Back Chat: Phil Woodhead

Video Director, Phil Woodhead takes the hot seat to discuss the importance of adaptability, the evolution of video technology and his latest lockdown venture.

Video Director, Phil Woodhead takes the hot seat.

What sparked your interest in live events?

“I was already in the live industry as a cameraman for extreme sports shows which, for the most part, requires a similar skillset, when I was approached to join The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon Tour in ’97–98 because someone dropped out. The rest, as they say, is history…”

How has your workflow evolved in recent times?

“The advance in technology, particularly the emergence of media servers and advanced LED screen setups, has meant that I’ve had to acquire and absorb more technical information.”

What are some of your career highlights so far?

“Touring the UK and Europe as a Video Director with Kings of Leon for eight years non-stop. The Stone Roses Reunion Tour in 2012–13 was also a big highlight. Above all, I’ve had the privilege and been very fortunate to work with some amazing designers such as Paul Normandale, Cate Carter, Cassius Creative and fantastic production crew members during my time on the road.”

How have you been keeping occupied in lockdown?

“I’ve started a new business, www.philfybrews.co.uk, which is a home delivery service for craft beer and cider in a five-mile radius of my hometown of Shoreham-by-Sea. My stock is from small, independent breweries, including cider from a fellow roadie, Jolyon Oliver of Napton Cider.”

What advice would you offer to industry newcomers?

“Make sure you have a transferable skillset, which allows you to operate during times you aren’t able to tour. For example, if you’re an LED tech, learn how to use your skills as an electrician. It’s also important to become an expert in the field you’re interested in by learning as much as you can. Hone your craft and become good at multitasking so that you can acclimatise to the fast-paced nature of touring. Importantly, if you are freelance, make sure that your accounting is spot on, so you don’t come into any trouble later down the road.”

What is the best advice that you have received?

“Be adaptable. Turn your hand to what is required on site, within reason, and make sure you’re up to speed with the hamster wheel of touring because it doesn’t slow down.”

This article originally appeared in issue #258 of TPi, which you can read here.