Ashton Court Shoot & Schedule Changes

Today I took the opportunity to come down on set (as I will be for the last few days) to ensure all of the shoot is wrapped up nicely. I was more of a floating body able to help where needed, for example today I found myself tinkering with the bikes so each actress was comfortable riding them. Despite the cold weather everything went to plan and as a result we managed to finished earlier than expected (1pm instead of 3pm).

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I was made aware of some issues with the shoot yesterday as one of the props was forgotten meaning everything was held up by four hours. As a result I have had to work the schedule for tomorrow so we have all three sisters and Kramer to pick up these shots. It means tomorrows schedule is going to be tight as we are continuing to squeeze in shots as we have no other shooting dates available. Monday night remains the same, but the schedule for Sunday is now the following.

5.30am – Crew leave Bristol for Stockhill woods (Harry with Nathan, Dan and Josh; Joe with Jordan, Jesse and Mike).
7.00am – Cast leave Ragwood for Stockhill woods (Rashida with Beatrice, Lizi and Helen; Olivia with parents).
7.30am – Pickup shots in the woods.
10.30am – Wrap in Stockhill woods.
11.00am – Setup in Ragwood Cottage. Film bikes riding up to cottage.
11.30am – Filming inside Ragwood Cottage with three sisters.
1.00pm – Harry and Josh leave set with bikes.
4.15pm – Joe takes back Jesse and picks up Tom (5pm).
5.45pm – Joe and Tom arrive on set and build into filming schedule to continue with shots and pickup Friday. Also film with Beatrice and Tom ready for Monday night if possible.
8.45pm – Wrapped. Rashida leave with Beatrice, Lizi, Tom and Helen.
9.00pm – Joe, Jordan, Dan, Nathan, Mike staying at house overnight. Can block scene ready for Monday night, along with getting any pickups around the building.

Looking across to Monday Joe, Jordan, Dan, Nathan and Mike can work in the house during the day. Harry will leave Bristol at 11am with Kurt, Jesse and Josh heading to the cottage. Rashida will leave Bristol at 5.30pm with Helen and Sam. Liz with leave Bristol at 6.15pm with Beatrice and Tom – confirmation needed but Rashida on standby. Actors will be wrapped and leaving at 9.30pm with Liz, whilst the rest of the crew will pack down and leave once completed.

These last few dates are running very tightly, but unfortunately due to so many silly mistakes on set we are now faced with this circumstance. All I can do is continue to work the schedule to accommodate for these issues, but at the end of the day they shouldn’t be happening in the first place. We put measures in place to reduce this by creating lists for each department, even with that it hasn’t been effective. I really don’t know what else to do without physically doing other peoples jobs. I will be around both days to ensure filming goes as smoothly as possible, part of me worries but I know when the pressure is on the team will deliver, they have to.

Driving Schedule Update

Once again I have had to amend the driving schedule. As Harry is not around from 12pm Sunday I have had to share his lifts between Rashida and Joe (Liz isn’t around for the weekend). This has been the case of juggling around who is present at what times of the shoot so that all the actors can be driven around at the appropriate times. As a result I will be leaving early with Harry, then Jesse will have to leave set when Joe goes to pick up Tom. If neither of us left the set it would mean not enough space in cars to get home.

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For now this is the intended schedule, but I fully anticipate having to adapt this. Scheduling this project is an ever-changing and developing piece of work.

Studio Lighting Hierarchy

With an extra couple of hands assisting me with lighting I felt it was necessary to look at the working order of the lighting team in television broadcast productions. In my mind I already have an idea of how to distribute work and where they can help me most, but at the same time I want to adapt a working model of the real world. This will come as valuable an experience to myself as it will to them, rather than spreading the work it can be a professional industry experience.

My understanding of the television lighting model is a lighting director will oversee all lighting operations, guiding a team within his department on rigging and positioning of fixtures. This team may consist of electricians, sparks or technicians.

In the professional broadcast world the Lighting Director is the most senior role in the department. They design a specific look for each shot, working closely with the director to achieve the desired concept. In addition they will make considerations with set design, location, camera, costume, sound, and the available kit. The creative elements to the role will see them take part in logistics and discussions in order to prepare and construct the shoot.

The technical expertise on a Lighting Director is expressed when working in their own department. They will work closely with a Console Operator, Senior Electrician/Gaffer, and several Electricians/Sparks (also known as technicians). This resembles the structure of filmmaking, only with the introduction of a console operator, removal of best boy and substitution of Lighting Designer instead of Director of Photography.

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The technicians will do the physical labour and actual build on the rig. Often station on the studio floor they will run all operations there such as cabling, equipment checking, programming, and rigging. Working with the Lighting Director they will interpret plans and see their design come into physical construction.

As I am also operating the console (it’ll be fixed state) having two assistants enables me to focus on the creative elements of my role. I can still continue with technical knowledge through conversation with my assistants. In theory I should be able to freely draw designs and then work with a team to see them executed. I anticipate getting involved with the rigging process heavily, so there is a chance this precise structure could break down.

Its an interesting insight into the working world and makes me think about my role following graduation. Considering the current circumstance of the project I’m not certain to what extent I can mimic the model of lighting in the professional industry. My priority is ensuring the work gets done before adapting this model, but I may try and work this into my team execution as the project continues to progress.

US Working Visas

The working visa process is still confusing to me, with so many types available I can’t get my head around the exact requirements. Having looking into various types I am still under the impression how extremely difficult it can be to get a long term working visa in the USA.

The most common method for living and working abroad seems to be sponsor from an American company. This was the case for my short term working visa with Timber Lake Camp as they supported along with Wildpacks. Visa applications and approval take a long period of time, being from the UK makes it even more difficult. The obstacle I will always face is whether the company want to sponsor me to come and work for them, or whether they source labour from their own country. Personally if I were in there position I would go for the easier option and choose the next best applicant who is readily available.

From all of my reading this ‘at a glance’ summary table is the easiest method of conveying the basic requirements needed in order to even qualify for a long term working visa.

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It seems in order to even start qualifying for a long term visa I need to demonstrate professional knowledge and expertise. At this stage in my career that is near impossible, I simply don’t have the life experience and professional employment history to cater for their strict immigration policies. The fact I hold a degree can play in my favour, suggesting a third preference worker, still an off chance.

I haven’t gone much deeper into the visa process after this real eye opener of a research experience. I think I may have been going into this job hunt a little naive. I’m still interested in the states but getting there right now could prove difficult, I really need to think of my professional career path first and foremost, once this starts to form I can then think about how I can market myself across waters. I may be able to find some particular circumstance that can help my cause, but the majority of evidence suggest I will be fighting a losing battle at this stage in my life trying to get over to America for long term employment.

Further Reading:

Panalux

Panalux are the company Mike (Producer – Lost In A Supermarket) has been dealing with regarding lighting for the studio at the Bottleyard. With little success I have requested all of the details so I can contact them directly, as this is my specialist craft I may be able to understand more information and find a way to reduce the cost of the initial quote Mike was given.

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Panalux specialise in lighting rental for the film, television and entertainment production industries. The companies houses an extensive selection of modern lighting, rigging and control equipment, including the latest in automated luminaire technology, trussing systems and lighting desks.

The company has three branches in the UK: London, Glasgow, and Perivale. Considering my location I anticipate having to work logistics for the quote with the London branch. Evidence seems to suggest they previously had a presence in Bristol but this is no longer the case. I expect London proved to be a more sustainable option for the company.

The fact they purely focus on lighting demonstrates clear knowledge in the field, with all employees sharing a mutual interest rather than distributing it across multiple media forms (e.g. camera and lighting hire). This could be a company to watch when considering my future in the media industry, opportunities are advertised through their website ‘Resources’ section.

Further Reading:

Studio Session Lighting

Today was another rehearsal session for the Varsity presenters. Minty asked if I could do some lighting for this session so they could practice being in a studio environment, seeing how each of them react. I saw this as a great opportunity to work with my lighting assistants Alex and Elly. Both of them were really excited to work on the project with a keen interest and willingness to learn, they were the perfect assistants and great to have in my team.

I met with Alex and Elly to outline the way we will be lighting subjects in general, scraping the generic idea of 3-point lighting. I explained the idea of an emphasis on back lighting with a subtle fill/key. After this we all went into the studio and set up two lit areas, marking each with a cross on the floor. The first was a single presenter whilst the second was for an interview. The three of us moved around some of the lights to suit my intended design. I then moved into the vision gallery to view through the television monitors whilst Alex and Elly moved the lights on the floor under my instructions. Below shows the two lighting setups.

