When I was asked to create a short film for National Theatre of Wales and the brief was the industrial landscape at night. Specifically Port Talbot, I was very excitied about the project. I had to make Port Talbot look beautiful. To some people this may sound like a big ask but it really wasn’t. Port Talbot at night looks amazing, the massive steelworks was the inspiration for Ridley Scotts’ futuristic vision in the movie Blade Runner. The dark gigantic buildings towering on the horizon gives such depth to any shot and when you get amongst the residential areas around the steel works you find yourself spoilt for choice with multi layered scenes around every corner.
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I set off to with Jamie Pannell to shoot in Port Talbot on an evening that had very intermittent weather. The rain was heavy and sideways when ever I got the camera out and stopped as soon as I put it away, very frustrating.I think Port Talbot was testing my dedication to this short film.
We first Hiked out across Margam moors to get to the beach and managed to get very close to the works around that area. The lorry drivers who passed us must have wondered what on earth we were up to filming in this weather, it was truly horrible on the coast, but the shots I got made it all worth while. One of my favorite shots was of the flaming towers and the chip shop on the corner of the street in Margam. The shot is so layered, the light Box on the chip shop so bold and colourful against the green tube lighting of the interior of the chip shop and the fading darkness of the street and the flames licking the night sky. The chip shop serve good chips as well.
I went back a second time. I had just been filming in Pontardawe Arts Centre for NTW and on my way back I could see that the Steel works were very active. I had planned on filming on my way back and wanted to get some tracking shots form the inside of the car. Luckily the car we have has fully removable rear seat and I had removed them before leaving for Pontardawe. With the Camera strapped safely in place I started the Camera rolling. After several trips up and down the M4 around Port Talbot I decided to get some static shots overlooking the town. So a trawled the streets of port Talbot looking for a high enough vantage point over looking the M4 and the Steel Works. I finally found one at the end of a street and stuck the Camera out of the sunroof as shown below. The steel works were very active, Perfect for my needs.
I packed everything away happy that I had got all of the shots I needed and drove off, I got to the bottom of the hill and was confronted with a great picture of a towering chimney and a chapel. It’s one of those situations when your tired and ready to go home but you just know you will regret not getting the shot. So I rigged the camera back up and happily hit record.
The edit went very smoothly and quickly, all was helped along by the music Marc had created for the piece. It gave the exact feel I wanted. I can recommend listening to the film on speakers with a good base bin as the sub base in the tune is brilliant.
The launch day for NTW was approaching and the cut was complete, I was then given a recorded telephone narration by Creative Director and Actor Michael Sheen with the option of placing it with the film. On listening to the recording I new immediately that they narration would fit perfectly. I did have to trim it down a little but the end result fitted so well I couldn’t imagine the film without it now.
For more information about the Passion play please go to http://nationaltheatrewales.org/whatson/performance/ntw13