Thursday, 29 January 2015

Recording Voiceover - the Airninja Movie Method

As this video dutifully reminds us, "the objective of the soundman is to record intelligle sound" by considering three conditions/problems:

1. Acoustical treatment of the space.
2. Controlling or avoiding unwanted noise.
3. Choice and placement of microphone(s).

Wait. Isn't 'choice and placement of microphone(s)' two things?! I believe so, but both come under the banner of 'microphone admin'. As you know, the Airninja Movie Method is all about busting admin and minimising gear.

So let's look at how an airninja approaches each condition/problem:

1. Acoustical treatment of space.

Most of the time airninjas are shooting outside rather than in enclosed spaces (and all the admin that entails), or on practical sets where options are limited anyway.

Last night I recorded a voiceover for moakley54's show 'Beyond The Glass Ceiling'. The budget didn't stretch to hiring a sound booth in a studio and I don't own any portable soundproofing material. So we decided to record the voiceover at the writer's house which is situated on a quiet road. I got paid in Haribo. This is where card-carrying union members stop reading. Probably because they work 28 hour days including weekends, or something.

I turned up prepared to go so far as to ask if we could hang a duvet on the wall, but after selecting the front room which was nicely carpeted and knowing this was a voiceover with implications for microphone placement (thus SNR) that was the amount of work that went into that.

Close to zero admin, not bad.

2. Controlling or avoiding unwanted noise.

As I said previously, the writer's house is on a quiet road, so that was the first decision toward minimising potential unwanted noises.

After rehearsing (enabling me to get sound levels at the same time) and then shifting positions a bit so the talent could read off the LCD screen hanging on the opposite wall, I noticed a very faint ticking. Very faint. At first I though it was the director's bionic implant and asked him to move a few more feet away. The sound persisted. Turns out, there was a partially obscured clock up on a shelf ticking away in the mic pick-up pattern in this new arrangement.

So we removed the clock from the room. Problem solved. The director could stay.

The laptop being used to display the words to the voiceover artist was generating a quiet whisper of activity which in a sound-for-picture scenario I would have done something about.

But this is voiceover, with all that implies in terms of microphone placement. So the laptop could stay, and very good too because it was a big chunk of reading our artist had to do from it.

This was the writer's front room, we were making good progress, things sounding great, performance going well. However not even we could stop the Chinook flyover. In a matter of minutes we did another take, problem solved.

Close to zero admin, not bad.

3. Choice and placement of microphone(s).

Okay, I was in a dilemma. Do I go full-on airninja and record using the Apogee MiC 96K directly to my iPhone via lightning connector? I knew from previous experience recording the opening line of dialogue on the Provincials 'Jesus Christ' that it was a sweet sound combo, largely due to the MiC's large diaphragm.

However, I also learned on 'Jesus Christ' that the gain control on the MiC is mostly guesswork. As much as I would have loved to record this voiceover as a full-fledged audio airninja, I decided my confidence levels are not yet high enough - despite flirting with the idea of jacking it into my laptop to more easily monitor the recording.

I did pack the MiC, but only as a failsafe backup (and it takes up a tiny amount of space).

My current go-to weapon of choice for location sound recording is my Nagra SD. It's highly compact and highly capable. Although purists will moan that its pre-amps SNR don't come close to that found in larger recorders - well - that's the point, those ever so slightly better pre-amps are in much larger multi-track recorders. As it is, to my ears, the Nagra SD outclasses every other handheld recorder I've used (with a retail price that knows it). And it's tiny - handheld. Or belt-clipped. Or, perhaps I'll even set it down on a table. What it is not is cumbersome, burdensome, over-the-shoulder annoying.

So knowing my choice of recorder was going to be a dedicated device rather than iPhone or laptop, I then had to decide if I was going to use the Nagra SD clip-on mic or my tried-and-trusty Sennheiser XLR cardioid and adapter cable.

A couple of things made me eliminate the clip-on mic. Firstly, it's stereo and I only wanted to record mono (not a big deal but I can get slightly OCD if things aren't doing what they are supposed to do) but really the reason I didn't use the clip-on mic is because this was voiceover, not an informal handheld recorded interview.

Voiceover. I even dug out a mic stand. Which made me realise that an airninja could do with a more compact mic stand than I currently own. I'm on the look out.

