Interview on The Shanghai Show

Hey!

I've not been writing much of these anymore. But what I have been doing is a new Vlog series which you can see on youtube. Here's the first episode.

 

AVLOG 001: In this episode we are on a shoot from Shanghai to Chongqing. This is the first episode in my new series which I hope to update consistently. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or anything you would like to see in future episodes.

I was also kindly invited on The Shanghai Show for this weeks episode where we talked about Donnie Does, Mamahuhu and making videos. You can check it out below.

Click to listen.

Click to listen.

RAW | A documentary

Last year I was Cinematographer for a documentary on modern performance art in China. We shot in both Beijing and Shanghai over the course of (about) two weeks.

It was an amazing eye opening experience, I was introduced to so many talented people and was privileged to have the chance to work with them. It was also a challenge and I feel came out of it a better filmmaker.

Check it out.

An SLA Studios Documentary. Directed by Joan Llabata. Cinematography by Alessio Avezzano.

Chinese friendly version, coming soon.

Goose Is Here!

Goose Island recently landed in China for the first time during their Migration Week tour.
I teamed up with Rivera Events to cover two of their awesome marketing events.

www.gooseisland.com For viewers in China, CLICK HERE.

Feel The Snow Force

Here's one from Winter in Hulunbuir when I went with ID Creations to shoot Porsches Snow Force event.

Ice cold.

Ice cold.

It sounded great! An adventure! Some awesome shots to capture! And it was, and it's great to have and look back on. But my god, was it cold.

First day on the ice.

First day on the ice.

Check out the fun video. If I ever do this again, I'm getting bigger gloves!

For viewers in China, please CLICK HERE.

Round Eye and I Introduce 'Billy!'

It's always fun making videos with Round Eye. They put a lot of thought and effort into everything they do.

The last two videos I did with them was "City Living" and "Suntan" before that. For "Billy," we all wanted to go even further....

Things escalate...

Things escalate...

So it all started with myself, Chachy, Jimmy and Kathryn sitting outside a bar on a rainy Shanghai evening to talk ideas and basically how to handle the 'challenging' imagery Chachy was envisioning. 

What we made turned out to be far more ridiculous and silly that that initial conversation, with way more humour but without loosing the band's message.

Read an interview with Chachy and his thoughts at Dangerous Minds by CLICKING HERE.

Kat half way through creating her demon.

Kat half way through creating her demon.

For the majority of the shoot, we used Inferno. A metal bar and venue in Shanghai. We used the stage for scene with cops and Donald Trump.

Two of our sets.

Two of our sets.

And for other scenes we made minimalist sets against a black backdrop. As well as green screen scenes for the opening sequence.

A complete green screen composite.

A complete green screen composite.

At the end of this locations shoot we moved to a quiet Pudong street area to shoot our driving scenes. Then it was 'that scene' in a church the next day. I took all the footage we had then made a rough cut before we got together to decide which extra shots were still needed.

That awkward to shoot scene in a real Church.

That awkward to shoot scene in a real Church.

Everything was shot handheld on my FS5 to help make the video more tense with some excellent post production sound from Casey Anderson.

I hope you dig it.

Directed by Chachy and Alessio Avezzano. For viewers in China, CLICK HERE.

New drone film of Arran, Scotland

Even though I'm on holiday, I still think of something I can shoot. And visiting my parents last year was no different!

They live on the Isle of Arran, with lots of open space to get fly time with my Phantom 3 Pro, and some slick driving shots with the DJI Osmo.

But also, it rains a lot. So I didn't get as much footage as I wanted to. Still, the end video is pretty nice if I do say so myself.

shot and edited by Alessio Avezzano. For viewers in China, CLICK HERE.

New music video for Miss Yellow!

During the summer I went to Hong Kong to collaborate with celebrity DJ and musician, Miss Yellow and partner Kavemura (together they are Yuen Yuen).

Yuen Yuen

Yuen Yuen

During pre-production, the duo picked out all the locations we would shoot. Which was perfect as they are locals and I am not. One of the main locations was a 'boutique hotel,' which was essentially a Hong Kong apartment furnished completely from discarded materials. Something I would have never found on my own.

I also spend the night here after a shoot.

I also spend the night here after a shoot.

