Hi Everyone and Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2021 is a bit brighter than 2020!
Like many creative enterprises big and small, for most of 2020 I’ve been in “survival mode”. I don’t mind admitting it- we’ve not been able to shoot with external models since March 2020, I’ve had to take most of the remaining jobs I’d outsourced back in-house, and we’ve had to adjust our lives and our businesses to Ariel not travelling and not modelling for other people, too.
As our friend and long-standing member and contributor Merlin said in an email to me yesterday, the result is that RE is looking a bit forlorn. Not in terms of content! We’ve never missed an update, we’ve got a very exciting batch of new models to showcase from Alexander Lightspear and I’m about to commission a new batch of Lockdown Selfie shoots from our best models, too.
The bit that needs attention is the interface and site design. Behind the scenes it needs https: secure mode and the latest version of PHP. But what it needs most is a refresh of things like the members’ home page and the CSS layout so it works better with mobiles and on large screens.
This is my major technical project for 2021. I’m aiming to get the redesign and revamp done in time for the site’s 20th birthday. I’ll be rolling stuff out in waves over the next few months and asking for your feedback and suggestions as we go.
Artistically I’ve got four big projects in the works (and a lot of little ones too).
The first is to master my new video camera: I’ve invested in a new Sony FX9 camcorder now that we’ve moved to Sony E mount for the majority of our lenses. I’ve shot a couple of test videos with it and it has some really lovely features like continuously variable ND filters which nicely complement the cameras we’re currently using. For example we can now do smooth indoors-outdoors transitions, something we’ve never really had a good way to shoot before. I’m excited to start using it on bondage shoots.
The second is to experiment with shooting with Anamorphic lenses for an even more cinematic feel. I loved the experiments I’ve done so far but my composition and (especially) set and production design needs work, and the best way to learn is by making more bondage videos that way. I’ve now completed my line-up of lenses so I have a wide-angle, a normal and a telephoto, and I’ve got hold of a second-hand Panasonic GH5 which has a proper anamorphic shooting mode which will make focussing and composition much easier as you can view the de-squeezed image as you shoot.
The third is to revisit old shoot plans. I’ve got a folder full of emails dating back 20 years with ideas to shoot. I want to go back and find the ideas I wrote but didn’t shoot on the day for one reason or another. It will be a lot of fun to bring them to life with 20 years more experience and the resources of the modern RE bondage storeroom and photographic kit. Ariel and I are going to be working on this a lot for the next few months!
The fourth is to write a big long list of ideas for models to shoot for us for the Lockdown Selfies project. It’s weird writing shoot plans for stuff where I am not going to be present. I’m going to have to relearn how to do it. It’s a throwback to 25 years ago before I’d shot anything myself and was commissioning a lot more customs, in a way, which is quite nostalgic.
Oh and fifth I just remembered I bought a new camera gimbal just before the first lockdown which I’ve not experimented with much yet, too. I want to get back into doing planned camera moves with it, scripted in more like the way Slave Auction and Day in the Life were. Having a camera permanently mounted on the gimbal should make setting those shots up a lot easier than laying track and using a dolly. Especially as we’ll be shooting in our house, which has lots of rooms but not all that much space to lay track. The gimbal should be much more agile. I’m watching the Hollywood Camerawork course again to remind myself how to block these elaborate shots efficiently and creatively.
So there’s a lot in store for 2021! Email me at email@example.com if you’ve got suggestions for the site redesign or ideas for the bondage and artistic projects. I’ll be emailing the mailing list and posting here for feedback on specific things over the coming weeks and months.