Up at 8am for a quick breakfast with Joe and then we get picked up by Disney to head for the show/press/parade day in Leesburg. Once we arrive we are taken to our trailer where we are told we have soundcheck straight away. I shoot some of that and then head out into the town to film some B-Roll. This place is awesome. I love little American towns. The people I stop and talk to are all so friendly, as are the fans, and the shots i'm getting I hope will resonate back home and to fans across the world how lovely this little town is. I'd happily retire here.
It's actually my 7th time in Florida. I've spent time on holidays in Jacksonville, Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa, Cocoa Beach, Daytona beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and The Keys. Its like my second home, and just being back here makes me miss it immediately. If I ever move abroad, I want it to be here. I've been very lucky to see a lot of amazing places, but this place just suits me fine.
I film the day, apart from the meet and greet section as I don't really need it for anything, so i opt to crash on the trailer in one of the beds and grab 30 minutes sleep. I wake up feeling refreshed and we all head back to the hotel around 5pm. Once we get there, I FaceTime Sophie and then with the temperature still around 28˚C head to join everyone for some volleyball. We eat, play pool and chat till around 8pm and then Connor, Tristan, Joe and myself head out for a walk which leads us to a trail heading into the woods, me and Tris decline to go further, and about 30 seconds later Joe and Connor come running to us screaming thinking they've seen something. Back at the room I fall asleep around 930pm exhausted.
Up, showered and on our way to the first bit of press today at around 7am. The boys are filming live on air for the Kelly And Michael show this morning, I scout a local Starbucks and grab coffee for everyone who wants one, and then film the band rehearse and get some PTC's in the green room before they go live. I'm not allowed to film during the show, which makes sense, so I sit in the audience and have some fun, joining in with a feel good American TV show. I also get to briefly meet Kate Mara, the lead actress in Netflix's House Of Cards show, possibly my favourite tv at the minute, so i'm pretty stoked.
That done we all head to MTV where the boys are performing for the staff there. Once I have filmed some stuff here, I head out and grab a cab to take me to the Rockefeller 'Top Of The Deck' Observatory I ride the lift to the 65th floor and then head up to the top viewing area. I know I can't use my tripod, so to get some timelapses I scouted this location out on the net by looking at pictures people had taken, to see if there were any ledges I could just prop my camera on. I'm relieved when I see the concrete blocks are exactly how I saw them online, so I setup three timelapses from the clouds over New York and grab some really great B-Roll. While the timelapses are recording I have to lean right out over the ledge to try and stop the wind blowing my camera and ruining the lapses, I get some funny looks from both security and people, but ... you gotta do what you gotta do! The view, as expected, is incredible. I stay up here for around 45 minutes before I head back to meet the band at the record label.
Back at Universal HQ I get about 30 minutes of DVD filming done with Brad before I take the short scenic walk past central park back to the hotel. All the guys are heading out to eat at a nice restaurant, unfortunately, the realisation hits me again that my job is particularly unsociable as I have to get an edit from the Gramercy show done for UK press to see so we can generate some stories back home about how the show went (stories were then released the next day by many agencies including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail). I need to point out that I absolutely love what I do, and regardless of the long hours and difficulties that travelling with everything and staying organised brings, I wouldn't swop it for any job in the world. Truth. I send the internal video to the UK at about 2am and then hit the pillow around 3am after a pretty full on 20 hour day.
Last night we arrived in New York, I edited on the plane and got a good bunch of DVD cutting done (a good bunch being just 5 minutes of the film!) before my laptop gave up.
I hit Times Square whilst everyone went to eat, knowing I wouldn't get another chance to film it at night. I stood for about 10minutes taking it all in myself, my first time here, it really is everything I imagined and maybe a smudge more.
Early morning I go out for breakfast with Joe and James and then we hit the snowy Central Park for a cold but fun walk. While the guys wander off I shoot some more B-Roll before we head back to the hotel.
