2 June 2013 - photos from outside the 'World War Z' premiere

June 22nd, 2013

So, it's finally happened. A premiere that I couldn't get into. This is, broadly, not possible outside the realms of I Wasn't Really Trying , and that's kind of the case here. The problem with premieres on a Sunday (and they're rare) is that at least on a weekday I'm already in town, and I can go to premieres after my workday finishes, show up and do the best that I can, and only people less employed than me can get there beforehand.

Those rules can be thrown out on a Sunday, thrown out again if it's a world premiere, and thrown out a third time if it's a movie starring Brad Pitt. And if Angelina Jolie is also going attend... forget about it. And I live out of town. (And I got a text from a friend at 7:30am saying they were already heading down... and no offense, I'm still asleep at that time on a Sunday. ANY Sunday. Talk to me if it's Charlize Theron. Maybe.)

But I figured I could show up later, see what I could accomplish, and if worst came to worst I'd have a monopod and remote trigger and take photos I've always wanted to take from afar. But sometimes even those plans can fail somewhat. And they did.

So... welcome to the suck. Purely for the sake of completeness, and because my Australian background makes me culturally more likely to be okay with openly commemorating my own failures, here's how it went down.

Giant black exclusion barriers, some 2m high, ring-circled the event. This is not entirely unusual, though it is insofar as doing this for the whole length of it. Often you can stand inside Leicester Square (the garden bit) and get sort of a view into the event. Still, this is where I planned to be at precisely THIS location when it started. The time right now : 3:30pm.

Giant black exclusion barriers, some 2m high, ring-circled the event. This is not entirely unusual, though it is insofar as doing this for the whole length of it. Often you can stand inside Leicester Square (the garden bit) and get sort of a view into the event. Still, this is where I planned to be at precisely THIS location when it started. The time right now : 3:30pm.

Tragically, I arrived back at 5:30pm and the event had started (that's EARLY!). Brangelina have already posed for the Paparazzi and are off in the far reaches signing autographs and doing interviews and I can't see them. So to summarise : I've screwed up in ways I have not previously done. (And having a second friend text me around this time to tell me she got late access to a pen because she sweet-talked a security lady didn't improve my mood much).

Tragically, I arrived back at 5:30pm and the event had started (that's EARLY!). Brangelina have already posed for the Paparazzi and are off in the far reaches signing autographs and doing interviews and I can't see them. So to summarise : I've screwed up in ways I have not previously done. (And having a second friend text me around this time to tell me she got late access to a pen because she sweet-talked a security lady didn't improve my mood much).

As I might have previously mentioned, I am single, and even if I wasn't, it's probably a fair bet that my girlfriend would not be broad-shouldered (or let's be more frank: willing) enough to bear the weight of me and my equipment at a premiere. Or so I assume.

As I might have previously mentioned, I am single, and even if I wasn't, it's probably a fair bet that my girlfriend would not be broad-shouldered (or let's be more frank: willing) enough to bear the weight of me and my equipment at a premiere. Or so I assume.

The monopod means that my camera is at an elevation probably about 3meters plus, and it's getting admiring stares from people restricted to mobile phones held high. Sadly, I'm using a 10mm wide angle lens, and even at maximum megapixels and resolution, Brad Pitt is going to be a few pixels tall if I even get a shot. (Still-- I'm taking photos of others' desperation. That's always fun).

The monopod means that my camera is at an elevation probably about 3meters plus, and it's getting admiring stares from people restricted to mobile phones held high. Sadly, I'm using a 10mm wide angle lens, and even at maximum megapixels and resolution, Brad Pitt is going to be a few pixels tall if I even get a shot. (Still-- I'm taking photos of others' desperation. That's always fun).

Behind-the-scenes shot. Those 2m high barriers are protecting views of giant boxes of equipment. And Angelina Jolie.

Behind-the-scenes shot. Those 2m high barriers are protecting views of giant boxes of equipment. And Angelina Jolie.

