Interview with Jamie Carter, Videographer and Photographer

Director. Editor. Videographer. Photographer. Based in London and Essex in the UK, Jamie Carter is a man with many titles. In recent years, his photos and videos have become an integral part of documenting ONE OK ROCK’s journey when they tour in Europe. Jamie also contributed to NHK’s documentary program, ONE OK ROCK World Tour Document, which aired on October 19, 2019.

I asked Jamie a few questions to learn more about his work and his relationship with ONE OK ROCK.

Jamie Carter
Photo by Alex Thompson


You’re sort of a jack of all trades when it comes to content creation. How did you get started?

JC: Ha, I guess I am a bit of a jack of all trades, which I don’t think is a bad thing these days – as long as you make sure your ability in all of those skill sets is high. It doesn’t work to just do an OK job of multiple things, you have to work hard to be at a really good level of all of them – and I do think you need to know where your real talent lies amongst those roles. For me it’s actually editing I think!

I also think it’s really important to learn and understand multiple parts of video making – by understanding editing I shoot better content, and by understanding production I feel like I make more natural and honest Music Videos when I’m directing. It’s important to always be able to adapt and learn.

My career started with some work experience during a break between my 2nd and 3rd year of university. I was studying Creative Music Tech, learning how to record and produce bands as well as playing instruments, but also a lot of the scientific reasoning behind sonics etc.

I’ll be honest and say I have never had an amazing time in education, never really fulfilled any potential and really struggled to engage and learn, all the way through school and university. My sister-in-law got me a week’s work experience at EMI, the record label in London, where she was working to help out the Audio Visual team who were basically the in-house content team before “content” was a real thing. The head of the team at the time just completely threw me in at the deep end, handed me a camera on the first day to go and shoot with and forced me to learn on the job. Same with editing. By the end of the week I’d shot some footage for a TV special, done sound operating on Robbie Williams’ worldwide comeback interviews, and edited a short team showreel. It really sparked something in me. Before that, I’d never really been interested in filming and had never properly used Final Cut or editing software. Thinking back, I was always really interested in Music Videos and live concert DVDs but I’d just never really realised it was something I could do, let alone be good at.

From that point on I went back to university, took up a film elective, got a First in that, finished my final year and offered to go back to EMI for more unpaid work experience. It was a case of right person, right place and right time, as that boss who had shown such confidence in me decided to leave, and that opened up a temporary paid position for me at the label as a department coordinator – that was nearly 10 years ago now.

What equipment do you use for photos and video? What do you use to edit them?

In terms of my kit I use when I’m on tour, I am constantly upgrading, but currently I have a Sony α7 III which I use as my main camera for video and stills, and a Sony α6500 as a lightweight camera for my gimbal.

I try to have my kit set out so that I can “run and gun” really easily as I am really interested in capturing natural moments which means you always need to be ready – I haven’t got time to be worrying about loading cameras on and off gimbals etc.

I’ve got a variety of lenses that I take out with me – but I usually just use a Sony 24-70, Sigma 16mm and 30mm primes, and my Sigma 10-20mm. This gives me a good range of options during a show.

In terms of editing, I run an iMac at home for editing but whilst on the road I have my MacBook Pro with Lightroom and Premiere for photo and video editing.

What are some things you keep in mind when shooting a concert? What do you hope to inspire in people when they look at your work?

When I’m shooting my first thought is always variety. I want to make sure I get as many angles from as many different points of the venue as I can. It’s usually a case of ticking off a stage shot, pit shot, in the crowd shot, and some form of back of the venue shot. Within those positions, I want to make sure I can get shots of each member, wide shots of the stage, shots of fans engaging, and huge wides of the whole room.

I also want to get a mixture of smooth gliding shots, slow motion shots, and energetic handheld stuff so that I have a variety of “feelings” and dynamics. That way, when it comes to editing video, I have enough variety to keep the viewer engaged in my videos. I always think from an editors point of view basically – even if I’m not editing the final thing, I want to make sure I’ve given that editor the right tools to be able to make something great.

In terms of what I hope people think of when they see my work, I haven’t really thought of that before… I guess I always want to make someone say “wow”. Whether it’s highlights of a show, or a music video, or anything, I always want it to be the absolute best it can be. I love music and everything I make needs to always feel connected to the song and flowing in the right places.

