Syrup dripping from a spoon; flour drifting into a basin; the steam rising from a simmering pot. Watching Simply Nigella, one of Britain’s most popular cookery and lifestyle shows, is enough to make anyone hungry. It’s well known for its cinematic production values, which are enough to tempt even the laziest back to the kitchen.
Robin Fox, the DP for the most recent series, explained how he achieved these effects when I caught up with him at Sheffield Doc Fest, the UK’s premier event for the factual programming community. The festival brings together directors, producers, editors, shooters, commissioners and buyers to watch films, discuss and do deals.
While the media industry tends to focus on the capital, Sheffield Doc Fest has grown into a major draw, with 32,000 people attending this year – including around 3,500 industry delegates from around the world – and talks by the likes of Michael Moore, Louis Theroux and Sir David Attenborough.
I interviewed with Robin after an excellent discussion panel organised by ARRI, which brought together established filmmakers to talk about the ‘The Art of Cinematography’ in factual work. Alongside director Nick Read and Olly Wiggins of SO Media TV, with host Brian Woods of True Vision, he talked how he approaches his work and the challenges of making factual films more cinematic.
In our interview, he gives us some insights into how Simply Nigella is shot and lit – he uses only one camera, and frequently employs LED lights. He also explains why he chose to use the ARRI Amira.
The venue was rather noisy – apologies. Think of it as testifying to how popular and lively Sheffield Doc Fest has become since its launch in 1994.
You can find out more about Robin and his work on his website.