Posted by Ashley Byrne on May 8th, 2019
Producer, Louise Jones
We capture Louise during a crazy, hectic week (when is it not??!!) getting ready to film for a huge production (in this case, a crucial nationwide policing training documentary)..
I’ll be out filming for the next few days and so today is all about the final pre-prep which basically involves checking and triple-checking the thousands of lists I’ve made myself across props, costume, locations, shot lists, kit lists and making sure my beloved folder contains all the necessary call-sheets, production schedules and scripts.
This is going to be a big shoot and so I touch base with everyone involved who will be on the shoot to make sure anything and everything is clear ahead of filming – actor’s agents, the runner, camera operators, sound engineer, police consultants and the client.
There is always a strange sense of calm teamed with nerves when you finally feel that you can’t possibly check everything one more time and that, by George, you’re ready
Shoot Day One. Today we’re shooting the first scene that will act as a dramatised re-enactment within the film. We’re not even rehearsing until 10am but I set off at 6am for a shoot that is only 20 miles away (at a residential house I sourced from a fantastic locations agency) but we need to dress the set and rig all the kit up which also includes a monitor for myself and the client to see how the shots appear on-screen. It is one thing to have a shot list but another when you see it on screen and think, “hmmm…maybe not” or notice something in the background that shouldn’t be there!
Once everything is in place and all the kit is rigged, I run through the shot lists with the crew and we do a tech rehearsal across cameras, lighting and sound. Whilst things always change on the day, I always have a production schedule that I try to work to to ensure all the desired shots are captured by a certain time and that allows for ‘contingency time’ in the event of any technical hiccups, human error or for moments when I suddenly see another shot or two I’d like!
The shoot goes fantastically, helped by a fantastic actress and fantastic crew!
Shoot Day Two. Today we are shooting scene three – filming out of sync means that myself and our runner’s notepads are on fire with the amount of notes we’re taking so that the shoot all makes sense when we take all the rushes back to Edit! This is also a three camera shoot and so the shot logs are extensive and I find myself typing them up at the end of each day just to make sense of them.
Today’s shoot has been with two new actors and a huge array of props to make the scene appear as though a ‘drugs den’ and so a lot of prior research went into exactly what such a scene would look like as well as purchasing quite possibly the strangest array of props yet in order to dress the set!
Shoot Day Three. Today we’re shooting scene two which is all to be filmed outside, the location being a retail park. It is always a whole different ballgame when filming outside in a public place in terms of arranging the permissions to film, including all the necessary risk assessments involved, release forms in case we capture the general public on film etc. As we are also filming with actors dressed in police uniform, the local police force and the council have also been informed although we do laugh on a few occasions when members of the public approach our actors in uniform to complain about some ‘dog muck’ over the road and to try and hand in ten pounds found on the floor!
Our shoot today involves two more actors as well as a background artist. It is a cold one and so I’m thankful that we were mindful to ask everyone to wrap up warm on the call sheets! We need to film the scene as though one continuous scene although in reality we film one section 500 yards away from the next section – this is where our fabulous editors come in!
That’s a wrap on filming the dramatised scenes but we just have one more shoot day next week to capture cutaways of real-life police officers in action at stations and in vehicles that will be edited to overlay the voiceover which will be recorded at a studio next week.
It is always a relief to hand over all the footage over to our editors. I do always make sure that all footage is copied over onto a hard drive at the end of a shoot so that we have more than one copy of everything, but still!
I sit down with the editors and run through the shot logs and we discuss what needs to be cut where in line with the script, the best takes and which footage to use from each camera: Camera One 4K, cinematic; Camera Two – Handheld for realism and Camera Three – Point of view camera – in this case, mock-ups of an officer’s body-worn-camera.
As we will also be producing a subtitled version of the film and as we revised some of the script whilst actually shooting, we also transcribe the scenes as per the revised script for this purpose.
We are recording the voiceover for the film at a studio next week and so I break down the script and issue it to the artist’s agent and the studio. I LOVE my job but I’m definitely glad it’s Friday!!