Eau De Titan Filming

When Eden Project contacted me to see if I was interested in directing a video for them I could hardly contain my excitement. The pitch they gave me was a spoof fragrance commercial advertising a fake perfume created from the stench of the Titan Arum or ‘Corpse Flower’ which smells of rotting flesh.

Eau De Titan

Immediately I had ideas and visions of how it might look whirring around my brain and I managed to convince them that I was the man for the job.

Tropical Biome

Roll forward about 3 weeks and today the campaign (and film) was launched to the public and press. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind getting this project completed with some tight timescales and deadlines.

Filming the Titan Arum

Corpse Flower

Firstly the 2 actors were flown down from London for 1 day only to do the filming and PR photos which gave us a bit of a headache – obviously we couldn’t film whilst the biomes were open to the public as we wanted a closed set to create a jungle-like environment. This meant that we had to film after closing time which would have been fine on a sunny, clear day in June but unfortunately it was dull and cloudy, meaning that we only had a limited time of about 3 hours to complete the filming before it was too dark to shoot. We also had to fit in the recording of the voice-over with Ella, which we ended up doing in my car in a corner of one of Eden’s furtherest carparks which must have been a sight for any passers by!

Ella & Joe

We also had to contend with the humidity inside the biomes which meant arriving well early to get my lenses used to the conditions so they wouldn’t steam up during the filming.

Preparing lenses

The shoot itself was fairly low-budget with just myself, the 2 actors and Tom Trinkle, the Digital Content Manager at Eden on hand to co-direct, but luckily we had developed a rough storyboard beforehand to work from. It was a real pleasure to work on this and although I was knackered and sweaty from running around a tropical rain forest with a Glidecam strapped to me I think we’ve created a nice little video.

Helen Clare Yoga session filming

Helen Clare is a qualified teacher who also teaches yoga lessons in both Primary & Secondary schools in Cornwall. She came to us to commission a couple of short promotional films to show prospective schools how her lessons work and how they can benefit the children. I decided to attempt to film the videos alone and although it was tough I think I just about managed it.

The first location was Pool Academy in Redruth where Helen was teaching an afterschool club of about 10 pupils & teachers. We decided that she should just teach a normal session and that I would do my best to capture the essence without intruding too much on the lesson. This meant staying silent throughout and keeping movement to a minimum so to not disturb the concentration of the class.

I was shooting on the 5DMk3 with Tokina 11-16mm @ 16mm, Canon 24-105 & Nikon 50mm 1.8. The dance studio we filmed in was quite light & spacious so there was plenty of room for me to use the Glidetrack Hybrid to achieve some dolly shots. I filmed mostly at 25p 1080 but also grabbed some 720p 50p shots which worked quite well. I rigged up the Sennheiser wireless mic to Helen to record Helen’s instructions nice and crisply.

The second location was Bodriggy Academy in Hayle where Helen was teaching 2 classes of primary school children, one after another. This session was more challenging to film as the classroom was darker and there were 30 kids to a class which made safely moving around much more difficult. Luckily as there were 2 identical lessons I was able to grab the shots that I missed in the 1st lesson in the 2nd one.

It was an enjoyable experience working with Helen & the young people and I hope the resulting films convey that.