The last part of this pathway was to work on an extended project called Place. We had to ‘foster a sense of place’, introduce lighting techniques and experiment with developing the sound. We also had to research contemporary and historical practitioners who capture different environments.
After watching a clip from Oliver Twist by David Lean, I was inspired with possibilities for this project. I originally wanted to base my work on one of my favourite games ‘Shadow of the Beast.’ I love the impossibility of the formation of the rocks in the picture as well as the futuristic, yet almost primitive environment.
The artist Roger Dean was renowned for his rock album covers of the 70’s for bands like Asia and Yes. In 1989 he developed the game cover art for Shadow OTB. The sequels for the games heavily drew on his fantasy style. Dean made other games covers but it was his fantasy land that drew me to research him further. If you have time, check out his website.
I briefly toyed with the idea of basing my work on War of The Worlds after visiting an exhibition at the lightbox art gallery in Woking. The Martian theme was again appealing as I grew up listening to the Jeff Waynes album. Art covers on the album were again an influence as a child. http://www.thelightbox.org.uk/events1/october2013/15oct19janalieninvasion I reluctantly decided to leave this theme after the heavy weather made me doubt the feasibility of working outside in Horsell Common!
Photos for wasteland for potential Urban Battlefield theme
Third attempt on ideas I team up with another student Petros aka Guildmaster Wigglytuff. He had thought through the project and wanted a teammate in developing his detective/ secret agent scene set in Farnham. I’ve worked with Petros before and knew we could be a good team.
We took various photos at different times of locations around Farnham- alleyways, graveyards, the castle and the river. Knowing we needed to create atmosphere we revisited the places at different times of day and in varying weather.
Farnham castle was interesting, but not the right setting.
The location settled on was a graveyard in Farnham. The atmosphere at night and during the day are clearly different- and exactly what we wanted. The area was ideal for the story as it had both an eerie vibe and an uncomfortable them at night- like most graveyards it was pleasant during the day.
WE needed several alleyways for locations- below is photo of one we used for the wanted poster scene.
Locations decided and analysed this helped build up the basic plot. Knowing we were going to do a detective / spy theme led to research on Hitchcock. I’m not a huge fan of every piece he’s done but I love the tension created in Rear Window by choosing limited locations. By telling the story in one area the eery feel develops. Perfect for our movie as we certainly weren’t flying of to the Bahamas…
Inevitably as we were filming in a cemetery research had to be done on Horror movies- who better than a man who could contend to be the King of Horror Movies- John Carpenter. A fabulous director ( from The Thing to The Warriors to Halloween) I wanted to recreate some of his dramatic suspense and tension through use of dim lighting. Assault on Precinct Thirteen develops the fear of the unknown akin to Rear Window as characters are trapped in a claustrophobic Police Station and forced to survive. Elements of this are recreated with our slightly cheesy good agent vs the inhuman and deadly emotionless killer.
The dim light at night helped our mood- corners and poorly lit alleyways are great for atmosphere.
The Paint-stain / mark on a garage door became central to the plot as it was highly distinctive.
Dressed as the killer who we originally called ‘Snake’. This was changed for a better name at the last minute ‘Diablos’
We filmed during the day and at night over 7 days. Our main enemy was the cursed weather ! Filming outside in January storms with very expensive night vision camera equipment on a shoulder cam and tripod was treacherous. If we were to recreate it would be in August…. We had many hours of filming early when it got dark at 5- until our latest shoot which finished at 3:30.
I’m really proud of our final piece. With Petros’s musical overlays and editing skills the storyboard I drew for our plot developed came to life. I feel it has a genuine spooky feel reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes meeting Jack the Ripper.
Click to see the final video.