Andy Lewis MBE, Paralympic Gold Medalist: Video documentary profile

It was a cold and wet London morning and I had a few short hours with Paralympic gold medalist Andy Lewis MBE. I interviewed him for a short documentary video profile I was making on his life. Andy talked candidly to me about overcoming depression and disability, even though this was the first time we met. He then told me an inspirational tale; how he bounced back and went on to win gold at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and then collected his MBE

After the interview we went into the City to film him training, on London Bridge, by Monument, and along many historic routes in the oldest parts of London.

We made this short video together.

Andy Lewis MBE

Producer and Director: Nadaav
Editors: Jack McLoughlin and Nadaav
Camera: Ian Mann
Camera Assistant: Gemma Partridge
Grade: Nadaav

Adobe After Effects VFX: What is rotoscoping – and something you didn’t know about Disney films!

Film frame of Ed Wynn and his character, The Mad Hatter

Rotoscoping in Sound Asleep: Disney To Digital

In the last few months I have been training myself up in adobe after effects vfx techniques to complete Sound Asleep. (The comedy short film I am director of, starring Danny John-Jules – The Cat in Red Dwarf).

Having completed the offline edit, I had been dreading the infamously tedious task of rotoscoping in Adobe After Effects.

Rotoscoping is a historical animation technique. The animator projected a frame of live action footage on glass or tracing paper so they can copy real motion as the basis of an animated character, one frame at a time.

I used it on Sound Asleep, a live action film, but it started out as an animation technique. Most of your favourite animations used rotoscoping. Animators film real actors and then recreate them in drawings.

Skip to the end to see demos of how I used rotoscoping in After Effects to fix wobbly walls and remove unwanted objects in Sound Asleep.

Old fashioned rotoscoping. The animator traces over the projected image from a single frame of film.


Disney loved rotoscoping. There were real actors behind almost all of those much loved characters. Here are some gorgeous images to give you an understanding of how the filmmaking technique was used.

First, 13 year Kathryn Beaumont, the model and voice artist for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.

These are hand traced animation cells, superimposed back on to the film frames. The animated characters’ movements were based on these markings, to create lifelike movement.

Technological Developments in Visual Effects: Green Screen and Digital Video

Over time new technology made the process slightly less laborious, as chroma key (eg green screen) and digital technologies began to develop.

Disney animators video recorded Sherri Stoner, live model for The Little Mermaid on green-screen so they could recreate her movements even more accurately.

Fully Digital Visual Effects and tracking software

Today the whole process is entirely digital. Until recently though you still had to do it frame by frame. You’d draw lines and points around the outline of a person or object and adjust every single frame. Complicated shapes and movements could still be really hard work.

Rotoscoping in Adobe After Effects. Points and lines are used to cut sections out frame by frame.

In the last year or two, motion tracking technology has really started to come of age. After Effect’s rotobrush tool does a significant amount of the legwork is for you. You still have to go through and make adjustments in every single frame.

Rotoscoping in Live Action Films and TV

We shot the comedy short film Sound Asleep on a shoestring budget. Marcello, our brilliant art director, made the walls from paper, which works fine so long as no one moves them. But when an actor leans against or touches a wall, you can see the wall move. Most viewers won’t notice it but some will be taken out of the moment.

In the clip below I show how I isolated the wobbly wall and replaced it with a freeze frame.

Live Action Rotoscoping to fix a wobbly wall, on Sound Asleep – short comedy film starring Red Dwarf’s Danny John-Jules

And in the clip below, I show how I removed drips from below a tap. It was a lot more complicated. In that scene, the character has tightened a tap. Just as he gets the dripping to stop his spanner comes loose and hits him in the face.

It wasn’t possible to stop the drips at the right moment on the set, so I have done it in postproduction.

Rotoscoping to remove dripping tap in Sound Asleep

You can follow me on Instagram for much more behind the scenes information, tips, photos and videos.

