In early August, Alan Witchalls (director and producer), Dave Cornes (series presenter) and a small team of volunteer production assistants were up in an unusually sunny Scotland to film the main sections of the upcoming new series from Video Bible Talks, called ‘the Journey’.
‘The Journey’ is a six-video Bible Overview series which traces the main story lines in the Bible of brokenness, promise, kingdom, exile, and the Gospel, from Genesis through to Revelation.
Filming took place mostly in the Trossachs, a large area of wooded glens, peaks and lochs just north of Glasgow. The highlight of the week was undoubtedly filming on top of Ben A’an, a 454m high peak in the heart of the Trossachs… despite having to carry 20+ kg of filming equipment over a mile up to the top (and back again)!
So come and meet the team and find out how they got on in bonny Scotland…
Director and producer
Alan is one of the Video Bible Talks trustees and is the only full-time member of staff. He is responsible for taking the various scripts and storyboards for the series and turning them into the final six videos.
Dave is also one of the Video Bible Talks trustees and a youth minister at St James’ Muswell Hill. He is responsible for delivering the talks, and is very good at trusting Alan (the director) and doing whatever he tells him to do.
Production assistant (sound)
Alex was responsible for recording sound during the shoot. He was also kind enough to sleep on the floor for the week (in the 4-bed apartment) and makes pretty decent sandwiches, too.
Production assistant (lighting and spotter)
Abi was responsible for controlling lighting at each location as well as being the spotter whenever the drone was in use.
Production assistant (grip and runner)
Anya was responsible for sorting out tripods, cables and batteries, as well as marking each shot (with the clapperboard, her new favourite thing).
Location: Largs Ferry and Isle of Cumbrae
The team film a sequence on the seafront in Largs, before catching the ferry to the Isle of Cumbrae. This sequence was a backup option, in case the intended location for the sequence (on the island) wasn’t workable. In the end, we got the sequence we wanted, which means the footage shot here on the seafront in Largs won’t be used in the final cut.
Filming on the ferry to the Isle of Cumbrae. The ferry crossing is only a 5-minute crossing, so we didn’t have long to get the shot. Thankfully, we were able to get in two decent takes!
Getting the last shots of the day. We were on the Isle of Cumbrae for most of the day and filmed in four locations in total. At one point, a seagull nearly took out the drone while we were filming an aerial pull-away shot (often know as a ‘dronie’ shot). Thankfully, Alan was quick with the controls and evaded the seagull’s swooping attempts to grab the small craft and landed it safely in one piece!
Location: Apartment and Largs/Fairlie train stations
Episode: 02 and 03
Alan and Dave run through the scene as Alex checks the sound levels and equipment.
No, it’s not a halo. Abi was holding the reflector over the gaps in the blinds to stop bright spots of sunlight being cast on to Dave’s face and body. Like a pro, Abi stood holding the reflector for almost an hour while we got the shots we needed.
We had a great view of the ferry crossing from the apartment. After filming the apartment sequences, Dave, Alex and Alan headed off to the train station to film a handful of shots on the platform and on the train between Largs and Fairlie, the next town down the line.
Location: Ben A’an
Dave and Alex (with Alan, out of shot) begin the hour and a half mile-long hike up to the peak of Ben A’an. Between the three of them, they were carrying over 20kg of camera and audio equipment.
Alex gets the sound recording gear ready and then has a well-earned rest at the top of the peak. With clear skies and temperatures over 25°C (77°F), it was beautiful weather but hard going on the climb, and we all probably lost a few pounds just by sweating so much!
Alan takes in the view at the top of Ben A’an. This location features at the very end of the series to visually represent the climax of the Bible’s journey… and you can see why!
Episode: 01 and 04
Alex scopes out possible locations to set up for filming.
Alan preps the drone for takeoff. Thankfully, there were no seagulls around to attack the drone (although the noise didn’t make the local hornets too happy…)!
The team get ready to film the final to-camera sequence of the entire shoot, just as the light was beginning to fade.
The team at the end of filming. We were worn out and tired but very happy to be part of making a great series in such amazing locations… and to have all the shots finally in the can!
The Bible Overview series is due to be released on 1st October, with a trailer due to be available from 1st September.