To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, we travelled to France and Belgium with historian Alan Forbes to film this hour-long documentary.
Alan recited incredible tales about the brave souls who lost their lives during that harrowing passage of history (1914-1918) — stories that were as interesting as they were humbling. Filming this eight-part series for Talking Pictures TV (of which we later combined into the longer film) took us on the road for an epic four day shoot.
Our approach to creating the title sequence was simple. Using our own footage as the base, we then overlaid archive film to give it added depth.
To demonstrate the vastness of several sites, including Tyne Cot — dominated by its 12,000 graves — and the huge Lochnagar Crater in the Somme, we decided to use the drone. It presents an undeniable perspective, to illustrate the scale and devastation that occurred during that time.
We filmed Alan in various locations, including Polygon Wood, Ypres and the Menin Gate, the battlefields of the Somme, in the trenches, and Hill 60. We also interviewed archaeologist, Johan Vandewalle, who was requested on site when they found the body of a missing soldier while digging up a road.
We also caught the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial. Never undeterred, this ceremony is performed every night at 8pm — a occasion that was extremely moving. Witnessing it first-hand was truly unique; filled with emotion, it commemorates the fallen heroes during the First World War.
The documentary that we produced is periodically shown on Talking Pictures TV, so check out the listings to see when it is next being aired. In the meantime have a look at this short trailer…
Travelling around such fascinating places always enables us to explore other visual mediums, such as infrared photography. While in this corner of Europe we took a few shots, using infrared, that radically changed the interpretation of these landscapes.