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19th March 2012
Running beat
Title of film: Coke Beat
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production Company: Somesuch and Co.
You've seen the tvc and trailer. Now we bring you Kim Gehrig's full-length documentary Beat 2012

You previously collaborated with Mark Ronson on the music video Cash in My Pocket so you knew what you were getting into but did he?

I never actually met Mark on ‘Cash in my pocket’ as he wasn’t in it… So when we got together on Coke, embarrassingly, I had to get my producer to remind him I had done that video for him. Thankfully he was like ‘yeah I love that video’, which was a relief and a good note to start on. Mark’s cool to work with, he is pretty relentless in his pursuit of his craft and that’s inspiring. He is even more of a workaholic than me, always stretching himself. I like that.

It’s a little tricky imagining the original brief. What was it and did your initial ideas differ a lot from how you eventually realised the film?

The original concept was to make a pop song with Olympic sports sounds, with many manifestations of that – ads, documentary and music video. How that was going to happen was very much up in the air when I took it on, and it really was one of those projects that constantly evolved. I had to be open to that process from the very beginning.
For me, the main thing was to make sure all the parts talked to each other and they had the same fresh tone, honest feel and strong production value throughout.

My original treatment involved shooting elements of each athlete separately, and bringing them together on screen in post. I had found out that an Olympic athlete’s schedule is as insane as a pop star’s, and getting them all together at the same time was near impossible! But there was such a desire to have them meet for real and genuinely connect, and I am thrilled that we pulled off that feat to bring them together for real in the concert. That changed everything.

Did you pre-prep everything before hand with storyboards and treatments or did you evolve the script as you filmed?

Everything was extremely planned and extremely unplanned.
I storyboarded and scripted what I’d hoped would happen and then was generally thrilled when I got all that and more. The live feel of everything was real and, but a live audience and real people, there is only so much planning you can do. There was a moment during the gig, when Mark Dj’d and I caught myself dancing by the monitors … and I was like ‘shit, you’re working Kim! Look at the monitors’. But I think that genuine fun vibe was really infectious and comes across on screen.

A documentary which has already been screened on Chanel 4, a stomping trailer and tvc adds up to really good mileage for the content. The editing is very sharp and different in all forms. Did you work closely with the editor as you filmed? Were there miles and miles of rushes?

There were indeed miles of rushes (I think terabytes) and a marathon edit, so I worked with several brilliant editors at TRIM, each of whom mastered different parts of the project, in a kind of edit relay.

With the documentary, at heart the story has little inherent drama, so the editing was key to making it interesting, and keeping the film moving. We wanted the whole hour to be cut with the precision of a music video, while still having emotional impact. This took ages… and we went about a month over on the edit schedule (whoops!), but I knew it was worth it as we used almost every scene we shot.

It was also really important to me that the edits and sequences from each piece were interchangeable so we had a common server that the editors worked from and drew on what each other created. I lived between 4 edit suites for about 3 months, and by the end they told me I started to dress like an editor (?!)

We can imagine it’s your tenacity that helps to get the footage you want. Do you know when you’ve got the shot you want in camera? Are you often surprised at what you’ve captured when you preview rushes?

I’m relentless and no doubt annoying to my team in that I never stop, and have endless energy. Even when I know I’ve got the shot, if I have time I like to try other things, find another magic moment and squeeze everything I can out of the set up or situation.
Making a documentary is really interesting as in some ways you have an infinite shot list. Inevitably I exhausted my crew (sorry guys)…

You were, in a different life, a creative at Mother with whom you’ve made this film. Did they give you considerable creative freedom?

Having worked at Mother before, I have very special relationship with those guys and it means we can actually work in tighter, more free-flowing way. There are less boundaries between us, so it’s an intimate working relationship, and very collaborative.
This does give a creative freedom as (I think) they trust me, so when needed I could go off and experiment.

This is you first documentary isn’t it? What were the key lessons you learnt from making this longer form?

I learnt to go with the flow. When situations change in a way that you don’t expect (or necessarily like) you have to be malleable and make the best of them. No shoot scares me now, as the doc was so hardcore. We would arrive in countries and immediately hit the ground running, dealing with a multitude of problems as they were flung in our faces. I now have no fear… Well at least until the next challenging shoot.

What’s on your agenda now?

Dancing, something completely different again…

Credits
Somesuch and Co.
Director Kim Gehrig
Exec Producer Tim Nash
Sally Campbell
Producer Tim Nash
Lucy Kelly
Director of Photography Ross McLennan
1st AC Edward Jones
Patrick Meller
Sound Recordist Diego Sanchez
Sound Designer Henning Kneopfel
Associate Producer Jessica Ludgrove
Directors Assistant George Belfield
Singapore Production The Momentum
Russia Production VW – Media
Mexico Production Spectrum Films
USA Production Fixer Films
Live Event Second Unit
Director Bob Harlow
Director of Photography Ben Magahy
Cameraman Tim Mogridge
Sound Recordist Pasha Shilov
Mother
Executive Producer Stephen Butler
Executive Producer Lesley Williams
Executive Producer Al MacCuish
Co-executive Producer Andy Medd
Co-executive Producer Jen Murphy
Producer Harriette Larder
Producer Laurence Barber
Producer Richard Firminger
Producer Lindsay Moyes
Creative team Hermeti Balarin
Creative team Ana Balarin
Creative team Paddy Fraser
Creative team Jasmine Loignon
Music Soundtree
Composer Oli Julian
Sound Designer Henning Knoepfel
Producer Music Storr Redman
Producer Music Assistant Daniel Gay
Sound: Unit Media Ltd
Dubbing Mixer Rosalie Wilson
Post Production:
Trim
Editor Tom Hemmings
Jerry Chater
Tom Lindsay
Junior Editor Nyco Dyszel
Leila Sarraf
MPC
Executive Producer Julie Evans
Producer Marianna Bruynseels
VFX Supervisor Yourick Van Impe
Colourist George K
VFX Artist Bruno Fukumothi
VFX Artist Byron Van Woofinden
VFX Artist Fraser Cleland
Head of Data Management Kerri Aungle
Additional UK Production:
Production Manager: Luke Tilbury
Jack Beardsley
Production Assistant: Elizabeth Doonan
Lana Henry
Connor Hollman
Laura Estorch
Natalie Bayle
DIT: Steve Nelson
Hattie Beanland
Matthew North
Camera Car Driver: Gary Smith
Andy Rogers
With Thanks To
Rhodri Thomas
Richard Belfield
Nick Gordon
Jacob Wright
Gustav Grass
East Denver High
East London Gymnastic Club
Story by Mother & Kim Gehrig