Archive for the short films Category

The Sudan Elections 2010

Posted in Scattered Images, short films, Video Production, videography on June 15, 2010 by martystalker

Scattered Images and Visionworks were asked by the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis in London, to film Sudan’s first ever elections. Irwin Armstrong and I moved into the country a few weeks before the elections began to get our preparations under way. Irwin is a very experienced Cameraman, who has been filming for over 20 years and in many countries. So as you can imagine,  I was very happy to be part of his team.

From a technical point of view, it was by far the most difficult job I’ve ever encountered as a Camera Operator. Africa is a harsh environment to film in, not just due to the extreme temperatures but because of the high contrasts in light and dark colours that you face through the viewfinder. In the South of Sudan in particular, the very dark skins of the African tribes clashed greatly with the sunlight and bright backdrops.

It had been a while since I had worked on the robust and reliable Sony Z1 camera and I was looking forward to using it again, with the added luxuries of a matte box, wide angle lens and a cavision single grip this time. The dust issue wasn’t as bad as I predicted but I always had my lens cleaner and brush handy. One of my pet hates is a dirty lens and I was adamant that my glass was going to be crystal clear before each shoot.

It took me a few days to get to grips with the camera and the settings. Like filming for news, you had to be quick to react to events and changing conditions in light and exposure. After perfecting my iris control and framing subjects on early shoots, I was beginning to feel more confident and slicker on the controls. From a production viewpoint, we filmed in a lot of locations, particularly in the South of Sudan. We were a mobile team and very lucky to be kitted out with a 4×4 vehicle, driver and interpreter. We covered a lot of ground and as a result, we saw and filmed many amazing scenes. On one occasion, we couldn’t access a few voting stations by road so we decided to rent out a boat for the day and pay a visit. As you can imagine, many hadn’t seen white people in person before so we had hoards of curious villagers following our every move.

Unfortunately Sudan is still a very secretive country, particularly in the South, where they still have bans on photographing military installations, bridges, airstrips and prisons. In every State we visited, it was important that we obtained press passes but on a whole we faced little obstruction from the security forces. I learned a lot of from Irwin and my camera skills have moved on to a different/ higher level as a result. The documentary is the final piece of the Centre for Foreign Policy’s report on the elections. Although, there were obvious flaws in the system, the country did extremely well in staging their very first political elections. All eyes are on the Referendum scheduled for next year.


Marty Stalker Director Showreel

Posted in Canon EOS 5D Mark II, promo shoot, short films, Showreel on March 10, 2010 by martystalker

My latest Director Showreel is available to view online. The company predicts a promising 2010 with regards to short films and documentaries.  The track is ‘Street Map’ by Athlete’ and it was used on a Sky One HD advert. I was totally inspired by this advert and I had to use it in the showreel. Promotional image of myself at the end of the video was shot by Rick Trainor from Red Sky Photography.

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The 48 Hour Human Timelapse

Posted in Canon EOS 5D Mark II, filmmaking, short films, Timelapse, Video Production, videography on March 9, 2010 by martystalker

The 48 Human Timelapse was completed at 0700 HRS on 6th March 2010 on a roof top in Belfast. It was a long haul and obviously we faced many hurdles along the way (It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t).

After watching collections of inspiring timelapse pieces from the likes of Tom Lowe and Philip Bloom on the internet, I got a taste for it. However, I felt like I needed to put a slight twist on matters, why not introduce a human subject into the timelapse itself? I approached Rick Trainor, an excellent 5D Mark II operator and Director of Photography, with the idea. He was keen as always and extremely supportive, even though there were apparent limitations which he highlighted early on in the meeting.  I knew what I wanted, but I also knew that the only way I could make it happen was to have Rick on-board. As a Director, Rick has always delivered the goods for me and I am extremely thankful of the time he sacrifices, his invaluable skills and personality that he brings to every production.

The idea: capture a human subject for a 48 hour duration.

As soon as our family and friends got wind of what we were planning to do, they naturally thought we were crazy. I felt comfortable enough to put myself forward as the human subject- who else would do it anyway? I needed Rick behind the camera, his camera and lighting skills by far exceeded those of mine. We also decided that we would dedicate this endurance test to help raise money for Haiti and continue the support that the Belfast 4 Haiti event had started.

After getting knocked back by a few locations due to insurance issues, I contacted Ciaran from Kaya Studios, a popular recording studio situated at the top of Blackstaff Mills. I had seen the location on a photograph on MySpace and thought it was perfect. I was ecstatic when Ciaran gave us permission to use the roof space next to his studio. If it wasn’t for his generosity, the event would not have taken place. The TC-80N3 Timer Remote Controller arrived from Amazon and Rick took it home to play with. The fact that the controller was limited to 99 captures in total before having to be reset was going to be a challenge in the least.