New recommendations for my video work

It’s always a pleasure to receive some positive feedback, so I thought I would post these two recent comments on my work:

“Nadaav creates beautiful, moving videos, often under tight budget and timeline constraints. He is always a pleasure to work with.”
Katerina Barry, Design Lead, White & Case

“Nadaav’s ability to juggle multiple projects was unlike any I’ve seen before and made a dramatic difference in the productivity level of our team. He puts passion into each and every project and without exception the resulting outputs are all of the highest quality.”
Paul Curtis, Film Photography & Animation Lead, Transport for London


Thank you both for such kind words.

Video shoot with Andy Lewis MBE, Paralympic Gold Medallist

On a very grey, late December day, on one of the shortest days, I was privileged to shoot an uplifting and heart warming profile of Paralympic Gold Medallist, Andy Lewis MBE.

Andy’s story of overcoming what must must have felt like insurmountable odds, to become a hugely successful sportsman is an inspiration and I am very proud of the project we have been working on.

Watch this space for the finished video. For now here’s a still of Andy, the crew and me, from the end of the shoot.

Andy's selfie of him and the crew.

Andy’s selfie of him and the crew.

Brand Consistency: When Low Cost Video Works, and When It Doesn’t.

A couple of months ago I went to a presentation by a design agency. They work not just in conventional design but also in systems design, user experience, agile business design and so on.

The snacks were great, the trendy microbrewery ales were lovely. But the actual presentation was a bit poor.

No real effort had been made aside from throwing up a screen. No microphone so it was hard to hear. The audience were lit brighter than the speaker so you had to strain your eyes a little too. And the slides were busy and difficult to read.

design agency presentation - brand consistency

 design agency presentation - brand consistency

It was probably a low priority event for the company, but if a design agency can’t, or can’t be bothered to design a good presentation, with readable slides, they’re sending a poor signal about their whole brand.

There needs to be brand consistency. It’s not just the quality of the work but the quality of everything you put out needs to consistently sit at the same level as you place your brand. Continue reading

When A Challenge Comes Along, You Have to Say Yes!

“Just Do It” – I never really understood the power of that Nike slogan till now.

Sometimes things don’t feel like opportunities. That job or task that you’re sure you couldn’t do but wish you could for example. In Britain especially, we are so used to being honest and modest that we turn down opportunities before we even realise that’s what they were – opportunities.

I’m a film, TV and video writer, producer and director. I am rarely in front of the camera or an audience, except perhaps at a Q&A’s about my work.

That’s me in the foreground, on the set of Sound Asleep, a short film I’m currently editing, starring Danny John-Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf). I am very comfortably off camera.

And there I am in the foreground again, definitely not stealing the scene.

But a month or two ago I was approached by an actor and performer with a question: Can I write an immersive, iconoclastic, interactive comedy show for a single performer, on the theme of finding love?

Well, it’s a tough starting point, but yes, that’s what I do – of course I can do that.

And will I be that performer?

What??? Continue reading

Creating Authentic Content: Passionate, Vulnerable Filmmaking

The Authentic Voice

In marketing and PR everyone is talking about having an authentic voice, creating authentic content, being authentic. Sounds great – it should be natural, right?

creating authentic content

The idea of coming up with your “authentic voice” seems ironic. If it were authentic, you wouldn’t have to think about it. But as businesses and individuals, we’re always filtering how we present ourselves.

For me, it comes down to two things: passion and vulnerability. If I feel those when I’m speaking, I’m being honest, and that feels authentic. If I feel those when I’m listening, I connect at a deeper, more human level.

Communicate as a Human

People relate to people. They’ll listen to a real person talking honestly far more than to a brand or a sales pitch. Passion and vulnerability are the subtle signs that the voice I am listening to is real – they are just like me.


As communicators we have to find the passion in our message. Something in the message that we genuinely care about. There’s almost always something you can get excited about if you look hard enough.

When you feel the passion in what you are saying, then you are well on the way to being authentic, and engaging. So look out for it – do you care about what you are saying in your content? If not, something’s wrong.


