Im Ben, a freelance Camera Assistant/ Director of Photography based in the West Midlands specialising in Features/ HETV Drama as a Camera Assistant, and Narrative/ Music Videos/ Commercial Cinematography as a Director of Photography.
Currently, my work is split 50/50 down the middle, with half of my time spent working as a freelance Camera Assistant on Feature Films and HETV Drama, and the other half spent working as a freelance Director of Photography on short films, music videos, and corporate/commercial work (with occasionally some Gaffer work thrown in there for good measure).
On the camera assistant side, I've always had a technical mindset, which definitely helps me as an AC. Growing up I was certain that I'd become a mechanic like my dad, and always had a toolbox handy to disassemble and reassemble random bits around the house (not always successfully). That interest is definitely what caused me to become obsessed with working as an AC, and the constant learning curve is what keeps me drawn in today. I mostly work as a Focus Puller these days, but do still work as a 2nd AC for the occasional shoot. I started out as a trainee back in 2017, and did this for 2 years before stepping up to Clapper Loader/ 2nd AC. After another 2/3 years of Loading, I accidentally stepped up again to Focus Pulling/ 1st AC. I say accidentally, because I never really intended to step up that soon, but after a year of practically only working as a Focus Puller (despite labelling myself as a Loader), I decided I might as well embrace it and step up properly - which is where I am at now. I've been extremely lucky to work on some great projects as a Focus Puller, from cinema-released features, to high profile music videos, and big budget commercials, and in the process have amassed a decent amount of kit.
Whilst being a camera assistant fulfils my technical craving, working as a Director of Photography fills the more creative itch that got me interested in film in the first place. Unlike many people, who begin by making short films with their friends on cheap cameras, I was initially drawn in through lighting design, and its ability to change the mood/ tone of an image. As a teenager I would spend hours in my bedroom practicing lighting setups with cheap lights, and see how different setups would create different feelings. This excitement for lighting has never really gone away, and so working as a Director of Photography is always a great chance to merge the technical knowledge of my camera assisting experience, and the creativity of lighting design to serve a story. I think I can be quite picky with my projects, and only try to shoot stuff that I know either I can add something to, or I can learn something from. I'm not in any major rush to leave AC'ing behind and become a full-time DP (if I ever do) and so I only really work on projects that I'm passionate about - the benefit of which being that I'm always fully committed and dedicated to anything I do end up shooting.
I'm currently based in the West Midlands, which fortunately means I'm never too far from the likes of London, Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, etc. and can basically get to anywhere within 2 hours.
I have a full clean driving license, and a car to transport myself and my kit around!
If you want to get in touch about a potential project, or would simply like to introduce yourself, you can find me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org | (+44) 7905 206 528.