Independent Films recreates Normandy on location near Prague for Sony PlayStation
World War II has come to a Prague quarry in Independent’s new commercial for the PlayStation Vita. The World is in Play shows gamers being absorbed in their preferred genres, but the stand-out scenes involve a beach landing that recalls the Call of Duty franchise.
Locations in countries as varied as Columbia, Mexico and Portugal were considered, but the production settled on Prague as it offered the best package. The entire project – including football and boxing set pieces to cover other gaming genres - was filmed over six days, with about three days needed to reconstruct the World War II scenes for a two-day shoot.
We shot it in a sand quarry in Prague as we needed to have the sand to cheat the Normandy beach. We levelled a massive pile of sand to cheat the section [the actor] was crouching on.
Emma Butterworth, Producer
The setting is Normandy’s Omaha Beach on D-Day, 1944, as immortalised on film in the late 1990s by Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
Emma Butterworth produced for Independent Films: “We shot it in a sand quarry in Prague as we needed to have the sand to cheat the Normandy beach. We levelled a massive pile of sand to cheat the section [the actor] was crouching on and that they initially run on. We then built the bunker on an existing sand cliff.”
As the quarry lacked a coastline, the team filmed plate shots of the beach at Camber Sands in the UK, and blended these with the Prague location in post-production. The quarry itself was about 40km north of Prague and met the visual and practical needs of the project.
Mirka Taylor was Line Producer for Unit + Sofa in Prague: “The problems we had were finding the right colour and look of the sand. Also the logistics of getting permission in time was a challenge as we only had about ten days to organise it. The fact we also needed to use explosives wasn’t an advantage as all of the quarries we were scouting - and the one we eventually used - were functioning places.”
The fact we also needed to use explosives wasn’t an advantage as all of the quarries we were scouting - and the one we eventually used - were functioning places.
Mirka Taylor, Line Producer
Filming took place in January, so the weather was a real worry. Butterworth adds: “We were constantly concerned about the snow, as that would not have worked for the beach scene. It was cold! Thankfully the snow held off - we had a light flurry in the afternoon on the second day but it did not hold up shooting and there were no other delays. It was incredibly windy and cold!”
The troop extras seen storming the beach with the lead actor were members of World War II re-enactment groups from across Czech Republic. They were delighted to be able to do their thing for the cameras. Taylor concludes: “The re-enactors really enjoyed the shoot and made everyone really enthusiastic with the scene!”
Client: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Agency: 180 Amsterdam
Creative Director: Galen Graham
Producer: Richard Firminger
Production Company: Independent Films, London
Producer: Emma Butterworth
Production Service Company: Unit + Sofa, Prague
Line Producer: Mirka Taylor
Director of Photography: Adriano Goldman
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Director of Behind the Scenes: Ed Sayers
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