Chris Bishop …
I’ve always enjoyed capturing images. Even as a child I would borrow my father’s `Brownie` and try and take creative black & white photos. On a school trip to France at the age of ten, I took this old fashioned looking camera, with a few rolls of Ilford Black & White, whilst others took Kodak instamatics – they laughed less when I won the school photo competition, but the important thing for me, was the fascination of being able to `freeze` moments in time – this still holds true for me today.
At the age of seventeen, after many months of saving, as well as long hours at work, I managed to buy two cameras. One was a heavy `built like a tank` Russian Zenith, which was purely manual in operation, the other was my first movie camera. An Agfa 16mm cine camera, it was quite advanced for the time, with built in light meter, various filming speeds, and incredibly, time lapse control.
Good job really, because 16mm film was so expensive, with 20 minutes of footage costing a week’s wages!
Time Lapsed sequences was the cost effective option, but before any serious creative work could take place, I needed to understand `Photography` in more depth, so joined a local photographic class, and believe me, I’m so pleased I did, as it changed my whole perception of how to `look` and in doing so, greatly enhanced my love for our beautiful planet. Over a period of two years with three two hour sessions a week, I learnt about light, Creative Depth of Field, old school film and photo development, Dark Room skills, lens technology, Black & White, Colour, and so much more, but I also discovered something else – no matter how good your gear is, the creative element comes from the guy holding the camera, and in this repect no two photographers are the same.
Understanding how to take manual control is `key` whether it be photography or Cinematography, why? Well, I’ve never owned a camera that can read my mind, and `Auto` everything cameras will stick to bland rules at the most basic end of the photography scale – if you want to get creative, you’re going to have to learn how to bend those rules. Whoever said “the camera never lies” was lying for sure!
I spent several years back in the 80’s working as a freelance photographer under the name of Trans-Meridian Photographic. Most of my work involved taking photos of London monuments, which the London Borough Council (The GLC at the time) would use for promotions. The Thames Barrier was my first commission, as well as my first real earner. I was told to make this hunk of concrete & stainless steel look attractive, so I spent two weeks during a warm summer, covering every lighting condition imaginable. It was a real test, but I loved the challenge, and learnt very quickly that `beauty` can be seen in almost anything.
In 1987 I was almost killed in an attack after my home was broken into. It took almost two years to recover from my injuries, and at the time I had two very young children witnessing this event. This sadly scared them mentally for a number of years, it also became a difficult time generally, and my first marriage ended after ten years, but due to the circumstances, I won custody of the children … I became a `single parent` which didn’t allow the time needed for the kind of photography I did back then.
For a while, times were hard, but new opportunities awaited, which oddly involved another passion of mine … `Sound Recording`. Since the age of seventeen, I had already developed an `ear` for audiophile quality recordings, and over the years, spent a fortune on audiophile Hi-Fi systems. My first serious setup (in 1983) cost more than my car, but listening to early Windham Hill recordings from my favourite music producer/musician Will Ackerman, justified every penny.
Again, it was another way to freeze moments in time, but to record and playback `Audiophile` quality recordings required greater understanding, so when a chance opportunity popped up involving sound engineering, I jumped at the chance!
So I worked for a while training as a sound engineer in a small commercial Studio in London. Digital was very new back them, so I learnt how to multi-track with quality analogue equipment. We would have bands one day, and narration/voice artists the next recording children’s stories, and each and every session was unique, as well as challenging.
During this period, I learnt many things from various musicians coming into the studio. In many ways, many of these bands were more up-to-date than the studio, as digital technology was changing things fast.
I absolutely loved the new Synth technology being introduced at the time, and many new instruments had MIDI implementation (MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface) this not only opened up a great interest, it changed my direction, and in 1995 Project Overseer Productions (POP) was born.
I started out by recording young talent, and in my spare time, I’d create my own compositions – I saw this as no more than fun as I was no musician, but understanding MIDI allowed me to make rather complex tracks, which required only basic notational skills. Many seemed to enjoy my musical doodles, and encouraged me to submit various ideas to media companies looking for sounds & music for media application – I was rather shocked to receive my first contract.
So the next five years involved a great deal of mixed work – working with various musical talents, creating jingles for local radio stations, and creating short sounds bites for all kinds of applications. But best of all was when local London radio stations played my work – musical tracks that I created for local talent was being played in clubs, and they singled me out as the Producer.
I was also interviewed a few times on radio, and even played a `live` session.
All this was totally out of the blue, and a complete surprise, albeit a pleasant one!
Well, if you’ve read this far, `congratulations` … I can imagine you’re wondering what the heck any of this has to do with my now present day Creative HD Filming.
Well, it’s funny how things can sometimes `meld` together.
During this time, I never gave up my love for photography or film making; I just didn’t earn a living from it anymore, though I did win a few competitions, including the Gold Award for photo excellence from Kodak – no big deal, but nice nevertheless.
In 2002 Project Overseer Productions (POP) underwent a complete change of direction. For the first time it became an Online Site featuring world class musical talent, and by 2005 became an Online Music Distribution (OMD) site www.projectoverseer.biz
This allowed musical talent to promote and sell their creations – it also allowed them space for short films and photo artwork, together with a community Blogger – the Blogger part has now been moved to a sister site called POP SPACE www.popspace.co.uk
I’ve got a lot of things to thank Project Overseer Productions for. Not only did I promote my own music (which opened up various doors) I also had the great pleasure in meeting, as well as making friends with some incredible musical talent
the World over – many working within genres I absolutely adore, and I must thank these people for their incredible support over the years, many of whom encouraged me back into creative filming making.
`POP` brought me something even more wonderful … my gorgeous, beautiful Wife & soul mate, Lisa, and recently our beautiful Son Benjamin … Thank You POP!
Today I work with many incredibly talented Film makers, and musicians, but this time as a Creative Film Maker creating visuals to complement their outstanding works (see credits listing on Home Page) I’m also signed as a film producer for the LandscapeHD Channel on Sky TV (not to be confused with the SD version on Sky)
And of course I take on various commissions, recently leasing some beautiful Egyptian footage of the Nile and Valley of the Kings to LA based Architects working on a project in North Africa.