Epping Forest

Epping Forest

This week’s behind-the-scenes video looks at the location shoot in Epping Forest. Cast and crew including Duran Fulton Brown (Hunter) discuss the huge fight sequence that was staged amongst the trees of this ancient woodland. After scouting locations closer to Ren‘s Cambridgeshire production base, director Kate Madison made the decision to return to Epping Forest, on the edge of north-east London. The area of the forest around Debden House campsite had portrayed Middle Earth woodland in scenes from Kate’s earlier film Born of Hope, and would now become part of Alathia. The Epping shoot was pushed back by a week after poor weather was forecast; mud would create issues of costume continuity with many actors having to fall on the ground in their action scenes. Unfortunately the weather was happy to wait a week, and the cast and crew arrived on a rainy Monday morning. After a few daylight shots, lamps were set up for the big nighttime scene which opens episode one. The rain continued unabated, which made for great images but miserable working conditions. A satisfied but thoroughly soaked Ren team trooped back to their Debden House accommodation at around midnight. (Check out our earlier BTS video about shooting in and around the rain, if you missed it.) Tuesday was much drier, and work continued steadily on fight and dialogue scenes for the next three days. Many fight performers and extras joined the principal actors to portray Kah’Nath soldiers, forming a formidable rank of foes for Hunter and Lyanna. On Wednesday night, the cast and crew – who by this, their fourth week of Ren, had bonded strongly – squeezed into a cozy bedroom at Debden House...
Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

While most of Ren Season One was filmed on indoor or outdoor sets, certain scenes called for location shooting to expand the scope of the world. Early in the production schedule, the core cast and crew made an epic journey to South Wales to record some stunning riverside scenes for episode one. Getting to Wales was an adventure in itself. Director of photography Neil Oseman recalls the journey… Almost as soon as I and my camera assistant, Colin Smith, had arrived from the Welsh Marches to start work on Ren, there was talk of travelling all the way back to that part of the country to shoot the opening scenes. Kate was inspired by a location she had seen in Doctor Who, and our Cardiff-based gaffer, Richard “Squish” Roberts, had recommended a waterfall near Merthyr Tydfil, on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Our budget, as ever, was tight, so I went online to look for youth hostels. Although we only needed to shoot for a single day in Wales, we wanted to stay over the night before so we weren’t setting off at silly o’clock in the morning. On the YHA website I found the Llangattock Mountain Bunkhouse, little suspecting what a nightmare it would be to find in real life… By the time our rooms were booked, it was early afternoon on Monday and we had to set off for Wales that night. But first we had to shoot some close-ups of our young actor, James Malpas, who was coming to our studio after school. Once that was done, we assembled the equipment, props and costumes we would need in...
Karn’s House

Karn’s House

It was everyone’s favourite set during production, and it’s already a favourite scene amongst those hallowed few who have seen the rough edits: Karn’s house. This magical, organic structure, crammed with exotic trinkets, represents a safe haven for Ren, while hinting at things to come. Designing the house for his own character was the multi-talented Christopher Dane… And this week we have a bonus video, in the shape of a vlog recorded by Ren‘s director of photography Neil Oseman as the crew prepared to shoot in Karn’s...
Dagron’s House

Dagron’s House

After five weeks of shooting exteriors, the cast and crew of Ren moved indoors in late October 2014 to record some critical character scenes. This week’s behind-the-scenes video looks at how the outdoor village set was cannibalized, repainted and redressed to become the inside of Dagron’s family home. Next week we’ll look at a very different house set – Karn’s, but in the meantime, here are some stills from the shoot in Dagron’s house. This slideshow requires...
Ren Elements: Wind

Ren Elements: Wind

Last October, the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo swept through England. In a car park in Caxton, Cambridgeshire, Ren‘s medieval village set was very vulnerable… Fortunately all of the market square scenes had been completed by this point, and the repair work on the set could be combined with its planned reconfiguration into a street. Many of the volunteers who had helped build the set returned to shift the buildings into a new layout....
Ren Elements: Fire

Ren Elements: Fire

In the second of our series of ‘Elements’ behind-the-scenes videos, we’re looking at how fire played a part in Ren, including a dramatic scene with a phalanx of Kah’nath archers. Tasked to make the Kah’nath fire arrows was production assistant Claire Finn. We’ll be posting a full interview with Claire soon, but for now here’s the lowdown on how she made the fire arrows. Claire: They were originally orc arrows from Born of Hope. New fletching and a lick of paint transformed them into Kah’nath arrows for some of the forest scenes earlier in the shoot. To make them into fire arrows, the wood shafts were treated in fire-retardant chemicals, and then had strips of kevlar fibre cloth wrapped tightly round the head and held on with wire. We dunked the tops into paraffin; a little experimentation showed that about 10 seconds was plenty to keep them lit for each take. Fortunately all of our Kah’nath archers were good sports as well as excellent shots, and the scene looks absolutely cracking. Tune in again for next week’s third and final ‘Elements’ video: Wind. Remember, you can subscribe to the Mythica Entertainment YouTube channel to make sure you never miss a...