Within this session, we’ve been looking at Production Research to do with Film & TV. In particular for this post, I’ll mainly be focusing on TV and will be reverse engineering a TV show to extract the details within the production and find out where specific things could be rented or hired for the show.
Within Production, you’re in charge of many different elements – these can include:
- The Location (which can also include Location Managers or Recces)
- Equipment (mainly technical)
- The crews (which include Accountants, Animal Handles, Actors, Sound, Camera, Light, Editing, Stunt, Health & Safety, Costume, Makeup, Catering, Drivers, Creative Directors, Assistants, Set Builders etc.).
Before the actual production, planning is very vital. Without the planning, it will take a lot of extra time trying to make up things on the spot, as well as ending up costing a lot of money most likely – if you plan, you’re most likely to save yourself a lot more time as well as saving yourself some money on things such as what you could hire (e.g a stunt car/police car for one of the scenes).
Another important piece to the production is the script – without it, there wouldn’t be the actual production! You have to have a script in able to know what is going to happen within the scenes. This links in crucially with a storyboard artist who is going to be creating storyboards for the TV show itself for parts within the script, and then around it you would be able to see exactly what would need to be in the shot (of course some things can be changed when it comes up to filming, but it presents a very nice idea and shows what should happen to make it look best).
Marketing is a factor that is also linked with production. There are various different approaches to marketing, such as viral marketing (where you post it online and hope for the viewer to start sharing it around), merchandise and many different factors.
We were asked to reverse engineer a clip from a TV show of our choice to show how much goes into the production in a list form to start with and then next week we’ll make a full production research project for more detail. I chose to use a clip from Doctor Who – a clip with part of London included within it, and the episode is “Voyage of the Damned”. I chose this clip as I could find various different ways that production is used within this.
Twisted Christmas in London - Doctor Who - Voyage of the Damned - BBC (BBC, 2014)
From this clip, I’ve decided to create a research plan:
- Location – Where was it filmed?
- Location – Where was it set/time period?
- Location – London, street in Camden – The Examiner?
- Location – Spaceship? Most likely a set.
- Location – Shot towards the Gherkin in London
- Location – Outside Buckingham Palace
- Location – Inside the Tardis
- Location – Shot of the London Eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament etc.
- Props – Futuristic Bracelet
- Props – Christmas Tree
- Props – A note/letter
- Props – Credit Card
- Props – Black taxi
- Props – Newspapers
- Props – British flags
- Props – Posters
- Props – Postcards
- Props – Orange bags full of rubbish
- Props – Red TV
- Props – Fake BBC Microphone
- Props – Golden chair
- Actors – Extras
- Actors – Smaller person, possibly child.
- Costume – Male smart suit (black & white)
- Costume – Female – Dresses
- Costume – Purple outfit, looks similar to something a reverend would wear
- Costume – Man on the stall is wearing an old coat with a red beanie and a mistletoe attached. Black and grey scarf with gloves.
- Costume – Navy police outfit
From this start of the post, I was able to conduct an idea of how time and effort goes into finding the perfect scene, and I can further gather information about each of the specific points that I’ve made in next weeks work as shown below:
Within this week, following onwards from last weeks post on the production research plan, we have to research everything that we listed as much as possible and in as much detail as possible to show how much time and effort goes into the Production aspect within a Film/TV Show.
Where was it filmed?
The majority of this clip was filmed in two different locations – the main locations were meant to be shown as a spaceship somewhere in Space, as well as a street in “London”. From watching the scene various times, we can gather that the location is possible to be part of Camden from some of the posters that have been displayed such as within this shot:
However, upon researching online we can get a full list of where the actual episode itself is filmed and we find out that the specific location isn’t actually filmed within London! It’s actually filmed in Cardiff in St John Street!
Upon researching into each of these places, it creates the idea that even though many of these locations are meant to be from shots of “London” they’re actually filmed in a part of Wales which can be proven to be effective.
From the screenshot above taken from http://www.doctorwholocations.net/ – we can see the parts of the scene that we are interested in are mainly The Exchange Building which is in Cambrian Place which was filmed in Swansea, as well as St John Street which is in Cardiff and finally Buckingham Palace which is in London.
As shown above, this is the specific location in London to where Buckingham Palace is.
As shown above is a screenshot from Google Maps of St John Street in Cardiff.
As shown above is a screenshot from Google Maps of the location of Cambrian Place in Swansea.
To start with at the beginning of the scene, we can see a futuristic looking wristband. It might not seem like much, however it has a close-up shot which shows that it is an important aspect to the scene.
There’s a few of them similar to what the original image looks like, however it is very difficult to find one that is exact, so I’ve found some that are fairly similar that could have some modification done to them.
The one above is similar in style, however it doesn’t include anything to do with the blue holographic display (which is most likely computer generated) or have the black stripes added onto it as well, however it is one of the closest I am able to find.
This is another one that I managed to find whilst searching for the bracelet. The reason I’ve chose this one is that it’s kind of similar, however, with Etsy, usually you can message the creator of the product if they are able to customize it for you, and they might be able to customize it to what we would need.
Within this part of the scene, there’s a Christmas tree that we can see is fairly large and would need to be hired from somewhere rather than a purchased tree as they would be too small. A larger tree could be hired to what you would want rather than having to add certain elements to it yourself.
As shown above, there is a link to Frosts Christmas Tree Hire. These would be a good option to use, however you cannot find a specific price due to it being dependent on how large the tree is, what it would need on it and the location itself that you would be using, as well as finally the amount of time you would want to hire it for. I decided to use this one as they’ve provided for places in the UK such as train stations (e.g Kings Cross) which show they are good.
For this, rather than using a real credit card (for obvious reasons) you’d need to create a fake one that looks similar to a real credit card, however it would have to be red and yellow. To do this, we can schedule an appointment to create an “Awards Card” for example, and within this site you are able to create one.
You’d be able to create it to the way you want, and you could simply use a business card to create the effect of it looking realistic. It wouldn’t need to be too expensive to purchase as it wouldn’t be used much within the scene, and it could be as simple as creating a business card and laminating it.
Within the scene we can see that there is a Black Taxi that is used as a prop in the background the majority of the time. For this, we would have to look into hiring a taxi, and luckily for us, you can hire them for filming in general as props!
As shown above from the site https://londoncorporatecabs.com/filming/ we are able to see that you are able to hire taxi’s for a filming purpose, however the price will be varied for the length you would want to hire for, as well as the location and amount of time you would want to hire the cab for.
As this is set in 2007, we would have to look for older newspapers from roughly 2007 to use as the props within the year.
However, if you look into the clip, you can clearly see that it doesn’t show any of the headlines or any specific dates or any noticeable features of a newspaper except the actual newspaper itself, so you could just end up buying a bunch of newspapers prior to the day as long as they are thick enough, for example buying some of The Suns Newspapers, or any form of newspaper to act as the prop within the scene, as they won’t cost too much as a newspaper is roughly £1 to £2 for each. These will be effective as they still have the same type of style that they used to back in 2007 (which is where the scene is set to).
Within the scene, we can see there are various British Flags within this specific part of the scene, mainly small ones that you would usually find around sports stadiums or in one of those retro British shops (mainly the ones that say something such as “I LOVE LONDON”).
Searching around for them, I’ve managed to find these smaller looking ones online on Amazon – this comes in a multi-pack of 4 which will work perfectly for the specific scene as they would be able to fit into the corners like they are in the selected image above. I’ve chosen to go with the 4 pack as then it will come to cheaper, as well as having just over more than you would actually need just in case something were to go wrong with one or the other.
As well as this, you can see in the background that there is a larger scaled Union Jack flag. From this, another search on Amazon got me the cheapest offer as possible (being £3.59 excluding delivery). This would be the perfect size for the background of the shack that the man is in, and would work perfectly towards fitting in with the scene. The reason I chose this one is mainly down to price and it was the correct size making it work perfectly for what we would need, and is easily accessible.
Within this scene, there is one noticeable poster – it is an orange poster with an angel in the center. Ontop there is some text that says “Carols in Camden” and on the bottom it says “Christmas in London” followed by a date that you can’t actually see throughout the entirety of the clip itself, however we can gather that the year would say 2007 as that’s when this specific Christmas episode is set.
If you are able to come across a picture of the angel itself, or make one similar to it or get the permission to use one that is similar to it, then you can always use a website such as Vistaprint to create the poster that you would like for a small price. I find this is an effective way as people within my family have used Vistaprint before, as well as some of my friends for business cards, and the quality within it is perfect for what you would need.
As this poster was most likely created by the team over at BBC that work on Doctor Who, the best that would be found is a plain orange poster with maybe some text on it, and maybe some individual work would have to be completed. To create a similar poster, you could always use a program such as Photoshop, however it is fairly pricey, so if the budget is there or if you have a way of accessing it (e.g a friend has it, at college etc.) then that is how you could use it to your advantage.
