IFH 246: Directing Color on Set with Ollie Kenchington

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today on the show we have color master Ollie Kenchington. Ollie is a filmmaker, editor, and colorist. He has released an amazing new course called Directing Color. The course focuses on the use of color not only in color grading but also on-set. Since I’ve been a colorist for over a decade I know the importance of color and want to share that info with the IFH Tribe.

Ollie’s company, Korro Films, produces commercials, short films, documentaries and branded content for major international clients, with Ollie Kenchington carrying out senior editor and colorist duties on every project. Ollie Kenchington is an assured practitioner across all areas of filmmaking, giving him a deep understanding of the creative process which allows his agency to flourish in this competitive industry. Additionally, he is an accomplished educator and founder of Korro Academy.

In Directing Color, filmmaker, editor, and colorist Ollie Kenchington explore how visual language cues, color theory, and even color grading techniques can be used throughout the filmmaking process to not just create a “look” but to enhance storytelling. He challenges directors, cinematographers, and filmmakers to think of color first rather than the more common approach of leaving color considerations until post-production.

Enjoy my conversation with Ollie Kenchington.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome the show Ollie Kenchington man and thank you so much for taking the time out and jumping on the podcast.

Ollie Kenchington 0:19
It's my absolute pleasure, Alex, it's lovely to speak to you.

Alex Ferrari 3:02
And you know, this is a topic you know, that we have not covered on the show before and it is so important. And it's so powerful. And I know a lot of independent filmmakers just don't understand color. Not only the color grading process, but specifically the theory behind color. So I'm really looking forward to jumping into it with you.

Ollie Kenchington 3:20
Yeah, lovely. Fantastic. I could talk all day about this. So go for it.

Alex Ferrari 3:23
Okay, so how did you first get into the business?

Ollie Kenchington 3:28
Color or just generally feel generally

Alex Ferrari 3:30
Do you as a filmmaker? Yes!

Ollie Kenchington 3:32
Me as a filmmaker. So I studied, I Well, if I go way, way back, which really does kind of say the seeds for where I am right now. I studied astronomy, art and photography at college, which is an unusual mix. And I really didn't know why I was studying that combination of courses back then. He kind of dawned on me much later on that perhaps I quite enjoyed science and art. And that's kind of ultimately what led me into coloring and it seems to me one of the the best kind of disciplines for marrying art and science and the technical with the creative and I picked up as I say stills cameras First of all, but really quite quickly moved into video. I was only doing stills for a couple of years before I got hold of a big s VHS. Big beast off the top of the line that then

Alex Ferrari 4:32
Svhs was the shit.

Ollie Kenchington 4:33
Oh, man. Yeah, absolutely. And I was working with that for a little while and this was this. So I started my degree in 2000. So my degree was a kind of a mix. It was actually an art degree but it was very open. So I basically off of my own volition made it focused on photography and film. And my my final show was a mixture of the two and I, I really kind of enjoyed flitting between the two. And obviously it's such such a cross discipline but with what film opened up for me was the ability to obviously tell that narrative to actually string that story out in a, you know, a linear fashion. And as it really was then linear here, we had tape to tape. But But we were sort of doing it at the time where the cusp of mini DV was just starting to get entrenched. And I remember one day, turning up and the S VHS camera was sort of still in the cupboard and in its place, was this canon XM one? Yes. My University couldn't afford an Excel one. I was about to say. Yeah, much to my annoyance. It was only an art school after all, but I had an accent. And, yeah, I I think the camera itself didn't really excite me at that, at the time, I've got more excited about cameras in more recent years. But at the time, what excited me was the fact that I could take that footage straight into, you know, the power max that we were using back then, and the editing in you know, only real time you know, coming coming, ingesting that and, and starting to edit it, you know, digitally on the computer straightaway. That will not what felt like straightaway anyway, was what opened up the floodgates for me and a lecturer of mine managed to get me a hooky copy of Final Cut Pro. I think it was version two actually, it wasn't version two, it just come out. And that was that. So it's kind of all these things were happening simultaneously. And that was the kind of opening of the door for me. I then used all of my student loan to buy an iMac dv snow, which was the yo Yeah, had FireWire on it that that was

Alex Ferrari 6:48
Oh yeah. Smokin!

Ollie Kenchington 6:50
What more do you need an iMac and an A dv capable camera and, and I was away so I didn't spend I literally just kind of hid away for the next three years of my degree just teaching myself how to edit with Final Cut Pro and making all kinds of weird. I've still got a lot of them and every now and again I watch them just to make myself chuckle but some some very odd art films.

Alex Ferrari 7:16
We all have. We all have a man we all have

Ollie Kenchington 7:18
Yeah, yeah. Oh, my God. Saturday's would classic. And yeah, but you know, it kind of so all came from that there was a bit of a hiccup along the way because I needed money. I quickly realized that, you know, making art films was was never ever going to make me a single penny. So I fell into a job working for Apple, literally straight after I graduated. And yeah, yeah, it wasn't. At the time. It seems odd now but at the time, Apple didn't really exist in the UK in a kind of a bricks and mortar sense. They they relied on this massive network of third party what they call Apple premium resellers, which I think they have in the states as well. Sure. They still kind of exist in this country, or they've been kind of reduced in number by the fact obviously Apple now have these massive Apple Stores everywhere. But yes, a tiny little apple premium reseller in the west southwest of the UK. And they really like the fact that I new Final Cut Pro and the pro video apps and I worked with them for about three years and supporting a lot of post houses in the local area with setting up you know, accents and getting the pro apps system installed.

Alex Ferrari 8:35
You're getting that magic, you're geeking out hard. I love it.

Ollie Kenchington 8:38
I know. It was a crazy time. We were talking about this before you started recording. But we you know we come from a similar kind of period of time with this. It seems crazy now people even people can have like, who in their early 20s are God yet? Remember when Apple were tiny? Like No, no, no, you don't understand. Yeah, we're in the early 2000s this this this company was basically dead. It was bad.

Alex Ferrari 8:59
It was almost It was almost bankrupt. Absolutely. I remember I remember I remember $7 a share for Apple. Yeah. I remember $7 Digi bite them? No, of course now why in god's green when I bought it? Yeah. Now that would be a whole different story. Yes, yes, absolutely. Now when did you get into color grading where you you found a home in color grading as well or added it to your tools are your arsenal of things that you can do?

Ollie Kenchington 9:30
Well, the first time that I actually got hold of some color grading software and and it became accessible to me as a mere human being it was when Apple brought out color. Yeah, of course. So so that that was the first kind of hands on but actually the first time that I decided that I wanted to be a colorist was actually a couple of years were quite a few years before that. I was watching the bonus DVD of the Fellowship of the Ring. And they had that there's a little piece on there. Which is only a short little bit with Peter Doyle, talking to him about how he color graded the film and I was watching I was like what what's color grading? I literally had no idea I'd never heard of it. I'd never kind of contemplated that there was even such a need, you know, surely this stuff came out the camera looking like this, you know? And I'm watching it and I remember it so vividly. There's this bit where he's, you hear him in voiceover talking about them grading legless in the Mines of Moria. And we see legless up on I think it's on like, one of the graves, you know, one of the color tombs, and he jumps off and they're grading his eyes to make them look more kind of blue, because he's an alpha, and they're kind of magical. So, yeah, and I'm like, oh, wow, that's amazing. And then he hits the track button, and it tracks his eyeballs. And as, like a lot of people even today, you know, when they see demonstrations of drinking in Versailles, my mind was, was absolutely blown. I to the point where I I kind of stopped a pizza line, and I managed to find an email address for him and I sent me an email saying, I just want to be a colorist now since I've watched this, you know, how do I become a colorist? And the guy wrote back to me, he's like, we're going to be grading Return of the King soon. Why don't you be my assistant?

Alex Ferrari 11:19
Oh, that's amazing.

Ollie Kenchington 11:25
This This story is I've told this story several times over the years, and it never gets any less painful. So I I'm like, of course yes. That's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 11:35
But he's a news but he's in New Zealand, right?

Ollie Kenchington 11:37
He's in New Zealand. So he's like, yeah, yeah, we're coming up with where and I'm like, Well, I'm in my last year of my degree and and you know, I've got my degree too and she's like, well, that's cool. That'll that'll line up really well with the timings Oh my god, that is perfect. And it got it got kind of a couple of months down the line and his emails were becoming increasingly kind of agitated like you know, if you sorted out accommodation yet and we've got to book flights you know, and I was like, Dude, chill out. You know, this is we got months until I finished my degree and he was What are you talking about? Surely don't you finish in December like we do in New Zealand as I know our academic year ends in June and we were like talking across purposes for months and he will be finished in June you can you feel you either got to just forget your degree and come over or you know, we're just gonna this isn't gonna happen. And

Alex Ferrari 12:28
Please, please don't say it don't say don't go Oh, my God. I decided to finish my let me just remind you my art degree. Oh. It's not like I was training to be a doctor. Your right before you got to to the last. Oh my god. Yeah. No. Have anyone around the slap you? There was no one.

Ollie Kenchington 12:52
No One No One I honestly no one around me had any idea. I was literally the only person that I knew that was even knew that color grading existed who Peter Doyle was so on.

Alex Ferrari 13:03
So what happened when you told Peter Doyle, yeah, thanks for the assistant job, but I'm gonna finish my art degree instead. Yeah, yeah, buddy. Oh, by the way, the Oscar winning third parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Ollie Kenchington 13:20
Yeah, this story gets worse by the way i just wanted. So I I said, I'm gonna choose to sit my screen and he bless him. He was really supportive. He's like, I totally get it. I think maybe he mistakenly thought I was doing a worthwhile degree. But he is I get it. You know, you finish your studies, you know, maybe we can work on something in the future. Anyway, fast forward a year and I get this email out of the blue. As I said, I wasn't joking when I said I fell straight into a job with Apple after I graduated. It was literally two weeks after my graduation ceremony. I'm now working for Apple. And about six months further down the line. I think I'd already been promoted once it was it was such a massive change point in time where Apple were changing and expanding so quickly. It was you know, I was absolutely caught up in it. And I get this email out the blue from him saying, Ali, I'm coming to the UK. This is perfect. I still need an assistant. I ended up not having one on Return of the King. I definitely need one now. I've got a big big project coming up in London. Yeah, will you join me? Now I don't have a server job.

Alex Ferrari 14:19
I'm just I'm sorry. It's just so painful. It's so painful.

Ollie Kenchington 14:24
This is lightning striking twice in the absolute purest sense. As if the first time of saying no, it wasn't bad enough. This was 10 times worse because by this point, I'm you know what am I 2122 I'm a little bit arrogant now because I've got a pretty damn good job working for Apple. I'll have you know if you're

Alex Ferrari 14:44

Ollie Kenchington 14:46
I said I sent him an email back saying white No, I've got this. I've got this really good job. And I didn't really want to move to London. I kind of bit of a country bumpkin. I live in the sort of in the countryside in the southwest of the UK as well. I don't ever want to move to London. So I mean, what film is it? Which is like a classic, you know, if you need to know the film, then then just go away. And he would just read back again, really, really nice guy he has to say are like, you know, it sounds like you're, you're sad. Yeah. Don't worry about it. If you need to kind of know what the film is, it's probably not a good fit for you. And, yeah, don't worry about it. Best of luck. And I was so arrogant actually. I just like Yeah, okay. And I literally didn't think about it again for a number of years. Until I until I one day, I don't know why I think I was listening to a podcast, and he came on and he was talking about it. Is that nice career? wise, sir, yeah, it was, it wasn't thankfully. But he didn't mention his assistant a couple of times, who must have been the person he ultimately ended up hiring anyway. And it only dawned on me at that point, that what hit the film he was talking about was the Prisoner of Azkaban. And of course, he went on to do all of the Harry Potter films after that, and countless other films that we could, you know, sit here invest all day. And so I turned down the Return of the King and earned most the vast majority of the Harry Potter films. And And that brings us to today.

Alex Ferrari 16:11
Well, and that's the end of it. And that's the end of the show, guys. Thank you. I wouldn't, I wouldn't blame you for not speaking to me. Now. You know what, but look, I always am a big fan. I'm a big believer that things are supposed to happen the way they're supposed to happen, and you are where you're supposed to be as beautiful as those opportunities might have been. It would be the equivalent of Steven Spielberg calling me up and saying, I need an assistant to come and shadow me on a film I'm doing. And I say, you know what, I'm gonna I'm just gonna stay here in Orlando and finish my degree. Yes, film. Instead of going with you, master Spielberg, it's the equivalent. It's the equivalent of something like that. Twice. Yeah, yeah. Exactly. twice that the twice thing. The twice thing is what really gets me because the first one I could I could say, You know what? Yeah, exactly. Fine. I should start telling the story of leaving out the second part, because we're gonna paint the first one's painful. But yeah, there's some part of you like, you know what, there's a little bit of honor and trying to finish up what you started. I get all that. Yeah. But you know, that goes this man. You carry on with that story. And it's like, this guy's dead. And then, but I think what helps you is that it wasn't like it's someone that it's it's in the behind the scenes. It's like, you know, it's a guy who people don't know, off the street. You know?

Ollie Kenchington 17:40
Yeah, I mean, anyone who knows knows I went to, to the Harry Potter, the Warner Brothers studio tour for Harry Potter. Yeah. Yeah. It leaves them in just outside London.

Alex Ferrari 17:51
Now I want to know, yeah, one in London as well. There's one here in LA. Yeah.

Ollie Kenchington 17:55
Yeah. And I think I was first being the home of Harry Potter. It's a Yeah, I went there with my wife and my eldest child, a few years only a few months ago, actually. And the very last part after you've done the whole tour, and is blown, you're blown away by the very last room, you come to. Everyone just walks through it and just keeps going. But I stopped and I saw this woman sat down. I said, Oh, yeah, what's this room? What's this? The whole room is lined with boxes. And they're meant to be one boxes a bit like you're inside ollivanders. And there's all these different ones. And they all have names on it. As always, what is this? And she said, Oh, it's every single person that over the years, I've had anything to do with the Harry Potter franchise, cast crew, everyone has a one box with their name on it in this room? And, yeah, because it's only like a couple of inches by an inch. You know, these boxes are quite small that there's only a relatively small room. And so many people are streaming through and literally you're like, Oh, I'm at the end, you can see the exit. And off they go. And I'm like, Oh, so I start looking at all of them. And and I know what happened. Do you know where Peter door would be? And she's like, yeah, and she got this massive binder. She's like, right there today today. Anyway, she eventually finds him and points to his box. And I just for a minute as like, in an alternate universe, yes. In this is a wand box with my name on it. Yes. Yes. And I'm not in that universe.

