Big Book Media

We hope you enjoy reading our blog from Big Book Media, we write from our shoots in Morocco where we are currently filming the Gospels. We have been out on three shoots already and the footage is up on our website - We are going on our next shoot shortly so Shoot Four News will be along soon.

In the meantime we have details of what we are doing in the UK between shoots, we have an office in Brighton where the blog comes from when it's not from Ouarzazate - two very different locations!

Thanks for reading.

Big Book Media

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Filming the Gospels

Filming the Gospels
The Team in Ouzarzazate, Morocco

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Kingdom of Heaven

Hi all, it's Charlie (Production Manager) here with my first blog from the second Big Book Media shoot, my job has been a much more lovely experience this time round. We have been working with a guy called Hamid who is my Moroccan counterpart and who has his own production company out here - 'Irene Productions'
(he is our Line Producer for the shoot).

Filming has been fantastic so far, we are having a really smooth shoot.

This Sunday was ou
r day off - I arranged a tour for Selva (actor who plays Jesus, James (Production Assistant), Deane (DTI) & Kathy (Photographer) to look at the 'Kingdom of Heaven' set and 'The Journey to Mecca' set which are both at Atlas Studios (which Mike, Art Director and Hamid created) and also a Jerusalem temple set at ECLA Studios. Deane was in heaven over how fantastic the sets were and how they had been created in terms of using the sun and light for filming!!

In the afternoon I bumped into Hannine in Ouarzazate town who is Mike's assistant in the art department but isn't working on this shoot for us as she is pregnant. She lives in Agadir but has come down to Ouarzazate which is her home town where her family live to give birth. There is a fantastic midwife in Ouzarzazate - she's called Rosie and is originally from Brighton! What a small world it always turns out to be. We are all wishing Hannine good luck and we can't wait to hear news of her baby.
The photo on the right is of Mike Fowlie and Hannine working on the last shoot.

In the evening myself, Hannah and Kathy went shopping for the UK Launch Event (which is on 10th Nov in London), our bartering skills were very very good, we bought some beautiful things. In the last shop where both Hannah and I bought bracelets they served us mint tea and called us both fatima's, which we found out is a very big compliment as it means our bartering skills are as good as the locals.
The photo on the left is Hannah in the last shop looking at bracelets and the photo is below is both myself and Hannah bartering!

After a very successful day off it was back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep in before the start of week two of shooting.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Another Shoot Birthday - Selva's Today

Today was a great day. I managed to learn how to fold a reflector. Now this may sound simple but trust me it's a skill! I've been working on my technique for the whole week and I've finally perfected it. We were shooting all exterior stuff today. Mike had created the most beautiful market scene. We also had the Donkey's back on set, although I don't think they were the same ones. I think these guys were new on the scene, much more relaxed and completely happy to pose for pictures and be interviewed!
Photo on the left is a piece of film memorabilia at Atlas Studios.

We then had lunch and another amazing cake (it was Selva's birthday - though he wasn't really celebrating it as he's saving it till he gets home and is with his family) and then continued with the exterior scenes. It was super from my point of view, seeing how the big productions are made. I'm used to shooting in a single room so to have all this amazing space to play with just seemed too much. I don't know how David decides where to put the camera because there are so many beautiful positions to choose from. However the position that was chosen for the last shot of the day quickly got scrapped when David realised (by testing it himself) that the place he wanted to put the camera was on top of a very suspect fibre glass room, which you had to climb an even more suspect ladder to get to. We wrapped half an hour early. The Photo above shows Ben, the camera and some crew in the Ouzazate countryside setting up a shot.

In the evening we all went out to this funky little restaurant on the edge of a cliff. As you walked in there were pictures of all the famous people who had eaten there, including a photo of Laurence Fishbourne (the actor who was in the Matrix)! We had dinner on the roof terrace with a little speaker to provide music, we all had a fantastic meal and celebrated a great first weeks shoot.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Extra Illusions

