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Maxim Ford

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About Maxim Ford

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    Cinematographer

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  • Website URL
    http://www.softylite.com
  1. A few years back I was having problems lighting a scene. It wasn't a problem with the back light or the key but with the tiny amounts of fill light I needed, just a few footcandles. As time went by the problem became worse as cameras became more sensitive. Quite often after putting trace and gels on a light more light was coming out of the back of the light than the front. So as DOP are want to do in their down tie is play around with building a light with some LEDs off ebay. I was quite excited with the result and thought I wonder if any engineering company would help. In the past engineering companies would not talk to you unless you wanted to make 100,000 units. So it was just for interested I phoned a company just outside London in Harlow. To my surprise that invited me to meet with them, at the meeting invited in their designer and together came up for this soft LED light. As a DOP I wanted a light without the multiple points of light, running of a generic 12 volts DC, went up in stops and was well made in metal, with snoot and egg crate and no light leak. So here it is I I hope this is of interest, more info http://www.softylite.com
  2. Does anyone know of any online camera tests comparing different bit rates? Or showing comparison of S log with and without?
  3. Who are these workers that have keys to the city? You want to stop nespotism? Then lets have all freelance jobs advertised so that all can apply for them. Stop employing your mate the loader cause he makes a great cup of tea, employ the one that knows how many lumem per watt and HMI gives. It may well be a better industry. Can we create more jobs? Well if you came to union meetings you would know that BECTU commissioned a report on the financing of the French film industry and is proposing raising money by a levy on those that use film, cinemas, tv and dvd makers, say about a billion pounds a year to fund a British Cinema.
  4. QUOTE Of course, you could dispel my concerns in an instant by making it clear that anyone, without reference to personal contacts, can take the required courses to gain the certification you're talking about, without anyone in the union having any authority to choose who can and cannot obtain a place on the course. But that's not how you're doing it, is it? A prospective camera assistant will need the approval of an existing camera assistant, won't they? QUOTE NO, not true, the camera branch is making no such decisions. Show me one person who has been denied training by BECTU. You have as much power in the union as I do, if you can be bothered to come to meetings and argue your point there rather than rant here.
  5. You ignore the points I have made and continue with your accusation without any evidence to back it up. Show me one action of the union designed to stop you working. Working on a set with maybe 50 kilowatts of 3 phase electricity, staging stunts with cars, smoke, people tires, sets held up by heavy wieghts, lights wieghing 20 kilos on wind up stands..... Yes people should be properly trained to work in the film industry. I would not want to get on a crane with a grip who had not been trained. Every time I have filmed on a building site I have had to get trained, So I would expect film makers to know what they are doing too.
  6. Your enemy is not the closed shop or the threat of one. There are Universities up and down the country selling film courses and making big money at it. Producing thousands of want to be film makers who all think if they work for nothing they will be successful. BECTU is trying to hold on to better wages and conditions, to make producers pay a proper wage, to have a minimum freelance living wage for starters, to have a financed British film industry. Red Heads are far from dead, and a 6 kw HMI will still be needed unless the the Sun stops being 7000 footcandles. Professional film making is dangerous.
  7. If you say a film set is safe I honestly do not know what sort of film making you are talking about. A trailing lead of a Red Head lamp a person triping crashes a hot and electrified object onto another person. A few weeks ago I watched as a film crew lit some primary school children with 2 2.5 HMIs in light rain. No sparks and trailing power leads through the wet grass. People who say film makiing is safe are the people who really should do a safety course. Yes the grips are concerned about low paid and unskilled grips lowering wages and de skilling their jobs. Should a person be allowed to operate a crane with two people and a camera a height without training? The answer is the people on the low budget films should join the union and demand proper training, wages and conditions too. BECTU is trying to stop the falling of wages but people prepared to work for nothing help cut each others throat. The closed shop made sure that wages remained high and that it was possible to have a career. And yes it was difficult to get in, it took me 3 years. How many people now will be able to survive or will be forced to leave?
  8. Film making is dangerous and I think all depts should be aware of the dangers, DOPs and directors are often hands on, a 2 kw lamp falling on someone will hurt, putiing two lights together from different phases will give an exciting 480 volts if they are faulty.
  9. Two questions here. 1) should grips be trained to be safe and not kill the crew and cast ? 2) should being a grip be open to all who are prepared to work safley? BECTU says yes to both. The free market has created more film workers than jobs, the union supports workers joining together to protect wages and conditions, that all have an equal opportunity to work, that training is improved, that we create a film industry with more work
  10. I have come across university courses for film making, where they do not seen to teach any photo science, no optics, exposure, lighting etc.... Some have no lights other than a few Red Heads....and yet claim to be training DOPs This courses are approved by Skillset. It is very difficult to get a true picture of whats going on, colleges say all is fantastiic and what student wants to just say I have finished a crap film school? How many colleges / film schools are really teaching cinematography?
  11. What have I been missing? I have been bust promoting my LED light Softy Lite and here I am the subject of a thread. Yes I stood for the NEC of BECTU and I have been elected. Why? I have been pushing the Union to come up with a plan to support the British film industry in the same way as the French support theirs. I want to see the Union fight for a freelance living wage. I want to see film students get a good film education with real film making practice and teaching and not just a money making scheme for universities. For or against, just turn up to meetings and get your voice heard
  12. All universities, educational organisations, most industries, Health service, political bodies.... Have to advertise jobs, have to obey employment laws against discrimination, and have to employ people with the right qualifications. http://jobs.newscientist.com/en-gb/ So you first attack unions for cronyism then defend it for yourself, Then you lie about all others doing it. You are a poster boy producer for union recruiting.
  13. There is a meeting on these matters.... Short notice as it started off to be just for the crew but has since gone viral http://filmindustrynetwork.co.uk/bectu-invites-filmmakers-members-discuss-film-standards/2658
  14. In this situation I am in agreement with Nick. The nonsense and ill informed nature of your remarks make it a waste of time writing on these forums. You don't think people working on film should be trained and qualified. I do and so do the majority of members of BECTU. We also thing that pilots should be trained to fly planes and train drivers have the skills to control trains. I have seen the dangers caused by unskilled workers, HMIs running ti the rain with trailing cables, Cranes not supported properly. Poorly earthed lights. Mixed 3 phase lighting. This is not to stop people working, but to work in any profession you need the skills to do it, not just the willingness to do it for less money.. If producers can't run a safe film set and pay proper wages they have no business in this industry. Producers employ people not unions, why don't producers advertise all their jobs? Why because that's where the cronyism comes in. Producers don't hire on merit (would they know ?) They just employ who they know. Its not what you know its who you know. So producer advertise all your jobs and let all apply for them based on merit. Different countries have different histories and I have no knowledge of the Canadian Unions, but unions do nothing for working people, they are just a framework for workers to organise to do things for themselves. If workers don't actively take part and fight for what they want don't be surprised if you don't get the Union you want. Producers distributors and owners of production companies spend a fortune getting what they want, they sit on all the film bodies the BFI, the Film Review. no workers are invited , no actors ...on the last Film Review there was no one who worked on a film set on the committee. And of course no trade unions. BECTU rallies what all the members of the production branches think and tell the politicians. BECTU had Chris Smith the head of the Film Review and there we told him about the state of the film industry. About the falling budgets and long hours.... Or maybe you think they sit around reading this forum? Is that your plan B? When a union fights and campaigns for better conditions, do the non members, who weakened the campaign, who whined on forums, who didn't take the time to come and discuss with their fellow film makers, do they take advantage of that? Are they just freeloaders?
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