On the wall of the shack that the man who stayed for Christmas is in, we can see on the walls there are also some postcards which we would need to use for the production as well. By the looks of it from the screenshot, they look mainly like they have been taken outside of Buckingham Palace, or have something to do with the Queen’s Guards.
Having a look around online, I managed to find one postcard that looked somewhat similar to the main one that we can see on the wall of the Queen’s Guards. In particular, the one on the left of the image above. The reason I chose this one is that for a start they are only £0.85 per postcard, so it’s not too expensive and has a fairly fast shipping (and the shipping cost is also free) as well as it being the only one that I can find that looks fairly similar to the one in the original shot.
Orange Bin Bags
Within part of the scene, we can see that there are some orange bin bags filled with a bunch of rubbish just to the side of the booth that the man is in.
Whilst researching online, I was able to find these bin bags. Generally it wouldn’t be too hard to actually fill them up, as you could put anything ranging from toys, newspapers etc inside the bin bags, and just general rubbish until they are full, or even open up the bag as much as possible and paper mache the inside and leave it to dry, and then you’ve got the bag filled up as much as possible. I chose these in particular as there are a lot of them, so if anything were to go wrong you have more, as well as being cheap and free fast delivery.
Within the scene there is also an old red vintage television that is used. These are going to be harder to come across nowadays due to the fact that they are not sold or created anymore, and a lot of the time they mainly get scrapped.
After researching online, sadly I wasn’t able to find anything close to what I was after, however I did manage to find the television as shown above from eBay, however, it isn’t red and the shape isn’t correct at all, but it is the closest that I am able to find along the ways of an old vintage television.
Fake BBC Microphone
Within the scene, there is also a shot of a news reporter outside Buckingham Palace holding a BBC Microphone. As these would be hard to come across as we do not work with the BBC, we would have to research around for a handheld interview microphone (either working or as a prop) to be able to get what we would need. The microphones themselves are called Microphone Flags which hold the logo on them, so it would be a search for these.
After researching online, I was able to find that firstly we could use a cheap microphone from online, for example on Amazon I was able to find what is shown above which can be used as a prop microphone within this case. I decided to search for a Dynamic Microphone as they are usually the ones that are seen within the interview process for these.
As well as this, as shown above I was able to find this cheap Microphone Flag which is used within the interviews. If I had a Rode branded microphone, there are various other ones specifically made for Rode, however as this is just for a prop, this would do perfectly and is cheap.
Within the scene itself, we can see various different types of actors that would be needed other than the main ones within the scene itself. In particular there are two that would be most important to the production other than the mains:
Extras are what every film production will need at some point or another, within this in particular you can see there are various characters that don’t speak or have much to do within the scene itself, especially at the start.
To find some extras to use within a production, simply searching online for “Filming Actors: Extras” gives you a wide variety of different places that you are able to find extras. For me in particular, I searched within “Kent” as that is the location I am currently in, and I managed to find a variety of different sites, two in particular caught my eye.
The reason this one caught my eye in particular is that you could narrow down the searched to a minimal and find possibly exactly what you were after, for example: you’re after in the first column: an extra. Where? In Kent preferably and then you can search for either the specific gender or just any in particular and then you can post a free casting call to your production. The simplicity towards it allows literally anyone to be able to do it!
The other site that caught my eye in particular is known as “Casting Now”. The reason I thought this was good is because you can simply add a job within the site that allows you to search for exactly what you would need, for example in our case “Two men and two women to cast as an extra within a Sci-Fi program” (being Doctor Who). The simplicity of both of the sites allow me to completely understand how this can be used effectively and allows you to find what you’re after as soon as possible.
As you may or may not know, there are laws against using children within your production. In this case, within the production it would be an idea to use a child as the character who is red just in case you couldn’t find someone that is actually that small to use within it.
Researching online, in particular, on the BBC website, you are able to find out various different types of information to do with using children within productions, as well as how to obtain a license:
Firstly, there is a “Child Protection code of conduct” which is as followed:
- Prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the child at all times.
- Never take sole responsibility for a child. If a child needs care alert the parent or chaperone.
- Only take on practical caring responsibilities, for example taking a child to the toilet, in an emergency.
- Never give out your personal contact details and do not ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ children you are working with on social networking sites.
- Remember they are children first and contributors or participants second.
- Never lose sight of the fact that you are with children, behave appropriately and use appropriate language at all times.
- Listen to and respect children at all times, don’t patronise them.
- Avoid favouritism and treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice or discrimination.
- Always act within professional boundaries. Ensure all contact with children is essential to the programme/event/activity/project being worked on.