The hotel happened to be around the corner from an LED market, with a huge selection of cheap and colourful lights.

Just some of the lights on sale

Just some of the lights on sale

So I made the choice to incorporate this into the look of the video which really elevated the videos look. The camera I used was the Sony A7RII with Sony/Zeiss lenses, and in 4K.

Miss Yellow ready for one of her scenes.

Miss Yellow ready for one of her scenes.

We filmed over two days, which proved to be not enough to get exactly what we needed, an extra day of city b-roll would have been ideal. Among a lot of street locations, we also shot in a dim sum restaurant and an underground speak-easy.

I bought even more LED's for the second day. Such a nice effect!

I bought even more LED's for the second day. Such a nice effect!

I was surprised to find out how famous Miss Yellow actually was in Hong Kong. We had a few people stop her for photos...

And it turned out some paparazzi had been following us as well...

Damn Paparazzi!

Damn Paparazzi!

This christmas, the video finally came out, but in two versions.

Here is the official cut.

NIGHTLIGHTS, Shot & directed by Alessio Avezzano.

And I also did a preferred directors cut, viewable here.

NIGHTLIGHTS, Shot, directed & edited by Alessio Avezzano. For viewers in China, CLICK HERE.

October Update

Here is some of my recent work now viewable online (VPN required).

 

Bird is Falling is a zero budget music video I did with Tom & Katie in a record making 40 minutes. Shot with the A7RII and some DIY lighting involving a torch and glitter.

 

A Moment in Moganshan is my first all Drone movie, shot with the DJI Phantom 3 Professional.

 

A promotional video for Polymakers new filament for 3D printers. Shot with the Sony FS7 and A7RII.

 

A kickstarter video for a revolutionary bluetooth speaker, the Astro by Tree-Labs. Shot on the Sony FS7 and A7RII.

 

A Moment in a Chinese Factory. A cinematic piece I made using the Sony FS7.

 

Round Eye performing their track, God Doesn't Know with the now late, Steve MacKay. This was his last performance. Shot on the Lumix GH4, with GoPro 4 and Lumix LX100.

 

A corporate video for Suzhou based tech company, Dextrys. Shot on the Sony A7RII.

 

A live session of Xi Avezzano doing a cover of the Pixies "Where is my Mind." Shot on the Sony A7RII.

 

A promotional video for Pelham's at Waldorf Astoria and their autumn menu. This video was my first collaboration with That's Online. Shot on the Sony A7RII.

 

That's just about everything that's newly online. There's a lot more exciting projects to come, including music videos and commercials! This month we are making two short films that have been waiting to get shot for far too long! If you have any questions or want to get in touch about a job, feel free to contact me through any of the social media links on my site, or email me at avezzano@me.com

I'll sign off with this behind the scenes image from a recent Qatar Airlines shoot with the Arri Alexa.

360 VR Video!

We've just started producing 360 VR content, which has been a challenge to learn. The immersive experience requires 6x GoPro Hero Black Editions, a rig, a stand and a lot of patience for stitching.

The first test was making the bellow video of the Shanghai Bund. Recently, we have started using them for events such as the past Shanghai International Beer Festival. In future I would like to try some travel/documentary content in 360 VR and perhaps even some short film content.

A good way to view this is on a mobile phone, as the video moves as you move using most smart phone’s built in gyroscopes. One up from that would be putting the phone in a cheap VR headset where you can use your smart phone as a screen, or by using an oculus rift.

 

Sennheiser Guangzhou

You think you've seen and heard everything in China, and then you get a call asking if you're free to shoot and direct a week long behind the scenes video following an Acapella groups album recording in a hotel in Guangzhou.

Well played China.

For the shoot I would also be directing two music videos and a piece about the albums recording from the hotels perspective. I would also be providing the majority of the equipment seeing as the production company, SLA Studios staff and gear was at the time being used in other productions.

So for this job I packed, 2 GoPros, 3 Canon lenses, 1 Sony lens, mics, tripod, led light, slider, hard drive, laptop and my new A7RII.

My carry on,

My carry on,

My check in

My check in

This was going to be my first job with the Sony A7RII, so I was really going to get to know it strengths and weaknesses over the following week.

