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Author Topic: Building models for filming  (Read 28264 times)

NFMike

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #75 on: January 12, 2017, 11:53:09 PM »

With two accomplished actors, and an intelligent approach to how their dialogue is woven between the action sequences, it could grab the audience so that they are then prepared to make the effort to comprehend the overall nature of the events at Jutland.

As said by others Jutland is too complex and big basically for normal approaches to work, so it needs something different - very different. I don't know if this is it, but it certainly sounds like a good candidate. The only problem is ensuring you don't get accused of making up history when mixing fact and fiction - having a "This didn't really happen" banner across the screen whenever J & S are talking would rather spoil it.

John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2017, 10:20:58 AM »

The key thing would be to 'suspend the disbelief' of the audience, which is something we all do every time we watch a good movie or TV production. We grow up learning to accept the very strange 'language' that these media use. The story has to be good enough to transport the thinking of the viewer back a century to Jutland, and the dynamic of the two lead characters, meeting twenty years later, would have to be written by a real visionary. We're looking at a number of other possibilities, but I think this 'hybrid' concept is worth exploring in depth. I've already talked to an experienced screenwriter, who is intrigued by the concept, and we're meeting next week to see if this is workable.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #77 on: January 13, 2017, 01:40:36 PM »

We've completed the Camera Test of the 12' model of HMS Hood, and have just seen the results projected onto a full-sized cinema screen in central London. We had shot about 45 minutes of 35mm film, and the same amount of UHD video. It was six hours of nonstop work to get everything done, but very productive. And there were a number of surprises...


We had original footage of Hood from her travels all over the world. One of the reasons we chose to start with this ship was the wide availability of authentic movie material. This was from throughout her career, but mainly from the 1930's. Comparing her seakeeping qualities in the Far East, in the Mediterranean and in the North Atlantic revealed significant differences in the ship's behaviour. The film shot near Singapore showed her riding higher in the water than normal, probably with low fuel tank levels. The sea state was very calm, but Hood looked uncomfortable, rolling on her turns and not answering the helm as precisely as one would expect from a Flagship. She looked 'skittish' and lightweight, and would have provided a very poor gun platform.


In the Med, which was running one of its notorious 'short steep seas', the battlecruiser was on full deep load, and looked much more stable and massive. But she was surprisingly nimble when put into a hard turn on full power, slicing through the six foot swell with ease and throwing spray right over her A and B Turrets. The forward part of her Quarterdeck was almost submerged, digging in like that of a Destroyer, and sheets of water were drenching X and Y Turrets. If those had had to switch to Local Control, I doubt that their rangefinders would have shown a thing.


The film taken in the North Atlantic was probably from the late 30's, judging by Hood's fit-out. It included the bow-on shot I've described before, which echoed her final turn to Port in the Denmark Strait. The film quality was superb, you could even see details of Hood's emblem on the Tompions in the barrel mouths of A turret, and Officers using binoculars on the Bridge. We think this must have been shot on 35mm film to get the quality. Seen on a screen over 60 feet wide, it was very humbling to watch. The small undulations caused by the shifting forces of the waves were very evident at this magnification, as were the subtle movements of the turret blast bags in the wind. Another, more distant, shot showed a full broadside being fired. It wasn't very clear, so we'll have to do more checking to see if we can find a better film scene from a ship with similar armament. 'HMS Vanguard', the last battleship ever built, used similar 15" guns, so we'll try to track down a Live Firing Exercise carried out by that ship in the early 1950's.


The lesson we learned from all this was that our source material needs to be entirely from the North Atlantic, and of sea states that fit the images taken on 24th May 1941


It's likely that our version of the 'Battle of the Denmark Strait' will begin just before dawn on that day, as the ship prepares to fight. We want her to begin as an almost invisible silhouette in the dark, being slowly revealed as day breaks and the officers and men get ready to destroy Bismarck. For many in the audience who are not familiar with the sheer size of a capital ship, this needs to be a sequence that really grabs their attention. They need to be overwhelmed by the aura of invincibility, but underscored with foreboding. And for those who don't know what is soon to happen, they are about to be shown something that they might not want to see, but can't force themselves to look away from...


