One Shot

7 minutes. Shot in 2012 on a Panasonic GH2, running the Driftwood CM Night firmware. Tokina 11-16mm lens, set to 11mm at f 2.8.

Cast & Crew
The Driver   Ian Brooks
Gangster 1   AJ O'Connell
Gangster 2   James Ayery
Gangster 3   Robbie Hoskins
Gangster 4   Paul Lawrence
Bank Manager   Ian Schiffer
Security Guard   Martyn Bailey
     
key grip   Dan Holden
armourers   James Lea & Michael Ball
location security   Stephen Grenyer
facilities   Rayner Wilson & John Netherwood
music   Alex Beroza
whiz bang guy   Phil Probyn
producer   Ian Brooks
shot, blocked & chopped by   Matt Watering
 
The Production
 

With the Genesis feature film taking forever and a day to get together, I wanted to run a little camera test for my new Panasonic GH2. It needed to be quick, something without my usual 6 month post production time. As it would happen, the Brighton Film Coalition just announced a new "challenge"; a single shot short film. Perfect, even I couldn't mess around in post for too long on a single shot.... ahem....

And so we were off. The idea quickly came together, a little "bank job" with some hardened, ex-military type gangsters. Alas getting a real bank to play ball was rather tricky, but as it so happens the NHS building where I work in my Day Job was once something to do with banking, and had in it's basement a vault! And equally luckily, the Estates guys in charge of the building didn't mind me shooting in it, with a few stipulations - inform the police (which was probably for the best), shoot around 7pm once most people have gone home, and we could only use people who work in the building due to liability and access issues.

This last one few a spanner in the works, of a grand plan I had involving actors, a proper camera operator, and all that. So we went in house, so to speak, and rounded up a few guys I know who, for one reason or another, happened to have between them quite an arsenal of BB guns and paintball markers. A bit of black spray later and they were all geared up ready to go.

We reheared on a Monday night for a couple of hours. It was rather alarming how easily they took to their roles as bank robbers. Everything set, we hired a van for the Tuesday (it was either that or have these bad arse gangsters roll up in a Nissan Note) and away we went. It was an ambitious sequence for a single shot; we'd start with the camera in the van, drive to pickup the "crew", then to the building itself. I'd hop out with the camera, we'd go inside the building, in a lift to the basement, through a corridor and door. And then do the same backwards as we'd drive off, and end up in the nearby carpark. Exposure was going to be an issue, so I set it best I could knowing I'd lose lots of detail when outside but I needed to try and get some detail inside the van where it was extremely dark. We only had a small LED panel gaffer taped up in the van to provide additional light. First take didn't go well and we had to abort half way through; second take was a no go (someone, ahem, forgot to press Record on the camera, a minor triviality given all the other shit that needed to be organised - thankfully we were only 20 seconds in when this was noticed!), and the third take worked a charm. Well, actually I'd of liked to do another take, but by that stage we were out of time, and I was drenched in sweat having carried the camera rig on my shoulder for so long on the hottest day in months. And then there were the hundreds of splinters in my legs due to wearing shorts in a crappy paneled out van. Not that I cried you understand....

 

Post Production
 

This was, of course, a doddle, being a single shot and all. There certainly was not need to cut out a tiny bit in the basement section where I got confused about where I was meant to be point the camera and splice the film together so it's not too obvious. Also a forced zoom at the end where we tried used some Smoke In A Can spray to add shotgun smoke, but it didn't quite work (can in frame, smoke billowing from it!).

Obviously we needed some blood. Phil chucked in a load of blood but unfortunately left for holiday the day before the screening (we only had 5 days to get this shot to being screened), leaving me to finish off the blood effects. You can clearly tell his work from mine - his blood splatters look like shotgun hits, mine don't. Never mind!

That was pretty much that. I ran a few grading tests, bumped the mids up significantly while inside the van, chucked in some sounds effects and credits.

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