The Master Tanner

When we entered the Tannery for the first time, we knew we were somewhere special. We were taken on a tour of the grounds by Barry – the Master Tanner – (and lead character in the film), he turned and told us he really couldn’t see how we could make what we saw before us look good on camera. Perhaps a testament to the many years he had spent there, as to us it was just incredible; rich with character in every corner, nook and cranny and naturally, as filmmakers, we couldn’t help but feel the excitement.

Our initial focus before we embark on the creation of a film is that of character and tone; both of these were clearly evident within our subject. We knew we had found a brilliant character in Barry and had a strong mood and tone in the setting of the Tannery itself, the grounds and the buildings saturated with nostalgia and history; this led us to decide on a particularly personal/intimate feel for the film.

With a clear direction for the story in place, we moved onto looking into the character, music, visuals and the pacing of the film, all important factors in the telling of a story. It is our job as filmmakers and as story-tellers to explore the relationship between all of the above, how they compliment each other and can be used in coalescence to capture the true essence of the subject: The Tannery.

The score was an especially important part of this process. We went through a few iterations before we understood what it was we were looking for. Music is such an immediate purveyor of emotion, it really sets the tone of the piece. The music needed to invite, intrigue, provoke and lead the viewer on a journey through the film, whilst supporting the photography and story itself. We eventually decided on a piano piece that explored subtle speed ramps, crescendos and movements in light and shade. We felt the final piece emphasised the story, tone and character of the film.

We shot the Film over a period of 3 days on Sony A7SII, Panasonic GH4 and a combination of stills lenses.

If this film resonates with you, please do get in touch with us and let us know your thoughts.