Jonno Butler

Hide and Seek – Christmas 2016

9th December 2016 Filmmaking My Work 0

It’s December which means Christmas is almost upon us and with it comes Superfreak Media’s Christmas horror film. The film this year is entitled Hide and Seek and features Matt Barker in the lead role (with a small cameo from myself).

As with many of Superfreak Media’s films I took on the role of DOP while Liam Banks directed and edited. We were also lucky to have Charlie Clarke on board on the first shooting day to act as a much needed production assistant.

The filming was initially planned as a one day shoot but it quickly became apparent that we would be compromising on quality in order to pack everything in. Because of this we all agreed that a second day was in order. Although the set-ups throughout both days were relatively quick the movement between locations was what really ate into the time. Being able to spend a whole day shooting the climax was a huge bonus and I think that really comes across in the scene.

I shot the film on the Panasonic GH4, the only other kit we had available for the shoot was tripod, shoulder rig, slider, a few LED light panels and a reflector. It really was a sparse kit but it needed to be with all the location changes…maybe we should employ a few runners next time, hmm…

As with last year’s Christmas short we shot Hide and Seek in 4K although this time we placed it in a 1080p timeline in the edit. I think this is the way to get the best image out of the GH4 and also allows for some wiggle room if a shot needs slight re-framing.


As  you can see from the shot above we used a really muted colour palette throughout with oranges and browns being the main theme. Also, as a side note, getting the leaves to fall around Matt as he walked required some serious tree-shaking! We actually shot another leaf falling scene in slow-motion with a fast tracking movement but it didn’t make the final cut. I’ll see if I can get it off Liam so I can post it here.

One of the most challenging scenes to shoot was Matt running towards the camera. Wed did the same scene in normal and slow motion so Liam could mix it up in the edit. I mounted the camera on the shoulder rig and steadied it the best that I could. When action was called I sprinted ahead of Matt whilst trying to keep the camera as trained on him as possible. I’m pretty pleased with the results if I’m honest, I think the most difficult thing was keeping a constant distance between each other to avoid losing focus. Still, the multiple takes kept us warm!


The second day of shooting was pretty much reserved for the finale which takes place at an old quarry, a really pretty, if slightly dangerous location. Many of the shots here required the camera to be pointed towards the sky to give a sense of height. To avoid blowing out the image I had to use lights/reflectors where possible to bring up the brightness on Matt. Luckily the day was quite overcast and it was beginning to get towards the evening so I think the resulting image is quite good.


The short is due for release on Sunday 11th of December on the Superfreak Media YouTube channel. I’ll be sure to post a link when it is available.

Cheers for now and Merry Christmas!


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