My leg wobbles wildly of its own accord, an involuntary shiver. I’m blooming freezing but desperately trying to hold it in because the talent is in a far worse situation. She’s in a wetsuit and shaking as she pulls a towel tighter around her shoulders as she balances on the edge of a fluorescent orange kayak.
Unfortunately it’s all my fault. I look through the Canon C100′s monitor… Still not quite there yet. We freeze some more as we wait for the setting sun to clear a stubborn cloud.
Cast and crew are tired. We’ve lugged this deceptively heavy kayak across a mile of dunes and beach and we all know it’s going to be worse going back. Uphill through loose sand in fading light.
But we’ve got to get the shot first.
I glance at my watch. We’ve been waiting twenty minutes. Do we call it a day?
I’m pretty determined to get it perfect. We’ve waited this long. It’ll be the final shot of the film. It’s also the final shot of an intense week long shoot for Swansea University.
Finally it happens. Our cantankerous cumulonimbus finally bogs off. Warm setting sun hits the elements of the lens and flares beautifully. Suddenly deepest, darkest September becomes a glorious July evening and we forget about the cold as we roll off the shot.
Ten seconds later we’re done. But I hold it another ten just to make sure. As I button off and call cut, we look at each other. A smile breaks out, spreading like a wave to everyone. That’s a wrap.
Then we remember the kayak.
The International Marketing Department of Swansea University had approached us to create a promotional film about students from all over the world studying at Swansea University a few weeks earlier.
As the research got underway, we quickly established that it was important to break away from the traditional conventions of descriptive voice over and campus-bound visuals for the film.
Looking instead to fashion and lifestyle commercials, we pitched the idea of something a little more emotive. We’d show Swansea through the eyes of the students themselves – not just the University, but the whole experience of living and learning in the city. We wanted to create something that would really connect with the audience of potential students on an emotional level. To make them _feel_ what it’s like to live in Swansea and how it quickly felt like a place that students from across the world could call home.
The film is driven by interviews with the students, jumping between each and showing their every day lives at both work and play.
The philosophy of emotional connection didn’t extend only to the interview content, but to the cinematography as well. Shooting with the compact Canon C100 (with the exception of a few action shots from our GoPro Hero 3), we were able to keep the camera handheld and really put the audience right there with the students. The idea was to make the camera (and therefore the viewer) comfortably close, welcomed as a friend.
With a small crew and and many location moves every day, it was vital that we kept our kit compact. The C100 was ideal in this scenario. It’s barely bigger or heavier than a Canon 5D or 7D, but with the exceptional imaging chip of its big brother, the C300, and lots of lovely features like waveform overlays and peaking that you can really grow to miss with a DSLR.
And lastly, someone we really couldn’t have made the film without. Pinchy the Lobster. Say ‘Hi’ Pinchy.