Alex Ferrari 19:23
Well, anyway, I think we've beaten that horse to death. Yeah. Let's move on. We've all made mistakes. Let's move on. So so. So you got into color and you created this amazing course called directing color, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on and to kind of dig into color and how humans deal with color. Well, first of all, how do human beings perceive color in the first place?

Ollie Kenchington 19:50
Well, there's kind of two sides to it. There's the biological side of it. So literally, how do we does the human visual system work? How do we see color and what are the differences? between people and what are the similarities. But then there's also the kind of cultural side of it and what, you know, what we, you know, various societies have come to accept as different meanings associated with the different colors. One of the things that the thing that interests interests me most is, which I discussed in the course is things like, what how we've evolved to pay less attention to certain colors and more attention to other colors, and how that affects our ability to kind of, within if you see these colors within a scene, or a photograph, or a painting, or whatever it might be, how that can cause distancing in some areas and things coming forward in others, and essentially, a way of creating depth just simply by having certain colors in the image. And that, that for me, I think, is fascinating. And we talk in the course about how we've grown evolved to become quite ignorant to blue, for example, because from an evolutionary point of view, there's absolutely no benefit in us being particularly particularly receptive to different shades of blue, the sky is is kind of almost becomes background noise, it's there all the time. We can't, you know, we can't procreate with the sky, although, you know, some people may have tried some, some crazy people, the and we, you know, we and it's also not a threat to us. So those, you know, those those things can you eat it is it going to eat me cannot procreate in it with it. That's the kind of stuff that drives biology and drives evolution. And the sky just doesn't play a part into that. It's also the rarest color in nature, there's very few animals that have lose. Exactly, exactly it. So are the cones in our eyes that are responsible for being receptive to different frequencies of the spectrum, the ones that are responsible for looking at blues, there's only 1% of them. So 99% of our vision, vision is looking at everything other than blue. And so that's why that's why core colors recede, and we, they don't physically receive they, of course, that in our perception, we're just ignoring them. So they, they've become less important to us. And if you look at the other side of that, which is well, what colors come forwards, it's these warm colors, these oranges, these reds, all based around flesh, blood, things that, from an evolutionary point of view are very important that we can distinguish. And the things that we can, you know, kind of our warnings to us, or, you know, we're a social animal, being able to kind of spot other people and, and interact with other people and dangers of you know, your blood. And when you see it, that they they all have these, these effects on us. And, you know, to the point where in some people that that mechanism is a bit over keyed, and, you know, my grandma used to faint if she ever saw blood, and it's actually quite a common thing. You know, that's actually that same mechanism just gone a bit haywire. That's, that's how ingrained in it it is that that these things kind of can produce emotional responses in us and physical responses as well, like high blood, higher blood pressure and elevated heart rate when we see reds is a really interesting phenomenon.

Alex Ferrari 23:10
Yeah, so so how do colors different colors affect different emotions? Because I know, obviously, if you walk into a Red Room, it's a very different feeling than if you walk into a pink room, or a green room or a yellow room. You have a different emotional attachment. So I know there is some attack there is some in theory, color theory, like well, red is this and green means that but it's also cultural as well. It doesn't go across the bow. Yeah. So okay.

Ollie Kenchington 23:42
Yeah, well read is a really good example because of course, in China read means so such different things to what it means in Western culture. And so yeah, I think culture plays a massive part of that, but not just not just your societal culture, but also the culture around how we consume entertainment. So you know, that which is far more kind of international, but you know, going to the cinema and watching TV, there's a there's a visual language that's established over, you know, course of 100 years, which is a language that we're all fluent in. And and it's a language that a lot of people, they can't articulate that they are fluent in that language, but it's there and, and that's always been a, an interesting subject for me, because, and also dangerous subject because, of course, when you do and filmmaking mistakes are not often forgiven very easily by a viewer because they are just so accustomed to watching high quality content. And and those established kind of visual cues and visual language that's there. And this is why, you know, people who don't go to film school have a bit more of a harder time because there's, you can be a very intuitive shooter, you can you can have a natural eye for composition, but there are things that a film school will teach you about visual language and about, you know, how framing so On a certain way, or using a certain kind of focal length of lens can affect people's perception of intention or, you know, if there's kind of a malice or a, you know, an opportunity or a threat or whatever it might be within a scene, and that that's the kind of stuff that, you know, I didn't go to film score, that's the kind of stuff that I've had to, you know, slowly over the last kind of 20 years, kind of get my head around. And, and, and it's taken longer than it would have done if I'd had the opportunity to go to a film school, but it's there, and it's a language that we're all fluent in, but you have to kind of tap into it and unlock it is to kind of, it's almost like a repressed memory there, you got to, you got to kind of tap into that and pull it out and go, alright, that's why this feels a certain way. And kind of definitely part of that.

Alex Ferrari 25:48
There is there's some I was I used to work when I first started out with the old, old time director, who had been doing it for years, and he told me something about color and never forgot. And he goes, if you want your greens to pop the shot before make it red, because the red will stay in your eye when it jumps to the green and enhance the green in a way. And I thought that was fascinating do Can you can you kind of delve into that a little bit.

Ollie Kenchington 26:17
Yeah, so it's basically it's fatigue, so you can fatigue your cones. So the receptors in your eyes are absorbing these, these frequencies. If if they are overstimulated or, or if you're looking at a certain color for for too long, they become fatigued, and they essentially weaken. And when they weaken, they when you sort of look at something else, then that frequency is lessened. And it's I mean, one of the basic tenants of color theory is the idea of complementary colors and what sits opposite a color on the on the color wheel is it's complimentary color. So for example, you This often happens in the summer of your sunbathing or if you're, you know, at the garden, and you've got your eyes closed, there's so much of a particular wavelength of light that's filtering now through your, through your eyelids. So this tinting everything that light light read, that when you then open your eyes, everything looks really green. And it's the same thing, you're fatiguing the red sensory receptors in your eyes or the cones that are looking at that frequency. And then when you then open them up or look at something else, you're then left with that as essentially a weak channel, which makes everything else look stronger. It's not that everything else has become stronger, it's that you've just lessened the response to a certain frequency, which makes everything else look stronger. So red and green, yellow and blue. And it really can work against you when you're calibrating. And in fact, this happened to me recently with rage, where there was a series of shots. And with an interview and absolutely graded, skin tones looked perfect. But the I think it was like the third or fourth time you cut back to this interview, the preceding shot was foliage, it was sunlight coming through some leaves, and it was on screen for maybe five, six seconds. And then when you look at the interview immediately afterwards, it looks like their skin is is all over the place. And it looks like you're the colorist has done a terrible job here. But if you look at those interview shots in isolation, they look absolutely fine. And so you end up having to color great that last interview shot actually differently and essentially deliberately wrong to counteract the sensation of someone having that green fatigue of their eyes when they then cut from that previous shot to the next shot. So it has massive implications on how people perceive your films. And a colorist needs to know this stuff because they need to, they need to kind of hopefully produce something that's consistent all the way through. And continuous contrast is another factor of this. And that that is the phenomenon where surrounding colors around a particular color will alter the way that it looks. And again, that's something that you have to be really conscious of, particularly with interviews with skin tones, you know, what colors are you using as your backdrop what colors are in the scene with your with your talent because they could be making skin tones look wrong when they're not? Or they could be making? You know, bad skin tones look, right, which which is another bad thing? Of course. You know, yeah, basically our eyes are constantly screwing us. And the colorist needs to understand the human visual system and all of these optical effects these tricks that our brains are playing on us and and this is why I said earlier I love the the meeting of kind of science and art and sort of technology and creativity. With color grading for me it's it takes both those boxes and people tend to be left hemisphere dominated kind of creative people or right hemisphere dominated sort of technical or organizational people and it's relatively rare to find people who are both and they hop back and forth between those two kind of parts of their brain very happily but for whatever reason I am one of those people and I do really like being able to play off that deep technical understanding of color and human biology and you know how cameras work, but also then the creative kind of implications and how that's woven into the creative art of filmmaking.

Alex Ferrari 30:13
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now, how should a director use or know about color when designing his or her shots in a film? Because it's something really I've seen some directors do it really well, and some not so much.

Ollie Kenchington 30:37
Yeah, I guess the danger of this is that sometimes you can come away with conversations and and it's one of the fears with directing color was that people might come away from it thinking that, oh, everything I've ever made is wrong, because I never thought about this, this, this and this. And I guess really, this is like the, you know, this is like a layer of varnish on the top, you know, it's the the boat if you like, or the the chair or whatever underneath could be just a stable and just a sturdy and just as well crafted, without that extra layer of lacquer. But you know, is it going to win prizes is it going to be one that someone picks over something else. And I think that's that's the thing is all of these techniques are things that are just kind of there honing it and honing it and refining it. And it's just an extra layer of gloss that will help make your product your film stand out above others. And one of the things that people can do is, is obviously focus on lighting, other things people can do is focus on, obviously, you know, wardrobe or art direction, or there's various different parts of a film that one can kind of put energies and resources into thinking that this is what will elevate my film. But the truth of it is that the things that win Oscars and the things that people talk about for years to come and Smashbox off his record, so records are the films that do all of those things, you know, every single element of that an indirect in Colorado, I talk about whiplash. And I think whiplash is a is a fantastic example of a film where every single asset sort of aspect of filmmaking is, is brought together and thought about and you end up with this result on screen. It's so captivating here, the camera movement, the lighting, or in the case of what I'm really interested in the color, and the fact that certain colors are used to kind of signify emotions within the in within the can the main character without you having to say it, you know, without having to spoon feed the audience. So this is where it gets really exciting for directors, I think, because it's an additional weapon in their storytelling arsenal.

Alex Ferrari 32:35
Well, yeah, it's kind of like the olden days, which uses that that language you were talking about, that's been established for over 120 years, which is the black guy, the black, the the guy, the bad guy wears black, and the good guy wears white. And that was in the silent days. That's the way it was, and it was established that way. And then if you know that, you can play on that, where then the black of the the bad guy could wear white, and the good guy could wear black. And you see that constantly going back and forth. And you can start playing with it once you understand it. And it's extremely powerful. It's extremely, extremely is.

Ollie Kenchington 33:09
I think people think that it isn't because it's such it's a kind of a subconscious thing is something that you're not like, you know, even as a colorist, I don't I didn't go and see whiplash the first time and come out thinking, Oh, really interesting that they've put that character in group, same green top that they put the dad's character in it. Now it's only once you kind of go back and digest and, and re analyze these things that you and often when you see stills of them in isolation that you think, Oh shit, yeah, this, they're doing this and they're doing that. I think that doesn't mean it's less valuable. Just because it's unconscious, it means it's more powerful. I think one of the very first sentences that you hear me say in in the directing color series is you 70% of all communication is nonverbal. And that's really, really important that the fact that you're not hearing it or you're not being spoon fed, it doesn't mean that it's less valuable, it means it's more valuable, because we are more accustomed to those subconscious cues than we are verbal and obvious cues. So they are, they should make up, you know, at least 70% of your film. They should make up a big chunk of how you're communicating. You shouldn't feel like it's not worthwhile because it's not in the script, or it's not, you know, obviously up in your face in the scene.

Alex Ferrari 34:25
No, if you look at a movie that we all seen Star Wars, you know, Darth Vader is in black. And you know if Darth Vader was wearing pink, a completely different energy. I've seen that version. Yes, I have actually, I've been to some few Comic Cons myself. Um, but then you've got Luke who's wearing white. You've got Han Solo who's wearing black and white because he's a good guy and a bad guy. You've got Obi Wan, who's wearing Brown, which is an earthy color, which signifies wisdom and then you got Yoda who's green. Which synthesize knowledge and wisdom as well, if I'm not mistaken, that earthly color? And those are kind of certain cues that were associated with those colors? Correct?

Ollie Kenchington 35:09
Yeah, well, particularly me greens an interesting one, because yes, it does. Certainly, if you look over a very broad kind of aggregate, you know, kind of cultural perceptions of green, they green has, obviously, all kinds of connections to do with the natural world do with serenity to do with peace. And, and, you know, kind of like sprites. And, you know, there's, there's loads of different kind of, like Easter, for example, obviously, Christianity kind of bent that towards its own purposes, but celebrations of spring and shine, bringing green things into home, and you know, those those things have gone on for millennia. And there's all kinds of associate positive associations with green but at the same time, just because of, I don't know what it is, I mean, mainly because of skin tones, I think green is something that you don't often see as a color choice in many films, because it because it clashes so terribly with with skin tones, and green is also looks a little bit kind of, I don't know, kind of it can it can very easily veer from kind of fresh spring green to a kind of a horrible kind of muddy green that just doesn't feel good on your

Alex Ferrari 36:23
Pure green, pure green.

Ollie Kenchington 36:24
Yeah, exactly. And, in fact, again, you know, talking of whiplash, in the very last episode of The directing color series, I break down, whiplash and green comes up, because it's used quite heavily in scenes where marsteller, that the main guy in the film, that his character is the, they want to show that his character is being kind of assaulted by these kind of outside pressures. And there's a really good scene at the beginning, where he's walking back to his apartment. And as he's walking through the kind of communal areas, there's lots of loud noises, and there's lots of kind of people and not really doing anything wrong, but clearly he's he doesn't like this, it kind of is ruining his focus as it were. And the whole scenes of vivid green, and they're letting those colors leach into a skin tones. And it's used really effectively in that film to show toxicity and danger. And, you know, this, this kind of sickness that which is which in that film is mainly kind of like a mental synchronous, more mental break. Yeah, and the fact that he does kind of have a breakdown, you know, and ends up hurting himself to try and win the approval of his teacher and, you know, and they but then what they do is they placed that exact same green in the wardrobe of the dad and also the guy who's initially in the band do he has to play better than in order to kind of win his place in the band. And so they both were exactly the same colored green shirt in that film. So green can be used actually and is often used these days as a kind of a bit of a sick kind of color and a bit of a toxic kind of feel to it, which is a mental illness which is an interesting kind of more modern slant on green

Alex Ferrari 38:10
Well against institutional like in a you know, in a mentally and mental Insane Asylum, you're going to see green somewhere.

