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It’s time to celebrate!

October 22, 2014

Addicted to Sheep celebrating

We’re all feeling very proud to have completed our first feature length film. Although there’s still a lot on our ‘to do’ list to ensure Addicted to Sheep reaches audiences worldwide, the team decided to pause and celebrate!

Addicted to Sheep team

From 62 hours of footage to the final 85 minute film it’s been a truly collaborative project. The talented team who have made this ambitious film possible have shown an extraordinary level of passion, integrity and commitment. Those who have backed the film have also shown great imagination and trust. We can’t possibly thank everyone enough for what they’ve done. Catch up on our tales from the edit newsletter.

Week Nine – Tales from the Edit – Our final Cinema test and first festival entries!

September 10, 2014

In the last few weeks, we have watched Addicted to Sheep on many screens (TV, desktop computers, laptops…) and each time it feels like a different experience.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

For our final test before we said ‘that’s it we are happy with the sound mix and the colour grading‘ we watched it on a Cinema screen.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

The technician did all the set-up for us to make sure we got the screening format right and the sound levels spot on.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

After 4 years of hard work, it felt like the first time we could really sit back and relax, and enjoy taking in the scenery, appreciate the sounds and music.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

We have watched it many times, but this time it felt like we were all enjoying watching the completed film as viewers. Secretly, we all had a little tear in our eye!

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

We have now entered a few high profile film festivals. Fingers crossed they like it as much as we do! It’s the first step in taking our film out to the world. We will be entering more in the weeks to come as well as arranging a ‘sneak preview’ for all those who have supported us to get to this stage. We are also working on the trailer.  Exciting times, so watch this space!

Week Eight – Tales from the Edit – Colour Grading Addicted to Sheep

August 19, 2014

Grading Addicted to Sheep

After a week of colour grading our 85 minute final cut, we’ve now checked it all on broadcast monitors to make sure it’s top notch for cinema, TV and online viewing.

Grading Addicted to Sheep

Thanks to our friends at Meerkat Films we passed the test.

Grading Addicted to Sheep

According to Magnus here’s what real life looks like on a colour grading monitor.

Grading Addicted to Sheep

We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve watched the Addicted to Sheep but it’s looking good!

 

Week Seven – Tales from the Edit – Watching the film on the big screen

August 7, 2014

 

Cinema-Viewing-8

After many weeks of editing and watching Addicted to Sheep on computer screens, we decided it was time to see it on a big screen.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

The thoughts going through our minds were: ‘woo, beautiful, powerful, very intense, so sweet, out of focus, too dark, too light….’ and it goes on. Basically, it was amazing to finally watch it in the cinema but impossible not to mark up adjustments to make it even better.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

On a small screen it looks powerful but when watching it on a big screen, we realised how important it was to strike the right balance between making the pace of the film engaging but not too fast and not too slow. Sound draws you in and engages too.

Cinema Viewing Addicted to Sheep

So we went back in the edit and adjusted a few things so the story and the pace of the film is as memorable to watch on a TV screen as it is on a Cinema screen. After another round of edits, we decided to watch it again on the big screen and check we didn’t have all these thoughts in our mind again ‘out of focus, too light, too fast, too slow’ but instead only thought ‘woo, beautiful, touching, funny…’ and we did! So the next step is the final colour grading!

Week Six – Tales from the Edit – Showing a rough cut to the family

July 23, 2014

Tom and Kay viewing a rough cut of Addicted to Sheep

Filming for us is a joint venture between subject and crew. Before the start of filming, we discussed why we wanted to make this film and the story we wanted to tell. 4 years on, and with many twists and turns in between we hoped the final film conveyed the original themes and sensibility.

After lots of time in the edit, the team decided it was finally time to show the family a rough cut. We thought the film was at a stage that would give them a good enough idea of how the finished film would be. We wanted to make sure that they felt we portrayed their way of life and that of the community accurately and with integrity.

We were nervous. ’Are they going to like it? What do we do, if they don’t?’

Luckily for us they did! They laughed all the way through.

With their positive feedback in mind, we went back into the edit and knew that whatever we did next could only make a better film. With colour grading, music and the final sound mix to be completed we’re nearly there.

Week Five – Tales from the Edit – A day in the Sound Studio with Chris Watson

July 16, 2014

 

Sound Studio Addicted to Sheep

It’s been a rare treat for us to spend a day in the sound studio with Chris Watson, one of the world’s leading sound recordists. When we first heard Chris talk about his craft at a Royal Television Society event he took off his shoes and paced the floor in his socks. He’s very sensitive to ambient noise. Chris watched the rough cut of Addicted to Sheep and then suggested we have a coffee to ‘rest our ears’.

Addicted to Sheep dub

Over the next few hours we talked about engaging the viewer through sound. Silence helps. Taking out rather than filling up. Allowing for breathing space, moments of reflection and light and shade.

Sound mixing Addicted to Sheep

The North Pennines where we filmed is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we wanted to establish a strong sense of place. Chris talked about creating a richer sense of perspective. We don’t always need to hear what we see on screen. We cut out the quad bike, created a sense of ebb and flow between skylarks and curlews and then heard snow falling on the washing line. It’s delicate artful work.

We left the studio and heard the deep hum of the coffee machine in a way we’d never noticed before.

 

Week Four – Tales from the Edit – Meet The Characters

June 20, 2014

Addicted to Sheep has 3 main characters: the people, the sheep and the landscape. Meet some of them. First, the Hutchinson family who allowed us into their lives for over 18 months of filming.

