Being a commercial photographer I have always been drawn to visual details and one thing I have always looked out for when watching TV or films is the photos that appear on set in the background. I always wondered what the process was to have these created for the production, were they shot exclusively for that show/film or were they photoshopped from existing images provided by the actors etc?
Last year I got the opportunity to experience first hand how such images are created when I was hired by the TV production company ‘Tiger Aspect‘ who are responsible for producing the BBC crime drama, ‘Ripper Street‘, to produce some Victorian family portraits for use in the show. The travelled down to where the show was filming on location in the midlands and met up with the art direction team on set at an old foundry. The incredibly talented set designers had created a set for us to use that mimicked a typical Victorian portrait setup. The main objective of the shoot was to create some family portraits of the character Inspector Edmund Reid (played by actor Matthew MacFadyen) and his family. The twist was that the original actress that played Emily Reid (Inspector Reid’s wife) was no longer in the show and so we had to use a stand in actress with the intention to digitally add the original actress in post.
As the cast were filming there was some waiting around for the actors to be ready but once they were on set I only had a few minutes to capture the list of required shots that the Assistant Art Director had given me before they were whisked off to their next scene. The actors were obviously great and we bagged the shots pretty quickly before moving outside to get some external shots, this was cut short by the British weather but we had got what we needed.
Here are some of the images we created from the shoot for the show (click to see full size):
Here is a screen shot of some of the images (cropped) being used in the show in Episode 1 of Season 3
Here are a couple of screen shots from episode 2 with the full versions of the images
It was a great experience doing the shoot and was great fun to see behind the scenes of the show and to be involved in a small way.