Sticky Icky

Siddney Youngblood
Thomas Graham
Eithen Shipley (Son of John Shipley member of The Specials)
Bex Hannan
George Leon


BAMF Records is an up-and-coming record label based in the Midlands. Owned and directed by Siddney Youngblood it produces the freshest House, Pop and Chart music. The label is also proud to feature Sticky Icky – a musical collective from the heart of England – supporting many talented artists. The group’s producers handpick talented singers and musicians to perform on tracks they then create to suit their artists’ individual sounds.




Head to, upload your music and you could have your tracks broadcast on BBC RadioHead to, upload your music and you could have your tracks broadcast on BBC Radio


We are proud to have one of our official tracks ‘Promises’ featured on BBC West Midlands on the 5th December. You can check out the show here –


BAMF Records is an up-and-coming record label based in the historical town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Owned and directed by Siddney Youngblood it deals in the freshest House, Pop and Chart music. The label is also proud to feature Sticky Icky – a musical collective from the heart of England – supporting many talented artists, something along the lines of Massive Attack. The group’s producers handpick talented singers and musicians to perform on tracks they then create to suit their artists’ individual sounds.

The official releases can be found on the BAMF Records Ltd YouTube channel: and the Facebook page holds a little description of each piece:

Being involved in the whole creative filmmaking process from pre-production (original concept idea, storyboards, shot lists, sourcing actors/locations), production (cinematography, directing, camerawork, Canon 5D Mark II/III) and post-production (editing, colour grading, release) gave me an invaluable amount of experience. Assisting in the label’s day to day operations allowed me to to learn a great deal about the music industry and the label’s management. I also helped run the social media pages and performed marketing of the label’s tracks and videos, proof reading all documents including contracts and all communications, as well as vocal recording and meeting and working with a variety of talented music producers and actors.

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Dear Viewer,

Whilst watching my short film I hope you realise how much effort, dedication and soul went into producing it; only taking 4 hard months of pre-production, 4 days of hell in production and 2 months of vigorous post-production. One can see the level of thought and passion through the images on screen. The journey was a long but one that had taught me far more than I had ever imagined. Creating such an ambitious project was part of my plan, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I wanted to prove myself as a media producer that anything could be possible as a student. Majority of people were shooting films in a house, I was shooting it in a nightclub. I wanted that extra bit of showreel material that would sell myself to employers, this was the guy with the biggest student project and he was the one who pulled it off.

Working together with a very talented writer I was able to make my ideas heard, the writer would do careful research into each part of the story so that the film would be realistic and legitimate. Everything in the film had meaning; nothing was ever random or just put there for being for the sake of it. Everything was governed by an interesting ideology; this gave depth to all of the characters as well as the events in the script. It was the importance of understanding the writer’s vision that allowed me to transfer his script to visuals.

I learned that money is the one of the biggest parts of filmmaking; I could only rent the best camera with a hefty amount of cash, I could only use the best sound equipment by paying a big rent fee. And if I offered to pay less or not at all, then people would just drop-out – like the first DoP and multiple sound recordists. Actors dropping out plagued me less, but I should have issued legally binding contracts to actors taking part in the production to minimise this – I only learned this when Levis dropped out a day before the shoot, which almost ruined it. Mentioning expenses meant nothing, you always had to have that extra bit of cash to offer as payment for people’s time. It was really important to do so. People who are good at what they do and charge nothing is impossible to find in today’s society, on top of expenses you have to pay people, and even a small amount will suffice. Even if you do show people your showreel and state that you are fantastic, there is no guarantee that someone will watch it and fully commit themselves to you. Contracts and payments are the way forward.

And then there were the extras (an integral part of the film that would actually make it believable as film) a part that I completely overlooked, and to no surprise, failed at. But this made me learn that organising extras was another science that had to be respected and followed. I had to remember that they were not getting anything from it in terms of showreel so I had to offer them something other than payment and arrange and confirm them individually. I was lucky enough to meet a person on the first day that would prove to be an invaluable contact in getting people to act as nightclub extras thanks to his son’s company, Destiny Live Performance. It made me learn that making good contacts as a media producer was crucial because the more people you know the more you can organise, the more links you make and the more professional you get as a filmmaker. The more you can achieve. This took me from zero experience of organising extras to knowing exactly what to do if I needed them in the future.

Directing on the set was insane. At points I just wanted to drop dead on the floor and shut my eyes to the world – but I couldn’t, I had to prevail with an iron fist. Last time I worked on a 15min short film was back in the 2nd year of college (I went from 2 years of HND to final year top-up at Coventry University) and we didn’t even arrange any other actors apart from our college group. It was child’s play compared to this film. You’d probably imagine me being completely mad going from something as petty as this to something as grand as ‘End of Nights’ but I needed to fill in that missing gap of familiarity with proper film sets, working with proper actors and a professional crew (which I also ALL produced with my fellow producer). Just 4 days of production gave me first-hand experience in working on a big set – it is not for the weak, it is not easy and it is certainly one hell of a task. As the director you have to be the man in charge – you are the one calling all the shots – everyone is under your command. You have to make very important creative decisions in order to make the film succeed, especially when you want it to have no similarities to the work of students. You have to tell everyone what to do and how to do it the way you want it. Now that I can easily sit down and look back at it, I realise that I loved every minute of it. I constantly push myself to the limit because I just want to get better; I want to make great films. I believe I have what it takes.