Ollie Kenchington 38:18
Yeah, in fact, interesting. I've just literally this morning, I've just delivered a project for the Natural History Museum in London, who I am do a lot of work for I was color grading a little piece that they've just done, they've got to show up at the moment called venom. And it's just it's all about different snakes from around the world and, and how and how that venom is used in, in medicines in certain parts of the world and all kinds of stuff. And there's this little film and I was just grading it for them. And I noticed they sent an offline reference that the editor just done a lot of light grade on for me to see the kind of direction that they were heading in about I was essentially creating it from scratch, but just referencing the offline, I noticed that whenever they cut to the B roll of the snake, the snakes kind of shooting venom or in case you know in like they call them aquariums. The snakes live in

Alex Ferrari 39:08
There in zoo's, they're they're in zoo's.

Ollie Kenchington 39:11
But in the Natural History Museum they have they have like them in glass sided.

Alex Ferrari 39:15
Yeah, I forgot. Well, we call them like, I don't even want to call them here. But yeah, I know like that. Yeah. Then anyway, venomous pit I don't know.

Ollie Kenchington 39:22
Yeah, whatever, whatever the hell it is. And I noticed that that the editor pushed quite a bit of green into those shots. And I was like, Okay, I kind of see where they're going with this, but they'd also pushed it into the interviews. And clearly and I hadn't, you know, after having having a chat with them, I could see where they were going through the whole pieces about venom. They wanted to kind of feel like this kind of like dangerous thing. They've got these kind of slow mo shots on the fence and flecks of snakes shooting out of their fangs. But it just felt so wrong with the with the interview. So I ended up pulling it out of all of the interviews and just pushing it into specific scenes and blocks of B roll where it kind of works. And, you know, it's just a little gentle tint of green. And actually, they dialed it back quite a bit. I said to them that you don't need to force feed it to people, you don't need to kind of looked like a comic book the way they'd done it. And, you know, it's just a subtle tint that you pick up on in the highlights and in the whites, and it does the job. You know, it's telling you that this is a kind of a dangerous, sort of toxic substance that they're dealing with.

Alex Ferrari 40:24
Now, besides whiplash, what are some other movies that really are the directors who really use color to great effect?

Ollie Kenchington 40:32
Oh, it's, well, I mean, actually, Peter Jackson is one of the ones that I think is just very clever things with color and color palettes. I always remember it. Sorry, carry on.

Alex Ferrari 40:46
No, no, no, I hear I hear the colors is really good. But I'm sorry. Good. Have it good. Yeah, let's move on. Damnit.

Ollie Kenchington 40:57
The Hobbit is really interesting. I really like the fact that in the hobbit films, there's this color palette that's established, which is pushed into the, the kind of the leaf color. So there's a really, I think it was in one of the trailers. So a lot of people probably seen it, there's a bit where Frodo, Frodo, of course, is Bilbo. Bilbo climbs to the top of a tree to see where they are, they're a little rock in a forest and the last and he climbs to the top of a tree and that scene, where you see the whole of the sort of canopy, the top of the canopy of trees in this big forest. It's so subtle, but the colors are just pushed into a realm of wear, which doesn't mimic our reality, it doesn't mimic our world. And it does a really amazing job of making you feel like you're looking at a fantastical, almost alien landscape. And it's so subtle, it's just very slightly pushed into a, you know, into an area. It's kind of magenta berry reds, and kind of slightly more cyanea greens than than you would expect and that you would see in normal trees on earth. And it's a really interesting use of color to kind of help with that sense of otherworldliness. But with familiar objects, and I think that's used really effectively and Peter Jackson, I think in other films of his, you know, it does some really interesting things with contrast, and with saturation. I can't remember who the name escapes me right now, but I can't remember who directed Tinker Tailor Soldier spa. That's another film that I often reference when I'm thinking about the use of color. And it's how effective it is at storytelling, because it's an interesting because it's a thriller, it's a who've done it. And it kind of comes back to what you're saying earlier about, you know, if the body is always in black, and the good is always in white, what if we play around with that and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy plays around with the idea of clarity and the idea of high contrast because that we have a measurable pleasure response when we see high contrast images, you can actually see, you know, the the readouts from if you have all those probes on your brain, there's an increase in brain activity, when we see high contrast images, we find the more attractive because the brain is finds it easier to tell if things are in or out of focus if they're high contrast. And of course, contrast plays a big part in autofocus systems in camera so that that edge contrast that detail that sharpness is is is pleasurable to watch. And, you know, you can see this evidenced in photography as well, if you walk down any kind of supermarket or any anywhere where they're selling lots of magazines, you'll see their old glossy covers, they're all high contrast, you know that they're doing everything they can to make those pleasing high contrast images. And then you've got something like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where what they want is for you to constantly feel like you don't know what's going on. It's a it's a thriller, where it's not until then the very last scene that you've read, the reveal happens and most thrillers kind of like to leave clues they like to reward, you know, like doggy treats for the viewer, like all that that's happened, you know that that's a film where they they do everything they can to make sure that doesn't happen. They don't want you having any reason to suspect one person over another. So you go through the whole film wondering, is it Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy, and one of the ways that they enforce that is by using making the whole thing incredibly low contrast is very gray in that film. And the colors are very muted, and it literally taps into a lack of clarity or the viewer is never given the opportunity to have any clarity on who may have been the perpetrator or who may be this mole. And I think that's a really interesting use of contrast, though, as I said, I can't remember the director's name right now. But yeah, again, there's some great examples out there.

Alex Ferrari 44:52
The the two movies that come to mind always is Emily, which was just stunningly done. Anything that was entered And does because was just call it total trips and the matrix with the matrix look versus the real world look and see, I mean, that look had never I'd never seen anything like the matrix when it came out in 99. Like there was just, and by the way ages so well, I mean, you could watch them right now and it aged super well. But look at that look, which is that technology and sickly like you're not well, like you're not supposed to be here, kind of as opposed to the real world, which is more vibrant and Well, no, that depends on where if you're in the that matrix to then you're in that the rave, which was very nice. But like,

Ollie Kenchington 45:45
That's, that's what I was gonna say. I mean, you're absolutely right. And were aware those scenes change and there's location change, you can see the color developing with the plot. So as the films continue the film, it's not a one trick pony. They're really thinking about how color represents different locations and different you know how they want so you've got lots of browns and reds when they're in you know, as ion and there's loads of tribal kind of music and you know, music and color. These are all things that kind of helping drive that story forwards.

Alex Ferrari 46:13
Have you ever seen the movie Speed Racer? No, I don't think I have. So it's it's warshawsky brother, Sam, guys who directed the matrix, right? Yeah, get it on blu ray, if you can. And because it is easily the most colorful film I've ever seen in my life. And it is, if you remember that cartoon. Yeah, they basically just took the cartoon amped up all the color and saturation, and did such a mess. But it's like, I think the reason why it's so and I love for you to watch and hear what you think of it. I think the reason one of the reasons it didn't do well, because it's actually a good movie, if you know what you're getting into. But yeah, the colors are so vibrant. And so in your face, that I think it was too much.

Ollie Kenchington 47:05
I think it was I say, just quickly googled it and done an image search on Google, which, which by the way is a massive top tip from me, for anyone who's thinking of developing developing mood boards or think planning, you know, China looks with their film, just Google the name of a film or a picture or a photographer or a filmmaker or anyone and just go to the image searches, I can't tell you what an effective way is for quickly, very quickly digesting color palettes. A really good demonstration of this I always like and your viewers, your viewers, your listeners can try this out themselves is to type well make sure they don't do this if they have a sensitive disposition, but to type horror into Google and then just go to the image search. And it's fascinating what you find what you find is essentially blacks whites and red, pure pure primary red. It's It's It's almost, you know, with the odd bit of sort of sick green thrown in, it's, you know, it's fascinating, it's a very good way to get a feel for the general color palettes and looks that are embedded in most of them. So if I type in Speed Racer, and go to an image set, which is what I did last year talking I can see exactly what you mean those vivid comic book blues and reds and sky blues film as well which are

Alex Ferrari 48:17
Put to an extent that it's not it's not even I've never seen before and I don't think it has been was so intense, especially the blu ray. If you watch it on blu ray it is. It's so intense. But I love for you to watch it's it's a fascinating thought, especially with color don't call it great anything after you watch it though your eyes will be wiped for at least a day.

Ollie Kenchington 48:39
I was gonna say it on the on the topic of films where they really go for it with color. I mean, it's like, you know, there's no subtlety involved really at all. Hugo is a classic one. Scorsese goes to town with that and the way it's embedded in the in the art direction in the wardrobe and the makeup and everything. Amazing. Yes, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I know. But I think that the important thing to remember in every single case and every single one of those films we've just mentioned, is the color is serving the narrative. Yes, it's it's it's never there for its own sake. It's never there. Already. Just Just Yeah, exactly. Just to make things look pretty. If you want to make something just look pretty, keep it natural keep skin tones looking normal, make it nice and glossy and high contrast and, you know, add a little bit of golden light into it and you know, Bish, bash Bosh, if you want to try something that serves the narrative and makes people feel a certain way and, and dry is the story and, and in certain cases becomes even a character into its own right, then you know that that's where color can be really powerful.

Alex Ferrari 49:41
There's a scene in I just directed our new film and there's a scene in it where and I colored it as well. Were at the beginning there at the bottom of the hill and at the bottom of the hill. It's all very colorful, but as they go up the hill up these long flight of stairs. It's almost you know, an epic journey. It's Slowly cools all the way to the very top. They're nice, it's cooled, it's muted, and it's subtle. You will, unless you're looking for it, you won't notice it. But it was done very purposefully, because then at that point of the journey, now it starts getting harder and harder, and they're not as happy as they were when they first got on the journey. So

Ollie Kenchington 50:18
Yeah, no, it's a nice trick, it's a really nice, there's so many things that colors can do, it's still it's still so massively under appreciated by fair, which is, you know, not in a nice little you don't appreciate as type way just in a, you never even know you exist,

Alex Ferrari 50:33
I don't even know.

Ollie Kenchington 50:36
I guess it's like the old saying, you know, if you if you notice the editing, then the editor has done a bad job is, is sometimes feels a bit like that. But I do feel like color grading is, is it's becoming so much more part of people's general awareness now at a much lower end of the kind of filmmaker spectrum. And that's because of the point of entry, the price point, and the accessibility of it through things like DaVinci Resolve lite, and, and cheaper hardware that can run, you know, programs that are operating in the 32 bit float, you know, color spaces that that just couldn't happen on, you know, laptops and desktop computers, if you have to go to workstations in the past, and that that's opened up the floodgates in a sense, but that doesn't mean that there suddenly understands everything that we're talking about there. These are things that come through study and through, you know, talking to colorist who've been doing it a long time and research and experience and practice. And this is I guess why I think directing color is is an important call. I mean, I would say this, I made it, but I do think it's.

Alex Ferrari 51:42
So tell us a little bit about the course.

Ollie Kenchington 51:45
Well, it was born out of the fact that means Scott who who runs me said we were chatting about the fact that there were no color grading courses on Amazon at that time. And, you know, there's all lots of practical filmmaking courses. And there were some editing courses. But But color didn't kind of get a look in an eye as a color of thought that that should be addressed. And here's like, fun make us a course. Oh, then it was like, Okay, what do we do? And I guess the obvious thing is to make a straightforward color grading course. And there's a huge appetite for that. And we will be doing that. And we'll be really, you know, going going to town on that side of things and making a big masterclass about color grading. But initially, what I proposed to Scott was that we did something that was shorter and more kind of easily digestible, and kind of got the whole thing kind of conversation started around color. And, and then it was like, Well, what do we choose? And I, the thing that kind of swung it for me was I run a film school or training academy called Cora Academy, and we are a Blackmagic certified training partner, and I'm a Blackmagic certified trainer. So for years now, I've been teaching people DaVinci Resolve, I've been teaching people color grading, and probably the most common thing I get asked about is, you know, from editors, or directors or filmmakers, is I want to learn about color, can you teach me DaVinci Resolve? And over the years, I kind of got sort of bored of sayings, people will hang on, what do you want to do you want to learn how to color or do you want to learn how to operate DaVinci Resolve and in their, in their minds, there wasn't a separation between those two things that as far as I'm concerned, I want to learn how to color great, therefore Teach me DaVinci Resolve, because I will know that that you know that I that's like saying I want to learn about the world and teach me how to drive so that you might only drive to the end of the road. That means you're never going to learn about the world. And it's kind of the same thing. So what I started to do, and I've been doing this for years was I developed a color what I what I called a color theory course. But really it's you know, it's not really it makes it sound a bit dry, but they're actually in color sounds much better. And essentially, it was a one day course I said I didn't insist but I would say to people look, I'd strongly recommend that. If you've never color graded at all. You come on this color theory course first. And we talk about the why first, you know, we talked about why you would want to do something we break down films where this is done. We talk about chroma subsampling. And how do you present division of popular it turned out it's been it's been one of our most popular courses. And so when it came to kind of deciding Well, what should we kind of pick to do as a as a shorter kind of one hour ish course to get things started with them said I thought well that this seems like a good course but you know, is a very dry core. So I had to kind of think of a format for how we could make that more accessible and also just more entertaining Because ultimately, you're asking people to pay money to sit there and watch something for an hour Sharon I should really make something that people want to sit down and watch. And now that's where the idea came to basically piggyback on the on the back of a commercial that my film production company Cora films was making. And so essentially killing two birds with one stone, we were kind of doing a behind the scenes of the shooting a commercial for these for a company. And then we sort of talking to the camera about why I was doing certain things and how we developed a color palette for that film. And then it's intercut with stuff where I'm a grading suite and breaking down, you know, grades. And

Alex Ferrari 55:32
It was, it was it was great, I saw it. And it really is something that we you know, as filmmakers need and I don't think there is much out there about this. But the theory and especially it's done in a very entertaining way. It's very digestible, and you can get in and get out very quickly. And it's it's something that I think you'll become a better director after you watch it. And for everyone listening, I'll definitely put links to the course in the show notes as well. Lovely, lovely. Now, I want to ask you a few questions that I asked all my guests. Okay, this is kind of like the lightning round. What advice What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today? Don't whatever you do, turn down Peter Doyle twice. When opportunity knocks, and the horse is literally have a gift in its mouth. Do not turn away. Okay, great. Can you tell me what book has the biggest impact on your life or career?

