I'm Tim Hill, a Production Assistant at CAN, and being one of the company's newer recruits, I thought I’d share the experience of one of my first CAN shoots which was at Wembley during the 2011 Carling Cup Final.
The premise? Simple. Produce a short promo for the Club Wembley Bobby Moore Suite during the Cup Final. The execution? Not quite as straight forward! Armed with three Cameramen and one Director, we quickly found we had our work cut out. From the outset we were a little behind schedule and with an influx of thousands of booze fuelled supporters, we were immediately put in to action.
Our brief was to document the experience of those lucky enough to enjoy Club Wembley’s premium Bobby Moore Suite. We began by capturing the suite’s intimate dining experience and using our weapons of choice (Canon 5D DSLRs), the final product was intended to ooze glamour, sophistication and style. The resolution, image quality and focal depth of the 5D gives the user a dynamic experience. The rich colours it produces combined with HD recording allows for 35mm replication on an unheard of scale, when it comes to modern, affordable digital production. The imagery is seductive, smooth and full of colour, texture and depth which really makes the viewer believe this was shot on film.
My challenge was to capture all the shots which were deemed impossible in terms of time management for the rest of the crew. With a Sony EX3 and basic sound kit, I roamed the entire stadium and its corresponding walkways, capturing the day at large. Time-lapses of crowds, beautiful shots of families and fans alike arriving, dining, drinking and generally enjoying themselves. With a freelance background working alongside very experienced self-shooting Directors, it was a key opportunity for me to shoot backup material, and to work first-hand with the public, in an electrifying and stressful environment. The logistics of getting about were difficult enough, without being stopped every two minutes by half-cut fans who wanted to be interviewed for one reason or another! Regardless of these set-backs, the overall experience was enlightening, and an excellent chance to learn more about shooting and directing.
As I was alone for most of the day, it was also a prime opportunity to flex my creative skills in terms of framing shots, choosing contributors wisely, and deciding the general mise-en-scene of the shots I was taking. Producing a stunning and glamorous promo for an experience only a very few of us will experience was foremost in my mind. This was probably the first time in my professional career I was given the freedom to roam and to make my own informed choices about what I could do to contribute to the production at large. I’ll admit it was humbling as I felt there was a huge trust placed in me, and although I'm still learning about camera operating, I did my best to ensure I delivered some great footage.
To summarise my experience, I hugely appreciated being asked to be a key member of the crew. Although it was only a one day shoot, it was a great way to learn the production process with a small crew, defined budgets and limited time-frames. Being able to make the best of the time you have was something I definitely came away appreciating.
I’m certainly looking forward to the next shoot in a couple of months when we’ll be returning to Wembley to produce another promo. I’ll be making sure I take forward what I learned from my first Wembley experience to make sure I continue to raise the quality of my contribution to the shoot.
For those who don’t have the confidence to volunteer for events such as these, my advice would be just do it, you will learn a lot, and the experience itself should give you a dramatic insight into the world of video production and what can be achieved with good planning, communication and execution.