Sky Earth Hour | A Day In Location Assisting

We asked Will, a location assistant for Locate Productions, to write about his experience on one of the latest Sky ads. Locate Productions sourced the location from our location library and location managed the shoot.


Skys’ latest ad campaign aims to promote, encourage and celebrate the efforts of the WWF group who, every year run ‘Earth Hour’; “an annual global celebration where people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet”. Within the campaign, over the last month Sky have been promoting their ‘Earth Hour’ ad, using one of our great residential locations down in Surrey.

Shot in February. There was a prep day included within the schedule, which allowed for Locate Productions, myself and Nick Williams to come in early with Ben Myhill and his Art Direction team to prepare the house for the next days shooting.

Once all flooring was protected across all three floors of the location, with Corex and carpet protective film; the team proceeded to rearrange and redecorate sections of rooms, and install props. There were 4 sections of the house and garden in total to prepare for the camera crew and director, Bradley Reiman.

Shoot Day:

With a crew of around 40, the day started at a fast pace, despite a reasonable call time of 9am. The day had been categorised into sections, sections which were divided up based on scenarios within the house.

Scenario 1: Was shot in the first bedroom. It featured a young girl reading a book under the bedcovers using a torch. For this scene the Gaffer crew had to black out the windows and a smoke machine was introduced to enhance the light beam from the torch on the cameras.

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Scenario 2:  The next shot moved up into the attic bedroom, which had been completely redecorated with space posters and other astrological toys. Wardrobe doors were changed and other props were introduced. New beds were brought in so that the two lead boys could jump about on the bed and act out a light war with their torches. Again the rooms had to be blacked out, and smoke machine introduced to create an atmospheric environment and allow for the torch lights to show up.

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Lunch:  The team broke for lunch, and we were driven to location base. Where familiar faces got to mingle as well as be introduced to the unfamiliar. The crew were a particularly friendly bunch and numbers and contact details were certainly exchanged. Lunch was made particularly special due to Bruce and his catering team, ‘For Goodness Sakes’, Who always deliver great, healthy meals with lots of choice. The stand out meal for myself was the spinach and feta pie, served with a delicious nutty salad. Cheese and biscuits are always provided and always delight Nick, when I bring them back to location.

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Scenario 3:  This is a scenario I hardly managed to see the workings of due to preparing easy-ups and other bits for the 4th scenario. It was the kitchen gathering, which you can see in the promo vid. From what I heard in the hallway outside, the ‘Fake’ laughter was particularly hilarious from the crew and the actors, to get the perfect shot of a group of friends having fun over candle lit dinner. During prep day, this was a room that involved a lot of props to be brought in, it shows off well in the footage.

Scenario 4:  The garden shot involved the transportation of gas burners, easy-ups and concrete slabs to protect the ground. Unfortunately it had been a pretty miserable day, and it only got worse as night fell, as did the rain. The scene involved friends and family sitting around a camp fire. This fire was created by the gas burner and everyone sat under the easy-ups as the rain pounded heavily. There were a further two easy-ups providing shelter for the camera crew, director and 1st and 2nd AD, Paul Mcann and Peter Bromfield.

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Wrap: There was a scenario added towards the end of the shoot, which involved turning off the light, heading into the garden. Once this shot was wrapped, the standard protocol of trying to get out before overtime commenced.

Myself and Nick had already gone behind each scene once they were finished with each spot, and cleared up, removing any flooring protection and returning the room back to it’s original state. Closing off rooms is also important once a scene is done. This saves a lot of time when crew are looking for items that have been misplaced and avoids damage to the property.

Earth Hour was a lovely shoot with a great team and friendly actors. Nice shoots always add to the atmosphere and productivity of the team, which somehow seems to reflect the mood on the day, within the footage.


Be sure to take part in Earth Hour, 19th March at 8:30pm – 9:30pm, where people will be turning out the lights globally in aid to celebrate our world and give a rest to the vast surges of energy. Watch the promo footage on our Youtube here

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At Locate we get to work with some of the best creatives in the business and we love being able to share with you the work they do and their career journeys.

One such creative is photographer Stephen Ambrose. Stephen is an award winning photographer working with design and advertising agencies across the UK. He has recently won 3rd place in the IPA awards Extreme sports category for his latest project Calcio Storico.

Tell us a bit about how you got in to photography? 

My initial interest in photography began with my Dad.  He was a keen amateur and had an SLR. As my interest developed my parents bought me my own SLR when I was 12.  After some bad careers advice I ended up doing business studies at college. I lived in a small northern town and all the careers adviser knew was high street portrait photographers.  Then i got a job in a factory driving a fork lift truck and packing boxes. I stayed for 9 years but towards the end of this time I studied photography at night school where my tutor, Debbie, persuaded me to give up my job and go to Blackpool college full time to study for a degree in photography.  After graduating I relocated to London and started to assist. Firstly Architecture with Peter Durant and Grant Smith and then I fell in to the advertising world when my assistant friend Vik got me in as a second on a shoot with Adam Hinton. This has now taken me all over the world on many campaigns working with all the agencies in London.  In 2017 I won the portrait category at the AOP awards and this gave me my first advertising campaign and I spent most of 2018 working on numerous adverts for Adidas.

What appealed to you about starting this project?

This project started after spending most of 2018 photographing footballers at the top of their game. Then this made me think about what it takes to get to top level sports and I did a project on a young gymnast which showed me the passion that develops from a young age.  Which then led me on to how that passion continues if it doesn’t become a career. I was looking for a project that would show the ultimate passion and sacrifice and I came across Calcio Storico.

What is Calcio Storico? 

Calcio Storico is a game fought between the four districts of Florence, Italy every year.  Twenty Seven men in each team play a fifty minute game. Two semi finals on the third weekend in June and then the final always played on the 24th June, La Festa di San Giovanni (the feast of John the Baptist).  The game has been played since the sixteenth century in the Piazza Santa Croce. Passions run high. They do it for the love of their districts. No money is involved. The rules are no sucker punches and only one on one fighting but apart from this pretty much anything goes.

What were the challenges you faced shooting the project?

The main challenge shooting this project was rupturing my right arm bicep tendon a week before.  But also, as with any project, was gaining access. I had tried to contact the Florence government and was getting nowhere.  Then Locate productions put me in contact with an Italian producer that made a few phone calls and advised me that the best thing to do was for me to write a letter to the Florence government and state my case.  Its a very local event and they like it that way. It’s not something that they want to publicise to the world so I think they liked that I was doing it for me. I didn’t hear anything until 4 days before the first semi final when they emailed to grant press access and then it was a rush to book flights and hotel.

What are you looking to work on next? 

Now I’m looking for an agent.  I find that I’m quoting on lots of jobs but losing out to photographers with agents. The quoting and usage process is a minefield which an agent would be massively helpful as with exposure and self promotion.  I enter competitions and see art buyers and art directors with my folio but that extra exposure would be good. I think an agent gives an ad agency or client confidence in the whole shoot process, even if we all use the same production companies, casting directors, stylists, make up artists etc etc etc.

For my next personal project I’m continuing on the weird and extreme sports of the world.  Calcio Storico was the beginning and it was such an experience. High pressure, spontaneous, chaotic but at the same time keeping yourself composed and thinking of the big picture and how each image will work in the project.  With no art direction and no sports choreography you’ve really got to nail it first time as there’s no repeats of any actions. It makes the commissioned work a little easier.

 

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