Anyway, it was about mic placement relative to recording controls. I didn't know what I was going to walk into, if the artist would want to sit or stand, so a cabled mic to recorder gives far more versatility in terms of comfort. If there's no comfort there's no cool.

So I decided on my Sennheiser cardioid. It's a model people look down on as 'semi' professional when they are being generous in Youtube comments, whatever that means. Perhaps it means people who work for confectionary somehow aren't capable of being a whiny moany union card-carrying anally retentive professional? I don't know. I whine and moan and am anally retentive, perhaps I should join BECTU.

Microphone Data tells me that the specs of the mic I selected are thus:

I'm not a union member so obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about except as an airninja. Now, as an airninja let me tell you what's important.

SNR - signal-to-noise ratio. It's all a sound recordist is really concerned with. With a good SNR comes that intelligibly recorded sound that is the objective of the soundman, or woman, or small dog. Or cat, let's not forget soundcats. Airninjas too.

What does the frequency curve tell me? This microphone colours the sound at the higher end of the sound spectrum and starts to rolloff at around 200Hz (yikes). It will likely sound 'bright'. Fine by me. Flat EQ is an automated analysis away in post production, will take no more than three seconds to fix, if it even matters. That's right. Audio engineers are increasingly replaced by small snippets of computer code.

What does the polar curve tell me? Cardioid, check. Ah, the 'brightness' is slightly more directional. Since I won't be recording the voiceover off-mic and the most directional aspect is at 16kHz anyway, why worry? Not many human voices have prevalent vibrations at 16kHz.

What do the electrical characteristics tell me? Frequency response from 40Hz will have audiophiles up in arms. But I'm not recording music with live details down to 17Hz (which falls outside of even the Hi-Fi standard of 20Hz - 20kHz). I get concerned when I see significant rolloff at 50Hz but since its less than -6dB, I'm not overly concerned. Perceivable loudness tends to increment in steps of between 3dB and 6dB.

Output sensitivity. This is the physics bit. 31mV/Pa - that's 31 milliVolts per Pascal - tells me this mic is hot. Not hot like your favourite porn star, but hot like sensitive, hot like will provide an awesome range of gain options. Hot hot hot. Some like it hot, and I certainly do. Generally speaking, a hot mic will allow you to maximise SNR. (Compare this to the industry standard Schoeps CMC641 which produces 13mV/Pa but has significantly less impedance to start with  - so can afford to be 'cold' if your wallet can afford it - no doubt about it, Schoeps make amazing mics).

Max SPL - maximum sound pressure level. Sustained noise at 130dB will make your ears bleed and be exceedingly uncomfortable, but won't distort the physical recording apparatus. This is a good thing on a relatively inexpensive mic. The CMC641 does 132dB at four times the price but with only 0.5% THD.

THD? Total Harmonic Distortion. All I know is, distortion is bad. But whether it's distorting at 0.5% or 1.0%, I'd a hazard a guess that your ears won't notice - and if they do, you probably have playback equipment that no mere mortal can afford. Good for you. And your anal retentiveness.

Self noise. Well fuck, 25dB of noise on this mic? Compare that to the CMC641 which has 24dB of self noise and I think you'll agree it's nothing to worry about. However it's measured.

Output impedance. Resistance. 200 Ohms is very very high compared to the Schoeps which is on 35 Ohms. What does this mean? It means a cold mic with a high impedance will have a high noise floor cos you'll have to crank the gain up up up to get a good level. Fortunately, this Sennheiser mic takes the brute force approach and pumps out the aforementioned 31mV/Pa. Meaning the needed gain is reduced along with any self noise.

Recommended load. 1.0kOhm is totally abstract to me. I have no idea. I've never found this stat to affect anything in all my microphone ownership, including the legendary Neumann RSM-191 (sadly departed, though I don't miss the proprietary cabling and annoying external matrix circuitry).

Powering. Can the mic be phantom powered. A different subject for another day.

Supply current and alternative powering? Versatility can be useful for an airninja.

So you may be thinking that microphone selection is somewhat involved. And it can be. Or you can go to a shop and audition a bunch and believe what your ears tell you.

I selected this Sennheiser mic based on previous experience of one of its family members and knowing it was a hot mic. It's the same mic I recently used on Fat Finger Film's show 'Scissor Happy' with much accolade about how great everything sounded.

So far so good.

And for all my praise of MEMS microphones and DSP in iPhone, that would not be best suited to this situation (but if an iPhone is all you have and you know where its mics are at, you can get some very good results).

