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WORLD TOUR #8 : EUROPE

Despite being back from Europe for a number of days, I’ve failed to find time to blog took a few days off before the UK tour began, so only just getting up to speed updating this. Had a number of people tell me they’d been reading these over the last week, so thankyou very much for that.

Touring Europe is on the main part, very enjoyable. The size and reaction of most European crowds is always welcomed, particularly throughout Germany and Eastern Europe. Scandinavia is a little quieter in comparison, and it’s always a welcome to get to the mainland. Facilities are great, people are friendly, and the catering rules, as anyone who’s toured Germany can testify!


FS700 w/11-16mm f2.8 + broken mic mount

Travelling on a bus with While She Sleeps was truly a pleasure, and together with Architects it felt like one of the strongest tour crews we’d all been part of. Sleeps certainly bolstered Architects reaction on the shows, ensuring throughout the run we never experienced a bad show.

There are admittedly less interesting things to shoot on a day-to-day basis in Europe, compared the month before across the other side of the world; so instead my attention has been placed on production value of the live shows. For the largest shows, I setup multicamera shoots, utilising the numerous Canon DSLRs from the bands on the tour, and my jib. A huge thanks to the members of Heights and While She Sleeps for helping me shoot over those nights. Also notable how helpful local security have been at some of the shows with my jib – in Cologne they were more than happy to barrier off an area for me, and help move and operate the jib. This would be a very rare sight in the UK.


Cologne, Germany


Budapest, Hungary


Ljubljana, Slovenia

It’s interesting how when I started shooting with bands a couple of years ago, very few of them had any idea about camera technology or a desire to shoot themselves. DSLR use in bands is near ubiquitous now. Nearly every band I know owns a 550D or similar. On this tour Architects have a 550D, Sleeps have a 600D and Heights a 550D also. The low-cost availability of these consumer cameras, and lenses such as the £80 Canon 50mm f1.8 has led to a high saturation of these devices in bands. Some would expect this to lead to less work for people like myself, though in some instances it’s had the opposite effect – where the band has determined post production to be too difficult, or find they don’t shoot enough footage day-to-day, yet they are more aware than ever of the need for video content.

Most days in Europe I will shoot establishing shots in the city/area around the venue, and live footage the evening of the show. Not all of the shows will make it into the final film, with only around 30 minutes maximum allocated for the European chapter. My main challenge is shooting each show with a fresh creative brief, rather than the same methodology each night. As hard as I can work at these things, sometimes an event happens that will render much of that footage unused in the timeframe – such as the inter-band Beer Pong Championship in Schweinfurt, Germany.

It may not be the best cinematography in the film, but capturing the relationships between the bands in a natural setting makes for really great viewing, and enforces more of the party/friendship vibe of the tour.

Throughout Europe I’ve been shooting more interviews to string the footage together with in the film. I really dislike artificial light for these sections, so have endeavoured to shoot as much as possible in natural light. Here are a couple of my favourite setups:

A CAM: FS700 w/ 35mm f1.4
B CAM: 550D w/ 50mm f2 (on slider)
AUDIO: Rode NTG-2 & Lavalier mic.
[Same setup on each]

After shooting on DSLRs for years, the audio options of the FS700 are an incredibly welcome change. 2x XLR inputs mean a more ambient shotgun mic feed, and an incredibly clean lavalier feed. Very good.


Autumn in Berlin

I’d had an idea through Europe that I really wanted to shoot some snow, after experiencing high summer in South East Asia, spring in NZ/Australia and autumn in Europe, some winter-esque footage would bring the film full circle. I awoke early on our night drive through to Slovenia to see snow-covered trees outside, and quickly shot as much as possible before we arrived at the venue.


Winter in Slovenia

It was my first experience shooting with the FS700 in snow, and suffice to say – definitely not the easiest filming day of tour. We braved the conditions to visit the local medieval castle, though opearting the camera underneath a cover proved pretty difficult. Alas, I was very satisfied to have shot some typically Winter footage, before we headed North for the final show in Paris.

A day off there meant some sightseeing, and after a very cold queue to reach the top, I shot some lovely wides of the sunset. Our timing was perfect for the final glimpse of sunlight, with the city illuminated below. Because the visit was impromptu, I had no grip equipment to support the camera, but my insistence on some timelapse footage made me stand frozen still, with the camera rested on the ledge to shoot 30 minutes of timelapse, just enough for the sky to darken and get some light trails through the streets.

After 3.5 weeks in Europe we returned home for a few well deserved days off, before the final UK chapter. As expected, I have rather a large amount of footage… I’m currently running off 2x Lacie Rugged 1TB’s daisychained, and all loaded into 1 Premiere project. It was very much a test-it-and-see approach, but currently works perfectly. Thankyou Premiere! Total figure is around 1.4TB, which all things considering is pretty good. FS700 footage size is pretty small generally, definitely a bonus for the logistics of this project.

Lots of anticipation for the UK tour. After an incredible couple of months we’re all looking forward to what the UK hold, especially when we’re so familiar with the venues and cities. Hoping for some incredible shows, and a great home reaction. Crazy to think filming is nearing completion, though I’m equally as excited for post-production.

Post feedback always welcome.

I’m still intending to concentrate my efforts into a few more technical (workflow, cameras etc.) posts, just need some time after tour!

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