Production Research is the research done before a production. It is the most important part of the production as it makes up about 98% of the finished product. Production research includes every element of a production from scripts and props to location and crew members. The crew is made up of lots of different people doing different tasks like: Cameramen, Creative Directors (Writers), Set Builders, Editors, Actors, Foley Artists, Musicians, Animal Handlers (if required), Lighting Engineers, Lighting Designers, Catering Crew, Costume and Makeup Crew, Drivers (if required), Stunt Team, Director, Producer and Assistants for all of the above. Location managers are in charge of finding the perfect location. They measure lengths in order to determine the right size. Storyboard artists sit down with the writers and other crew members in order to produce a storyboard.
In class, we reverse engineered the first 5 minutes from Life on Mars series 1 episode 1. We looked at the planning process the crew would have to go through in order to create the first 5 minutes alone. Effective planning can save a lot of time and money. That’s why successful film companies have a large team of accountants in order to manage the money so they can get the most out of their budget. I have chosen to reverse engineer the first scene of Spectre (2015). I am going to research the props and where you can get them and how much they cost. I am going to find the locations on google maps. I am going to try to list the crew members that will be involved in the planning of my chosen clip.
To start with you can tell Editors are needed to create the “The dead are alive” title screen and the “Mexico City” intertitle. Then we see a giant skeleton prop and lots of extras holding death related props. Makeup artist will be required for the extras’ face paint. We get a long Steadicam shot of two actors – James Bond and a girl going up a hotel lift and James Bond climbing out of a window and getting out a gun.
In order to make the scene in one shot, you would have thought they would have to pass the camera between equipment and camera operators but this is not the case. Although it looked like one shot it was 5 different shots. They pulled this off with a large editing team which worked very hard to make it seem like one shot. At the start, there is an Arial shot taken from a helicopter of 200 extras in Zócalo, Mexico City.
The next shot was done by a cameraman with a Steadicam and followed the actors to the hotel.
When the actors were entering the hotel there was a transition to a 5-star hotel on a different street (Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico). They went up the lift and the hotel room was actually located in Pinewood Studios UK. The next shot of the rooftop was back in Mexico. The roof shot was done by a camera mounted to a crane on a dolly track. This is called a Technocrane.
GlobalGrindTV . 2015. First Look Inside The Making Of Spectre 007 | Extra Butter. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rCAvamQuIc. [Accessed 1 November 2016].
I have found a Steadicam for £33 per day which would be able to shoot this shot.
I have found a company that lets you hire stunt helicopters and camera mounts.
I have found a website that lets you hire a Technocrane for £500 a day. Although I could not find one with a track this one will be able to do the same thing.
Although I could not find the exact costume James Bond was wearing I have managed to find a close match.
At the end of the scene, James Bond pulls out a gun. They could have used a real gun or a fake gun but either way, they will have had to inform the police of what they were doing. If it was a real gun, it wouldn’t be able to have ammo in it and the gun owner needs to be present. I have found a website that let you hire fake guns to use as props.
The crew members needed to create this short 4:10 clip are: Lighting Engineers, Lighting Designers, Director, Producer, Makeup and Costume Designers, Storyboard Artists , Actors, Extras, Catering Staff, Locations Manager, Prop Designer, Health and Safety Officers, Creative Directors (Writers), Sound Engineers, Sound Designers, Stunt Coordinator, Stunt Helicopter Pilot, Dolly Operator and Camera Operator.
I have found catering staff and equipment for hire on TV and film sets.
In this clip they used 3 different locations. They used the town square of Zócalo, Mexico City. They filmed the hotel room in Pinewood Studios UK. They also filmed the lobby of Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico.
In order to create the scene, they would have had to close the road off to the general public which would have required them to contact the council to ask for permission to close off the street. They would also have to ask the council for permission to film in a public place.
A location manager will have found a street that is wide enough to fit in lots of people, with a hotel with an old style lift and a window that leads to the roof and overlooks a window.
Under 16 laws
Within the 200 extras, there were children. In order to use children (under 16) in the film there are laws you have to keep to. You have to get a child performance license from the council. Children either have to be supervised by a parent, school teacher or home tutor in order to be on set. They can also be supervised by chaperone that is approved by the council. There is a lot of confusion about child production laws as they haven’t changed since 1968 but the TV and film industry have changed dramatically. The controversy is that the film and television industry was very small compared to now meaning children weren’t used much.
Health and Safety
Health and Safety would have to be involved when James Bond walks along the edge of the roof and steps over a gap between two buildings. They would have had to have medics on standby in case something went wrong. I have found a website (below) that gives health and safety information and it lets you hire medics. These people provide medics for EastEnders and Top Gear so they are a reliable company. They would most likely of used a harness and edited it out in post production. Health and Safety would have to check the props are safe especially the giant skeleton.
The clip is set in Mexico city and does not give a time period, but judging on the building’s architecture, and the style of the lift, it is probably set in the past.
For my primary research, I would find a couple of possible filming location and I would go to them and get photos of the locations. I would see if the sun would be lighting the streets or if it would be blocked out by the buildings. I would also record the times the sun is lighting the street. Before I hired the props I would find out some people who have previously used the props from the company before and contact them to find out the quality of the props. I would have interviews and auditions for the possible actors to see if they would be suited to the role.
It is hard to know how much it will cost because most of the websites don’t give a price as they require you to phone them to find out the price. The budget of the whole film was £197 – £201 million. So the average budget is . The length of the clip was 4m 10s and the length of the whole film is 2h 40m. So the short clip is 02604166668% of the film, so the average budget is £201,185,385.00*£197,161,677.30/2=199,158,459. So the budget of the clip is £199,158,459.5*02604166668%=5,186,418.2188 or £5,186,418.22. So the average budget of the 4m 10s clip alone was £5.18 million. The total of the all the props that I have been able to find the price of, comes to £166.89 (that’s discluding: the Technocrane, the medics, the catering equipment, the helicopter, the gun, the costume of girl with James Bond, the hotel room in Pinewood Studios UK, the cost of the crew, The giant skeleton’s, the cost to film in the hotel (if needed) and the extras costumes and props). If the cost of each of the extra’s costumes and props were the same as James Bond’s then it would cost £26944.89 (discluding: the Technocrane, the medics, the catering equipment, the helicopter, the gun, the costume of girl with James Bond, the hotel room in Pinewood Studios UK, the cost of the crew, The giant skeleton’s, the cost to film in the hotel (if needed)). So the Technocrane, the medics, the catering equipment, the helicopter, the gun, the costume of girl with James Bond, the hotel room in Pinewood Studios UK, the cost of the crew, The giant skeleton’s, the cost to film in the hotel (if needed) would cost an average of £5,159,473.33. Spectre made £805,185,430 in worldwide sales (as of 08/11/2016) meaning they made a profit of £606,026,971.