film

I broke my camera

I haven't really but it has happened. 

So, what if you did, what do you do? Firstly obviously have a little cry and say "why does this always happen to you" once you've gotten over that rubbish you have a few options. First, take it to your local camera store. They normally will be working with a camera repair company that will charge a set rate and they will fix your camera for you after a few weeks. In theory, you can pay twice by doing it this way once to the camera shop and once to the repairers, so the price could add up. You could always go straight to the manufacturer, that's what I did. 

 With any product, you get a warranty. Sadly if the problem is accidental the warranty doesn't normally cover it,  some times they do might as well ask first. That's the same when taking the camera to your local store, if it's in warranty it could be covered. 

Taking it to the manufacturer you are guaranteed the work is done properly and it's not someone who learnt to repair the equipment by watching Youtube videos. I always recommend going to the source. They made it they should repair it. 

Best thing to do is keep your camera safe this way you won't need to go through the repair process. Keep a strap on your camera, always have a bag. it may be weatherproof but keep it out of the water. Safety first. 

What camera should I buy

When you first start in photography it can be a little tricky to know what to buy. Well here are my tips that hopefully make it less stressful for you. Firstly the make does not matter, get that out of your head. If you like Canon you're going to get a Canon if you like Sony you're going to get a Sony. What matters is, does it have a manual mode. Thats it. If it has manual mode great. Firstly if you don't know about photography and modes best thing to do is, put your camera in Shutter priority mode or Program mode and see what the camera's light meter is telling you. Normally the flashing lines will give you the information, then switch it back to manual mode and mess around with the settings. Thats the beauty of digital photography you can change all the setting and keep snapping until you're happy. Photography is a form of art so a really under exposed photo could look great compared to the "correct" exposure. 

 There are lots of things in photography you might need to know at some point but at the start as long as you get a correctly exposed image thats all that matter. It sound be fun not stressful. 

The thing I'd buy if I was starting fresh with photography 

  1. Camera with a standard zoom lens say 24-105mm or 70-300mm 
  2. Tripod
  3. Spare battery 
  4. Memory card
  5. Bag

That's about it really, you can pick up good starter kits from most camera manufactures, they will give you camera and a lens and I'm sure whatever shop you buy them from they will do you a good deal on spare battery and memory. 

Try SRS Microsystems in Watford,UK. Not only will they help you  on what camera to buy but they will help you set up your camera so you'll have no problems starting out. 

 

Music videos

Any good photographer needs to offer more than just photos luckily most DSLR's and Mirrorless cameras do video and film in 1080p. High definition or HD for short. The newer models are filming in 4k, or UHD.  The more you spend on a camera the better the results. High-end, full frame, 4k cameras can cost a lot. If you're not looking to spend a lot you can get a low budget camera that will give you good results, not the best but way better than the miniDV cameras they use to produce.  I've had the chance to film a few music videos for some musical acts. Most of my video I go for the comedy angle. Stupid and silly, with good music as the key. I've seen far too many videos of bands playing on top of cliffs or in the woods. If you want people to view your videos you have to keep them entertained. That's my opinion and yes there are many good music videos with woods and cliff but I'd mainly stay for the music. I find laughter the way forward. 

Here are some of the videos I've filmed and edited 

If you're looking for a cheap, simple, funny and fun video for your musical group let me know. 

Top Ten Comedy films

Everything has gotten so serious, it's crazy. The world has gone and lost the plot. Like a crap movie on the "Movies for men" channel. Thankfully there's comedy films that can take away the rubbish for a few hours. The good thing about comedies they aren't to long that you get bored. Well here's a few comedy films you need to see before you move to the country and buy a goat.

First on the list is "Step Brothers". Staring Will Ferrell and John C. Reily. The story is set around two middle-aged men living with their parents at the ripe old age of 39-and 40. The two characters are very much alike by both having the mental age of about 14/15. It's like they never grew up for whatever reason, bad parents maybe? 

This is a film you need to see if you just want to escape and watch two idiots. It has so memorable moments, I would go into each one but that would take far too long. The boats and hoe's scene is hilarious.

Next up "Superbad" the story of three friends trying to make it to a party with booze. Written by Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg who actually wrote the first script when they were 13 years old. The main characters are named Seth and Even after the writers them selves. The dialogue is extremely rude and with some great casting of double oscar nominee Jonah Hill and odd bod Michael Cera, who act it in such away you believe they are teenagers looking to get the booze and the girls. the sub plot of Fogell fake ID with the one name of McLovin really steals the movie. Seth Rogen and Bill Hader play the two police officers sent to investigate an incident in a Liquor store where Fogell has used his fake ID and from there it just gets better and better. A laugh a minute.  

When a TV show makes it to the big screen it's normally just a money making scheme. Maybe Trey Parker was just making "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" to make more money, maybe he wanted that Jet Ski I'll never know. Though this film is definitely an upgrade. The swear words aren't bleeped out for TV and in what world can you have Saddam Hussein being the devils lover? Only in South Park. When I saw this in the cinema I laughed so much it hurt. I'm not a fan of musicals and didn't know this was one. The songs are well placed and have a lot to do with the plot and they will stick with you for years. I was surprised when I found out it had an oscar nomination for best original song "Blame Canada", an 15 rated animated film about 4 friends seeing a movie that makes them swear in front of their parents resulting in a crazy over protective mother blaming the country that the film comes from and then talking the government into going to war with them. It's also a Guinness world record holder, as the most swear words in an animated film. 399 swear words, now thats a lot. 

The Farrelly brothers have brought you some classic comedies in the past and probably will do again. Though it is their first movie directing and writing together that still holds up as one of the funniest films. "Dumb and Dumber" Staring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, as the two friends that go on a road trip to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase. The little bits in the film add up to it being one of the films you can watch over and over. With the dead parrot being a slight play on Monty Pythons sketch you can't not laugh. The doggy stomach and broken toilet scene, brings more of the childish comedy into play and the way the little things, how Jim Carrey character can't read simple words and Jeff Daniels helping him, Yet Jeff Daniels character reading a map is quiet something, "According to the map, we've only gone 4 inches." A film that is on any comedy loving fans list.

Borat Sagdiyev, what a guy. A news reporter by day and ladies toilet photographer by night. Sacha Baron Cohen has created a character that offended a nation. He did it so well too, In "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" Borat travels to America to learn about and interview important American people for his job, but after seeing Pamela Anderson in "Baywatch" he sets out on a mission to travel across America to find her in California. Having the general public involved and not know they are being filmed is definitely why Borat is such a loved creation by Sacha Baron Cohen. The shock factor, of the stuff he does. Trying to buy a women on the street of New York, "very nice, how much?" This is not for everyone, I've tried to tell people to watch it but they hate Ali G and well its 2016 theres no talking to anyone, even if it is a completely different character.

A good comeback story, or underdog story, can really make a film. Look at Wales or Iceland in the football this summer, underdogs doing something people didn't expect, Ok neither team won but they did very well. In movies it's differnent the loser has to get the girl, score the goal, beat the bully. You don't want a sad ending, actually I don't think many films have sad ending. Well apart from "The Decent" that was a total holy crap ending, if you see it in America it's different. Happy, happy joy, joy ending. Anyhow "Dodgeball: A true underdog story" The story of a really nice guy, that owes loads of money to the banks. With the group of "losers" that use his gym they need to make $50,000 in a so many days or Ben Stiller the mean owner of the gym next door buys it and turns it into a parking lot. Ben Stiller plays a brilliant bad guy in this, normally he's the nice guy in films. It was good to see him going overboard as "White Goodman". His real life wife Christine Taylor is playing the love interest of Vince Vaughn's character "Peter La Fleur". When the three of them are together there are some memorable scenes. "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood - nobody!"

The supporting cast are great with some stupid one liners and some scene stealing parts. Patches O'Houlihan played by Rip Torn (cool name) will make you crack up, "Holy hell, son, you're about as useful as a cock-flavored lollipop"  It's nice feel good movie where you know what's going to happen but you still need to watch it. With each viewing little bits will pop out that you missed. The DVD commentary is just an add to the comedy genius of this film. The two main actors do nothing but fight and storm off about 40 minuets into it and is replaced by the commentary for "There's something about Mary" the actual comedy is hidden in the extras but I never found it. Also whats a DVD?

Will Ferrell again with director Adam Mckay this time Will Ferrell plays the instant legend Ron Burgundy in"Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" catchy title. This film is a laugh riot, from the first time you see Ron Burgundy till the end. The film is based around a man at the top of his game trying to and failing hard to deal with the loss of his job and to a women. That sort of stuff doesn't matter now days, but in the 70's it could really break a man. The add lib lines are what stand out the most when Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate are trying to say nasty things about each other at the end of the news report. Steve Carell plays the extremely dumb weather man Brick Tamland and pretty much steals every scene he's in. 

"I'm Brick Tamland. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q of 48 and what some people call mentally retarded." all this is being said as he puts mayonnaise into a toaster and turns it on. Brilliant. Paul Rudd or Phoebe from "Friends" husband or as some have come to know him now as, "Ant-man" does a really good job at playing the layed back cool one, well, he thinks he's cool. The sex panther part is again a great bit of writing from Will Ferrell and Adam Mckay. The lines the background actors say about the smell are on point. Another hit. shame the sequel was rubbish and so long. Ah well. 

Coming from a Saturday night live sketch Mike Myers and Dana Carvey made the jump to big screen in "Wayne's World" the story of Wayne Campbell and his friend Garth Algar as they sell there public access TV show to a local station. The producer of the show wants to change thing and steal Waynes girlfriend Cassandra. It's a classic with amazing moments. The Bohemian Rhapsody bit is pure brilliance and I believe because of this scene the song entered the American Billboard charts again 16 years after it's release reaching number 2. Not bad for a comedy film to get a band in the charts again. Ok it is up there with the greatest song of all time but the film made people remember and go out and buy it. Anyhow Mike Myers has a lot of characters under his belt from Austin Powers to Shrek I still think Wayne is his best, I'd love to see a third film, though not sure it would work they being older and that. The sequel is actually not that bad either. 

It's that time again, the Eddie Murphy time. So last time I spoke about him in John Landis's classic Christmas movie "Trading Places" well the two are together again this time in " Coming to America" abouta Prince that travels to Queens, New York to find a wife. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall both play multiple characters and with the amazing make up by Rick Baker (who had just recently won the first oscar for makeup on another John Landis film "American Werewolf in London")  you can't tell its them. The barber shop scenes are the best laugh out loud bits in the film but the story as a whole is one you can watch over and over and still not be happy he gets the girls in the end. It's an American film you think they won't let him get the girl? Look out for some cameos too, you have young Cuba Gooding jr in there and Samuel L Jackson. Not to mention Darth Vader as the king. James Earl Jones likes to play a King doesn't he? Classic 80's, they really don't make films like this anymore, just rubbish remakes. 

Last is Ghostbusters, you've seen it. You know what happens, you know it all, I have 3 copies of it on Blu-Ray, One copy is due to the brilliant art work done by Dan Mumford and the others I dunno, special edition steel books maybe. Anyhow brilliant film written by Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis. A lot of the lines and scenes are improvised, when you have Bill Murray as the main actor you know it's going to be funny. It's was a smash hit at the time and I'm lucky enough to have seen it on the big screen, no not when it first came out, I'm old, but not that old. Even with the remake/reboot this year it makes you see why this is such a great movie and how sad it is that we don't get films like this anymore. All films start with a story and this is simple yet works so well. Ghosts, lets catch them, stop the world from ending and then kiss the girl. It's a story told oh so many times, "Ghosts are real" ok that line is taken from the reboot as a joke at how bad the writing is. If you've not seen it, watch this one then the remake and ask yourself why did they do this? The answer is, money. 

So thats my list, it's long I know, but actually only ten.

 This is my opinion, I can not be wrong as it's only an opinion before you start saying I missed this and that out. 

Here's the order I'd have them 

 

  1. Ghostbusters
  2. Superbad
  3. Coming to America
  4. Dumb and Dumber
  5. South Park
  6. Anchorman 
  7. Step Brothers
  8. Wayne's World
  9. Dodgeball
  10. Borat         

Top Ten Christmas films

Christmas is a special time isn't it. A time for family, giving, love, booze and all that jazz. It's actually about what films are going to be on the normal telly box, the first 5 Channels and maybe that freeview crap.

 Every year, I bet, when the TV/Radio times comes with the Christmas listings you're all "ooh whats on?" Every bloody year, ITV love to put "Hot Fuzz" on, not like its been on ITV2 10 times already this year along with "The Mummy". Anyhow, lets not get into how bad ITV are with their movie choices. 

Christmas films. Well you've got to have the main ones in your list and mines no different. I won't go into those ones you already know.

Lets start 

" It's a wonderful life",  "Home Alone" and "Jingle all the way 2", Ok I joke about "Jingle all the way 2", that one can go in the bin. Yes, the Christmas lists must consist of the main two "A wonderful Life" it's something for the older generation and "Home Alone" for the youngsters, or 30 somethings. They need to be on every Christmas list. 

Now the rest is the tricky part. Is 'Die Hard" the greatest Christmas film?  Sad to say, No. I'd love it to be, I love that film. It has a brilliant performance of a bad guy by the late, great, Alan Rickman and so much action it's silly. The only Christmasy bits, really, are the music and the Christmas tree that falls over near the end. We know it's Christmas Eve, but if this film was set at Easter or in July or whenever it wouldn't matter and would still be a great action movie. Thats why It's on the list. 

So we have 3 films already, what's next. More 80's?

Ok then, "Gremlins" This is a classic. A lovely American town, covered in snow, a child that dresses as a Christmas tree and tiny monsters going ape shit. What more do you want? Ah, I know, Santa falling off a roof. 

"Gremlins" is a story of a boy that doesn't listen to his Grandfather. Basically if that kid at the start didn't sell the Dad the Mogwai none of the troubles would have happened and people wouldn't have died. No one wants a death at Christmas. Even that mean old hag Mrs Deagle didn't deserve to die. It's a much darker film than you think. They tell you Santa Claus isn't real and in the original script by Chris Columbus the Gremlins eat Billy’s dog and roll his mother’s decapitated head down the steps of the family home. Merry Christmas. See, listen to you're elders when it comes to freaky little creatures.

Next on the list is "Elf", the modern classic, loved by all. It's so stupid it's fun. It brings a smile to your face. Some of the lines Will Ferrell says are genius "Good news, I saw a dog today"  are being used on a daily basis whatever time of year. I do have one bit of negativity on the film, well, more on Santa really. When they find Buddy in the bag, why don't they take him back? You stole a child! Ok it was from the orphanage but at least one of the Nuns are going to get into trouble, they lost a child. Thats the only problem I have. The film as a whole is spot on. More than enough for children to be entertained for a few hours and humour for adults to enjoy. 

Love is all around, well maybe not in "Love Actually" but it is a good British Christmas film. Eight different stories and in some way all connected. So many stars. Ah, Alan Rickman again. This time he's a bad guy. Hang on a second did he only play bad guys? I find Bill Nighy's character really interesting, some of his lines are really on form and well written by Richard Curtis"Yes I have, Ant or Dec. It's a - it's a personalised felt tip pen" "Hiya Kids, Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free"

The film shows so many different ways love can be all around. Setting it at Christmas really makes the film. I think without the Christmas backdrop it wouldn't be as good. 

3D is a thing that came and went didn't it, well, did you know the third Harold and Kumar film was called "A very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas" The 3D parts are a gimmick really but the film as a Christmas movie is something else.  A good buddy movie with the standard stupidness of Harold and Kumar you've come to expect in the past. It's a film not for the children if you were thinking about putting it on. The jokes are offensive and some of the scenes are in bad taste but you can't not laugh. As for Neil Patrick Harris doing a big musical number. He steals the movie again, just like he did in the other two. Worth a watch if you're over 18 and don't find drugs use and rude naughty words offensive. 

Muppets, no not that guy you know from the pub, the Jim Henson lot. "The Muppet Christmas carol" is one of the best film versions of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". The muppet twist makes it funny and well worth a watch, the songs will stick with you for years. The buddy comedy between Rizo the rat and Gonzo the great as the narrators will have you in stitches. Some of the lines from the pair are spot on and good for adults and children. "Mother always taught me: Never eat singing food"  It also shows Michael Caine isn't just a "geezer" actor and has a soft side. Must be hard acting with The Muppets.

EDDIE MURPHY!!! The real hero of the 80's films, I don't think I can name a bad Eddie Murphy film from the 80's. Well, he starred along with another big name of the 80's Dan Aykroyd in "Trading Places" a film by John Landis who already had hits with "An American werewolf in London" and "Animal House". Based slightly around the story of "The Prince and Pauper". Being a dark comedy and very funny it still holds up as a classic Christmas story of revenge. The bad guys, played by film legends Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche really keep the film moving. Their bet between each other to see if Eddie Murphy's character can do the job that Dan Aykroyd's character is doing is to do with race and class. The story shows you can lose everything but if you have people around you at Christmas you can come together and get revenge, thats the true meaning of Christmas, right? Revenge! Classic film and definitely one of my favourites.

"Bad Santa" is a story of a drunken conman with the skill to crack safes that dresses up as Santa in big department store to rob it on Christmas Eve with his little helper. Billy Bob Thornton played the role of "Willie" drunk most of the time. That is commitment to the role. The film is stolen from Billy Bob by Brett Kelly playing the kid "Thurman Merman" His stupid questions to "Willie"  that annoy him constantly. He calls him Santa, knowing he's not . It's a story of friendship, where even if you are the bad guy you can still have a heart and how the Christmas season can make you know your life is a mess and it's not all about having money. Bad Santa is a very funny film and one you can watch year in year out. 

This is my list and here's the order i'd have them in.

  1.  Elf
  2.  Home Alone
  3.  Die Hard
  4.  Trading Places 
  5.  It's a wonderful life 
  6.  The Muppet Christmas Carol
  7.  Gremlins
  8.  Bad Santa 
  9.  Love actually 
  10.  A very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas 

It changes depending on the year. 

Other films you should see around the Christmas period are

A miracle on 34th street, Home Alone 2,  Krampus, Scrooged, Die Hard 2, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Holiday and The Grinch