I basically want every edit I do to be a mini music video! Each section should slow down or speed up at the right time to match the dynamics of the music, and the shots should all flow – it should feel natural to watch.

I believe you started shooting for ONE OK ROCK in 2017. How were you approached and what were your first impressions of the band and their music?

Yes indeed, the first thing I shot was the “Ambitions” European Tour at the end of 2017 – I joined the tour in the middle until the end.

I actually first met Taka in Tokyo of all places! It was early 2017 and I was working with Ed Sheeran, capturing his worldwide radio and TV promo trip for the Castle On The Hill/Shape Of You launch, and I believe either Ed or his Japanese label invited Taka and Jamil to dinner with us all.

Jamil (I’m sure you know who Jamil is, but he is a creative collaborator with the band) and I got chatting about videos and stuff and I offered to shoot some bits for the band when they were over in the UK, then sort of forgot about it.

To be honest, I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but then out of the blue later in the year, Jamil emailed me asking if I could cover the filming of their tour and looped me in with Amuse, and that was that!

One of my friends had actually mentioned OOR to me before, saying how much he loved them, but I’d never had a chance to check them out. However I did get a chance to film a part of their set at Reading Festival that year, but fully experienced them for the first time when I shot them at Shepherds Bush Empire on my first night of the Ambitions tour, and was honestly just blown away by their energy – and mostly by Taka’s vocals, which still impress me at every show.

You’ve worked with many high profile Western artists including Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, and Coldplay. How different is it to work with a Japanese band like ONE OK ROCK?

I guess the real difference is the language barrier – as obvious as that sounds.

I always feel I’ve been quite good at “reading the room,” so not overstepping boundaries and always stopping filming at the right time, and that skill has been essential as obviously with the guys, they don’t sit around and talk in English to each other!

But in terms of working with them that’s the only real difference. You just have to know when to shoot and when not to shoot, and that’s the same with any person. No one likes a camera in their face constantly capturing their every move, and it’s pointless to film certain things that don’t entertain an audience. Often less is more.

You mentioned a language barrier. How do you overcome that to get your ideas across?

The language barrier is often helped by their manager who speaks really good English, so if there’s something specific I want to do, I explain to the band with him there in case there is anything he needs to elaborate on. But Taka’s English is really great; he’s been working really hard and understands nearly everything now – on the last tour I was trying to teach Ryota and Tomo different English accents and how we say “worter” instead of “water” in the south of England! They found it hilarious.

Having worked with both ONE OK ROCK and Ed Sheeran, what was your reaction when it was announced that ONE OK ROCK would be opening for the Asia leg of Ed’s Divide Tour? How does shooting them in much larger venues compare to capturing them on smaller stages?

I was actually really excited, weirdly! Even though I wasn’t a part of that tour, it felt great to see two groups of people who are really kind, honest and thoughtful touring with each other, and I’m so glad it went so well for everyone.

Although I’ve filmed Ed at Wembley Stadium,1 I’ve only been lucky enough to shoot ONE OK ROCK in smaller European and American venues, which obviously are nowhere near as big as the venues in Japan – probably the biggest was the recent Paris show at La Seine, or the previous Paris show at Zenith.

I’ll be honest though and say I do always enjoy larger rooms because it’s easier for me to get in and out of the photo pit and around the venue! But I do enjoy those small venues where Taka is right in the crowd and I can get some really cool stuff.

Jamie filming Toru at Hollywood Palladium (2019)
Photo by JulenPhoto

What was the experience like collaborating with Japanese staff for the World Tour documentary that aired on NHK? How did you divide up the work and were you given any specific instructions?

Working with NHK on the documentary was a strange experience for me – as it was the first time with OOR that I was filming but not turning around highlights videos, and I knew I wouldn’t be editing the piece either. It meant I was shooting a lot more because I wasn’t worried about having to sift through all the footage to find the good bits! I also wasn’t using my usual kit – I had a Sony FS5 to shoot on for the whole tour, and I had to shoot in a different style to how I usually would for creating highlights videos and tour roundups.

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but it was very different to what I am used to when touring and just took some getting used to. I wasn’t watching back the footage every night so when it came to watching the documentary I was sort of like, “Oh yeah, I forgot that I filmed that!”