Don’t hide your weaknesses. Be honest about them and you will create much more engaging, powerful and authentic content that people will want to engage with. People will relate to you or your brand because you are vulnerable just like them. It will make your communication feel inclusive and it will make you seem approachable.

This is as true for an individual or small company like mine, as it is for the multinational brands for whom I work.

Case Study of Passionate, Vulnerable Video Content

8 years ago I won a commission to write, produce and direct educational videos for Jewish Women’s Aid. The short drama scenes were to be used in school lessons on bullying and relationships.

Last week they got in touch again. They told me that the video that continues to have the biggest impact is also the one that for me is the most authentic. Childhood Games.

David really wants to be friends with the cool kids in his school. They see his desire as a weakness and manipulate him. David puts up with it, because he hopes eventually to be accepted. Continue reading

Sound Asleep, the short film I wrote, starring Danny John-Jules finally shot! Director’s report and photos

Sound Asleep, the comedy short film I have been writing, producing and directing, has finally wrapped! It stars Danny John-Jules (The Cat from Red Dwarf).

Sound Asleep short film comedy starring Danny John-Jules, written and directed by Nadaav

graphic by peter ayres

Long time coming

  • 6 years ago I wrote a film script.
  • 5 years ago it was runner-up for Film London funding.
  • 4 years ago same thing, different funder.
  • 3 years ago I ran a successful Kickstarter.
  • 2 years ago we tried to shoot the film but it fell through, last minute.
  • 1 year ago the same thing.

After 4 producers, 4 casting directors, 3 art directors, 3 locations, 2 Directors of Photography, 2 builds, and just one resilient director, in December I flew to Spain to shoot it.


Director and crew head to Spain

The project had been struggling in the UK. Our budget prevented us from being able to afford both the set build costs and the studio space to build it in at UK prices. In Spain we not only managed to resolve that but also engage the exceptional art director, Marcelo Renieblas Paredes.

Coming with me was Emmy Award winning Director of Photography Franklin Dow (of Oscar nominated documentaries Virunga and White Helmets) and camera assistant Naomi Hancock. Producer Dino Webber, production assistant Nick Gaven and runner Kristen Abel drove the van of SLV film equipment, and a generator loaned by Warner Brothers from London to Madrid.

Nadaav director with Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf) on the set of Sound Asleep

Nadaav and Danny on set


Arriving on set in Madrid

We arrived at the film studio on the outskirts of Madrid to see the amazing set Marcelo and his team had been building. It was a thrill to see Dean’s flat become reality. An odd, hyper real, anachronous reality. Perfect for this quirky comedy.

Sound Asleep - set build, pre-light and camera rehearsal all at the same time. Sound Asleep short film

Set build and camera planning on the set of Sound Asleep.

Danny John-Jules of Red Dwarf on the set of Sound Asleep short film by Nadaav (writer / director)

Danny John-Jules on the set of Sound Asleep

The crew got together and we put the finishing touches to the set and started pre-lighting. When Red Dwarf’s Danny John-Jules arrived, we began a brief rehearsal.



Danny John-Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf) in a makeup test on the set of Sound Asleep short film directed by Nadaav

Danny John-Jules makeup test.

Danny John-Jules makeup touch-up by Marina H on the set of Nadaav Soudry's Sound Asleep short film comedy

Danny John-Jules in a makeup check with Marina H on the set of Sound Asleep




Danny is an amazing presence to work with. Years of experience and natural talent meant he was unlike any actor I have worked with. He brought precision, skill, comedy timing and wit to the role beyond my expectations. With no one to bounce off on screen, the film really benefits from his inspiring performance and commitment.


Short Film – Long Days

There’s no point in hiding from it – this was always going to be a tough shoot. A £250,000 film made for £10,000. Days were long, conditions were not glamorous, and Madrid in winter is cold! Much colder than us Brits anticipated!

The team really pulled together. Danny’s performance, Marcelo’s set and Frank’s lighting coming together on screen inspired everyone to give everything they’ve got.

