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Filming

Filming was officially wrapped in Nov 2022, when the project moved into Post-Production.

Following the success of our initial crowdfunding campaign, filming started in Sept 2021 with a day at Old Warden Airfield with David Bremner + team and their wonderful Bristol Scout 1264 re marked as 1611 with a side mounted Lewis Gun. With a limited cast and crew allowed at the airfield, focus was primarily on our actors playing Lanoe Hawker and Ernest Elton, and shooting a lot of ground-to-air footage.

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1st Day of Filming at Old Warden Airfield -  Sept 2021

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"CONTACT" - Screenshot of Hawker in Cockpit

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Pre-flight checks - Screenshot of Hawker and Elton with Bristol Scout 1611

As nothing beats the real thing, we are extremely pleased to be able to shoot real footage of Bristol Scout 1264, owned, built and flown by David Bremner, currently hangared at The Shuttleworth Collection. 1264 is a beautiful replica of the machine flown by David and Rick Bremner's Grandfather Capt Captain F. D. H. Bremner. The Bremners, with friend Theo Wilford began building the aircraft in 2008 from an original Rudder Bar, Control Stick and Magneto found in the family garage, and had their maiden flight on 9th July 2015.

We highly recommend reading David's book "Bristol Scout 1264: Rebuilding Grandad's Aircraft" and watching the videos and documentaries about their amazing feat.

We were very privileged to have the ground-to-air camera work of resident Shuttleworth camera operator Peter Baughan, who has a huge experience in filming aircraft in flight.

1264 Re-marked as 1609

Miniatures

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1/24 Scale Model of 1611

The Bristol Scout is a scratch-built 1/12th scale model, made from balsa, tissue paper and even a deodorant cap for the cowl! It features a small electric motor to power the propellor. "Building an aeroplane from scratch was a lot more difficult than from a plastic kit, and much harder to get the level of detail. Unfortunately I couldn't find a Bristol Scout any larger than 1/48 in kit form, which for a small machine is a very small model! So I made the decision to at least try to make a larger version. I had never built from balsa before, but was really pleased with the outcome. One particular advantage of tissue over plastic is that sunlight shines through the tissue exposing the shadows of the frame, just like in reality."

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1/32 Albatros Ci - Screenshot

Unfortunately there are no flying Albatros Ci in the world, so the only option is to use miniatures. There are also no kit models in large enough form. "I decided to opt for the Wingnut Wings 1/32 scale model of an Albatros Bii, and modify it to resemble the Ci. The main difference was the Ci reversed the Pilot and Observer, putting the observer at the back with a Parabellum MG14 Machine Gun. They also upgraded the engine and radiator size. In many ways the Ci is more similar in shape to the Bii than the Ciii (it's successor), so I opted for the Bii kit. The Wingnut Wings kits are exceptionally well made and detailed and look excellent on camera. Like the Scout, I also modifyied the design to incorporate a small electric motor to turn the prop."

The Miniatures are "flown" against a greenscreen or the sky and "rotoscoped" and "keyed" in VFX to remove wires and supports etc. It has been a long process of trial-and-error to "fly" the miniatures in a believable way, something that continues to improve the more we work on it. One of biggest issues with "flying" WW1 miniatures as opposed to WW2 or Sci-Fi models, is the open cockpits of their machines which means filming real pilots and observers to place into the miniatures.

Cockpits

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Replica Cockpit Bristol Scout in construction.

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Replica MG14 and turret.

No WW1 aviation film would be complete without the iconic close-ups of the pilots in their open cockpits with the wind whipping around their scarves. Our lifesize Bristol Scout cockpit is made on a three-axis (yaw, pitch and roll) mount. Complete with replica Lewis Gun and Hawker Mount.

The German Machine Gun turret is isolated and attached to the miniature in VFX.

Hawker Mount

Hawker Mount - 1611, Original Photo

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Replica Hawker Mount

Replicating the "Hawker Mount" proved to be a lot of guesswork as the only real source of information we had was trying to analyse the few grainy photos that we could find. Ultimately decisions were made and we tried to make it look as close as possible without using engineering that wouldn't have been available to a flight mechanic at the time. Unlike later gun mounts, this was mount wasn't mass produced in a factory, but fashioned in the engine sheds at the airfield.

 

"I had suspected that there appeared to be a small foresight attached to the strut in the close-up photo. Making something similiar and mounting it, I was delighted to sit in the machine and see that the sights lined-up very closely. A few tweaks and they were perfectly aligned to my natural head position. This foresight is quite a way removed from the actual Lewis forsight, but I can only imagine this would be to take into account the speed and angle of the target. It amazes me at the difficulty of not just flying one direction and shooting off at an angle, but also adjusting the sights in the first place. As Hawker mentions in his diary "it is an art that requires practice and I hope to get proficient soon."" - Daniel Arbon

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