We spoke to videographer James Riley about his experience with Fat Llama, his projects and his advice for future generations.
NAME: James Riley
WEBSITE: Ellipsis Creative
PROJECTS: Filming for Jose Cuervo, Kraken Rum, and all their activations they have at festivals.
INSPIRED BY: YouTubers, Jon Olsson and Casey Neistat
ADVICE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS:
“Every film I make I learn something from it, even now. The quicker you can start making films, just even making bad films, every film after that will be better. So going to gigs and filming gigs, just do it. Practice makes perfect. It’s just the typical standard thing. Just get out there and make films for free…and it will make you better in the long run.”
On Sourcing Equipment
‘Bloody hell, the kit on here is literally half the price as the hire houses.’
I actually used to work at a hire house company. I used to work at ITV, in the building hire thing, so I used to work prepping all the camera kits and stuff for all the TV shows. For the last two or three years I’ve been doing my own freelance filming stuff on the side. For the three years, I was working there, I had unlimited kit, so I could borrow as much kit as I wanted for free.
So finally, when I left, it was a bit of a shock when actually I had to start paying for it. Then I sort of stumbled across this Fat Llama thing and I was like, ‘Bloody hell, the kit on here is literally half the price as the hire houses.’
Yes, exactly. The problem is, a lot of these hire houses are either in Central London or quite far away. When I saw Fat Llama, literally a 15-20 minute drive away there were people renting cameras for half the price, and they’re actually closer, and it was just like a thing I jumped on to straight away because I thought it was a good idea.
“It’s in and out really quickly”
The thing I do like about Fat Llama is it’s in and out really quickly. Knock on the door bell, they’ve got the kit ready, and it’s straight in your face, rather than having to go in and have small talk with someone. I usually find it’s a quick process.
“He knows who I am so he’s quite trusting, and so if I need anything else he always helps me out”
There’s one guy that lives in Cobham that I’ve hired off quite a few times, Rupert. It’s quite nice now when I rock up, he knows who I am so he’s quite trusting, and so if I need anything else he always helps me out. He’s actually called me up before asking… I put the camera into slow-mo mode and he didn’t know how to take it out and he called me up, so I talked him through that.
Final Thoughts… Favourite Feature?
“I think it’s a good way to just test out the kit before you actually decide to buy it”
There was one lens that I rented. It was a lens that I was eyeing up for ages. I was just going to buy it, but I had a shoot at Alexandra Palace and I was like, ‘I tell you what. It’s only £30. I’ll just hire it and test out this lens.’ I loved the lens so much I ended up buying it. So I think it’s a good way to just test out the kit before you actually decide to buy it.
If I wanted to hire that lens from a traditional hire company, 1) most of these companies don’t actually stock that lens that I wanted to hire, because it’s quite a specialist lens, it’s for an APS-C sensor, so most hire houses don’t actually stock it, and 2) it would have been three times the price, so it would have put me off. If I’m spending £70 to rent a lens for a day just to test it out, that’s a big chunk of the cost of the actual, lens itself.
If you’re interested to see what James has been working on recently check out his @ellipiscreative