I was very lucky to get a last minute call up from the amazing Glendyn Ivin to pop off to Turkey to shoot some elements for his monumentally epic series covering the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli landings.
Main unit had already wrapped and main unit DP Germain McMicking wasn’t available so I jumped at the chance to travel to Turkey and visit the Gallipoli battlefields.
It really was a splinter unit, with the crew consisting of just Glendyn and I. We called ourselves the “Turkey” unit. We also had some local help with a very able camera assistant and fixer.
We were there to do a couple of things. Glendyn wanted to get as much VFX plate material as he could at the actual peninsular.
We traveled amongst the villages and shot the local farmers doing what their ancestors have probably also done for thousands of years before them, working the land.
To match the main unit work we had an Alexa classic shooting ProRes 4:4:4:4 in Log C on Zeiss Superspeeds but I also had a Blackmagic 4K cinema camera and a Blackmagic Pocket cinema camera.
The extra resolution of the 4K Blackmagic camera was a great help for the VFX plates where resolution mattered and the smaller 4K camera also meant we often would leave the Alexa behind when we started “bush bashing” off the marked tracks to try and shoot the topography that we needed.
I also shot extensive tiled panorama reference plate photographs using an Olympus EM1 and their brilliant 12-40 F2.8 Zoom. Shooting RAW, I was able to shoot 200 degree panoramas for the VFX department, that they will be able to stitch together. The camera was small and unobtrusive and it made it really easy to always have it around my neck even when we were off in the scrub.
We had the relative luxury of being there for several days so we fell into a routine of photographing the locations we needed at different times of day so Glendyn will have plenty of options for selecting what he needs to match the 8 hours of broadcast material that needs a constant trickle of authentic background plates to be composited in behind the main foreground action.
It was also incredibly moving to have a chance to be there as we approach the 100th anniversary of this doomed military campaign that with every year seems to grow more and more spiritually significant.
Gallipoli is a 4 x 2 hour mini series and will air on the Nine network in 2015.