Our team worked hard to get all the shots we needed of the 1:72 ship on the Model Mover, and the prototype echoed almost all of the movements of the real ship. There's some fine tuning to do - there always is - but I'm confident that we are well on the way to building models that will be entirely convincing on the screen. As I'd hoped. our 'Hood' looked weighty and yet not immune to the forces of the sea. The next step is to start detailing the model, and one advantage of it being large is that we'll be able to have about eight people working on it at once. At the same time, we'll be refining and expanding our library of archive film footage, and beginning to composite it all together so that we can make a 3 minute Showreel which the Production company can then show to financiers next week. We'll also be going round to the school who lent us their gymnasium for filming, and over 100 of whose students stayed up until 2am not only to watch us work, but also to keep us fed and watered. They deserve to see the results of the process, and everybody's fascinated by how movies are made!
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Umi_Ryuzuki

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2017, 12:13:06 AM »

Sounds like the crew is working painstakingly hard to get the shots you need.

I know you can share your production shots, but maybe when there is a free moment a small 1/350 model
could be mounted on the model gantry, and demonstrate behind the scenes action of the equipment.

 O0

mudway

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #79 on: January 14, 2017, 01:01:33 AM »

You mentioned interchangable parts to depict the vessels over their lifetime but how are you going to cope with the variety of colours they wore and decks going from holystoned timber to painted?
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #80 on: January 14, 2017, 07:12:23 AM »

Some models will certainly have to 'evolve' during an episode of the series, whether this be as the result of battle damage, wear and tear, new colour schemes or the maturing of the deck planking. On the other hand, we expect that our 'HMS Hood' will only be seen on screen during parts of a real-world hour, from 0500 to 0600 on 24th May 1941. So the filming schedule will be tailored around the unique circumstances for each storyline and each model, with any necessary 'upgrades' timetabled and completed before we get on set. It's a complex logistical process, and you won't be surprised to learn that many of the best people in this field are ex-military!
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #81 on: January 14, 2017, 08:40:48 AM »

We were watching the 1960 feature film 'Sink The Bismarck' (again), to see if this could help us to solve another 'accuracy' issue that we're having with the project. It's to do with the particular way that the main guns on capital ships move when they traverse, elevate and depress. Looking carefully at the archive footage, it's a lot more complicated than we thought, and a very different behaviour to that exhibited by today's gyro-stabilised or computer-controlled smaller calibre naval guns.


The scenes in 'Sink The Bismarck' that depict the interior of Gunhouses in combat were filmed aboard 'HMS Vanguard', just a few months before she was scrapped. 'Vanguard' was equipped with 15" Mark 1 weapons of First World War vintage, almost identical to those in 'Hood', and those guys on screen are not actors, they're the real deal. So that sequence is actually a great source of reference. The are also four pages of amazing sectional drawings in John Roberts' book 'The Battlecruiser Hood: Anatomy of the Ship' which show just how tightly packed and massively constructed these turrets were. Giving this 'feel of inertia' to a film model is essential. But how?


Our first idea was to use standard RC setups, 'borrowed' from a 1:16 scale Tamiya Tiger tank, and this was fairly successful on the traverse axis, but just not smooth and 'heavy' enough for vertical movements. We tried 'stepper motor' arrangements, and then gutted an old 'Discman' CD player to try out the very precise helical drive arrangement that moves the laser in these things, but that looked too precise and modern. So we had to do some lateral thinking, and decided that to get an older mechanical look to the gun movements, we needed a device called a 'human being'. These still exist, remarkably, and we brought in two puppeteers who work on many film projects, often using wires, cables and rods to manipulate everything from a prosthetic arm to a fantasy beast. Remember the Alien Queen in 'Aliens'? There were thirteen puppet masters and technicians simultaneously operating her limbs and head.


