Location, location, location...
🎥 I firmly believe that great locations are essential to every film, but especially short films. They support both the cinematography and the production design, helping to build a more realistic world on a budget. There were some unusual spaces that we really had to dig for, all across Yorkshire, and that we sorted just in the nick of time...
Firstly we found an old warehouse space on the edge of Bradford in a former fabric mill. We had initially come across the location from Screen Yorkshire's location database and there were some really cool rooms in the main building. However on arrival we quickly discovered that the database was out of date and that the room we had our eyes on was now occupied.
We bumped into a janitor who showed us around in more detail and we eventually came across this disused engineering room. The room was even better than the original one we liked and immediately it got us excited. It wouldn't need much work to get it right and would compliment the production design and lighting in a cost effective way.
There was no plan to occupy the room with tenants as it was more their dumping ground for the maintenance team, so with some persuasion we convinced the landlord to let us use the room for free!
Sorting the bus was a slightly easier endeavour as we shortlisted a few vintage bus companies in the area. It was simply a case of looking at the options we liked on their websites and seeing if we could work them into our budget.
We had to reccy the bus over in York to test whether we could feasibly film in the style we wanted and captured audio without having to do ADR where you fix it in post. The engine noise was quite loud so we realised we had to limit the bus to 20mph in order to film the way we wanted and then to keep the engine as quiet as possible.
Our AD said on a pre-production call that you need twice as long as you think to film on a moving vehicle. He wasn't wrong and we quickly found ourselves well over schedule capturing the content. However we managed to wrangle the bus for the following day and get the shots we missed of it at the next location.
We didn't want to rush the shots on the first day as they were so crucial to the story, so we made a judgement call to keep going. However it all worked out in the end after some great work by our producer in securing the bus for following day.
Filming on a bus this good looking meant that we had an image that really stood out and instantly made my shots more interesting... The bus windows let in plenty of light meaning all I had to do was control it with negative fill and a few fixtures, but overall I kept the lighting quite simple inside the bus.
The final location was a really tricky one to arrange. We wanted a farm / farmhouse which again would to essential to our story. The film covers topics around farming and animals and it was a sensitive thing to arrange if the location was a real farm. We didn't want to upset anyone from that trade and we also had a moral dilemma as to whether it felt right to film on a working location.
In the end we put shout out on local Facebook pages and found someone who ran a 'farm' from a normal semi-detached house in the countryside. They were Eco-farmers with a big garden and rented local fields nearby. The house had been re-designed to how it would have looked generations ago and was powered sustainably too. Better yet the farmers were vegetarian which solved our moral dilemma and they were keen to showcase the place and how they live.
The house had all these beautiful trimmings of wood work and old pieces of furniture which made it feel like we had stepped back in time. This again made production design easier and cheaper as it was already how we imagined it to be.
The only real issue we had with the house was that it was a little small so we had to be really tactful with how we shot in the space. Thankfully we only used one room and I kept a similar lighting set up for all 3 scenes as there wasn't much need to change it for the story. Then we was just careful to only have essential crew in the space at any one time. It was a worthwhile compromise considering how good the place looked!
All in all we had some really strong locations which I think have made the film look and feel like it does. This might be some of the best stuff I've shot to date and I put a lot of it down to these spaces. It can't be ignored how essential a good location is to the final cinematography. The way the background look and feels and how the light it captured in nooks and cranny's or even reflects of surfaces.
@kiddoshortfilm is coming real soon. Really excited to share this one as it's been my dream project in the making for a whole year now, which I've been helping get off the ground since day 1.🐷🔺❤️
Directed by Brett Chapman
Produced by Static Flow Productions & a little myself
Created by Scott Milligan & Kitten Pyramid
Jordan Carroll is a freelance filmmaker & videographer working on drama, documentary and promotional content in Sheffield and around the UK.
Working as a director, cinematographer and editor he has a wide knowledge of the video production process.
He also works as a director of photography and gaffer in narrative film.