I was recently involved as a technical advisor for the filming of a short film by James Friend ASC BSC for Sony using their new Burano camera. You can see the film as well as a BTS film on the Sony website. There were many challenges for this production as it was the first time a Burano would be fitted to an aircraft.
There was very little preparation time and only a small budget considering the scope of the project. But James Friend brought together a really great crew and I think the end result is really great.
For a very long time I have been producing short films. Sometimes these are very short indeed, perhaps to show off some new piece of equipment or a new technology. Sometimes these are longer scripted pieces to tell a story. I really enjoy scripted work. Each drama brings new challenges, what style to use, how to shoot it, how to make it look great. Often it’s the lower budget productions that can be the most fun as you try to work out how to make something look great on a tiny budget. There is nothing as rewarding as delivering a great looking film that audiences enjoy watching.
I have always been fascinated by natural extremes. So when the opportunity to go and shoot a volcano, thunderstorm, hurricane or tornado presents itself I can be ready to go at a moments notice. My natural extremes footage has been used in feature films, natural history programmes, TV commercials and I expect there is a good chance that you will have seen some of it somewhere at some point. I’ve been shooting severe weather for over 25 years, so know how to stay safe in bad weather.
Another subject I love to film is contemporary circus and other similar performing arts. I have been luck enough to have been the main cameraman for the Theatre and Circus fields at the Glastonbury festival for the past few years and this has given me many wonderful opportunities to meet some truly amazing performers.
I’m not afraid of heights which helps and I’m certified for working at heights and not afraid to climb up into the big top rigging to get the best shots if that’s what’s needed. This year I hope to get my IRATA rope access technician level 1 qualification to help me gain access to even more extreme locations.
If there is one thing I love to shoot it is the Northern lights. Every year I take a couple of small groups on an expedition to the frozen north of Norway. I’ve been running these trips for 15 years and we have never not seen the Aurora. In that 15 years I have developed and perfected my techniques for shooting the Aurora, whether timelapse or real time 4K and 8K video. I have the cameras, the lenses and the know how to get great Aurora pictures and video.
My personal web site needs some love. Over the years I’ve spent most of my time over on xdcam-user.com and this is where you will find most of what I write. But, I am still a freelance cinematographer and I still get to do some really interesting work, so over the next few months I hope to write about more of what I do when I am not doing workshops or making training films. The image above is actually a frame grab from an event I ran in Kuwait in May.
Cinematographer and film maker Alister Chapman's Personal Website