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9:05am on Friday, 11th May, 2012:

Late Night


It's amazing how much traffic there is on the road at 2:30am.

I was back at St Botolph's Priory in Colchester last night for some more shooting for this crowd-funding video I'm presenting. I got there at just before 9:30, and the rain managed to hold off the whole five hours. Given that the video is only about four minutes long, we should be finished, right?

If only... I'd heard that night-time location shooting was such a luxury that only big-budget TV shows like Torchwood can afford it. I thought this was because of the overtime costs, but it just seems to take longer.

In our case, the biggest delays were due to setting up the lighting. Anything you want to be able to see (which, given that location shoots are there because of the location, means quite a lot) has to have a big light shone on it. That light has to have a gel on it to give it the right colour effect, and it has to have a power cable running to it (so you need lots of long extension leads). The gels make an audible rustling noise in the wind, which conspires with other background noises to ruin a lot of shots. During the day, traffic noise is fine because it's constant; at night, there's nothing until a single individual roars past on a motorbike. We had police sirens, drunks (one of whom threw up loudly enough for it to spoil a take), music, car alarms, and at 2am endured a 5-minute delay as a helicopter hovered over the town centre. We also had a smoke machine that made a putt-putt sound while it was on, so I couldn't speak when it was running. The smoke was subject to the vagaries of the wind, which was entirely unpredictable and would shift on a whim. The smoke lingered only a few seconds, so if I didn't nail my lines or if the shot was spoiled some other way, we had to wait for it to recharge before we could go for a retake. As for my lines, they don't follow my natural speech patterns so saying them meant my delivery was full of hesitations, stumbling, uses of the wrong word (I'd say "world" instead of "game", or "virtual" instead of "imaginary") and so on. It would probably have helped if I'd done a better job of remembering the lines in the first place, too.

Still, it's going to look great when it's finished!

I'm thinking that'll be around November...

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).