I only found one issue during that week, and that's the cameras tendency to overheat during long 4K recording sessions, which is a major problem for interviews. I only had the camera save and switch off once (after an outdoor time-lapse followed by a 15 minute indoor interview), but it was quick to cool down and I got the rest of the interview shot just fine. Another time it warned me the camera was too hot after 50 minutes of interview recording, but it never switched off.

interview with the w hotels gm

interview with the w hotels gm

shooting rehersals

shooting rehersals

The acapella gang, Metro Vocal Group, are Americans based in Hong Kong. They got their first big break opening and working with Hong Kong Disney Land and shot to fame when they did a cover song of legendary Hong Kong band, Beyond. Very laid back nice guys with pipes of gold.

MY A7RII BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE BAR

MY A7RII BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE BAR

WORKING HARD IN THE STUDIO

WORKING HARD IN THE STUDIO

PLAYING MODERATELY HARD

PLAYING MODERATELY HARD

For recording behind the scenes, I mainly focused on two days of in studio b-roll. Anymore than that would of been too much for an 8 minute video. For one of the days I focussed on each group member recording their vocals for the same track and their interactions with producer Jakob. This would give me something to revolve around in editing.

For that we used several Q4 cameras provided to SLA Studios by Zoom themselves.

These are essentially GoPros with great audio. Which was perfect for what we were doing as we didn't need to set up a separate audio recorder!

For the main music video shoot. SLA was there in full force, their teams had returned from other projects and so did their equipment!

SLA LEADER, TOM SANDERSON

SLA LEADER, TOM SANDERSON

GET YOUR GEAR OUT

GET YOUR GEAR OUT

We started off with drone shots of the hotel and band arriving scenes.

THE DJI INSPIRE 1, READY FOR TAKE OFF

THE DJI INSPIRE 1, READY FOR TAKE OFF

the dodgy taking off from the 27th floor balcony shot.

the dodgy taking off from the 27th floor balcony shot.

Then it was the recording of the band being interviewed about the album, and doing an intro for their upcoming tour, which I am going to leave you with for now. I plan to write a part two when the rest of the videos launch, where I will talk in more detail about the music videos and at the same time show you them!


July 2015 Update + New Camera!

It's be awesomely hectic, which I'm very thankful for. However, with less time I'm resorting to monthly blog updates. Oh well. Here's some of the things I did in July!

 

Round Eye Album Launch

One of my favourite Shanghai based bands and good friends Round Eye had their album launch at OnStage. The event was particularly special as they had Mr Steve Mackay (from The Stoogies & Violent Femmes) perform with them. And for the track "God Doesn't Know," my wife, Xi Avezzano also joined them on stage. - I shot with 3 GoPro's, 1 GH4 and 1 LX100 (handheld).

Taken from the self-titled LP, Round Eye (2015). Featuring guest performances from Steve MacKay (The Stoogies) and Xi Avezzano. For viewers in China without a VPN, CLICK HERE.

Garibaldi Watches

For an IndiGoGo campaign I was brought in to make a promo for a new brand called Garibaldi. A watch brand with a nice touch to a classic design. This was my first 'kickstarter' video, and I'm currently working on another one already! You can check out the brand at www.garibaldiwatches.com

Garibaldi watches have premium Japanese selvedge denim embossed on a leather strap as well as on the dial.

 

A Koh Lanta Home Video

I finally got around to cutting together some of the travel footage from my February 2015 trip to Thailand. Koh Lanta is one of my favourite places in the world that I've now visited around 3/4 times. Check it out.

Best island ever. Family and friends hang out on Lanta, February 2015. Shot by Alessio Avezzano (GoPro) and Charlie Cooper (GH4).

A Moment in Vienna

This month I also flew out to Austria for a corporate job. I had the fist day to shoot some scenes of the city, so I took the opportunity to create a nice little postcard from the beautiful city of Vienna. I didn't have the time (or the strength to put up with the 37 degrees weather) to get complete coverage of the city, but the video came out well none the less. Which I think is partly down to my wife's beautiful score that she wrote and recorded for it!

Shot and edited by Alessio Avezzano. Original music by Xi Avezzano. Filmed in Vienna, Austria on the Lumix GH4 and GoPro Hero 4 Black. July 2015.

I shot this video on my trusty Panasonic Lumix GH4 in 4K. Which I've had and loved using for over a year now. But now I feel it's time to move on. Which is why I've said...

