The mechanics of filming


I am back to blogging again after having a couple of days off for Harry to take over. Not that there is ever an idle moment during the shoot! There has been plenty of prop buying, van hiring, food preparing and organising of cast and crew.

Tonight is the dreaded night shoot from 12.30 until (hopefully!) around 7am. The entire cast and crew is de-camping to the wonderful North Bar in Leeds City Centre to capture an important scene which they have kindly agreed to let us film in their fantastic bar. Once more the logistics of moving  twenty-three cast and crew members plus full lighting and camera rigs have proved challenging and, at times, downright annoying so thanks to Chris Elliot (2nd AD) for his tireless efforts in marshalling us all along.

So yet again it is a shortened blog today but I thought I would just explain some of the mechanics of the film shoot for those who might never have been on a set before.

I have no idea how other sets work as this is my first feature film so if this is not the way things normally work then please forgive me but it works well for us! At the beginning of each shoot day the Heretic heads of department get together and walk through that day’s shot list in the house, going through the mechanics of each shot and talking through lighting, camera, sound, props, make up and costumes. This way each department has a clear idea of the structure and time-scales of the day and each department knows what will be expected for each shot so that if any need a specific amount of time (for example if make-up has a series of special effects to do on an actor or props need to re-dress a room) then this can be worked into the schedule.

For each shot there is a set up time during which lighting erects the lighting rigs, sound decide where they will record from and mike up the actors, make-up and costume check where the actors are in the time-scale of the film for continuity and check photos to make sure the make-up and costumes correlate, the production design department check that they are happy with each set and Pete runs through the action with the actors and has rehearsal. Once everyone is happy with the shot we rehearse the actors and sound to make sure the shot looks and sounds right. Then Tamsyn (1st AD) yells ‘Quiet please, going for a take’ and woe betide anyone in the house who is still walking about, cooking or chatting! Tamsyn will then yell ‘roll sound’. Sound check they are happy and recording and yell back ‘sound speed’, the clapper board is then deployed before the cameraman yells ‘camera ready’ and then finally Pete calls ‘Action!’. The crew is then absolutely silent and still as the cast work their magic before Pete yells ‘Cut’at the end of the take. If we need to do it again everything is re-set and the whole process starts again but if everyone is happy Tamsyn will yell that the shot is complete and we are moving on and then the whole procedure starts again for another shot.

The favourite time for cast and crew is when Tamsyn calls ‘That completes scene 64 (for example) and filming for today. That is a wrap’ This is when everyone breathes a sigh of relief and happiness as we have wrapped for the day and people can sit down, eat and relax for the first time. So far because of the hard work of both cast and crew and the continued fantastic AD-ing from Tamsyn we have wrapped on time every night so let’s hope the same happens tomorrow morning and everyone can enjoy their day off!

Back Tuesday so until then enjoy Bank Holiday Monday and think of us when you are relaxing tonight!


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2 Responses to The mechanics of filming

  1. Shell Dutson says:

    Loving the blogs – its fascinating reading. Keep up the good work and enjoy the day and hope all goes according to plan at the bar scene.

  2. glen says:

    I was fortunate to see 1st hand the north bar shoot and was amazed at how much hard work by everyone involved and how stressful the entire project must be it was very impressive.

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