The crew who were leading the documentary gave me a run down of camera settings and a few pointers to match things they’d already done, but mostly they just told me to do whatever I wanted! I think it was because I have a close relationship with the band and capture things in a different way to how a Japanese crew would, so they would choose shows that they felt were key to capture and bring along a small crew, then leave me to capture the rest by myself. It was nice that they trusted in me in that way.

We saw in the documentary that life on tour isn’t exactly luxurious. What was it like traveling on the tour bus with the band and spending weeks at a time on the road? How did you all keep yourselves entertained? Who got dibs on which bunk?

The band were pretty tired by the time the European leg came around. They’d nearly been touring non-stop since they started in America so we used to spend time in between soundcheck and show just hanging out and chatting, making jokes. The band would chat to their families at home a lot, it was just relaxed and a nice atmosphere. Obviously most of the crew are Japanese so they had also been away a long time also.

The band always get first dibs on bunks! Then it’s a free for all. I like to try and stay close to the band’s bunks so I can hear if I need to jump out and film anything, always got to be ready!

How has your relationship with the band members changed over the years?

It was interesting starting out in 2017 going on a tour with a Japanese band and mainly Japanese crew, who spoke very little English – it was actually quite daunting. But the band and crew have always been amazingly kind and hospitable to me, and over the years we have grown much closer; I definitely consider the band friends now, and we keep in contact outside of tours – especially Ryota.

They are all extremely nice and kind people, genuinely four of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my career. They let me be as creative as I want, and always thank me and compliment me on my work which is really lovely of them – it makes me want to create better and better things and I think we have a great working relationship.

Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken of the band?

Damn. That’s a hard question!

I’ve taken probably on average 600 photos at every OOR show I’ve ever been at, and I usually cut those down to around 80-100, so choosing a favourite is always tough! I always prefer my most recent work, because I’m always learning and evolving so usually whatever I’ve shot most recently is my favourite at that point. I honestly couldn’t choose a favourite though. For now I like this one, but I’ll change my mind immediately after this!

Toru throwing water at Hala Kolo in Warsaw (2019)

But actually maybe my favourite photo is this – two Polaroids I took of Taka and Ryota with my wife when she was pregnant; it brings me a lot of joy.

Taka and Ryota with Mrs. Carter at Roundhouse in London (2019)

The band always goes out of their way to say hello when she is at their shows and it’s great to be able to include my family life with my professional life.

Congratulations on the upcoming baby! Speaking of family, I believe you were there when Tomoya first showed his newborn to the band. What was the atmosphere like?

Everyone was very happy for Tomo when his baby was born! We had been talking a lot about babies on the last tour, myself Ryota and Tomo, it seemed to be a running theme! With Ryota having a little girl and Tomo having another baby and me expecting a little girl of my own, it was a nice thing to all talk about.

Please share with us some fun memories you’ve had with the band.

Fun memories – it’s always fun spending time with the band, because they are all so sweet and kind! But it’s hard to pick out moments because when you’re on tour it all seems to roll into one!

On the last tour I spent the day with Toru in Budapest and it was great because we just hung out and chatted about life, which we hadn’t really had the chance to do. The face masks thing from the documentary was also EXTREMELY funny, even at the time. And just generally spending time with Tomo! – he is hilarious, and a bit crazy, it’s so much fun.

Oh, and on the last tour Ryota and Tomo got me to say childish things in Japanese to each other, which they found incredibly hilarious.

Yeah? Like what?

I don’t remember what I had to say in Japanese, but it was silly things not rude ones, I think I told Tomo he has big ears at one point!

Do you think your apprentice Tomoya has any potential?

Hahahaha. Yes, he has potential to one day be as good at drums as me. You meant drums right?

All the band members enjoy picking up the camera occasionally, and it’s always quite funny watching them try to learn how to use it!

How would you describe ONE OK ROCK to someone who was not familiar with them?

The best way to explain ONE OK ROCK to someone new is to show them a live show. Across their set you get catchy riffs, amazing harmonies, some really heavy sections, and big singalong choruses. It’s hard to put them into a genre – they can do everything! It’s rock, it’s pop, there’s some electronic grooves in there, it’s just great to see their evolution without ever losing who they are.

