Director: Arran Busk
It’s 22nd December when we get the call, “it’s on”.
We put the Christmas shopping on hold until next year, pack our camera gear and head into central London..
He calls and tells us to meet him at a Secret location in Soho. We arrive and load our kit through a small door off a busy street, to be greeted by a low-lit, dusty space. It’s a bit like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia: leaving the neon lights, honking taxis, and hustle and bustle of central London behind us, we’re now standing in a totally derelict building. The building is like a rabbit warren of rooms, corridors and stairwells – they’re must be more than 6 floors, and it’s vast. Other artists have come before us, there’s various tags and colourful outlines adorning the walls.
As we creep deeper through the labyrinth of Graffiti, Towns shows us a couple of possible walls – as the DOP I’m looking mainly for available light as there’s no power, and no budget for a generator. I’m also looking for a location that looks interesting. We start off viewing a suitable wall on the ground floor but it’s gloomy and dark, and although the walls are big and flat, it won’t work for the film. Up another flight of stairs and we’re in to a big open plan room, fragmented only by a few pillars and lined at one end with giant windows that cast natural light into the room. This is our location.
Produced by Chris Read and shot by Arran Busk, the shoot team was certainly on the smaller scale. For various reasons we wouldn’t have been able to have a large crew at this location, but this didn’t stop us lugging in quite a bit of kit!
We used the Canon C500 for this job and shot straight to Prores 422 HQ @ 2K on the Odyssey 7Q+. Our trusty set of Zeiss cine-modded ZF’s did the bulk of the lens work, with a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 on hand for some tripod work.
The edit and grade was done in-house at Cabnine by Paddy Bartram, using Adobe Premiere and Davinci Resolve software, respectively. We wanted to give the edit a look that suited the monochrome feel but worked with the derelict building - cold yet contrasty. To do this we introduced a wash of teal into the midtones, whilst keeping the Shadows black using a desaturation curve.
The music came from White Sea who has previously scored feature films as well as working on other commercial releases.
London based Towns has been putting can to wall since 1999. Towns has made a name for himself internationally over his 18-year career with a distinct style that draws from classic street art lettering. He takes inspiration from his travels, geometry, typography and puts it into his work with the addition of choice colour combinations. He’s known for his meticulous attention to detail and mathematical execution which emanate throughout his art.