Crew watch Danny John-Jules in Nadaav Soudry's Sound Asleep short film

Watching back Danny’s amazing performance as Deen Peels

Nadaav Soudry director and Franklin Dow Director of Photography on the set of Sound Asleep starring Danny John-Jules

Nadaav and Frank plan the next shot


International Film Crew

Working with a foreign crew has challenges; the language barrier primarily. This was overcome with a mixture of patience, drawings and google translate, as well as the efforts of bilingual 1st Assistant Director Josemari Martínez. By the final day, it was barely evident anymore and British DoP Frank Dow finally remembered his Spanish gaffer’s name. (Thanks for your patience Adolfo!).

Nadaav director, Marcello Art director, Adolfo gaffer, Franklin Dow Director of Photography and Danny John-Jules actor on the set of Sound Asleep short film comedy

L to R: Nadaav, Marcelo, Adolfo, Frank and Danny


Nadaav Soudry director, Naomi Hancock camera assistant, Marcelo art director and actor Danny John-Jules and crew watch playback on the set of Sound Asleep short film comedy in Madrid

Nadaav, Naomi, Marcelo and Danny nervously watch playback

The final shots were a triumph. All the departments came together and pulled everything out of the bag. As Marcello’s set was blown up, Danny’s character stumbled through his wrecked home. Marina H’s makeup was spot on, smoke and lighting was perfect, props fell at just the right moment, and even the dog barked on cue. We had one chance at that closing shot, and we nailed it.

Marcelo art director, Franklin Dow director of photography and Nadaav Soudry director prepare the final shots in Nadaav's Sound Asleep short film comedy

Marcelo, Nadaav and Frank prepare the final shots

Nadaav Soudry director and Frank Dow director of photography on the set of Sound Asleep, Nadaav's short film comedy

Nadaav and Frank on set

Danny John-Jules on the set of Nadaav Soudry's Sound Asleep short film comedy

Danny as seen from the playback monitor

Exhausted but satisfied, all that was left was to pack up the van and get back to London, in time for a well earned Xmas break.


Edit and Post-Production

As I write this, Nick is busy completing the log and we are preparing for the edit. There’s still a lot to do. Edit, vfx, grading, foley, music and sound design. Plus a few pickup shots we need to get in London. We believe this will be a really special piece so we’re not going to hurry – we couldn’t afford to even if we wanted to!

Thanks to all the kickstarter backers and friends and supporters of the project. You can keep an eye on the film’s progress on our kickstarter and facebook.

Josemari Martínez first assistant director, Nadaav Soudry writer producer and director, Marcelo art director, Franklin Dow director of photography and Adolfo Berzosa Rodriguez gaffer on the set of Sound Asleep short film comedy

Josemari, Nadaav, Marcelo, Frank and Adolfo

Sound Asleep

Starring: Danny John-Jules

Producer / Director / Writer: Nadaav
Producer: Dino Webber
Director of Photography: Franklin Dow
1st Assistant Director: Josemari Martinez
Art Director: Marcelo Renieblas Paredes
Sound Recordist: Juan Carlos “Charlie” Arribas
Gaffer: Adolfo Berzosa Rodriguez
Makeup Artist: Marina H
Costume: Sammm Agnew
Original Music: Rich House
Camera Assistant: Naomi Hancock
Art Department Assistant: Luis Morales
Production Assistant: Nick Gaven
Runner: Kristen Abel
Dog Trainer: Mariano Galán
Cuddles the dog: Cavatina

Animation: cute explainer video for fin-tech startup

Animation explainer video

written, produced and directed by Nadaav


We’re all very proud of this animation project. I worked with the client to develop a concept and style. After green-lighting, I wrote scripts and worked with animators, illustrators, composers, VO artists and sound designers. Across all the elements: animation, script, voice over and sound design, there is a warm, playful, friendly tone.

The animation explains how peer to peer lending and invoice financing work. It is the second video I have produced for this client. The first is a talking head interview video on a similar topic, for a more traditional investor audience.

