Another week has passed and you guessed it, another blog post. This Blog Post will be extra special as you get two writers for your buck. Joining me (Liam) in the writers chair for this one is Jonno. To check out his full blog have a gander HERE. It’s always a pleasure getting to collaborate together on something and our latest effort was no different. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, on with the show.
(L) This Sunday brings with it the premiere of our latest and last short of 2016’ HIDE + SEEK’. Keeping up with our tradition set from last year with the release of ‘SEASON’s GREETINGS’ we decided to unleash one last tale of terror before the new year. Having tackled demons, dopplegangers, exorcisms and séances already this year, we decided to approach our final short of 2016 a little differently. Having tried our hand most recently at Comedy with ‘OH SHIT!’ and following the success of SANDMAN, it seemed only right we finish the year with a tale sure to creep you out just in time for the big day, you know to readdress the balance.
Differing from the majority of the projects we have shot and released this year we actually shot ‘HIDE + SEEK’ over two days to ensure we didn’t compromise on anything. This project reunited some familiar faces, Jonno was behind the camera for the most part making a brief cameo, Matt Barker (Sandman himself) took on the lead role and for the first day we had my lovely other half Charlie assisting and shooting some of our BTS content. I think Matt more than anything was relieved that he didn’t have to be painted completely white and jump about in just pants for the entire shoot, or maybe he was disappointed – who knows with that guy?! The short was shot on location in Bestwood Country Park, in nearly the exact same place we shot ‘THE FINAL GIRL’ last year. I would also like to add that ‘THE FINAL GIRL’ is also now back online for your viewing pleasure #shamelessplug. A fun bit of trivia you certainly didn’t ask for but I’m giving you anyway, is that my first ever film that I shot way back when was actually entitled ‘WOODLAND’ and funnily enough was also filmed in the exact same patch of woods as ‘HIDE + SEEK’. I always find it a great pleasure to return to the woods and shoot something. However big or small it’s great to see a progression in the way in which I approach the shoot and the resulting short film even though the location remains near exactly the same each time.
(J) The filming was initially planned as a one day shoot but it quickly became apparent that we would be compromising on quality in order to pack everything in. Because of this we all agreed that a second day was in order. Although the set-ups throughout both days were relatively quick the movement between locations was what really ate into the time. Being able to spend a whole day shooting the climax was a huge bonus and I think that really comes across in the scene.
I shot the film on the Panasonic GH4, the only other kit we had available for the shoot was a tripod, shoulder rig, slider, a few LED light panels and a reflector. It really was a sparse kit but it needed to be with all the location changes…maybe we should employ a few runners next time, hmm…
As with last year’s Christmas short we shot Hide and Seek in 4K although this time we placed it in a 1080p timeline in the edit. I think this is the way to get the best image out of the GH4 and also allows for some wiggle room if a shot needs slight re-framing.
As you can see from the shot above we used a really muted colour palette throughout with oranges and browns being the main theme. Also, as a side note, getting the leaves to fall around Matt as he walked required some serious tree-shaking!
(L) I think as Jonno mentioned the muted colour palette is something we’ve never really tried much before in our work. More often than not the way in which we light a scene will be flooded with colour. Even with ‘THE FINAL GIRL’ which took place in nearly the exact same location (tie in movie anyone?) the short was lit dramatically and filled with a vibrant turquoise hue. As ‘HIDE + SEEK’ is more of a dark, dramatic tale, I don’t think it needed such a vibrant aesthetic and this was something that was considered when shooting, right through until the edit and grade. If I am being honest I think the drabness and the lack of colour throughout really help to heighten the uneasiness we were trying to create.
(J) One of the most challenging scenes to shoot was Matt running towards the camera. We did the same scene in normal and slow motion so Liam could mix it up in the edit. I mounted the camera on the shoulder rig and steadied it the best that I could. When action was called I sprinted ahead of Matt whilst trying to keep the camera as trained on him as possible. I’m pretty pleased with the results if I’m honest, I think the most difficult thing was keeping a constant distance between each other to avoid losing focus. Still, the multiple takes kept us warm!