- Ultimately, if an individual feels anyone is behaving inappropriately around children they have a duty to report the concern to the local contact at the BBC for child protection.
As well as that, there is also the official way to obtain a license to work with a child:
“If a production requires a child to be under licence contact the local authorities at the earliest moment. Local authorities have the power to refuse a licence if the application is not received 21 days before the performance.
The licence covers a number of areas that must be adhered to such as working hours, rest periods, education, chaperones, working conditions, record keeping and medical examinations.
When applying for a licence make it clear the company is the applicant and not the BBC.
Provide the head office address as well as the production office address in the licence in case the production office closes after filming. The BBC may be asked by a local authority to supply the contact details if this has not been done.”
Commissioning - Working with Children (BBC, No date)
This shows that it may be harder than originally expected to obtain a license to use a child within one of your productions, however, it provides the full amount of detail to how it is possible at the laws you must follow to actually using a child within your production.
Costume is a very important aspect within a production, probably one of the most important aspects so something doesn’t seem completely out of place to the actual scene unless it’s for a specific reason (e.g a time travelling aspect). Within the scene that I selected, there are a few different types of costumes to mention and to try and find out more about:
Within this scene, we can see that David Tennant (who is the Doctor in this specific episode) as well as two of the other men are wearing suits. In particular, black tuxedo, black or white bow tie, white collared shirt and black trousers.
For David Tennant’s outfit (the black bow) I was able to find this for £35 to actually purchase, which you could end up purchasing up to three of them and buying a white bow separately for the man to the right rather than having to spend more money. The reason I chose this one in particular was because of the price, and as well it was originally from being hired, however is now being sold off for a different reason.
As we can see within this specific screenshot, it seems that this character within the scene is wearing a maid dress, so we would have to find a similar maid dress along with prices.
After researching online for a similar what seems like a maid dress for this character within the Doctor Who scene, I’ve managed to come across only a few types of maid dresses, mainly from searching around on both Amazon and eBay, and this seems to be the cheapest and the most easiest to order.
Purple Reverend Outfit
To be honest, I’m not too sure what this actually is, and it seems various sources don’t know what the actual outfit is so to me it looks similar to a purple reverend outfit/cowboy outfit. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find anything to do with this as I have no idea what the outfit is called, and ended up searching for almost an hour and couldn’t find anything to do with it.
Man on the stall
Despite not being able to find anything within the previous one (the people from Texas/Reverends) I was able to find this one fairly easily! The man on the stall consists of a few various different features: He has a green styled fleece, a red beanie with a mistletoe attached to it, a dull green, black and yellow scarf as well as finger less gloves.
As shown in the image above, we can see starting with a red beanie. The reason I chose this one off of Amazon is because it was one of the cheapest that I could find in a long run which would’ve been best if you were on a tight budget.
As well as this, a mistletoe is fairly difficult to come across, especially seeing this was filmed in late July it would’ve most likely been some form of plastic mistletoe attached to the beanie, so that is why I’ve gone with the one above rather than anything else.
Moving forward, the green styled fleece was fairly simple to come across, as a simple search opened me up to a variety of results, and I simply went for the cheapest most accurate looking one!
For the finger less gloves, I simply searched “Green finger less gloves” and a variety of results came up, and again, I simply went for the most accurate looking one to the one in the shot and the cheapest that I could find.
Finally, for the scarf I searched more of a camo styled scarf as it looks similar colour wise, and it allowed a wider variety to show up.
Navy Police Outfit
Within this part of the scene, we can see two people who look either like they’re from the Navy or Police force. Searching around online, I found out exactly where to get an outfit VERY similar to what they have.
As seen in the image above, within this site we can clearly see that this outfit is VERY close to the one within the scene which would be perfect. You are only able to hire from this website, however it is the only one where I am able to find something so similar to what it originally was. For the cost of it, you would have to contact them directly and a response could take up to 5 days to find out the price.
What would we primary research?
For Primary Research, we would be focussing on various different aspects of what I’ve researched. Even though the majority of this post has been secondary research, primary research is just as important.
As you can see as posted earlier, I’ve found the exact locations that are needed within the actual production and where they were filmed, however, how would you know how much of that place you could use in particular? How could you know it’s perfect without actually going to it? Google Maps might be great and everything in street view, however it’s not updated very often and a lot of things in that specific location could’ve changed. For the location in particular, you’d want to physically go to the location and view it so you would be able to know if it is perfect, maybe in St John Street in Cardiff there is something that can’t be used, and you would need to inform the cinematographer where they would be able to film, have you noticed how none of it was filmed as if it was a 360 shot within the scene? Maybe where the cameras were placed within the scene there’s something completely out of the blue which you wouldn’t want in the scene as it wouldn’t fit, for example, as this was filmed in July, maybe there are some clothes stores that have “Summer Collection Range – Out Now!”. That would look quite peculiar for something that was meant to be filmed as “Christmas”, right?
