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How the Dominos Fall if You Don't Keep Distance During Lockdown



Trevor Melvin and Deane Thrussell used Zoom to film the response to the UN call for global creatives

How the Dominos Fall if You Don't Keep Distance During Lockdown

‘The Domino Effect’ was written and produced by Trevor Melvin and Deane Thrussell in response to the United Nations global call out to creatives to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.  

The 40 second film was made with the director and director of photography working remotely from their respective homes in real time via their Lockdown Filmmaking model. 

Lockdown Filmmaking is not a new production company, it’s a safe method of shooting commercials and content films during lockdown and perhaps even beyond.

The system was developed to enable agencies to produce commercials and online content films for their clients and be present remotely at every stage of the production, even the shoot. 

The Filmmakers

Trevor Melvin and Deane Thrussell are long time collaborators and have worked on commercials, online films and music videos for numerous clients including M&S Pet Insurance, 888Sport, Teletext Holidays and the charity Ballet United.

Trevor Melvin is one of London’s best-established commercial directors having been represented by the likes of Ridley Scott Associates.

Trevor has directed hundreds of commercials around the world for a myriad of brands and clients. Commercials for Volkswagen, Kit-Kat and British Meat are amongst his award-winning work. His agency background, as a senior creative, provides him with an acute understanding of the creative process and the advertising industry itself.

Deane Thrussell is a highly creative and experienced director of photography, as well as a director in his own right, with an extraordinary eye for detail, which has seen him work for all manner of brands including Macallan, Land Rover, Hyundai and Pepsi to name but a few.

Deane’s technical knowledge is second to none and as a result he is a specialist in digital filmmaking and high-speed camera technology.

Deane started his career as a BBC drama film editor, this combined with his experience as a director of photography makes him understand the narrative as well as the visual aspect of filmmaking.

The Filmmakers Lockdown Story

With a few notable exceptions, very quickly, both became weary of the UGC spots that were appearing on TV during lockdown. Trevor and Deane felt that there must be a way to produce films that didn’t involve the cast filming themselves on an iPhone, or webcam.

They therefore started to look back at commercials that didn’t visually feature actors. Honda ‘Cog’ was the first spot that sprang to mind, although, knowing, with their humble garage studio set up, it wouldn’t be possible for us to produce a concept on this scale.  

However, as they delved into the advertising archives more achievable ideas, from a lockdown production perspective, came to light. 

For example, the multi award winning Lego ‘Kipper’ TV ad from the 80s and the more recent spot for the Natural Confectionary Company entitled ‘Bring on the Trumpets’.

It was clear, certainly creatively, it was possible for Trevor and Deane to make original and unique ideas that didn’t have lockdown written all over them.

However, production was the real issue. Although Deane had state of the art filmmaking equipment at his disposal domestically (RED Epic, DIT facility, edit and grading suite) and they both had a network of key production personnel that could be called upon, how would they bring production, agency and client together, but at the same time comply with the UK government’s lockdown guidance? 

The guys knew from previous experience that preproduction and postproduction could be managed remotely via email and conference calls etc.; but the conundrum was, how to get everyone on set together.

Fortunately, the solution to this wasn’t too far away. During lockdown, Trevor’s wife and daughter had been conducting dance classes from home via Zoom, sometimes teaching up to 40 students at a time. So, why couldn’t they employ a model like this? 

Deane is an absolute technical whizz and soon put in place a system that would allow all participants, via their laptops, iPads, or smart phones, to receive a live feed from the video playback monitor, together with a view of the home studio set-up and full audio communication too.

The same, live, real time system could be applied for postproduction purposes too, the grade for example.    

In order to demonstrate Lock Down Filmmaking in practice, the team decided to write and produce a spot themselves; and, what better film to make, under lockdown compliance, than a film that demonstrated the importance of physical, or social distancing.

Trevor and Deane therefore wrote a script in answer to the United Nations global call out to creatives to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Following the UN brief very closely, they wrote a script, worked up a storyboard and even produced an animatic to get a feel for pace etc.

During the shoot, the guys tried to keep the remote filming process as close to the normal way of working as possible, producing a schedule and shooting order.

Trevor and Deane also employed much of the usual filmmaking etiquette too. For instance, after Deane had used the smoke machine to provide a shot with some atmosphere, Trevor would make the decision on when the density was right and then call 'Action'.

For further information on Lockdown Filmmaking and how to work remotely, but remain close to your clients, please see here.


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Categories: Short Films and Music Videos, Short films, Tue, 05 May 2020 16:19:33 GMT