No Through Road
The making of Collision, which aired on ITV1 in November
Written by Foyle’s War creator Anthony Horowitz, Collision was a five-part drama series shown over one week on ITV1 telling the story of a major road accident and a group of people who have never met, but who all share one devastating moment that will change their lives.
Starring Douglas Henshall, Kate Ashfield, Paul McGann, Lucy Griffiths, Claire Rushbrook, Phil Davis, Jan Francis and brothers Dean Lennox Kelly and Craig Kelly, Collision was directed by Marc Evans and shot on Fujifilm by Chris Ross.
Explained Evans: “What attracted me was the scale and scope of the writing over five hours. It matched the ambition of anything you try to do on a feature film.
We tried to tell the story from the point of view of the victims and protagonists so the audience feel the impact of the crash as much as the characters do in the drama. We are with them, not passing observers.
“I was also attracted by the technical challenge of how do we create the crash; how do we create the bits of the crash that are particular to each part of the story.
“We couldn’t crash five cars for real, on a real road. And we couldn’t close a real road for the length of time we needed to create the crash scene. So we had to build a dual carriageway on disused land, complete with a central reservation, grass verges and a crash barrier.
“We couldn’t create a stunt with five cars as it would happen for real, so we shot each collision separately. We had to carefully plan the sequence of events in which the cars collide. It was a real team effort. We shot the main bulk of the crash scenes over two days.
“For the crash aftermath scenes we got all the actors, paramedics and vehicles back, and shot it much in the same way as a documentary team would shoot it. Using the two filming techniques were appropriate for the scenario.”
* Collision, which aired on ITV1 November 9-13, was originated on 16mm ETERNA 250T 8653 and ETERNA 250D 8663
THE DP VIEW
A huge part of the making of Collision was the reconstruction of a multi-car pile-up on the A12. The art department built a 250m section of a dual carriageway with false perspective and we used this to stage the high-speed collision of six vehicles-including a transit van leaping the central reservation.
This stunt-heavy sequence was shot over five days with multiple cameras (2x Arri 416’s, 1 x SR3 and 2x Aaton A-Minima’s) and multi-frame rates under a range of light levels and weather conditions and I used the ETERNA 250D to cope with all of these.
The rest of the show is about how all the characters involved in the crash came to be there and what becomes of them in the days following. This Altman-esque script approach meant that in each episode we had scenes from a psychological thriller, a forensic police drama, a romantic comedy and a social drama.
How do you weave these elements into a seamless cohesive entity, which feels like one “world”? How do you juxtapose scenes one minute and draw comparisons the next? Marc Evans wanted a shooting style that was character-led and flexible - fast enough to capture performance in a documentary style but with a constant eye on quality.
He loved the idea of running around with two 16mm cameras and grabbing the whole show on the run. So that’s what we did, and the flexibility of the negative helped us through.