Telling the story of our great footballing cities through the eyes of those who know them best.
We've been super-busy recently, working with the lovely people at Visit Britain. They wanted our help in creating a series of promotions for their Football is Great – #OMGB Home of Amazing Fans campaign. The aim being to show off the delights of British sport to tourists worldwide.
Of course, we obliged wholeheartedly. Travelling the length and breadth of the country filming our favourite subject matter was most definitely a road-trip with our name on it.
Sport and tourism are perfect striking partners. And British football’s huge popularity abroad meant we had a great platform from which to develop a video series with real impact.
The campaign, at its heart, is about the people. So it was only natural to choose a bunch of passionate fans to be our window to some of the UK’s most famous footballing cities. We wanted to capture what it is about the places that the fans love so much.
With me being a Scouser and Everton fan, there wasn't much debate on where to head first: Liverpool.
We had four days to film each city, with a three man crew – director, director of photography and soundman. Having to pack so much into the shoot, we travelled light: two cameras, tripod, slider, prime lenses, and sound-recording equipment. We all chipped in with lugging the kit around. No room for prima donnas, or excessive hair products, on these gigs.
Here’s what we got up to in Liverpool…
We scamper around the city for the best scenic shots. This is about capturing the character and essence of the place as best as we can. The architecture, the streets, the general vibe. It also gives us the opportunity to check out the best backdrops for our fan interviews.
We track down the fans for the all-important soundbites. It’s the locals who’ll bring the promo to life and give an insight in to the character of a city. It can be quite a challenge finding people who’re comfortable talking on camera. Fortunately we've clocked up many years of filming football fans, so we were able to lean on our contacts to set us up with some enthusiastic volunteers.
There's also the age-old technique of chatting to locals you meet on location. Ask the right questions and you’ll strike gold chatting to these guys. Boy, do Scousers love to talk!
Days three & four
Match days. Today Liverpool’s playing at home at Anfield; tomorrow it’s Everton at Goodison Park. There’s sense of excitement, and calm before the storm, among the crew. ‘Storm’ being positive – we really want to do the passion of the fans justice.
After breakfast we get to work on shooting external shots of the football stadiums. It’s important for us to come up with interesting angles of their surroundings too. Both Goodison Park and Anfield are bang in the middle of dense residential areas. With the stadiums towering above tight rows of terraced houses, you get a real sense of what football means to people living here.
Come 2pm, crowds begin to pour in. Our background in producing documentaries is vital here. We have a tight window in which to gather enough quality footage to convey the pre-match energy and anticipation; to do it justice. So we need to be extremely reactive as well as spontaneous to ensure we get a true sense of the atmosphere.
It's a team effort. While the camera is running, the director scouts around for other shots. We get lucky and happen upon a Brazilian samba band, knocking out tunes as part of the wonderful Everton in the Community programme. It gives us a lovely carnival backdrop and melodic sound to complement the deep rumbling of chanting fans.
With everything we need in the can, we stay to watch the match. There’s got to be some perks to the job, right? On day four, we do it all again – no complaints there.
Overall, it was a great four days in Liverpool. We. Love. This. City.
Here’s the film in the flesh. Enjoy – that is, if you can understand the accent.