Still from the short film 'Scramble', Mark catches his breath - Sigma 70-300


We shot a short film in early November that is almost complete! I wanted to shoot an authentic WW2 Short Film, not a YouTube video, normally I do not upload this content however I have decided to bring a new style of filmmaking to the channel. 
Canon 5D with Canon 24-105 L
The Canon 5D MKII has served me well on this shoot - the image I can get from this camera is incredible, it surpasses the image capabilities of cameras like the Sony FS100 and Panasonic AF-101. 

I used three lenses on this shoot:

- Canon 24-105mm F4 L Lenes IS USM
- Sigma 70-300mm  F4-5.6 DG MACRO
- Takuma 55mm F1.8 

They all have their strong points...

Canon 5D with Sigma 70-300
I found myself using the Sigma more often that the L glass due to its sharpness and focal length. A great way to make objects seem closer together and a shot more claustrophobic is to increase the focal length. I used it for some of the earlier  shots of running through trees, however this lens is hopeless when moving. With no image stabiliser (Unlike the L lens), trying to follow the action while zoomed in is impossible!  
Canon 5D with 55mm Takuma
This lens is a dream to use, it feels strong and the focus ring is smooth as a babies bottom. The Takuma is my only prime lens, however you can get a lot out of a 55/50mm! It is very sharp, fast and shallow - great choice for mid to close shots of actors, I knock down the ISO to 100 and open the lens up as wide as possible without over exposing (Which is difficult when shooting in daylight without ND Filters) to gain shallow depth of field! On this shoot I boosted the shutter speed to 100 for closeups, this is a great alternative to ND's, however it does not always work!! Your footage can look choppy and weird, especially when there's lots of action.
I used the Canon L glass when in difficult situations, the image stabiliser is a great tool which really enhances the tracking/moving shots. 24mm is very wide and a great focal length for tight shots where there is not alot of room to position the camera/camera operator! However this lens is not as sharp as the others because of the amount of glass, this also affects the amount of light it lets through to the sensor making it difficult to use in low light 

Which lens?

I have only ever used three lenses, I couldn't do without one! However, the Takuma is my favourite as it can easily achieve shallow depth of field/cinematic look. I strongly recomend investing in a prime lens, the canon's 50mm 1.8 is just as good as the takuma! Of course, L glass is amazing, very well made - just a tad bit expensive.

Location, Location, Location...

We had a fantastic location located in a spot called Coniston/Langdale in the Lake District, England. It was an old quarry with several ravines and mine shafts, because of limited time we could not get the most out of this fantastic place. 

As I am now a driver, I was able to transport my small cast and crew to the location with ease - I had scouted the location a day before shooting to check the logistics. From the car I could easily move costumes/props and equipment to different spots around the quarry which made the shoot run smoothly. It is a incredibly important to scout your location before shooting, you can avoid  inconveniences and loss of time; I intend to use more exiting locations for future films/YouTube videos! 

Final shot with grading & colour correction - Sigma 70-300
Raw footage, no grading or colour correction
Colorista Plugin from Red Giant in action!


The use of 'Cinestyle' with the 5D allowed me to have maximum flexibility in post-production! Cinestyle reduces contrast and sharpness levels to maintain as much information in the image - standard profiles on the 5D add contrast resulting in loss of information in the shadows/highlights (You can reduce contrast in the user define profiles and get similar results, however Cinestyle is better). 

Cinestyle is free (Available on T2I, 60D and more) 

Colour Correction & Grading

'Colorista' from Red Giant is also free for download  I used it for essential colour correction on all shots before applying the final grade:http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/magic-bullet-colorista-free/

TIP: When using the Colorista plugin, instead of bringing down the shadows to add contrast, reduce the mids and increase the highlights - this way you do not loose detail in the shadows but still create a filmic contrast! I have been guilty of crushing the shadows to gain contrast, dont fall into the trap!

Notice I also added sharpness which helped bring back some detail that my L lens struggled with!

Grading was achieved with experimentation - use curves and other colour correction tools to get the final look right!

Sound Design

Sound Design was great fun on this film, a combination of Dynamic Range and my trusty sound library was very successful. I have always used my editing program for sound design, although I do not recommend this - professionals tend to use a separate programe such as Soundbooth, which I own! I never use Soundbooth for sound design, however I do use it to fix unwanted noise etc, Premiere works great for me. 

I recorded a fair amount of my own sound, which I rarely do - I did not like the sound from the 5D's on-board mic so I decided to replace sounds such as footsteps/breathing/foley. As we did not have the rig with us, I could not carry the Rode NTG-2, azden field mixer and a pile of wires with me everywhere, so I decided to replace the audio later in post. Using the NTG-2, I went out at 9:00PM (All quite) and recorded myself running around a filed - it worked like a treat, worth the effort! 

So... When can I see it?

The film is almost done, Post-production has ben well underway, however I do believe we need some more shots - the film does not quite work as it is as needs some spicing up. Hopefully we can get these extra bits and bobs done soon, I'm going to really enjoy seeing the final film!

September 2012 Shoot

I began shooting a Fay Cry fan film in early September, my Brother played the main part which consisted of running from a group of pirates through a Tropical Island environment. We never managed to complete the film because we were so tired from dragging all the kit up with us, it was a good 30 mins to the location on foot, uphill...

I am very Determined to complete this film, or re-shoot it! However we are loosing the fabulous rich 'greenery' which surrounds our locations, so attempting to re-create this during the winter is impossible! I am looking at organising something next Summer with a much bigger crew, it's a long wait but I think it will be worth it. We shoot in the Lake District (Cumbria, England), so if you live nearby and want to help out just let us know!


Dig Deeper - Short FIlm

We just submitted a short film to the London Short FIlm Festival 2013, it runs from the 6th - 12th January and hopefully we will be there. I have yet to hear if our film has been short listed, however I am confident that it will do well! I shot the film with Vincent Teetsov who has helped me with many films in the past and we are both very pleased with the production of 'Dig Deeper'.

The film will be uploaded after it has been screened at various festivals!
Casting on Saturday 15th September was very successful - We managed to get through the logistics of the projects and discussed dates for the shoot - using a draft copy of the script from Bobby Gard-Storry (Screen Writer) we performed several scenes as different characters, it will be difficult making decisions on these parts!

I would recommend casting your parts/rehearsing scenes from your own films before you start shooting. This will greatly enhance the performance of your actors!

Hopefully we will be filming by mid October, the locations have not been decided yet and the script is not finished yet - there's a lot to get through, however it was great to see everyone who's getting involved! Crew meetings start soon so if you interested in getting involved behind the scenes get in touch via Facebook or the contact form on this site.

We are still after an actor to play one of the main parts for the film, if you think you may be able to help out also get in touch via Facebook or the contact form on this site.


    Adam Pickford

    Hello, I'm Adam and I run all of the online 'bits & bobs' from the main channel to this very page! 

    I'm here to answer your questions and update you on our video content, some of videos posted here are unlisted on our channel - I hope you will find this page useful.


    November 2012
    September 2012