Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Filming Rolling Stones

Posted by Phil On July - 17 - 2013

Why I don’t really like the Rolling Stones.

I recently watched the Rolling Stones performance at Glastonbury on BBC  IPlayer and read that the BBC/ Stones negotiations had been difficult.  Finally only a very much shortened version had been allowed to be transmitted, without the best numbers    This brought back memories of similar problems I’d had directing the  filming of  them years ago for the Beeb.

Rolling stones logo-small

My Rolling Stones sweatshirt

After months of negotiations we arrived at the football stadium with the film crews  (this was actual film not video) to discover that we were only allowed to film three numbers from their set. 

It was a very hot day and I remember sitting in the dusty  lane outside the turnstyles with the irritated cameramen as we waited to hear what we were going to be allowed to shoot.

Various Stones flunkies appeared and disappeared. as we sent messages.  “Satisfaction?” …”no”  “Brown Sugar?”  “no?”
“This was before the days of emails, so we showed copies of the correspondence, none of which had given any limitations in what we could film, but it transpired that the Stones were deeply suspiscious of  BBC crews as they  didn’t want the BBC to build up an archive of  all the Rolling Stones tracks.

Dave Pritchard, the producer,  was furious and at some level in the Stones management, they accepted that we had been misled. So they came up with a placatory offer. “How about an interview with Mick Jagger”

Dave was delighted, but we had no presenter with us. “Phil, can you figure out what to ask him?”
So I sat in the dust and weeds and tried to work out what to ask him.  What do you ask someone who’s been interviewed so many times.? I hadn’t any idea what they had been doing recently or even the names of recent albums.   It would be terrible to get a great opportunity like this and blow it on crass questions.

Moral – Always do your research!

It was intensely hot, we had no water, as we stuck in between the outer and inner security.

1. “How’s the tour going? ”  No..far too obvious.  He must have been asked that a million times.
2. “Do you still get the same excitement performing live?”

..and so on.       

I eventually worked out 10 questions.   ..just as the news came back.  “The interview’s off.”

So finally ringed by security we trudged though under the stage as they played above us. I had a splitting headache  from the heat. It felt like we were going to a public execution .

Setting up in fornt of the stage , the music was so loud, the cameramen couldn’t hear anything I said. Our minders wouldn’t let us film the audience.   They didn’t want me to go from camera to camera. We hadn’t been allowed to see the stage before, figure out good angles .  So the cameraman just busked it. The stage was so huge you couldn’t get a shot of the whole band.  So we mostly ended up with multiple shots of Mick Jagger. From my point of point of view it was a complete mess.

We used the footage. It wasn’t great.

So the Rolling Stones are not my favourite band   …but I did buy  a T shirt  ……..and kept the list of questions for years after.


Update: I found a couple of photos I took that day.

Mick Jagger at Bristol 2Mick Jagger



Editing standing up. Is this weird?

Posted by Phil On June - 7 - 2012

Years ago I remember seeing a TV programme about Walter Murch editing Cold Mountain on Final Cut Pro. But what I thought was really strange was that he edited standing up.  Obviously a bit weird.

I thought no more about it until recently when I saw a BBC Horizon documentary : The Truth about Exercise.

One of the points it made was that sitting is a killer. ..or to be less sensational and more specific,  sitting for long periods  will shorten your life.  …and that got me to thinking.  What am I spending most of my time doing at the moment? Video editing and script writing.  Both very sedentary,  or in other words ..lots of sitting down.

In my youth, I was always convinced that the world would blow itself up in a nuclear war. I never expected to get past 30, so I’m somewhat surprised to still be around decades later. As I get older I’m also more aware that the end of my life is getting closer,  So the Horizon statistics about the number of days of your life that you will likely lose, due to sitting down, begin to assume a greater relevance.

I’ve been nervous about exercise after breaking my rib last autumn, whilst doing pull ups on a doorway and the bar fell off. Yes I know that’s illogical. But my subconscious has got it fixed that exercise = months of pain.

Anyway after seeing the Horizon documentary 3 months ago, I reorganised my edit suite. I have the Macbook Pro up on an Icurve laptop stand on top of high ( kitchen style) worksurface. So it’s level with  the other monitors.  ..and I’ve been standing up whilst editing or writing over the last 3 months.

..and it’s great. Admittedly my feet get a bit sore after 12 hours or so. Today I’ve been using it for 8 hours. But I’m sure it better for me. I think I’m losing weight.

I use an ancient Microsoft Natural Ergonomic keyboard, that is hideous  against the sleek looks of the Mac, but is far kinder to my wrists.

Here I’m I’m using it for scriptwriting. So the keyboard of the Macbook is a convenient rest for the printed script. For rewrites I  print out and write notes on the pages. Incidentally I’m using Scrivener to write with, which I’ve found is really excellent.

..and here I’m using it for video editing using FCPX.

On the right hand side is a wireless mouse and Wacom tablet. On the left is a Contour control shuttle.  So I can zoom in an out with the left hand, whilst using the tablet/mouse simultaneously with the right hand.

The second keyboard underneath (on the rolling table) is for the separate PC and monitor on the right. So I can look up stuff on the Internet (I’m still learning FCP X) without disrupting the main editing or writing.  Though I have to admit it can be a bit distracting at times.  ..pause whilst I check Facebook 🙂

One disadvantage of this is that I occasionally use the wrong keyboard when using the PC, which can mess up the main edit on the Mac.

The Macbook Pro also has a dual port ESATA adaptor running into 16 terabyte RAID array.

Here’s an interesting article about working standing up


3 months  ago


After all day in the studio and working with the choreographer for Gary’s dance track, then onto a 3 hour final rehearsal with En Masse with a live band.

I’m working out camera shots for their come back concert.

High adrenaline.
Great to see Gareth singing again!

Filming tonight at 60 Million Postcards in Bournemouth

Posted by Phil On September - 3 - 2011

I’m filming Momo:tempo’s Electro Pops Orchestra tonight at 60 Million Postcards …and early tomorrow as part of  Musicosity Music Festival and Bournemouth’s Arts By The Sea Festival

Timo Peach is a great character so it should be fun …but it doesn’t start till 11pm, so I hope I’m still sharp and lively. I’m filming with 2 cameras simultnaeously, so is quite tricky…  need to concentrate.



Here’s some previous filming with Momo ..or Timo Peach

Filmed at Champions