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Hiccup Theatre

The Brief.

Hiccup create shows for regional theatres and during the UK lockdown in 2020, they wanted to create a new, accessible project utilising the songs from their shows. As the shows are all aimed at children, Hiccup wanted to expand the range of young people who could access and enjoy the funny and engaging songs. So a trio of deaf actors were employed to recreate 15 songs using British Sign Language. Hiccup wanted a similar look and style for all of the videos but shot and edited in a way that made them clear to understand whilst being visually captivating.

The Solution.

The most important element of the shoot was to ensure we captured each of the actors as they signed the words. So any close-up shots needed to be timed when sign language was not being used. It could have been as simple as a static, wide shot of the the three performers but that would been boring to watch. So, each song was filmed three times. Each time with one static, wide shot and also with one camera focusing on a different member of the trio. The result was six videos for each song (90 in total). During filming, the actors performed to a recorded sound track plus a video screen with the lyrics for each song to help them keep track with their signing. This was really tough as some songs were very fast and required a lot of signing in quick succession.

For the edit, the there individual shots of each performer plus one (the best take) static wide shot were combined into a multi-cam clip. This presented a challenge as only one static wide shot matched exactly with one of the solo shots. This meant a lot of re-timing of shots was needed to get things in sync. The real challenge was to keep all of the signing the actors were doing, visible whilst ensuring close-ups and additional shots were used wherever possible to maintain visual impact. All of the video shots also had to be synced with the mastered music tracks, before finalising each video.

The results were outstanding and Hiccup were delighted. In addition to the videos, they produced a CD of all the songs, as part of a whole package for the project.

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Superb! I can’t recommend Swainson Productions highly enough.
Great communication and attention to detail in every aspect of the project from start to finish. Richard brought a fantastically playful and creative energy to the shoot and delivered a high quality, polished, super professional product. Talented and knows his stuff, so much more than a film maker, he’s one of the creative team.
We look forward to working with him again as soon as possible.

Ivan Stott
Artistic Director, Hiccup Theatre