A Postcard from Jaems Grant ACS

A postcard from



Thought I’d let you know what I’ve been up to.

In November 2011 I went to Tasmania to shoot a Dramatised Documentary / Drama ‘First Fagin’ for Wild Fury Productions. It was a story about a chap named Ikey Solomon, one of Australia’s most infamous convicts, who it has been claimed was the character that Charles Dickens based Fagin in “Oliver Twist” on.

I’ve worked in Tassy a number of times and have always thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The director Helen Gaynor, First AD and Art Dept all from Melbourne, felt it was very much like Melbourne was about 10 years ago.

We all live in the same country but it seems that a number of film making rules are different. Like for instance, setting up a 12×12 sail cloth in the middle of the road and no one bothers. Drivers just stop and wait or just slowly drive around, smiling.

This was a tough shoot as time was against us but I’m very pleased with the results. Shot on the Sony F3 and recorded on an external hard drive at 100mbs. A difficult camera to work with, but it does give some great results.

It’s pretty incredible over in Tasmania as there are plenty of very old untouched buildings within an hour’s drive of Hobart. This was great for our show, which was based in the mid 1800’s.

Then I was off to Turkey in January 2012 for a winter shoot with my friends; Producer John Moore and Director Wain Fimeri for yet another Gallipoli based film.

John and Wain were responsible for the film “Charles Bean’s Great War”, and this one’s called “Gallipoli from Above”. Based on Hugh Dolan’s book 36 Days: The Untold Story Behind the Gallipoli Landings, “Gallipoli From Above” sets out to change forever the way Australians think about Gallipoli.

I love Turkey and have always thoroughly enjoyed myself when shooting there. The Turks make me laugh as they do their best to make you comfortable and most welcome. We would ask for a small lunch and two hours and 5 courses later we would stagger off back to work!

I have included a shot I took outside a restaurant that made me laugh, because it was just at the end of the tourist season and they would do anything to get you in. This particular restaurant was empty!

We had a very small crew of 5, and I had a wonderful camera assistant Kerem, who took great delight in correcting my English. There is quite a substantial film industry in Turkey and most use the Alexa or the Red cameras. We used the Sony 900R for portability, cost and its format due to the programmed possible theatrical release.

There were a component of aerials on the show so we employed this very versatile small helicopter that used a 5D camera mounted below its wings and was able to get some great footage. I have included a photo of the two operators.

Back to Melbourne to do a week of re-enactments and to start pre-production work on a television feature “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab”. Set in Melbourne during 1860/1880’s it is a murder mystery tale that we all agreed needed a modern style and had to be shot in 4 weeks.

An observational active handheld camera style was the go and being set in mostly heritage-listed buildings that had strict rules about moving furniture and protection of walls at all times, the AD said; “we have 200 hours to get this so let’s go”.

That said, we had some scenes that were quite stylised and the coverage and the lighting was emphasized. For example fog filters, that had not seen the light of day for years were used at night. We shot on two Alexa’s from Cameraquip with an assortment of zooms and standards lenses. We recorded 422 HQ and 444 for green screen and plate shots.

As it turned out we really pushed the boundaries and had a great time doing it.

The crew, comprising Gaffer; Ruru Reedy, Grip; Liew Higgins, Peter Falk ACS as Second Operator and Cameron Dunn, Camera Assistant were all brilliant and it was one of the most enjoyable shoots I have been on. Have just started the grading at Digital Pictures and Margot McDonald, the Producer, is paying me for my time. Great stuff!

The picture is of the crew rugged up on a cold night for a rig shot of a traveling Hansom Cab.

Now in June 2012 I am involved in setting up and shooting a new series for the ABC and Time Productions. It’s 13 episodes of contemporary drama with Chris Noonan (“Babe” “Vietnam” and more recently “Crownies”) as the set up director.
Cannot say much now, but I am looking forward to working with the wonderful ABC crew down here in Melbourne.

Cheers from a busy Jaems.