 

Goodbye GH4 Hello Sony A7RII

 

As I said, I've loved using the GH4, mostly... Things I love about include it's small size, amazingly detailed picture, and incredible battery life. But things I've not enjoyed are it's poor lowlight performance (maxing out at 800 ISO or 1600 ISO if you don't mind a bit of visible grain), lack of decent log and just not quite reaching that Super 35mm look never mind Full-Frame.

Two cameras were recently announced that made me consider an upgrade. The URSA Mini by Blackmagic Design and the A7RII by Sony.

If money wasn't an issue I would have likely wen't for the URSA Mini 4.6K, it looks incredible. However, that honestly wouldn't have been the practical decision and we've yet to see any test footage or reviews.

But in the end, Sony was the smarter decision. And here's why.

For many jobs, clients clients choose to upgrade from my own camera in favour of a slow-motion option. For slow motion, my go to rental is the Sony FS7. Stunning camera! So now that I own the A7RII, which has Slog2, I can consistently match the look of the Sony FS7 easily giving me the perfect b-camera to larger scale shoots and interviews.

On top of that, size. You can see in the above photo, for a full-frame 42.5 megapixel 4k camera, it's not that much bigger than my previous GH4. Yes it's a little heavier but size is really important for what I do as more often than not I need to be able to carry 90% of my gear myself.

Other well documented benefits of the A7RII include a 5 Axis in-body stabiliser, fast autofocus even with Canon EF lenses, 4K Slog, 1080p 60fps, a massive 42.5 megapixel sensor and both full-frame and super 35mm recording options. It's usable ISO is not quite A7S amazing but coming from the GH4, an easily usable 6400 ISO is incredible enough!

The A7RII is definitely looking like the new king of DSLR's leaving Canon in the dust and Panasonic needing to make some serious moves in order to keep up.

However, I do not appreciate having to pay an additional $10 for a time-lapse function. Bad Sony.

 

That's all for this post, I've got some more exciting projects on the way so I'll leave you now with a couple of the first photos taken with my new camera. Click to enlarge and see ya!

Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs: Still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Usually published in GIF format or video.

For a new project a client requested to see a few Cinemagraph examples from me. Having none, I spent the next day creating and playing with the format. This is the result.


Cat-Tail720.gif



 

The general technique is to mix photography with video, shot back to back. However, because a 4K video still produces a 8 megapixel still image, I worked only with videos, shooting on my Panasonic GH4 and editing in After Effects and Photoshop.

Discovering this new format has been extremely enjoyable, and I can definitely see more Cinemagraphs in my future!

June 2015 Update

MG Lovers

For 520 Day (I Love You Day), I shot and directed a viral video with MG where couples would kiss or do funny stuff in the backseat of a MGGS kitted out to project their silhouettes.

It had rained all day but luckily stopped right before we showed up to the location.

 The camera of choice for this shoot was again, the Sony FS7. Shot in 4K at 60fps, along with some time-lapses of the crew setting up. The GoPro 4 Black was used inside the car to show the couples.

Shooting went late into the night, and the turn around for the edit was one day. But we made it.

And here is the finished video. I'm really happy with it, and happier to have worked with my first car brand. As of writing this, the video has gained over 5 million views on YouKu! A very nice success.

MG Cars celebrate 520 Day and the launch of the new MG-GS. For viewers in China without a VPN, please CLICK HERE

 

Zhujiajiao Punk

For local laowai band,  I shot and directed a nice little punk rock music video, all the way out in Zhujiajiao water-town.

This was a very simple but effective shoot, a throwback to the punk pop videos of my teenage years. One GoPro 4 Black, one 'rustic' live bar out in the sticks and multiple takes.

Here's the finished product. 

Shot at Zher Bar, Zhujiajiao. For viewers in China without a VPN, please CLICK HERE

 

Suzhou Rap/Rock

And then it was off to Suzhou for another music video. This time with Suzhou-ers (?), Pyroglyphix.

This one was shot on the Sony FS7 at Wave Bar with their friends as extras.

It came out quite nice. The inclusion of the crazy guy kept it from being just a performance video. Here it is.

For viewers in China without a VPN, please CLICK HERE

 

A Storm Is Coming

Literally. This was the press launch for the 2015 EDM Storm Festival.

