Velocity 2014 – Film & Video Winners – Speed and Direction for UK Digital Creatives
SCAN Computers and Intel are proud to have worked with the award-winning filmmaker Philip Bloom in selecting the talented winners of Velocity 2014 Film & Video category.
Ben was on his way home from this year’s Glastonbury Festival when he first heard news that his work had been selected by Head Judge Philip Bloom as the Velocity 2014 Film & Video category Runner-up. It took a while for the news to sink in, as he had no idea his music video for the Rock band Milestone had been entered for the competition. Band member Adam Pain had submitted the video for Velocity 2014 without Ben’s knowledge, so it came as something of a shock to hear he’d won a stack of production kit and software. “I had to do a triple-take before it finally sank in,” says Ben. “I’d worked on the project with Adam and the band over a year ago so I was surprised to hear from him really. I was so tired after Glastonbury that I didn’t check my emails for two or three days. Finally Adam contacted my girlfriend and said, ‘Tell Ben he REALLY needs to look at his email NOW!’ At first I thought he was telling me that Milestone had won the competition. He read out the prizes and I thought ‘What are you guys gonna do with all that video kit and software?’ It was only after Adam smashed the point home that the penny dropped and Ben finally realized that the prizes – Editors Keys keyboard and wrist pad + Contour shuffle / LWKS Pro NLE / PNY 32GB SD + 16GB Micro SD + 16GB USB / GenArts Sapphire / FStop Academy online training video (Advanced video Lighting)/ Money off Canon lenses / Atomos Ninja2 and a Framestore ‘Goodie Bag’ –were all his J
When I spoke to Ben I asked him how he felt about the fact that Philip Bloom had provided personal feedback to all the artists short-listed.
“When I saw Philip Bloom’s name on there I couldn’t believe it. I went to college (BA HONS in Animation at the University of South Wales) and I now teach filmmaking and animation, but I’m mainly self-taught. Philip is one of my idols and I’ve been learning from him for years. That was one of the most amazing things when I got the email; I got to the end and it said ‘head judge Philip Bloom’. I went to the Velocity website to double check and sure enough it said ‘Philip Bloom head judge’ and I was like ‘No way!’ But then to get direct feedback from him… It’s amazing to know that someone you’ve learned from and admire has actually seen a piece of your work. That was an amazing feeling actually.”
”I enjoyed feeding back to the talented winners, giving them pointers about what they might have done differently. We’re all always learning.”
Ben graduated from the University Of South Wales, Newport, in 2007 with a BA Hons in Animation. Frustrated with establishment ennui, this Welsh dragon stoked the fire in his stomach and with showreel in hand (having taught himself the industry standard 3D software titles) applied for post-graduate study at CYFLE Digital Animation Lab which promised to be more focused towards Ben’s interests. You have to admire Ben’s ambition and drive as it wasn’t long before he became the lead 3D Artist and After Effects compositor on a short 2D animated film. “I had the best experience of my life. I was lectured by my heros; industry leading animators, VFX artists and inspirational film makers on a one-to-one basis and I made the most of the opportunity to learn as much as I could.”
Armed with that knowledge, new contacts in the industry and with the help of a start-up grant, the first phase of Burning Chariot was born. Whilst focusing mainly on design, web and animation, Ben’s creative output has always included music. During this period as a musician touring the country, Ben refocused on filmmaking, VFX and animation, taking the natural opportunities on offer when working in this field to create music videos and digital content for several bands. Applying his skills as a 3D DOP to the real-world helped to accelerate what (he openly admits) was a steep learning curve.
The next phase of Burning Chariot was a re-launch in 2013. Ben now has a crew of hand picked artists eager to earn their stripes. This young crew are equally ambitious and with Ben as their mentor have already gained a tremendous amount of real-world experience; something that just couldn’t happen in a Media School.
Who was the first person you told?
“I moved the entire Burning Chariot team into a house in Cardiff where four of us live and work together. It was late, I was doing some editing and they were sitting in the front room ready to go to bed when they heard me laughing and shouting ‘What?!’ incredulously. We are still a young business. The team are involved in making the content and we all pour everything we can into it. When they saw the prize list – the Atomos and Rode kit – everyone’s reaction was the same as mine. No one could believe it, not until I spoke to you really (laugh).”
How are you going to use the opportunities that Velocity is offering?