Project management as a whole was satisfactory. It was rough at parts and only got serious a week before the actual shooting, but can you fault them if I managed to complete the film to the highest of standards as well as keep it affordable? There is room for improvement and I know what needs to be improved and taken care of the future. Legal documents are of utmost importance, sure we got the release forms after the project, but the forms in pre-production were just as crucial. This project has made me realise the importance of every little stage in the process.

In post-production I have never in my life worked with a Red or 4k footage and this project gave me that chance to. I enhanced my technical skills and devised an incredibly high-quality workflow to handle such epic footage. As an editor you gain experience with every project you work on – the bigger and more ambitious projects grant you massive rewards upon completion – you look back and think, wow, I did that. You devise clever little ways of bypassing silly errors and mistakes that were made in production and you make the film flow and give it depth and meaning, this is the part where the script transforms into fantastic visuals. The power of grading gave me insight into how the colours can emit a dominant meaning and combined with talented sound design and an interesting and fascinating story, a legendary film is born. A film I created.

On a finishing note I will quote my friend once again: “It is better to have great ideas but have to work within realistic limitations than weak ideas that you have to try and polish into something better”. I hope you enjoyed my film.

George Leon,

Producer, Director & Editor of “End of Nights”

My last bit of concern was with exporting to a delivery codec (H264 being the most popular one, in a widely international MP4 container) of the highest possible quality. After multiple test exports from Premiere I noticed serve cases of banding and other artefacts, even when set at an incredibly high bitrate. I did some research and found people complaining about the same thing too, issue being Premiere’s poor implementation of MainConcept AVC (Premiere’s H264 encoder).

BandingExamples of quality loss in the export tests

The best H264 encoder in the world is the open source x264. But how would I export directly from Premiere using x264? I could go from Premiere to Intermediate to x264 encode but I would rather skip the middle part because it’s pointless, wastes time and resources and ‘could’ result in quality loss. It takes about 8 hours to export 15mins of 4k footage into 1080p (has to downsize, crop the shot, crop to aspect ratio, sharpen, any other effects, etc). The answer was either X264PRO or Sorenson Squeeze. The former attached a watermark under trial usage so the latter proved far more superior – you configure the preset in Squeeze itself and then it appears in the Premiere export window, which very neat and user-friendly. X264 offers far more advanced finely tuned profiles (film, grain, etc, based on content), presets for encoding (ultrafast to placebo, the slower the encode the better the quality) and AVC profiles. To obtain the best possible export (and bearing in mind that it takes 8 hours already to process 4k) I learned that:

  • Selecting the placebo (slowest) preset will add on an extra 4-5 hours. This allows the encoder to utilise every single tool it has to compress and retain every single amount of detail. This makes the redcode raw footage to be almost indistinguishable with this x264 export.
  • Tuned for a ‘film’ look to retain grain and colour with the best possible compression & quality AVC profile (high) and a level of 5.1 to support it all the advanced settings the placebo preset supports.
  • Making each frame a keyframe ensures each frame is of the highest possible quality – no need for reference frames.
  • A high bitrate of 35000Kbps is merely a bonus to ensure quality is upheld throughout; based on all these settings the encoder will handle the rest. A bitrate of 12000Kbps is suitable for delivery (1.2GB).
  • I am cropping the resolution to 1920×816 in this program; every important setting should be set in this program because I will not have a chance to do it on Premiere.
  • A nice and subtle sharpen filter to make everything ‘pop’

SqueezeThe final export settings on Sorenson Squeeze

PremiereExport…and the preset available on Premiere (middle right)

This gives me a total file size of only 3.7GB, which is decent. At this stage I do not need to compress it further because this is suitable for the web as well as film festivals. I am a quality freak and I have discovered the secret recipe of insane and efficient quality. I have visually tested this x264 export against DNxHD/Cineform HD/ProRes 4444 and it is to the eye, identical. Don’t get me wrong though, intermediate codecs are used to preserve the data the eye doesn’t see for post work. x264 actually holds its own at an incredibly low file size in comparison. This is the reason why the encoder has won many awards in recent years, it is simply the best.

No bandingFinal H264 export – minimal quality loss

Creating the poster

I was tasked to create the poster thanks to my knowledge in Photoshop. I wanted a really unique design and avoid mainstream poster clichés. The writer really wanted to include the male and female symbols in the poster so I came up with a clever idea to incorporate that. The male symbol is split with Ted and Levis to imply that they are fighting over a woman; Grace who is within the crossing female symbol which implies the winner will take her home. All of this amongst a nightclub inspired background. “Assert Your Dominance” the tagline reads, the whole premise of the film. The one who dominates, is the one who wins.

End-of-Nights-posterPoster design


Post-production on this project was fantastic. I wanted to push myself to the limits by working with a Red for the first time and that I did. It was a whole new experience; I had never in my life used a 4K camera, let alone a Red. The professional post-production program from Red was incredible to use and gave me some really important experience that I can put onto my CV. I was also able to bring life to this film and increase my editing skills a tenfold. I spent many sleepless nights fine-tuning every single edit, crop and adjustment to absolute perfection. Each 15 min film that I do gives me much more knowledge and experience than I can imagine. I love every minute of it and I just want to make more films.

Screenshot (43)Film on the timeline, graded, sound design complete and ready for final export