For costume, physically buying them from online could be great and cheaper, however some things might not be how you expected them to turn out. Some websites might have exact measurements for the particular costume, however some will just have “Small, Medium, Large” etc. which wouldn’t be very helpful at all. The exact measurements would be great, and that’s why many people get the costumes made for them, however if they can be purchased online, even better! Primary Research for the costume aspect could actually include physically visiting some stores, either as close to you as possible or even somewhere else in the country – you’d be able to get the right costume for your character by having them physically try it on rather than hoping that the one that arrives in the post is going to fit the character. You could have your luck, however if you were to have your actor trying on the products before purchasing, you would be saving yourself a lot of money.
The budget is a very important aspect to the production itself, without it, there wouldn’t even be a production!
For the scene that I selected in particular, there are various different price ranges for each of the Location, Props, Actors and Costume.
To hire out specific locations, it would cost a fair amount of money. Whilst some can be recreated at possibly a lower cost, it would still cost a lot. For the specific locations that we would need within this scene, the prices are as followed:
- Cambrian Place, Swansea = Unknown. I’ve tried researching the price to hire out the specific location of the Exchange Building within Cambrian Place in Swansea, however I have been unsuccessful and have been unable to find the price of how much it would be to hire it out. It’s possible that it could have been “ask and get for free” as the location itself is very similar to how it looks within the scene, with just the extra props in the room.
- St John Street, Cardiff = £0 – Filmed early morning when nobody is around.
- Total = Unknown.
To hire the selected props that I have found within this scene in particular, it would cost various different amounts.
- Futuristic Bracelet = £23 (would need some additional modifying upon arrival)
- Large Christmas Tree = Dependant on how long you would need it for. As most productions are 6 weeks, you would need to contact the company directly.
- Custom Rewards Card = You would need to request a quote to find out how much it would cost for one as a prop for a production.
- Black Cab = Dependant on the location of where you would want to be filming. In our case, as this is in Cardiff, it would be best to purchase for a full day which would be £480.
- Newspapers = £2 per newspaper. £2 x 15 = £30.
- 4x Small British Flags = £7.99.
- Large Union Jack Flag = £3.59.
- Custom Poster from Vistaprint = £2.39+. Would most likely be extra for the specific design that you would be after, as well as including VAT. After uploading a design and working out the VAT and delivery, it usually comes to at least £5.
- 3x Postcard = £0.85 x 3 = £2.55.
- 50x Orange Bin Bags = £3.99.
- Vintage Television = At least £60.
- Dynamic Microphone = £17.
- Microphone Flag = £2.76.
- Total = £635.88+ excluding the Large Christmas Tree and Rewards Card.
Some prices can’t be found too easily from the sites I have provided links to. This is due to it varying in cost dependant on the amount of days/weeks.
- Male Suit = £35.
- Maid Dress = £18.32.
- Red Beanie = £4.42.
- Fake Mistletoe = £2.49.
- Green Fleece = Varied prices dependant on size. Small = £11.44. Medium = £11.42. Large = £11.48. X-Large = £10.67.
- Green Gloves = £6.95 + £1.59 Delivery = £8.54.
- Dark Green Scarf = £10.99.
- Navy Lieutenant Commander Costume = Would vary dependant on how long you would want to hire. No exact amount has been given and you would have to get in contact with the company itself through their email or phone number.
- Total (based on Fleece size):
- Small = £91.20 excluding the Navy Lieutenant Commander Costume
- Medium = £91.18 excluding the Navy Lieutenant Commander Costume
- Large = £91.24 excluding the Navy Lieutenant Commander Costume
- X-Large = £90.43 excluding the Navy Lieutenant Commander Costume
There are various types of possible equipment that may have to be used as well, for example, if you were to create some visual graphics for the actual production itself to use as props (e.g the posters, reward cards, the microphone flag etc.) then you may need a program such as Photoshop which comes to either £102.30 per year, or you have the option to pay monthly for £8.57.
Creative Cloud Pricing (Adobe, No date)
From this post, I can very much gather how much time and effort goes into finding the perfect costumes, actors, props and locations for a scene and can clearly see why a production will only film roughly a minute every single day with the amount that has to go into them (Week 5 – Production Research Plan)!