On Set With… Lights, Camera, Adventure!

Last week, young film crews at our workshop centre in Balham took on an action-adventure challenge over half term. In just three days, they had to think up and produce a short film that celebrated all the things we love about the action-adventure genre, from Harry Potter to the Hobbit.

On Monday, under guidance from team members Sheena, Molly and Reece, the crew started thinking up lots of new and original ideas inspired by some of their favourites. They made a list of all the key ingredients needed for an exciting adventure story that helped them to develop story ideas and pitch them to the rest of the group.

On set with the action-adventure crew

On set with the action-adventure crew

Many of the crew were filmmakers we’d met before on earlier workshops, so after a rapid fire recap on some handy film tips like shot types and crew roles along with a quick introduction for new filmmakers, they set to work producing their chosen ideas.

Together they decided on a time travel story that followed a group of school children back to wartime Britain, fuelled by a magical bracelet. The plot involved lots of mysterious and supernatural moments, as well as a tragic death scene during the First World War.

Once they had cast their film and “pre-production” was complete, they then set about shooting their action-adventure epic. Filming a lot of action scenes was a big challenge for the group, especially in just three days. They showed us some amazing teamwork, creativity, resourcefulness and imagination in order to get everything shot in time.

Each of the filmmakers contributed to the directing, shooting, designing and crewing throughout the process

Each of the filmmakers contributed to the directing, shooting, designing and crewing throughout the process

Filmmakers each took a turn at directing a scene, being in charge of camera operation, and also lesser known responsibilities such as clapper-loading and being the ‘1st AD’, as well of course as acting their roles in front of the camera.

We spoke to Finn, one of the filmmakers, who also plays a soldier in the film. He told us, “I play Luca, he’s the guy who dies in the film. My character had to go to war, I think it was the law at that time, that’s how he died. I’m wearing this makeup to make me look dead.”

Finn plays a dead solider from the First World War in the group's action-adventure time travel film

Finn plays a dead solider from the First World War in the group’s action-adventure time travel film

Some of the scenes were quite demanding. In the style of James Bond, there were some that took place in faraway locations that the group had to recreate on screen. To do this, they focused on production design, using props and costumes to suggest their dramatic locations, scouting out appropriate places to film. They also used green screening techniques, or ‘chroma key’ to create composite images of their actors in front of adventurous backgrounds.

The crew used a green screen, shooting their actors in the studio and using editing effects to create scenes in front of faraway locations

The crew used a green screen, shooting their actors in the studio and using editing effects to create scenes in front of faraway locations

Throughout the filming they also used montage techniques to give the impression of epic journeys. As filmmaker Poppy explained, “We used montage to make it seem like we’d travelled really far, but in reality it was only a very short distance.”

Another technique the group explored was Forced Perspective, an effect that uses distance to make one character or object look disproportionately big or small next to another.

The filmmakers used techniques including Forced Perspective to create fantastical characters

The filmmakers used techniques including Forced Perspective to create fantastical characters

The group worked incredibly hard and all things considered, it was a very busy three days for our action-adventure filmmakers. We think they did an amazing job!

Back at HQ, we’re now applying some finishing touches to get the film ready for DVD, and it should be ready in the next few days. We’re looking forward to sharing their film with you.

If you can’t wait that long, then take a look at our time on the set in this short behind the scenes video!

 

 

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