We got our new recruits to watch archive replays of a 15" Mark 1 in action, until they'd got a feeling of the way the mechanism behaved. Then we built a pair of dummy turrets, mainly using Lego Technic bits. Perhaps we should have been thinking 'Traditional' and used Meccano, but the Danish plastic stuff is always useful to any designer. We attached rigid rods at right angles to the underside of the gun barrels, which were cut from copper plumbing pipe. To counterweight the barrels, we superglued lead fishing weights in the breech ends so that the gun would balance on the trunnions. So far so good, and the two guns in each turret began to move realistically and slightly out of step with each other, as they did in reality. Problem solved? Not quite.


Since our 'HMS Hood' will always be shifting around on its Model Mover, the puppeteer underneath wouldn't be able to keep precise control of the gun barrels with rigid rods. It would be like trying to juggle soot. Time for Plan B. We connected the ends of the rods to flexible bicycle brake cables, and rigged it so that the operators could stand back, each holding onto nothing more elaborate than a fixed pair of bike handlebars, and by using a pair of brake levers they could then intuitively time their inputs to the rolling, pitching and other movements of the ship, and with each other. Now the ship, each gun barrel, Turret A and Turret B were all moving correctly individually, and relative to each other. To get rid of any final problems of twitching, we fitted friction control knobs which came from the throttle box of a scrapped light aircraft.  It hadn't exactly been rocket science, but finally we'd nailed it.


CGI is great, and an essential item in the toolbox of any filmmaker. But sometimes the older, simpler methods are the way to get the job done. Time for yet another tea break...

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Sonar

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #82 on: January 14, 2017, 11:14:01 AM »

Following this thread with interest.

Any images of the project boats your in production so far ?
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #83 on: January 14, 2017, 11:30:03 AM »

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is holding a discussion on Jutland on Feb 2nd at Portsmouth Dockyard. Some tickets left apparently.

http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/news/item/713-was-jutland-the-battle-that-won-the-war

Colin
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #84 on: January 14, 2017, 05:36:27 PM »

The 1960 feature film 'Sink The Bismarck' is quite accurate in the way it depicts the engagements in the Atlantic, but heavily fictionalised in its portrayal of the co-ordination from London. There was a very good reason for this. In reality, the Director of Operations, Captain R A B Edwards, made extensive use of the Intelligence 'take' and analysis from the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the very existence of which remained a carefully guarded secret until 1975. The film story, based on the 1958 book 'The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck' by C S Forester, needed to have a protagonist who would instead have to make decisions through 'experience, intuition and character', enabling him to carry the audience through the series of events which involved a large number of RN ships coming and going in different groups. The hero also needed to have a vulnerable side to his character, suggested through a developing personal relationship. As with all adaptations from books to movies, screenwriter Edmund North had to trim down Forrester's narrative and cut out internal musings, replacing these with action sequences, because that is the 'language' of film. He also reinvented the character of Admiral Lutjens as a committed Nazi, which was the opposite of the truth, but the story needed a 'villain', which in 1960 meant 'bad through and through'.


Star billing in the film went to Kenneth More, as the fictional protagonist Captain Jonathan Shepherd, and his assistant Dana Wynter, as WRNS Second Officer Anne Davis, his implied potential romantic interest. Captain Shepherd's wife had been killed in an air raid, and his son was Missing In Action throughout most of the film. Obviously, no heartstrings were to be left untugged. Kenneth More had served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War as a Lieutenant on HMS Victorious, and is a convincing hero.


Very high quality models were built to represent all the major ships involved, and they were filmed in a large studio water tank. Most scenes on the decks of Allied and Axis ships were shot aboard HMS Vanguard and HMS Belfast. HMS Victorious makes an appearance, although now with an angled flight deck which she did not have in 1941. Some liberties were taken with the various engagements, such as when Bismarck sinks the RN Destroyer 'HMS Solent'. Bismarck sank only HMS Hood, and HMS Solent was a submarine in real life. Bismarck is also depicted shooting down several British aircraft, which never happened. These factual 'errors' were made knowingly, in order to emote the audience effectively for the film's climax showing the sinking of the then helpless German battleship, which might have otherwise seemed callous. There are numerous scenes where ships are on the wrong course or engaging on the wrong beam, which was again done knowingly by the filmmakers because in Western cultures, which write from left to right, this is the psychologically 'strong' direction, and a British film had no doubt where its loyalties lay. Particularly when the Producer, John Brabourne, was the son-in-law of Lord Mountbatten, then Chief of the Defence Staff.