Late morning we go to the label, for a meet and greet style informal meet up with staff, slurping on Dunkin Donuts box'a Joe's and of course, munching on donuts. Everyone is really nice and the vibe straight away is one of excitement and interest. That done we head to the Gramercy Theatre for the bands first ever headline show. Add this to the fact the venue they have played the most is the O2 Arena, and the history The Vamps are creating is getting pretty crazy! The timeline of the band is amazing to be honest. We arrive and I film the band soundcheck before heading outside and filming some B-roll of the venue. The show goes great, I get some funny dressing room stuff to add to the footage of the show and we head back to our hotel around 10pm where I backup footage and then head to bed tired.
We have one day in Italy, and with Press starting at around 10am that means one thing for me, I'm up at the crack of dawn, literally. Last night when I arrived (apart from eating some god damn incredible pizza!) I figured out where I was, how far i'd need to walk to get some 'touristy' B-Roll footage and what time the sun says hello. My alarm goes off at 645am and I jump out of bed, get dressed, grab the camera and my shoulder bag and head out into the city. I'm almost immediately struck by how beautiful this place is. I've always heard good things about Rome, but i'm taken a back how sweet it really is. I film along route to the Colosseum, grabbing some angles of that while I kind of boomerang round it and back to the hotel.
I'm back at 830am, and get the call from James that he's about to dine if i'm about, which I am, and I do. I decide, seeing as i'm feeling pretty sleepy after just three hours of sleep that I need to try some Italian coffee so I head out, having photo's with fans on the way. The coffee is great, and about 15 minutes later I'm feeling like i'm back on earth. We all head to press for the morning, then a really cool Italian restaurant for lunch before arriving at the afternoon show the band are playing for a local radio show.
The 1,000+ fans inside literally deafen me and leave all our ears ringing, the show goes great and the boys, and the crew are blown away by how well they are received over here, it's so exciting. I get a great batch of footage, including a a pretty scary piece that you will all see soon as we try to leave for the airport. We fly back to the UK landing around 10pm and my car gets me home around 11pm. I cuddle up to Soph in bed, have a chat with Imogen checking she's been behaving and then fall asleep pretty quick.
Up around 9am and head for my regular breakfast date with James, we chat some shit and eat before heading back to our rooms to get ready for the day. We are leaving the hotel later today, so opt to meet up around 12pm and head into Berlin for some lunch and a walk. Once i'm back at my room I setup for another timelapse, this time through the fire exit door on the other side of the hotel so I can grab another angle. With the lensman hood on I get nice non-reflective shots, there's a cool chimney from what looks like a power plant bellowing smoke into the sky, so that should look pretty cool when I speed this one up.
At 12 me and James head out for lunch in a really nice café about a mile's walk from our hotel, we walk the streets before and after and then join everyone in the lobby before we walk next door to the record label where the band will be all day for press interviews/videos and photo shoots. I got everything I need with the boys yesterday, so today I head out into Berlin, walking and filming the sights in the cold. I visit a few neighbourhoods nearby and of course the Berlin Wall, getting some nice footage on the way to build the Germany story.
That done, I head up to the top floor balcony of the record label and shoot another 3 timelapses, the final one of the moon, a personal favourite so far. Around 6pm we say our goodbyes and then head to the airport to catch our flight to Rome, Italy.
I get up early and immediately set up a time-lapse from my room. While i'm doing that I get a text from James asking if I fancy breakfast, which I do, so I jump in the shower, dress and head down for some grub, leaving the timelapse going. We chat over some porridge about the album and Germany, not that either of us have seen much of it yet, but from my room on the 10th floor it looks pretty nice.
The band are doing a day of press including tv, I grab a whole bunch of behind the scenes stuff throughout the day, opting to get all the band press stuff done today, and then head out into Germany tomorrow for my B-Roll footage. We finish around 7pm and head to a pizza place that has been recommended to us. Seems strange we opted for this the day before we fly to Italy, but it turns out to be a great choice and we all enjoy some wood oven Pizza in the family run, busy restaurant before heading back to the hotel. I head up to my room to my mobile edit suite and start loading in the footage, charging batteries and then crash out on the bed with my iPad for a while reading and catching up on twitter and news. I call Sophie and check in on how she is (and the cat), get undressed and jump into bed. It takes me a while to work out where the TV is, until I, in what I thought was a moment of stupidity and desperation, point the remote control at the mirror and .. there it is, a tv disguised as a mirror!
