Rob McDougal is a DOP based in London, UK, who, aside from being a well-versed DOP, is also an advocate for networking & collaboration. This is something that's lead him to work on the current and upcoming releases for the band 'Another Sky'. We had a chat with Rob to find out a little bit more.

Maker Series - Chapter 50

Taking to the Sky

Rob McDougal, DOP, UK

Still form the official music video for 'The Pain' - Another Sky, dir. Darina Darina

Fabrik: Hey Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! It seems like you’ve got quite a busy schedule for the foreseeable - what are you up to?

Rob: "Hey, you’re very welcome and I want to thank you and the Fabrik team for giving me an opportunity to talk about my little corner of the world..

2024 is looking to be my busiest year yet! I have a few things in the works, one of them is pre-production on a fantastic dark comedy by a good friend of mine Richard W Scott. I have a bit of commercial content on the horizon and looking to line up a few more music videos in the coming months."

Fabrik: We've noticed a lot of content for the band 'Another Sky' - you look to be involved with the band for most, if not all, of their current/upcoming releases. How did this come about?

Rob: "Yeah, I’m very privileged to have an amazing connection with the band's media artist ‘Darina’. She’s been Another Sky’s official photographer for a while now, and was given the opportunity to create music video content for four of the bands singles from their new 2024 album “Beach Day”.

Darina and I have worked together for about five years now and as she was managing the production deal, she brought me on board to help develop and facilitate alongside her. I think the first music video we collaborated on was back in 2019, but we had been on sets together in other roles for a few years prior to that.

BTS for 'Swirling Smoke' - Another Sky

Fabrik: So you and Darina have worked together on ’The Pain,' 'Swirling Smoke,’ and ‘I Never Had Control.' Can you let us know a little more about your process?

Rob: "As much as I love cinematography as a visual art, I am always mindful that the job of a Director of Photography is to enable the Director in their vision.

The narrative is usually developed by the band and Darina to ensure that there's a clear creative understanding across the board. Once the concept and story is mapped out, I can start to collate example images with Darina. This is mostly conversations about what look we want to achieve and how we’ll execute that. I have an amazing crew I work with in the North East and Focus Canning, the kit hire company were a huge supporting figure in making these videos happen."

Still from the official music video for 'Swirling Smoke' - Another Sky, dir. Darina Darina

Fabrik: Your portfolio features a lot of work related to musical releases/sessions - but we do get a glimpse of your commercial and narrative work too. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on, or is it just all about being behind the camera?

Rob: "Oh my goodness, I would go for narrative at any opportunity. I absolutely love diving deep into characters and story telling. But everything we do is about the story, and it's all connected when it comes to the work I do. I can find a learning opportunity from any project I work on, and always try to process how to map that out onto other projects.

If you wanted to dive a little deeper down, lighting is my thing. I’m happy to pass the camera to my Camera Op, Adam Opie any day. Not only because he's an incredibly capable human being, but I would much rather stare at a screen, assessing the image and how the light falls into the scene."

BTS for 'I Never had Control' - Another Sky

Still from the official music video for 'I Never had Control' - Another Sky, dir. Darina Darina

Fabrik: So what’s on the horizon for you (if you’re allowed to divulge)?

Rob: "I feel like the sun has just set from the previous chapter of my career and I'm currently partying the night away. But I'm looking forward to seeing the sun on the next horizon, and with it, hopefully a new line of work.

I’m currently talking to Johnny Massai, the Writer/Director of ‘High Tide’ about doing some Digital 4 Digital tests. This is where you shoot on Digital, print onto film and then scan them back into a Digital format. With the hope that you take on the grain patterns and film characteristics. So that's something for the summer. I’m pretty excited for this one."

BTS for 'High Tide' - dir. Johnny Massai

Fabrik: You’ve not long been a Fabrik user, what made you join us?

Rob: "You know, I’ve been looking at Fabrik for over 2 years now. I was doing some research on how to forward yourself as a DoP. I found a really interesting conversation about reels and projects. These days producers are looking less at Reels and focusing more on seeing projects in full. This way it's easier to gauge whether someone can deliver in full on a shooting style or concept instead of just showing the best shot of that project. At the time, I didn't feel like I was up to standard, so I set myself a goal to shoot enough content I'm proud of, to display in a grid of 9 on a website.

As my research continued, I noticed that a lot of established DoP’s in the industry have a Fabrik website. I guess I could have joined at that point, but I feel like I'm now standing alongside a great roster of Fabrik creatives, with a portfolio that can compete."

Still from the official music video for 'Swirling Smoke' - Another Sky, dir. Darina Darina

Fabrik: What’s your favourite feature of Fabrik?

Rob: "Oh man, it has to be the project's feature. It's so simple and so effective, and the fact you can pull the thumbnail from YouTube or Vimeo helps a lot. It saves me from applying the VEVO logo to any thumbnails. Then you can move them around the grid by clicking and dragging there to where you want, it's so satisfying. I’ve spent most of my time rearranging my projects to best display on my home page."

Fabrik: Thanks for chatting with us Rob - lastly, any advice for budding DOPs looking to get involved with music videos?

Rob: "Anytime! It's been a pleasure.

Music videos are such an amazing conduit of creativity. But like any DoP, your network is what will help you grow. Respect and trust the people around you and the creativity and work will evolve with you. Music videos are so forgiving when it comes to trying out styles and techniques, but listen to your peers. It's your job to enable others' growth as well as your own."

Discover Rob's Portfolio

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