“Making videos and animation is something I’ve been passionate about for many years. I’ve put everything into this business over the last four years. I’ve been teaching the two boys in my team After Effects and a few different motion graphics applications. When I saw the amount of software related prizes in the prize list, you don’t understand how useful that is to us ‘cause it’s all about learning After Effects. It all goes hand in hand with what I’m doing. One of the guys is 19 and has never studied Media in his life and I’ve got him to the point, in one year, where he’s a published photographer. My lead editor – the kid absorbs everything – so I know I’m giving a substantial amount of the prize fund to Jack and Reece. The Atomos Ninja2 is a game changer for us – just in terms of getting exposure right. But to have a recording device that doubles up as a monitor, that’s going to be huge for us. It’ll guarantee a better image. Man it’s a life changer, it really is (laugh).”
As it’s quite obvious that you are an After Effects Ninja, I have some more good news for you. Trish Meyer (Head Judge of the Velocity 2014 MoGraph and HDR category) donated several copies of her book ‘After Effects Apprentice’ to the prize fund. Our contact at the publishers Focal Press sent us more than we’d awarded in the prize pot, so guess what? You’ll be receiving a copy of Trish’s book in your Velocity Prizes as well.
“Oh man that’s amazing. Wow! Thanks Trish. That’s one of my strengths really. I’m a guest lecturer at Newport University in Motion Graphics. It’s something I love. That’s an amazing prize. Thank you so much.”
So what’s next for Ben and Burning Chariot?
“This summer we’ve been trying to change direction and broaden our horizons, not just music videos but filming a lot of different things like events and performances. We’ve branched out into corporate work but concentrating more on integrating motion graphics rather than straight video production. The next step for us is to move into a new studio so that we can take on larger and more challenging projects. We try hard not repeat ourselves. We don’t want to get stuck doing just music video or just corporate work. I never want this to become a chore. I love what I do.”
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition next year?
“If you are going to do it have all confidence man, because even though I’m normally happy with my work, I’ve never had the confidence to put it out there into a competition, thinking it’s a bit cocky, but I didn’t even know they’d put me into this! Now I’d now definitely say just give it a go. In my experience just to find out you’ve been entered was an amazing feeling, knowing that anyone can look at your work (even like Philip Bloom). Just to know it’s been through that process is an awesome feeling. With the prize package for the two runners-up being at such a high level it’s crazy not to try… if you get first place that’s genuinely life changing for a young filmmaker, even second place has been for me, so just do it. (laugh) Just go for it!.”
Trish Meyer told us that ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity’, so Ben and the Burning Chariot team don’t really need our best wishes, but they can have them anyway. God luck guys. When I spoke to Ben I could recognise the marks of a fellow artist. He welcomes the dynamic forces at work that shape our creative output. Ben says he ‘never stops learning’ and that’s why I believe their most fertile creative work is ahead of them. Burning Chariot is a force of nature. Watch this space.
It’s a privilege to talk to such talented, dedicated and passionate artists about their work and what motivates and moves them. What I’ve seen when talking to all the finalists is just another example of a truth I’ve witnessed throughout my career in the creative industries; that proactivity wins every time. When an opportunity arises it’s that initial step we take to meet it with open arms that makes the difference between a life of adventure and creativity and a shadow life of things that may have been.
On behalf of Scan, Intel and the competition sponsors, congratulations to everyone who took the time and effort to submit an example of their work. For everyone else who managed to talk themselves out of entering the competition, our last piece of advice, paraphrasing every pro we spoke to – Philip Bloom, Den Lenny, Trish Meyer, Maxim Jago, Russell Dodgson, Larry Jordan, Edmond Terakopian and Simon Blackledge – is simple. Next time: “JUST DO IT!”
See you next year? We hope so. <3 Scan Pro Video
Congratulations also to the short-listed finalists Bill Allum, Chris Johnson-Standley, Anthony Sebanskis @TonySabanskis and Adem Ali @duckforpope whose work received a Highly Commended award from Philip Bloom. Bill and Chris also won first and second place respectively in the Velocity 2014 MoGraph & HDR category. Check out their work on the Scan Pro Video YouTube Channel
Proudly sponsored by
Adobe, Atomos, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Dedolight, EditorsKeys, Framestore, Focal Press,
F-Stop Academy, GenArts, Kino Flo, Lightworks, Manfrotto, PNY, Red Digital Cameras, Red Giant, RedShark News, Reflecmedia, RODE, SoHo Editors & Tascam.
Join the Velocity community now. Stay tuned to the socials @ScanProVideo facebook.com/ScanProVideo for info about special offers, masterclasses, giveaways and industry news.
Interview by Matt Aindow © Scan Pro Video 2014
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