At Core SWX, we always keep up to date and love to see what people are posting on social media with our gear. It’s a great way to recognize and get to know who our clients are, which is how we discovered Dan Barham, Director of Photography at Union Production Company. At the production company, they use Hypercore 98 batteries for their RED Epic Dragon, as well as PowerBase 70 batteries for their Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and are thrilled with both of them. It was awesome to get to know more about Dan Barham, his creative process, his production company, what their favorite project was and more, down below.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your career?
I’m originally from Manchester, UK, but have been living in Vancouver, BC for the last ten years. Back home I went to school for software engineering, but quickly realized I had little interest in sitting in an office for forty hours a week, so in 2005 I made the conscious effort to try out photography, and have never looked back. Actually that’s not true at all, I’ve looked back a ton of times. Sometimes I definitely miss the regular pay packets, but such is life, eh?
I started out as a stills photographer, shooting what I knew best at the time – mountain biking. It seemed easy enough, I was already out there on my bike, and I found I had a knack for composing a nice image. Over the years I honed my craft shooting for a bunch of commercial and editorial clients around the world, but I was finding myself in a pretty big rut, creatively, and also was beginning to notice the crossover of stills & video happening. I’d just picked up a Canon 5D Mark 2, tried the video mode out and was instantly hooked. Ever since then I’ve concentrated more and more on motion – as much as I still appreciate the value of a great still, I’m absolutely enthralled with the storytelling power of film – and been lucky enough to expand my client base to encompass all kinds of work; in addition to my outdoor work I’ve had fantastic opportunities shooting corporate films, commercials, TV shows and everything in between. Exciting times, for sure.
2. Is there a specific title (Photographer, Cinematographer, Director, Editor, etc.) you like to take on more than the others?
Ask me on four separate days and I’ll give you four different answers. Part of what I absolutely love about my job is the variety of work I do on a daily basis. Being a partner in a small production agency means I get to be hands on with all aspects of a production, something I relish. Life’s too short to do the same thing all the time, I reckon. I suppose you could argue that, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” could hold true, but it’s not something I’m too worried about. As long as each project is better than the last, and the checks keep rolling in, we’re going in the right direction.
3. What is your creative process when tackling a project?
Step 1: Get client brief. Step 2: Have a bath. Step 3: Get ‘er done.
The bath bit is probably the most important. Seriously, it’s where I get all my best ideas. I’m not someone who can just pop creativity into my head at will, I have to let it happen naturally, and just chilling with a beer in the bath seems to be best place. I’ll just be hanging out in there, doing not a lot of anything, then all of a sudden it’ll hit me, so I’ll jump out and write it down as soon as possible. My wife always yells at me for the splashing but if she’s not going to buy me a waterproof notebook then really she has to deal with the consequences.
4. What was your favorite project you worked on and why?
Earlier this year, we participated in the Dominica Film Challenge, where six groups of two were invited to the Caribbean paradise of Dominica. Over the course of a week we shot the most amazing footage and met some brilliant people, and made this little film: http://green-triangles.com/
Sadly, in August, Dominica was hit really hard by Tropical Storm Erika, destroying much of the island’s infrastructure and ruining thousands of lives in the process. It makes our film bittersweet but we’re hoping it helps, in any small way, to raise awareness of the disaster relief efforts.
5. What Core SWX products do you use, and in your experience, what benefits come along with using them?
We use the Hypercore 98 v-mounts on the Red Epic Dragon we shoot with, plus the PB-70 with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The PB-70 is great because without it, the Blackmagic’s internal battery lasts for approximately two-thirds of sweet FA. However, with the battery base we can actually enjoy the killer shots it produces without constantly worrying if it’ll make it through a take or not. The Hypercores are brilliant, all round. They’re light enough we can use them on a gimbal, are rock solid and the little display at the back makes them look more badass than other batteries. Let’s be honest, it’s important. The only thing I’d improve is to put a little video game on the back, so I have something to occupy myself through all those boring talking head shoots. Kidding! Just kidding.
6. Aside from your achievements and accomplishments so far, do you have more you’d like to work towards in your future?
Everything. Every day I find out how little I know about anything.