On August 30th, almost a year after principal photography on Ren season one, the team reassembled to shoot additional material for episodes four and five. Here’s what happened…
The shoot took place at the home of scenic designer Amanda Stekly, who kindly allowed the cast and crew of around 30 people to take over the place.
Part of the village set – built at the Caxton studio last year – had been stored in Amanda’s stables since principal photography wrapped. Series co-creator and set designer Christopher Dane and head carpenter Michael Hudson spent Saturday 29th assembling this into a suitable backdrop for the pick-ups, with Amanda’s help to paint and dress.
Director Kate Madison and costume designer Miriam Spring Davies retrieved the necessary outfits from storage. These included the costumes for lead characters Ren (Sophie Skelton) and Baynon (James Malpas) – both of whom would briefly reprise their roles for extra shots – and Hunter and the Kah’Nath Commander, who would be doubled by Ben Kidder and Robert Jezek respectively.
On Sunday morning Miriam was tasked with fitting and dressing around 20 supporting artists new to the world of Ren, while Amanda Mullen, Izzi Godley and Amanda Stekly attended to hair and make-up. Outside, Kate and director of photography Neil Oseman, armed with rough edits of the episodes on a laptop, set up to shoot the pieces of crowd reactions so that they would cut seamlessly with the 2014 material.
A fun morning was had by all recording a variety of reactions supposedly to Ren and the Commander, but in reality to a piece of yellow tape or a stick held by Michael!
By mid-afternoon most of the supporting artists were released and the focus shifted to smaller, very specific moments that were needed to clarify or add impact to certain moments in the story. These ranged from close-ups of Ren for some of the series’ most emotional moments, through inserts of flaming arrows being lit, to a recreation of a board game played by Lyngarth’s halpess jailors.
Several of these shots deliberately took place after dark, and it was around 11pm by the time the weary but satisfied cast and crew were packed up and ready to leave Amanda in peace. Kate has already begun cutting the new material into the series with very promising results. And when viewers see the show, hopefully they will never know that certain shots were recorded a year after the rest – unless they’ve read this article!