The unscripted flashback…

So… Halloween aside an exciting weekend just gone by. On Saturday we had arranged to shoot some stills of our lead actress in uniform for “Broken”, that would then be used as props in the film. A friend of mine and fellow short film-maker based in Southampton, Paul Bird, had acquired some modern British forces uniform on loan for us to use, and it was up to me to find a suitable background for the pictures.

Initially I thought I might just use a derelict building or something fairly vague, as I felt that as this was for photos only, to be used as background in the final film, I shouldn’t waste too much time and energy trying to find somewhere.  But then online I stumbled across ACF hospitality, a company who offer tank-driving experience days to businesses and individuals across the UK. It turns out they have a Bristol base, so I called them up and asked if we might be able to feature some of their military vehicles in the photos, and they seemed more than happy!

So now we were going to have an actual tank and all the correct uniform, it suddenly seemed a shame, and indeed a waste, that we were only shooting stills. So, initially dismissed at script stage, I quickly devised of a short sequence we could shoot inside the tank (where our Bristol locale as opposed to Iraq or Afghanistan would not be apparent!) that would match a monologue our main character delivers in the film, at present the only time we hear of what happened to her when she was injured.

My camera-man and producer Paul Dudbridge stepped in as a wounded soldier she is trying to save, then with the aid of some fake blood, a couple of large torches and some trace paper for diffusion, to aid our lighting in the darkened space, we got our shots!

It may be that in the edit we don’t end up using it, as it may not feel appropriate to do so, but I felt as all the ingredients were going to be there on this one day – we should at least give ourselves the option! And it was amazing how much it worked once we were actually inside the tank and the actress was in uniform.

I look forward to playing with the footage once the film is finished! And no matter what happens, it was great fun.

Paul and Lucy pose for photos atop an APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier)

From left, director Simon Pearce, producer/operator Paul Dudbridge & Lucy Harvey (Sarah)

The footage was shot using a Sony HDV Z1 camera shooting DVCam, which will be heavily graded and have a grainy, harsh look added to it in post-production, when inserted into the film.

“Broken” will be filmed on Digi-Beta.

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