It was into the fourth hour of the shoot, when I realised the mountain we were climbing. The aches and the joint pains from sitting in a chair for a long period slowly crept in. However, it’s the little things that you take for granted. I had to urinate into a plastic bottle which Rick had to keep emptying out for me (now that’s friendship for you). The nights were extremely cold and we were waking up to sheets of ice on the roof top and over our equipment. Beating sleep was impossible and I began to frequently experience mini naps during the second day. The remote controller had to be monitored on a regular basis due to the 99 shot limit. But when the finish line came, we were both extremely happy with what we had achieved (refer to special dance moves during credit sequence). I couldn’t wait to take the stills back to the studio and fire them into After Effects.

For a more technical perspective of the timelapse shoot from Rick Trainor, please click on the following link:

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. A big thankyou to the following people:

Sean Duncan from Redcap Productions, Gary McKinstry from Carpe Diem Productions, Kieran McAlinden from Creative Juices, Alan Morton, Vinny Hurrell, Mathias Sorum and Vital

48 Hour Human Timelapse

Posted in Canon EOS 5D Mark II, filmmaking, Red Sky Photography, Scattered Images, short films, Video Production, videography on March 2, 2010 by martystalker

After getting involved with Belfast4Haiti, Rick and I wanted to do something extra to raise awareness in our own social and business circles to hopefully get people talking about the Haiti and Chile disaster. We settled on heading in a direction that would take us out of our comfort zones and encourage others to do their bit.  We are planning to complete a 48hr time-lapse piece involving a human subject and we are hoping to raise £500 in the 48hrs of filming it. The event will also be streamed live on Twitter on scheduled occasions for people to follow.

Time-Lapses are a beautiful and modern interpretation of our world in motion.  It has become common place in cinematography and some pioneers have travelled the world capturing our cityscapes with extreme dedication.  We decided to do our own time-lapse piece in Belfast city but with a difference.

This poses a number of issues from a technical perspective not to mention the obvious sleep deprivation involved in being the human subject (sat stationary for the duration of the time) and the photographer/cameraman.  I decided to put himself forward for the challenge and we set about organising it.  We are still awaiting confirmation for the location but the image above will give you an idea of the proposed backdrop.

We will be dedicating this piece to help raise funds for both countries and all money will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee

You can follow us on Twitter and below is a trailer for the piece.

New Short Film ‘Good Morning Mr Jenkins’

Posted in filmmaking, Red Sky Photography, Scattered Images, screenwriting, short films on February 5, 2010 by martystalker

The final scenes have been filmed for our new short film ‘Good Morning Mr Jenkins’. After the recent success of ‘Bloodstained Footprints’ in the Entry Level Filmaka Competition, we have been given four weeks to write, film and produce a short film for the final Jury Level round. Click on this link to view the very impressive jury panel that will be choosing the winning film.

‘Good Morning Mr Jenkins’ is a story about a guy who has everything, a loving marriage and is great at his job. After witnessing an event one day, his life starts crumbling all around him. The film is now online to view and please fell free to leave any feedback in the comments section. Within the three minute limit I wanted to make something different, basically a whole film within the time allocated. You may see a few traces of other directors influences in certain scenes. I’m a big fan of Guy Richie and especially Tarantino,  I embrace the way he doesn’t conform to the “correct structure” of filmmaking and tells his story the way he wants to.

By Red Sky Photography

The biggest limitation for me on this shoot, as Director, was the fact that for most of the scenes, Rick Trainor (my fantastic and trusted Camera Operator and Director of Photography) had to step into the shoes of the main character due to the lack of time we had. So that meant that I had to remember how to use the video mode on the Canon 5D Mark II, which came back to me slowly I must say! After remembering how to correct white balance and exposure, we cracked on with the shoot, which took us to Larne, Moira and Lurgan.

The last day of filming involved a selection of classroom scenes with four children. You are always reminded to never work with children or animals in the industry but they were fantastic and produced the goods for me on every shot. Like most of my short film work, I have had to call upon friends and family to help me out. So I thank you all again for the support that you have given me. A big thanks also to Gary McKinstry from Carpe Diem Videography for coming down and shooting some behind the scenes footage.

Remember that you can follow us on this Blog, Twitter and Facebook

The Black Bear Saloon Music Video

Posted in Canon EOS 5D Mark II, filmmaking, Scattered Images, screenwriting, short films with tags , on December 13, 2009 by martystalker

It’s all about the lighting!

I was approached by the drummer of The Black Bear Saloon, Mike Barr, at a wedding show a few months back. He had seen my work before on my website and he asked if I would like to direct and film a music video for their track ‘Face The Future’. I needed one for my portfolio so I lept at the chance. Once home, I navigated to their MySpace page and listened to the track and a few others featured on the site. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting the band to be that good, I was pleasantly surprised and I instantly became a fan of the tracks featured, especially ‘Face The Future’.

