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In a feature with Shots, Film Director and Founding Partner of Sweetshop Melanie Bridge reflects on the gear that has accompanied her on her journey behind the lens, from her first camera crush to her most curious set-ups.

 

“I was seven when I first picked up a camera. It was my mum’s… I can still remember the smell: a mixture of leather and rubber.”

 

First camera
I was seven when I first picked up a camera. It was my mum’s camera and had a Zeiss lens, which she informed me was really special. I can still remember the smell: a mixture of leather and rubber. I was interested in magic tricks and wondered if there was some way of creating a magical illusion in a photo.

 

My granddad, who was an amateur photographer, told me how to take a picture of a person sitting inside a bottle. To me that sounded amazing! He explained I had to take a photo of a bottle and then rewind the film and take a photo of a person in the same position and it would look like they were inside the bottle (a simple double exposure).

 

I didn’t really get it but I tried it anyway, positioning the bottle carefully and getting my little sister to make herself really small like she was trying to squeeze herself inside it. I had to wait weeks for that photo to be printed. I was so excited to see it – and then so disappointed in the result. I had completely missed! Here it is, the first picture I ever took.

 

Most unusual set-up
The most unconventional set-up I’ve used is also the most lo-fi. The idea for the ad (for Dulux paint) called for an animated mural to be painted onto a house before your eyes. To make it look as real as possible we shot a time-lapse from dawn to dusk with the camera moving all the way around the house using a 5D camera. We worked out how many frames we needed and plotted out our track, laying it all the way around the house, with a dolly and a small crane so we could move the camera up and down the walls. Every five minutes we moved the camera slightly and took another frame. The result is a one-shot camera move all the way around a house with the light changing from dawn to dusk. We created the animation in post. It looked entirely convincing.

 

This article was first published in shots on 17 November 2017.