Philip Bloom SLR Workshop Review
By Greg Hung
Travel, Film and technology serial entrepreneur. Owner of Chicvoyagegroup.
My early days spent trying to learn more about SLR video film-making on the Internet led me to Philip Bloom. His Dubai time lapse is one of the first videos that inspired me and still is one of my favorite travel videos. His blog and his cameo guest appearances on Vimeo School are a wealth of quality and entertaining content. Philip has made a name for himself on the Internet and the free information he has provided has helped me and I’m sure others a great deal. When I received an email about Philip coming to Vancouver I thought this was a rare opportunity to learn and take my film-making skills to the next level. I don’t use twitter much, but I tweeted Phillip and he confirmed that he was. I attended his 2 day weekend workshop on March 23rd 2013 at Simon Fraser Beedie business school building in Vancouver BC Canada, coincidentally also the same building I did my MBA at. The workshop was organized by Ruchir Tandon for his company Rikitik Productions based in Toronto. I was looking for some Internet reviews on Philip’s workshop beforehand and found there wasn’t that much available. I thought it would be helpful to have an informative review on the workshop.Philip Bloom SLR Workshop Review
There were about 14 to 17 people at the workshop and Philip brought a team that consisted of Sarah Estela, Ruchir Tadon, Harrison Houde, and Peter Reynolds. Just about all the participants brought their camera’s, Macbook Pro’s and some accesories. Some notable camera’s that I saw were the Canon C300, 5d Mark III’s, and Dimitri from Russia brought his Epic Red. Philip does not follow a linear structured way of teaching, and prefers to ask the class questions to start a conversation and where applicable explain points using his video samples. We covered some interesting bits of information that were applicable to my Canon SLR camera and I made a note of them to research outside the workshop. An example was the use of picture profiles and magic lantern firmware. One interesting technique we covered was lens whacking. More info on that technique is on Philip’s blog We covered key elements of stories and then were assigned into groups and had to complete a one lap race to get first dibs on the board game we wanted. The object was to create a short film with a story based on the board game in 2 hours. The challenge was to work with a new group using the equipment we had and making something like a board game interesting. I managed to snag our team the Battleship board game. During the actual shoot we got some help from Philip and the team in terms of advice. Philip suggested that we use the Canon 100mm Macro lens to get some tight (close-up) shots of the board. It was also Philip’s idea to create the lighting on the board to simulate a time-lapse effect. The macro lens was a great choice for capturing the detail of the board and I liked the look of the over the shoulder shots. We were given the evening to edit the footage into a short movie for the next morning.
It was a long night, but I managed to get my edit done on time. We were told that we could come in a bit earlier for some help and would spend the beginning of class reviewing the films. We exported our projects onto our hard drives and Philip played each one and provided constructive feedback. He was interested in seeing how individual team members would take the same footage and interpret it differently in terms of the videos we would produce. I found out that my original video was too long (2 minutes) and had some unnecessary footage I needed to cut.
Some of the key take away’s from this exercise was how the use of sound effects, music, color grading, and how the footage is cut can result in such a different video with it’s own unique feel, mood and look. Some other good points are to have a strong opening to capture short attention spans within the first two frames and to get feedback from editor’s and non editors to get different perspective’s on your piece. Here is my polished video of “Battleship in the vault”.
Phillip created a vimeo group to help share our projects and also keep in touch with the class. You can view the group and the other student’s projects here. https://vimeo.com/groups/pbcanada/videos
The remainder of the day covered how to do interviews and we had a fun exercise filming super slow motion using food.
This was a great experience to meet Philip and his team along with some of the talent that participated in the workshop. Philip is a stylish guy with a British accent and big London personality and has an entertaining style of teaching and interacting with the people in his class. He clearly likes his toys, he knows his stuff, and from talking with the other participants they are fans of his work. It is no surprise that he has the strong following that he currently he has on the Internet. From my perspective the class was generally very advanced. There were participants from Vancouver, the British Columbia interior, Seattle, and even South Africa! It was a good opportunity and value to network with some talented people and I was impressed with the quality of the videos that were produced in such a short period of time. There wasn’t a great deal of time spent on slides covering technical details in a structured format. Philip prefers to answer burning questions and elicit conversation using his videos where applicable to demonstrate key points. In my opinion he prefers to teach through fun hands-on exercises.
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