// www.chrisgavin.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Vet Visit: New Video for Simon's Cat


Just released online, here's the new video I made for Simon's Cat Ltd.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

'Simon Draws' Great ASMR Video Content

The BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning covered the phenomenon of 'ASMR' video content.
The definition of 'Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response' is somewhat nebulous and pseudo scientific but seems to cover any video content that induces a 'tingly' sensation in viewers.

The BBC website article goes on to cite the Bob Ross painting tutorials as an example of ASMR-rich video content. Here in the UK, I don't remember seeing Bob Ross, but we did have Tony Hart. As a child of the 70s/80s I lapped-up Tony Hart's art shows and yes, these were certainly something of an inspiration for the Simon Draws format.

In the Simon Draws videos, Simon Tofield draws various characters from his popular Simon's Cat cartoons whilst simultaneously dispensing his drawing tips and wildlife wisdom along the way.

Over the last few years for I have recorded twelve episodes of the  Simon Draws for Simon's Cat Ltd. I had no idea these would score highly as ASMR video content but they were intended to provide an informative and relaxing viewing experience. If these videos appeal to a new audience seeking an ASMR video experience (whatever that really is) then ... welcome aboard ; )



Monday, November 24, 2014

Out Shooting With the Canon C100

Vet Emily Billings, Simon Tofield and me (Chris Gavin) with the C100 camera. Photo by Emma Burch.
Last week I was out for the day shooting for Simon's Cat Ltd. The plan was to follow Simon's Cat creator Simon Tofield on a visit to the Cats Protection Headquarters in Sussex. The visit has been documented already on the official Simon's Cat website.

I travelled with Simon and producer Emma Burch by train to Haywards Heath, and we spent a good day being shown around the site and meeting the very dedicated staff there.

My role was to shoot documentary material there which will appear shortly as an online video. I knew we would need to be pretty nimble at the location and we would be shooting some interviews too, so I took along a rented Canon C100 camera and not too much other gear. I needed a very portable system for one-man shooting and capturing usable audio too.

This was my first time out with the C100 and I really enjoyed using it, especially compared to using DSLRs like my Canon 600D. We hired the C100, the 24-105/2.8L Canon zoom lens and a Senheiser lav radio mic kit from Cameraworks.

I ended up shooting everything with my Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 monopod. I find this one (with its tiny fold-out feet) gives pretty good stability while being quick to deploy and move around for this kind of rapid shot-getting. The Canon 24-105 zoom lens turned out to be a real time-saver too, so I never did use the tripod or three other lenses I brought with me 'just in case'.

The camera turned out to be a real star. It was possible to get good pictures under difficult indoors and subdued lighting conditions: having proper tools to monitor focus and audio whilst recording was such a joy too. I'll certainly be using one of these again soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Digitoids: A Work in Progress #004

Well, in my 'spare' time I'm continuing to find my way around Cinema 4D. Keen readers will remember I bought the full 'Studio' edition earlier in the year and that I recently upgraded to the latest r16 version too.

As for the subject matter: I was playing around with this Digitoids concept a few years back, possibly as a stop motion / After Effects hybrid, but I'm now trying out this CGI / After Effects technique instead.

Just to try something new, I decided I would post updates of this project from time to time as I go along. So once evry few days I am replacing the file on Vimeo to show a continually evolving 'Work in Progress.' For anyone that wants to see how the work is progressing, click by here again soon and hopefully you will see the clip move on a little.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Documentary Film : Ottoman Art 1450-1600

Now online at the Hali Publishing website, here's the arts/history documentary film I have just made. This film was specially commissioned for an exhibition of fine Ottoman-era artifacts now taking place at The Palazzo Lomellino in Genoa. The film is in Italian with English subtitles.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Ottoman Art: new Arts/History Documentary Film

I'm especially pleased to have just delivered a new film to support a major exhibition of Ottoman-era artwork taking place at the Palazzo Lomellino in Genoa over the next three months. I was commissioned by Hali Publishing Ltd. (on behalf of the Bruschettini Foundation) to create the eight and a half minute film to introduce the exhibition at the prestigious gallery space in Genoa.



The film is an arts/history documentary piece taking viewers through the era 1450-1600, a time when the Ottoman empire rose to become the dominant power in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.


The cultural artifacts on display in this exhibition are particularly impressive, encompassing  a stunning collection of silk textiles, ceramics, armour and of course, fine carpets.

The film combines still imagery of such artifacts, archival illustrations and motion graphics to tell the story of the growth of the Ottoman empire and the important role that fine arts and crafts played in this era.



The script for the film was written by renowned US scholar Walter B. Denny and for this exhibition the story is narrated in Italian with English sub-titles. Currently the film is not available online, but I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Genoa to see it, here are the exhibition details.


Friday, August 08, 2014

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

Here's another short video I've made for Simon's Cat Ltd. This is quite a simple interview video in which Simon's Cat creator Simon Tofield describes the inspiration behind his new Off To the Vet film project. As reported previously, this video was part of a month-long crowd-funding campaign by the team to raise funding for a major new film project.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Congratulations To The Simon's Cat Team

Regular readers will know I've made many videos for the Simon's Cat YouTube channel. I've made most of the 'extra' video content such as drawing lessons and behind the scenes films etc. I was also asked recently to make a pitch video for their Off To The Vet crowd-funding campaign.

Here's the 3 minute pitch video I made for the campaign...

+++ UPDATE! +++

Well I'm very pleased to note that the campaign has been an incredible success. The team surpassed their funding target of £275k with 3 days left of the campaign. The campaign has just closed, raising a total of £311,084 from Simon's Cat fans worldwide. Apparently this is one of the most successful film crowd-funding ventures in the UK to date. This is a huge achievement for all the team and will enable the crew to work to make a great film over the coming year.

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.