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The single presenter using two 650W Fresnel focused on either side of their body, hitting the back of their head to pop them out from the background. A softbox was then introduced from the front as a fill with some emphasis to the inside of the face. I lit each light individually to ensure the position was correct.

The interview setup used two 1K Fresnel focused on the inside of each presenter (channels 1 and 15) with the softbox (36) introduced as a fill. This was still missing something as the outsides of the subjects didn’t pop out from the background, therefore I introduced two more 1K Fresnels (channels 19 and 14) to achieve my desired effect.

Having Alex and Elly was a huge benefit in the workflow, making it a speedier process and allowing me to be more precise with my lighting choices. As I could view the lighting movements on the monitor in real time I could position it precisely rather than moving it slightly and running back and forth between the floor and vision gallery. When it comes to the broadcast I’ll have both to help rigging then they will be stationed on the floor whilst I stay in the vision gallery.

Location Release Form

With the final stage of filming ready to go tomorrow I have compiled a short release form for the location. You cannot film on private property without consent. Despite a verbal confirmation a location release form protects you and the owners of the property. The form I have compiled outlines the filming dates and conditions of using the property. For example it lists we are covered by public liability insurance but have nothing else concerning damage to the property. This will cover the filming process whilst the contract I signed for Ragwood for renting it works in combination.

WOTW Location Release Form

Driving Schedules & Accommodation

With all the locations and call times pretty much set in stone Rashida and I sat down to figure out all the travelling arrangements. I had previous created a driving list, however changes to locations and scenes/times made it vital we planned it again. Outlining precise pickup times and locations should hopefully ensure everyone makes it to each filming location in time. We are on a tight schedule so it is vital everyone reads this document.

From the notes with Rashida I had to make the following crew changes:

  • Thursday – No Joshua
  • Thursday Night – Helen on shoot
  • Friday Day – Harry on shoot
  • Friday/Saturday – Kurt to stay central for early pickup
  • Sunday – Joshua instead of Sam

WOTW Final Transport

I ran all of the dates by the parents of each actress, along with getting permission for Beatrice and Lizi to stay in the house we are filming in. As they are under 18 I will be having one female member of crew staying each night to supervise. Liz will be staying Thursday with Beatrice. Helen will be staying Friday with Beatrice and Lizi. Helen and Rashida will be staying Saturday with Beatrice and Lizi. Each actor will be on the following travelling schedules:

Beatrice (Casey)
Wed 28th – 10am (Arrive Bristol) – 7.30pm (Leave Bristol)
Thur 29th – 6.15pm (Arrive Bristol)
Sat 31st – 1pm (Leave Bristol) – 11.30pm (Arrive Bristol)
Sun 1st – 10pm (Leave Bristol)
Mon 2nd – 6.15pm (Arrive Bristol) – 10.30pm (Leave Bristol)

Lizi (Amber)
Fri 30th – 9.30am (Arrive Bristol)
Sun 1st – 9.30pm (Leave Bristol)

Olivia (Elly) – Notes for Adele
Fri 30th – 4pm (Arrive Ragwood) – 9pm (Pickup Ragwood)
Sat 31st – 8.30am (Arrive Ashton Court) – 7pm (Pickup Ragwood)
Sun 1st – 7.30am (Arrive Stockhill Woods) – 7pm (Pickup Ragwood)

Thomas (Kramer)
Fri 30th – 2.30pm (Pickup Templemeads) – 10pm (Drop off)
Sat 31st – 3pm (Pickup Ashton Court) – 8pm (Drop off)
Sun 1st – 6pm (Pickup Templemeads) – 10pm (Drop off)
Mon 2nd – 6.15pm (Pickup Templemeads) – 10.30pm (Drop off)

Thankfully we have managed to work the schedule to accommodate for all of the actors and ensure everyone involved with the project is getting to and from locations on time. All of the actors and parents are really flexible with our schedule and able to figure it out to suit everyone. It’s nice to hear back how much they are all enjoying the experience, the fact they are makes it even more worthwhile. It also keeps a better working relationship when I make amendments to the schedule.