Team Talk – Will Hammond John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film

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Welcome to this week’s Team Talk.

This week our Head of Post-Production and all round talented filmmaker Will Hammond give us his words of wisdom.

Remind us what you do at Contra?

I edit, I oversee other editors’ edits, I colour grade and I audio mix – if Contra makes a film then 99% of the time my fingerprints will be on it somewhere!

What have you been up to recently?

It’s been a busy few months working on all sorts of projects, but one of the biggest ones recently is a series for Reuters about the ecosystem of the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Our film crew did a great job of capturing some incredible footage (picture Attenborough’s Dynasties) over three action-packed weeks (about 5% of the time crews had on Dynasties) and came back with tens of hours of rushes for our post team to whittle down to its final 36 minute runtime – a huge challenge, but one I relished. Getting to see the final edits projected in the cinema last week was a fantastic way to sign off on the project.

What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

Rob Lewis - Unpicked 01
Rob Lewis – Unpicked

I’ve just finished a short music documentary about a really talented cellist, Rob Lewis. We spent a day filming Rob record one of his tracks at the historic Abbey Road Studios and interviewed him about the writing/recording process.

One of the things that makes Rob’s music stand out is that he uses a loop pedal to build layers, which makes it feel as though a whole orchestra is playing, instead of just one person. I wanted to emulate his musical style in the edit, so I cut an opening which introduced different elements of the song, which I then looped and layered underneath one another to build up to the start of the actual track. I think the end result is quite captivating and sums up Rob’s style well; it’s an edit I’m quite proud of!

What have you got coming up that you’re excited about?

Iiiiit’s Chriiiiistmaaas! It’s that time where things wind down a little after a very busy year and it’s nice to look back on the films we’ve made over the last twelve months and see what we’ve achieved. Then after a week of stuffing myself with stuffing (and turkey and mince pies and chocolate) it’s time to get back to work; I’m excited to see what 2019 has to offer!

Who’s inspiring you at the moment?

Bart Layton. I watched his film, American Animals last week which is a superb example of how to blend documentary with cinematic, reconstructed scenes. The plot is about four young men who mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history. I don’t want to say anymore, just watch it.

What have you seen recently that has blown your mind?

Fauve by Jeremy Comte is one of the best short films I’ve ever seen. Telling fully-formed, well-rounded stories about characters that feel real and deep in just 10-15 mins is so hard to do, and is where many shorts fall down. However Fauve just nails every aspect: the script, acting, locations, cinematography, edit, grade; exceptional.

Finally… Give us some words of wisdom!

You can’t always “just fix it in post” (Yes, I know, as is the case with most salient advice, no one will listen).

John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film
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