When Director/ Producer Ben Bannister was approached by the Royal College of Art to make their 2018 Fashion Graduation Show films, he knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward. Partly because the show would be unconventional, and the clue was in the name - “A Walk without a Cat” - and partly because of budget.
After discussing the RCA brief, a friend immediately suggested that Ben talk to Procam. He said they have the necessary expertise, equipment and crew. Procam worked closely with Ben to advise the best gear with which to execute the shoot. Liaising with DP Peter Bathurst, Ben eventually settled on two C300s on legs and two Sony A7s on DJI gimbals. It was agreed amongst all involved that this was the best package to meet the challenges of the show, given the other considerations of time and budget.
The show itself was challenging due to the enormous space of the venue, 180 The Strand. It’s a massive area of inter-connecting halls, stripped back to the bones and currently undergoing complete renovation. The show was broken up into 3 acts. Act One featured Alice Robinson’s fashion womenswear project, Sheep No. 11458. Alice bought the sheep at the start of the course last October and chose to keep 11458's number as the name of her collection in order to show a contrast between its worth in one industry and its abandonment in the other. The animal was slaughtered; the wool was spun, the leather cured, the bones dipped in silver, all of which Alice then used to create her line of leather accessories. And finally, the meat – lamb burgers, was served to be enjoyed by guests.
The set-up of the space completely changed between Act 1, 2 and 3 due to the various installation pieces. Because of this, the four cameras had to navigate and constantly re-position. As there had been no proper rehearsal, the camera crews were up against it, shifting and sharing the space with guests for camera positions, clear shooting angles and second guessing where each performance would actually take place.
“Procam’s equipment pick proved to be crucial,” said Ben Bannister. “The A7 Ronins allowed the operators to slide in, out and amongst the moving audience, capturing both the collections, but also the unconventional brownian motion of the show. The C300s on sticks were lightweight and low-profile enough to slip in-between the cracks, and could be whipped off the legs to be used in handheld mode to cover several conventional talking heads of guests.”
Procam’s crew proved to be excellent and reliable under pressure. Ben said, “In addition to being hardworking and cheerful, Procam’s Camera Assistant knew the kit from back to front, which proved crucial, as space for us backstage was very limited.”
At the conclusion of the project, Ben delivered ten 10sec virals, one 8min ‘best of’ cutdown of the show, and an abridged version of the full show which features all 51 students and runs for 35mins (the show itself ran for almost an hour and a half). “I think it works and does justice to both the students’ collections, but also the very unconventional multi-media, multi-experience nature of what was an extraordinary event,” concluded Ben.