Where were we.

Microphone selection, check.

Microphone placement.

Now because the mic was going to be close to the artist I used the Rycote softie in lieu of any pop-filter and other foam. Plus, it's easier. Slip on the softie vs setup and configure a pop-filter. Softie is far less admin and takes up less space. I suppose this paragraph really belongs in section 2 above, but I can't be bothered to move it now. (Less admin.)

Placement of the microphone was determined by whether the artist wanted to sit or stand, then I just dragged out a mic stand with a boom arm and positioned accordingly (around 50cm away from her mouth).

Job done. Relax and record some takes. Comfort is cool.

Monday, 26 January 2015

#DIALW Wind Reel And Print - It's a WRAP!

So technically we wrapped production on Saturday and proceeded to discuss future film projects over a great curry.

It's been a fun week and I look forward to turning in the first finer-cut edit to the director, Seb Hunter. But Monday is a day off, I'll tackle that tomorrow.

The film is already loosely cut and clocks in at around 28 minutes sans titles. But too loose to show anyone, just yet.

Floor 6, Chesil Street MSCP. Park by phone.
So let me reflect on what I've learned on this production -

1. To park by the statue of King Alfred on Broadway in Winchester requires 'coins'.

2. In freezing muddy conditions you can do a lot worse than Vivobarefoot Tracker hiking shoes.

3. In freezing muddy conditions at night you can do a lot worse than Nitecore TM26 at 150 lumens with a runtime of approx 41 hours.

4. If the production unit is highly mobile with added agility then kit choice needs to reflect this. Mobile means why not use mobile. Thus, airninja movie method is validated.

5. Even though we are not using production audio from the iPhone 6 Plus, if we had planned for it, we could have. Audio perspective matches the fixed lens, MEMS microphone DSP helps noise reduction (although it didn't reduce the noise of overhead aviation, it won't do miracles nor should you expect it to).

6. All I want from a video camera app is simple - fix the white balance to a preset, fix the exposure, but leave autofocus roaming (AF with focus pixels works very well in iPhone 6 Plus). Currently the native app can't do this, so the closest I have found to my needs is Kinomatic.

7. Parkas are in fashion this season.

8. I didn't need touch sensitive gloves to operate the iPhone - just a naked hand and a spare pocket to keep it in between takes.

9. I used the ShoulderPod S1 + Manfrotto PIXI with wrist lanyard 95% of the time. The other 5% was on a Manfrotto Compact Action tripod.

10. Digital zoom, you guessed it, sucks. Which means all next wave rebellion against airninja must use digital zoom.

Look out for the final cut of Dark Is A Long Way playing in Winchester cinemas with live musical accompaniment from the Provincials - ETA Easter 2015.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

#DIALW Day Seven - trinkets, traders and black art

Polly directed by Seb in a small hut at Spinney Hollow.
The last day of principal production at Spinney Hollow completed just before dark yesterday, as planned. Evil C had to deal with probably the most challenging lighting setup of the whole production as we shot from inside a small hut as a bunch of gang-raping merchants pop their heads around the door, in dusky backlight.

The somewhat plump rough edit now clocks in at around 28 minutes. Once trimmed and with a sprinkling of cross-fades I anticipate a movie around 20 - 25 minutes.

As we wind down production (very last day of shooting is a 2nd unit setup with an aquarium full of water) I'm very mindful that the journey through post-production and to market is only just beginning ...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

#DIALW Day Six - river laundry, pub grub and marketing strategies

Day six has come around already! We are so close to having the shots to complete the edit, we have shot the beginning and ending it's just the darned middle, crossing the t's and dotting the i's in the narrative. The very loose edit comes in at 25 minutes so I expect we are looking at around a 20 minute movie. Although during our production meeting at the Mayfly pub we did tentatively decide on our marketing strategy for this flick. But you know the old adage, "don't tell everything you know", well marketing is the secret sauce innit?

As it has been put so succinctly many times before:

1. Don't give away everything you know.

Our marketing strategy falls somewhere under rule 2 :-)

I can however reveal some of what lies behind continued success, that is:


Easy huh?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#DIALW Day Four and Five - ducking, burning, drinking, resting, editing

On day four we successfully sent the suspected witch to trial into the freezing waters of the River Test where the blacksmith divined the fact she is a witch by attempting to drown the woman - she lived! Clearly a witch. So we burned the devilspawn tied to a stake in Spinney Hollow (other amazing activities are also available). The evening descends into classic medieval debauchery and I slip away to dump the rushes and do a kit check ...

