'Last Passenger' Making-Of Videos Provide a Crash Course in Independent Filmmaking
The internet is rife with “making-of” videos for just about every major feature film that gets released these days. Unfortunately, a good portion of these videos don’t really show us anything in regards to the filmmaking process. More often than not they’re just behind the scenes interviews with the actors cut together with some poorly shot b-roll. On occasion, however, a video (or series of videos) comes along that shows us the nitty-gritty of the filmmaking process and provides a realistic sense of how films are really made these days. The making-of videos for the UK thriller Last Passenger provide such an experience.
First things first, have a look at the international trailer for the UK independent thriller, Last Passenger:
Last Passenger is essentially an independent character-driven runaway train thriller (which makes my title for this article quite witty.) What’s more impressive is that this film was made by a first-time feature filmmaker (Omid Nooshin) for roughly $2.5 million, which is absolutely absurd considering the amount of action and effects (both practical and digital) that were required for this script to come to life.
Funding the Film
Finding the money for a film like Last Passenger proved not to be an easy task for the producers of the film. Despite the fact that they had an excellent script, studios and independent investors just weren’t convinced of the film’s profitability. Here’s the first video, in which the producers talk about how they got the green light:
Essentially, when all of the investors said no to funding the film outright (despite expressing interest in the concept,) the filmmakers took a minuscule budget of around $600 dollars and made a promotional trailer. Here’s the trailer that they made, which helped them to secure the funding for the film:
Due to the fact that the film’s actual budget was significantly lower than what was originally called for, the filmmakers had to come up with cheaper alternatives for things like building train sets with removable walls. As an alternative to the traditional method, they opted to bring an actual train into the sound stage on which they were shooting and use it as a set. Although this provides a sense of cramped authenticity, those small spaces can be hell for a production crew.
Additionally, instead of attempting to use a blue screen all the way around the train, the filmmakers decided to use rear projection (much like on the set of Oblivion) in order to keep the budget lean. An added benefit of the rear projection, however, is that it creates a much more realistic environment for the actors and, when done well, can be more convincing than even the best blue screen work. Here’s the making of video for the film’s cinematography:
The editing of this film was relatively straight-forward, with the exception of the fact that there was already a polished cut of the film by the time they brought an editor on-board. This allowed the editorial team to focus heavily on creating suspense and tension through the edit.
Post-production sound also played a tremendous roll in how the film would be perceived by an audience. Here are some of the tricks they used to create the sonic landscape of this runaway train thriller.
Obviously the post production of such an action heavy film called for extensive visual effects. Here’s a look at how the production incorporated digital effects with the practical footage.
What I especially love about the way the effects were incorporated into the film is that they chose to use practical lighting for the digital effects that would give off light (such as fire.) More often than not, one of the things that gives away digital effects is the fact that they don’t create a realistic sense of light in the physical space in which they exist. Chivo talked about this extensively for Gravity.
It’s rare to see such a comprehensive look at all of the stages of the filmmaking process, especially on a movie that is fairly “low-budget” (relative to Michael Bay movies.) Here’s one more clip that’s just various pieces of BTS footage. Hopefully all of the previous videos will provide the proper context for this one, because this video is really awesome.
What do you guys think of the process behind making this film? Have you seen Last Passenger, and if so, what did you think of it? Let us know your thoughts on this film and its making of videos down in the comments!