I worked with illustrator Peter Ayres to develop the character of Cupid With A Calculator. Peter is also responsible for the logos for Sound Asleep, a short film I am working on.

Cupid With A Calculator from Nadaav's Capital Springboard Animation

Cupid With A Calculator


How 2: Defeat an Alien Invasion (and launch a video game)

My videos for the new XCOM2 game create a niche internet sensation.

I was recently hired to create four unusual pre-launch PR videos for XCOM2, a turn based strategy/action video game. The game takes place in a world in which aliens have taken over Earth, and the player leads a small band of guerilla soldiers to fight back.

The promotional videos, designed to create anticipation in the UK audience, take the form of video tutorials and walk throughs, but unlike the typical presentation, these are presented by veteran newsreader and children’s TV presenter Fred Dinenage (How – ITV, How2 – ITV) who explains from his post apocalyptic space ship your role and responsibilities as well as the techniques that will help save the planet and defeat the aliens.

Youtube, gamer magazines, blogs and forums were awash with comments. Everything from Americans asking: “who is the bald guy?” to

“hysterical – I needed this!”

“What the Dinenage”

“This may be the greatest piece of regional specific marketing I’ve ever seen.”

“lol what the ****, I actually needed this but what a hilarious way to present it”

“You know **** gets real when Fred Dinenage tells you about an alien threat..”

“what an epic blast from the past… Whoever came up with this idea, give them a raise!”

“Brilliant – this is just perfect – thank you”.

And of course “That’s HOW for NOW!”

PC Games News even theorised that Fred Dinenage was inadvertently responsible for the fall of the Earth in the first place, in this rather peculiar article. Continue reading

How To…Make a Great Video

For this tip, you’ll need a brilliant director, and a charismatic presenter with a place in many people’s hearts!

I’ve just finished filming with Fred Dinenage. Readers of a particular vintage may remember him as the long standing presenter of ITV’s How show in the 70s. Younger readers like me grew up on Fred’s tips, alongside Gareth “Gaz Top” Jones, and Carol Vorderman, on CITV’s How 2.

Fred is a veteran broadcaster and a bit of a legend to anyone who grew up with kids TV in Britain. We’ve been filming some How 2 spoofs for the launch of a new video game, and I can assure you, he definitely still has it! Funny, super easy to work with, and put up with me making him say everything in a million different ways.

And he taught me How‘s famous sign off style.

Fred Dinenage and Nadaav say How for Now photo How For Now_zpsep5ejphy.jpg

Continue reading

90s Nostalgia – Filming a commercial with Tony from East 17

I’m not one for Xmas music. Or pop music for that matter. I never know what’s at number 1 in the charts. Which is why I was clearly the number 1 choice of producer / director for a brand video for Morrison’s with Tony Mortimer, of East 17. He wrote 1994’s Christmas number 1, Stay Another Day. Complete with furry white coat like in the original music video, Tony appears in a tongue-in-cheek film about how Christmas music is annoying rubbish.
Tony Mortimer from East 17 and me photo 2015-11-25 09.07.15_zpsdrnkof33.jpg Continue reading

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year from Nadaav photo Nadaavsayshappynewyear2015_zpsaab3ac05.jpg

2014 roundup in films, videos and events

2014 was a busy year of film making, crowd funding, unusual events and laughter.

In the spring I ran our annual Trafalgar Square pillow-fight, and released a very fast turn around viral video to accompany it. This massive event launched Sound Asleep on Kickstarter.  And thanks to 150 backers, we successfully crowd funded the short film, a comedy about insomnia. You can read more about the very unusual campaign, including quirky videos, more pillow fights, a sleep over and a bed time themed closing party on the Sound Asleep website. Later in the spring I made a film for the Daily Telegraph‘s business club. And in April my Citibank commercials were runners-up for the 2014 Focal Award.

