Sheffield Doc Fest 2016: Nick Read on shooting cinematic feature docs with the Canon C300

Nick Read is an acclaimed filmmaker who not only directs, but often shoots his own feature documentaries. His latest films have taken him from a prison for murderers in the icy cold of Siberia, to behind the scenes at the world famous Bolshoi Ballet. His camera of choice for both these films was the Canon C300.

Read has over 25 years in the business, starting work as a news and documentary cameraman covering events like the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was only later that he branched out into directing his own documentaries.

At the ARRI ‘The Art of Cinematography’ event at the Sheffield Doc Fest I caught up with Read to discuss his work, his methods and his gear. In the video above he explains how he uses a C300 without a rig most of the time, juggling lenses that he wears about his body. As he points out in the video, his handheld, rig-less method goes against the thinking of many documentary cameramen. He explains that, set up his way, his kit allows him to respond to situations quickly and not miss things.

I was fascinated to hear why he often shoots his own material, and also the circumstances where he would prefer to work with another camera person. Watching his work it is clear that he is not only an excellent storyteller, but has a fantastic eye – a rare combination in the world of documentary.

Sheffield Doc Fest is the UK’s premier event for the factual programming community. The festival brings together directors, producers, editors, shooters, commissioners and buyers to watch films, talk and do deals. This year 32,000 people attended – including around 3,500 industry delegates from around the world.

You can find out more about Nick and his work on his website.

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