Hi all, James here with a couple of days blogs as didn't get a chance to write in yesterday. Yesterday morning went really smoothly on set. We spent our morning doing hand-held shots of Jesus being mobbed by crowds of people.
The photo on the left is Jesus preaching to his disciples and the photo on the right is Deane with the Easyrig camera!
After lunch we did a sort of CGI shot where we kept moving our fourty extras to different parts of the desert and then we overlayed the shots we had taken to make it look like there were hundreds of people, really clever! After the CGI shots we did some more hand-held work and
then wrapped in the desert with enough time to go to another location - a small rural cottage. I stayed behind and helped Robin pack up, when we arrived at the cottage a bit later on we found that there had been a few problems as the cottage was owned by two brothers one of whom wasn't that happy about us filming even though it had all been pre-arranged and set up by Hamid our Line Producer with the other brother! In the end we were able to get our bit of filming done, after which we wrapped for the day.Today was our first day at the Atlas Studios, it was a very different shooting experience to all the locations shooting we have done so far - mainly because we had to light scenes for the first time which really slowed things down. We spent the morning in a synagogue which Mike Fowlie (Art Director) had built, it is really amazing. We had a light on the room and the whole room was filled with smoke to soften the light. It was pretty crowded in the room with about 20 extras plus the main cast and our crew as well as a track and dolly. The footage looks amazing some of the best film we have shot so far I think. We did our first official stunt in the movie with myself acting as stunt man before Selva (who plays Jesus) did the actual shot, it basically involves Jesus being thrown out of the synagogue which might not sound particularly dangerous but let me tell you I have a nasty little graze on my knee!!

Lunch times are different at the studio, instead of eating on set with lunch brought down we go and eat in the restaurant by our hotel right next to the pool. There are lots of posters up on the walls of all the movies that have been shot in this location like 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'Kundun'.

After the lunch we spent the rest of the day in a small room for a scene with Jesus praying - it was strange but this scene which seems simple actually took the longest to shoot - trying to get that perfect shot meant that we ran over properly for the first time and ended up wrapping at 7 o'clock.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Happy Birthday to James

What up all! Well I have had a true birthday to remember.
Hannah, Charlie and I spent the mo
rning as extras dressed up in robes and sitting on the most uncomfortable floor ever, very prickly and lumpy! We spent all morning as extras on set - Hannah didn't let it stop her working though - she was on the phone between each take working hard on all UK projects. The photos are Hannah and Amp to the left and myself to the right! A great way to spend a birthday morning and I think when you see the film you'll agree that we made top class extras!!

After my morning of being an extra we had a break for
the best lunch ever - I was given a huge birthday cake (photo below of me and the large chocolate layered cake) and everyone sung to me (it was brill).
After lunch we went back on shoot and spent the rest of the day shooting on a robin crane. We used this for the sweeping shots of Jesus walking over mountains.
We have over 50 extras on set and the diva donkeys were back today! Kathy the Photographer spent ages trying to get a picture of them but they're moody and very uncooperative and were not willing to play the game at all! It was pretty hot today and tomorrow is supposed to be boiling hot so I will be in full sun cream and hat.

Thanks so much
to the Big Book office for my lovely card and present it really has been such a amazing birthday - won't ever forget it! More updates tomorrow but until then I'm off to have a relaxing birthday evening.

Hi Liz here with a little additional bit of info to James's blog. A little update on what the Brighton office have been up to while the Production Team are away. Amory and Tim have spent the week up at Halo in London doing the final post work on our films, so we haven't seen or heard too much from them - they are holed up there and not allowed out till they finish!!
Alec, Robbie and I have been e-mailing, posting and phoning people inviting them to our launch party. The photo on the left is Robbie by a pile of invites with a Big Book Envelope label on his forehead!
We have more work on this tomorrow and next week.
We are having two parties - one in London and then also a smaller one in Brighton so lots of planning to do for those. Alec has also been up with our website company in London getting that ready to go fully live at the end of October.

I have got a pack of our Christmas Cards from the company 1973 so I will put a picture of those in tomorrow's blog along with the final 3 Wise Camels logo which Guy has finished working on,he's now working on our Sunday School packs.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

''Another Time, Another Place, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes''

Hi again, James here with my blog from day two of the shoot, it didn't rain today which was a pleasant surprise for all of us! We spent our morning shooting in a local town called Fredragon, which went really well but we overan on time which was a bit frustrating for the local people here in the town - there was a build up of tractors and donkeys around us by the end of the shoot all waiting to get on with their work.
The photo above is myself, Mbarek Mahmoudi and Kathy in a car early morning on the way too set - hence we are bleary eyed, especially Kathy though that may have been the camera flash in her face!! Mberek is a famous Moroccan actor.
The photo on the right is Hannah on set - she sensibly has her socks over her trousers to try and keep the mosquitos out which worked to a degree but they are super mosquitos so not foiled that easily!
The mozzies attacked all of us today when we headed out into the desert this afternoon to shoot - they really are evil, we all have very bi
tten legs and ankles, Kathy has been hit badly with short trousers on (she won't make that mistake again!) and also Selva our Jesus has taken a bit of a mozzie battering while being filmed at the top of the mountain in the desert. Photo of Selva below on the mountain.