Ollie Kenchington 56:32
Oh, that's an interesting one. Well as a colorist, I think one of the one of the books that was instrumental and really helpful when I first thought went from I'm really interested in color and playing with color and to I'm now a professional colorist, and something that really helped me was the colorist handbook. Great witch. Yeah, Alexis van Herman is just the dawn. And that book is just chock full of really useful information. I can't recommend it highly enough. You know, that was that was a huge book for me. In terms of filmmaking, I did by the Peter Jackson's autobiography, which talks about his staying out as a filmmaker and his career goes right from him, you know, messing around making films as a small child

Alex Ferrari 57:25
Horror movie sue, by the way.

Ollie Kenchington 57:27
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 57:28
Very graphic horror movies. Graphic Yes. If I remember correctly,

Ollie Kenchington 57:32
If you're under 18 don't don't go and watch them straight away. Actually, they they've aged quite badly. So

Alex Ferrari 57:39
They were bad. They were badly age when he made them, sir. Think he would say the same thing? Yeah,

Ollie Kenchington 57:45
Yeah, yeah. Um, but I think that book was was really interesting. I mean, any any book, any biography, Autobiography of filmmakers, I find really fascinating. I just think, you know, directors and filmmakers generally are most often in life, very interesting people and seeing how their careers developed. I think it's really, really fun and informative.

Alex Ferrari 58:08
Cool. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Ollie Kenchington 58:19
Learning to say no, probably, I'm still quite bad at it. I sometimes feel kind of duty bound to do things for clients or do things for people who aren't even clients that that really anyone else applied? Really? What Why are you? Why are you doing that way, but

Alex Ferrari 58:40
That's how I got you. That's how I got you on the show.

Ollie Kenchington 58:45
Why are you talking to this guy? I mean, I see I see a guy who's clearly in need of some kind of support. I can't help but stop

Alex Ferrari 58:57
Obviously obviously, obviously. Now,

Ollie Kenchington 59:01
I think learning to say no is a really good, a really good thing. In fact, I read something really interesting in about Steve Jobs years ago, which was that he never stayed in a job for for more than a week if you didn't like it and I think generally, you know, I try and kind of remember that and it's sometimes you don't need to know what you want. You just need to know what you don't want and know that you should say no to things that you don't want and know and have faith that ultimately that's going to lead you towards the thing that you did want even if you didn't know what it was

Alex Ferrari 59:32
Very good, very good answer. Now what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Ollie Kenchington 59:37
Oh, my number one these are really these are not filmmakers films. I'm just gonna say this now.

Alex Ferrari 59:43
It's fine.

Ollie Kenchington 59:44
I'm not I'm not going to come up with some

Alex Ferrari 59:46
Citizen. Citizen Kane 400 blows

Ollie Kenchington 59:52
Do you know why just gonna be purely like pure entertainment? Sure. I love I love Wedding Crashers is one of my favorites.

Alex Ferrari 59:59
It's a fun film.

Ollie Kenchington 1:00:06
Really my favorite film is a film which for some reason, still completely gone out of my brain sideways. There we go, Oh, yeah, went sideways is a really underappreciated film. I think it's some of the best writing some of the best acting.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:23
Now Tyler Payne, Sean, fantastic film, fantastic film. And

Ollie Kenchington 1:00:28
I think whiplash has to be in my top three as well, I do. I do really, really like that film. intense. But the thing is, if you if you if you think about it too long, you quite quickly come up a list of about 100 films. But those three that come to mind

Alex Ferrari 1:00:45
Very cool. And now where can people find you online?

Ollie Kenchington 1:00:48
So as I saw, I run two businesses. So from a film production side of view, and for me as a colorist, that all goes through Korro films, which is Korrofilms.com. Korro is spelt in a really stupid way, just to make it harder for people to find me online.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:04
Sure. Fantastic. Marketing. Fantastic.

Ollie Kenchington 1:01:06
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So that's k o double r o, it means nothing. It's a made up word.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:14
It's gibberish. It's absolute gibberish.

Ollie Kenchington 1:01:17
It really is. And so I thought that would be a great thing to use for a business.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:22
And you are you are, you are the the poster child for for high end marketing. I gotta say,

Ollie Kenchington 1:01:31
I really had a business development is my middle name. So yeah korrofilms.com is the film production company. And Coro. academy.com is the film, school we do. We've recently launched an eight week Film Academy, which is very novel is basically every course I've ever taught and everything that lives in my brain about filmmaking, rammed down your throat over every day, five days a week for eight weeks. And yeah, and it's basically meant to be a three year degree in eight weeks. And it's followed up with followed up with a three month mentorship scheme immediately afterwards. And it's kind of it's meant to be my kind of two fingers up to higher education, particularly in this country. And the fact that I don't know what it's like in the States, but in the UK at the moment, if you go to film school, if you go and do a three year degree anywhere, you're coming out with minimum, you know, 30 40,000 pounds worth of debt, which dollars,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:33
That's Yeah, I think it's a lot worse, there isn't, oh, my god, you're talking about 60 to $100,000. So that's, you know, probably like 80,000 pounds.

Ollie Kenchington 1:02:42
The thing is in this country, that's that that model, which we've adopted, but it's only relatively new, so like, even when I went to university, which was only 18 years ago, I left with, I think it was just over 10,000 pounds worth of it's

Alex Ferrari 1:02:56
Exactly how much I left with Yeah, yeah,

Ollie Kenchington 1:02:58
Yeah. which at the time was like, you know, felt like, low, you know, just, it just keeps going up and up and up. But But, you know, I was one of the first people that went to university when you had to pay But literally, like, end of the 90s. And all before that, it was all grant based system, and so you didn't cost you anything to go to university. So it's basically my kind of response to that was, you know, basically Fuck that, let's, let's just cram that information into your head, you can take it and if you can't, then, you know, go go and do another course. But it's a kind of unapologetic film school in eight weeks course. But we also do one, two and three day courses certified black magic courses for resolve, which you take an exam at the end, and you can become a Blackmagic Certified Professional user. So yeah, we do quite a lot.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:47
Very cool. My work, man, Ollie, thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure geeking out with you about color, and all sorts of things. And arguably one of the greatest stories of missed opportunity I've ever heard in my life, which I will now recite anytime I speak publicly. Yeah. Ollie, thanks again, man. I appreciate it.

Ollie Kenchington 1:04:11
Pleasure. Thanks so much.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:13
This is what happens when you get to post guys in a room together. We just start talking and talk kid and talk. And by Listen, I hope you guys got a lot out of that episode. Ollie dropped some really great knowledge bombs on the on the tribe today and I just wanted you I hope if you listen to this episode, all the way that you understand the power of color and how to now incorporate color on set in pre production, and also in color grading to really make your films and projects stand apart. Now if you want to link to the course that Ollie created called directing color, just head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/246 and MZed who is the author of the course as well with Ali is having a sale these next few days. So definitely Take advantage and head over there ASAP. And if you've not already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com And leave a five star review for the show. It really helps us out in the rankings and helps us get to more filmmakers. So thank you again, so much for listening guys. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.



  • Directing Color with Ollie Kenchington
  • Korro Films
  • Ollie Kenchington – Twitter
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B006LXQID8″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Amélie[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B001CEE1YE” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]The Matrix[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B001GZ6QDS” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Dark Knight[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B001H1SVO8″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Fight Club[/easyazon_link]


  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)

IFH 208: Cinematic Masterclass with Philip Bloom

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today on the show we have a legend in the filmmaking blogosphere, award-winning cinematographer Philip Bloom. Philip is a world-renowned filmmaker who, for the past 10 years of his 27-year career has specialized in creating incredible cinematic images no matter what the camera. He started blogging back in the early 2000s before anyone was really doing it. I personally have been following him for years.

Philip even got an opportunity to shoot for the Jedi Master himself George Lucas on the film [easyazon_link identifier=”B007YJS7G4″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Red Tails[/easyazon_link].

Here’s some more info on Philip Bloom:

Some of his most iconic work was created with Canon DSLRs. As one of the biggest evangelists for their use in productions his website became the place to go to for budding filmmakers as well as experienced ones keen to embrace the new technology. His site now regularly has over 1,000,000 visitors a month.

His use of Canon [easyazon_link keywords=”DSLRs” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]DSLRs[/easyazon_link] to shoot part of Lucasfilms’ last movie “Red Tails” proved a huge point to the naysayers. This technology was proved very viable in large-scale productions.

He has become very well known for his in-depth video reviews of various cameras, which have helped many people in the huge decision of buying a camera. He has worked for all the major UK broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV, C4 and Sky, as well as countless independent production companies and many others around the world including CNN, CBS, Discovery, FOX and NBC. 

Independent projects are key to Philip and he splits his time between bigger projects and small independent ones. One of his most successful independent projects was “How To Start A Revolution” which won a BAFTA in 2012 and was also awarded prizes at several film festivals including Best Documentary at the 2011 Raindance festival. 


If you want to learn more about Philip Bloom‘s techniques and methods I’d suggest you take a look at his new online course Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass.

Here’s some info on the course:

Join filmmaker, educator, and pioneer Philip Bloom as he embarks on his most adventurous project to date. From the wind-swept coast of Ireland to the unforgiving heat of the Mojave Desert, USA, travel with Philip as he guides you through the art and science of filmmaking, and shares his most important advice for capturing the style of cinematic images that have made him one of the world’s most beloved independent filmmakers. Available in gorgeous 4K resolution, Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass is a ten-hour journey that will educate, entertain and inspire you.

As a gift to the tribe, you can watch the first lesson for FREE.

Enjoy my conversation with Philip Bloom.

Alex Ferrari 1:34
I'm back and today we have a insanely cool episode. I am talking to one of the oh geez, the original gangsters of the filmmaking blogosphere, Philip Bloom. Now if you guys don't know who Philip Bloom is Google, because he has been around since the early 2000s. He's one of the first filmmaking bloggers out there. He has a massive online Empire, if you will, he's worked with George Lucas shot, shot the movie Red Tails with him on a Canon five D when it first came out. He also travels the world as an award winning cinematographer. And over the years, I've learned a ton from his YouTube channel, his blog, and all the cool stuff that he puts out there for the filmmaking community. And I am honored and humbled that he would come on the podcast to share his experience and knowledge with the tribe. And there'll be a little surprise for you at the end of this episode, Philips got this brand new, insane course that he's got called Philip blooms cinematic master class, and I will have a link at the end of this episode where you guys can go and check it out. It is almost 10 hours long. It is definitely a master class. I have taken a bunch of it already. And I've learned a few things along the way as well. So definitely check that out. But without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Philip Bloom. I'd like to welcome to the show Philip Bloom. Thank you, sir so much for taking the time out to to share your knowledge with the the tribe.

Philip Bloom 3:12
Alex, thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:14
So how did you get into this crazy business?

Philip Bloom 3:18
I very a path which probably doesn't exist anymore. I it goes back to I think most times when you grow up, you don't know what to do. And I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I was watching a TV show. And it was about a guy who tried out different careers. And what episode was where he tried to be a news photographer. And I watched that this was this was like a knee sort of like mid 80s. And I thought that looks really cool. So I friend of my dad's new oppress geographer. And so I had a conversation with him about it. And I took photos and I was you know, a hobbyist. nothing particularly is better photos. But I thought that looks like a really interesting job. I didn't really know what to do. And then he said to me, I would not bother doing this because photography is on the way out because digital is coming in. And that's going to change everything. It's going to cheapen industry, you should get into TV news. That's where the future is. So when Yeah, why not. So I then sort of like made inquiries and contacts and tried to get in touch with somebody and eventually found somebody who knew somebody and I managed to go out with a news crew. I was about to get about 16 or 17 did that for a day and it was the best thing I'd ever done. It was so much fun. And this was back in the golden age of TV news in a way because where you are really looked after I think they did a I went out with like three man crew. We went out to the press conference for boxer. Then we had a three hour lunch and just Chinese restaurants really expensive Chinese restaurant all on the company. And I was like, Wow, this is amazing. This is the life that I think then they said, We may do something later, but probably not. That'll be it for the day. I'm like, this is a job. And by eventually, I, by the time I left school, I then got I managed to get my foot in the door into sky television, and to try and become a news cameraman. So that's kind of how I got in never wanted to be a filmmaker, and I want to be a filmmaker in the slightest. wanting to do something, wanted to find a job that could pay me to do something that was interesting. Because I really had no idea what I want to do growing up. And that was basically just sort of fell into it just found that I really enjoyed filming, and really enjoyed the the excitement of and boredom as well of news. And that kind of that's kind of where we're ready. And I did that for 17 years. Oh, wow. was what? for staff? And it was the best training anybody I think you can have when you want to become a storyteller? Because you get I got to learn how to use Git not particularly technically, because it was much simpler times it was one camera one lens, right? In two settings like a try. That's it. It was like, yeah, there's no settings in camera. It's turned it on. And now you you had a gain switch. There you go.

Alex Ferrari 6:26
Yes. In the white balance

Philip Bloom 6:28
Yeah, yeah, white balance, and of course, is black and white, if you find so you had to get it right. You knew you got it, right, because you didn't get a phone call later to tell you that you got it wrong. And that the way things worked back then. But it was brilliant was great training, I got to learn how to tell stories really quickly. Learn how to shoot efficiently, how to walk into a room and see the positions where I need to be, I knew how to learn how to figure out how to shots I needed to get really quickly. And then they asked then it gave me a chance to do long form stuff later on. And I was always traveling around the world. And they taught me how to edit. It was just a really brilliant experience. And, and I guess it's one of those things that when you get to I got really comfortable with it. And I could easily still be doing it now. But I realized that I had to leave to push myself further. And that was 11 years ago, in this way.

Alex Ferrari 7:19
And then you get into more filmmaking more documentary after that.

Philip Bloom 7:24
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, docu, documentaries is kind of what I was doing for the last few years of my startup anyway. Because I was one of the few cameraman, there was like 25 kehrmann that worked at the company on the news roster. And I was one of the few who edited. And so I got sent to do the interesting stories. And then it gave me the more creative stuff. And I showed a flair for doing creative stuff. And so they pushed me to more and more do that. And then so I was doing the longer form stuff, sort of like what I guess what you equate slight, 60 minutes, types you have. And that was brilliant. So that really gave me a taste for longer stuff of doing that. So that's why I went into freelancing. That's why I really wanted to still push forward with documentaries, as my main thing is still my main thing. But also try the other things which could, which you know, interested me, you know, and, and I've certainly found that trying all these different things, and still doing different types of work really helps in every aspect you're in. If you're filming narrative fiction, coming from a news documentary background is incredibly useful. Because you're, you know, you have that speed of thought. But also if you've you we can take from that fiction, though, is that aspect of planning, and, and working with others for to in a much more controlled way. And bring that into your documentary work can can have a really interesting effects. I love the way that everything that I've done in these past 11 years has really sort of jailed and work together to make everything hopefully better.

Alex Ferrari 9:03
Now you were at what point in your career did you decide, hey, I'm gonna start blogging. I'm gonna open up a YouTube show, YouTube channel, you're one of the first guys in the in the industry in the film industry at all that was kind of figuring that out. How did you start this blog and what made you want to start one?

Philip Bloom 9:23
So I think the website started initially, this is in 2006, just as a place for my showreel because nobody, because prior to this, people were just and still what at this time we're sending out DVDs,

Alex Ferrari 9:40
Sure CD ROM, or VHS,

Philip Bloom 9:42
Or VHS is and nobody the effort it takes for somebody to open it up and put it in a machine and play it. It means they're not going to watch it. And I just thought if I could just send them a link over this thing called email, the employee seems to start having these days and it's When basically it was just seemed like the most obvious way of doing things. And that's basically started it. And then about a year later, I started up the blog. And the blog was really was just a simple way of me sharing my experiences using something called 35 millimeter adapters, which is what we use before data loss as a way of tricking the smaller sensor cameras into having essentially 35 millimeter field of view and aesthetic and everything and it was really clunky. system. Yeah, remember, and the only way you could find out information about these really was by going through all of these forums, the dv x users and the DB info and stuff like that. And it was going through countless threads. And I thought, yeah, I'm just gonna just have a place where I can just share my my experience with it and see, I can hopefully help people out if they think you're going down this path, and I can see me trying out all this, all these gears, all these different adapters that I'm buying, trying to get the most filmic look at it's simply my it sounds a bit trite, but it is true, I did actually just want to give a little bit back because I was trained by such brilliant cameraman back in my news days. And I just wanted to just to have, you know, I was taught I was educated on the job and stuff like that. And I could only see the way things were going, that that wasn't happening anymore. And people were sort of floundering. So I just wanted to share my experiences. And so hopefully people could learn a little bit from what I was doing. And that's kind of really basically what it started out as just simply just me giving a little bit back.

Alex Ferrari 11:40
And then it grew and grew and grew till it's the juggernaut that it is today. And you and your YouTube, and when did you start your YouTube channel?

Philip Bloom 11:48
Um, you eager to find out? I mean, it started it a long time ago. I can't remember how long ago, but I mean, it must be about nine,

Alex Ferrari 11:58
At least like 2000 2010 2008, something like that.

Philip Bloom 12:01
Oh, well, but yeah, before then yeah, so I didn't really do much with it. It was just a place of putting up some stuff. And, and really, I have to say, I mean, Vimeo was kind of my main place, there was exposure, and then Vimeo exposure and disappeared. And maybe I used to use that as a place to put my work up to be seen because it's a clean platform. YouTube always struck me as a very noisy environment. Yep. And I've actually grown to love YouTube for what it is I've embraced it for what it is. And it took me quite a few years to understand what needs to be done with it. And I've never really embraced it in the full way that many have. Because I think to truly do that. It's a full time job. That hands on YouTube for me. So it's just, I put up stuff every now and then. But it's and i'm not i'm not a snob at all about these things. And you see this online, when you talk about these things. People say oh, no, I don't put myself on YouTube, the quality of people who watch it out, and we're near as good as quality people who watch it on Vimeo, unlike, right, so you want to pick and choose your audience where you're in the wrong business. If you want me to watch it, surely as many people watch as possible, there's no and YouTube is for me, it's now grown bigger to me than than Vimeo. I still use Vimeo, initially put my stuff up. And then when I'm happy with it, I will then put it up onto YouTube. Because as you know, you can't change the video on YouTube, you have to let it go. And it's not like I do daily vlogs or anything. It's when I put stuff up on YouTube, it's generally quite a crafted piece that I put up there. So it takes me a while to make it.

Alex Ferrari 13:46
So when you approach a film or a series, how do you approach How do you kind of like creatively go after a new job?

Philip Bloom 13:58
It is that's a tricky one. Because it really depends on the type of work there is so varied and degenerate the way that work. I'm lucky enough to be in a position now where I don't have to actually knock on doors are such the fine work. I still make new contacts and do things like that just the normal way. But I don't send my my I don't try and contact people looking for ways I get people contacting me with job offers and ideas. And if it's something that interests me, then I will, then I'll go and work with that. And it really depends on what the job is. It can be it's such a different process, you know, whether it's set, whether it's working on a documentary series, or doing a corporate or branded content, for example, I mean, all of these things have such different processes. Obviously, there's some parts of it which are of a similar, which is I think the common ground and all of it would be filming. Because on everything that I do, I'll always be filming something But other stuff I may not be editing, I may not be doing any pre production it really depends on on type of thing that I do.

Alex Ferrari 15:08
Now you should a lot on location. Do you have any tips on lighting with natural light?

Philip Bloom 15:19
Yeah, lighting, natural lighting is a wonderful thing. It's an unpredictable uncontrollable thing frequently. And so whilst working with what there is, is a nice quick way of doing things, you can't use it for everything, it's the best thing I can suggest when when you're working with available, I mean, I would always suggest having your own lights as well, to give it a try and do talking heads and interviews in a room trying to do that on just available light or natural light. Unless you've got continuous gray cloud outside or anything like that, it's just gonna be a nightmare. But it is a case of working with what's there don't fight it, embrace the light work find a location or room with a background that works with the windows what there is when you walk into a room that has lights on, turn them off, and then see what the lights like and then turn the back on again if you want. So it's a case of just don't, don't turn the camera on until you've you've figured out where the light is and how you can harness it. And I think too many people don't look at where the light is, before they choose their background first and then they go about the light the two should be hand in hand especially if you're going to be working with natural light you need to make make it work together very well.

Alex Ferrari 16:47
It's not it's in other words you kind of roll with the punches when it comes to natural light as opposed to trying to control it or manipulate it too much I mean you can control manipulate it to a certain extent but it's ever changing so it's kind of like you know wrestling a wet cat.

Philip Bloom 17:01
Yeah, it just depends on what it is you're trying to film if you're just trying to grab some shots here and there it's you know, you can work with it and we know lighting is not turning up the ISO and your camera as you know, is a completely different thing. Right horrendous thing some people actually do think that is what lighting is no, we still need to lighting so you know creates the really creates everything and I love natural light. But when I when the natural light doesn't work for me, which is can easily be you know 75% of the time, that's when you start adding lights yourself, but in the most naturalistic way possible for me, it's all about finding the position where you would like to be that looks like it's a motivated lightsource like it could be the window and that's what I could be doing I could literally just be putting up a light to add to the window light to take it over to add a little bit more to it to give a bit more sparkle casing changes. So I think that's kind of what you need to do with it and then there's lots of apps and things out there which you can use to see you know if you want to scout locations beforehand to see where the sun will be the light will be and how that will affect things. But most of the time if you're just doing things quickly you just have to work with it and just be quick is my best advice if you are going to work with natural light don't faff around and start being undecided about what to do You just have to just go with it.

Alex Ferrari 18:27
Now I know because I actually watched your your Skywalker Ranch video that you did years ago which was stunning and for any Star Wars fan that is Mecca so I watched that I found that online I was like wow and then you were shooting it with a DSLR if I'm not mistaken right

Philip Bloom 18:46
Yeah, yeah, so that was a that was an interesting time so that was back in 2009 and they contacted minutes is a fun it's a nice story because I'm a huge Star Wars fan have been up since I saw the first Star Wars 77 and they emailed me and I didn't reply so Lucasfilm emailed me and I didn't reply because I'm terrible with emails and in I have a PA now and it makes things better but now she does my work email she doesn't do my personal emails and I'm still rapid with my personal emails. But I still was still bad then and I missed it and then they called me and I did I'm rubbish with voicemails terrible with voicemails. I'll be like, you know, you have 60 new voicemail right got it. Me. But actually, the did play it back. I played one back about a day after it was left and it was producer Rick McCallum said dropped to an email last week and tried to avoid it strange that we've not heard about. from you. I think basically, anybody never nobody ignores and I wasn't ignoring I'm just rubbish.

Alex Ferrari 20:07
No one ever ignores an email from George Lucas.

Philip Bloom 20:10
I mainly call them back and apologize. And they just said that they, they want to know what this can find the marks who's about if it's any good. They have second world war movie that they're currently shooting called Red Tails. And they've got some other plans for other stuff that they just want to just don't know what the quality is like. They've got one, they messed around with it, but they're not they don't really know much about it. So could I come over to Skywalker Ranch for maybe a few days? And give them some advice? And I was like, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 20:43
Sure what actually,

Philip Bloom 20:44
I was actually I was booked on a job. Oh, yeah, I was booked on a job to do short notice. It was like, can you come out next week? I was booked for like three weeks. And so I found out the production manager at the job I was on and gave a sob story of like, you know, how important Star Wars was to my life. And then eventually got to the bit that I said, and they've asked me to come over there next week to work with them. And she said to me, why don't you tell me that the beginning 10 minutes ago? Yeah, that's fine. Understand totally, no problem. I'll let you I'll let you off the job. And yeah, so I went out there. And I shot with it around the ranch, which was I didn't have long today at all. And they just wanted to see it didn't want me to shoot any test charts or anything like that. They weren't interested in that they wanted to see what it looked like projected. So I just shot some stuff around the ranch. And I went into their, into the the main house into the screening room. And it was ahead of experience because it was McCallum there. And George Lucas is he's visiting director friend Quentin Tarantino's legendary sound designer and editor Ben Ben burrs there. So they go into this and

Alex Ferrari 22:06
What then then just Dennis Miranda show up.

Philip Bloom 22:09
He was he wasn't that I cut the stuff on my laptop in the room. And when it looks are I bit noisy bit of aliasing there bit more. Right? It's all right. God. And I didn't know they were going to screen it on the big screen. So I wanted to get in there. And I had is one of the things I would like to have seen on the big screen before anybody else saw it, just to check it. So the first time I ever saw canon five, the Mk two subjected was at that point. And it looked beautiful looks so much better than did it on the computer, through their their magical idea what amazing project that I had it looked fantastic. And they loved it. So it was a hell of an experience.

Alex Ferrari 22:50
And then then you get to work a little bit on Red Tails.

Philip Bloom 22:53
Yeah, so I did some shoots did some stuff for them up at in Sonoma a couple of weeks. And then in Prague A few months later as well. So I did about three weeks work on the on the movie. And it was that was it was crazy, because that was me with my little ID mark two. And I also had a 1d Mark four as well, that have a seven day as well, maybe a seven day cop member, I think I did had a 70 modified to PL as well as at the three cameras to switch between. And they they were shooting on Sony f 35. So big beasts, and you know, proper cinema crew. And sure it looks like it's just a monster. So you know that I would be there to get an angle they hadn't thought of because I was so nimble and able to just slot it and find things with my eye what I did. And I was able to be set up and ready within like two minutes. guys were like 45 minutes to an hour just to repo each position. Of course. That was it was it was fun. It was it's a fun drinking game watching the movie. Boy, I can't do it because I would kill myself. There's 150 shots of my film.

Alex Ferrari 24:11
Yeah, that's insane.

Philip Bloom 24:12
I know. I know every single one of the shots when it comes on. And of course they've graded it beautifully. You couldn't tell. But it's not. It's not for what people initially thought of. Oh, you must be using it for like cockpit cams and stuff like that, like, because they're not really the cockpits they're obviously it's a stage and they're on. They're on gimballed and there's a techno crane and I'm sure they're so my camera was not forgetting those really like small space type stuff. It was really just I was the small camera to find small spaces and get angles that they couldn't or hadn't thought off beforehand.

Alex Ferrari 24:48
Now you would you agree that they found you basic did they find you because of your blog? And because you work with one kind of talking about DSLRs a lot?

Philip Bloom 24:57
Yeah, I think I mean without question who It was the when the five D came along, I didn't embrace it straightaway. The Fray did reverie, of course in November 2008. And I had played with I bought the Nikon D 90 a month before that hated it. I was so excited by the concept of DSLR, I was having a large sensor to better shoot video, but the quality of the nicotine, it was so bad. And then I saw the five D Mark two and when that looks cool, but I have no Canvas, and it only shoots 30 P and I need to shoot 25 p 24. p. So that gets me but I did get to try it for the first time in May. And then realized you could you can get past that the lens limitations and also the fact that there was no manual control by using old Nikon glass with an adapter and and also found a way of converting the set up to 25 p to make it look okay. And so yeah, so I was I you know, once I did, once I figure that out, I really just loved it. And I think that's kind of you know, a lot of people saw my stuff and so I was doing and picked up from there.

Alex Ferrari 26:07
Now can you because I have I have a love hate relationship with DSLRs because I've upgraded I've graded probably about five features that were shot on the DSLR and they've never shot properly. If you shoot the DSLR properly, like you did on Red Tails. I'm sure it looks and I saw the movie. It looks great. Yeah, but most people don't know how to shoot DSLRs properly gets too grainy, like one movie I had was like in the movie in the woods at night with no light. And they're like, hey, why is there so much grain? I'm like, Guys, you know, it's you know, we have we it's not it's it just couldn't work. So What tips do you have with a shooting DSLR now that DSLR is also that you shot red cells which are much different than they are now with the ACS two that can literally look into into the darkness of of hell, and they clean but what what what kind of tips do you have when shooting DSLRs for filmmakers who want to shoot a feature or a short and try to get the most out of that camera.

Philip Bloom 27:09
It's funny that has been quite a few years now since they first came out and the yet the image quality has come on enormously. But the key the key core principles we need to stick to much the same. You need to if you're going to use it use a handheld need to have it on some some sort of rig just to stabilize a little bit because unless you have one you know one of these five axes stabilized sensors, then that's going to help you as well. But that's one of the first things is just make sure if you are going to shoot handheld Just be aware of the terrible issues we can have a rolling shutter which is a huge giveaway for DSLRs is that horrible micro vibrations that we can really see not just jello, not just like rolling shutter he said that you know that you don't wish it really looked like oh my god like somebody's wobbly much caffeine. Sure while they're holding the camera. So be careful that you know using is lens Miss stabilized lens if you haven't got that. But it's know what your camera performs best out with its ISOs. And yes, many of the cameras that you know the a seven s two, you can push your camera much higher, but you still need to expose correctly. So that's one of the things that people aren't doing right. And I do not recommend shooting vlog format on any of the DS laws with eight bit codecs, which is pretty much all of them except the GH five leave and then it's it's still a little bit challenging. It's a it's a hell of a codec, the GH five blog, it's it's, it's really hard to grade. So I would I would suggest No, no, no, no how far you can push your ISO, and then only use it for extreme purposes. It's not a replacement for lighting. It's a way of hopefully being able to film in environments that you couldn't normally film in. That's basically what their solarz were excited to me about was was apart from the size and the optics was just this just I think it was the ability to push that low light up a little bit like that. And I think when the SMS two came out of there, seven s came out initially, it wasn't the fact that I could film in moonlight. It was the fact that I could film in street light but not wide open, which is what too many people are still doing when choosing on DSLRs. That's the other tip is just because you've got an F 1.4 lens doesn't mean you should shoot at F one point for every single shot, right. It's incredibly hard to keep focus. We do have some cameras coming out now with pretty decent autofocus. But it's still not necessarily the way to go. That's a different thing. I would use that for certain things like interviews and stuff like that other than that, it's being sensible with it being sensible. So I would say the key things is going to be Don't be shooting wide open. Keep your camera stable if you can, as much as possible, don't push your ISO too far and don't fall into temptation of shooting log unless you absolutely have to proper video cameras with 10 bit codecs or shoot log fantastic. But eight bit compressed codecs, whether it's a drone, or DSLR, it's it's a nightmare. And you spend so much time in post just trying to hide all the problems, which if you hadn't done that in the first place you wouldn't be doing

Alex Ferrari 30:31
Now, one thing I really do like about your your work is that you are it's Lisa seems from your blog and from your your YouTube channel that you are not married to any one camera. You're not like, I'm only the Canon guy. I'm only a Blackmagic. I'm only a Nikon guy. I'm only an Erica, you. You use multiple cameras, depending on your job. Can you can you suggest or show people how or advice on how you could pick the right camera for the right job, which I think it's so, so important, because I think sometimes it's just trying to use a hammer to screw in a lightbulb. It's like just hammer it. There are other tools.

Philip Bloom 31:13
Yeah, I mean, that's, yeah. Back in the candidates, I was approached to be one of their ambassadors. And I said no, because I wanted to, I didn't want to be tied to any format. I had an independent voice. I didn't want to lose that. And also didn't want to lose out on the fact that I you know, other people gonna make cool cameras in their phone. I don't want to be like, Oh, no, I can't use this because I'm signed in, signed up with these guys. And so yeah, I'm, and I'm always gonna be like this because I, I'm very fickle, and I will fall in love with a camera, and then something else will come along and turn my head and go, Oh, no, use this now. And, and so yeah, I mean, when it comes to life photography, I mean cameras, Pentax and Fuji cameras. And, and so but when it comes to video, I my main video cameras or Sony, but I also have canon ones as well. And I have lots of different types of of them and and I guess I am lucky that I can be in that position of saying the right tool for the right job. And obviously, if you you've already got one camera, then you're going to be a little bit stuck and kind of that's your your camera for the job. But if it's if it's important, then I would certainly try and rent it or find somebody who's got something that would be more appropriate for your job. Because you're right, it's it's, you see people using totally the wrong cameras, when it could be something as simple as you can have a chocolate bar, so they try to use a Blackmagic Ursa mini for wedding videos and like you crazy. We try to do Yeah, but I'm sure we can shoot RAW, raw, like why you should enjoy in the first place for a wedding video. And the camera they can't put over 800 ISO and a wedding video with no control of your lighting and probably no lights. Sure, crazy itself nice and nice to write. You know, and so somebody who's Oh, I want to do you know, some visual effects and that it's all going to be green screen and stuff like that. I'm shooting on an 87x. And I'll be like, why that's the wrong camera for you for doing this. Right, you should get yourself Blackmagic submitty because that shoots raw and that shoots 10 bit progress. And that's going to be much better for you and it's still pretty cheap. And you're already in his lip. It's already late because it has to be because in a studio and green screen, so they have to worry about the fact that you can't push your ISO. Right. So I mean that you know that's that's the best thing about like the black magics is is working in lit controlled locations. They do really well with that. And then we have to push it too far. Because they're the cheapest cameras I know of that have a terrific inbuilt codec or Pro. It's gorgeous hand roll if you need it. You know having to deal with all of these nasty compressed v frame codecs all the time eight bit ones when you get committed to shoot straight pro rated like Oh, no transcoding. Oh, my this system works with it. And I can grade it, it doesn't fall apart. Wow. Fantastic. So that's kind of what you need to look at is what but if you know it's safe, you don't have to Tamar, that it's a bit harder. I mean, I interesting. I read on reading Facebook today and a dp guy I know. And he was asking about time lapse. He's got a red, epic W and he's complaining about the fact that the time lapse ability of the camera is basically lacking in that you can't do more than one frame a second and say currently long exposures right tool for the right job. This is a 70,000 whatever it is dollar camera, right? Just get a $2,000 DSLR that's going to shoot RAW, shoot long exposure, shoot everything you wanted to do the right job and doesn't doesn't tie up your 70 or 1000 Dollar camera. There's a time lapse. So

Alex Ferrari 35:03
Yeah, I think yeah, I think a lot of times filmmakers DPS, they spend 70 grand on a camera and they wanted to do everything and be perfect for everything. And a lot of times you, right, you, you have that ability in your work has shown that you could just like, you know what I yes, I have a $70,000 camera, but, you know, it's like I have a Porsche, but I'm not going to drive to the supermarket with a Porsche where I could easily either just walk or, or or drive my Prius, you know, it's just the right tool for the right job. kind of thing. Yeah.

Philip Bloom 35:33
Yeah. I suppose if you have spent 70,000, you kind of insistent on the fact that oh, my God, I'm going to get every single last pennies worth out of this camera. Right. But, you know, I said this in, in many times. And I've also got this policy now of not wanting to, I'm never going to buy a camera over $10,000 again. And I've done that like three times now. Yes, before. And now it's just, there's loads of great cameras sub 10,000. Not so much. And if you need anything more than just rent it because it's just not worth it. Because they get cheated, they get superseded so quickly these days. And it's just not really worth spending all that money, especially in a system that you could end up changing in a read requires so many bits and pieces, and maybe then you'll switch to area who knows. But it's I just think there's so many great cameras out there for for the sub that just just stick with that. Really, unless you're super rich because I bought a Sony f 35. And with allowes Last time, I bought a really expensive camera. And I loved it, it was amazing. And then the FS seven came out, and it did everything I needed it to do for documentaries without me worrying about my hugely expensive camera being potentially damaged and stuff like that. So I found that it was sitting on the shelf for like six months hadn't really been touched and the FSM was being used all the time. And so I sold it and that was when I decided this is silly I should now you know I'm not going to buy the expensive camera again. So because the FS seven did everything I needed to do it didn't shoot RAW easily. Didn't matter because I didn't need to shoot RAW right right. Yeah, the rifle

Alex Ferrari 37:17
Yeah, and I'm a huge fan of the Blackmagic I shot my feature on the 2.5k Cinema Yeah, and the pocket is arguably some of the most beautiful images come out of that little camera you know again right tool for the right job you know if I'm going to go shoot an IMAX This is not the tool for you. But if you're creating this kind of almost Super 16 style film look out of the box that that little pocket camera is amazing and the Ursa Mini is is one of the most underrated I think cameras out there because it's not as sexy as the red or the Alexa a man it has a bite Would you agree?

Philip Bloom 37:54
Yeah, I haven't shot anything properly myself with the 4.6 Ursa mini I really liked what I go with it though I had definitely had issues with as a from a documentary background with the fact the buy in is available light I will I knew I was going to come a Cropper and there are some quirks here and there which slow me down but I thought for the money the image was fantastic and I've always found it disappointing that they well they went with originally with the the Ursa which was the craziest camera Oh the

Alex Ferrari 38:27
The first one was hard

Philip Bloom 38:28
Yeah That was funny. I mean I went to a trade show Yes. And I remember the first time I picked it up I just you know in front of them that they've let me pick it up and I went holy crap anyway yeah we don't really consider this a handheld camera I like what kind of world do you live in? What is that he was he was a camera should be anything he shouldn't we consider this a tripod camera might blind me Sure studio camera is a tripod camera but this is crazy sure, but I just wish that develops the pocket camera but I wish that made no version of that because that really is the I think is my favorite camera that I like bought from them yes in size and form I had loads of issues while but what it gave you was astonishing in the package

Alex Ferrari 39:22
I wish they would do 4k like if they could do 4k in that little camera with raw in progress and handle the damn battery issue it's just

Philip Bloom 39:29

Alex Ferrari 39:30
Just do something better with the battery if the plug in a juice box or something like that now whenever the juice box it will run six seven hours but still it's like a little bit more bulky but God that little camera is good and the Micro Four Thirds opens you up to so much glass especially vintage glass that I'm a big vintage glass guy and it's it really is gorgeous It is wonderful camera.

Philip Bloom 39:53
Yeah, it's just a shame that they didn't really know they just seem to just forgot this has gotten battered and they have their micro camera setup. I call it this is not the same, it's not the same thing. It's so I don't know if then they'll ever go back to that the SMD pro looks I have never played with it it looks like a soldier many of the operational issues they had with the previous one so

Alex Ferrari 40:14
They have solved that I shot a shot a series with it and I shot with the new one and the old one. And they both work like champs but the brand new one that they just released the time code on the on the side and everything it's solved. It's a tank now it really is a tank and it's you'd like you're right if you push it a little too. It's not. I always I did a test between the Aerie Alexa and the end the Ursa Mini, and I shot them down the middle. And when you shoot them down the middle, man, yeah, it's pretty damn close. It's definitely not you can tell it's not worth spending 80 grand or whatever the Alexa cost now, comparatively, all down the mirror, you just start seeing where the Alexa is worth it. When you start pushing her. When you start pushing on the on the darks and the highlights get clipped a little bit. So if you go a little bit up or down is when you start getting but if you should have done the middle of it. best bang for your buck.

Philip Bloom 41:07
But let me ask you, though, if you were given, somebody said I'm going to swap out your Ursus for aerial axes for free. You'd go Yeah, right. Of course you would. We'll work because they're amazing. But you're right it's unless I dated people I know who own a Lexus smart bought a Lexus, our DPS who read them to the production's share first. So that's those are people who who should be buying a Lexus the rest of us should be renting them in. absolutely need them.

Alex Ferrari 41:42
Absolutely. Now, do you have any advice on how you test a new camera which I know a lot of filmmakers get their cameras and they really don't know how to push it or test it or you know, put it through the through the wringer a little bit to see if it's even worth it.

Philip Bloom 41:55
Yeah, so me It totally is totally real world. It's it taking out of other kind of other working studios as such I do work in doors and things like that, but that working studio so I want to see how it works with unpredictable lighting. I want to see how it operates as a camera is how slow is to figure out I think the last time I tested was the Canon c 200. And I kind of I actually really liked it it's a bit of a strange quirky camera in that it has a terrific inbuilt inbuilt feature called 12 bit raw internally and yet the if you can't do roll then you have to do an eight bit right 14 okay that which is so bizarre to have no middle ground I mean we all know it's a cannon protecting its other cameras issue right but it's but other than that it's actually really nice image and a really nice camera and for me I just wanted to see the things which that it was a selling point really which was the the role the autofocus and just what the eight bit codec was like so those are kind of the headline features I was looking at to see what they're like and this like when I'm getting our hands on the the ETA one from Panasonic what I want to see is what this July so is going to like what sort of noise levels Am I getting because the main selling point is that you can shoot in low light conditions by switching to different the higher native setting so want to see what that's like there's kind of I look at the headline features of the camera and go Okay, I need to see what this actually is like and then as well do the everyday the bread and butter type stuff to see how it actually works for real use because obviously you need to if it may well have a really cool feature but if it doesn't operate the camera well just generally then it's it's a bit pointless. And it takes me back to when I saw the was when the Sony A seven s came out and it was all about all about how amazing the low light was. And they released a video and it was I watched it and I was like Okay, it looks nice. It's nicely shot and it was like fishermen in Scotland or something and it was all shot high ISO and it showed you a couple of exactly what it was six

Alex Ferrari 44:19
Or something like that

Philip Bloom 44:20
Even though like nighttime it looked like daytime or something right and which was fine but because it it was like that all the way through I had no sense of any of what it was doing. And so I got the camera on loan from them just before it was released and went Alright, I'm gonna take this down down to Brighton and in south of England and then just really just see what this is like and so I did a video and I shot it where I want did I this is what it looks like to the eye which is like 100 ISO and then I shot it at 25,600 ISO which did turn it into like daylight is having this Friends having this ability to do this transition show, this is what I see. And this is what this shows. And that's I mean that's kind of a way to sell the cameras ability because he saw straight away that was like, ah, I now I get it I get what, how amazing this is because I didn't get it before because everything was just brought everything just looked okay look fine. So it's, that's kind of what I when I'm looking at cameras that's kind of I just want to see what makes this special.

Alex Ferrari 45:28
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now what are three of your go to lenses? If you're on a desert island? I know it's like picking your children

Philip Bloom 45:50
That question you know religion say one actually one's easier, one's easier and always You didn't tell me what size sensor which sensor we're talking here?

Alex Ferrari 45:58
Let's say full frame.

Philip Bloom 46:00
Okay, all right, then. That's easier. So I would say a 15 millimeter is my first lens without question. Because as long as it's the relative field of view of what we see our eyes so I do love that standard field of view and I can show you pretty much everything on that. And then it gets really tricky because my favorite walk around lens is a 35 mil

Alex Ferrari 46:25
Which was brand?

Philip Bloom 46:29
And you know I don't really have any you to my focal lengths or brands?

Alex Ferrari 46:35
Brands brand brands like like Canon Nightcore

Philip Bloom 46:40
This is getting really hard. So if you you know if you want the really beautiful sharp images and the Sigma art lens is a fantastic

Alex Ferrari 46:53

Philip Bloom 46:53
If you want, they are incredibly, but if you want some a little bit more character than sure some of the older knickers are always good for that sort of thing. Nice and cheap.

Alex Ferrari 47:07
Do you use a lot of Do you use a lot of vintage glass? Or do you ever play with it

Philip Bloom 47:11
Occasionally, occasionally, not as much as I used to. I used to these days I tend to use a lot more detailed, sharper lenses. But I still I still do you know when I'm doing any lens whacking freelancing or using my old glass and a lot more for stills I do for stills as well. But for videos, probably less so. But I don't really always a horrible question to ask because I just I love long telephoto is as well.

Alex Ferrari 47:43
Sure it's the right tool for the right job. I know it's like it's a it's a tough question. If someone asked me I have a couple of lenses that I go to all the time. But in there's a couple of fun ones that I I play with like a

Philip Bloom 47:58
Hand and got a great one that I've recently bought 70 to 300 Yes, it's not a standard constant aperture. It's not their white one. It's their their non L series one but it's new ish like last year and it's not that expensive. It's got crazy fast autofocus for doing stills. And build quality is great. It's light and the optics are great. It gives you a huge range so 70 to 300

Alex Ferrari 48:24
What's the How fast is it 35256 I think okay, so it's outdoor soccer but

Philip Bloom 48:33
Yeah, it's an outdoor lens but you know if you if you want a lens which is a you can limit me to three it's really cheap with a long big long zoom that's going to cover a big range and I still have a fast 50 mil for my primes then wide angles I love my big wide angles as well but you know my think my biggest wide angle I've got that is not fisheye is 10 mil which is ridiculous that's avoid lander

Alex Ferrari 48:56
So you haven't avoid it.

Philip Bloom 48:58
It's It's It's boy let them make amazing glass.

Alex Ferrari 49:02
They do.

Philip Bloom 49:03
Well that 10 mil is like I bring it with and I put it on and I take a couple of shots with it. I think I've shot video with it twice maybe briefly. sure if it's too wide, or it's just ridiculous. It's it's an effect lens. So my favorite actual why my favorite focal length in wide is actually around 24 2024 mil around. Yeah, I do like wider than that. But it's you know, it's you can just find myself a little bit too it'd be a little bit too wide. So 2024 is a good sort of middle ground like sigma record rate 24 mil point for that make a 20 mil as well.

Alex Ferrari 49:44
They're 18 to 35 is amazing.

Philip Bloom 49:46
There aren't lens. Yeah, if you've got for crop sensors that it at 35 is fantastic. Yeah. And I and I if you're 20 that gives you your 24 to 2474 frame equivalent, so it's a great lens

Alex Ferrari 49:59
Now If If you want to talk about why my favorite Why'd I have is the canoptek 5.7 micro four thirds, but it doesn't. It doesn't fisheye. That's impressive. It's the it's the Kubrick lens. It's what he shot is the big brother of that is the 9.8 which is for 35 that one is for 16 so I use it with a pocket and with a pocket it just it's amazing. But it doesn't fisheye so if you remember the Sheen's from the shining in the yeah that's all shot with the Coptic as well as the the right before the rape scene and Clockwork Orange that was shot with the Coptic it's one of his It was one of his go to lenses in his in the series, but it's gorgeous. It's such a gorgeous lens. So we're geeking out.

Philip Bloom 50:50
On I mean, I do love my wide angles, and Zeno bought the 10 stuff like that, but um, yeah, sort of like a 1635 zoom is always a good a good, yes. You know, it's one of the things that people ask for advice. And they say what three lenses should I buy? My advice tends to be a call first question is how much money you got? No, point giving them any advice? Because it's such a you know, it's it's an impossible question to answer. And then

Alex Ferrari 51:15
There's the end lenses and what kind of what camera? Are you going to be using it on? Or what are you going to do a shooting film or video? I mean, or photo or motion? It's Yeah, it's, it's a very big question has many multiple answers. Now, do you have any tips? Well, good.

Philip Bloom 51:29
Yeah, I just I mean, just with the five D are just in its it hasn't really changed in five days, simply, you have the three, the three zooms, you're 1635 24 7070 to 200, that covers everything. And then you have a fast prime for everything else d 51.4. And that's kind of what you need to go. But that's 1000s. You know, it's if you're shooting documentaries, you kind of want that flexibility. If you're shooting features and narrative type stuff, then you can shoot on on primes. And not is that the joy of a zoom is the speed which you need when you're shooting documentary. You don't have to worry about that, then you can you can go with cheaper, more vintage primes. So it's a massive question.

Alex Ferrari 52:12
That's a whole podcast in itself. Yeah. Now let's talk a little bit about your masterclass, you nuke a new course that you put together for m Zed? Yeah. Can you talk about what the course is about? And what students can expect in the class?

Philip Bloom 52:25
Yeah, it's, um, I would say it's pretty much my 27 years of experience and knowledge as much as possible, just distilled into the facts of what it's like nine episodes, 131 and eight main episodes, like runs like nine and a half hours or so. And it's, I just wanted initially, m Zed asked me to do something about drones. And I went, yeah, cool. I don't that's gonna be, there's no way I can possibly feel much more than, you know, a couple of hours just on that. And so then I made the mistake of suggesting What if we did it about everything, everything that I do every type of filming styles I do. And then when Yeah, cool. And so then I realized just what I was letting myself in for, because I started breaking it down twice, I should have done that before I suggested it to them. Initially, it was going to be a six hour course. And by the time I started editing, that guide is going to be a lot longer than six hours, because I knew that when I was filming it, that it was going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Because once you start talking about a subject, you realize you need to go down a path. So when I was breaking it down in pre production, and what we needed to do and figure out which episodes, what topics we should cover. That was kind of you know, where I realized, you know, it was a very good thing to actually make discipline wise, because it did require a lot of people duction. Otherwise, it just was not going to be a practical thing to shoot because it's sure enough as it was. And so I went through the topics that I really wanted to cover. The first one is the first episode is quite dull in in respect, because it's just me in my kitchen, but it's me explaining all of the stuff you actually do need to understand before you go out and shoot, which is all the technical stuff, a little bit of history as to why we're using these cameras and some of the flaws, the problems we can have with them. So it's going through everything you needed to know squeezed into like an hour and 20 minutes and then I went out and then I realized the next episode was okay, now I've got all that stuff out of the way. And I can just focus on being creative. And then it was never really competition is one of the things that's been very natural to me. And I've always been asked how can I improve my composition? And that always, well, you can always read books and to understand how what you're looking for competition. But then you need to work then you need to experiment and then you need to watch movies and TV shows and see how they do things and see what you like and and So that's kind of why this the first episode. So the second episode was all about showing what different lenses do and showing how cool a long telephoto can be on a subject and bringing a background closer to a person and the effect it can have compared to say, a standard lens and a wide angle lens. And then showing people how to move the camera when not to move the camera showing all these toys that can distract you when to use them. I mean, it was just so much in this course. And, and I think it's one of the things that I can look at the the list of the topics, the only really explains half of what you're learning, or did not even that from just what it is. So like, people will say, oh, there's no episode on lighting. I'm like, Well, no, because lighting is in every single every episode. Same with sound she found in every episode. I didn't want to do one because it's all filmed on location. I tackle things real world, much like I've always, I always want to do my reviews. And it's like an extension of that I wanted to show Okay, so I'm gonna do this episodes about interviews. So this is how you deal with getting to location and you know, you don't have the right room, you got to work with the light. One of the issues with the lights was the problems with the sound we have here. What can our background be, and it was really trying to take things as realistically as possible. And unless you're having real problems that I had to solve during the actual shoot, and showing them how I would deal with it. So that was kind of what I was trying to get with it.

Alex Ferrari 56:34
Well, I'm excited to to watch it myself. And I will definitely put all the information in the show notes for this episode for everyone to take a look at now. I have a few few more questions if you have some time. Sure. Yeah, sure. you've traveled pretty much all over the planet at this point in your career. Do you have any travel hacks for filmmakers? In what respect in their words of traveling, packing, getting things through? Oh, I mean, like you know, getting cheaper deals or even just even be able to pack all your gear what gear to bring with don't overpack. Yeah, everything. Like there's a bunch of stuff. Any any tips at all? Because I know Yeah, in today's world traveling, yeah, traveling with a bunch of gear and keeping it safe. And you're walking around with 20,000 bucks in your backpack? You know, it's like, it's pretty rough.

Philip Bloom 57:26
It's the worst thing about my job by far is the traveling. It's not the it's not that it's the traveling bit itself. It's not being in other places. That's the coolest bit. Sure. It's the getting there is the worst bet it is. And it's the most stressful thing is packing and figuring out what you need your weight allowances in whenever I'm booked on jobs. And I need to look up flight routes and see who flies there. Because I know which airlines have the better baggage policies. You're you're lucky you live in the states and you think you have bad baggage policies that you do not. You also write even your worst baggage allowance part of the policy with an airline is amazing compared to what we have to deal with here. There's like two airlines that fly out that the UK airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic who charge you per bag, everybody else charges you per kilo. Ah, so that is where things start getting crazy expensive. So I think the most I've ever spent on excess baggage, probably about three and a half 1000 pounds each way.

Alex Ferrari 58:43
Three and a half 1000 pounds.

Philip Bloom 58:45
Yeah. And that was it was a great as a job in in Japan. And the client had insisted on flying via Amsterdam with KLM KLM charge per kilo. And I told them, this is expensive, and they didn't listen to me and then they had to pay. And so you choose the airlines for reason. You it's worth if you're flying entirely in the USA. So if I fly to the US, you get like two bags. There's your minimum allowance. But if you fly anywhere else from from London, you'd get one bag. So I guess you guys have just managed to negotiate a better thing and

Alex Ferrari 59:25
We and we think it's horrible. It's absolutely atrocious.

Philip Bloom 59:28
Yeah, it's worth seeing if you can get some media accreditation because there's a number of airlines which give you better deals. Southwestern Delta, United a couple of others. There's a few of them out there which you know if you've got problem with media accreditation can save you a lot. I mean delta will also you know quite good in that they will let you I think like 50 bucks or probably change 30 bucks per bag up to 100 pounds which is crazy. Just remember that the important stuff always has to be carried with you. And we're supposed to carry out our lithium ion batteries as carry on luggage. So know your rights with the airlines, because I guarantee you, they don't know your rights. So you will they will tell you something and like, actually, no, if you look at the policy on your website, this shows you what you're allowed. And again, let me check on my and they go, and then they'll confer with somebody else. So this happens all the time. They need to understand what you are allowed and what you can't do. You know, when it comes to batteries, you got to be careful about the what hours you have on some of the drone batteries, some of the larger era batteries, you can you can take like two per person. So make sure you fly with somebody else who can help you out with that. I do check a lot of expensive stuff. You have to because of your your carry on limits. Sure. Sure. And I don't use petty cases of Pelican cases. The simple reason being is yes, they offer great protection, but they look expensive. Yep. And stealable Yep. And so my luggage looks really unfilmed gear like it's still really protected inside. It just doesn't look like if and that's I look like average luggage. And if you know if you can get the pinkest most colorful, garish looking luggage with Hello Kitty stickers on. Do it. 1000 valuables nobody's gonna steal it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:45
That's great advice. Actually, that's awesome. Yeah,

Philip Bloom 1:01:49
I really think Petey should Pelican should make a series of I think, yeah, I you know, when I have had to fly with with the hard cases, whether it'd be like for mobi or a drone ohnaka and inspire, then I cover them with stickers, like superheroes and stuff like that really do my those hard cases got Superman stickers on everything, it just doesn't look like professional film gear anymore. Try to disguise it as much as possible. It's, it's a big old topic. And it's a difficult one. And it's and then you get because certain countries will need you if you're taking professional film gear into be to have a proper document accardi, which costs a lot of money. And you need to have everything itemized and listed. But some countries won't accept that. And you have to negotiate with them beforehand, or find out what you needed to have there. And this is why sometimes it's really nice just to go with a small DSLR style camera, and just try and not be obvious. If it's if it's difficult to get to be too or too expensive to have that then it's try and go in. But you are always going to have a risk if you are doing a paid job. And you try to try to cut corners and not get a carny and go to the tourist and not get the correct visa and you you're gay get stopped and doesn't get brought in. That's your fault. And it's just one of these things. If you're doing it for a client, you have to pass on these costs to them, explain to them okay, well, we're going here. And we need this and, and it's just one of the things flying is just absolutely horrendous. And, you know, there's really every day you know, there's always a new story about how the FAA or wherever it is are going to change what we can share data saying anything with any lithium ion battery cannot be checked. And then and then no camera can be checked. And it's kind of like no professional electronic gear can be checked online at some point soon. If this goes down this road. I don't think we'll ever be able to fly abroad with our gear anymore. We'll just have the era of the rental company is going to be there because every speaking FM a major rental outlet, every single city in every single place because we can't fly with anything. Which be terrible, terrible if that ever happens. But yeah, it's I hate it. I hate it so much. I always bring too much always bring too much. So make the best advice I say is just make a list beforehand. And just bring what you need. Maybe you know a couple of backup things as much as possible. Like I always have a second camera just in case. But but kind of the obvious stuff. Really.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:32
Okay. Batteries always bring back extra batteries. Oh god. Yeah. batteries, batteries, batteries. Now um, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Philip Bloom 1:04:44
Ah, I guess the first question is why do you want to as long as doing it for the right reasons and that's great. It's not you know, you never was not a business to get rich in two.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:56
Gonna say it's not rich and famous. That's not the reason why to get in?