Tom

Tom on gate

Kay

Kay with turkeys

Jack

Jack in winter

Esme

Esme painting

Hetty

Hetty at School

We also got to know a few of their colleagues and filmed at a wide range of locations.

John, Tom’s shearing partner

John shearing

John, the sheep scanner

John scanning

 

 

The School Children

The school children

 

The Swaledale sheep has proved itself to be a bold hardy sheep, well fitted to endure the hardships of exposed and hard lying situations. The Hutchinsons are passionate about breeding, showing and selling the very best sheep. As Tom says, it can be an addiction to try and breed the best. Find out more about what makes Swaledale Sheep special.

Addicted to Sheep Documentary

Read more about our film-making journey on our Addicted to Sheep website

Week Three – Tales from the Edit – Award Winning Special Contributors

June 5, 2014

 

Addicted to Sheep winter

Capturing a sense of place in sound as well as vision is something we strive for. We’ve recently had the pleasure of working with two ‘special’ contributors. It’s been a very rewarding experience for our team and we’ve learnt a lot. Meet Chris and James.

Additional Sound, Chris Watson

Chris Watson, one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena. His television work includes many programmes in the David Attenborough ‘Life’ series including ‘The Life of Birds’ which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ in 1996. More recently Chris was the location sound recordist with David Attenborough on the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012). Chris has provided us with additional sounds specific to our location and advised us on issues relating to sound design.

Composer, James Burrell

James Burrell is a London based composer, songwriter and music producer, specialising in children’s television, feature documentary films and the development of recording artists. His track record, particular empathy with our film and his sensitive approach towards bespoke composition for the moving image attracted us to work with him. It’s the first time we’ve worked with a composer.

 

Week Two – Tales from the Edit – Meet The Team

May 26, 2014

 

The Addicted to Sheep team have been working hard for a long time on our indie feature length documentary. It’s time to introduce ourselves.

Directed & Filmed by Magali Pettier

Magali Pettier

I’m a farmer’s daughter, originally from Brittany but have lived in the UK for over 14 years. I’ve worked in the industry for over a decade but Addicted to Sheep is my debut feature and has been a passion project. I filmed for 18 months, mostly self-funded to make sure the day-to-day reality of farming and being brought up on a farm were as authentic as possible. No big crew, just me. I’ve discussed my motivation and approach to making this film in our press pack Q&A which you can read on our media page. Favourite Documentary The Story of the Weeping Camel by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni.

Co-Produced by Jan Cawood,  Tin Man Films

Jan Cawood

I’m a film-maker who loves a beautifully shot story. When I first saw the turkeys hung up on the wall I was hooked! I’ve got a film history/marketing background and know good things when I see them. It’s been a pleasure getting to reach out to funders and audiences and being involved in shaping the film too. We have high hopes for Addicted to Sheep and aim to screen at high profile film festivals in 2014/15. Favourite Documentary Grey Gardens by the Maysles Brothers.

Editor, Matt Dennis

Matt Dennis

After completing a degree in Fine Art, I began splicing film at the BBC many years ago. I’ve cut lots of films over the years but real storytelling is something which is a collaborative process. It’s like moulding clay, you get a shape and begin to build it up in an intuitive way. Since watching the footage I’ve also taken up dry stone walling! Favourite Documentary Etre et Avoir by Nicolas Philibert.

We’ve also recently had the pleasure of working with two very ‘Special’ Contributors. More about them coming soon.

 

Week One – Tales from the Edit – The Story So Far

May 26, 2014

Stats, Structure and Seasons

So much has happened we’ve kept a log of our approach so far. Stats 33 days observational filming over the course of 18 months. 62 hours of footage to view and notes made over the course of 2012/13. We’ve also edited trailers, pitched for funding and developed our website and reached out to our audience in between.

Workflow

We’ve logged the footage which means we know where everything is – every cough, sniff and dog bark! We’ve even transcribed the formal and informal interviews (about 15 hrs in all) so it’s easy to find what we most like. We have one major lever arch file jammed full of notes to refer back to.

Our approach

Winters in Upper Teesdale can be long and it feels the same in the footage. We’ve chosen to follow the four seasons largely because we want to tell the story of the sheep as well as the family and wider community. It’s hard to go from lambing to shearing if you don’t follow a seasonal order.   We’ve chosen to tell the story from the children’s POV as much as the adults. Our family are at the centre but the wider community are interwoven throughout. The 15 pupils who attend one of the remotest schools in England are key to sharing the child’s POV. We learn from the children as much as the adults which give the film more depth. The seasonal order, the mix of adult and child’s POV and the story of the sheep makes for a very interconnected edit. Each dependent upon the other.

Addicted to Sheep Lambing

Style

Mainly observational, small details speaking louder than words. We see the family at home on the farm, at auction sales, the children at school. We also meet people beyond the family, those who come to the farm and those in the wider community – at the annual community show and so forth. Filmed within the North Pennines, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the interdependency of landscape, animals and people are obvious throughout.

The rough cut

From 62 hours we’ve now edited all the daily rushes and gone through a series of scene selections. From a 12 hour timeline of favourites we’ve gone down to 4 hours then built up the themes we want to share into a 2 hour rough assembly. The story begins in winter and ends in the autumn. So far it’s looking and feeling like a film. It’s exciting! – See more at: http://www.addictedtosheep.com/

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