Digital Media Design


Cross Platform Practice, Marvo’s Grand Tour

“Marvo’s Grand Tour” and Sulky Rabbit

New Video, the Pilot for Marvo’s Grand Tour

One of the key stages in the cross platform project goes live for the first time with the public release of the Pilot Video from “Marvo’s Grand Tour”, a series of 10 mini episodes each 30 seconds in duration which will be shown on screens of local Bournemouth Buses.

Another Magic trick sabotaged by Sulky Rabbit

In this episode Sulky Rabbit ruins Marvo’s latest trick to pull a rabbit out of his hat by exiting the hat while it’s still on Marvo’s head. Marvo is unaware as he desperately attempts by frantically waving his magic wand to try and retrieve the rabbit from his hat, while ignoring his assistant Elaine who tries to point out to Marvo that the Rabbit is enjoying the show from the top of Marvo’s head.

Cast and Crew (Episode 1)

Marvo: Alex Bird
Elaine: Maria Malukhina
Director: Sagar Srivastava
AD: Norman Gregory
Producer: Jack Fairey
PA: Mehek Azmathulla
Cinematographer: Ian F. Hunt
Editor: Scott Loitsch
Written by: James Cottle and Katie Dowling


Cross Platform Practice, Sulky Rabbit New Videos

Sulky Rabbit Magic

The Sulky Rabbit videos are about to be released. To make sure you get updated with their release date like the Sulky Rabbit Page and be the first to see the New Videos. The first of ten new videos featuring Sulky Rabbit will be uploaded to the dedicated YouTube Channel in the next few days. See them first before they go live on BUStation and the screens on the local bus routes.
Sulky Rabbit

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DRAMA Aaran Aaronson film short

Drama film short

Aaran AaronsonAaron Hello

Filming: 21st to 22nd March
Director: Mehek Azmathulla
Location: Studio PG25
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95
Side Shot Drama Film Short
Lighting was key for this production of Aaran Aaronson. Set in the studio PG25 I used only the lights booked for this production. This meant for the key light I used a Cinelight Kit 850W fitted with a soft box and 2 Litepanel LED lights for the fill and backlight. I set these up in a typical 3 point lighting configuration but augmented this with another Litepanel LED light when required. I decided to use only the Voigtlander lens as it gives exceptional performance in low light with the Panasonic. Robocop Dances Drama Short Film

Of even greater surprise was how close you can get with the lens and remain in focus (less than 30cm) perfect for extreme closeups.

There were 3 dance sequences for which I fitted the litepanels with gels, a different colour each time for effect. Finally I set the camera at its lowest point for the actor to appear from 4 different positions into the scene for effect.Bare Feet Drama Film Short

I used the tripod loose head so that I could follow the movements, adjusting the friction wheels to give a smooth action.

Some ideas, for example changing the colour balance of the LED lighting although worked could have been as easily created in post production.Hippie Drama Film Short

Team: Great team everyone throwing out creative ideas to try. There is a lot of improv on screen even though the script was closely followed visually much of what you see was thought of on the day.

Dancing Drama Film Short


DRAMA “Unrest” Version Two

Unrest (Short Film Drama Unit)
Bench and Trees
Filming: 14th to 15th March
Director: Listya Widyasari
Location: Kinson Cemetery
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95; Nikon 20mm F2.8

Used the H Frame Dolly Track for the opening and ending sequences. Filming was problematic throughout the day with the changing weather conditions. Tree FramingThe morning was extremely foggy which created all kinds of exposure issues. I made the decision to film when at all possible with an exposure of F5.6 or smaller to give a wide depth of field to allow for focus changes during the camera movement on the dolly track. I used a more open aperture when shooting closeups or when the camera was tripod mounted.Man and Women on Bench

In retrospect it was a mistake to film in the foggy conditions, something to be avoided whenever possible or to use artificial lighting to over come the overexposure effect caused by the sky being bright in all direction in effect shooting into the sun. Next time I will recommend finding shade and avoid filming against the sky, which in foggy conditions would be featureless anyway.

We also had issues with sound to which we attributed to faulty equipment. Man TalkingThe sound in some recordings was poor to the extent that we had to dub over some of the video clips at the end of the shoot. In retrospect I also suspect we were experiencing problems with the camera regarding exposure and focussing as the final footage was definitely not up to my usual quality and disappointingly had to be used in the final edit.
Women Talking
Team: Great team everyone worked hard to produce this film overcoming poor filming conditions and equipment faults. Actors also worked hard one having a bad cold at the time, but as they say the show must go on.


DRAMA, “Unrest” drama short film

Drama Short Film

Unrest (Drama Short Film)

Filming: 7th and 8th March
Director: Norman Gregory
Location: Parkstone Cemetery and All Saints Church Branksome
Camera: Canon C300
Lenses Used: Canon 24mm to 105mm, 200mm, 50mm
Walk through graveyard, Drama short film
Unrest short film was shot extensively using the Libec Jib and Dolly and apart from some cutaways using the Tripod every shot included some movement either tracking or combination of tracking, panning and tilt. Some of the shots had to be shot into the Sun I first tried to use the reflectors to light the actors faces but the angles could not be achieved so I used the Litepanel Lights.
The Tall Trees Drama short film
I thought carefully about the depth of field for each of the shots as it is impossible to focus while self operating the camera on Jib and Dolly, so for big movements I went for a small aperture to give greater depth and for less moving shots opened up the aperture to give a shallow depth of field while also considering whether it was appropriate for the scene. That is did I want to reveal or hide the background.
Gnarly Tree Drama short film
It was a very sunny 2 days, shooting early in the morning or late afternoon gave the best light but time constraints meant that I had to shoot with the Sun directly overhead, which meant finding shady locations or using the Litepanels as fill lights. This was mainly successful but not 100%, I would have preferred not to film during these times.
Man in denial Drama short film
Rushed through the setup of the Jib etc. in order to catch the early morning light and mist in the trees, would have preferred to shoot the entire Drama using this light.

Sound was problematic and lost us a half days footage, so I suggested that we would connect the microphone direct to camera and adjust levels using the cameras settings. This worked well and resolved the problem of poor sound quality.Woman reacts Drama short film


DRAMA “The Man Who Fell”

Portfolio Edit

Official Full Version

The Man Who Fell
Gas Mask
Filming: 4th and 5th March
Director: Kelly Soulioti
Location: My Garage
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses used Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95; Nikon 20mm F2.8

Shot mainly on tripod either fixed or loose head. Some shots handheld but not too many of these as shooting with wide aperture so focussing was problematic.
Shot the Drama in 2 halves basically because of the lack of space but also the lighting for each scene would differ dramatically from the other. I used the DEDO Lighting and 1 Litepanel led light for the real time scenes and used the Litepanel LED Lighting for the recorded or Hologram scenes.Close Up Face Staring

The Voigtlander was used in the main fitted with a Cokin Filter Holder. I used the Blue gels in the kit for 2 of the Litepanel the other without. I also fitted the Panasonic with a filter holder and Cokin filter Blue 20A. For the opening scene I used a Cokin MASK 345A and operated the aperture from fully closed to fully open to create the iris effect.

Team Notes.
Worked really well as a team. The shoot progressed really quickly and by the end of the day some 84 shots were achieved. Space was very tight but with careful planning and everyone positioning themselves to be most effective this did not cause too many problems.mputer Hologram Interface Sound was an issue there was a mysterious technical fault where an electronic buzzing was heard particularly loud near the lighting, so we guessed interference but we discovered that by just touching the microphone this buzzing would go away for a while.