The film was a critical success. It remains a staple of late-night TV schedules even today, and always gets good viewing figures. It is a good example of how, in order to make a expensive major film that will attract large enough audiences to cover its cost, the 'language' of a movie will have to address the human essence of a situation, and not attempt to be a pure documentary. 'Sink The Bismarck' is a narrative, a thoughtful hybrid of fact and intelligent invention, which attempted to attract and engage with a wide section of the cinemagoing public. Overall, was it a success? Watch it again and decide.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #85 on: January 14, 2017, 06:12:59 PM »

'Artistic licence' is always a tricky subject and I do appreciate that films need to be entertaining and to condense a story to its essential elements as there is often no room to include everything you are likely to find in a book describing historic events.

So cutting out some things which are not germane to the main thrust of the story, as was the case with last year's Jutland TV documentary is reasonably OK. It is also fair enough to introduce fictional characters who might plausibly have been present but who would not have appeared in the historical record to provide human interest or to combine the recorded experiences of people who were actually present to distil the sense of what happened.

Where I get very uneasy is when major departures from the historical record are introduced such as the 'sinking of HMS Solent' in Sink the Bismarck as this does introduce distortions into the apparently factual story which subsequently become part of the 'historic record'. It was in the film so it must be true! This is a very slippery slope, perhaps best exemplified by the film U571 which had the Americans (who were not even in the war at the time) recovering an Enigma coding machine from an imaginary German U Boat. This was a deliberate travesty of the historical record intended to make the film appeal to American audiences and almost caused an international political incident with questions asked in Parliament.

Such 'mockumentaries' are not a good thing. As an example of how to present the reality of a naval engagement you can do no better than C S Forrester's 'The Ship'. Although based on reality it made no claims to be a historical record but it really captured the essence of what the Naval war in the Mediterranean was about.

Colin
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #86 on: January 14, 2017, 09:46:48 PM »

Most of the detailing on our 1:72 'HMS Hood' is now complete, except for easily damaged pieces such as the masts. We're going to build and paint them separately and then plug them into metal tubes that are already installed in the hull. Rigging will be strung in place only when the model is in the studio ready for the camera. We've learned these precautions the hard way!


At this scale, a wooden deck really has to be wood. The deck planks on the real ship were mostly 12' long and 6" wide, which translates in 1:72 scale to 51mm by 2mm. We don't have the equipment to cut them accurately at these sizes, but we know someone who does. It's a marquetry and veneering firm, which specialises in renovating furniture and pianos. When we said that we would need 6,000 of these things, it didn't faze them at all, because they use computerised slicing machines. The whole job was done in four hours. We chose the veneer from which they were cut from five slightly different tones of wood, so that there will be very subtle variations across the deck. When a model is to be filmed, it's always necessary to emphasise this variety a little, otherwise the image can look bland.


One very tricky detail on the wooden decks are the 'cutting planks' that run around the bases of the main turret barbettes. These have a radius on their inner edge and a complex sawtooth pattern on the outer edge, which fits into the cut ends of the straight planking pattern. 'Anatomy of the Ship' has drawings that show this detail well. The actual decks were laid out in this way to avoid any excessively thin ends to planks, since these would have been fragile and prone to warping. The trick we use is to stick a curved plank down (we use PVA), lay the straight one over the top but lined up with its neighbour, then cut through both together with a brand new Swann Morton blade. This is a technique that marquetry experts have been using for a few hundred years, so it's good enough for us. An illuminated magnifier is essential for this: you need lots of light. If the fit is good enough we just ooze in some more PVA and the job's done. Next day the whole deck gets a very gentle sanding with 'flour paper' to smooth it down, then we seal it with an acrylic floor sealer: Johnson's Klear (also sold as 'Future') does a good job. We spend time looking at photos of the fine detailing around all the things on the deck, like Ventilators, Ready Use Lockers, Hatch Frames and suchlike. Did the planking run underneath such items, or was it trimmed around? If so, how? There's a great deal of variety in this, with evidence that different hands were at work during HMS Hood's twenty-odd refits, and where areas of deck had to be repaired from time to time.


