// www.chrisgavin.com

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Behind The Scenes film made for Simon's Cat 'Off To The Vet'

As part of the ongoing Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign by the Simon's Cat team I was asked to make another short film. I really enjoyed shooting this one. This two minute film offers a glimpse into Simon Tofield's working methods showing how he uses sketchbooks, storyboards and animatics to plan his animated films. This was pretty much shot in one day and a one day edit too, so it's been quite refreshing to work on such a very quick turnaround.

I shot this in the Simon's Cat studio space using all my own equipment: Canon 600D DSLR and one lens; the Sigma 30mm f1.4. I really love using my Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 monopod for this kind of filming, it's a really quick way to capture shots with enough stability yet a looser and maybe more 'documentary' feel too. For audio I had my Rode VideoMicPro on the camera, but ended up using all the double system sound I had also recorded on my TASCAM DR07 MkII recorder with my newly-acquired Rode Lavalier microphone.

I edited in Premiere CS6.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

New promo film made for Simon's Cat

Here it is! Above is the 3 minute promo film I've just delivered for Simon's Cat Ltd. I'm really proud to have been asked to work on this; multi-tasking as writer/director/camera-person & editor! I wish Good Luck and Best Wishes to Simon Tofield and his team and wish them every sucess with their campaign.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Footage at Glastonbury 2014

I was watching the BBC coverage of Glastonbury Festival yesterday and caught Lana Del Rey singing her monster breakthrough hit Video Games. Playing on the screen behind her as she sang was the promo video for the song. So I watched closely and yes, a few fleeting fragments of my footage were indeed shown to the festival-goers and broadcast to the nation too.

Here she is...

And here's 'the source' of a few of those clips; my 2008 short film California 08 all shot on Super 8 cine film.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Simon's Cat hits 3 Million YouTube Subscribers.

Congratulations to Simon Tofield and The Simon's Cat team for gathering an online following of over 3 million YouTube subscribers as of today. Embedded here is a short message video I put together for Simn's Cat Ltd. in which Simon draws a special thank you message to his many fans.

Friday, June 06, 2014

New Directing Showreel: Summer 2014

Please enjoy this new show reel cut. These are all projects I have directed, and in many cases I'll have shot, animated or composited on these jobs too. You will see clips from some of my short films, plus extracts of many of the commercials and promotional films I have made. Some of this work is from my time as a Director at TANDEM and some from freelance projects too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mr. Plastimime, London Screening at RADA.

Last night I was very happy to attend a special London screening of Daniel Greave's new short film Mr. Plastimime. Followers of this blog will know that over the last year or two I've been recording the production work of this film, 'Behind The Scenes' and releasing a series of Making Mr. Plastimime mini-documentaries.

Well Dan's film is finally finished and will be showing-up soon at numerous several international film and animation festivals.

As a big thank you to some of the backers of the film and many of the art-workers and crew involved, Dan and Producer Emma Burch organized a splendid screening event at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts auditorium in Bloomsbury. It was a great evening, with the film screening, a few words from Dan and even some impromptu mime performance too!

I took a few stills, hopefully just enough to capture some fleeting impressions of the momentous event.

An expectant crowd of crew and backers await the screening...
Mr. Plastimime director Daniel Greaves takes to the stage.
Heartfelt 'thank yous' from Dan to all those who helped out.
Animator Steve Edge, Compositor Danielle Baiardini and Daniel Greaves... in the bar.
Lead Animator Steve Edge celebrates.
The star of the show Mr. Plastimime himself on screen at the RADA auditorium.








Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TfL Promo Behind The Scenes Video

Here's a sweet little 'Making Of' documentary that Gemma Hogg put together for the Transport for London team whilst we were working on their 'Start Your Own Journey' promo film. The above video features interviews with TANDEM producer Emma Burch, and the two Directors, Tobias Fouracre and some other guy...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Simon Draws: Mice

Released today, another episode in the Simon Draws series of online videos I Direct/Edit for Simon's Cat Ltd. In this lesson, the inimitable Mr.Simon Tofield shows us how to draw Mice.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Secret Nuclear Bunker: New Short (Cine) Film

Finally! I've put together my short film about The Secret Nuclear Bunker.

