Street Summer must have been a hugely complex production. What was the original brief?
The brief was very open – simply to make a spot that promoted Channel 4’s season of programmes about UK hip hop, street sport, art, dance and culture.
How did you work out the technique?
Working with MPC, we tried out a variety of initial tests to get the technique right, until we had something that we were confident could work.
We worked out a technique that involved shooting with a 8mm lens and various primes that would then be stitched together and projected onto a sphere. From this we were able to create any camera move I wanted and stitch the plate to the live action longer lens plate. The promo itself was shot using three Red cameras shooting at 4k. One camera setup was a mirror rig with two Red cameras with a 18mm and a longer prime; the other at 8mm.
Was everything storyboarded in detail?
I storyboarded every single element of the spot – nothing was left to chance as it all had to fit together very in a very exact way. The storyboards show the film pretty much exactly as it eventually turned out.
On the day of the shoot were there some spontaneous moments you incorporated?
Because of the complex way in which the film was put together, there wasn’t much scope for improvisation. However, the weather forced us to change some things – for example, at one point it rained heavily, meaning a rooftop running sequence had to be dropped, and a new method of getting from A to B employed, which incorporated one of the parcour guys backflipping off a lorry.
What were the main challenges of the production?
To get everything to stitch together, we had to get the in and out points of each bit of action to line up exactly on different cameras.
To align the different cameras was essential for the whole thing to piece together seamlessly. This was sometimes quite difficult to achieve and slowed us down a bit.
Apart from that it was problems with changing weather conditions, having to shoot the sequence with complete continuity and restrictions of artist availability – stuff that challenges the best of us!