Last year I shot a promo at Storm festival for Afrojack and Shermanology. A2Live seemed to like the videos and got me on board with them for this year!

 

Space Jam 2

I then DP'd and edited this kids basketball summer camp promo. The script is super cheesy (but hey, it's for kids), and I wish I had longer for effects and colour grading. But it was fun to make.

 

Chivas Masters 2015

Then it was onto three days shooting the 2015 Chivas Masters Shanghai.

IMG_3092.jpg

Filming was to be for a tv show style series of videos that Chivas would combine for their world events.

I shot all B-roll with my GH4 and GoPro 4. Interviews were done with the 5DMII. Next year is looking to be a much bigger event as the grand final will take place in Shanghai.

Well that's everything for the last month or so. Thanks for reading!

City Livin' Music Video

Round Eye, Shanghai's self proclaimed hairiest band, reached out about doing another music video.

image.jpg

This time they needed something simpler and quicker than last years 'Suntan' music video.

With a low budget and short amount of time I went for the ol' on the street concept. But with a twist.

Shot in half a day with My GoPro 4 Black on a G3 Ultra gimbal, we walked around Shanghai and in addition rented 1 hour with Max, my drone guy.

The video was recorded with the guys miming the song playing slowly at half speed (so they looked even more ridiculous during the shoot).

image.jpg

The footage was then sped up to match the song, giving the footage an animated/over-cranked feel. - This is my first video available in 4k (on YouTube).

For viewers in China, click here to watch.

What I've been up to

2014 has been undoubtedly my biggest year so far and Shanghai has proven to be the perfect city to improve my craft. Here's some of my projects from the last few months.

Although we haven't been making episodes as frequent as we used to. We still found some time to make some new Donnie Does adventures.

This last one we shot explores Donnie's triumphant return to the Shanghai Sharks stadium (AKA The Shark Tank). This should be out within a couple of months due to Zach (Donnie) and mines increasingly busy schedule.

Donnie is tough to keep in focus when he's on, so recently I've taken to shooting him on just the GoPro attached to a gimbal. And audio captured via the Rode SmartLav connected to my iPhone.

This is proving to be far more effective than using a DSLR for on the fly/run and gun situations.

Over the last few months I helped create a new show for TMD Studios called Mamahuhu. A low budget skit show in English and Chinese where I co-write, direct, shoot and edit.

The show has proven to be quite popular, in fact our YouTube Channel alone has grown 15,000 subscribers since we started only 4 months ago!!

         

The show wouldn't have been possible without the generous contribution from some of the talented writers and performers that Shanghai has to offer.

In 2013 I shot a lot of hotels in China as I was working for online travel channel, Insider TV.

Recently I got my first hotel gig since, as cinematographer for a Kerry Hotel promo.

IMG_6260.JPG

It was on this project that I had my first opportunity to shoot with the FS7. A beautiful new camera from Sony with internal 4k slog recording.

Over the last few month I have also been working with fashion blogger, Vivi Lo from Taiwan. Producing quirky makeup tutorials for Asian women. It was a girly couple of months and I understood nothing.

Episodes were shot on the GH4 in 4k and downscaled to 1080.

Myself and the Rap Battle team got together for the third time for another episode. This time Mall Shopping vs Online Shopping.

You can check it out by clicking here.

My camera of choice was to use the FS7.

After the Kerry Hotel shoot I couldn't wait for a chance to work with it again. Beautiful image, minimal fuss. It was also my first shoot using the DJI Ronin.

Another Yuyintang live show. Shanghai's home for local live music.

This time I was shooting for Hello Money's farewell show. Multi-cam shoots at this venue are challenging, it can get cramped, there's a giant pillar in the middle of the room and the floor vibrates from the bass and people dancing. So I tend to use GoPros mounted to the celling and monitors for stage angles, and my GH4 and LX100 shooting from the back of the room.

Shooting has began for my music documentary about Scottish musician Emma Pollock, and her first China tour. She will be performing on her tour with Shanghai based musicians. Here they are rehearsing for her arrival.

I will be shooting this doc mainly on the GH4, with GoPros and LX100 as B-Cameras.

 

 

So thats about everything, my blog is all caught up and I can feel less guilty about not updating it more often, for now.