#BehindtheAds with DOP Ed Moore
Quick fire Q&As with those behind the scenes at Ad Land – designed to give you the low down on the numerous people that go into making ads, and getting them to air.
Kicking off our #BehindtheAds features is Director of Photography Ed Moore.
DOP and Camera Operator, Ed has worked on shows including Atlantis, Poldark and Dr Who, as well as having several film and commercial credits to his name.
Visuals are extremely important in advertising. With only twenty or thirty seconds to play with, both your visuals and your voiceover have got to work hard to get your client’s message across.
On a commercial shoot, the DOP is responsible for deciding on camera positions, lighting the set, and ultimately translating the director’s vision into shots a viewer can understand.
We spoke to Ed about what being a DOP involves, some of the favourite items in his tool kit, and the influence of Jurassic Park.
Q) An oldie but a goodie…best thing about being a DOP?
A) The ability to achieve creative expression via technical means — the perfect fit for me! I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Q) With all the technical advances, is being a DOP today more demanding now than it used to be?
A) DOPs have always had to keep on top of a changing technical landscape so I’d say that element has stayed pretty similar, even if the details have changed. It’s all about translating the director’s vision into reality. If I’ve done my job right the director, agency and client get the exact (or better!) results they were after, the producer has everything within budget, and everyone’s happy. Sometimes it takes a lot of paddling under the water to achieve that but it’s very satisfying if you can make it look easy!
Q) Favourite camera to work with for a commercial shoot?
A) We’re spoilt for choice these days for fantastic cameras – often I defer to the VFX and post team as to what they would prefer. The Red Epic with Dragon sensor is superb and shoots 6K – great for VFX. And the Arri Alexa is incredibly robust and produces beautiful images.
Q) What is the most useful item in your tool kit, and why?
A) Probably a simple polystyrene board, painted black on one side. Can bounce light back or use the black side to remove light as necessary. Costs practically nothing and can deliver a fantastic look just on its own. Wouldn’t leave home without a few!
Q) Would you say you have a particular visual style?
A) I would like to think I respond to the demands of the creative brief and the director’s vision rather than stamping my own look on everything. Left to my own devices however I do lean towards a glossy, “better than life” look that often works really well for commercials.
Q) If you could invent one piece of technology that would make shooting easier, what would it be?
A) I’m always needing to diffuse the sunlight to make everything look beautiful but it often requires big textiles attached to huge cherrypickers and a lot of rigging. If I could have a remote controlled cloud that I could move around and resize at will I would be a very happy DP : )
Q) Favourite film, and why.
A) Without a doubt, Jurassic Park. It came out when I was ten and I dragged every member of my family to see it several times. It was the first time it dawned on me that films were something that people made, rather than just things you watched.
Q) Oddest moment in your career?
A) I do often find myself holding a camera in some very strange places… crawling backwards into the darkness of a WW2 submarine’s torpedo tube was one; another was being strapped backwards into a large plastic elephant attached to a theme park ride to shoot the actors in the following compartment.
Q) What would you save in a fire?
A) Any electronic device that contains my painstakingly collected lists of directors’ and producers’ phone numbers! I can rebuild the house if I’m still working!
As if you needed another treat after all that! But here you go…a picture paints a thousand words, so to kick off our #BehindtheAds features in style, we thought we’d give you a taste of how we made the National Express TV ad, recently produced for One Black Bear. See if you can spot Ed, our lovely DOP for the project.