Get up and pack ready for the band's Germany/Italy trip for promo and head back to the hotel in Kensington. I drop my bags in the room and head upstairs to get some breakfast, enjoying the view again, and then setting up a quick timelapse. After chowing down I get stuck into a serious editing session before we leave for the airport for our flight to Berlin.
We arrive in Germany and our car takes us to the hotel. The hotel is some kind of square Barbie Doll with beds in it (basically everything is pink), I prefer comfort over style when I travel, obviously both is good but this one is just trying for style, regardless I fall straight to sleep after preparing my gear for an early morning timelapse.
Wake up around 8am after a pretty rough night's sleep. I get washed and hit the breakfast buffet on the 11th floor of the hotel looking out over Hyde Park. The view's great and I crash out in my seat day dreaming for a while until my iPad connects itself to the net and a barrage of emails plow through. Around 2pm I head with the band to the O2 Arena for the final night of their support slot with Taylor Swift. It marks the sixth time the band has played England's biggest (and highest capacity) arena, making it their 'home venue'. To think the boys have played here more than any other venue is literally mind blowing.
Once we arrive I head out and time-lapse Canary Wharf at sunset and then shoot the band backstage and during the show. The night's a massive success, again, for the band and I have all the footage I need for what i'm putting together (It's a secret at the minute, but you'll find out very soon...). The boys ask if I want to go with them to the after-show party, but I head home as the record label have asked for something they need for Germany tomorrow.
I get home around 11pm, work till around 1am and then fall to sleep whilst catching up withe the days news on my iPad.
Up and out early to go to the bands hotel in Greenwich. I arrive and grab some breakfast while I check emails and go through my notes, updating what i'm filming today and adding things to the to-do list. Today i'm filming some PTC's (Piece to camera's) with the boys for a DVD, though not expecting Brad to do any filming so he can save his voice for tomorrow's show. While I plan that upstairs in my hotel room I get emails from the record label and management about various things that are needed tomorrow, I add them to my to-do's and reply. By late afternoon i have some interviews in the bag so I hop in a cab, with my permit, to the O2 so I can get to filming a sunset timelapse I need for the next episode of Carry on Vamping, I have a couple more after this but i'll be doing them either tomorrow or at next week's shows. The timelapse is finished by 6pm as England reaches full darkness. back at the hotel James asks if I want to join the boys and X Factor finalist Luke Friend for dinner, I tell him i'll see how my emails are and get back to him. I end up opting to get room service so I can get through some work. At 11pm, i'm about ready for bed when I get a call from management in America asking for a 45 second teaser of the Taylor Swift dates so far, they need it for internal use, and quick. So, I fire up the mobile edit suite and get to work on it, I've already key worded some of the files which helps speed up the edit. I add in music from the bands next single, a one look grade and send back to the States, I wait up for a reply, they are happy, crawling into bed around 230am.
Up before light. I'm starting to feel better, almost human, after the virus I had knocked me down for three days, barely able to pick up a glass of water, let alone answer the stream of emails I had coming in. When your world stops, everyone else's continues. i gulp down some herbal tea, I'm digging the Yogi tea brand, and have been a fan of their teas for a few years now. By accident, this morning, i've picked the 'Bedtime' tea. I contemplate for a moment it's a sign and I should just get back in bed. I don't.
i arrive at the studio where i'm filming a music video with Pixie Lott an hour before her arrival time. We don't have long once Pixie arrives, so I made a point of making sure she could be camera ready when she arrives. I setup the rental lights that are waiting for me, two 1x1 Litepanels. My favourite soft lighting option for shooting in a small space. When I match these up with my FV camera lights I have everything I need for the look I like at the minute.