There's a special word for this kind of obsessive detailing that is done on movie models. It's called 'greebling', and probably first got really serious with the miniatures for '2001: A Space Odyssey'. Some people think we're nuts to do it. But believe me, when you see your work on the big screen, it makes all the difference.
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grendel

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #87 on: January 15, 2017, 07:35:07 AM »

I have always said, you can get away with quite a bit of inaccuracy scale wise as long as the fine detail is correct. eg your scale length or width can be close but not spot on, but if the detail is correct nobody will know apart from yourself
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mudway

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #88 on: January 15, 2017, 08:28:51 AM »

Some models will certainly have to 'evolve' during an episode of the series, whether this be as the result of battle damage, wear and tear, new colour schemes or the maturing of the deck planking. On the other hand, we expect that our 'HMS Hood' will only be seen on screen during parts of a real-world hour, from 0500 to 0600 on 24th May 1941. So the filming schedule will be tailored around the unique circumstances for each storyline and each model, with any necessary 'upgrades' timetabled and completed before we get on set. It's a complex logistical process, and you won't be surprised to learn that many of the best people in this field are ex-military!


Relatively straightforward then with a pure light grey for the world tour and a dark blue grey for her final voyage.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #89 on: January 15, 2017, 09:16:09 AM »

What Grendel says is certainly true in most cases, particularly if the model has been photographed or is appearing on film, and you're not looking at it in a museum or at an exhibition and choosing your own viewpoints. We sometimes have difficulties when we are shooting with anamorphic lenses in the 'Super 35' format, though. This is a technique that squashes the image horizontally with a special asymmetric lens on the camera, then stretches it out again with a complementary lens on the projector. We use this to get a high resolution widescreen effect from the fairly boxy 35mm standard film frame, but it can do weird things to the proportions of a model. We are phasing it out because of the difficulties of using the system alongside CGI. If we are going to be using two models in a scene, such as in the collision of the 'Andrea Doria' and the 'Stockholm', the relative scale of the ships has to match, but to a viewer it doesn't matter what that scale is. If they are even thinking 'model', the filmmaker has failed.


We normally shoot all models with 'standard' lenses, which produce an image similar to the 50mm focal length lens that was usually packaged with 35mm SLR cameras. This gives a perspective that the human eye regards as 'normal' and 'unremarkable', and avoids the film medium drawing attention to itself. Switching to a wider angle lens might be considered a 'quick fix' for focus problems, but your serious film is going to start looking artificial. It's also important to realise that the camera does not actually see a scene as the human eye does. When we look at something in real life, only a four degree circle in the middle of our vision is in sharp focus. As we choose to look at different parts of a subject, our brain moves our head, our eyeballs and the lenses in our eyes so that we get a sharp image of our new point of interest. That all happens without conscious thought. So we believe we're seeing the whole of a big ship in focus, for example, when in fact we only see 'snapshots' of small areas. So when we come to film a model ship, we have to be very careful with Depth of Field, so the whole vessel really is sharp. Then, whichever part of the screen the audience member chooses to look at, they will see it in focus, and they'll subconsciously suspend their knowledge that "This can't really be HMS Hood, she no longer exists"


It all depends on the subject matter, and the emotions the filmmaker is seeking to inspire in their audience. Every detail counts.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #90 on: January 15, 2017, 11:30:52 AM »

We have just received the first draft screenplay for the Hood - Bismarck filming. It has been written as a two hour production, which can be tailored for cinema or television presentations (or both, as was done with 'Das Boot').


If shown on TV it would be in two one-hour episodes, probably shown a week apart, because this fits the usual requirements of broadcasters.


The first episode, provisionally called 'Hunter', begins the story from the point where the British suddenly realise that KM Bismarck has headed out of harbour into the Atlantic and they have lost contact with her. It will set the scene by showing how the Royal Navy's assets were deployed to deal with the possible routes that the enemy could take, and the need to destroy the enemy 'at all costs'. The second half of the episode will show the Battle of the Denmark Strait being set up and fought. 'Hunter' ends as the three survivors of HMS Hood find each other in the water, their fate uncertain as the capital ships steam away.


