Off the back of some of the massive builds we’ve done for eBay with Disney for Star Wars and Avengers Infinity War, this month we turned our attention to Warner Brothers Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindlewald.
To do this we took it upon ourselves to teach some real children some actual magic. Well….OK we gave them a magic lesson and rigged one of the iconic Wizarding World locations with some surprises.
You can see the result below, but first, here are 3 of the top challenges we faced in bringing Magic to life for a group of Wizarding World super fans:
1: MAX OUT THE SURPRISE:
Creating the face-lighting-up surprise needed to make this film work turned out to need a profligate amount of secrecy, from not telling the children’s parents much about what was to happen (thanks for trusting us guys) to making sure the kids didn’t know where they were or why. The kids all met at a hotel 10 miles from the location (one of them only knew they were taking part when school finished that day!) and we drove them to the shoot in a minibus with blacked out windows. I had visions of the bus door opening to a wimpering tear filled posse having heard the word “shoot” and thinking they were about to be renditioned, but thankfully they were too excited to notice any such strange adult language.
2: DON’T BE SCARED OF THE DARK:
The problem with filming lights turning on, is that before they’ve turned on, you have no light. Cameras tend to like light, so this shoot involved us learning about the base ISO of every camera available today, and putting together a selection of the best low light performers available. The final tally involved a Sony Venice (fresh out of the box), a Panasonic Varicam LT (not something I’d shot on before, but with a base ISO of 5000 it was on the list) and 2 of the kings of low light – the Sony A7S – which is a frankly unbelievable camera, and we relied on for the key shots before the kids had worked their magic. We did a full rehearsal the night before and were able to set the light levels so we didn’t have to pull F-stop, which made life a lot easier for those of us holding cameras and already trying to focus on randomly moving children in near darkness.
3: BEWARE OF THE BATS:
The biggest challenge of the shoot were the bats. 3 weeks before the shoot we discovered the location played host to a colony of 1000 of the lovely flying critters, who we learned we couldn’t disturb with noise, movement or lights. Pretty hard when your entire shoot revolves around lighting up their home. We had to pay for a bat survey to be done, to discover if the bats were “swarming” (which i believe is polite parlance for shagging). If they were, we’d have had to begin our shoot once they’d got their nightly freak on, which would have meant attempting to surprise 8 year olds after 10pm – probably a recipe for a soporific film. Thankfully despite near certainty from everyone involved that it was bat swarming time of year, the report came back negative, and we were able to start filming as soon as it got dark. Phew!
Here are the results, which are playing online and in cinemas now.
If you want to find out more, drop us a line