After an excellent lunch we did a lot of crane shots and all got blinded by the smoke machine (hence my reference to Bryan Ferry's Hit Song in my blog title!), but it looks amazing on camera so well worth it! I am going even more pink I've lost my sun cream so will have to try and get some more, Charlie offered me her sun oil, but I wasn't that sure about that so I left it and am even more pink now - I'm pretty sure it will go brown, at least I hope it will - the Moroccan crew here are already comparing me to Ricky Martin!!
After a break for a fa
ntastic custard & apple cake we did the last shot of the day.
This was a time lapse shot which had Jesus sitting in the same position for about 15 minutes!
The photo below is of Deane and the smoke machine with clouds of smoke coming out!

All in all I have had an excellent day and we even wrapped 10 minutes early! Speak to you tomorrow!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Mud Mud Glorious Mud

Well not the title I thought I would be using for my first blog for the second Big Book Media film shoot in Morocco but given that I have been the wettest today that I have ever been in my life it is definitely the most appropriate! James here (Big Book Media Production Assistant - photo of me on the left with clapper board) blogging and trying to dry out after a wet day in the desert!

As well as getting soaked through I am also as red as a lobster, so have managed to get both soaking wet and sunburnt all on one day - I've done well! We got caught in two monsoons while shooting today - we spent all day jumping over rivers of rain working their way through the once dusty now muddy landscape and sheltering under trees when the rain got really heavy to try keep out of it a little bit (not that it worked really as we all still got soaking!). The photos above are Ouzazate and the mud before the rain and on the right hand photo rain clouds gathering above our team!

The weather put filming behind a bit so we had a quick ten min lunch and then Deane our DTI guy, Charlie and myself put together a second unit for filming to go out and re film an earlier scene which needed a re-doing. While the first unit carried on shooting through today's script. It came out really well.
The children who are amongst the extras on set seem to be having great fun - the
donkeys and pigs however not so much! Yet again whoever was responsible for casting the donkeys has given us another set of absolute Divas, they are terrible at taking direction from David (our Director!) and are making the usual outrageous demands (fresh lillys and all white scented candles in their dressing trailers - the usual diva stuff!). As for the pigs, well, it took ten guys six hours to catch them and there has been a lot of infighting so Charlie has had to have words with them all and threaten the end of their contract with us if there are anymore problems on the rest of the shoot. The photo above is of some of our Moroccan crew with all the pigs finally in a cart being moved to the set.

All in all I had a great first day, and even though everyone got very wet and muddy spirits are high and the footage looks great. My last photo shows Kathy our photographer's foot covered in mud having taken off her shoe at the end of the day!
I will e-mail again tomorrow with more shoot tales but for now I desperately need to wash off my days mud and get ready for a potential lot more tomorrow!

Breakfast At Ouzarzate

Hi Maddy here, I have just started working in the Big Book offices as their office assistant helping out with all sorts of tasks - so far today I have proof read the invites for the Big Book Launch Party which is in November, been looking at glass hire, display board hire and other things needed for the party. I've also been helping get a lacie drive and a transmitter for a microphone from Richmond Film - both need to make it to Hannah who is flying out to Morocco at 6pm this evening. Finally I am writing today's blog!

James our Production Assistant sent an e-mail to us yesterday, with a little bit of their pre shoot info, James, Charlie and the rest of the team flew out to Morocco on Friday and have had a couple of days prep in Ouzazate before filming which starts tomorrow. Yesterday James was with Mike Fowlie Art Director (photo on the left of Mike) and got to dance on a giant stage in Atlas Studios where Mike was building our Egyptian set for the shoot.

Then James was out in the dessert with the film crew who were doing their GVs for the shoot (general views) getting ready to start filming today (photo above right of David and a couple of our crew out planning their shots in the desert). He says that David our Director is one of the fastest people he has ever met and he was trying to keep up with him all afternoon out in the sands!James has seen his first dead snake (photo right!) and a lot of animal bones in the dry dusty sands.

