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Making History


When it comes to filming History, the photographic benchmark is particularly high. So when I was asked to shoot a history drama with long time collaborator Chris Holt we poured over the many great examples of period photography. There are several inspired approaches to the past, but we were particularly drawn to Justin Kurzel and Adam Arkapaw's breathtaking Macbeth and to the challenge set by Barry Lyndon's bold reliance on candle light.

After some testing we settled on Zeiss Arri Ultra Primes for the shoot and these all stayed wide open at T1.9 for the duration (hats off to AC Dan DiMartino for keeping it all sharp) I had leaned towards the Master primes originally, and in some of our candle lit scenes could well have done with the extra half stop, but there is a touch of the 'vintage' in the UPs wide open that was perfect for the piece.






We ran across 3 cameras, A and B bodies ( with B camera operator Charlie Stoddard staying on longer lenses for alternate angles on all scenes) with a third Red Epic Dragon permanently mounted in our 6 axis stabilized rig.


Brendan McGinty



Brendan McGinty

We were particular keen to keep the camera moving as much as possible but in a way that might evoke some of the courtly power play and regal nature of our subjects... settling on a 6 axis stabilisation system of Easyrig, Serene Arm and Puppeteer cradling a Ronin system which would manage the other 3 axis.

Given the constantly moving, 360 style that the Ronin brought I lit almost exclusively from the windows by day and with fire and candles for night... large amounts of haze providing all of the fill that was needed. Although I love the Skintone OLPF in the Dragon I ran with the Low Light filter given my dependence on sometimes terrifyingly low levels ambience.








Always love working with Chris who brings the eye of a painter to each new project.

Brendan McGinty

The locations, costumes and textures were always going to play a part as characters in the piece and I was spoiled for choice with these






Brendan McGinty

Brendan McGinty






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Secret Life of Twins wins RTS for Photography

Still reeling from having won an RTS for my work on the "Secret Life of Twins'.
Loved working on this film with maestro Luke Wiles at the helm, and the sterling support of the OSF production team.














Big thank you to AC Charlie Perera, Gaffer Martin Smith, Tony Hill with his remarkable satellite crane and the critical technical support of the 16oz camera team.


Brendan McGinty










brendanmcginty@blueyonder.co.uk
Instagram.com/brendan_mcginty

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Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder

"Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder" a docudrama I shot earlier this year is about to go out on Channel 5.
Two x 1 hours, directed by Chris Holt with historian Suzannah Lispcomb.


Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb

I used a set of cinevised Nikkor primes for the documentary sections and then switched for the drama to Arri Zeiss Ultra Primes. Love the look of these on the Epic Dragon at T1.9... which is where all of the work was done.












Was a real pleasure making this one, should well be worth watching.

And here is a trailer:
https://youtu.be/fCxiZyDGptA

www.brendanmcginty.co.uk
instagram.com/brendan_mcginty
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6 Axis stabilisation

I have always shot a lot of hand-held. It's still the most intuitive operating style, the one most in sync with the human movements of your subject. But the breathing and sway it brings can denote an extra point of view, the presence of the camera watching in the scene.
The Easyrig was the first step away from this, still handheld but with a stability and glide that moved it away from the point of view camera. I still love the Easyrig and for handheld work I will always reach for it.

Brendan Mcginty

Brendan Mcginty

Brendan Mcginty

Until recently only a Steadicam would keep this sort of mobility whilst erasing the presence of the camera, offering some of the smooth solidity of the heavier grip set pieces.

That is until the current crop of gyro stabilised systems came to the market.
I had been using the DJI Ronin with 3 axis of gyro stabilisation. This combined with an Easyrig and Flowcine's Serene arm would provide for four axis of stabilisation.
But it is only now with the addition of Flowcine's Puppeteer that this rig feels like a real game changer.
The Puppeteer brings a further two axis of stabilisation to the rig.



So thats 6 axis of stabilisation, and there are only six axis of camera movement. 3 axis with gyro stabilisation and 3 axis with mechanical/gravitational stabilisation.
The results are spectacular, very smooth even on an 85mm lens. Operationally I prefer the 16-32mm range for moving with an energetic subject. But the rig will happily hold an 85mm like a tripod.