In the summer I ran laughter yoga workshops at several summer festivals, a sideline in feeling good I offer to businesses as team building, motivational and experiences. It’s also something I am developing into a documentary. In the late summer I edit produced a documentary series for Channel Five. I completed the BBC’s brilliant creativity training courses and I attended the Sheffield Documentary Festival, where I was asked by the BBC to develop a documentary about the community I grew up in.

In the autumn I began working on several series of corporate and educational films for TfL (Transport for London) and also for multinational law firm White and Case. The former saw me getting to grips with large scale engineering challenges, filming in rarely seen tube tunnels being dug under Victoria Station for example, while the latter saw me return to a role I first worked in for Freshfields, taking complex legal concepts and condensing them into tight short videos. I directed a series of wine promos for Aldi with On-Broadcast, and worked on concept development with Casual Films. Finally, I completed the third of four brilliant courses in the Directors Guild’s Advanced Tools of Directing series, which I highly recommend to all seasoned directors and DPs.

Injured but still shooting!

And then at the end of 2015 I had an operation on my foot! Hence the reason for the image above. I have been using the recovery time to plan lots of film and video projects. I wrote and shot a satire on the Queen’s Christmas Message. I’ve been working on a feature film script, developing a couple of documentaries, working on concepts for some corporate clients and preparing to shoot Sound Asleep.

I can’t wait to get shooting again! Hopefully by mid to late January.

Underground Filmmaking! Secret London and TfL

Behind the scenes on the films I’m making with TfL

I’ve been producing and directing a series of engineering films recently, including filming a lot with TfL (Transport for London). I thought I’d share a few fun photos of places you might not normally get to see. Most exciting was the video shoot in the tunnels currently being dug under Victoria Station, using an innovative technique to tunnel directly through wet sandy earth to increase capacity in Britain’s busiest station. I also filmed a video in the super high-tech strong room that controls the whole of the Northern Line, and the not so high-tech way in which signallers are trained to use the new system!

Photos from shoots in secret Underground London

Going Underground! Five and TfL

I haven’t posted anything for a little. It’s cos I’ve gone underground! But not quite how you might think. In the last few months this is what I have been up to.

Sound Asleep, the short film I wrote and am directing, has been making steady progress. The script is in very good shape, budgets and floor-plans are complete, and a wonderful new casting director is on board. Now we are looking for a location.

I did a brief stint as edit producer on a documentary series for Channel Five. I’ve been working on something special, but top secret, for Sound Asleep’s legendary pillow fight in April. And I’ve been teaching some training and workshops and learning some new skills at the BBC’s creative popups.

But possibly most exciting for the geek in me, I have been going deep underground with TfL (Transport For London). I’m producing and directing a series of engineering films about the huge new developments they are working on to keep London moving. I’ll post some photos as soon as I can get a signal down here!

Sound Asleep comedy short film successfully funded on Kickstarter

An intense month!

Thank you so much to everyone who backed Sound Asleep on Kickstarter. It was a challenging, fun and emotional month as we raised awareness and funds for the project. We ran massive scale pillow fights, sleep-overs and parties and were featured on TV, in newspapers and blogs. The film raised 125% of its funding target on Kickstarter – an amazing achievement and we are indebted to our supporters. Continue reading

Sound Asleep – Short Film – Live on Kickstarter

Crowdfunding for Sound Asleep short film comedy

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just can’t sleep?

We all have. I certainly have, so I wrote a film about it. And I’d love for you to get involved. Take a look at the project on kickstarter – there are some pretty quirky rewards.  I could write loads more about it, but I tell it better:


Our Kickstarter Launch

If you’re stuck in bed and you just can’t sleep, a pillow fight is one of the most fun things you can do. So we invited a few thousand people and a samba band down to Trafalgar Square to launch out kickstarter event with a really really big pillow fight.

You can get involved on kickstarter

Find us on facebook

Or follow us on Twitter

Citi200 commercials shortlisted for Focal Awards

The sixty second commercials I directed for Citi (Citibank)’s 200th anniversary have been shortlisted for a Focal Award in the category Best Use Of Footage in An Advert Or Short Production.


Continue reading