Once i'm set I take a few stills of the set incase management want to tease the video, drink some water, realise how weak I am post-illness and then setup my camera, lens and a charging station just incase I need it. As i'm shooting in RAW video format on my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, I also have my laptop and a 1TB Thunderbolt drive ready so I can offload footage fast. At over £100 per 64GB card, and files so big I can only fit 12 minutes of film onto them, I will need to offload and wipe the cards at least once. It's worth it for the 13 stops of dynamic range and grade possibilities though.
Pixie arrives, the shoot is fun and goes well, I pack down and jump in a car waiting to take me to Shepherds bush to meet the boys for lunch before setting off for Chelmsford to film them do a 1000 person HMV 'Selfie Session' to promote the new single Wild Heart (buy it here http://po.st/VampsiT). When that's done we grab a Nando's and head back to London where i'm dropped at Euston and train home, very tired, ready for bed.
Maybe if I don't have much to say I can just post a photo here of my day? Nice light this evening from my front room window/me with my Fuji X100S.
I wake up around 6am, tired but wide awake at the same time, as usual if I wake up around this time I start planning my day. I fall back into a deep dream incensed sleep and wake up around 9am. I check the emails and see I'm getting deliveries of things I want today around 10 so book Soph a taxi so she doesn't have to walk to work.
Around 11 I get my deliveries, photo's and the new drill. I've been desperate to get some prints up in the house. We've been living here a year with partially bare walls in places, today's the day I'm putting that (mostly) right. First I nail some editing and finish the music video for Liza Owen. I ping that across for her to see and then answer more emails and make a call to Dave about next week and for a chit chat. Around 3pm the walls are looking good and I've not damaged the house or killed myself in the process, so I'm happy with my work. I fly by our new Morrisons to pick up ingredients for tea and then head back home to prep for tomorrow's shoot, start another edit and check I have the boys Christmas presents as I haven't seen them to give them then yet, better late than never! I hope...
Nominations have started for The Shorty Awards again, so I quickly write up a 'how to vote' blog as I'd quite like to win the damn thing after two seconds and a third the last three years. After tea, we crash out and watch another Sherlock episode before sleep.
I get up and take Soph to work, stopping off at Tesco quick on the way home to pick up some vegetables for tonight's dinner. I get in make some tea and then fire up the edit suite. I answer some emails while I drink, I'm getting emails about location problems for one of next weeks videos, which doesn't sound good, hopefully Amy, our producer, can find something. I get into editing a video I shot with Liza Owen just before Christmas and run into some round tripping trouble between the newly updated FCPX and DaVinci Resolve which I use to grade my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Files. I finally work out how to work around the round trip (dizzy yet?) and then grab some lunch, taking a few calls and answering more emails as I chow down on a gammon sandwich. While I'm sat eating I look at the three new frames I just picked up in Ikea for the living room, I jump on the ipad and order my first ever drill. Then youtube 'How to use a drill', no seriously, I've never used one.
I finish editing around 5, pick Soph up and head home via homebase where I grab some screws and wall fittings for the frames. I'm going to put up a signed photo I have of the band, one of the cat (for cat corner in the house) and two photos I just took in Brighton that I'm kinda fond of [of course! this depends on the drill-skill]. We eat, tidy up and then I do some channel work on the bands youtube before showering and chilling on the sofa to watch Midnight In Paris. About fifteen minutes in and my emails are going so I check in and send replies while I watch (ok yeah yeah, one at a time I know I can't REALLY multitask). Dave Spearing, friend and co-director for a music video we are working on for next week sends over a revised treatment we and the band decided on, I mail him back straight away after reading it to say its bang on. We send it to the lead singer of the band first and he is happy, so on it goes to everyone involved, now, tomorrow, we just need to nail the location.
I've been busy. Too busy to even update this little diary. On the 28th November we started on the road for a two week tour of the UK playing Arena shows. I was filming for diaries and pick ups along the way including international videos for press and photo's for the bands future campaigns. As soon as that finished and we landed back in London, I went with the boys to film them behind the scenes at Xtra Factor, and then home, finally.
