Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Archive for the ‘Short Courses and Workshops’ Category




I wonder why every talk nowadays is called a Masterclass?   Anyway having edited since the Stone Age, I’ve picked up a few tips over the years, so next Tuesday evening at Salisbury Arts Centre I’m going to run though some of things I’ve learnt.  ..I have actually edited news using video tape and marking it with chinagraph pencil.   …but I won’t be demonstrating that. 🙂    I’m fiming all day in London and racing back for it.  So assuming John Bruce remembers to pick me up from the Salisbury station I should be there on time.

Here’s the official blurb.

“Fix it in post!” – Editing with Phil Peel

Award winning filmmaker Phil Peel has worked on over 50 short films, screened at festivals all over the world. After leaving the BBC, he founded and developed the Film Course at Salisbury (now Wiltshire) College, before taking over as Course Leader in the BA Film Production at the Arts University at Bournemouth.

He was one of only five English filmmakers to be supported by Creative England to attend the Talent Lab development programme at the 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Apart from his work as a writer/director, Phil currently freelances as editor/colour grader in corporate, music, arts and drama. He’s used virtually every edit system, including 16mm film, Avid, Premiere Pro & Final Cut, and is presently working on FCPX, Da Vinci Resolve and After Effects.

In this Masterclass Phil will look at how editing has evolved, exploring scenes from feature films and music videos. He’ll also show some of the techniques he’s developed for speed editing at recent festivals, and how new technologies have revolutionised post production.

Bar will be open from 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start.

I just ran a directing course for Southampton Film Week. It was originally going to be two days, but ended up as a single day.

It was quite difficult trying to figure out what to cover in a single day.  ( The last directing course I ran was 8 weeks long! )

There are so  many aspects to successful film directing. So rather than give a general overview I decided to pick a couple.

1. Where to put the camera?

2 How to get the right actors and how to block through a scene with them.


Where to put the camera?

This apparently simple decision goes to the heart of directing. Here’s  some of the considerations and some advice on how to get better at doing it..

1. Composition  – traditional photographic skill.  – get a stills camera – take photos.

2. Sequential Composition – putting together a series so they tell a story – learn to edit in camera.

3. How to fool the audience into thinking you’re a professional. Don’t zoom or pan.  …or track ..or tilt.

4. Lens choice – effect on perspective – using focus to isolate.   Learn about lenses.  Did I mention not zooming?

5. Simple dialogue scenes. Eyelines.  Crossing the line.  Why I cross the line.  – It’s OK  – but you need to learn how and when to do it.

6. Storyboards  – Why I don’t use Storyboards.  –  they leave the editor few choices  – are often unfilmable – and don’t allow for the actors input.

7. Shot descriptions – learn the language for good communication with the camera operator.

8. Multi- character dialogue scene.  Forget the eyelines. Use character looking left or right instead.

How to get the right actors and how to block through a scene with them.

Your film is only as good as the performances.

1. Casting –  How to attract good actors.    – get a good script. How?  Use a script reader.  Try  Lucy at

2. How to run auditions.  Be professional  ..It’s a two way process. Actors are choosing you as well.  Even if an actor seems perfect for the role, why you might not select them.

3. Staging, blocking and shooting a four character scene, so it feels natural for the actors and looks good.

4. Block and shoot your master first, then come in for the closer shots.


Many thanks to the actors – Hannah Timms  and  Itchen College drama students  Holly McCachlan, Toni Marlow and Hayden Covent.

Photos to come.





Ex students work on BBC tonight

Posted by Phil On February - 27 - 2012

Two programmes on BBC tonight with contributions from my ex students. Firstly the David Hockney documentary filmed by Neil Harvey, then followed up by a documentary about the inbreeding of pedigree dogs with Hermina Campbell as assistant producer.
Both really excellent programmes.

Kids in Care

Posted by Phil On August - 7 - 2011

Well I’m in the middle of a major edit session.   A 30 minute reality style drama documentary for Bournemouth Council about and with Kids in Care. We‘ve been filming over 6 months and there’s over 500Gbytes of video.


Though not in the original plan, we ended up filming on 3 different cameras and formats, so with Final Cut Pro  I have to wait while the sequences render, so at the moment I have a 5 4 minute wait, so rather than sit, get frustrated and bite my fingernails as I did yesterday, I though it would be more stimulating to write up my blog about the filming experience.

The video is planned to be used for kids coming into Care and to tell them about how the system works, who they will deal with, meetings, reviews, social workers, foster carers …and a whole load of acronyms LAC, IROs, PEPs etc.   (which if you really want to know stand for  Looked after Children, Independent Review Officers and  Personal Education Plans

This is all pretty complex stuff, not best suited for video.  So I came up with the idea of using reality show techniques, that is using a dramatic story structure to get the audience involved.

So the storyline is  …a group of youngsters are called to a imposing office building, where an intimidating entrepreneur and his two assistants set them a task,which they have to complete in 48 hours. So they have to go off to interview a number of people and complete a series of tasks, to see if they will be hired.

Sounds familiar?



So we had Nicky Meany as Sir Alan..sorry Lord Sugar.


…and Sasha Paul and myself as Karen and Nick

apprentice boardroom 2

Nicky was brilliant as ..a rather youthful Sir Alan .  Though it was a long hard day, the kids loved it and the edited video is shaping together well.