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The Last Bus ‘broke green screen boundaries’ while filming


The Last Bus ‘broke green screen boundaries’ while filming

The sci-fi Netflix Original series The Last Bus broke green screen boundaries whilst filming at The Bottle Yard Studios, according to the show’s producers.

Produced by award-winning Bristol company Wildseed Studios, The Last Bus launched earlier this month on Netflix.

Laura Aviles, Senior Bristol Film Manager (The Bottle Yard Studios & Bristol Film Office):

“We welcome every production that chooses to film in Bristol but The Last Bus, made by a homegrown company doing consistently fantastic work to develop new young talent, is a title we are particularly proud to have hosted. Wildseed’s approach to making scripted prime-time content, by discovering young creatives through their open access ideas portal, mentoring them through their development and pitching their ideas to premium platforms, is forward-thinking and refreshing. In the studio they showed themselves to be equally innovative in a technical sense. The result is a Bristol-made series that looks amazing and will no doubt be thoroughly enjoyed by family audiences the world over.”

Starring Robert Sheehan, Tom Basden and an ensemble cast of young actors, the ten-part series began filming at The Bottle Yard Studios in August 2020, and during a 19-week shoot, filmed on location at Bristol’s Redcliffe Caves and The Downs with support from the city’s Film Office. Further afield, filming took place at other South West locations including Cheddar Gorge, Brean Leisure Park and Wookey Hole in Somerset and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Well known for its track record in spotting and supporting the development of young and emerging talent, Wildseed also took a fresh approach to studio filming. Behind the scenes at The Bottle Yard, the production team harnessed LED technology to enhance the possibilities offered by the Studios’ 5,000 sq ft green screen, adding in bespoke hydraulic systems on set that broke new ground in what could be achieved in the studio without the need for digital effects.

Producer Andy Mosse:

“Filming on location is expensive so we had to find a way of getting the bus scenes filmed in the studio at The Bottle Yard. Traditionally this is done with a green screen, but we developed a way to use LED screens as a full 360 degree wrap around the bus so that we could shoot in any direction with any backdrop, which hadn’t been done before. The panoramic 360 images we projected were captured with 12 x 4K cameras built on a bespoke rigged car we called the ‘hotdog’.

“Combine this with some hydraulic Wallace and Gromit type levers plugged into the suspension of the bus, you’ve got a moving bus interior that bumps and weaves with the road and can be shot in camera with no digital effects needed.”

Packed with comedy, heart, adventure and mystery, THE LAST BUS is an eco-fable for the whole family to watch together. It follows a group of mismatched students on a school trip who become unlikely heroes when a robot apocalypse zaps away the rest of humanity.

The ensemble young cast features rapidly-rising stars Lauryn Ajufo and Moosa Mostafa complete newcomers Marlie Morrelle and Bristol-based Phoebe De Silva, who were discovered from a school search of thousands of young people for their first acting role, together with more experienced talent including Carys John, Nathanael Saleh, Daniel Frogson, Lara McDonnell and Curtis Kantsa.

The series was created and written by Paul Neafcy, who was spotted by Wildseed making mobile phone films on YouTube from his bedroom. This is the third series Wildseed has worked on with Paul, following the success of Philip Human and PrankMe for a US-based SVoD service. The Last Bus is streaming now on Netflix.

Wildseed’s Managing Director, Miles Bullough:

“Bristol is Wildseed’s home and it was important for us from the outset that The Last Bus should be made here in the city. The Bottle Yard was our ideal facility, with its vast green screen and adaptable spaces. At one point we had 5 double deckers parked up together inside; an impressive sight, not to mention a parking feat!

“The Studios gave us space and freedom to push the boundaries of what we could do on the green screen using LED, which was a real gamechanger. Plus their onsite college students studying Film & TV with boomsatsuma got to see those sets and learn about the shoot which is so important for new talent coming up. The Film Office made it easy to film at Redcliffe Caves and The Downs, awesome locations right here on our doorstep, and we found all the other locations we needed nearby in the South West.”

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