Today here in the office Liz, Alec and Robbie's day has been spent trying to get a forgotten lacy drive and a mic transmitter out to the shoot. Neither of these tasks has gone smoothly as that would make life far too simple! Our courier picking up the lacy drive for us from Blackboys in East Sussex, went awol for quite some time and took several hours to do an hour and a half journey and the transmitter isn't quite at Alec's home address yet where Amory is waiting for it. Robbie is now on the train to Clapham Junc with the lacie drive where he will meet Alec, Alec is on his way to his house in his car where he will pick up the transmitter, then will drive to meet Robbie and then drive to the airport with both to meet Hannah who is flying out this evening. It also looked for one horrible moment like Hannah's flight booking had an error in the name but after a panicked call to Air Maroc this was not the case - so a lot of e-mails, texts and phone calls later it looks like this might all actually work out and we might get Hannah on the plane with the lacie and the transmitter on the way to Morocco.The photo to the left is of Robbie before he set of on the train for Clapham with our Lacie.

The next blog will be coming from James's first shoot day in Ouzazate.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

From Dusk Till Dawn (Production!)

We are currently finishing up our pre-production for Big Book Media's second shoot - the production team are flying out this Friday leaving the non production people here! Charlie our Production Manager and James our Production Assistant for this shoot have been working really hard with the planning of the shoot organising everything needed from our end, equipment, team, shipping, hotels, flights etc and liasing with Hamid in Morocco who is our Line Producer out there and is organising the Moroccan things needed for the shoot from his end. They have just a couple more days then they are off back to Ouzazate to start filming our next script.

I will be staying in the office again to manage anything that needs doing from here - hopefully a lot less than needed doing last tim
e! Also in the office will be Tim who is completing some final post work on our filmed footage from Shoot One with Amory, they'll be spending most of their time up in London with Halo who are doing the final post stuff for us. Then Alec our Sales and Marketing Manager who has the building of the website to oversee, launch events for the first lot of films in Nov and about 100 other tasks to do. He will be here in the office with me and also Robbie who has just started working for us as Sales & Marketing Assistant - thank heavens he's here to help Alec there's a lot to do (there will be blogs to cover all of it)!

Shoot Two is going to last two weeks (the last two weeks of October) and we'll be back shooting in Ouzazate in the desert and a couple of nearby locations.
DTI came down in the week to bring over red camera equipment and accessories to be taken out via a shipping agent going out ahead of us to Morocco - Dynamic International Shipping. Left is Charlie's map of Morocco which is stuck up by her desk!

It has been the usual busy busy Production time in the office but James has been amazing and has made a huge difference to the production work load. I haven't had to get involved with shipping, lens orders, flights etc etc.. this time which has been wonderful! There are so many phone calls, e-mails and admin involved in getting a production off the ground, for the last shoot there were days I was on the phone arranging things from when I arrived in the morning to when I left at the end of the day!

The first thing I will be doing once the Production Team set off for Morocco is finalising our Launch event which is going to be at the beginning of November up in London. I'll blog about plans, plus more on 3 Wise Camels and Christmas Cards shortly.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Four Beautiful Christmas Cards

Today my blog covers the Big Book Media Christmas cards which we are producing with a company based in Hove. We have chosen four photos that Katy took during Shoot One for Big Book Media and the card company have turned our lovely photos into really beautiful cards. They have added text and gold foil and we think the end result is going to be a very desirable box of Christmas Cards! I have put the four photos into this blog with the copy that appears on the card with over the photo. There is also some design work done on our photos for example in the photo below a night sky has been added as we filmed the Three Kings travelling over the desert during the day.

'And behold, the star they had seen in the East went before them' (night sky being added!)

The cards are going to be produced in a
gift box with gold foil to highlight the text that goes over the images. We have approved the final artwork today so I will have samples ready to send out shortly. We will receive the final boxed cards sets in two weeks time - can't wait to see them!

'She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger'

The cards will be put on our website when the full website goes live at the beginning of November.
I am going to work on a document this week showing the final artworked cards that I can send out to shops to give a flavour of the product before the samples are ready to go out. I am going to put the final artwork up in a blog shortly so I hope you also think that they are lovely!

'There were shepherds out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night'

We also have all of our Three Wise Camel designs now so I will post those for you too so you can see the final Noah, Becky and Zac. Guy our graphic designer is now working on Sunday school packs to support advent for this December.

'They offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh'

This afternoon Hannah - Producer, David - Director, Tim - Editor, Amory - Post Production Manager, Alec - Sales and Marketing Manger (new to the team will blog about that soon too!) and Jay from Fruit Media (who have offices in the same building as Big Book) went to a church near the Big Book Media offices to look at our footage on a large screen to see what it looks like in situ. So will hopefully hear all about that and more tomorrow.

We are also in Pre Production for The Bible Project Shoot Two - Charlie and James working hard on getting everything set up for Morocco for the 19th October. So the office is very busy but no change there!

So my next update on all things post shortly hotly followed by the next shoot blog!!