Filming for O’Neill and The Plastic Project

Pumping surf in the Arctic Circle

Pumping surf in the Arctic Circle

Back in April I travelled with photographer Tim Nunn and pro surfer Micah Lester up to the Lofoton Islands in the far North of Norway. We were shooting for O’Neill wetsuits, with Micah spending hours at a time in the 5º water, although air temps around zero and strong winds coming straight off the pack ice meant it was pretty extreme for all of us. The shoot was everything we hoped for…

Micah and Tim heading back from a surf shoot

Micah and Tim heading back from a surf shoot

We had some adventures hiking into beaches through snow covered mountain passes. We had amazing light (and some rubbish light) and we were a tight crew: the work was smooth and fun. We were also shooting for The Plastic Project – an ocean litter awareness project that Tim started and has been championing on a shoestring budget for the last year.

Mike Cunliffe wraps up in the Lofoten Islands

Mike Cunliffe wraps up in the Lofoten Islands

So now we’re back in the edit suite in North Cornwall and I’m churning through twenty hours of footage that we shot over nine days. We’re producing a five minute short film for O’Neill of the whole trip, as well as a cut down version and a 30 second version for point of sale plus of course a stills set for print advertising and social media.

For the Plastic Project, we’ve started the long form documentary that we’ll shoot over the next year, but we’re also cutting a promo for a hashtag campaign that will drive people to the Plastic Project. Check back for more info!

Post-production – creative times

“So how was the shoot?”

People always ask about the shoots, about what happened, about the light, whether the contributors were easy to work with etc. But I never get asked about the post-production, and often it’s the most satisfying, creative part of the production, where we find out what we really got and whether we captured the essence of our subject. In May we post produced a short for David Griffen, so no questions about the shoot but some lovely footage to play around with – check it out below. It’s a shoot he did in Jalan Alor food market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. David went on to win the Food Photographer of the Year with a still from this shoot.

This is Neil surfing

I shot this one amazing morning in September trying out the new GoPro. It’s just slammed together footage but I like the way that it really feels like Cornish surfing – only Neil really can make 1ft waves look this effortless. Half an hour later and a sea mist appears, brightly lit by the strong sun, it would have been amazing if the battery had lasted – so never shoot without backups even if its just for fun. There’s a pure aesthetic to Neil’s surfing, he reminds me of a dancer – no wasted movement, just pure form and function. One day we’ll make a whole film with him.

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