Art competition show, 'Sky Landscape Artist of the Year', is produced by Storyvault for Sky Arts. The programme sees eight artists have four hours to complete a landscape painting of their view. Now in its fourth year, Procam has been facilitating the production since its inception. DoP Paul Harris, who has shot Sky Landscape Artist since its initial series, describes what it takes to run a long-standing show and how Procam’s expertise has helped the production.
What is it like shooting Landscape Artist of the Year?
Creating the show has seen us, over the years, travel all over the country with the team. We now have an incredible camera crew who help me create the show and have developed an amazing shooting style. It’s a combination of beautiful landscape scenery and narrative content with the artists. With the handheld shots, we aim to give the viewer a feeling of being in the artists’ pods with them while they paint. Whilst capturing the beauty of the landscapes with long lens shots, dramatic crane vistas and Steadicam shots.
What did the Director and you set out to achieve with this shoot?
With the schedule being very tough we must move quickly but smoothly around the artists so not to disturb them too much. We came up with the long lens approach to help the artists feel a sense of being in the moment with their art. While the PD’s are conducting interview, Southern and I are always setting up the next scene together to get the best use of the incredible backgrounds and to get the story across to the viewers to allow them to feel part of the whole production process.
What cameras were chosen and why?
From the very beginning, we shot on Sony F800s. Initially, this was because the disc system worked well for the volume of content we had to shoot. When Sky Arts asked for a more filmic look and introduced UHD, the natural transition was Sony F55. Firstly, because of its capacity to shoot in 4K and secondly, because of the simplicity of the camera. We shot this season of Landscape Artist on eight Sony F55 bodies and Canon lenses, supplied by Procam.
What must you be mindful of when shooting a long-standing television show like Landscape Artist?
To maintain the consistency of the production, I try to keep the cameras crew as consistent as possible. In total, there are 19 in the camera department. Seven operators, seven assistants, one focus puller and from Procam, we have two DITs and two more running media, shooting GVs and trouble shooting, if necessary. If ever I have a new setup or situation that requires new camera settings, filters or a certain shooting style, then the Procam crew seem to know just what I’m thinking. It’s a perfect team. Procam is an established facilities company and have a huge arsenal of camera equipment. There’s never an issue if I need a different lens, camera, tripod or anything that matters. They’re always on call to help me. The team in Park Royal are incredible.
For more, see the press coverage in Behind the Lens (issue 3 2019)