Followers of this blog will remember that I've made a couple of visits to this site to film with one of my 'old school' cine cameras. In this case the film was shot entirely on a Nizo 156XL Super 8; a fine German movie camera from the mid-1970s. Like most of my other recent Super 8 films, I shot with the Panasonic LA7200 Anamorphic lense adaptor to get a 16x9 format image.

As with my last couple of short films, this was shot on Black & White Argenti APX100 negative film, then developed at home in my home-made spiral processing tank. I shot three Super 8 cartridges to make this film, the first two were processed in traditional Ilford ID11 developer, the third roll in home-made Caffenol C-M developer.

The film was digitized frame by frame using my home-made film scanner. This device advances the film and captures each frame using a Canon 600D DSLR camera. The device is controlled by an Arduino card and some home-made circuitry. This capturing process is very slow, but works!

One great advantage of home-digitizing the film this way, is that I can capture a much larger image area than the single film frame, so I like to make use of this feature to present the film frames within the composited image that you see in the film. I sometimes like to leave in the sprocket holes and frame edges to get a 'fim within a film' feel.

I love shooting and processing real film like this. In my 'day job' I'm usually making films digitally, but I'm hoping that there might be a place for some of this analogue magic in some of my more commercial projects too.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cinema 4D is Go...

For the last month or so, I've been spending some of my 'spare' time running the trial version of Cinema 4D. Well I liked it so much, I've now gone and bought the thing: the full 'Studio' version no-less. This is a pretty full 3D visualization, animation and motion graphics tool and I need to get up to speed with it.

I'll probably post a few images and thoughts about this as I go along, so expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing...

Friday, April 04, 2014

Adventures in Cinema 4D: Part 004

Well my trial period of Cinema 4D is nearly at an end, and I pretty much love it! This program is so much more accessible than other 3D software I have used, and it might just be 'the one' for me. There's a lot more I want to do with this...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

New Spring 2014 Collection

Here's a new show reel of my directing work. I'm entering a new and somewhat exciting phase in my career now; offering my considerable film-making services direct to clients and agencies.

All of the work on this reel are projects I have directed, with quite a lot of my animation, shooting, compositing and editing in the mix too. Most of what you see are commercial jobs produced during my time with Tandem Films, although there are some freelance projects and clips from my own short films in there too.

I'm very keen to take on more work in the corporate video sector; promotional films, information films and documentary/event shooting too. If you have a video project in mind, please do get in touch an we'll develop your idea further together. Please find my contact details at the end of the reel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TfL Film update 'Start Your Journey'



The short promotional film I made last year (co-directed with Tobias Fouracre at TANDEM) for Transport for London has been re-released today on the TfL YouTube channel. I've recently been asked by TfL to make a few updates to the film to reflect their continuing development of the tfl.gov.uk website.

Start Your Own Journey depicts a journey into London using the TfL website along the way to provide travel information whilst on the move. The film shows how the tfl.gov.uk website now offers improved functionality to mobile users including location-based information and real-time travel status updates.

The film was made using stop-motion animation to depict a symbolic journey through the city, but simultaneously through the virtual environment of travel information and real-time data. We also think that this treatment helps introduce the TfL Journey Planner as an appealing and user-friendly aid to negotiating the city.

I'm looking to make more informational and promotional web films directly for clients this year. Whether using live action film or graphical animation techniques, such films can help to convey ideas to customers and bring clarity to complex or hard-to-describe conceptual messages.

Please do get in touch if you have a commercial project in mind which might benefit from a promotional film. I've made many TV commercials and promotional films using a variety of techniques and can certainly bring an appropriate and unique treatment to your project too. More of my work in this field can be found at http://www.chrisgavin.com/p/corporates.html

Monday, March 17, 2014

16mm First Test: Kiev Alpha 16 Camera

I took my Kiev Alpha 16 down to the Thames one evening last week to get some test shots. Unfortunately the camera jammed again. However, this time the fault happened some way into the session, after I'd shot about 40 feet or so of film.

Tonight I DIY developed the film. The Film is Kodak 2210 (Black and White negative 'Surveillance ' Film). I processed the film in my home-made spiral processing tank using Ilford ID11 developer. I could see during the film washing that I had some images on the negative, but these seemed especially 'thin'. I think this is general under-exposure, not too surprising for these night-time shots. I put the film strip onto my light box and took a few stills. I'm always happy to see some kind of image for all this effort, but I'm pretty disappointed by the results here.

The focus is pretty awful, and there's probably a light leak here too. I think the focus problems are down to the dodgy eye-piece which moves about freely, making focus monitoring highly unreliable. I was hoping to be blown away by the 16mm frames (after working with so much Super 8) but this didn't really happen tonight.


The negative 16mm film as developed.
Digitally inverted to become a positive image.
Now desaturated to become proper monochrome.
More riverside architecture.
The London assembly building.
So in summary, I've tested out a 'new' camera and an unfamiliar film stock.The results and handling of the camera are somewhat disappointing, but on the other hand, this film works and can be home-processed. I've got a couple more of these 100 foot rolls left, so I'm encouraged to use this type of film again: but the camera... not so much.

I think I might keep an eye out for another 16mm film camera, maybe something Swiss next time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simon Draws: Rabbits

Just Released over on the main Simon's Cat YouTube channel, here's another short web video I directed/edited. This is another episode in the on-going series of drawing tutorials I make for Simon's Cat Ltd. In this episode, talented animator and artist Simon Tofield shows us how he draws the Rabbit character from his popular books and animation films.

These tutorial films appear on the Simon's Cat YouTube channel, and have also featured as 'extra content' on the DVD release too.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Adventures in Cinema 4D: Part 003

I'm looking into the C4D dynamics now, and having a little play with the materials too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Adventures in Cinema 4D: Part 002

I found a tutorial to model some tank tracks, but I made these to my own design. I then managed to figure out for myself how to use the Xpresso editor to rig the wheels and track to move together.

Here's another one; a portable communicator of some kind.

And now it's the all-new TX2 handset from BeigeData.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Adventures in Cinema 4D: Part 001



Today I began the 42 day trial period of Cinema 4D Studio from Maxon. The evalution version lets you try out the full Studio option of the software with saving and rendering of projects enabled. The trial-version is limited by having an output resolution restricted to 800x600. I hope to use some of my 'spare' time to get to know this software and generally become more hands-on with 3D, possibly using this for some of my own projects in the future.

Maybe I'll post a few images as I go along. First-up some simple geometry in order to check out the Sketch and Toon cel-shading options here. I've also been able to make these wheels all spin around together using the Xpresso Editor to link all the movements together. Not bad progress for this session.

It's very early days yet, but I'm already finding this interface a lot easier to use and get into than Maya, I'm encouraged to find out more ...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Directing Showreel

I just thought it might be time to put my showreel together again. So I've cut-in a few newer jobs and fixed the broken link to this on my 'REEL' page. These are mostly jobs I've directed whilst at TANDEM, with a couple of extracts from my own short film projects too.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

'The Score' film for Mr. Plastimime



This Behind the Scenes film shows the recording session of the musical score for the new film by Daniel Greaves. This is the seventh short video I've shot/edited in the Making Mr. Plastimime series. I shot this footage in the Slovak Radio auditorium a couple of weeks ago during the 5 hour recording session with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra.

This was certainly one of the most enjoyable days work I've had in a long while. It was really inspirational to be down amongst these incredible musicians and also up in the control room to witness the scoring/recording process first-hand.

The edit for this four and a half minute video took a few days, because I used a separate audio recorded to capture the orchestra sound (for better quality) and had a lot of footage to sync. up in post.