CAMPAIGN CRAFT: CRAFT SECRETS - Launchpad of BBC’s digital journey can be found at the Mill. A technique found on the net inspired the latest BBC promotion. By Emma Hall

By EMMA HALL, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 16 October 1998 12:00AM

When the BBC invites celebrities to appear in its promotional films, it always gets a good turnout. But not even the BBC expects the likes of Ruby Wax, Martine McCutcheon, Salman Rushdie and Michael Palin to stick around while each shot is perfected.

When the BBC invites celebrities to appear in its promotional

films, it always gets a good turnout. But not even the BBC expects the

likes of Ruby Wax, Martine McCutcheon, Salman Rushdie and Michael Palin

to stick around while each shot is perfected.



For Leagas Delaney’s latest BBC film, heralding the arrival of digital

broadcast, many of the featured stars had just 15 minutes to shoot their

segments. They were each shot in whatever location was to hand and the

film was pasted together later.



The film is meant to illustrate the idea of viewers taking a ’digital

journey’ with the BBC. It features celebrities in a variety of locations

- Ruby Wax at Glastonbury, Stephen Fry in a restaurant and Michael Palin

in a jungle - all linked by a ’virtual’ camera, which pans around the

widescreen images to create the impression of seamless and dynamic

movement between the locations.



It could all too easily have looked like a series of talking heads

edited together, so Doug Foster, who directed the ad through Blink,

planned everything around the post-production, which was done at the

Mill. Foster started as a motion control cameraman, so has a good

grounding in the techniques used for building up layers of film in an

edit suite.



To simplify the shoot and minimise the preparation time, actors were

shot with a static camera. But a mere sequence of ’locked-off’ shots

would have created too limited a result.



Foster shot all the performances with a static camera, then took a

further eight surrounding shots to put them in context. The nine images

were joined up on Flame and Inferno. Foster drew inspiration from the

’virtual tours’ of rooms or shopping malls that are found on the

internet and combined this technique with a trick that every amateur

photographer uses - taking pictures of a panorama from different angles

and joining the photos up afterwards to make one big, wide-angled

view.



At the Mill, the crew invented a new way to stitch the film together,

allowing them to build up a virtual environment within which the camera

could be moved around. Spirit was used to scan the images at high

resolution, and the enhanced picture was pieced back together in Flame

by Jason Watts.



The result is that the personalities appear to have been filmed in one

continuous take.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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