Enjoying It All: Profile - Mark Moreve

Name: Mark Moreve

Age: 38

Home town: London

Current base: London

Occupation: Lighting Cameraman/Director of Photography.

Current assignments:

I mainly work for the BBC. At the moment I’m shooting a daytime program for them called Homes Under the Hammer. I’ve also been shooting a BBC4 Documentary with the Canon XF305e camera. As well, I’m in the middle of doing a banking corporate on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Have you been busy?
Last year was manic. I had a busy start to this year and the rest looks promising. Hey I’m freelance... I could always do with some more work!

Shooting where?
Mainly in and around the UK but I had a nice 12 day commercial shoot before Christmas in Switzerland. I shot video and stills; that convergence thing happening! The shoot was made even better as the hotel made a mistake: instead of giving me a normal room I was given a rather lavish suite overlooking Lake Geneva. I felt it would have been wrong to complain!

Where have you shot?
All over the world from Mongolia and China to North And South America and extensively throughout Europe.

What types of productions have you mostly shot?
Mainly TV documentary and light entertainment. I’ve also done quite a bit of drama and corporate work. I enjoy it all. What was your first shooting job? As Second Cameraman, I shot a highway code video on Betacam SP. I remember being very nervous but it was quite a big production, so I had to snap out of it pretty sharpish. The job went very well and the video ended up being number one in the video charts for quite some time.

Most recent, interesting assignments?
At the moment I’m really enjoying shooting a documentary for BBC4 about an old actor called Victor Spinetti. He’s the only guy that has appeared in all the Beatles movies and he took us to The Ivy (a very posh restaurant) the other day after a shoot, just to say thanks. What a lovely guy. The director is a really great chap as well, who can see a shot and knows what he wants. It’s really great working with people like that.

You offer a one-man band service: Does this sometime become a bit of a burden, especially when it’s ‘all happening!’ on set?
Yes. But if I agree to do the job then it’s never a burden. I always chat to the client about one man banding, as sound recordists do a lot more than just record sound. They are an integral part of the crew who always help out with lighting, rigging, seeing your back when tracking backwards hand held, even driving and parking the crew van – which means I can be on set getting the lights out and setting up.

Not having a sound recordist can be a total false economy. I do it as I have to keep up with work trends and ever-decreasing budgets – not because I think it’s a good idea.

With the convergence of DSLRs shooting HD video (aka Canon 5D Mark II), are you heading this way, gear-wise? Pluses? Minuses?
I have a full HDSLR rig as I photographed the first feature film (Love Loss) to be shot on one. I love the Genius gear for a couple of reasons, mainly because it’s very well made and the follow focus has no travel in it. But it’s also very well priced. As the saying goes, “nobody can afford the cheapest!”

It’s a bit of a pain not having proper outputs and inputs on the camera. Personally I haven’t found a monitor I actually trust, although the Marshall seven-inch is the best I’ve seen. I’m sure all this will change over time. We’ll see new camera models addressing these issues.

I love the convergence idea. I’ve always been a cameraman but now I also get to do a lot of stills as well, which I love. I recently shot a video and stills in Mumbai for a client and they went on to use the stills in design competitions. It won nine awards and my stills took 14 pages in an American design magazine. It’s really great to think that I may have helped win those awards with my stills.

You recently worked with Micro and MicroPro Litepanels. What was your experience with them?
I think they’re pretty good at the end of the day. They are just top lights that blast the subject with light, and I like the fact that they take AA batteries.

How much 16:9 do you shoot?
Can’t remember the last time I shot 4:3 – everything seems to be 16:9.

Current equipment you use?
I am shooting on my XF305 and I now own five camera kits: three HD and two SD. I’m also working with a lot of XDCAM HD and the 5D Mark II.

Other gear you have access to?
I can get every format. I’ve shot on all of them. I feel that a cameraman these days needs to have knowledge of all the available camera systems and formats.

Equipment “wish list”?
I’ve been meaning to buy a 2.5kw HMI for some time now. I’d also like a new MacBook Pro for FCP editing. My current machine is five years old now.

What piece of gear do you wish someone might make?
A tripod with a coffee cup holder!

Best thing about your job?
Meeting new people and making friends. Producers are now more willing to take a local crew whose previous work they can see on YouTube or Vimeo, so they aren’t taking such a risk anymore

Worst thing about your job?
I don’t like the constant cold calling and rejection from people who don’t know you. Some people think they can be as rude as they like to freelancers, knowing the freelancer won’t say anything as they are to fearful to lose a contract or maybe a new contact. Pathetic!

Dullest assignments and why?
Corporate results time around April, when I shoot a load of conferences. But hell! It pays the bills. Other people I work with also think it’s dull, so we always have a laugh.

Hairiest/scariest assignments and why?
I don’t do hairy scary! It’s really only a job and certainly not worth taking a bullet for.

What’s your taste in music?
Very varied, everything and anything.

Favorite food?
Are you paying? I’m very easy going really. Always enjoys an Indian curry though and a few beers with the lads after a rugby match.

What country would you most like to shoot in?
I enjoyed Mongolia and would love the chance to go back. I haven’t been to New Zealand, so that would be great, what with the Rugby world cup over there. Maybe anybody reading would like me to come over and shoot for them. Only kidding.

Well actually, I’d love to do it.

Contact details:
T: 01483-211063
E: mmoreve@mac.com
W: mjmpictures.co.uk