On the 11th November 2018 at 11am,100 years after the armistice was signed ending the First World War, a remembrance event was held at the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial in Englefield Green, Surrey. We were lucky enough to be there and produced this short documentary film to mark the occasion.
We had always been fond of the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial – like many war graves and cenotaphs, it is beautiful, symmetrical and cinematic – and so we jumped at the chance to film something that was both non-fiction and high-quality there. We were lucky enough to have beautiful sunny weather on the day, which brought out the fabulous Autumn colours.
We filmed everything on our small Sony A7Sii, which was small enough to not be distracting during the centenary event but still produced a beautifully clear 4K image. We started off handheld for the coverage of the event itself. A sizeable crowd gathered including Air Training Corps cadets and various other armed services personnel, who stood with their poppy wreaths at the ready. As happens all across the UK on November 11th at 11am every year, they laid their wreaths at the foot of the plinth and a two minute’s silence was observed. The crowd wore paper poppies, which are provided by the Royal British Legion every year to support their charity.
We took a break and once the crowd had dispersed, an hour or so later we returned with our motorised gimbal. This was because we wanted more still, empty shots of the memorial without the people, so planning the order of your shoot with things like this in mind can be vital. By waiting for the crowd to leave we were able to get a series of beautiful tracking shots of the memorial from the front and inside the stone colonnades. In the edit we bookended the event footage with these shots, so we begin and end with the gimbal sequences and use the ceremony itself in the middle. This approach was great to create the atmosphere we wanted.
We used no dialogue or captions (except ‘1918 – 2018’ at the end) and instead just relied on images and an understated music track. While very short, we think the film still delivers an emotional punch, and we really hope you enjoy it.