Download high-resolution versions of the three extra.ordinary films and read an interview with Philip Bloom about his work and career
extra.ordinary film one: Evening Waltz
In this extraordinary film, director Philip Bloom uses the Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100E to turn a very ordinary fairground into something much more. It’s the first part of our special project celebrating the art of the professional filmmaker. Be sure to check out Philip Bloom’s behind-the-scenes tutorials for tips and insights into the filming of Evening Waltz.
extra.ordinary film two: Sugared Art
Sugared Art, the second film in our extra.ordinary series, finds director Philip Bloom in the kitchens of a cake shop like no other. Using the Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100E, the filmmaker traces the journey from ordinary ingredients to a truly extraordinary result. Once you’ve seen the full edit, make sure you explore Philip Bloom’s behind-the-scenes tutorials and tip sheet for insights from the director.
extra.ordinary film three: A Shot At Greatness
The third and final film in the extra.ordinary series sees director Philip Bloom bringing to life our competition winner’s idea as he films a boxer tirelessly preparing for a fight. Don’t forget to check out the behind-the-scenes videos – you’ll be able to see how the NXCAM NEX-FS100E from Sony coped with the job, plus Philip will share his filmmaker’s expert insight with a handy tip sheet.
Download High-Resolution Version Here
An interview with Philip Bloom about his work and career
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself
A. I started in 1989, straight out of school, as a runner – I was 18. I wanted to be a news cameraman so I got in at the bottom and worked my way up. For 17 years I covered some of the world's biggest stories both as cameraman and cameraman/editor. I then started doing more longer-form work for the channel and began to direct too. I then realised I wanted to focus on full-time documentary work and left to start my own business as a freelancer.
Since then I have branched out into all sorts of genres, not just documentaries. I have made music videos, commercials, short dramas, lots of TV work and recently was second unit director of photography on George Lucas' new movie Red Tails. One of my documentaries recently won best documentary at the Raindance Film Festival.
Q. What inspired you to branch out into creative film-making – and how did you know you were ready?
A. All my filming has always been very creative, even when covering news I went out of my way to lift production levels in my work. My reports were the first in Britain to be shot progressive, for example, to give them a filmic look. Since going freelance, when I’m not being paid to shoot, I’m out with my camera making short films. Being creative is incredibly important to me.
Q. How did you get involved with this Sony Professional project?
A. The Sony project intrigued me. They approached me with the concept – to make something ordinary look wonderful. I think this has always been the key to success in what I do. Anyone can shoot a beach on the Maldives and make it look amazing. But to shoot something really ordinary and make it special, that’s the key!
Q. How do you prepare for a shoot?
A. The way I prepare for a shoot completely varies from job to job – especially if I’m directing, as this requires a lot more work. You need to check out the right location, work out a storyboard or shot list, liaise with clients and then decide how to shoot it. Sometimes, though, my job means I turn up at a location not knowing anything, and still need to make it work. That comes from my news and documentary background.
Q. Where do you find your inspiration?
A. My inspiration comes from everywhere. From watching other people's work, to watching movies and TV, to what’s around me. I try to be original as copying is pointless, but taking inspiration from something is very common.
Q. Which video sites do you find most useful?
A. Vimeo is by far the best place to go to watch other people's work and get inspiration. It's full of incredible work.
Q. We know you travel a lot – what’s been your favourite location/country?
A. I generally spend around 9 months of the year travelling and, to be honest, with all of that there is no place like home! That said, I do love working in the US as I have a lot of great friends there, but it's the new places that always interest me. My favourite all-time location is easily Dungeness on the Kent Coast. It's desolate, eerie and utterly beautiful. I love to film there!
Q. What was your first camcorder?
A. My first video camera was one of the original Video 8 camcorders from Sony. I wish I still had it. I recently bought a similar one on eBay, and it works. We certainly have come a long way from then!
Q. What would you never leave home without?
A. I never leave home without a stills camera. Most likely my Leica M9 or my Fuji X100 but often it's my iPhone that gets all my cool shots!
Q. What major awards have you won?
A. I haven't personally won any awards! I was shortlisted for a BAFTA a few years ago and my film How to start a revolution won best documentary at the Boston Film Festival and Raindance recently.
Q. What’s your favourite piece of work?
A. My favourite piece of work is not one of my paid jobs but ones I have made down in Dungeness, especially the one I shot with my father, Return to Dungeness. I shot it with a Sony PMW-EX3 and a 35mm adaptor. It's very special to me.
Q. Who in the industry do you most admire?
A. I admire anyone who can create something incredible, so there are far too many to list. I recently created a best of Vimeo list which features some astonishing work. Lacking inspiration? Then go check it out!
Q. What’s your favourite film or piece of film?
A. My favourite film is most likely Some Like It Hot by Billy Wilder, an old black and white comedy with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. It's perfection. A close second is Hitchcock's Vertigo. An absolute masterpiece. As haunting to me today as when I first saw it when I was in my early teens.
Q. Ever been in a dangerous situation through work?
A. I have been shot at a few times, punched in riots, charged by horses, walked through minefields. I did a lot of war coverage in my news days. I’m happy to leave that behind!
Q. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
A. That is a secret!
Q. If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
A.The industry is changing enormously and everything is being democratised. There has never been a better time to be doing what I do and it is just getting better!
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I have projects lined up all the way through to next summer. Music videos, short films, a TV drama pilot in LA and a couple of feature films – one of them with zombies! Of course, a second extraordinary film for Sony Professional is in the works, as is the very exciting competition that follows it!
Q. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?
A. Someone once said to me, ‘Move the camera like your eye does, Phil. Anything else is unnatural.’ He was right.
Watch Philip Bloom reveal how he captured extraordinary footage for the film