Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Tale of Two Barnets - The technical details

I was asked today, by a young film maker from Barnet, who attended the premiere of A Tale of Two Barnets, exactly what the production entailed. Of course Charles Honderick would be the man to ask the technical details, but here is an insight into the logistical exercise. We formally decided to go ahead with the film on the 17th September, six months and two days before the Premiere.

The first exercise was to draw up a list of interviewees. This was originally five people. We then made a list of scenes and images we thought we may use. We decided to make sure we got some of the views of panoramic views from various Barnet sites, a few London Buses, La Deliverance (which became our Icon), St Josephs College (a favourite of mine). In all we interviewed 40 people and featured 22 in the film. Some of the footage was simply unusable due to technical reasons (poor sound quality and background noise), some was not relevant and some people just wanted to recite pre written monologues which were unsuitable to the tone of the film. We shot 25 hours of footage in total, which was edited down to 28 minutes. We also used some footage shot around Mill Hill by my daughter Elizabeth. Most of the driving scenes are her footage. In all I clocked over 200 miles driving Charles and he incurred tube and bus fares of over £140. Charles did the filming on 28 different days, on average spending six hours on each interview with travel time.

Charles did the initial cut of editing in his house over a two week period. He spent nearly 80 hours paring the 25 hours down to about four hours.  This took another 68 hours. He then showed this to me and we discussed the form. This took approximately six hours. Charles then edited this down to approx 1 hour. We then shot more footage, approximately another two hours. This footage was mostly at Cafe Buzz (the parking coffin procession) and the leader and ceo of the Council. We then paired this down to approx 30 mins.

On watching, it became clear that the pace was uneven and some better "stock footage" was needed. A tighter edit was produced and then we added the soundtrack. In places this was used to try and disguise background noise etc, where other methods couldn't mask it. Finally we shot the closing credit footage, and chose a song by Charles band "The Hamptons" as the play out music.It is worth stressing that as Porducer, my role was to bounce ideas off Charles. He made the efforts. We had many heated arguments, but at the end of the day we got a great result.

Once we had the final edit, I had to get the DVD burned and spent approximately 1 week constructing the website. I also spent several days in total on press and plugging activities. On Monday this culminated with a visit to BBC London at 7.15am.

Many people helped us along the way, especially Barnet Alliance for Public Services who spent hours delivering leaflets and planning the premiere. All in all the film was a fantastic effort by the whole community. Charles has made a great film, most of the hard work done in the early hours of the morning in his flat. I believe he deserves great recognition for this labour of love.

If ever you want to truly appreciate how good value he has given, check these videos out, put together by Barnet Council using professional film companies at the cost of several huindred or thousand pounds each - http://www.youtube.com/Barnetcouncil1 - Charles Hondericks film didn't cost the taxpayer a penny !

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