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The BBC have commissioned a film from Light, Ladd, Emberton for their forthcoming production - 'Dance Passion'.

During a recce earlier in the year, Deborah Light and Eddie Ladd check the recording on an inverted monitor to see what their movements in Fairbourne look like upside down.

In the final months of 2021, Culture Colony filmed 'Amser / Time' for 'Dance Passion', a project undertaken by Light Ladd Emberton that had been commissioned by the BBC. Due to scheduling issues Gwyn Emberton was unavailable for filming so in stepped Jake Nwogu to take his place for this shoot. (In another life Jake is also 'Hammerhead', the mascot for West Ham Football Club!). Filming took place on beaches in Wallog, Borth and Fairbourne, 3 locations situated on Cardigan Bay. After joining the performers on recces through the year, the Culture Colony team was eventually able to travel to these locations for filming over the course of 2 months in November through December. 

During a pre-shoot recce on Borth Beach, Gwyn Emberton slips off his stump and plummets into an icy pool as Eddie and Deborah watch on in shock.

We captured the dance and performances of Deborah, Eddie and Jake as they traversed the dynamic Welsh beaches. To film the movement of the performers in the landscape, in the specific way they required, we had to use a variety of equipment. The shoot was lighthearted and everyone on set had an enjoyable time working on the project. Despite the bitterly cold weather at each of the 3 coastal beaches, spirits were high as the performers and crew alike were determined to get the job done. The performers were especially committed as they had to brave the icy waters of Wales' West Coast, and even stick their heads into  waterlogged holes in the sand. The three performers displayed their amazing athleticism, holding their handstands for prolonged periods of time during takes and even whilst the crew were setting up for re-takes. As waves came in on the inverted performers, Laura Drane, the production manager and producer, counted down 3, 2, 1, before each wave struck so that breathing could be timed and maintained as we filmed. Luckily no one drowned.

Lowri filming the performance on the 'Teeth' (World War 2 concrete defences) in Fairbourne.



While it was raining the trio got in a bit of practice before they had to brave the cold again outside the warm confines of the van.

Felix assisting Pete with his crane shot.

We utilized a gimbal to enable us to fluidly rotate the camera around our subjects as they performed their piece. With the help of Rob, a freelance film maker, we were able to capture aerial footage of performance through the use of his drone. With this we were able to capture all 3 dancers performing at the same time. As well as all of this, we had standard shots on tripods to capture other shots.

Rob Key, operating his gimbal at Borth beach.

Rob Key, a frequent collaborator of ours, had quite a bit to say about his experience on the shoot:

"Filming for Dance Passion was proper fun. Deciding to film during some of the coldest and wettest months of the year, solely outdoors, whilst needing to take account of tidal conditions, certainly made it a challenging shoot. But the morale of the cast and crew was always upbeat. Flying a drone on the limits of acceptable wind speed and with a humidity in the air that often bordered on actual rain, meant flying time was generally limited and we had to capture takes with some speed. Whilst filming with the gimbal we often had similar restrictions, but the gimbal is hardy and malleable and granted some nice dynamism to the scenes. One set of shots required dual operators, with both Pete and myself on the camera-gimbal rig. We wanted to capture a 180 degree roll shot, where from the viewer's perspective the scene slowly flips upside down over the course of eleven seconds. Pete manned the gimbal whilst I controlled the roll angle via an app. It had to sync with the dancer's choreography and it definitely took a few takes, but the frame's turning alongside the dancer's movements is such a lovely image".

This performance for camera is called 'Amser / Time' and the locations selected for the filming reflect geological time (the glacial moraine creating a 'road' out into the bay called Sarn Gynfelyn at Wallog), historical time (the ancient forest at Borth, submerged 6,000 years ago it's tree stumps revealed as stormy seas take away the sand that has covered them for centuries) and our time (the 150 year old village of Fairbourne, the first place in the UK to be scheduled for de-comissioning as sea levels rise due to the climate emergency).

The performance will be broadcast in February on the BBC as part of 'Dance Passion', watch this space or follow Culture Colony on social media for information about the broadcast.

In due course we hope to bring you more photos from the shoot and a film from 'behind the scenes' of this project, here on the Culture Colony web site.

Written by Kieron Shand