This was a short promotional film commissioned by the Newcastle International Film Festival as a means of showing HRH Prince Michael of Kent, one of the festival’s patrons, lending his support in a short message. Although it was a comparatively smaller job, it required no less painstaking preparation to make sure everything went smoothly.
We filmed the piece to camera with His Royal Highness at Kensington Palace, along with two other similar pieces for different audiences at the festival. For this we used our Sony A7Sii (taking advantage of its nice flat picture profiles) and an autocue so that the Prince could read the prepared scripts in a naturalistic manner. Autocues are very dependent on the subject’s ability to read from them as to how natural the results look, but after a few rehearsals we were good to go.
In order to bring the piece to life we also used some of our previous footage we had filmed in and around Newcastle upon Tyne. This broke up the piece and disguised a few eye movements giving away the autocue, but more importantly it illustrated the script and really brought the Prince’s message to like. One of the things we encourage again and again with our clients for a ‘talking head’ piece is to actually only see the speaker for 50% or less of the finished film, with their voice continuing under illustrative shots which can also hide any joins or gaps in the interview answers or speech delivery.
We love filming in the North East of England; our director Steve lived in Newcastle for ten years and we have completed quite a few projects there, so it was a real pleasure to help promote the area through this film. The festival was a huge success. The inaugural event, which took place in various locations across the city in 2018, saw filmmakers and industry experts descend on the city – many for the first time – to watch new work, share experiences and check out the region’s potential for future cinematic flights of fancy. With its range of locations – coasts, countryside and cities – the North East offers infinite possibilities as a big screen backdrop and already two new film projects have been inspired by it.