The Photography of Mike O'Neill ABIPP

Posts tagged “Unit Stills

Enter Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood is situated in the Forest of Dean and recently has been the set for a number of dramas such as ‘Merlin‘ and ‘Doctor Who’.

It is also speculated that J.R.R. Tolkien, who visited the Forest, may have been inspired by Puzzlewood for Lord of The Rings as the setting of Mirkwood or Fangorn.

We decided on a family day out around Halloween and spent a few hours wandering around the wood looking at all the magical scenes.

The family loved it and I could have spent quite a while photographing the place.

A great location, you can see why the Location Scouts go for it!

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April Topic – Unit Stills Photography

This month I had the chance to shoot on set of a feature film.  At this stage I cannot reveal too much about the actual film but will concentrate this blog with the experience I had.

I was given a day’s trial, to see what I can come up with.  If the powers at be like the outcome then I would be given further work.

The day started at 6am down at The Painthall in Belfast.  Breakfast was laid on and I got chatting to the main star for the day who was a stuntman.  The plan was that after breakfast we would be moved to a location in central Belfast where we would spend the day shooting the scene. I was a little surprised at the multi-national crew and the big budget of the shoot.  It seems there was little expense spared.

I didn’t get a brief so I just spent the day getting amongst it.  Even without a sound blimp I was still able to shoot a scene of the movie in still image whilst also shooting the ins and outs of the crew at work.

Unfortunately it came to my attention that I could be part of a wider ‘Trial Day’ fiddle (For want of a better word).  I haven’t heard from the production company since, so who is to say that they didn’t offer trials to 20 different photographers.  Yes results could be hit and miss but generally the photographer would do their utmost to get a return call.  With such a process the company gets cheaper rates throughout the production.

That said, I was on set getting valuable experience and adding to my portfolio.  Movie Stills Photography is something I want to break into, so if they have used me, it’s no problem because it is vice versa!

In hindsight I would have done things a little different certainly with my photography, I believe I may have ruffled the feathers of the Assistant/Mentor Director, I won’t go into detail but maybe he was calling the shots to not have me back on his set thus scrubbing my earlier theory.

In general the whole experience for me was a success, I got what I needed and the Production Company got a lot more than what they asked for.  I had a good day out and saw a feature film being made from behind the scenes.

This is not the end of Movie Stills Photography for me!!