DRAMA “Choice” drama short film



Filming: 25th to 26th March
Director: Beatriz Delgado Mena
Location: Student House in Winton
Camera: Canon C300
Lenses Used: Canon 24mm and Canon 50mmBokeh

After a test shoot I decided that the best lenses for the shoot would be the 24mm and maybe the 50mm mainly due to the location and light levels. On the actual shoot I rarely had reason to move away from the 24mm lens as I was shooting hand held for all the shots it was just a matter of moving the camera closer for close ups and shot variations. The only time I changed lens was when I wanted to reduce coverage and avoid the crew and kit appearing in the scene.Tree Syringe

Day before the actual shoot the Director sprung a major change to the lighting setup, which while I was initially sceptical about having filmed something similar before using rapidly changing lights, which really did not work on this occasion worked really well. I think this was due to the relaxed changing of the colours whereas on the other shoot they were changed too quickly.
Blue Man
In addition to the main lighting setup I added 2 practical lights, the Christmas Tree and an angle-poise lamp on the table (fitted with a red gel) to specifically light the gun. I expected to get the Bokeh effects from the tree lights and I used this to bring into focus the syringe hanging from the tree in one scene. Red ManThe Directors choice of lighting was inspired by the 2009 film Enter the Void. We made cardboard gel holders and assigned crew to rotate the different colour gels in front of a window recesses litepanel led light changing colour in sequence every 5 seconds to simulated an external neon sign. Setup a DEDO Light in the windows recess fitted with a blue gel to simulate moonlight or streetlight illuminating the wall at an angle. I also positioned a DEDO in the doorway to replicate the same moon/streetlight coming from a hallway window. Finally in the final scene a red gelled litepanel was set into the hallway space for the exit scene highlighting a message on the wall.
Dramatic Exit
Used depth of field changes, dutch angles and hand held camera movement to add interest to the scenes and represent the actors mindset in this performance. Stood on Peri cases to give height to the camera, particularly when the actor was sitting or laying on the floor. In 2 scenes positioned the camera on the floor for dramatic framing which worked particularly well for the final scene as the actor exits through the doorway.


DRAMA The Commercial


Filming: 16th March
Director: Ian Hunt
Camera: Panasonic AG AF101
Lenses Used: Voigtlander 28mm F 0.95, Nikon 85mm, Nikon 50mm, Nikon 20mmPink Shoes

I decided on using this location from photos that the Producer supplied and while I felt this was an excellent choice the natural light on the day caused some issues.
At the start of the shoot the sun was directly overhead with this changing over time until the point that the Sun was coming in directly through the windows, which caused some exposure issues.
Another issue I’d overlooked was with mirrors. One whole wall was made up of mirrors, it was a challenge to film and not show the camera in the shot and there where also some light reflections that were unnoticed until post production.

The shoot was planned for 4 hours and there were times when it seemed we would go over, which of course was not possible. Without this time constraint I probably would have filmed more sequences for post production.Women in towell
I used the 20mm lens for the wide shots for the commercial and for the cloning sequence which was later discarded from the final edit. For the closeups that is the makeup scenes I used the 85mm and 50mm. Although I had some lighting with me the litepanels from the previous days Drama shoot these proved to be underpowered to compete against the strength of the Sunlight coming through the windows. To work around this problem I moved the camera and subject to get the best light although I was fighting continuously against the high contrast light coming through the very large windows. Closing the curtains cast a bright yellow light across the subject so this was not an option.

I made one use of a slider for the reveal of the picture scene.


Documentary, Production Portfolio

Documentary Showreel

The first semester is completed and during that period I have worked on 4 official Documentaries and 2 Dramas filmed in the documentary style Cinéma vérité. In addition there have been several non assessed projects and of course several private projects.

This Portfolio or Showreel is derived from these, not all are represented, only what I consider to be the best examples of my work. This includes visuals that I think represent good camera work, movement or lighting and hopefully some that include all of these attributes.


