This is Erica's final day, she is the oceanographer from Monterey and while she has never done any kind of film production before, she has done a fantastic job. She is outgoing and dynamic on camera and after a day or two of getting used to it, totally at ease. The other two scientists are no different, both Ken and Theo are top notch and things are coming along really well.
Today we headed off in the Deepscan, our large boat for cruising around Loch Ness, and set about to film the last few sequences on the Loch. Thankfully, I didn't have to get in the water this time and was able to stay on dry land - well - boat actually, but the effect was the same. Part of the documentary will include a few light hearted scenes enhanced by CGI or digital animation. In other words, for the end of the film there will be a digital suggestion of what Nessie could look like swimming in the Loch right next to the boat. For that, the animators will need someone in the water with white X's all over them. This will allow them to plot the distances and scale of their animated image relative to real world sizes and location. George, our safety diver from last week was tasked with this job and with his usual cheerfulness he jumped in the water in his scuba gear and floated at the surface, for what seemed like hours, while the crew got the shot perfectly lined up. The wind was blowing quite hard and thus aligning the boat, the diver and the horizon was not an easy task.
When the shots from the boat were done we had to recreate the whole scene all over again, but this time with the camera onshore. We moored up to Urqhuart castle and set it all up again via radio. I think that a lot of people don't realize how much work goes into making a documentary. For a total final runtime of 43 minutes, we will walk away with at least 30 hours of film footage. On other shoots I have done it has been up to 150 hours for 43 minutes!!! Just to get a minute or two of CGI footage alone took us several hours of tape and the better part of a day. By 8PM we were wrapped and headed back to town. As I mentioned earlier, it was Erica's last day so she chose to go to an Indian restaurant, my favorite, and we all dropped off our gear as quickly as possible and headed off to eat.
I love Indian food, an affinity that developed during my days at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and so Erica's choice was just fine by me. After a hearty chicken tikka, pampadoms, and mango chutney, we all agreed that it was way too early to go to bed. Despite being exhausted, we felt a duty to take Erica out to a classic Scottish pub and so, off to Hootanany's we went. Famous in Inverness for featuring local bands and traditional music they also served one hell of a pint of Guinness. Ah Guinness, that pint of black, frothy goodness I miss so much. Guinness in the states just doesn't cut it I'm afraid, usually no more than watery black broth, it just can't hold a candle to the UK variety. A good pint of Guinness tastes like a chocolate coffee milkshake and is one of the most delightful drinks on earth. Of course, it feels like a meal in and of itself and after a few of them, one feels as though he has eaten a three course dinner.
The pub delivered as promised and the music was outstanding. We stayed there far into the night and as I looked around at the crew laughing and dancing the night away, I remembered just how lucky I am to be here. Scotland is such a beautiful place and to spend a few weeks here with such a great group of people has to be just about the best job in the world.