Just finishing off the edits for a quite complex medical advertising shoot involving 50 extras , a large production crew in a monster studio with a complex lighting rig.
Scissor lift with camera rig and makeshift work station
Shot using two cameras mounted at 8 meters from a scissor lift. We were shooting stills & stop frame animation at the same time. Laurie & I had spent days figuring out the logistics & production method.
The studio complex was Malcom Ryan Studio in Wimbledon London who provided all the production facilities & lighting. They also did us an amazing job at catering too. I think I’d get quite fat if I did many of these!
Laurie & my client Martin in the scissor lift
The lighting/gaffa crew were incredibly efficient and I’m so glad we got a tight team to work together to bring this in on schedule. It made a real difference having a crew to do everything, rather than myself & Laurie busting a gut. This really was beyond our capability to light a 8000 square foot studio from 31 feet in the air!
Gaffas & sparks keeping busy as usual?
Day One was pre-light , camera rig & figuring out the choreography for 50 people. Laurie even got time to play the largest game of tetras beaming the screen image across the studio onto the back wall making it about 15 meters wide whilst he was marooned & bored on the scissor lift during lunch.
Laurie playing Tetris at lunchtime
Day Two saw the very early morning arrival of the 50 strong cast of extras who were all styled & dressed within the first couple of hours by Nat & Abi . Rosie my production assistant kept everyone in check & made the whole day get off to a prompt start & kept me hydrated throughout the day.
View across the studio early morning
The lights were set the cast dressed ….now it was just a matter of arranging them from 8 meters in the air into various exact shapes . We figured the best way was to give everyone a unique number. There was no way I was going to remember all 50 names & rather than shouting “you in the green nurse outfit” of which their might be 2 or 3 people, we could just say “24 move to the right”…all went quite smoothly & I hope no one was offended. The cast were fantastic considering the amount of time stood around doing very little & it was great when they understood what I was trying to achieve. It took an enormous amount of effort for everyone to stay focused & positive under the intense brightness & heat . I wondered why all the gaffas wore shorts… I soon found out when the lights had been on for a couple of hours.
Arranging the cast by number
10 industrious hours later we had the job in the bag…more than the job I hope?
Laurie was frantic on the laptops arranging files & checking focus whilst making sure we had backups etc. it was a weird sensation getting down from the scissor lift after hours baking in the cramped enclosure that constantly swayed around. It felt like we’d been at sea for a week in a very small boat.
View from the scissor lift….it seemed a long way down
The last shot of the day!
Back to Bath late in the evening after battling or way through Friday night London traffic…… totally exhausted but very very pleased.