The second episode, titled 'Hunted', begins with the British sensing abject failure. Their mood slowly evolves as the facts of Bismarck's crippled state become known. On the German ship, the mood is changing in the opposite direction. As the RN ships move in, the main focus is on the commanders of HMS Rodney and KM Bismarck. Just as in 'Hunter', the final scene shows desperate survivors in the water, their fate again unknown.


If shown in cinemas, the working title is 'Giants'. There would be a shift in emphasis to include longer action scenes and less dialogue, but the overall scope of the story would be substantially the same as the TV version. If a cinema release is agreed before the start of the Production stage, this would increase the budget by a factor of five, which would allow for higher technical standards in every respect.


This draft screenplay is a first step, but is very impressive, and I particularly appreciate the way the writer has chosen to enter and exit the story at surprising, but very effective, moments of high human drama. Obviously there is a long way to go with this project, at least two years I would say, but the omens are good.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #91 on: January 15, 2017, 01:55:42 PM »

No doubt the screenplay would include the scene mentioned in Iain Ballantyne's book (Killing the Bismarck) where one of Rodney's chaplains was ordered off the bridge by Captain Dalrymple Hamilton for begging him to stop the slaughter. The captain and his officers were equally appalled at the destruction being meted out to Bismarck but it was their duty to ensure that she was sunk and not left to be towed back to France for repairs. Bismarck never struck her flag but there were reports that some of her crew appeared to be trying to signal Rodney.

The description of the Bismarck's last fight in Ballantyne's book is graphic and quite horrifying really.

Colin
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #92 on: January 15, 2017, 03:11:36 PM »

In the current version of the screenplay the attempted intervention by the Chaplain is not included, although it was mentioned in the research carried out by the Screenwriter. She does allude in the script to the doubts of some senior Officers on the Bridge of HMS Rodney about the morals of shelling a defenceless and populated vessel, but it is done quite cryptically, and in the main this aspect of the story is told visually. Her attitude towards the audience is "I don't want to tell them what to think, I want to make them think for themselves". Screenplays always go through many drafts, so let's see how this one develops.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #93 on: January 15, 2017, 08:11:25 PM »

I appreciate any screenplay or documentary that allows you to 'think'. Being beaten around the head with select facts to drive a particular aspect of the story, can detract from the overall narrative arc. Too many documentaries these days seem to have some form of 'sensational' new angle on a well known story. Usually anything but sensational, sometimes barely relevant.
We can also fall into the 're-invention' of history, interpreting the events many years after the fact, re-appraising the actions of people, on the day, at the heart of the action. Putting a modern mind set on events of seventy, eighty or a hundred years ago or more...still it sells books or documentaries!
A good story, well told, should sell itself.
Good luck with it all, and if you need any advice on weathering :}
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #94 on: January 15, 2017, 08:45:13 PM »

The screenwriter on the Hood - Bismarck project was chosen mainly because she's good at her job, but also because she was coming to the story with a fresh mind - she knew hardly anything about the historical events. Rather than just give her a pile of books to read, I fed her the timeline one day at a time, so she didn't have the foresight of knowing how the saga ends. For example, when Bismarck gave the RN the slip, I didn't tell her where the German battleship was, or if it would ever be found again. Each day she read through the notes I had prepared, asked questions, and then wrote the next 24 hours of her story outline. And so on, day by day, until Bismarck was sunk. And the draft screenplay is actually very similar to those daily notes she wrote. She'd put herself in the position of not knowing the future, of being 'in the moment' of the sequence of events, just as the people on both sides were in May 1941, and it has seemed to work. Only after the bones of the story were finalised did we apply layers of technical detail and rectify any 'time paradoxes'. I don't think this has been done before, but after our experience we'll definitely be trying the method again. 
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #95 on: January 15, 2017, 09:23:07 PM »

An interesting approach and maybe quite appropriate given that the likely audience will know little, if anything of the subject matter unlike us nitpickers on here!

