Back in April, a friend of mine and freelance photographer Paul Carroll asked if I wanted to shoot some behind the scenes stuff for him as part of his relationship with Sky Casino (formally Sky Bet).
The deal was that Paul was to shoot the commercial stuff, and I would potter about and do what I like doing – making pictures in my relaxed and candid style.
The venue was the Black Hangar Studios, where Sky Casino were filming for their new series of adverts to launch the new rebrand from Sky Bet to Sky Casino. The short films/adverts were all set around card tricks.
The main purpose of the day was filming Rick Smith Jr. throwing various cards at glasses, casino chips and – at the end of the day – throwing a card through an open window of a BMW I8 whilst it was doing doughnuts around him.
The first main shot was Rick throwing cards at a wine glass balanced on Casino table about 10 feet away – Rick was trying the smash the glass with the force of his throwing of the cards.
The second shot was Rick trying to smash through a stack of casino chips.
For this shot, I had a chance to stand directly behind the chips and managed to capture the cards hitting the chips and them falling down.
After Rick had done his thing – smashing the glass and knocking down the casino chips; the film crew started to get some ‘B’ roll film – which meant that Rick was now doing some set-up shots of him throwing but not having to worry about hitting the target. This was now the time for me to mooch around and see what I could capture.
This next shot is one of my favourites from the day – its Rick, and the director on the day, Chris. The shot was taken just as Chris and Rick were talking about what was needed for the next series of shots.
As you can see from the shots so far, the lighting was very directional and harsh – and whilst perfect for what they were after, it was a challenge for me as I was having to work in the shadows which meant high ISO on my Fujfilm XT2s. I was also having to shoot whilst filming was ongoing – so I had to use the electronic (silent) shutter which was a god send!
So How Did The Fuji’s Cope?
They coped fine. They really did. The challenge really for me was the lack of long fast glass. Paul was shooting the Nikon D5 using a long F2 lens for his shots of the cards hitting the glass and casino chips. The only long lens I had on me was the 50-140mm F2.8 – which was a stop slower than Paul’s, and this made a big difference.
We were both shooting around ISO 3200 or ISO 6400 but Paul was able to push his shutter speed to double that of mine – and that made a big difference to the usability of his shots of the glass breaking and the cards being thrown – he was able to stop the motion far better than me. The higher ISO performance was noticeably better on the D5 than that of the little Fuji XT2s – I know they are different cameras and different markets and I shouldn’t really compare – but I can, and have.
Where I think the Fujis really shone, was during what I like doing, and that was the candid stuff – it was like being at a wedding; blending in, getting in close, getting the shot and moving off. I do remember many times knowing where Paul was and his D5 because I could hear the shutter.
Could I have done the images that Paul got?
No – not with a F2.8 lens – maybe if I had the 90mm F2 I could have got more usable ones, but I have had two copies of that lens and I know I’m in the minority but it just doesn’t suit me and I can’t get on with it. I also think it wouldn’t have been long enough, as Lightroom is telling me I was around 130mm – 140mm for the glass breaking and casino chip shots.
I really enjoyed the day with Paul – it was amazing seeing how many people it takes to film production like this. It was amazing seeing how the chain of command works and it was amazing to see Rick doing his thing. We didn’t get a chance to stay for the I8 window shot as for safety reasons only a handful of people were allowed in the hangar.
Here is a link to the video shot for Sky https://www.facebook.com/ricksmithjr1/posts/1381283888627410