Narrative Constructions, Video Essay, John Sturges & Genre

Narrative Constructions John Sturges & Genre

Opening Title

John Sturges The Director and influential filmmaker credited by his peers for his contemporary approach to character based multiple stories narrative and the birth of the formulaic action movie.

Part One: Introduction

Genre is a French word meaning type or kind Genre movies are those commercial feature films, which through repetition and variation tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations.

[Inter-title: Genre and Hollywood. Steve Neale. 2001. Routledge. London. p. 9]

This video essay will look at John Sturges early work in regard to Genre and the two films The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.

The essay will then go on to consider the films that they in turn went onto influence within the western and war films genres, in particular their influence on popular films of the time for example the war film Von Ryans Express and the production of the westerns that that temporarily breathed life back into the western genre and became known as the Spaghetti Westerns with examples such as The Good the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in The West.

We expect Westerns to have certain features: as their name implies, they are set in the American West, typically between the end of the Civil War and the beginnings of the twentieth century, focus on masculine conflicts, and involve battles with either outlaws and/or American Indians.

[Inter-title: Thinking about movies 3rd Edition Peter Lehman and William Luhr, Blackwell Publishing 2008 Oxford. p.100]

This essay will in addition explore and analyse how these two films may have had some influence on contemporary filmmaking through character development and multiple storylines. It will also propose that the action sequences featured in his films are the forerunner for today’s action films with directors acknowledging his influence on their own work.

Part Two: Character based Multiple Storylines

The Magnificent Seven as the title suggests is essentially a story of seven characters, although in consideration there are actually eight influential characters in the film when including the leader of the outlaws Calvera in that analysis.

The Magnificent Seven is essentially a remake of the Japanese film Seven Samurai directed by Akira Kurosawa made in 1954.

[clip from Seven Samurai time code 1:43]

As in the Seven Samurai each of the characters has their own story, which compliments and then combines with the others to create the overall narrative. Chris played by Yul Brynner the veteran gunfighter and the leader. The drifter who loses his money on a throw of the dice played by Steve McQueen. Harry a friend of Chris who is looking for the big pay off in Gold or Jewels played by Brad Dexter. Then there is the knife wielding Britt played by James Coburn who features in the scene of the duel between a thrown knife verses a drawn gun. Lee is the gunfighter who has lost his nerve, played by Robert Vaughn whose character is just looking for a place to hide. Chico played by Horst Buchholz the Mexican farmer who aspires to be a gunfighter. Charles Bronson playing Bernardo the down on his luck gunfighter looking for his next meal. Each of these characters generate an individual storyline that runs in parallel with the main narrative, a technique, which has been borrowed by other directors since, for example Quentin Tarantino for his film Kill Bill among others.

Sturges is quoted as saying that while he listened to Brynner’s gripes and feigned concern, he was excited about how each actor fought for his turf. He realised that McQueen, Coburn, and the others were gradually becoming indistinguishable from their characters, and that this would imbue the film with a fresh, anachronistic quality.

[Inter-title: Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges. Author: Lovell, Glenn. Date 2008. Page 207]

Part Three: The Magnificent Seven a Western or Action Movie

In The Magnificent Seven the conventions of a western are all present, there are gunfighters, the outlaws the paraphernalia and iconology that comes with the western, it is there for all to see.

Neale refers to Buscombe who demonstrated clearly in 1970, the visual conventions of the western are both highly distinctive and highly coded.

[Inter-title: Genre and Hollywood. Steve Neale. 2001. Routledge. London. p. 133]

But look beyond the costume, the location and the historic references to the western era, this is an action movie with sequences that with minor changes are comparable to todays action movies.

There are big action scenes with gunfire coming from all directions; the seemingly hopelessly outnumbered gunfighters take out the outlaws as they ride through the village. Sturges has taken the western to another level, the action is continuous, and the violence exaggerated, each of the main characters engaged in their personal battle with the outlaws. The action sequences depicted could easily be used as templates for more recent films and in other genres.

Buscombe suggests that the visual conventions provide a framework within which the story can be told. However what is more important is that they also affect what kind of story it will be.

[Inter-title: Barry Keith Grant.(Editor) 1995. Film Genre Reader II. University of Texas Press. USA. p. 15]

The sequences appear to be derived from this concept of each of the main characters having their own stories based/developed around their character each therefore appear engaged in a personal battle with themselves and with the outlaws. A good example of this would be Lee’s death, he holsters his gun before kicking the door open then drawing and shooting the outlaws inside, appearing to regain his courage and self esteem only to be then shot. Dying against a wall in a fetal position, a hero dies, for this character there is no happy ending and a break with an almost Hollywood tradition where the hero generally survives. Sturges appears to get away with this by having seven heroes each with their own story and therefore some can be sacrificed without breaking this traditional, this historic approach to the storytelling of a western indeed any Hollywood story. This precedes the current trend where the demise of or sacrifice of the hero at the end of the film has found acceptance with audiences as long as it has value, for example the sacrifice of ones own life to save another or others.

Altman suggests that genre films must not only be similar in order to succeed, they must also be different.

[Inter-title: Rick Altman. 1999. British Film Institute. London. p.21]

It’s possible that outside of script considerations Sturges could have chosen to do this to add something new to the genre. With westerns as with any other genre while it is important to remain true to the style it is at the same time important to be different.

Sturges approach to the western genre itself considered a departure in many respects to what had been seen before it also appears to have influenced a sub genre of the western, that is the spaghetti western, breathing life albeit briefly into a genre moving out of favour with film studios and audiences by the 1960’s.

The Magnificent Seven, Its unabashedly stylized approach laid the groundwork for the darker revisionist Westerns of Peckinpah and Aldrich and the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, who, following Sturges’s lead, adapted Yojimbo as A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name. (The third in the Leone-Eastwood series, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, was co-financed by UA and featured Wallach as a comic Calvera.) “I won’t say Leone copied The Magnificent Seven,” said Sturges, “but he certainly profited by a lot of stuff in that picture, especially the multiple-character thing.”

[Inter-Title: Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges. Author: Lovell, Glenn. Date 2008. Page 213]

Part Four: This time it’s War but it’s the same story

For the most part, the category war film is uncontentious: war films about the waging of war in the twentieth century: scene of combat are a requisite ingredient and these scenes are dramatically central.

[Inter-title: Genre and Hollywood. Steve Neale. 2001. Routledge. London. p. 125]

The Great Escape a war film with few scenes of combat, the escapees are unarmed, only the Germans have guns, which appears to undermine Neale’s theory somewhat, fortunately there are many other visual conventions that satisfies the war genre requirements, for example it’s historical setting, locations and uniforms to name but a few.

As Altman proposes that if spectators are to experience films in terms of their genre, films must leave no doubt as to their generic identity; instant reconisability must be assumed.

[Inter-title: Rick Altman. 1999. British Film Institute. London. p.18]

Sturges style of filmmaking developed in The Magnificent Seven is transposed to the war film The Great Escape. Within minutes of the films opening and the trucks rolling into the camp Sturges begins to develop the characters in the same fashion as he did previously.

As John Sturges says “I knew it was too long, but we couldn’t shorten the damn thing anymore,” he said. “We had multiple stories with ten different characters. It was constructed like a house of cards: Take one thing out and it all falls apart.

[Inter-Title: Escape Artist : The Life and Films of John Sturges. Author: Lovell, Glenn. Date 2008. Page 238]

Starting with the character Bartlett, Big X, played by Richard Attenborough whom we see has been almost emotionally destroyed having been in the hands of the Gestapo, but also driven to seek revenge no matter the cost. As the opening scenes progress the individual characters are introduced, their stories developed, each with special skills and backgrounds that add to the overall narrative.

