Shot #3: The Shoot!

16 Oct

Last Saturday marked the day when our 3rd and most ambitious project yet finally started to come to life. It was the day of the bullet time shoot, the culmination of weeks of planning, arguing, and calling in favours. At around 9:15am the team started arriving at our amazing location: Hotspur House in Manchester, home to various studio spaces and creative types. I realised when I got there that I’d passed it several times and assumed it was abandoned, but it turns out there’s some really cool stuff happening there and we were about to add to its legacy!

Hotspur House, Manchester

Hotspur House, Manchester. Home of the greatest basement in the world.

We had full run of an incredible basement space full of lots of interesting and odd items: pieces of art (one of which may have inspired a new title for the finished product); old printing equipment and books; thousands of blueprints for buildings all over Manchester; and most pleasingly, what appeared to be an old dentist’s chair, which give the place a creepy and surreal feel which would hang around the place for the whole day, especially once the clowns arrived.

Dirty Honky prepares for theatre

Yes, the clowns! I don’t want to give away too much about the plot but we got ourselves 3 very creepy clowns to act in the piece. They put on an incredible performance and kept everyone entertained as the day wore on and people started to get tired. It was a pleasure to work with them and they put up with a lot of standing around and multiple takes as we realised the challenge we’d set ourselves. We’re eternally grateful to them and hope that we’ll be seeing more of them!

The set-up started at 10am and everyone started getting excited as more cameras arrived and were put into place. It became apparent that we were woefully under-prepared for what turned out to be a huge task, but after a lot of maths and geometry, and the usual bickering between Ben and myself over where we should setting our goals, we ended up with this incredibly professional looking set-up:

8 cameras! Aren't we clever?

It was a really great moment when we finally had everything in place. We’d been hoping for more cameras but it was amazing to see our hard work and planning finally come together. I don’t think anyone really believed it was going to happen until we were ready to shoot, but our optimism was rewarded in a pretty incredible way. Unfortunately the footage we shot is strictly confidential for now, but I can tell you that it looks great and we can’t wait to start what’s going to be a very stressful few weeks in post-production!

Now, this shot is going to be the truly spectacular one, but we did attempt some more pretty ambitious shots which we’re going to keep under wraps for now. You can see plenty more photos from the shoot on our Facebook group and join in our discussions on there, but if you want to see the final product you’ll have to get yourself along to the November 12th Future Artists event at The Black Lion, where we’ll be unveiling it and talking people through the techniques and what we learned from the project. Full details of this event will be released soon, keep an eye on the Future Artists website for news.

We finally finished at around 6:30pm, tired but ready for our traditional trip to the pub. It was an incredible day and we’re truly grateful to everyone who gave up their Saturday to help us realise our insane dreams! This project started with a few people sitting around a table and wondering if it could be done and now has a crew of at least 20 people! We’ll find a place for all of you in the credits, I promise!

Watch this space for production updates and confused ramblings as we become gradually more sleep-deprived and frustrated, it’s not going to be easy but in true co-operative spirit we’re going to work as a team and make this happen!

– – –


The Spectacular Shots Club


One Response to “Shot #3: The Shoot!”


  1. – Bring the Noise – All Day event ‘Crowdfunding, Direct Action and Creativity’ - November 4, 2011

    […] For 2 months members of the FA co-op/ SSC have been trying to re-create the Matrix style ‘Bullet time effect’ with no budget, a collective idea and a just do it attitude, see the results and how they work as a group to make Hollywood special effects on no money, read blog here […]

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