Category Archives: 10×10

After the Bombs

Most of the films shown at Film Oxford’s monthly 10×10 meetings showcase documentaries/causes/charity work. This month had a fictional film in the mix called “After the Bombs”.

After the Bombs

During this session I realised the following:

1. In film terms I prefer fictitious work over factual pieces. This is the polar opposite of how I generally feel about books.

2. In the 10×10 sessions people tend to be much more critical of fictional work. The audience are more forgiving towards documentary work (even if details are incorrect, an argument is one-sided or the quality of coverage/footage is poor).

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Apologies for this posting being a bit of a mixed hodge-podge (I will try to keep it brief). With most of my outstanding projects now dusted off – I’ve been out hobnobbing with other local film-makers at various socials. Discussions about what we’ve been up to, various projects and some techy stuff (warning: the next part might contain some geek-speak):

We have all been talking about lenses, speed-boosters, new Zoom vs Tascam audio recorders and of course the (once again) delayed Black Magic Pocket Camera.


Phil Bloom has recently posted a couple of online reviews for this camera. It looks exciting indeed, but it is also good that he points out both good and bad points:

Good: portability, aesthetics, 13 f-stops of dynamic range, removable battery, no touch-screen, active MFT mount

Bad: the battery life (ouch!), limited SD cards and sound recording issues. Of course the biggest drawback right now is it’s availability (which appears to have been delayed for yet more time).

You can see Phil’s reviews below (part one being initial impressions, part two being how it performs in the field):

Hopefully we may be able to conduct a few of our own Panasonic GH3/Black Magic Pocket Camera tests in the near future when it is finally shipped. I know I am curious to see how the two look side by side.

So what next?
Who knows! Some of us discussed the possibility of entering The Nation Archives “Files of film” competition, although we have clearly left this a bit late. We turned our attention to spit-balling concepts and ideas. I came up with a crazy idea (for once!). Nothing significant as of yet, just a concept (which is essentially a mash-up of genres, but it is something which would be great fun and has an instant “hook”). Everyone seemed to endorsed the concept so fingers crossed it might have legs! I have also been chatting to other film-makers at the 10×10 event held in Oxford recently. Being as I am on the look-out to help out on other film projects right now – hopefully I’ll be reporting some new developments in due course.

10×10 April

Despite some exciting talks planned over the next couple of months, April was  a rather subdued 10×10. Kicking off, I offered a completely impromptu test-screening for  a project I’ve worked on called Legacy (formerly Dad). The film isn’t an easy sell being as it deals with the topic of parental child-abuse. As I expected, the early cut shown played pretty much to silence – particularly at the end whilst people collect their thoughts.


The main purpose was to highlight any problems (and there were a number identified thanks to the audience). Happy to say that the final version which premiered earlier this week has since resolved some of these issues. I was also pleased that people seemed to appreciate the musical score for the film. I found this more emotionally challenging to create than anything in the editing process.

The main showcase for the evening was Zoe Broughton’s documentary Taking on Tarmageddon which covers the environmental consequences of the tar-sands in Canada. The film was a bit longer than standard 10×10 fare, but it was a captivating 50 minutes. You can watch it by clicking the following link:

This film is freely available and feel free to promote it further. One criticism you might level at the film is that it feels a little one-sided. However this isn’t through fault of the film-makers, every-time they tried to speak to a tar sand representative or Government official they were asked to stop filming. You could draw your own conclusions from this! The aerial shots give a dramatic look at how the beautiful Alberta countryside has been devastated as a result of the tar-sands. Having visited Alberta on a number of occasions, this is indeed very sad to see indeed.

By this point you might conclude that the recent 10×10 was a rather somber affair, but it ended on a fun note. Recently Film Oxford ran a stop motion animation course (there is another one running this weekend). It appears that many families have been getting a bit creative with the plastercine. Most of the films shown were only a few seconds long, the only one I can find online is this one:

The biggest star of the show was “Spider football”. This was simply a delight to behold – watching our eight-legged friend kicking the ball around rather competitively with himself.

The next 10×10 is scheduled to be held on Thursday 2nd May at 7pm. For further announcements you can visit the facebook page.

10×10 March 2013

It appears I’m now the unofficial Oxford 10×10 blogger.

Kicking off the filmmaking proceedings this month was Philip Hind demonstrating a couple of his latest toys: a Panasonic GH3 camera and a Rhino slider.

The GH3 camera is yet another a DSLR stills camera with video recording capabilities. It could almost be considered as a more portable and lower cost alternative to the Black Magic. Sure, the quality isn’t the same being as it doesn’t shoot in RAW or ProRes. However you won’t need a special rig or vast amounts of storage/hardware to use it. Like the Black Magic, it also supports micro-four thirds lenses, but the main difference is this time the electronics will work. It records MOV files in h.264 at up to 72Mbps, there is a flip screen at the back and it comes with a mini-jack for attaching external mics.

Many of the features are in response to the GH2 firmware hacks which proved very popular with film-makers. The only slightly odd thing about the camera is the additional battery pack which sits underneath. Also it should be remembered that this is a stills camera, rather than a camcorder (meaning the record-time is limited to avoid it being classed/taxed as a camcorder under EU regulations).

Philip showed us a short montage of clips at an old style printing press filmed using the camera – a couple of screen-caps from this below:



You can see a more in-depth review of the camera at

As I was lugging the Rhino slider around for part of the evening, I can say with some authority that it was extremely light and robust, albeit an awkward shape to carry. This was originally a Kickstarter project. I was torn between this and the portable Edelkrone slider, both are capable of creating nice gliding shots. The main issue I have with sliders is that too many DSLR filmmakers use them for every damn shot. As a result they have become a little tedious (in much the same way that shallow DOF is also). Yet when used correctly, they can be very effective. There is no test footage as of yet, but I’ve spoken to Phil and hopefully we will get to post something up very soon.

With the equipment ogling out the way we moved on to films. The main theme appeared to be making films about environmental causes in a different language. I can only begin to imagine what a nightmare this must have proved when it came to editing!

The first up was a film made by Corbett family whilst on a three-month sabbatical in the Philippines. Here they experienced life alongside the indigenous Negrito people. They made a video to voice their concerns to the Philippine government (mostly over their land-rights). Essentially this involved showing the locals how to operate the camera equipment and letting them go off and film/interview each other – which they did surprisingly well. You can see a 15 minute promo of the film here:

There are also a few behind the scene photos from this adventure here:

The next continuation on this theme was a short film made by Richard Scrase. A few years back, he shot a film in Madagascar for the marine charity Blue Ventures. This was to highlight the problems of over-fishing and the charities efforts to educate/reduce the problem within the local communities. It seems to that end the film has been a big success. You can see the film here:

One point that Richard mentioned which particularly resonated with me was that people no longer seem to have/make the time to pursue their hobbies.  True! I keep aiming towards this, although things only get harder as you gather further commitments throughout life.

The final showing of the evening was by Zoe Broughton who followed the protest against plans to re-open a “gentleman’s” club in Oxford. The results of which can be seen here:

Some true guerilla documentary film-making here and it is rather amusing watching how sheepishly some of these so-called-“gentlemen” act as soon as a camera is pointed in their general direction.

The next event will be on 4th April at the Film Oxford offices, all are welcome!

Before I sign off from this post, I spent some of last night playing around at the keyboard covering this Bond classic (albeit in very roughly in my own style and without the original to compare against). Not entirely sure John Barry would approve:

Never ever attempted to play this track before – so this one is just included for fun.