Mike had an idea in his head and he had drawn up a storyboard of the basic content and structure of the story. I liked the idea and took it away to write up the screenplay and beef out the story. I felt the video needed scenes that stood out, so I introduced a few controversial moments and a nice twist at the end. Once the screenplay was locked down, I began writing up the pre-production notes. This is was when we started realising how big this project was going to be. The prop list was written and we managed to secure perfect venues (The Ballyboley Inn and the Limelight especially) Once everything was finalised and the lads completed numerous costume checks, I planned the shoot over an ambitious 1 and 1/2 days.

The Friday Shoot

We arrived at the Ballyboley Inn and met the very welcoming landlord. The bar was only open on a Fri and Sat night so this suited us. It was a drizzle rain at this stage so I wasn’t too worried. We began to set up the production gear and the lads from the band went to pick up the two key vehicles that were to feature in the music video, Mike’s beloved Mustang Shelby GT500 and his VW Camper Van. After numerous equipment checks and rehearsals with the lead actress, Moyah Lavery, we sat and waited for the return of the band members. Mike called explaining that they were going to be late back as Aaron, the lead singer, had filled the wrong fuel in one of the cars and it would have to be towed back to the garage. You can plan a production schedule to the minute detail but there are things which are just out of your control! Once the lads finally returned, we began shooting the first scenes. The rain increased and I began covering the lighting and camera equipment with umbrellas- not good! I remember standing in the entrance to the bar, looking out into the heavy rain and fog- it was decision time and I hadn’t even squared away four scenes yet. Do we go or do we stay? I knew deep down that this was the only opportunity we had  to get this done. I grabbed a light stand and received a small electric shot down my left arm. Ok, the lighting equipment had to be moved inside and dried out, it was starting to get a bit dangerous. I was now faced with no lighting and the camera equipment was slowly becoming very damp! Lighting was something which was rammed into your head in film school and without it, I had nothing! It was then that I noticed the car park had a floodlight and I got the lads to position cars so the lights from the vehicles were lighting the set. This proved to be a good move and we could now finish and film the remaining scenes for the evening. Rick, my camera operator and DOP,who was using the Canon 5D Mark II managed to capture this scene using the ‘cuffed’ lighting set up explained before:

The Saturday Shoot

We arrived at the Limelight and went straight into the production. The day shoot had to be tight as the majority of the scenes had to be done by the evening! We welcomed Carrie Davenport set who was a friend of the band and began taking a selection of BTS photographs (She also got dressed up as a Bear at one stage, so I was happy she was around for that scene). After a few dodgy looks from the Limelight staff and members of the public, we finished and got out just in time before the bands started setting up for the evening gigs. I’ve never prayed for rain so much in my life! For continuity reasons obviously! We arranged to meet at the KFC in Larne, for a dirty feed and to film the car and driving scenes. In an ideal world, the locations would be within a 1 mile radius of each other, but not this case. The rain began to pour, I was happy and I had remembered my waterproof trousers this time! Once the car footage was captured, timing was already slipping. We returned the vehicles to Mike’s garage and I decided to film additional scenes at this location rather than move on to the last one 20 minutes away. The heavens opened up even more, morale was slowly draining from everybody. 3 scenes to go. . . . it wasn’t going to happen! We finished the shoot and decided to arrange a time the following week to finish the project off.

The Final Shoot

By re arranging the film shoot to a different day we managed to find an even better location for the forest chase scenes in the script. Was it worth carrying the heavy generator up the hill to the forest? Of course it was, as we managed to bring all of our lighting equipment with us: It’s all about the lighting folks! I must admit, the chase scenes came out more scary than I previously envisioned. The last scenes were completed at the Band’s abandoned practice house and gave me and my lighting guy, Richie, a chance to get dressed up as a Bear and start smashing stuff up. All scenes were now done and everybody was happy.

The Equipment

This was only the second time we had used the Canon 5D Mark II camera on a film shoot. I, like many wannabe film makers, once contemplated getting the 35mm adapters and lenses for my HD camcorder. After the results that this camera has produced, especially in the low light, extreme weather and temperatures that we faced, I will now be  concentrating all of my time and energy on building up my production kit around the Canon 5D Mark II. I am lucky to be working with an excellent DOP, Rick Trainor from Red Sky Photography and family and friends who are willing to sacrifice their time for me. Without them, I would have nothing!

‘Goldie’ The Black Bear Saloon’s next Music Video will be ready by the end of January 2010. A teaser trailer will be released before Christmas, produced by Scattered Images Video Production

‘Bloodstained Footprints’ gets cinema viewings

Posted in bloodstained footprints, filmmaking, screenwriting, short films on November 16, 2009 by martystalker

My Short film ‘Bloodstained Footprints’ was chosen by Cinebarre for their short film selection-preshow in America. They basically screen a selection of chosen short films before the feature instead of commercials and it’s a great opportunity to get your work out to the public. ‘Bloodstained Footprints’ was screened before ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’ and ‘Law Abiding Citizen’.

Click on the link below for more information: