2006 saw the release of my first entire commercially completed DVD work, a 4 DVD set about crystals for Aura-Soma. Its actual full title is “The Aura-Soma Crystal Master Classes Part 1-3”.

Filmed in the summer of 2005, the three courses ran for 12 days, resulting in about 60 tapes. The quantity of work necessary for such a project was initially somewhat overwhelming. Huge amounts of editing were involved and some sections were made clearer by adding extra clips and inserts.

A year later I was very happy with how the project had concluded. The first three discs represent the teaching from each of the three courses held, and the fourth a bonus disc focusing on some of the entertaining episodes during the courses including music, poems, song and dance. This is available directly from Aura-Soma. The group of people participating in the courses were a special and amazing collection of individuals, and the spectacular weather that also coincided with the courses also helped create a resonant and very positive energy.
It was during this course that I had the extreme good fortune to be introduced to the extraordinary dancer Francesca Miceli Lillith.

Combining influences from diverse world cultures including Egypt & India, Francesca brings a very vital and spontaneous approach to her performances which is quite mesmerising. I filmed her in full flow doing several dances. One of these, Tobasco Rhythm, has been included on the bonus disc of the Crystal DVD mentioned above.
Dance has long been a deep fascination for me & provides an ideal subject to explore the kind of creative manipulation of video I so enjoy. There are a multitude of stimulating options made possible by editing software; speed, direction, colour & texture of any clip can be radically transformed to become something quite unrecognisable from the original, and indeed easily layered and combined with other clips in a mind boggling and limitless set of ways.

My own preference is for a form of electro-impressionism that takes the imagery further into the realms of an unworldly dream-like state, thus allowing a completely free rein to the imagination! My motivation at this stage to generating such material is responding to my own creative drive in this respect, rather than that I can see commercial applications for it. My sense is they must exist, and I look forward to finding them.

Francesca and I enjoyed working together so much we decided to continue and expand our collaboration. We filmed more in February of 2006, both in Lincolnshire and in Eastbourne here in Sussex UK. The weather being cold at this season restricted us to working indoors, when we already knew outdoor location shooting should be our next step.

So it was in June 2006, I flew out to her home town in Ala, Italy – which is about an hours drive from Verona. We had no grounds to complain about the weather any more – it was scorching hot! Francesca had discovered a brilliant range of different locations for us to film, including by rocks, and in gardens, forests, lakesides, on balconies and even in the grounds of seventeenth century palaces!
She had also expanded her already extensive costume collection to encompass a very broad range of exotica, including the remarkable large wings that she wears for The Astrologer’s Seat clip.

The six days I spent there were full and busy and I was very pleased with what had been captured. She also accepted my invitation to join her in Boubou’s Festival in St Barths in the following August. Then we had the opportunity to explore a multi-media approach to the performance, with her appearing live in addition to the processed video work from Italy being projected from DVD’s onto a large screen alongside the stage, while the band I had assembled all played live (as described on the Home & Travel page).

I also filmed the White Lions in Timbavati, and the recent Aura-Soma benefit concert in Tokyo for the White Lions Trust was also filmed. This work is still evolving in its various production stages, but I will be sure to announce as and when this material becomes available.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to distribute work created in HDV (the recently introduced accessible version of high definition) on a commonly available disc format. Blu-ray is now available, but not commonly so. Playstation 3 came out in March 2007 in the UK, ‘though out some months more in the U.S. It has scarcely impacted by comparison to the Nintendo Wii games system, and is thus not that common.

Technically Speaking

The arrival of HDV means an improvement of quality which is a quantum jump beyond the DV of before. This affordable form of high definition is a major breakthrough to someone as myself who enjoys exploring the possibilities of manipulating and processing video images, the quantum jump in quality represents a major leap.

HDV is a standard which becomes addictive in an immediate and compulsive way. Once you’ve seen how much clearer the image is, it becomes as hard to continue to enthuse about the previous format of DV, as doing so about mono in the field of sound, when you know stereo is an available option.

Learning of this dramatically improved standard motivated me to trade in my old Sony PD 150 camera for a Sony ZIE. The difference in quality is hugely noticeable. There are some aspects yet to be solved with this however – not least of which is a disc format for its output and distribution. Blu-ray is one such format, but the number of folks who own such a device minimises it being commonly interchangeable – even though the Sony Playstation 3 includes one. So finding a way of being to show my more recent work in this arena at its actual true quality is tricky. Therefore what I have decided for now is to upload Windows Media files suitable for the higher broadband speeds. Though still falling short of true HDV quality, for now we all have to accept trade-offs between quality and file sizes. In general internet access speeds are progressing rapidly, so I am sure it won’t be too long before HDV files can be seen in their native form. Quality is a key factor in being able to see the textures and manipulations within my processed work, therefore to offer it at lower rates doesn’t make much sense.

For those technically interested I am editing on a combination of Canopus Edius 4, and Premiere 1.5 with plugins. This is a PC based edit system, and allows much HDV manipulation in realtime, which to me is a key issue. My system was helpfully assembled by local Portslade based DVC.