Roles are created specifically to cater for the films American market. For example the character Hilts played by Steve McQueen is a case in point it appears that McQueen is again playing the lone drifter as he had done in The Magnificent Seven, rarely does his character come into contact with the others, his character appears to have its own storyline running in parallel with the main narrative.  A forerunner perhaps of the multiple storylines used so effectively in modern films particular examples would include Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill series of films.

Among the movies that have either reworked the plot or referenced it; include Von Ryan’s Express (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Disney’s Parent Trap (1998), Hart’s War (2002), and Chicken Run (2000), with its trash-bin Cooler and tunnel trolley.

[Inter-title: Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges. Author: Lovell, Glenn. Date 2008. Page 241]

Part Five: The Conclusion

[clips – Steve McQueen’s motorcycle jump over the barbed wire then cut to show the final sequence from The Magnificent Seven]

John Sturges directing style appears to have been influential across genres and for generations of filmmakers. Several films made since can trace their roots back to Sturges films The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Through his use of character development and in conjunction with the multiple story approach to directing his fingerprints are clearly visible on some of todays films.

He is also possibly credited with the development of the contemporary style and direction of Action film sequences and across genres, for example Action/Adventure films such as The Raiders of the lost Ark and others in the series of films by Spielberg.

As the pendulum swung back toward formalistic action movies in the 1990s—due in large part to the high-concept blockbusters of

Jerry Bruckheimer and the hyper-kinetic crime thrillers of Quentin Tarantino—Sturges’s style of moviemaking came back in vogue. Name an action director and chances are good that he will have been influenced by Sturges. Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Andrew Davis (The Fugitive), John Landis (Three Amigos! ), Edward Zwick (Glory), Lawrence Kasdan (Silverado), Peter Weir (Witness), William Friedkin, John Carpenter (The Thing), Kevin Costner (Open Range), Christopher Cain (Young Guns), Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future I–III ), Paul Thomas Anderson, and John Frankenheimer have all acknowledged a debt to the director.

[Inter-title: Escape Artist : The Life and Films of John Sturges. Author: Lovell, Glenn. Date 2008. Page 295-296]


Lehman. P. and Luhr. W., 2008. Thinking about movies 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell. 100

Neale. S., 2001. Genre and Hollywood. London: Routledge. 9-125

Altman. R., 1999. Film/Genre. London: British Film Institute. 18-21

Grant. B., 1995. Film Genre Reader II. Texas: University of Texas Press. 15

Lovell. G., 2008. Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges. Wisconson. University of Wisconsin 196-296

IMDB, 1960. The Magnificent Seven [online]. Available from: [Accessed 18 November 2013].

IMDB, 1963. The Great Escape [online]. Available from: [Accessed 12 December 2013].

Dirks. T., Westerns. [online]. AMC Filmsite. Available from: [Accessed 12 December 2013].

McFarland. M., 2013. Take Two: Seven Samurai & The Magnificent Seven [online]. TheFilmSchool. Available from: [Accessed 12 December 2013].

filmschoolthrucommentaries. 2013. [online] John Sturges on his filmmaking philosophy – Part I. Available from: [Accessed 5 January 2014].

Steven Thomas 9/11/2013. The Man With No Name – Dollars Trilogy [Accessed 16/01/2014]

The Magnificent Seven, 1960. film, DVD]. Directed by John Sturges. USA: The Mirisch Company.

The Great Escape, 1963. [film, DVD]. Directed by John Sturges. USA: The Mirisch Corporation.

Robson, M. (2013). Von Ryans Express [image]. Film Affinity. Available from: [Accessed 14/01/2014]

Mijat. (2013). The Good The Bad and The Ugly [image].

Penzionersko zabavište. Available from: [Accessed 14/01/2014]

Mann, R. (2009). Kill Bill [image]. 1 out of 10. Available from: [Accessed 14/01/2014]

Stevens, S. (2012). Once Upon a Time in the West [image]. Pictures in Motion. Available from:  [Accessed 16/01/2014]



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