Definition September 2020 - Web

WI LDL I FE | T I NY CREATURES

BELOW No CGI was used in the making of Tiny Creatures

RIGHT Tiny Creatures pretends to be based in the US, but was mostly shot in the UK

desert in the background or an attic in the background to weave our stories into it.” Even though at its heart this was the basis of the show, there were dozens of layers of process above it. Each episode of the eight required 27 days to shoot, but at times Jones was working on up to five shows at the same time, so no real timeline makes much sense. The shows would generally go on location for three days and then come back to what ended up being about 1000 sets to capture the behaviour. “For natural history, that timescale is just unheard of. It was the result of a new way of working with post. We actually edited the show at the very same time as we shot it. So, at the end of the filming block, the rough cut was finished, which would then go to Netflix,” says Jones. THE PROCESS As much as could be shot in the UK was shot there, but usually three days was

Because of the need for animal welfare, we pushed massively into LED lights

days on location. We knew every single backplate that we needed to film and every photograph that we wanted to do.” The team also saved time by not doing any CGI in any of the shows, although they also say that some animal confrontations never happened in reality. Jones explains the trick: “Everything is real and practical, but done in plates, so all we did in the edit was layer up layers of video and we were just drawing feathered masks around things. That’s all the show is, very simple but planned.” To prove how efficient the shooting was, they ended up shooting around four hours of television, but didn’t shoot a single pick-up frame. That’s pretty rare in natural history shooting. Traditionally, you would design a narrative show with animals as a heavily

allotted to shooting in the US, which is where the show pretends to be based. Jones breaks down the shooting blocks: “Pretty much three days on location for every episode. The Arizona episode is an exception, where we were on location for the whole month, because of the animals – we couldn’t get them in the UK,” he says. “After the three days, we would come back to the UK, look at the rushes, figure out the backplates and build that into the story.” To previsualise everything, the team storyboarded every single frame. “I think we had over 4000 frames we drew, so every single shot was hand-drawn, but not like a sketch, because everything was meticulously planned through the eye of the camera,” Jones says. “Because of that, it meant we could plan everything and was the reason we got away with only three

24 DEF I N I T ION | SEPTEMBER 2020

definitionmagazine.com

Powered by