Brain Candy Films were tasked by creative agency Tinker Taylor to create an epic film for the police to be shown in cinemas nationwide. The filmmakers decided to put the viewer right in the heart of the action, giving them a first hand insight into the demanding and diverse role of modern-day policing. They wanted to give the audience a unique view into the extraordinary job that police officers do and they chose a rather extraordinary way to do it.
The film shows four frozen moments in time. Each moment is seen as a single, continuous shot that allows the viewer to take in every glorious detail, taking you on a journey through a singular, explosive moment. This approach allowed the filmmakers to put the viewer right in the middle of the action, highlighting the cohesive efforts of the police and all the officers involved at one crucial moment in time. They achieved this effect with the help of motion control
Motion control was used in three of the scenes to move through the frozen action in a smooth, fluid path, making it possible to drip feed information to the viewer and allowing each scene to slowly unravel until the big picture comes into focus. The films use cinematic visuals to grab the audience’s attention but they feel grounded in realism with meticulous production design. Everything from the props, to the costumes and the lighting gives the feeling that you’re witnessing a real moment in time. Careful and precise art-direction and seamless CGI effects give complete authenticity to the scenes.
One of Brain Candy’s main aims with the film was to capture a much in camera as possible and rely on CGI as little as possible. The level of precision that motion control provides meant that they could fill the frame with real details and just use CGI to supplement what was already there, with a few exceptions! CGI was superbly handled by Manchester based Flipbook Studios and the fact that they were able to do multiple passes meant that they had clean plates, which dramatically reduced the VFX workload.
Three of the four scenes were shot on Alexa using motion control rigs supplied by Mark Roberts Motion Control, with the fourth scene being shot on steadicam with the RED Dragon. Cinematographer James Stoneley chose to use a combination of the Talos and Titan motion control rigs on the shoot, as each of the scenes had its own unique challenges. The reason the filmmakers chose to use motion control is that it allowed the camera to follow a perfectly orchestrated, pre-determined path through the action. They were able to cover huge areas, change camera level & repeat the move perfectly – making tweaks every pass until happy.
The mighty Titan was used in two of the four scenes, the Raid and the Riot, where the filmmakers needed the full 9 metre extension to cover a lot of ground. The Titan is unrivalled in its size and this made it possible to convey a sense of scale in the scenarios that was imperative to create the sense of a cohesive effort between the police and the community. For example, in the Raid scene the camera booms out of the back of a van, passes along a street, around a corner, down an alleyway and up passed a team of armed police officers on a fire escape, before descending back to ground level to land on a person being arrested. All in one shot. There is simply no other tool that would have been able to achieve this.
James Stoneley, cinematographer and Creative Director at Brain Candy Films, commented on a particularly tricky scene:
"I have worked with the Talos before so it was an obvious choice for the House scene. The scene was shot on set but space was still a consideration because of how we chose to film it. In order to make it feel like we’re really stuck in the corridor with the officers in the midst of the commotion, we wanted the camera to physically be inside the walls of the set and we also wanted to be able to look back at the end of the scene and see the corridor walls. This meant building a set with a “floating” wall that could be swung in and out of the set, allowing the Talos and camera to pass through the corridor where the wall ends up. This took some careful choreography from our stage hands!"
The four individual films are playing in cinemas across the country in over 800 feature presentations.
Brain Candy’s website – braincandyfilms.com