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  • Writer's pictureAlfie Hollingsworth

What do 6 and a half hours of usable light and a Ford Capri Mark II have in common?

Answer: A short film called Tyre Kickers. Shot on 2nd and 3rd of January 2020 on location in Spiddal, Galway. Directed by Danny McCafferty.

It was a great start to the year; getting a project out before the glutinous glow of Christmas had faded. The main challenge on this shoot was setting up the car rig and poor-man's process trailer. (see pictures below) The second challenge was getting everything shot with such limited daylight hours available, as most of the film takes places in exterior locations.

We had a great crew, most of whom where from Ros Na Rún and thus the action was called in as Gaeilge(in Irish) I was moderately confused at first and had to ask Danny what each word meant! I wish I could speak Irish. It was great to hear the crew talking away, as fluent as a cloud.

The film made it into Galway, as part of The Irish Talents: New Shorts One: Fiction, but unfortunately for us and everyone who entered and got in this year, it didn't screen in-front of a real life walking and talking audience, it streamed online, the next best alternative. I hope festivals return to normality soon, amongst other things!

We shot on Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k paired with Sigma Art Zooms. (I can't wait till this changes to Cooke Anamorphic!)

I think my blogs are getting shorter, perhaps it's a reflection of the daylight, as we move away from the summer months.

Below are some BTS stills followed by some frame grabs!


The crew battling the harsh Connemara elements and me doing something grabby with my hand? Framing up with cast member Dónall O Héalaí, I'd imagine.

Like penguins under a rainbow! Left to right: Director, Danny McAfferty.

Sound, Niall Clarke. DP, Myself. Script Supervisor: Andrew Higgins(Back to camera)

David Murray(playing Dad) (behind Andrew) 1st AD, Sinead O'Toole. & last but not least

Dónall O Héalaí (playing Barry) (Photo by

Cast members(from left to right) David Murray & Dónall O Héalaí share lunch in the scene. Someone let me behind the camera, again!

Got a truck load of grip and lighting from Ros na Rún and so, I don't know(or can't remember) what diffusion this was. It might have been two 4x4 1/2 grid cloths. Hmmm. It was harsh January sun coming in anyway.

The resulting shot can be seen further down.

Danny reviewing the angle and me freaking out, having set the rig up myself. It held!

Poor-person's(it's 2020 folks) car rig.

Underneath said rig. (Thanks to Film Equipment Hire for supplying the rig)

One of the final scenes we shot and also of the short.


Above, actor, Fionnuala Flaherty, who plays Marie.


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  • Writer's pictureAlfie Hollingsworth

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Steve Canty approached me to shoot his ghostly Christmas short 'A Christmas Drop' back in August 2019. We ended up shooting in November for 4 days. Our only location was a fascinating and properly old school pub, An Spailpín Fánach, down in Cork.

I was pleased to be able to get a gaffer( and none other than Noel McElligott) in for this as I knew the tight spaces and low ceilings would pose problems. We also had the challenge of lighting the clock FX. Much of this was done in post in the end. Noel brings such an edge to any of the films I shoot as he always has suggestions on hand if I need something in a pinch and don't have the time for anything fancy. He's a steadying presence on set and I can't imagine working without a gaffer anymore, especially Noel!

Unusually I edited, sound-mixed(not particularly well for the latter)and did the VFX on this short, although it was a great experience I think it will be my last attempt at the entire post-production process, I'll leave it to the professionals and focus on camera instead! Turns out I'm not much of a fan of rotoscoping, then again who is!?

Most of the lighting was done from above or off to the sides of the scene, through doorways and a set of interior windows, because we didn't have a great deal of room for lighting, although I'm pleased with the 'Christmassy' fairytale look we achieved. The use of LEDs kept everything cool on the set, it's amazing how far technology has come, colour matching LEDs on the cheaper end is still an issue, but getting less of a thing these days! I'll take an HMI any day, but it's lovely to be able run an entire scene's worth of lights off of house power with no tripped switches.

Had great fun shooting this one, I love the Cork sense of humour and the attitude of being in it together and just getting it done, no matter what!

We shot on the Ursa Mini 4.6k EF with Sigma Zooms(18-35 & 50-100)

Below are some BTS shots of the lovely crew! Followed by some screen grabs fresh off the press. (Apologies to anyone who didn't get a mention, I don't have set photos of all of you.)