The second day of shooting was pretty much reserved for the finale which takes place at an old quarry, a really pretty, if slightly dangerous location. Many of the shots here required the camera to be pointed towards the sky to give a sense of height. To avoid blowing out the image I had to use lights/reflectors where possible to bring up the brightness on Matt. Luckily the day was quite overcast and it was beginning to get towards the evening so I think the resulting image is quite good.
(L) The shoot itself was incredibly stripped back as Jonno highlighted. It was minimal on crew and incredibly minimal on cast. I always find the little projects we do like this to sometimes be the most rewarding as you really have room to try new things and just have fun with it. With some of the content we shoot and upload there is a certain pressure as we want to make sure it’s scary or does well in festivals. With this we knew we just wanted to upload something a little unsettling before Christmas and maybe try a few new things.
As I knew that this short would differ slightly from the usual horror content we upload I encouraged Jonno to experiment with the way in which we shot it. Usually I like things to be a lot more structured and smooth, opting for slider and dolly shots as opposed to using the shoulder rig or capturing things handheld. I do feel that as the short goes on there is a change in the way in which we shot it, as things get more frantic and elevated, the smoothness and structure of the cinematography depletes to reflect the narrative. This is something I think I always try to do but I’m always afraid to commit to as I really like things to look perfect a la David Fincher. Aside for the Cinematography side of things I was keen to really push myself with the sound design. For me every film we create really comes to life in the edit and the sound mix is the icing on the cake. This year especially we have really made an effort with the sound design of our shorts, even going as far to record our own foley for nearly everything we have put out. Using very little downloaded content or purchased sound packs we have begun to form quite a considerable sound library of original elements. This is something we will be sure to expand in the new year and maybe even look to make available for other fellow filmmakers.
As usual with the shorts we create, the shoot was incredibly fun and although filled with challenges it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. Check out some pics and a short video of the Behind the Scenes on the shoot above. Also, please let us know if you are liking seeing this sort of content on the blog. It won’t be the same for every entry but I am hoping to keep up posting every week and try and link some exclusive video content to each post that I can should it warrant it. We are really looking to push the SuperfreakMedia brand as hard as we can in the new year so any feedback or input would be greatly appreciated. But for now enjoy us goofing about on set.
Now that the short is complete and ready for release, I’m happy to be the first to admit that for a while I really struggled with getting an idea together that I felt was strong enough and really deserved to be made. Initially the idea for our Christmas short was a lot different and felt a little too expected from us. Eventually the premise for ‘HIDE + SEEK’ came along and all was well. The film itself had no budget and really was an example of us pulling everything together that we already had to make something hopefully you guys will enjoy. A local patch of woodland is one of the easiest things to exploit for any filmmaker, in essence it’s a free location you don’t have to dress or pay for to shoot it. Of course I would always recommending consulting with the local council or the park rangers if you plan on shooting something (especially with horror). Ultimately the only thing you have to worry about is the weather. I know I have already said this before but in the spirit of feeling thankful at this time of year, I really do feel so bloody lucky to have such an amazing group of people around me. Everyone always gives 100% on every project and are always willing to support these crazy ideas and turn them into a reality, SuperfreakMedia would be nothing without the great people behind it that contribute their time and energy each year!
The short itself will premiere online at 6PM. GMT on SUNDAY 11th DECEMBER. If you follow us on social media, expect an onslaught of posts at 6 and be sure to check out our final slice of horror before the new year. Before I go, a huge thank you to Jonno and Charlie for helping me with this blog post. I’m super excited to release ‘HIDE + SEEK’ this Sunday and everyone involved can’t wait to hear what you think.
Thanks as always and until next time…
DON’T BE A STRANGER: