Stories from the Set: Sheena Holland Promotional Video

Cleo Kinsey-Lyons in one of Sheena Holland's bespoke pieces

  Hey Guys,

   Well, this is a rare thing; two blog posts in the space of two days! But I haven't been posting much lately, and it's something I want to make up for when I'm free to do so - particularly if it deters the barrage of spam comments I get when I leave this blog unattended. To said spammers; this blog is still active, and I do not appreciate your garbage!

Photo of the crew by Sheena Holland
    Although most of my intended client videos have now been pushed back to 2014, leaving me time to focus on Night Owls and two other fiction films I'm attached to, I did produce one promotional video recently. Back in September, myself, cinematographer Lucy Young, and stunning model Cleo Kinsey-Lyons, created a little video for the wonderful Sheena Holland.

   It was a relatively easy shoot. We started early (although I'd been working until 1am the night before, so I was beyond shattered) and finished by lunch time, all the while working to a schedule which worked around Sheena's loyal clientele; the shop had to remain open, so I'd planned for shots which captured the entire shop interior to be done first, before the shop got too busy, even if this meant shooting the 'story' of the film out of sequence.

   Of course, cinematographer Lucy was in no way restrained by my schedule. She is a talent beyond her years, and certainly one to watch, although with her youth comes unquenchable enthusiasm; I'd be setting up the lights for the next scheduled shot, or Cleo would be changing costume, by which point Lucy would've got five or so unplanned cutaways which she'd been inspired to capture in the moment. So I certainly had plenty of footage to work with in the edit!

Me slating up in Sheena's lovely little shop

   We did have some minor issues to overcome, as no shoot ever runs perfectly. The main problem was the lighting. I knew the post-production effects would require bright images, with fairly flat shadows, and the natural lighting wasn't bright enough to achieve this. But, due to the size of the shop, it was difficult to turn on my redheads (a naturally bold, yellow-coloured light at the best of times) without washing out the room. Sometimes, the shop would look perfectly lit... but the moment Cleo stepped forwards, her face would burst on the screen, and her cheeks disappear in the overexposure. It was such a pain. But we worked with it the best we could, opting for a two-point lighting system rather than three-point (which was more than enough) and plenty of greaseproof paper layered over the lights.

   Yes, greaseproof paper. A budget marvel! I've been using it since I started out filming as a teenager, and I'm sure I'll buy some proper diffuser at some point soon. But if you don't have any diffuser to hand - or if you don't have enough - then it can be a godsend.

    Anyway, the size of the shop wasn't also an obstacle in terms of lighting. We could barely move our equipment anywhere without being in danger of knocking some of Sheena's beautiful and often fragile stock. I always try to be careful and respectful when working in someone else's space, but when working in a vintage store, or similar, you need to take extra caution.

    We also had to abandon our planned dolly shots (the kit for which was supplied to us by Enigmatic Productions) due to the shop's bumpy flooring. The boards looked original, and certainly a feature which suited the aesthetic of the shop, but cameras can be overly sensitive about the slightest things. So Lucy opted to do all of the moving shots handheld, which required some minor stabilising in post-production, but which turned out well enough.

Sheena's own hands had a couple of cameos in the video!

    Minor challenges aside, we had a great shoot. And what's more, it was one of the girliest shoots I've been on. Everyone on set was female, and we got to film beautiful things twinkling in the over-bright lights as though we were shooting a Christmas advert. So it was extremely fun - particularly for Cleo who got to try on plenty of Sheena's stunning handmade headpieces.

   Once I'd rested, and edited the footage, I handed it over to the talented VFX whizz Scott Nolan, who I'd worked with previously on Ashes, to give it the old film effects and near-sepia colours which Sheena had specifically requested. And here's the finished result:

     Around the time the video was finished, Sheena's business came into a little trouble. Scheduled scaffolding work took over the street her store was on, and this badly affected the number of people visiting her shop. Numerous letters were sent to the council, but it's up to the public to help her now. Sheena Holland is not only Derby's premium retailer of vintage and antique items - she also makes a lot of her pieces from scratch, featuring pieces of jewellery dating back to the Victorian times in some cases, and everything in her store is a one-off original - like Sheena herself.
    Independent shops are dying out in the looming titan of mega-chain shopping centres, and if we're not careful, we'll lose them forever. So, if you like any of the items shown in our video, or if you know of someone else who might like them (Christmas is coming, after all) then please, please check out , and share the video around. She needs your support - so stand up for the 'little man' while you can!




Popular Posts