Matthew Williams-Ellis is kneeling earlier than a carpet of sea-overwhelmed bluebells, capturing footage of puffins flying across the cliffs, and the air is a cacophony of seabirds and wind
I’ve joined Matthew on an extended and unique trip to Skomer, not only to glean his image recommendation but to help film a video together with his expert companion John Alexander.
The duo is here for a four-day stint to film their today’s cinematic short video – assume journey pictures and photograph challenges, supplied with a healthy dose of Top Gear-style banter – filmed the usage of Nikon DSLRs.
Matthew himself is a tour photographer, which leads him to shoot documentary and nature images international. However, he initially educated as an accountant after finishing his degree.
Driven to be successful, Matthew constructed up a portfolio in his spare time when no longer running or analyzing, and led his first tour vacation in 2018.
“I love exploring the arena, each on assignments and for private tasks. I’m obsessed with the demanding situations that travelling gives.”
Video has emerge as both more superior and extra on hand to DSLR owners in current years. However it may require a unique mind-set to taking pictures stills.
I ask where the concept for Matthew and John’s movies, Photo Escapes at the beginning came from. “John knew of me from college, and got in touch numerous years later to speak photography.”
The dynamic duo soon started filming collectively – at first covering UK locations which include the Antrim coast – on the lookout for the precise locations to lead images vacations. During a journey to Kerala, India, in 2017, their pilot Photo Escapes movie became created.
Moving back to the prevailing for our ride, we are hoping to peer and shoot puffins, at the side of the rugged coastal scenes that Skomer is known for. The island is handiest reachable through ferry – and way to Storm Hannah, our first day turned into not on time because the crossing became too difficult.
Fortunately, the usage of a remote AirBnB in Wales as a base, shooting still started, to set the scene for the journey. I then started to look at how the magic takes place behind the scenes…
Behind the scenes of a Matthew Williams-Ellis travel shoot
Matthew and John are continuously taking into account ways to structure, complement and increase their quick films.
Using cinematic digicam drone footage is a key part of Photo Escapes, however as Matthew had checked ahead for permission to fly on Skomer (unfortunately no longer), our greater day on the mainland became used to seize lots of aerial scenics and to use pictures the use of the telephone-operated DJI Inspire 1 and Mavic Pro.
During the next morning, on our crossing, Matthew stored out a digicam to document the journey to Skomer. He knows how important it is to create a narrative with video and to link up each segment of the trip for the viewer.
Once we’d arrived, a study of the island gave us a hazard to talk logistics over tea; then we bounded out to shoot the island’s spectacles.
Day on the island remains overcast, but that doesn’t stop us shooting our first puffins and plenty of B-roll video (supplemental pictures intercut with the principle shots).
There’s an amazing quantity of effort (and footage) that goes into developing a proper and immersive video, including strolling pictures from one vicinity to the following – arriving and departing. Continuity is fundamental, so the pair try to preserve the identical jackets and garments on for the duration of.
On our closing day, the focus is on filming the puffins in flight, which means panning across the screen with lengthy lenses and perfecting the tracking approach.
Matthew practises following the puffins with his Sigma a hundred and twenty-300mm f/2.Eight DG OS HSM Sport lens, prefocusing on in which they were probably to fly after which looking ahead to their movement. He tries it with and with out a tripod.
“The tripod method less flexibility, however more stable motion. We tried 4K for a while inside the D850, leaving room to crop in on footage.”
Stills photography and video are two very exceptional media to create, and Matthew is aware of how vital it’s miles to document first-rate audio.
When he’s speaking to digicam or accomplishing interviews, Matthew attaches a small Røde lapel mic to a Zoom recorder internal his coat, keeping it primary, so the tiers received’t are affected if he turns his head.
Before recording, he tests and exams the stages to ensure the audio isn’t clipping.
At the give up of a long piece to camera, a loud clap way that the audio is synced, which in flip makes editing extra truthful.
“One factor we haven’t carried out yet is to seize a ‘wild music’ [recording of ambient noise] of where we’re shooting,” Matthew tells me. The wild song can be laid over the final pictures afterwards for greater proper final results.