I am a genuine fan of their music and sit and listen to it when I’m not working with them!

That’s great to hear. You know I have to ask you what your favorite song is then.

Hmm… favourite song… that changes all the time too!

Favourite song off the albums is probably Stand Out Fit In or Jaded (because I like playing it on drums!). But live it has to be Mighty Long Fall because I really enjoy the heavy ending they do live!

Definitely, gotta love the breakdown at the end of MLF! A lot of people were disappointed it got dropped from the setlist on the Eye of the Storm North American Tour.

It must be hard for a band to keep playing songs they wrote a long time ago, same as it is for me to see videos I made ten years ago, because you feel you’ve grown a lot since then. But as fans, we still enjoy them the same! It’s a weird one, but I do love that song!

That’s certainly understandable. Lastly, do you have any words for our readers?

I guess I hope people enjoy my photos and videos, and I hope I help in some way to grow the fanbase more and more outside of Asia.

It’s a pleasure to work with the band and I hope it carries on for many more years!



JC: あはは、確かになんでも屋かもね。悪いことじゃないと思うけど、やること全てに実力がないとダメだ。色々なことをまあまあ出来ても通じない。すべてハイレベルになるために頑張らないとダメだし、その中から自分が得意なスキルは何なのかも知るべきだ。僕は特に編集が得意だと思う!






いつも機材をアップグレードしているが、ツアー中のキットは現在映像とスチルのメインカメラとしてソニーα7 III、そしてギンバル用の軽いカメラはソニーα6500を使っている。



編集に関しては、家ではiMacで編集するけど、外出中はMacBook ProでLightroomとPremiereを使って写真や映像の編集をする。






確か2017年にONE OK ROCKの撮影を始めましたね。どのようにアプローチされましたか?バンドとバンドの音楽の第一印象はどんな感じでしたか?


実はTakaとは東京で初めて会った!2017年上旬に「Castle On The Hill/Shape Of You」の発売のPR撮影のためにエド・シーランと一緒に仕事をしていた。その時にエド本人か彼の日本のレーベルがTakaとジャミールを夕食に誘った。




リンキン・パーク、エド・シーランやコールドプレイのような大人気の大物洋楽アーティストと一緒にお仕事をされていました。ONE OK ROCKのような日本から来たバンドとお仕事をするのは違いますか?






ONE OK ROCKともエド・シーランともお仕事をする経験があって、ONE OK ROCKがエドのDivideツアーのアジア公演でオープニングアクトを務めると聞いてどんなリアクションでしたか?大きな会場ともう少し狭いステージで撮影するのは違いがありますか?


エドをウェンブリー・スタジアム2で撮影したことがあるけど、残念ながらONE OK ROCKはヨーロッパとアメリカの小さな会場でしか撮ったことがない。日本の会場ほど大きくないけど、僕が撮影した一番大きい会場は多分パリのラ・セインかその前のパリ公演のゼニスかな。































もしONE OK ROCKに詳しくない人がいましたら、どうやって説明しますか?

ONE OK ROCKを説明するにはライブショーを見せるのが手っ取り早い。セットでキャッチーなリフ、素晴らしいハーモニー、少しヘビーなセクション、合唱できるサビも味わえる。何でもできるから一つのジャンルにカテゴライズするのが難しい。ロック、ポップ、エレクトリックグルーブも多少あって、自分を失わずに進化し続けるそんな彼らを見られるのがいいね。




アルバムからはおそらく「Stand Out Fit In」か「Jaded」(何故ならドラムで叩くのが好きだから!)。でも生ならやはり「Mighty Long Fall」だね。ライブでしかやらないあの最後のヘビーなとこが大好き!

あれですね!カッコいいですよね!Eye of the Stormの北米ツアーの時に「Mighty Long Fall」がセトリから外されてガッカリした人が多かったですね。





Jamie Carter with ONE OK ROCK in San Francisco (2019)
Photo by JulenPhoto

Thank you so much for your time and insight! I certainly look forward to seeing more of your work the next time ONE OK ROCK tours in Europe, and maybe even outside of Europe! Keep up to date with Jamie Carter’s work on Twitter, Instagram, and his website!