Nazri Ishak Photography | Malaysia's Wedding, Events & Portraits Photographer

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Working With The Best

Working With The Best

As a professional, I always look at oppoturnities to work with other professional in my field of work from time to time. I believe by working with other professional, we can learn new and share out skills with the other person. It’s part of the process of becoming a better person at what you do.

So one day I received a phone call from a Production Manager of a production company known for their reality shows asking me to work as an Assistant Stills Photographer. I was told that I will be assisting a top Hollywood professional in that project. Without much knowledge of who was that pro, I said yes. Simply because I saw the chance to learn more from someone with a lot of experience and passion.

The day came for me to meet my Principal Photographer, it was none other than 8-time Emmy Award winner, Scott Duncan. I admit I was starstrucked by his presence, as I’ve never met anyone who has achieved so much in his career. Straight away I knew that I’m in for a ride.

The shoot was for the Main Titles of The Contender Asia Season 2 and it was scheduled for 10 days.

Nothing much happened on the first day as Scott went on for final location recce and final schedule discussion. I was also had the chance to be introduced with his best friend and the Director of Photography for the shoot, Micheal Kopke. Kopke also reviewed my portfolio and gave me a few pointers in enhancing my work.

The fun starts on the 2nd day where we went to areas around KL for scenic shots, mainly KL skyline, environment and suchs. Scott was such a professional at his job, he helped the runners to carry the equipments himself. Certainly he had no problems with the crew for his willingness to do some “dirty job”. I was later told that it was because of his background as a documentary film maker that he had no qualms carrying around his equipments.

For the stills, Scott had the latest Canon 5D Mark II which he entrusted me to use. At that time, the camera had just been launched here in Malaysia. In his arsenal, he had with him 14mm f2.8L, 35mm f1.4L, 85mm f1.2L, 100mm f2.8L, and 300mm f4.0L to work with. Most of the time he had the 35mm f2.0L mounted on his 5D Mk II body as he used it to look for shots for his motion film camera.

Being a documentary film maker means he had to move quickly between shots and most of the time he had to trust his judgement of the scene with any usage of gadgets such as light meter or even a measuring tape. Everything was done spontaneously and to my surprise, all his calculation was correct. I managed to pick up this skill by logic after seeing him doing it for 4 consecutive days. Though not as perfect as he did it, I got the basics covered. Later on the skill grew on me and nowadays I too just depend on my eye to setup a scene.

Another important skill I picked up while working with him was the importance of multitasking given a certain room of time. Most of the time he had 3 cameras running at 3 different places around town. All this thanks to proper planning and organization.

Our shoot ended in 7 days with a massive shootout in a hangar in Subang. Here not only we did the promotional stills for the contestants, we also did the final intro headshots of them. It was all fun as he planned it well, both photo shoot and the motion shoot to be done in parallel to each other. It was like working in an assembly line where everything was done in proper order.

We wrapped the shoot for the Main Titles there and had a crew party that night.

Unfortunately something happened along the way between the network and the production company. The show was cancelled and nobody in the public had the chance to look at the Main Title sequence that was shot.

On the bright side, I learnt a lot during my short 7 day stint working as his assistant. All the hands-on and impromptu training he gave me was such an eye opener and gained me some new experiences that I can use in my future engagements.

No doubt on why he had won so many awards in his career. His professionalism and his willingness to share his knowledge made me respect him as a person. Given chance, I will want to work with him again.

So there, my experience in working with the best. Now, enjoy some behind the scene pictures taken during the working period.

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