Michael Donnelly, 2nd Assistant Camera standing(sitting ;) ) in for lighting and blocking.

(Left to right) Gaffer, Noel McElligott & Brendan Ryan, who plays Enda, the first ghost to appear through the clock, taking a welcome break in between setups.

(Left to right) The side of Joe Lyons, who plays Jim, the main character of the story. Brendan Ryan(Enda) and Lisa Marie Dwyer who plays Susan, Jim's wife and new co-owner of the pub.

Having some fun on set! Previously not mentioned. (Left to right) Danny Buckley(Ultan) Michael Ryan(Fintan)

Clap! Big thanks to Michael for his hard work on this!

Lovely fake pints of Murphy's, clever courtesy of the cast. (Cork is the only county that Guinness doesn't rein supreme over, I am told!)


That's all folks! Thanks for giving me your time!

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  • Writer's pictureAlfie Hollingsworth

It began with a casual meeting in the park with a young and ambitious director, by the name of John Farrelly. I'd emailed him about a project he had. Having already heard of the online folktale that is The Sleep Experiment, when John told me he wanted to make it in to a feature film, I was sold on the idea.

Then he told me we'd be shooting it in 14 days and on a budget of about 5k. I was a little worried about this in the beginning; would it possible to complete such an ambitious project in this time frame? After our first location recce, my concerns were largely abated. John and his production manager Peter had found an astonishingly perfect location in the heart of Dublin City, just off O'Connell Street....

The nightlife around Henry Pl.

.....(I think an extremely helpful factor in making this project possible was the fact that 70% of the film takes place in one location, another 29% in the same room made to look like a different room and the final 1% elsewhere in a remote location, which we later heard had been a stones throw from the murder of Rachel O'Reilly back in 2004)

I digress...

The location was in an old office building, meaning we had our green room a couple of stories above our set, the latter being located in the grungy basement. John had a fake wall built to make the room smaller and on which to place our two way mirrors and also added a removable wall section, which we never ended up using, but it was good to have the option.

Our doorway for the next 14 days. Looks legit!

I can assure you our greenroom didn't look this good by day 14.

I knew we'd have to move fast on this film (we ended up shooting about 10 pages a day on average, reaching 16 or 19 on one of the days, I can't quite recall!) so we talked about installing our lighting in the ceiling as practical lighting. John found these wonderful old-fashioned cone shaped lighting fixtures with a green metallic cover, that helped to shape and control the light, whilst also looking great on screen. This saved us time, as for most of the shots I’d just chuck some poly, a flag or net in, get the actors blocking under the lights and we’d be good to go. The downward style of lighting isn’t something I’d usually go for, but I felt it fit the tone of the film well and created these dramatic pools of shadow, which we often used to hide or show the characters and their motives.

The set and lights.

Due to the low budget nature of the film, a lot of freebies were called in and I had what felt like a constant influx of people assisting me with the camera and lighting, most of whom had never done anything like this before, but all of them were extremely passionate and helpful, but it still meant I had to do a great deal more explaining than usual and definitely made this a tiring, yet rewarding, experience. Some unforgettable memories were created with a host of amazing characters, that I had the pleasure of meeting and will hopefully meet again soon.

We shot on my Ursa Mini 4.6k with Sigma Art lenses. I would have loved to shoot anamorphic on this, but the lens choice is limited for EF mount and our budget wouldn't stretch of course, so we had to try hard to create that old look with production design and grading. A few behind the scenes stills....

The cast were such a pleasure to work with and I think we all really gelled. The film was shot chronologically as it suited the dilapidation of both the actors and the set, to do so.

We'd set up a 2-3 minute Steadicam shot for the introduction of the test room, as we wanted the moment the actors arrived into the room in the story, to be their first time. We'd mapped the dimensions of the room and taped an area off upstairs to match this, so the actors could walk in and get their marks right, as they had bags over their heads from the previous scene. This worked well and our Steadicam operator Tiernan O'Rourke nailed it on the first take. He can be seen above(bottom right), balancing the Steadicam. I had so much fun taking this script from words on a page to images on a screen. I'd like to thank Teach Solais for doing us a huge favour and lending us some lighting gear for this. You guys are the best! I'd definitely recommend checking their setup out down in Kilcoole. It's awesome!

I'll finish with a few stills from the film, with a grade that will more than likely change.

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