When Paris-based production company HVH approached us asking if we could team up with them to co-produce a commercial they were planning to shoot in Cardiff the following week, we were immediately onboard. Little did we know the full extent of what we’d let ourselves in for.
Jetting over from France with their choice director, DOP and troupe of Parisian producers, HVH looked to us to search for and deploy the remaining 23 crew needed to get the job done. Not to mention sorting all of the locations and kit. Ooh la la.
Jess, Nick and Charlotte hit the ground running, overcoming the many hurdles before them—not to mention the language barrier—to assemble a fully-fledged crew in a matter of days. And when we say fully fledged, we don’t use hyperbole lightly; the crew comprised of two complete units with gaffers, grips, sparks, ACs, DIT, wardrobe, makeup, drivers and runners. In the mean time, Lewis used his DOP powers of telepathy (apparently that’s something that DOPs have) to assemble 75% of the kit list that HVH’s DOP was going to ask for before he’d even sent one. He’s good like that.
If you thought the pre-production was intense, that was nothing compared to the shoot itself. A 1am finish at the rental house the night before (which exhausted our IOU quota at Video Europe for 2017) set the crew up nicely for the 23-hour day which lay ahead.
Never before had Storm & Shelter gone so hard, so fast, for so long.
Like a train with no brakes, the crew powered their way from one scene to the next, covering a total of six shooting locations. All the while, Nick and Charlotte did their utmost to keep the show on the road and keep clear communication with HVH.
As the day wore on, the shackles of hierarchical responsibility were relinquished. Lewis jumped in as 2nd unit spark, and at one point Gruff, our managing director, was ordered to get stuck in and run their DOP and the full camera rig in a rickshaw across the promenade in Penarth. The French weren’t there to make friends, they were there to make a film! Once he’d recovered (he’s not great with physical exertion at the best of times), he was then ordered to go out and buy the biggest fish tank he could find. Don’t ask. One of those days.
A heroic display of resilience, persistence, patience and negotiation ensured that the shoot was completed with each crew member (essentially) intact.
23 hours for 27 seconds of footage is pretty good, right?
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