our tour routine so far.

This also meant it gave me lots of time to experiment with shots, even with much of the time spent in the hotel. Countless trips across the Story bridge to the venue and back meant I could shoot the city skyline with different focal lengths at different times of the day, giving numerous edit options. A welcome to change to getting one chance to capture sights the past few weeks.

In the first major gear casualty of the trip, my 7D is failing to read/write to it’s CF card, and despite resets and all efforts to diagnose it, looks like it’s going to have to go in for repair. I’m only using it for timelapse, and occasional 2nd camera for interviews, and luckily the band have a 550D which can cover me for these purposes.

Alas, it still works fine when connected to EOS utility on my macbook, and can record images direct to that. It’s a pain that I can’t use the intervalomoter, but certainly better than nothing. I persuaded the hotel in Brisbane to grant me access to their top floor rooms, and captured a skyline day > night timelapse from the balcony.

Unfortunately I couldn’t fit my Manfrotto sticks under my weight allowance, so often for shots like this use the slider to support the fluid head. It’s a bit of a pain and in hindsight, I should have bought a cheap plastic tripod in China for timelapse work. Alas, it’ll be brought out (as well as my jib and extra gear I couldn’t fly with) to the beginnging of the European tour in a couple of weeks. I’m also hoping (urgently!) to get a timelapse motor from Jag35 for my slider, I definitely could have utilized it in South East Asia.

The shows here in Australia have been very much different to the first leg of the tour. Most of the venue’s on this tour are 1500+ capacity, and sold out multiple nights in a row. Despite Architects being 2nd on the bill, the crowd reaction has been fantastic each night. Fans here are certainly a little less mental than some in Asia, but equally receptive.

Having 4 shows at the same venue means I get to experiment lots with shots and positions. Undoubtebly all the footage will be colated into 1 edit of a song portion, so having 4 angles shot by myself will be very welcomed. One of the nights I spent the whole set filming from the balcony (see above picture) – not something I’d usually be able to do.

No Australian tour would be complete without a visit to see Koalas and Kangaroos. Activities like this I rely heavily on the wide angle/glidecam combo. A large part of the day will be shot on the 11-16mm f2.8, and I’ll shoot as much of a cutaway selection with the 50mm f2 or similar to break up the edit. The weight of the FS700 on the Glidecam is pretty substantial, all the hours I put in with the 7D and smaller Glidecam have paid off!

Whenever we get enough time in a hotel to backup footage across my drives I’ll do so. Data management for a project this size is absolutely crucial; it’s inconceivable to think about losing any of the footage, particularly the weeks in Asia. Whilst all the footage is still on the Macbook hard drive, I use Lacie Rugged drives for daily backups, which I keep with me in my rucksack w/ macbook. Every few days, I’ll backup the whole project to a larger 2TB drive, which I keep in my Peli case. Having each backup in a different location covers the worst case scenario of a bag being stolen, and whilst all my gear is insured, the data can’t be replaced.

I am cutting rushes as much as possible every day – particularly important is labeling footage on the Premiere timeline, it’s super quick to do and means when going back to footage I can find what I need, rather than searching through folders of un-labeled files.

After spending the week in Brisbane, we then headed down the coast to Newcastle, before a double show weekend in Sydney. Being part of a larger tour is a nice change from the weeks before, with just myself, Ben the Tour Manager, and band. Touring with a group of Australians & Americans is a cool melting point.

A major merit of a larger touring party tour is fellow camera dudes. Travelling with the Amity Affliction is Max Tynan, while playing guitar in Buried In Verona is Nate Martin. Extra bodies, lenses & GoPro’s a plenty. I’ve been wanting to put some time in with a 70-200mm f2.8 and the FS700, and Max has been kind enough to let me use his. It’s too weighty on the metabones adapter though, and would need a full length rail system and lens support. That’s only the start of it’s ergonomic challenge though, not really suited to my run & gun style. The only long lens I’m travelling with currently is a 135mm f2.8, and I’m looking for something a bit more variable to add to it.

As with New Zealand, there’s a bit less visual interest when compared to China/South East Asia aside from the obvious tourist spots – but as a trade off, the crowds are fantastic, and visually it’ll make a great contrast in the final film. Onwards to Canberra, Melbourne and the second half of the Australian leg…

BTS Photos – Ali Dean

I’m keen to get any feedback on the blogs from this tour, what you’d like to hear more/less about… let me know in the comments or via twitter.

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