Puppeteer


Puppeteer


DJI Ronin

The range of camera movement opened by this rig does feel slightly revolutionary. 



www.brendanmcginty.co.uk
instagram.com/brendan_mcginty

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Ronin 4 Parkour

Shooting Parkour, the ultimate mix of urban physicality and heroism.
We wanted to shoot with considered, steady camera movement to evoke some of the gladiatorial majesty of the Traceur. 
The terrain we planned to track across and through was rough, uneven, obstacle ridden, broken concrete.
DJI's Ronin seemed a good choice. Here seen combined with a Serene arm and mounted with an Epic Dragon and a 20mm Ultraprime: 



                                       

                                          

What this rig gave us was the ability to float through and across these obstacles with a more measured photographic consideration. We achieved rock steady moves both with and against the seemingly reckless athletes, through concrete corridors and across jagged concrete obstacles.


The choreography of camera, bodies and concrete, orchestrated by director Luke Wiles.

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Thailand

Shooting for the first time in Thailand provided a wealth of photographic colour and texture. From the picture postcard islands to the neon night bustle of Bangkok to the jungles and Buddhist temples of the North I was saturated with visual inspiration.












The constant joy of shooting in 'exotic' locations is this heightened photographic stimulus. No amount of art direction, costume and set design ever seems to get you to the same place that the documentary approach yields.

Although all of these images above were shot with a set of cinevised Nikkor AIS primes, I also utilised Canon's Cine-Servo 17-120mm zoom (T2.95-T3.9 PL) for the first time.




This zoom offers the extraordinary focal range of 17-120mm which in the world of PL glass has not really existed in a lightweight option. The lens feels like it shares the heritage of Canon's video zoom lenses, and will I imagine be popular in the broadcast documentary world. But its precisely this heritage that made me dislike the zoom. The focus ring was too accelerated for real focus pulling, the iris stops way too close together for any 1/3 stop increments, and the performance drop off from 90-120 quite noticeable. I suspect I have been spoilt by Angenieux's offerings, but I also found its imaging quality, its 'aesthetic', quite lacking. Although Canon boast an 11 blade iris to deliver a distinctive bokeh, I saw no sign of the distinction. The flare quality I found off-putting and 'streaky' and the stop drop-off to nearly T4 a bit tricky for night work.
The rapid focal change from 17mm to 120mm does however set it apart for certain types of shooting.

Not for me though. 



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In Full Colour

Intense colour saturation, contrast and texture is making my retina fizz at 16oz studios!
















Shooting on Red Epic Dragon, with Arri Zeiss Master Primes and Master Diopters

Brendan McGinty




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Black Light

Shooting black-light Beauty at 16oz Studios.













Only the Red Epic Dragon with its Skin Tone OLPF could hold this degree of colour fidelity at the dark end of the spectrum!

Brendan McGinty

Brendan McGinty

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All at Sea

Shooting at Sea in Cape Town, one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world. 
If you can overcome the violent pitching that working at sea requires, the mirrored surface offers its own drama, texture and beauty. No two days look the same as this watery landscape responds rapidly to tides, light and wind.













I recommend a Polarising filter, an Easyrig with a Serene Arm, ample waterproofing, extended camera latitude, slow motion and sea legs.


Brendan McGinty

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Arctic

I am left slightly speechless after three weeks of filming in the Arctic. Travelling on an Ice-breaker through the sea-ice revealed some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. Throughout our journey around Svalbard there was perpetual daylight... the hard, low sun never setting.

The clarity of the light was extraordinary and the bounce off the blue and white ice left everything touched with a coolness that is so distinctive.














The extended latitude of the Red Epic Dragon proved essential in holding the hard highlights and shadows. This as I shot regularly against the crystal clear, hard sunlight. We utilised Angenieux Optimo DP zooms on the Epic and the enormous Sigma 300-800 on the Red Scarlet B camera.










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