BVE 2017 at Excel London

Video Diary: Our Visit to BVE 2017

Technology doesn’t stand still, so it’s important for us to keep up to date with the equipment that helps us craft our stories.

Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) is the leading event for broadcast and media technology in the UK. The event, which takes place at Excel London, includes seminars and keynote sessions by established industry professionals, and allows exhibitors to get in front of their customers to discuss (and sell) the latest and emerging technologies.

BVE 2017 crowd shot

It was my fourth time visiting BVE and each year it seems to get bigger and better. There were a couple of seminars I was particularly looking forward to this year, but my main motivation for visiting was to get hands-on with some of the new cameras on the market and quiz the vendors about their new products’ key features.

After an initial walk round the exhibition hall, my first stop was the Lighting and Cinematography stage to watch Mateo Willis’s talk on ‘Innovative movement on set or on location’. Mateo is a wildlife cameraman with an incredible list of notable projects on his resumé, from Planet Earth 2 to Frozen Planet.

Mateo’s talk was based around camera movement and the process behind Planet Earth 2. The emphasis was on camera position and framing, which highlighted that the traditional method of sticking a camera on a static tripod is a thing of the past.

The Planet Earth team’s approach was to match their camera position to their subject’s eye level and capture shots from the animal’s perspective. By adopting this technique, the audience is taken on an immersive journey through the subject’s world, rather than just watching the animals from afar.

This trailer is a great example of the shots Mateo used to demonstrate the technique…

A key takeaway from this session was the importance of choosing the right equipment for the job. With the right tools, achieving incredible high-end shots isn’t quite as complicated as you might think.

Lens Envy

Talk to any cinematographer or photographer about lenses and you’ll probably wish you’d never asked!

A thorough understanding of lenses and how to use them creatively is cinematography 101. Lens choice is typically the first thing you contemplate when designing a shot that will help tell the story in a different way. At BVE, they weren’t short of a few!

We use many lenses from various manufacturers, but a new lens that’s been making a lot of noise in the video community is the Fujinon MK 18-55mm T/2.9 cine lens.

Fujinon MK 18-55mm T/2.9

Philip Bloom is a DP, director and something of a guru in the filmmaking community. I’ve followed Philip’s work for several years now and his website and blog has had a profound impact on the way I approach filmmaking. Philip was talking on the Fujinon stand about the new MK 18-55mm and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat.

Fujinon have clearly listened to consumers when producing this lens. Together with its sister lens, the MK 50-135mm (to be released later this year), they cover a combined 18-135mm at a constant T/2.9 (or f/2.8). Quite literally the only two lenses a shooter would ever need!

These lenses have been designed with the single shooter in mind and I must say, they work beautifully. They combine the great optics of cinema glass, with hardly any of its drawbacks.

Philip’s talk was based around his recent trip to the Canary Islands with the MK 18-55mm. Here are some videos containing his test shots as well as a condensed version of his talk…

James Miller and the Panasonic GH5

After the Philip Bloom talk, I bumped into someone whose work I’ve been following religiously over the years, James Miller. James is a creative filmmaker whose work has contributed greatly to my own development. At StrategiQ Video, we’ve used the lookup tables (LUTs) he created when colour grading some of our own projects.

It was the first time I’ve met James and after the embarrassing ‘Oh my god, it’s James Miller!’ moment and the customary selfie, we got talking about his recent work with the Panasonic GH5, a camera which has sparked huge interest in the filmmaking community.

Me with James Miller

With all the benefits of the very popular Sony A7s II (our main camera), the GH5 boasts new 4:2:2 colour profiling, 10-bit 4k video up to 60fps, and 180fps in HD and V-Log.

Having gone through the tech spec with James, I was quite keen to see examples of the test footage he’s shot. Luckily enough, his work was on display at the Holdan stand.

You can see some more samples here…

The Atomos stand

BVE is a great day out for any filmmaker or broadcast/video enthusiast. There’s so much to see and do and so much to learn over the course of the 3-day event. As mentioned at the beginning, it’s important to stay up to date with new industry technologies and techniques, so we have the best possible tools to tell our clients’ stories. That’s what makes BVE a very important date in our diary every year.

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