Bafta Craft Special Award recipient and multi-camera director Hamish Hamilton is about to start testing the use of 4K cameras on fashion and music shows.
Hamilton, together with production and events company Done and Dusted, is keen to find out how a single Ultra HD device could be used to replace two or three cameras at the next Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
“For some shots, we have to stack three lenses together,” said Hamilton. “But we might be able to get two feeds from one camera for close-ups and full length body shots. “There are some exciting possibilities, and once we’ve completed the tests, we’ll work out more applications. But in the world I live in, that would seem to be a good use.”
Hamilton is more used to covering awards ceremonies than featuring in them, but on Sunday he will be presented with the Bafta Craft Special Award “in recognition of his ability to showcase unique live spectacles through multicamera- based television directing”.
Hamilton’s long list of credits includes some of the most high-profile live events of recent years, such as the Oscars, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Super Bowl Halftime Show and the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics.
Technology is an integral part of his job – if a prompter fails or the talkback system goes down, for example, it can send a programme into disarray.
“Because I’m so dependent on technology to get the job done, I have to keep across what’s new,” he said. “Cameras, sound equipment or prompters can all change the way a production’s run and how a programme sounds and looks. But I don’t want to be a slave to technology – it’s not about reverse engineering kit into a production.”
He said the arrival of digital cameras with large sensors and a shallow depth of field allowed him to shoot previous Victoria’s Secret shows “in a language more akin to fashion photography”.
“When Arri released the Alexa, we extended the runway so that when the models hit their mark, they were sharply in focus, but the background was nice and soft,” he said. “Hopefully, the viewers just thought ‘wow, that looks amazing’, but didn’t realise that technically something was different.”
The producers Hamilton enjoys working with most are those who allow him to get involved as early as possible so he can help to shape the event for viewers at home.
“If I step into a truck and just say: ‘Camera 1, camera 2, camera 3’, then all I’m really doing is rearranging a few chairs on the deck of a ship,” he explained. “I want to pick the chairs, choose what direction the boat’s pointing and decide when it pulls into the harbour.”