What can I say?

DeerCam1 after shooting for hours in freezing rain.
1. The Lord's rain does not show up in the frame when filming it. Mythbusted! I'm happy to have visual proof that it does show up if you aren't scared of a bit of rain, and have a light source and camera available to record. Sure, the rain has to be reasonably medium-to-heavy but by-jiminey if it doesn't look like fucking rain on playback - because it is fucking rain.

2. Thou shalt not use a smartphone to make a film. Poppycock! This commandment has been successfully debunked several times over and Dark Is A Long Way continues the trend.

3. Always use a smartphone case and screen protector. Well, yes. Do do that (my choice for DIALW being iPhone 6 Plus and Anker case). Because in the freezing rain and cold mud whilst slipping in the quagmire you won't need a camera assistant, you won't need an umbrella, you won't need to cry for your mummy, you can just keep shooting and shooting and shooting. Your fingers will freeze and you will die of hyperthermia and the screen protective case will keep capacitive-confusing moisture off the glass long after you are dead and have no need for phone. Except perhaps for an emergency call?

Vivobarefoot Tracker off-road boot.
4. Bonus/footnote - the Vivobarefoot Trackerperformed admirably in these conditions with a firm connection to the ground, I didn't slip once. More importantly perhaps, neither did I get soaking wet feet whilst standing in River Test nor galavanting around Spinney Hollow.

In summary - "nobody knows anything" - William Goldman.

On day five - well, there's hangovers to contend with and a very rough and loose edit to continue. We are at least over half way through the nine day production schedule now!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

#DIALW Day Three, children and animals

The blacksmith, all moody like.
Another productive day of shooting Dark Is A Long Way, with galloping white stallions, cowardly priests, dastardly blacksmiths, enthusiastic inquisitors and a lone, vulnerable woman in a small medieval church. Not much else to add except there's much more to come!

Monday, 19 January 2015

#DIALW Day Two, "god is a great gaffer"

As I prep for the 11.30am call time, I have the luxury to reflect on yesterday's shoot (which was day
2, today is day 3, so you see what is going on here right?).

The main setup and shot yesterday opens the film so it has to be engaging and set the tone for things to come. We finished up doing some cutaways and other drop-in exposition. All good.

What did I learn?

1. I don't think Hyperlapse is the tool for me - when I use it I always get pixel-judder which to my eye is more distracting than shooting wider with Kinomatic and conservatively steadying in FCPX. As it was, the opening shot is a judgement on how steady I am on my legs in wet slippery muddy conditions tracking backwards on a downwards gradient. Hey, I didn't fall over!

2. Pigs are more fun than bacon.

3. The Toyota iQ is not well suited to off-roading but, well, only a little bit fell off.

4. As Dennis Hopper once said, "God is a great gaffer". All natural light today.

5. Never make assumptions about how the set will look from an alternate angle when doubling as a different location. Always, you know, bother to take a look from each angle. It can actually save a bunch of worrying about nothing.

Don't get used to these updates. Things are about to get a whole lot more hectic the next few days.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

#DIALW Day One, DeerCam1

Today's DeerCam1 Camera Roll
A great day! Everyone worked really well together, and the results from DeerCam1 are great too. We were shooting for around three hours for a single scene without resting DeerCam1 and just before jacking in to dump the rushes I noticed it is still juiced at 71% after 44 takes. As usual the audio side of things surprises me. Although #DIALW is not relying on any sync sound, I was particularly impressed (again!) at how the onboard MEMS microphones performed - particularly when it picked up the crisp noise of the actress biting into a slice of apple from several feet away, and also general reproduction of voice, it all sounds good and authentic to my ear. Wind noise remains the achilles heel with no good way of suppressing it.

Tomorrow promises to be another day with a lighter workload, we are filming the opening scene at Spinney Hollow.

The Proof Is In The Pudding. #DIALW

Today is the first day of shooting with a rather leisurely 12:30pm call time. However, this gives me enough time to reflect on the fact that this is truly the first collaborative production under the Deer Studios banner to utilise the airninja movie method. Make or break time!

So as we shoot through freezing conditions over the next week, I take solace in the fact that the proof is indeed in the pudding - the finished, edited, content. Even clusterfucks like the Eton Mess are legendary and enduring, don't you think?!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

10 Things I Learned On The DIALW Recce

Yesterday the director, headline actress, and myself recce'd the main Hampshire locations for 'Dark Is A Long Way' (DIALW). The main reasons for me to recce locations are to minimise surprises, take some test footage and figure out where everyone is going to park on the day. That said, here is what I have taken away from the day:

1. Tripods are boring. Seriously, I setup a tripod shot and I already felt like I had an albatross around my neck. I am the human tripod!

2. The high contrast black & white look is really going to compliment the subject matter, as is the season (winter) that we are shooting in. All the stills on this page are extracted video frames.

3. You can add locations to 'Favorites' in the Maps app on iPhone. With varying degrees of accuracy depending on your cell and wifi environment.

4. You can extract the latitude/longitude metadata from a photo snapped on iPhone and use that in the iPhone TomTom app to create an email that will open the co-ordinates in Google Maps or TomTom Route Planner. Great for call sheets.

5. The Vivobarefoot Scott really is waterproof. However the sole is not a great performer on wet grass at a gradient.

6. Spinney Hollow is an awesome self-sufficient homestead and also has structures that will be great in our movie. We can also burn a person at the stake there.

7. The vistas found in the New Forest look great with winter atmospheric perspective.

8. The glass-bottomed aquarium may look too small, but the actress can get her head in it and the iPhone can frame things well from underneath.

9. Winchester city rubbish tip is like an Ikea surplus store.

10. My strategy of using gloved hands and a stylus to operate the iPhone touchscreen is not going to work reliably. I may have to get a cold finger for art's sake.

All in all a very useful day that allowed me to get satnav bookmarks for all locations ahead of the first day of shooting this coming Saturday.

BONUS: what I learned creating this blog post - this many pictures when authoring a Blogger post are a pain in the ass to format (as I'm sure you can see, for which I apologise!)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

iPhone Strangelove (or, how I learned to stop worrying and move closer)

Today I recce Spinney Hollow along with the director and cast of 'Dark Is A Long Way' (DIALW). I will be taking my shooting kit with a view to get some test footage and just a general dry-run of British winter cold and boggy shooting conditions.

Shooting with iPhone (this is essentially a zero budget shoot, so zero kit hire), I am well aware of its limitations but also of its supreme advantages. If limitations can be turned into advantage, so much the better.

What strikes me about iPhone is the fixed lens and lack of optical zoom. This isn't necessarily a disadvantage on an airninja movie method shoot. If you resist the digital zoom (and I never use it) then the onboard mic gives a good representation of audio perspective and in my experience a high degree of clarity.

Let's talk about the iPhone onboard mic. I mean, recording production audio with any onboard mic is absolute heresy, right? A smartphone mic must be atrocious, right?! Don't be so quick to dismiss.

Firstly, the iPhone has three onboard mics, of the MEMS variety. This allows DSP to cancel out off-axis noise which can really help in reportage and documentary situations.

Specs on the iPhone MEMS mics are hard to come by. They have a relatively high noise floor (current generation around 64dB SNR is some way off desirability) but are generally capable of capturing HiFi 20Hz - 20kHz (how flat is anyone's guess - I suppose that is where the DSP comes in too). To my ear though, it always sounds good given constraints of whatever the recording situation was. Traffic noise isn't going to suddenly disappear but damn it if the person talking isn't more intelligible than when I was actually there listening with my own ears. Amazing!

This is no coincidence. For a few years Apple's audio was directed by Tomlinson Holman who should need no introduction to anyone in the audio field. More recently, Dana Massie who was previously director of DSP at Audience.

It makes sense that a device optimised for phone calls in highly variable environments would also do the best it can in any given video recording situation. High wind remains an achilles heal and can start the DSP overapplying noise reduction until things sound very odd.

Now, admittedly DIALW has been written as almost a silent movie, with very sparse moments of dialogue. In quiet, low wind conditions the iPhone onboard mics do a great job, especially if you are close to the subject. We proved this shooting GAIN (albeit that was shot on iPhone 4S). Although I intend to record any DIALW dialogue with my Apogee MiC 96K (a digital signal path directly to the lightning port), I also intend to use production audio from the iPhone if I consider it good enough. I am confident it will be (famous last words). Then, I can declare MEMS mics an official part of the Airninja Movie Method and stop worrying.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Shoelaces And Lacing Are More Important Than You Think

I've got pretty wide feet and like the looser fit that ladder lacing gives me. However, re-lacing that way shortens the length available to tie the laces (not drastically, but enough to be irritating in a first world problem kind of way).

