300 MILES, 8 DAYS, 5 MEN, 1 JOURNEY
"FROM CARRICKMACROSS TO CROSSMAGLEN, YOU'LL FIND MORE ROGUES THAN HONEST MEN"
In this post I'm going to do a quick break down of our process for shooting 'Of Rogues And Honest Men", a documentary short that followed 2 men's 300 mile charity walk from Carrickmacross, Ireland to Stockton-on-Tees, North East England exploring key issues such as mental health, immigration and community along the way.
How did you get involved in the project?
When director Paul Sudlow first told me about this project, it took me a matter of seconds to agree to shooting it.
Having previously worked with Paul on 'Bottle of Notes' (doc short, 2013), I knew we worked well together. I think that's really important, especially on such a demanding shoot - there wasn't a minute of the 8 days we weren't in each others pockets so having a good working relationship was vital.
Travel is also a big passion of mine and having the opportunity to work on a project that passed through arguably some of the best natural landscapes the UK has to offer, was a no brainer.
What was your approach to shooting? Were there any issues?
Right from the early stages we knew that this was going to be tough for Mike. With such a difficult journey ahead, he specifically asked that we cause minimum/no disruption to the walk "we don't have time to do several takes, if you get it then great - if you don't, you don't!".
We therefore opted for a 'fly on the wall' approach, kept our camera package minimal and stuck to using natural light only, all of which allowed us to move quickly and discretely when needed.
Paul and I actually pre-scouted the entire journey first using Google Earth (and then visited the locations on our way over to Ireland in our production vehicle) so had a strong idea of the key shots we wanted before we even started. That took a little bit of pressure off as we knew those key shots would help hold everything together.
We shot in 2.35:1 aspect ratio to fully capture the epic vistas we were moving through and shot lots of extreme wides to emphasise just how small nature can make us humans look.
We wanted to visually echo the journey to help the audience empathise with Mike and did this by starting fairly static (often shooting on tripod or monopod) before going handheld around the half way mark. This really help set the tone for the latter part of the walk, a difficult trek across the Yorkshire Dales made more difficult by the horrendous weather.
"WORKING THROUGH FOUR BLIZZARDS IN A SINGLE DAY WAS JUST RIDICULOUS..."
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Day 6 saw us travel from Tan Hill Inn, which at 1,732ft above sea level is the highest pub in Britain, to Barnard Castle where our two heroes would be reunited with their families. It also brought about the worst weather of the trip - working through four blizzards in a single day was just ridiculous! Unfortunately the camera's weatherproofing was limited so we were restricted to hanging out the back of our production vehicle using the boot as a shield from the weather. However, we still managed to get some great shots of just how horrific the conditions were for the walkers.
Contrary to the popular saying, it actually proved to be 'the storm before the calm' as by 6pm the weather improved dramatically, giving us the opportunity to catch some lovely sunset shots as they headed into Barnard Castle - a just reward for the battering we'd all taken that day.
The film premiered in August 2016 as part of Mike McGrother's Stockton International Riverside Festival Show.
PART 2... COMING SUMMER 2017!
DIR // Paul Sudlow
DOP // Pete Allinson
Prod // Fear of Film Productions
Original Music by // Danny Allinson
Canon 6D, 5D Mark ii
Canon L Series
Rode Video Mic Pro
Rode NTG2 + Zoom H4N
WATCH THE TRAILER FOR MIKE'S "SEARCHING FOR JIMMY" FESTIVAL SHOW BELOW.
Check out ITV's Report on the walk here.
THAT'S A WRAP!