I decide to at least keep moving. This is possibly my favourite 'compromise' shot - a shot I can't ordinarily take because I'm too close to the action. This shows some of the layout of the premiere - not just the fans, but also the huge multi-storey press stage, cars dropping off celebs, and also the queue of invited guests and ticket holders and their separate queue to walk the red carpet. I actually quite like the full-size image "which is here in case you are interested"

I decide to at least keep moving. This is possibly my favourite 'compromise' shot - a shot I can't ordinarily take because I'm too close to the action. This shows some of the layout of the premiere - not just the fans, but also the huge multi-storey press stage, cars dropping off celebs, and also the queue of invited guests and ticket holders and their separate queue to walk the red carpet. I actually quite like the full-size image "which is here in case you are interested"

I had considered the possibility of prezooming the lens a to get better magnification, but the problem is still that I CAN'T SEE WHAT I'M SHOOTING - so the narrower the field of view, the less likely I'm pointing in the right direction, plus camera shake becomes a factor since it's balanced atop a giant pole that's almost three meters high. Technically it's a nightmare, and artistically.... it's something worse than that.

I had considered the possibility of prezooming the lens a to get better magnification, but the problem is still that I CAN'T SEE WHAT I'M SHOOTING - so the narrower the field of view, the less likely I'm pointing in the right direction, plus camera shake becomes a factor since it's balanced atop a giant pole that's almost three meters high. Technically it's a nightmare, and artistically.... it's something worse than that.

You might not see it at this resolution, but this photo is actually pretty decent shot of Israeli actress Daniella Kertesz. Just sayin' (She's the one in the white dress). Next logical step : invest in a hoverdrone with attached remote control camera. I figure I can use it exactly once before they're banned and they start having police snipers installed on rooftops.

You might not see it at this resolution, but this photo is actually pretty decent shot of Israeli actress Daniella Kertesz. Just sayin' (She's the one in the white dress). Next logical step : invest in a hoverdrone with attached remote control camera. I figure I can use it exactly once before they're banned and they start having police snipers installed on rooftops.

Bearing in mind I can not see what I am shooting, I am effectively like those deep sea bathyscapes they send down into ocean trenches with a camera pointing out of one window, hoping that something interesting will swim past and not be blurry. Thus, I am pleased (and very surprised) to present a photo of Brad Pitt, waving. (I had to both mono- and darken this shot a little aggressively so he stood out  - people were wearing too many colours and shades at the event!).

Bearing in mind I can not see what I am shooting, I am effectively like those deep sea bathyscapes they send down into ocean trenches with a camera pointing out of one window, hoping that something interesting will swim past and not be blurry. Thus, I am pleased (and very surprised) to present a photo of Brad Pitt, waving. (I had to both mono- and darken this shot a little aggressively so he stood out  - people were wearing too many colours and shades at the event!).

From the distance I'm shooting from, this crop is pretty amazing. Sadly (or perhaps commendably) Brad Pitt paid full attention to his interviewer and didn't turn around (he signed autographs before and after though - I'm told he's very nice)

From the distance I'm shooting from, this crop is pretty amazing. Sadly (or perhaps commendably) Brad Pitt paid full attention to his interviewer and didn't turn around (he signed autographs before and after though - I'm told he's very nice)

Director Marc Forster does not stand still enough at thirty meters for me to catch, zoom and crop a 10mm wide angle shot of him that's razor-sharp. But I try. I've photographed him before - at the premiere of Quantum of Solace, which he also directed.

Director Marc Forster does not stand still enough at thirty meters for me to catch, zoom and crop a 10mm wide angle shot of him that's razor-sharp. But I try. I've photographed him before - at the premiere of Quantum of Solace, which he also directed.

... and one day I will hopefully remember to make a late booking at the restaurant overlooking Leicester Square and bring my camera equipment when I can't get a good spot. Because doing that and getting access to their balcony would be a brilliant move. Along with everything else' that's gone wrong, I realise to my chagrin that I have forgotten to bring a bottle of Jack Daniels with which I can console myself.

