Bristol-made Netflix series The Last Bus challenges green screen boundaries
Netflix's new live action sci-fi series The Last Bus challenged green screen boundaries while filming at The Bottle Yard Studios. Produced by award-winning Bristol company Wildseed Studios, the production team harnessed LED technology to enhance the possibilities offered by the Bottle Yard's 5,000 sq ft green screen. This added in bespoke hydraulic systems on set, exploring what could be achieved in the studio without the need for digital effects.
"Filming on location is expensive so we had to find a way of getting the bus scenes filmed in the studio at The Bottle Yard," explains producer Andy Mosse. "Traditionally this is done with a green screen, but we developed a way to use LED screens as a full 360 degree wrap around the bus so that we could shoot in any direction with any backdrop, which hadn’t been done before. The panoramic 360 images we projected were captured with 12 x 4K cameras built on a bespoke rigged car we called the ‘hotdog’. Combine this with some hydraulic Wallace and Gromit type levers plugged into the suspension of the bus, you’ve got a moving bus interior that bumps and weaves with the road and can be shot in camera with no digital effects needed."
Starring Robert Sheehan (Umbrella Academy, Misfits), Tom Basden (After Life, Plebs) and an ensemble cast of young actors, the 10-part series began filming at The Bottle Yard Studios in August 2020. During a 19 week shoot, the project was filmed on location at Bristol’s Redcliffe Caves and The Downs with support from the city’s Film Office. Further afield, filming took place at other South West location, including Cheddar Gorge, Brean Leisure Park and Wookey Hole in Somerset as well as the Eden Project in Cornwall.
"Bristol is Wildseed's home and it was important for us from the outset that The Last Bus should be made here in the city," says Wildseed's managing director Miles Bullough. "The Bottle Yard was our ideal facility, with its vast green screen and adaptable spaces. At one point we had 5 double deckers parked up together inside; an impressive sight, not to mention a parking feat!"
The Last Bus is an eco-fable for the whole family to watch together. It follows a group of mismatched students on a school trip who become unlikely heroes when a robot apocalypse zaps away the rest of humanity. The series is available to stream on Netflix from 1 April 2022.
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