Since i've been home i've been chained to the edit suite, 9 videos need finishing by Christmas Eve, today, I have pulled it down to the final three...
The diary continues :)
I colour grade the bands latest cover 'Story Of My Life' and then work on pre production for Tuesday's big shoot and work through my diary adding in edit days for each video coming up and what I will be shooting while we are away on the upcoming arena dates. In a nutshell, the lead up to Christmas is the busiest i've been in my life, so I HAVE to get organised or i'll fall behind on deadlines easily. When the audio arrives, finally, I add it in and upload to YouTube, everyone seems to be liking it, here's a few tweets from fans I get...
That done I upload my blog on lens whacking on here and then end up sitting down with Soph to watch Santa Claus The Movie 3 which I hadn't seen, but dig the hell out of!
Up early to go and meet James and Connor for a few ADR (Additional Dialogue Recordings) for Carry On Vamping. We get them done straight away and then hit up Wagamamas for some soup, noodles, rice and chicken. Connor opts for out and decides to go grab some 'make your own' pieces from Waitrose and some fruit. Food done, we stroll round some shops while I wait for my train and the boys wait for a taxi.
I get home around 2pm , sort the cat out, fire up my Mac Book, grab a coffee and send the audio files from my iPad to my dropbox so I can load them into my event for editing. At 745pm i've really smashed through the edit and the first cut is now complete. At 17 minutes long it feels like the right length and all I need to do now is a grade before I upload for management, label and band to watch. I go and pick Soph up from work and then am straight back to the edit. At 230am i'm done, in all senses of the word! The first cut is graded so I leave it compressing for web while I grab some much needed sleep.
Up early and have breakfast with the boys, we chat about the cover and filming, go over some ideas and then all head down to our location. The sun is breaking through, which is perfect as I really wanted it to add a nice back light. I love backlighting whenever I can (if you want to see an amazing example of how to backlight watch 'The Tree Of Life' Directed by Terrence Malick where nearly every single shot is backlit) get it, I love seeing wrap around light, rim lighting and of course lens flare, at times. We get setup and I shoot intro, wides and then individual shots. I follow that with what I call some 'candy shots', they're sweet but you can't always have them and you can't have too many.
Shoot done, locked down, we wrap, pack down and head back for lunch before heading home where I check my rushes, back them up and prep ready for editing tomorrow morning.
Train down to Exeter to meet the band who are recording/writing and rehearsing together. I have a pretty ok journey, though as i'm shooting a few different things over the next two days I need to bring a lot of gear with me. Travelling by train, tube and then train isn't fun, especially through rush hour, I don't even have any hands free to grab a drink!
Once I arrive we all head out to look at a few possible locations for shooting tomorrow's cover. We find one that I love, and the boys do too, so we decide to come back tomorrow as we will need an off road vehicle to get us there with all our stuff. We head back and the guys get back to work. I unpack my gear and shoot some stuff with each of them and all of them collectively. My setup is simple for this, i'm shooting with my rig, camera, Swivi viewfinder and nothing else. Not recording audio as these shots are specific for something that will have ADR. That done, I spend the rest of the evening planning tomorrow's shoot, sorting the guys out with what they need to know for it and then watch a few camera reviews on a new camera i'm looking at to go with my current kit.
Pack up the 'on the road' edit suite and my gear (along with some warm clothes options) into my bags and catch a train up to Manchester to meet the boys. They're filming some TV stuff so I grab some lunch with Joe before watching the boys rehearse. The show done, me and James opt for some frozen yoghurt enroute to tonight's show location. When we arrive Con and I shoot some funny stuff inside and then I grab some equally funny pieces with James and Brad too before sound check. The boys go into press for an hour so I opt to fire up the edit suite and get into some pretty slick cutting. It goes well, meaning on the train home I just need to check levels and colour and another video is done. The show, though the boys only play two songs, goes down a storm. Manchester is always good, but tonight this buzzing city has surpassed itself and reached a new high. Show done, me and Joe jump on a fast train home, I edit and tidy up another video before arriving home and hitting the sack.