To pass the time I interviewed Director of Photography, Stephen Green. Stephen’s task on this film took up the work of three or four teams, not just one man.
I’ve seen this film already but this is the final cut, a version I haven’t seen. I am looking forward to this almost as much as people who haven’t seen the film.
Many thanks to Steve Sterlacchini and his team on behalf of 2000AD fans all over the world.
Semple: How did you become involved in this project?
Steve: I went along to a prop-makers/special effects exhibition in East London, and Daniel Carey-George had a stand – which had some Dredd, Rogue and Strontium Dog props.
We got chatting, and he said he was making a helmet for Steve Sterlacchini, for a short – and we got in touch.
Semple: Who decided what parts of the city to show?
Steve: No-one really – we were a bit limited in what practical sets could look Mega-cityish, and we didn’t want to spend too much time on endless flybys of the city just because.
It was more about Minty in the Cursed Earth – as it stands the opening got expanded a bit more than in the script.
Steve: Tweaking the palette is easy – there are plenty of ways to grade the colour, I’m not the best at it as it’s usually a dedicated person doing it, but we just went fairly cool/blueish colours for the city, then warmed it up for the cursed earth, also trying to desaturate any green foliage.
The main problem was shooting in two different quarries, one was slate (which is blueish grey, and another in a portland stone quarry), so we settled on going warmer to try to match them a little better.
Semple: The lawmaster looks great, did you model this on the version as drawn by any artist in particular?
Steve: Pretty much McMahon look for the bike, in that it’s a bit curvier at the back – I did use a blueprint from one of the annuals (not sure who drew it)
Steve: It wasn’t difficult as such – if we’d had the budget, it would have been lovely to have had the top half of the lawmaster as a practical prop, mounted on a gimbal.
It was literally a blue wooden box with a motorbike seat and a couple of handlebars, placed in front of a blue sheet in Daniel’s back garden.
I could have done more moving the camera around, but it was one of those things that I just compromised to get the rest done, it’s a very short bike run up, and even now it pushes the limits of how far Minty is away from them, it’s a bit like an infinitely long Tom and Jerry room.
Semple: You’ve put a lot of hours in to this project – would you have any idea how many? Or would you rather not think how many?
Steve: Loads, wouldn’t like to think – some things which you skimp on in a shoot ends up taking more time (for me anyway) in post-production. Things like there was a fly in a shot in the green screen studio which I had to paint out – if I’d spotted it on the day we obviously would have done another take.
Then because of the schedule, trying to find alternate shots by digitally adding or removing something which will make the shot usable when it might not work otherwise.
Semple: What other 2000AD characters would you like to have the opportunity to work with?
Steve: Too early to say, we’ve talked about stuff but we’re too frazzled just getting this done.
Semple: You are the official photographer for Planet Replicas, has the film opened more doors for you?
Steve: I think the only thing I’d had was some potential work from a VFX company, but they pulled out of doing VFX because they can’t make any money out of it – the photography thing is just a sideline, I’m more interested in the video/fx side really – but I’m always interested in similar areas.
Steve: Not really, alternate takes – nothing interesting about from when John Burdis accidentally headbutted Dale Jackson when he was doubling for Edmund in a fight scene.
Semple: What is the most satisfying thing that this film has brought?
Steve: I guess just getting it finished, and doing it on such a low budget, but obviously it wouldn’t have happened without the rest of the team and the fans providing a seemingly infinite amount of energy.
Semple: I know that eager fans can become nagging and possibly whiney… what question have you had the most?
Steve: Will there be a DVD/Blu-ray (NO), or can we have a sequel (I’m glad other people are doing their own films, because it gives them someone else to ask!)
Steve: I guess maybe if I was doing it again, what would I do differently?
For that – I think maybe cut it down a little – there were a lot of costumes and we were spreading ourselves thinly on the production side.