Filming on location around the world with producer Jeremy Barnes
Jeremy studied for an MA in film at the Royal College of Art in London and then started out in the industry as a runner. He gained the experience and knowledge he needed, and has now been producing commercials for 20 years.
Who have you worked with over the years?
I have been producing commercials for 20 years with some of London’s top directors including Kevin Thomas, Joachim Back, Dougal Wilson, Trevor Melvin, Ivan Zacharias, Colin Gregg, Richard Loncraine and Terence Donovan.
Where in the world have you filmed recently?
I’ve filmed extensively abroad - recent trips have included Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Las Vegas, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Russia, Slovenia, Hong Kong and Prague.
Cape Town and Prague are great from a production point of view as the local production companies really understand the process and make it all happen seamlessly. If I am working with the US, I want to know that I have solid production back-up on the ground. American clients and agencies love paperwork and lots of meetings, and I know I have this support in places that are conversant with the film world.
Cape Town and Prague are great from a production point of view as the local production companies really understand the process and make it all happen seamlessly.
Locations like Cape Town also offer value for money, good weather and locations that can double for other parts of the world. They’re also in the same time zone, so by taking a night flight you can be working the day you arrive. Cape Town has been overshot and it is difficult to avoid Table Mountain in the back of the frame, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Hong Kong was hard work as it seems so crowded and locations are hard to come by. There seems a lack of flexibility, which makes the producer’s job much harder.
What were the most challenging shoots you’ve worked on recently?
A MINI commercial for Kevin Thomas at Thomas Thomas Films (in the spring of 2011) and an Audi shoot for Joachim Back at Park Pictures (in March 2012) were challenging. I guess it’s that car ads are more challenging than most other commercials, as they are often set in foreign locations with special effects, aerial filming, crowd extras, stunts and art department dressing or builds. All of that is before you take the weather into consideration!
We filmed MINI at the Rio Carnival in March last year and then had to recreate scenes with the cars in afterwards; the cars were not built in time for the actual carnival. Such a huge event doesn’t stop for anything or anyone, so we just had to shoot lots of footage and then recreate sections of it afterwards. This meant returning to the Samba-drome in Rio a month after the Carnival and choreographing the dancers and floats with the car driving at speed through the parade.
The Samaba-drome was also being refurbished, but the carnival organisers had failed to convey this to our local producer, so the stands on one side of the stadium had been knocked down.
We had to shoot in one direction only to avoid seeing cranes in the demolition site. Ocean Films was fantastic at arranging the permits and all our production needs, and it was helpful using local DoP Cesar Chalone, who spoke the language and knew how to grab great footage on the run.
We also shot a script in Iceland with Truenorth, who were also fantastically organised and used to working in extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Filming during a blizzard is an interesting experience!
The latest Audi campaign for the A5 through BBH London involved recreating 1930s Europe, so was all about planning and detail, beginning with the building of the old car, based on a 1933 design. Eventually after much research we discovered that no cars matching the pictorial reference now exist so we ended up building a replica in Prague with model-maker Martin Pec, with just four weeks from design to delivery.
Car ads are more challenging than most other commercials, as they are often set in foreign locations with special effects, aerial filming, crowd extras, stunts and art department dressing or builds.
Locations were all in Slovenia (through Bas Productions in Ljubljana) and it involved a lot of period dressing and costume. Even the snow had to be art directed as the weather warmed up in March and existing snow had melted. Most of the effects were in-camera, as Joachim and DoP Jan Velicky wanted the process to look as close to old footage as possible. All the old footage was shot on 35mm black-and-white film using a hand-cranked motor on an Arri 435. Frame rates ranged from 18 to 24 frames and were inconsistent as they would have been in the period.
My favourite overseas companies are Stillking in Prague, The Farm in South Africa, Ocean in Brazil and Truenorth in Iceland. In Europe I also like working with Palma Pictures and Page International in Portugal.
What’s your favourite wrap party venue?
Either the breakfast at the end of shooting the MINI Rio Carnival - we drank champagne and ate bacon and eggs at the Copacabana Palace Hotel - or on a beach in Mombasa at the end of a Budweiser shoot. It was the same beach that Robert Redford and Meryl Streep land a plane in Out of Africa - about as romantic as it gets!
What do you do to relax?
After all these exciting locations and globetrotting I like to relax at home in Dorset with my family - there really is no place like home!
To contact Jeremy please click here.
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