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.
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
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
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.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.