Behind The Scenes: Limit of the Land

When we heard about short film Limit of the Land, we knew it was going to be a special project and were keen to be involved. The shoot would be a little different from our usual line of work, and it presented the opportunity for us to support a British, independent film, funded by crowd-sourced donations.

Set in 1913 against the backdrop of the approaching First World War, the 15 minute film tells the story of two men who row out to relieve the keeper of an isolated lighthouse – and what happens when they discover that he is missing.

Writer and director Matthew Pritchard wrote the film as a response to Europe’s refugee crisis, and what he saw as a tide-turning moment for humanity. We knew that faithfully capturing the film’s physical setting – at the edge of sea and land, while tides are turning and storms are raging – would play a huge part in telling this story and representing Matthew’s vision well.

Creativity through partnership

The Limit of the Land project enabled us to work in partnership with lecturers and creatives from Ravensbourne College – innovators in digital media and design. While Ravensbourne College formed the film crew, Locate provided production management and support.

On Location

Shooting for the film was based in Keyhaven, a small fishing village on England’s south coast. We were fortunate to be able to shoot in such a beautiful and historic location right by the water, and with suitably unpredictable weather we had plenty of opportunity to explore and create using different visuals and camera angles.

A daily ferry took our actors, crew and equipment from the mainland to Hurst Castle and Hurst Point Lighthouse, Milford on Sea – a much more enjoyable commute than the tube at rush hour!

Safety First

Hurst Castle generously provided us with safety boats and drivers, which we were very grateful for as we were shooting scenes on one particularly rainy and windy afternoon. With waves and riptides stronger than usual, most of the crew stayed safely on land while the safety boat headed out to ensure our actor Luke was happy in his small wooden rowing boat – which had to be carefully re-positioned in the water between each take due to being buffeted around by the wind and waves!

Working with CGI

Limit of the Land involves one of the main characters – Daniel – coming across a beached whale while out looking for his father. We enlisted the help of London-based set builders Andy Knights to create a life-like whale for these scenes, to be brought alive in post-production through the magic of CGI. It requires a very specific skill to be able to imagine what the end product of your filming will look like once it is enhanced by CGI, but our team rose to the challenge and it will be exciting to see the final result!

 

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We caught up with the owner of one of our favourite locations, Brown House, for an insight into her experience of recently hosting a multi-media shoot during lockdown.

What were your initial thoughts when you were asked to host a shoot during lockdown?

Personally I was happy with the idea, however some of the family were concerned about strangers coming into the house who might bring infection, so we thought about it quite a bit. It made an important difference that the shoot was in the garden rather than in the house.

What were your main concerns ahead of the shoot?

The shoot itself was to be outside, but of course the crew would need access to the kitchen and the loo, so would not be entirely outside. The main concern was if the crew were not careful, they could inadvertently bring infection into the house. They were reassuring that they would be very restricted where they went and we decided we would disinfect the surfaces in the kitchen and the loos after everyone had left.

How did the experience of this shoot differ to pre-pandemic shoots?

Everyone was absolutely delightful, as always! On the recces, everyone wore masks, used hand sanitiser and kept their distance. They spent very little time inside the house, for instance they waited for each other and talked outside, rather than all being in the house at the same time.

How was your experience while the shoot was happening?

I was in the house to start with, but out for most of the day. The team were thoughtful, for instance they suggested opening up the side gates to give most people direct access to the garden, which limited the number of people who needed to come into the house. And they brought a winnebago, which was used as a green room instead of using a room in the house. During the day, someone needed to make a call – rather than just go ahead and use the study, they phoned me to ask if it would be OK for that person to sit in the study to make that call, which of course was fine.

Did you feel that the Covid-19 safety precautions put in place by the production were adequate?

Yes, very much so. Everyone was wearing masks, including outside even though it was hot. Most or all people were outdoors most or all of the time, they set up tents outside, so there were just a few people in the kitchen. Covid warning signs were also put up,  reminding everyone to wash their hands and the loos were clearly signed so no-one would go into the wrong rooms – they were very careful. And the house was left immaculate afterwards, as always.

What advice would you give other location owners, ahead of hosting a shoot in the current climate?

It’s a personal choice, people must make their own decisions. However I am happy we did it and this was a few weeks ago, the virus was more prevalent then than it is now. When we got back in the evening, we wiped down with disinfectant all the doors and surfaces where people would have been, it didn’t take long.

Any further comments or interesting tidbits you’d like to add?

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