We all know how much I love a shoot day and this was up there with the best of them. It just shows that with a bit of creativity and a good cast – things can come together pretty bloody nicely!
The video we produced for Miriam and her team is to promote her autobiography ‘Torn Between Two Cultures’, released summer 2017. Miriam first approached us about launching a book trailer in the summer 2016. We were amazed and shocked by her story and most of all her bravery and were eager to help her to get this story out there in the best way we knew how! Que recce, casting, scripting, storyboarding… you know the score!
We worked closely with the client when casting for this film, as it was based on a true story so all the characters were representing the same person. It was great to also have the client on set throughout filming to ensure everything was as she remembered. Miriam was very honest and said it brought back a lot of memories – some good, some bad but she was happy to be on set and see it all being pieced together. We used local talent from Stellar Management and Ora Casting to cast the final actors. I was particularly blown away with the professionalism and eagerness the girls had on set (even little Isla who’s 2 1/2 years old), they were a delight to work with.
Much fun was had doing the location recce’s for this shoot, our criteria was slightly different to some of our more corporate shoots. The best part was seeing Producer Matt wading feebly through branches to access a derelict railway line that ‘he could have sworn was round here somewhere…’. A few scratches and nettle stings later we found the perfect spot. Because we were focusing on a real life story, we needed them to be true to the narrative that Miriam describes in her book.
Pre-shoot, we recorded the voiceover for the whole film and we thought a nice touch would be to have the oldest child actor record the narrative, as if it were Miriam. Having a child voice the script really helps to get across how young Miriam was when she experienced all these terrible things throughout her childhood.
Shoot day was a lot of fun. We tried out a new technique called ‘lens bashing’ (I know, sounds a bit random) where the lens is removed from the body of the camera and held closely at different angles, shifting the focus and creating different light effects. It really helps capture some amazing light flares and also distorts the view slightly, creating a hazy/dreamlike state. We wanted to get across the uncertainty and confusion that Miriam had been feeling all her childhood so we found this to be a perfect way to convey that (along with some stunning shots of course). Shooting in 50fps also helped add to this ethereal effect we wanted to achieve.
Like usual – we had to make sure we started early to get all the shots before dark. Then, once it was dark we could trek off to the airport to capture the last shot of the day (where I may or may not have ripped my jeans hurling myself over a fence to get the best view. How very ladylike of me!!).
The grade was a vital part of the post-production process after a creative edit. Obviously we want to make it look as visually pleasing as possible but for some of the scenes it needed to resemble the hot climate of Pakistan – and when you’re filming in the miserable North West of England, this poses quite a challenge but I think we nailed it in the end. Go team!!
Take a look at the finished book trailer and see if you can spot some good old lens bashing:
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