So I was pleased to find a vendor that sells decent hiking laces at various lengths at a decent price.

Voila. Another first world problem put to bed ahead of shooting DIALW.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Why My New Year's Resolution is NOT 4K (or even 2K)

Short version: in the airninja world, content is king.

Long Version
I remember having a conversation with a Portsmouth videotape wholesaler in the early nineties, saying that I couldn't wait until home computers could edit D1. That's all I wanted. I couldn't see beyond that, just like Tarantinonozzle can't see past 'film'. Since then I've seen miniDV (essentially consumer D1 that could be edited on a home computer - NLE 720x576p on a Matrox Mystique equipped with Rainbow Runner daughtercard) come and go. The rise of DSLR that amazed people with motion photography like it wasn't already over a hundred fucking years old.

Amazing. Gear.

With new gear comes new resolutions and format wars (yawn). All of it amazeballs compared to consumer tech of the early nineties.

Amazing. Resolution.

But just like the median human ear can't hear beyond the 20Hz-20kHz Hi-Fi standard, most dipshits can't tell the difference between 720P and 1080P on a 50" living room TV (LCD natch, plasma purists be damned).

That's not to say there's no application for 4K and beyond. Just like some idiot might want to record dialogue at 32bit 192kHz, some idiot will want to record 4K for a 50" screen rather than your nearest Imax relic. And a sales-snake will be all too eager to upsell.

Anyway, 4K is already 'obsolete'. And up until a short time ago 1080P was perfectly fine for every cinema everywhere - certainly an improvement over cinema projected 35mm.

Gear with improved resolutions and formats come and go. Content sticks around for a long time. Enjoy the movie.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

AirNinja Movie Method Capability: Creative and Commercial Competitive Advantage

Choosing the AirNinja Movie Method for producing upcoming British movie 'Dark Is A Long Way' is all very well, but why?

Firstly, note that 'Dark Is A Long Way' (aka DIALW) is a British movie. Made with pounds, not dollars. In today's world of Hollywood slickness, that's a distinct disadvantage? Perhaps, for raising finance. And this is where AirNinja capabilities begin to differentiate. When you look at BECTU ratecards, it becomes clear very quickly that a 30 man crew operating a video village isn't going to be made with indie GBP.

"PSC will set you free." - Mike Peter Reed, accredited airninja (aka yours truly, 2095).

Familiarise yourself with the Portable Single Camera of yore. Now add 30 - 60 people on-set and welcome to Hollywood. Nothing wrong with a 30 - 60 man crew unless you can't afford them.

British indie movies can't afford 30 - 60 people milling about on set, avoiding all creative risk taking for the sake of the done deal. I know this because, along with Evil C, I have been interviewing British moviemakers over the last couple of years.

PSC will set you free, when correctly defined, designed, and applied. If your movie is about content rather than gear, then pick any single portable camera and there you have it. No excuses. You can make your movie, designing its parameters around creative decisions based on the tool's capabilities. Once your movie is made you can simply distribute it globally - globally - on platforms such as Youtube, Vimeo, even Facebook. However, marketing your movie to find a paying audience - that's the real trick!

Worried about sound? Listen to any movie from the 1950s or 1960s and quit your worrying - both DamBusters and now The Italian Job is on TV and they sound fucking awful due to the best available technology at the time having fidelity below some of the cheapest tech today. Modern audiences can still be hypnotised with a bunch of audio perspective going on, and you still need to know the audio rules before you break them - but when considering the AirNinja Movie Method, content is king. Sure, you won't be winning an Oscar for best production sound mixing, but the point is that you must assess all weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Audio perspective on a fixed lens (such as you get with iPhone) is a strength when applied correctly. More importantly, it allows you all the agility of an artist in virtually any weather without the burden of loads of gear and bureaucracy. Audiophiles and camera assistants will hate you. Turn that hate into a strength.

The airninja can take highly cost-effective risks, those risks can be more extreme to chuck that dynamite into the lap of the audience.

'Dark Is A Long Way' is a risk at many levels. Look out for it being completed later this year. It'll either re-ignite Great British Pound filmmaking or serve to assist extinguishing it completely. No risk no reward.

Exciting times. Have a prosperous New Year!