Philip Bloom 1:05:00
Ohh no. Go and become a banker or something you want if you just want to do something creative and you because you get into because you want to be creative. So that's my best advice to start with. And it's a tricky thing, it's, it's one of the things that I think this is kind of partly why it's so good to have. This course I've done with em, Zed is it. Whilst it's not a film, school replacement, it condenses all of my knowledge into this one thing. So people watch it, they can get, you're not gonna become a filmmaker from watching this, but you're going to get a lot of knowledge from it. And hopefully use that knowledge to find your own style and voice and know how to do things a bit better. Because that's what you're going to need to do, you're going to need to be patient, which a lot of people aren't these days, or too much like, wanting stuff to happen overnight. I think my best example of this was a guy did. So I do this, I do some private tuition with people. And this guy emailed me saying he wanted to get to make a short film to be entered into next year's Cannes Film Festival. And he wants some training for that. I'm like, interesting. And so I asked him to tell me, it's a really strange way of actually wording things. And yes, I want to make,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:26
I'm gonna submit it to the Oscars. It's been submitted to the Oscars.

Philip Bloom 1:06:29
Yeah, I'd like to win an Oscar. So I'd like to do some training. I have not won an Oscar. So I'm the wrong person. That comes to me. But I said to him, so what is it? What do you want to do? What do you want to learn from say, I want to get a grounding of light, you know, things which can help me make me be able to make this film. I was so What experience do you have? None. I've never used the camera. I've never made a film. Oh, God. But I've, I've seen lots of film. Oh. So I then said, Well, I don't know how long you're expecting, trading wise for me. But

Alex Ferrari 1:07:06
You got 10 years

Philip Bloom 1:07:08
How long do you expect? What do you want for me? Exactly. And he said, maybe? How much would it cost for two hours of training?

Alex Ferrari 1:07:22
Oh, my God, you gotta be kidding.

Philip Bloom 1:07:24
I reply to everything when you know, that's not going to be enough. And then he replied, saying, well, we're about four. That's where the conversation I felt like a practical joke. But it wasn't I was being deadly serious. And it's one of the things you've got to be so patient with. And you've got to work your ass off for years. For years for years. Yeah, absolutely. It's before, you know, when I left sky, I was senior care man. And you know, I couldn't go any further at the company without going into management, leaving the camera behind. And then when I left, I didn't want to do news anymore. So I had to start completely again from the bottom. And it took me four years to start getting the work that I really wanted to do, even after being 17 years in another aspect of the business. Exactly. So it's, and now there's a huge amount of more competition than there was even 11 years ago. So it's you've got to be really patient. And you've you've got to be obviously got to have talent, you got to have the ability to sell yourself as well. And it's not something to be embarrassed about and talk about not talk about, you know, it's a business or any job, any job where you are selling yourself and your skills, its business and you have to be able to sell yourself I remember what would this guy who's such talented director, filmmaker, but wasn't doing anywhere near the work he should be because he just was a terrible salesman. So you've got to have that skill as well find good people to work with try and network as much as you can with people. I'm not sure you know, a Facebook group is not the same as open networking, whilst it can be useful. It's just there's so much noise on there. It's It's everything has become so diluted, it's much much much harder to find clear voices. Yep. Listen to. But at the end of the day, if you can make it in this as a business, then it's a career, then fantastic, because it is the mean it's the greatest thing in the world to be able to to be able to do what I would do if you weren't paying me and pay me for stuff as well. That's great. But you got to understand that most of the time that you get paid, you won't like what you're doing. You won't like the work that you're producing. Yes. Amen. And let it go and Then do stuff yourself to have that creative fulfillment. Because when you're doing a corporate for some guy, you're gonna, you're gonna look at a girl guide. And they're going to tell it, you're working for them. You're not you're not making, they're not hiring you to make a Philip bloom film, that how you make a film. They're, they're the client, you make it for them. And yeah, you've got to make it as good as you possibly can, they probably come to you because they've seen something that you've done, right? But the end of the day, you are going to find that you are not going to love what's been done with your, what you've made necessarily, or what's been done with your work. And you just have to accept that and move on. Now what, wait, they'll give everything to it, just because it is not just a crappy thing. still get everything to it. Because you can still be you can still be creative, you can still get so much out of it yourself. And when you get home, you don't feel like oh my God, what a terrible day, I had to film this worst call center ever. It was all for lighting, bla bla bla bla bla bla bla, that's fine. But if you made an effort and made it look good, then you can come home and go and pour yourself a drink and go I deserve this because I I made that look good. And you're happy. You won't come home and feel better ever.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:18
God Yes. And there are a lot of bitter filmmakers out there without question because they fall into that trap. And when I when I spoke to work with Robert Forester, and he gave a great piece of advice, which is like no matter how small the job, give yourself, give it 110% because you never know who's watching. You never know who's on set, or who will see that work and maybe hire you for another job somewhere else.

Philip Bloom 1:11:42
Even then, even that client, they may give you this really terrible job. Yep. And then they see my God, this was really bad and can't believe how good you made this. You're perfect for this, this job that we have six months in the Seychelles, right? All right, great.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:59
And that you never know. You never know. You never know what you're gonna get. Now, what's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Philip Bloom 1:12:10
Oh don't kill yourself with work. Take set yourself. time where you stop. Now, my edit suite is I have a home edit suite, which is financially convenient. And obviously nice and handy. There's no commute for me when I'm editing. But that divide between work and life is really difficult. And so when I am editing apart from I mean, when I was cutting him dead serious Mind you, I had to break this most times because I was working, stupid long hours editing. But for most jobs, I kind of set myself if it's 630 to 7pm I'm like, okay, no more work up to seven. And be disciplined about it. discipline that you start time disciplined about your finish time. And make sure you give yourself time to see your your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your husband, your friends, your children. Sure, make sure you have a life. I very rarely work weekends now. Unless the shoot demands it or you know, I have to go somewhere. So I will down towards that weekend. Yeah, you still find me with a camera, you're still seeing find me flying a drone or taking photos somewhere. But that's me. That's my own time. And unless you can find yourself a girlfriend to who'd like to do it with you. Always good. Myself and Sarah loves, loves shooting and she loves all that stuff as well. So that really does help. But I think it's really important to get the work life balance, right. And it took me probably about 20 years or so to start realizing how off it was. Yes. And now I work way less than I used to write. I probably work I probably work half as much as I used to two years ago. So yeah, I earn a lot less, but I'm a lot happier.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:14
And that's really nice.

Philip Bloom 1:14:16
It is priceless. It also makes my work better. But yes, I'm happier.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:21
Yes. very diligently.

Philip Bloom 1:14:23
Yeah, I think that's probably the best thing I've learned took me a long time to learn it. I'm very stubborn. But I eventually figured out

Alex Ferrari 1:14:32
I feel you 100% I try to do exactly all those things. I don't work weekends. And I have a specific time I come in and a specific time I come out every day. And because everyone always asked how do you create so much content? How do you you know run this this, you know this big blog and do all the stuff you do and have twins and have a family and all this Mike, you got to you got to do exactly what you said. Got to be very strict with yourself. And

Philip Bloom 1:14:55
I'm impressed. I mean, you got kids. I mean I haven't got kids yet and I don't even know How I'll cope with having kids as well. Apart from I'll probably just film them a lot.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:05
Yes, they were probably the most documented children in history without question. I think they probably will. Yeah. And last question, what are three of your favorite films of all time? Oh, you know, it's an impossible question. Just today today, what do you feel like today?

Philip Bloom 1:15:20
Oh, um, I still want to go with Empire Strikes Back is in is in always in my top three? Absolutely. It was. It was. That was one of the first films I ever saw as a kid where I still remember the emotional reaction I had. Also that, and it's still watch it today. And I still feel Wow, this is incredible. I'm also a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan. Yes. And find it difficult to pick a favorite. But again, I think for the emotional impact, or maybe it's another film with a downer ending. That's vertigo. Yeah. It's just such an incredible film in every way. I think I just think of all my favorites, or have such downer endings. I don't know why I actually like happy endings. I like things to I want to I don't want to feel like like I felt at the end of seven every time I see a film.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:17
I know. Right? Yes. Like that's Fincher for you. That's Gone Girl. I'm like, holy crap. No, the worst date film of all time. Yes, they are. The worst. Is that fatal attraction and fatal your breakup

Philip Bloom 1:16:37
Fatal Attraction break up now shares your Yeah, that's not a good one as well. I guess what? And I think maybe something more recent. I don't know. But of the films that I've seen recently, what another one that had a really good emotional impact on me was Danny bill knows arrival last year.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:56
Yeah, that was actually a really interesting. That's such an interesting film to watch.

Philip Bloom 1:17:01
It's not my favorite film. Now. It was my favorite film of the year. And in I saw blade runner 2049 last week, and that's, again, incredible. Oh, yeah. He's an amazing filmmaker. But I always tend to go back to the same films I end up watching again and again, again, whether it's original Planet of the Apes. Sure. I love love my sci fi very much. And invaders. ravenloft are

Alex Ferrari 1:17:27
Of course

Philip Bloom 1:17:28
Perfect film than Raiders.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:30
Raiders is is, is perfect. It is a perfect film. And since you're a Hitchcock fan, have you seen the new documentary? 7852? No, I have not. Have you heard of it? No, I have not. I just found out. I just found out about it the other day. Well, it's on iTunes. I watched it yesterday. And it is an entire documentary about the shower scene in psycho. Wow. And they go through every shot. And they talk to everything in the impact of psycho. But they've literally break down everything about the shower scene, which is arguably the you know, 90 seconds, the most important 90 seconds in film history. Honestly, some of them yeah, I mean, what he was able to do in that shower sequence. But someone put together arguably a really good documentary shot in black and white by the way. It's gorgeous. It's on iTunes, you definitely should watch if any film geek, definitely Hitchcock fan will love it. Yeah. Anybody who has not seen psycho, what the hell are you doing? Why are you listening to us? Go watch psycho.

Philip Bloom 1:18:32
Watch this film. That is if you take the sections, which obviously date the film, which is the beginning, the anything that anything outside of just the motel is it stands up completely today. It could have been that it's just so incredible. And I just some of the it's the most innovative filmmaking you'll ever say. And we're talking

Alex Ferrari 1:18:57
1960 it's we could do a whole episode just on psycho without question. Now, where can where can people find you and your work?

Philip Bloom 1:19:14
My website is philipbloom.net. So it's P H I L I P B L O O M, and my blog is there and that is the same Philip Bloom is what I have for all of my social media, whether it's instagram, facebook, twitter,it's just

Alex Ferrari 1:19:33
My space my space geo cities No, sorry. You know, it probably is still there Mises to properly

Philip Bloom 1:19:39
I haven't really used it as such. Right. It's one of the things I do have. But yeah, so it's pretty simple to find me and I'm quite active. I'm pretty active on them. And it is a real mixture of photography, filmmaking, and personal stuff. I put some I do put personal stuff on social media. That's kind of you know, Another, it's a whole podcast is about, you know, yes, you will have a dividing line between this sort of thing. And I think it's important that to be to be to be you on social media. And that's why I always say my bio silly grumpy so depending on how I'm feeling, I will be like that. And I put some personal stuff up there and I put some perfect everything I tried to make as nice as possible. And a nice mix and I just try and make it feel as as, as me as it is, you know, like the M Zed course, it's me what you see is a very, I'm very different anything else you will ever see training wise, because it's it's very personal. And I kind of think that kind of sums me up reading and how I like to share things.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:46
Philip man, thank you so much for taking the time out. It's been an absolute joy speaking to you man. Thank you so much.

Philip Bloom 1:20:52
Thank you very much for having me. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:54
I can't tell you what an absolute thrill and pleasure was to talk to Phil up and you know, after reading his blog for so long and and listening to him on YouTube. And I mean, if you need to know about camera gear, and and reviews about camera gear and things like that, man, I definitely check his website out, I'm gonna leave all his links in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/208. And as promised, link to his amazing online course, just go to indiefilmhustle.com/bloom, that's bloom, indiefilmhustle.com/bloom, like I said, it's almost 10 hours. And as a special gift to the tribe, you get to watch the first lesson for free. And he goes over so many things in this course, things I wish I would have learned or wonder what you'd known about when I first started out in the business. And you don't even have to buy the entire course, if you just want to buy modules of the course like visual storytelling, how to do interview, slow motion, Time Lapse, aerial cinematography, with drones, how to really work with story post production, or just the basics, lens whacking things like that, you can buy them per module, or you can buy the entire course, I say get the entire course. It's definitely well worth it, guys. And I wanted to take a quick second before we go to thank you all for emailing me, and, and giving me all these amazing emails and letters about how the podcast and the work that I'm doing with indie film hustle has affected your lives, it really means a lot to me. I'm really, really grateful and humbled. Every time I get an email, I try to email everybody back, I try to return everybody's letter, in one way, shape, or form. I'm only one guy so I do the best I can. But I want to just publicly say thank you again, so much. And I will keep doing this as long as I can. Because I know how much it really helps you guys out there. And please spread the word about the podcast, about the blog about the YouTube channel about everything we do at indie film, hustle. So we can help as many filmmakers, as many screenwriters, as many artists as we can, with the knowledge that I'm trying to put out into the world and the good, positive energy that I'm trying to put out into the world and helping you guys all out. So again, thank you very much. I truly truly appreciate it. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)