... and one day I will hopefully remember to make a late booking at the restaurant overlooking Leicester Square and bring my camera equipment when I can't get a good spot. Because doing that and getting access to their balcony would be a brilliant move. Along with everything else' that's gone wrong, I realise to my chagrin that I have forgotten to bring a bottle of Jack Daniels with which I can console myself.

Because I'm grasping at straws : I like how the red light on top of the lighting rig makes it look like Brad Pitt's image on the screen is reaching out of the picture. The movie's in 3D, people... experience it

Because I'm grasping at straws : I like how the red light on top of the lighting rig makes it look like Brad Pitt's image on the screen is reaching out of the picture. The movie's in 3D, people... experience it

On the off-chance that you think taking a LIVE photo off a TV screen doesn't count as 'a real photo' (and I agree with you) - you can *just* see Brad Pitt on the stage, sort of beneath the serif of the letter 'Z'. Woo. Hoo.

On the off-chance that you think taking a LIVE photo off a TV screen doesn't count as 'a real photo' (and I agree with you) - you can *just* see Brad Pitt on the stage, sort of beneath the serif of the letter 'Z'. Woo. Hoo.

Another slight shift in location. Often, at smaller premieres, the grassed area is accessible for people to stand and gawk from (It's not a great spot, but if the stage is set up high enough you can at least see that). Today, though, it had its own exclusion zone to protect the media setup.

Another slight shift in location. Often, at smaller premieres, the grassed area is accessible for people to stand and gawk from (It's not a great spot, but if the stage is set up high enough you can at least see that). Today, though, it had its own exclusion zone to protect the media setup.

Brad Pitt went inside after being interviewed, however the emcee said he'd be back out after introducing the film, to sign more autographs. This was great news : not only would I know where he'd be, but I could even zoom in on a narrower range. It was all looking great... until the Nikon I was using proved to have a completely different metering philosophy than the Pentax I usually use, and hugely overexposed this shot even at -1 exposure compensation. Argh. Unforgivable. (Yes, yes, I know. My fault for not knowing my equipment... but a _little_ bit of luck might have been nice).

Brad Pitt went inside after being interviewed, however the emcee said he'd be back out after introducing the film, to sign more autographs. This was great news : not only would I know where he'd be, but I could even zoom in on a narrower range. It was all looking great... until the Nikon I was using proved to have a completely different metering philosophy than the Pentax I usually use, and hugely overexposed this shot even at -1 exposure compensation. Argh. Unforgivable. (Yes, yes, I know. My fault for not knowing my equipment... but a _little_ bit of luck might have been nice).

I feel like photographically I'm beating a dead horse here with these ultracropped wide-angled hyper-contrasted shots. But if that's true (and it is), allow me to remove the second dead horse's carcass and replace it with a third.

I feel like photographically I'm beating a dead horse here with these ultracropped wide-angled hyper-contrasted shots. But if that's true (and it is), allow me to remove the second dead horse's carcass and replace it with a third.

So... overall... cripplingly disappointing. I'm only posting this so I don't forget.

And, finally, to wrap up my despondency in a nice, neat box with a bow, here was an advertisement right across from me on the train journey back. It was targetted at women wanting donor sperm, cause apparently there's plenty around. So, thanks heaps for reminding me that as a guy I don't actually have any reason to exist anymore.

And, finally, to wrap up my despondency in a nice, neat box with a bow, here was an advertisement right across from me on the train journey back. It was targetted at women wanting donor sperm, cause apparently there's plenty around. So, thanks heaps for reminding me that as a guy I don't actually have any reason to exist anymore.

So, to conclude : as a documentary of (a) stuff going wrong and (b) a different view of premieres, I'm reluctantly going put it into the Archive of Movie premieres anyway

"The Archive is Here"

Until next time...when I hope to make amends on something this trivial-in-the-scheme-of-things.... with something equally trivial!

By the way, if you ever want to know when I post one of these journals (possibly even from inside the event), feel free to follow me on twitter @berndt2_photo (or facebook at premieresdotco) (or both!)