Thursday, 8 September 2011

Filming with the Love Man in a Supernova

I was fortunate to be invited by my friend Ankit Love to round up a makeup and hair team for his latest music video to be released in early October. His ambitious project is called Beethoven Burst and is the main promotional video for his new album 'Forever'. Initially when he invited me to work on the video I was under the impression that simple, natural film makeup would be required. However, the idea quickly developed in his overactive mind into a full sci-fi short film complete with mermaids in space, a whole spaceship which he commissioned to be built in Elstree Studios in London, a full live band and a location day in Dover. This presented me with an amazing opportunity to come up with original, practical yet knockout makeup and hair designs which was thrilling for me.

Two of the most important aspects for myself during the prep were getting together an amazing and reliable team and making sure all the makeup and hair products and tools were covered. It took a lot of rapid searching to find my team as there was not much prep time, and I do think I lucked out on the amazing ladies that I found. My right-hand woman was Mili Currie, herself an established MUA with mountains of energy. Sofi Gorsuch and Nicola Thomas headed up the hair faction and did an amazing job making the hair concepts come to life - complete with headdresses that had to stay put while the dancers executed some hectic moves!

As for what makeup to purchase, it was no contest as I headed straight for the Illamasqua flagship store on Beak Street with my list. What a pleasure purchasing the new Skin Base Foundation in various shades, and the new and truly silky transluscent powder. I cannot over-emphasise how wonderful the Illamasqua staff are. They truly understand customer service without being overbearing, which is a subtle art. I left, as always, satisfied and uplifted.

There were loads of other bits that I had to shop around for as well, and in the end it was most fulfilling to sit down and go through my itinerary, making sure that everything was checked off. This is a shot the whole kit laid out for checking:

My 90% cruelty-free makeup and hair kit!!! (The MAC stuff is old...)

Some key cruelty-free products that I could not have done without on the shoot were:

Illamasqua primer, foundations, powders, eye-shadows, blushers, mascara etc.
Barry M Pigments and nail varnish
Weleda Calendula Cream
Urban Decay eyeshadow
GOSH nail varnish
Cass Art glitters and faux gold and silver flakes
Superdrug basics

My friend Jennifer Essex was the choreographer for the film - you can see my review of one of her shows here. Herself a well established contemporary dancer and choreographer, she has just been given a role in the new film Anna Karenina choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which is a huge achievement. You can visit Jen's website for more information about her work and performance dates.

I can waffle on about every detail of the 4-day filming, but I think it is best illustrated through the medium of photographs. All shots © Paul Baichoo and Jennifer Essex.

DAY 1: Greenscreen shooting at Flying by Foy studios, London:

Mermaid on wires!

Leading lady Egija Zviedre looking regal!

DAYS 2 & 3: On set at Elstree Studios, London:

Touch-ups between takes.

Myself and two of our lovely assistant MUAs Yelena and Mutsumi.

Mili doubling as costumier.

Me and my right-hand lady Mili.

More touch ups with a nice, atmospheric feel!

The band in full costume and makeup.

Mr Ankit Love, artist and Director extraordinaire multitasking as always whilst in hair and makeup.

Some makeup shots from the set:

Bridge officers makeup and hair modelled by leading lady Egija.

Ritual ladies' makeup and hair.

My Very Art Deco makeup and hair design for the band,
this one applied by myself, hair by Nicola Thomas.

DAY 4: On location in Dover, fighting against the tide with a full crew!

These boys are hardcore!

Nice and breezy!

Ankit and his team hard at work.

My favourite shot of Ankit and Jen.

It's a WRAP!

Then it was off to the pub. Nice one. 

Watch this space for the final cut.

Many thanks to: 


Kali Arc productions:

Back with a Bang!

After a small hiatus I am pleased to be back on my blog and excited to be able to share new experiences and discoveries with all my readers. As a warm up, I’m going to post a variety of images from some test shoots with Paul Baichoo. Personally I love testing and think it is imperative practice for any makeup artist, to help one learn how concepts materialise and how different products react under studio light as opposed to natural light. 

Shoots always present challenges and testing builds my confidence so that on jobs I feel prepared and able to cope, improvise, innovate and make the look work. Testing is also imperative for learning how to work with different models, skin types, bone structures, hair types and tools. I personally never purchase a new brush or product and then immediately use it on a pro job. I will always wait until I have tested it so I am prepared for any potentially unexpected results. And of course possibly the most important skill I can hone through testing is speed. Improved technique always leads to more efficient, speedy application. I do not want to sacrifice quality because of time pressure, but so often on shoots there is less time than is desirable. Testing helps me minimise loss of quality through improved technique and inside-out knowledge of my kit.

All images © Paul Baichoo

Above makeup and styling inspired by the strength of Grace Jones
and the elegance of Serge Lutens perfume advertisements from the 1970s.
Karen definitely embodied the energy I was hoping to capture here.

The above image was inspired by Byzantine paintings of Mary with Baby Jesus.
Concept, headdress and makeup by Sarah Frasca.
Baby Jesus spraypainted gold by Paul Baichoo, causing much toxic damage to his person.
Styling: Massive group effort.
Art requires dedication and personal sacrifice people!

Working bridal hair and makeup with Jenny.

Things got a bit Linda Evangelista below:

A lovely edit by Paul:

Below one of my favourite tests with the amazing Katya:

Yes, Katya has a goat skull on her head. Hey, whatever works.

That's all for now folks x