Colin
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #96 on: January 16, 2017, 07:08:28 AM »

It seems that the next ship we will be making a 12' model of will be the Italian Transatlantic liner 'Andrea Doria', which famously sank in 1956 after only five years in service. I've always thought that she was the most beautiful vessel of her kind, very different from the 'boxy' passenger ships that went before (and after). She was part of the postwar effort by Italy to regain their national status as an exemplar of culture, design and industrial prowess. The builders couldn't hope to equal the size and speed of the British, German, French or US competitors, so they filled 'Andrea Doria' with fine artworks and served Michelin Star standards of cuisine. And the ship was a work of art herself, a sequence of flowing curves that would satisfy any sculptor. This shape is perhaps best seen in photographs taken when she was fitting out, and painted overall in a mid-grey primer.

'Andrea Doria' can still be seen today, if you are an experienced scuba diver. Lying on her starboard side in just 190' of water, her port side is only 100' below the waves, and there is some daylight at that depth. There are a number of diving businesses that run trips out to the wreck site every summer. But it's a dangerous undertaking, because the hull is in a state of unpredictable sequential collapse and the whole ship is festooned with fishing nets to trap the unwary. Painter Ken Marschall has produced haunting images of the scene, and the book 'Lost Liners' is worth hunting down for pictures of this and other ill-fated vessels.

Any other candidates for 'World's Top Liner?'
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #97 on: January 16, 2017, 08:18:52 AM »

An interesting approach and maybe quite appropriate given that the likely audience will know little, if anything of the subject matter unlike us nitpickers on here!

Colin

I was pleasantly surprised by how much advance knowledge of Hood and Bismarck was shown by the 14- to 18-year-old students we met when we borrowed their gym for filming last week. Many told me that their curriculum had included the Battle of the Denmark Strait and Bismarck's subsequent sinking, and some had seen previous documentaries on the subject. Most encouragingly, a number had taken the initiative to do their own research online before we arrived, and they were able to ask some very intelligent questions about the battle and about the way we were working on creating the film. So I'm optimistic that, if 'Giants' makes it the big screen, there could be a productive 'buzz' generated in the month before the premiere by providing a suitable dedicated web resource. This could mean that, by the time they settled into their cinema seats, a significant proportion of the audience - of all age groups - would be informed to some degree about what they were about to see, the background to it all, and the wider relevance of what happened at sea. This could subsequently be linked to the follow-on DVD, Blu-Ray and other media versions of the production. A holistic and proactive approach is what we're aiming for, all to 'make people think'.
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SailorGreg

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #98 on: January 16, 2017, 09:15:41 AM »

I find this thread fascinating. I understand that pictures of the models are not going to be forthcoming at this point but I do hope the project reaches fruition and we get to see the finished product. The level of time and effort that professional modelling of this type requires is staggering.  Also, is there any chance of a "how they did it" type of documentary showing the building and filming of the models? Or would that destroy the illusion?


Thanks for taking the time to tell us about this. Good luck!


Greg

John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #99 on: January 16, 2017, 09:54:15 AM »

I find this thread fascinating. I understand that pictures of the models are not going to be forthcoming at this point but I do hope the project reaches fruition and we get to see the finished product. The level of time and effort that professional modelling of this type requires is staggering.  Also, is there any chance of a "how they did it" type of documentary showing the building and filming of the models? Or would that destroy the illusion?


Thanks for taking the time to tell us about this. Good luck!


Greg

Thank you for your compliments! My secret is in having a highly motivated team here: they love their work. There certainly will be a 'Making Of' video for this project, and in fact it's already been started, and is being shot on UHD. Parts may be used in the pre-premiere marketing for the movie on TV and the web, and the full version will certainly appear as one of the 'Extras' on DVDs. The people who are doing the 'Making Of' have an exclusive deal for imagery of the planning and production work, which is one of the reasons why no pictures can be released yet. Another reason is that some of the methods we use involve our own business secrets, and we are in a competitive industry. But above all, even the preliminary stages of a film such as this involve serious expenditure, and many aspects of the process have to be kept confidential because the ideas and decisions made have an intrinsic fiscal or artistic value which the Producers wish to safeguard. But be sure that I'll keep Mayhemers fully up to date!
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