Roland Denning

Roland Denning

Roland Denning is an independent filmmaker and writer based in London. He was a lighting cameraman/ documentary cameraman for two decades, shooting everything from feature drama to rock promos. He still shoots when he can't afford to employ anyone else. His satirical novel, The Beach Beneath The Pavement was published in 2011.

Those words will either evoke a twinge, possibly a tear, of nostalgia or a baffled shrug. It might sound like a relic from Britain’s colonial days, but it was neither made of rubber nor meant to enumerate it. It was, however, once an essential part of film post production.

Should you ever expect people to work for nothing?

Published in Production

Being asked to work for nothing is part and parcel of the production world. But should you ever do it, and should you ever ask anyone else to do it? Roland Denning rounds up his series on low budget filmmaking.

Where you focus your energy when you have a low budget will make or break your production. Luckily Roland Denning is on hand with this advice.

What's the smallest viable crew for your production?

Published in Production

The pressure is on for crews to be as small as possible when budgets are tight. Or when producers are greedy. But when is cutting down on the crew a false economy?

We don’t talk much about actors and acting on RedShark, but they are a crucial part of any drama, and also an element that lets down so many early attempts at shooting drama. Like everything in filmmaking, acting is a skill and directing actors involves just as much technical skill as cinematography.

We see them all the time. The camera demo reel of sunsets, twinkling city lights, sun filtering through the forest, beautiful women in floaty gowns, the beach at dusk, craggy old men’s faces… But such reels tell you nothing about what the camera is like to work with.

Review: stunned us when it was announced with just how small it is. But it was the price that really got our attention. Size and price are one thing, but can it deliver the goods when it comes to sound quality? Roland Denning finds out.

In the last three decades of the 20th century, when film was still the dominant medium, there was one piece of equipment that, close to being universal, was an essential piece of kit for the smallest documentary to the grandest feature film. It was the Swiss-made Nagra audio recorder. And perhaps the most definitive of these was the Nagra IV series.

Can documentaries ever tell the truth?

Published in Production

What can we believe these days? The internet has vastly increased the amount of information available to everyone, but not only is a lot of that information false, but we no longer trust the systems that distinguish truth from falsehood. Many look to documentary filmmakers to reveal the world as it really is but, increasingly and perhaps rightly, people question the veracity of what they see on their screens. Documentary film was originally defined as ‘the creative interpretation of reality’. Today even that simple phrase seems problematic.

Roland Denning continues his journey to find out whether the Sony really and truly is an Aaton documentary camera for the digital age.

The Sony PXW-Z90 - The perfect documentary camera?

Published in Production

The popularity of large chip cameras has often meant the sidelining of smaller sensor devices. But if documentary is your focus, a camera with a large sensor can be more a hinderance than a benefit. Here, Roland Denning tells of his experiences using a as an Aaton style documentary rig. Can it cut the mustard?

We have all got used to massive changes in technology over the last few decades. What seems like science fiction one year becomes commonplace the next. But in film and video, what are the things that have stayed the same?

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