sun would come out and I would have to shoot around it, which is what happened.” Freeman explains that the crew always had two cameras, and by Season 7, each unit had a 44-foot MovieBird crane with them all the time. “So it wasn’t a question of having to book a crane for, say, three days. We had it there when we needed it, so we didn’t need to compromise. Only a show with a fair amount of money can do this, but it’s equally expensive to send some equipment back just to have it sent out again when you need it next.” THE LONG NIGHT – EPISODE 3, SEASON 8 Cinematographer Fabian Wagner shot The Long Night episode – and walked into a storm of social media trolling, with fans complaining about the darkness on screen. This is the streaming world’s dirty little secret: the way broadcasters restrict the data rates for huge shows like Game of Thrones . Of course, the customers who see banding and compression noise in dark scenes blame the creator and find people like Wagner on social media and abuse them. But Wagner was philosophical about it: “I’m not someone who thinks he is above criticism. I’m very happy to be criticised and very happy to admit my mistakes. What’s been annoying about this specific complaint was that I had said in another interview that some people can’t tune their TVs properly, and probably watch things

of days, we spent the time prepping for more of our episodes,” explains Freeman. “The net result was that we were extremely well prepared, as we had much more prep time than we would normally get. But it was literally like prepping for a feature. Because you’re leapfrogging, you also have other nucleus teams. For example, the episodes 3 to 4 team and episodes 5 to 6 team would be shooting simultaneously.” Freeman says: “We shot ten-hour days and hardly ever went over time, which was so the crews wouldn’t get burned out. That also meant the ten hours we did work, we walked in and knew exactly what we had to do. It was a very efficient system, and the only thing that stopped us was the weather.”

Freeman shot the Beyond The Wall episode in Season 7, which was directed by Alan Taylor. The battle scene involved a dragon and zombies on a simulated lake (shot in Northern Ireland in an old quarry concreted to look like a lake). “The production design made the concrete look like ice, so we could use something in-camera,” explains Freeman, “but there was VFX and SFX used as well. VFX also created a set extension above the lake, especially when we shot low.” He adds: “It was complicated; we were shooting in winter, but I got lucky for two weeks with consistent cloud cover. We barrelled through it, as I was worried the

LEFT For Beyond the Wall, an old quarry in Northern Ireland was transformed into a frozen lake, complete with zombies and a dragon. This required production design, as well as VFX and SFX

36 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 20 1 9

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