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Ariane DeVere
“Sherlock” Season 3 DVD extra: ‘Shooting Sherlock’ 
19th-Jan-2014 10:49 pm
Benedict - Metro
“Sherlock” Season 3 DVD extra: ‘Shooting Sherlock’

This is a transcript of new material which appears only on the ‘Shooting Sherlock’ Special Feature of the Season 3 DVD. It does not include a transcript of the clips from the episodes which are shown throughout the feature, nor does it include descriptions of every visual moment. I haven’t transcribed every ‘er’ and ‘um’ and stutter as the interviewees speak but I hope that it may be useful in particular to viewers whose first language is not English and who are unable to access the subtitles.

Warning: Contains major spoilers for “His Last Vow.” Enter with care if you haven’t seen the episode yet.

As always, please remember that some of the comments made by people may look serious in plain print but are actually meant sarcastically or humorously.

If you quote extracts from this elsewhere, a link back to this page would be much appreciated!

Season 3 DVD extra: ‘Shooting Sherlock’

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: It’s event television. To have something that you can sort of fix a target on and go, “Well, this is ... There are only three, and we know that from these three we’re gonna have something to talk about, something to share and something to enjoy.” I do think that’s what we do very well.
MARTIN FREEMAN: When you’re doing something a while, it gets harder and harder to be surprised and to surprise people. So it’s quite a tall order, actually, to surprise us. If we lead people down to thinking that we have softened, we want that, because we’re gonna hit them right in the solar plexus in Episode 3.

BENEDICT: Sherlock getting shot was a fantastic thing to film. It was just fun to be a part of. It’s one of those ones that I don’t want to see until it actually airs because it will ... it will be majestic, I think, once it’s all sewn together. I hope it is, and you guys can be the judge of it.

On the set of Magnussen’s penthouse apartment. A clapperboard is clicked down.
VOICE: B-marker. Fifty frames.

BENEDICT: We have a fantastic villain by the name of Charles Augustus Magnussen, which Lars Mikkelsen plays with an amazing Danish cool.
LARS MIKKELSEN: I think he’s left most of what we would recognise as feelings behind years ago. (He laughs.) He doesn’t apply to ethics and moral the way we do. All the things that we can’t do is just what he does, you know?
MARTIN: Mary has a dark secret. Magnussen knows the details of this dark secret and he’s gonna hold it over her and use it. I mean, he’s basically a genius at using information to manipulate people.
AMANDA ABBINGTON: When I was filming Episodes 1 and 2, I didn’t know what her story was gonna be. I hadn’t been told.
MARTIN: Amanda certainly wasn’t imbuing it with ‘spirit of assassin.’
AMANDA: I’m playing it all very innocently which is ... which kind of helped. I would have played her differently had I known her story, her back story.
MARTIN: Retrospectively, people will see Episode 3 and go, “Yeah, there was that bit in Episode 1 that she was ...” but, trust me, we weren’t filming it like that, d’you know what I mean? We weren’t playing it like that.
AMANDA: It’s such a gift of a part, you know. It really is. It’s ... you think she’s this quite innocent, sweet, loyal, non-threatening girlfriend stroke wife, but actually she becomes this amazing, dangerous assassin, and it’s such a fantastic journey.
BENEDICT: What she is is a new best friend of Sherlock’s as well as the most extraordinary partner for this danger-obsessed man that is John Watson.
MARTIN: I think that’s what’s scary for John is, obviously, “Am I really so doomed to, like ... My friend and my lover now – they’re essentially psychopaths.” D’you know what I mean? A form of psychopath, you know – which isn’t a great CV heading!
NEVILLE KIDD (Director of Photography, ‘His Last Vow’): On Sherlock, as the DoP, you want to push the images as far as you can – make it as exciting, fast-paced and as stylised as you can. You’re basically working on the best-looking show in TV, so you want to keep the standard high. That’s my pressure, and that’s my challenge.
DANNY HARGREAVES (Physical Special Effects Supervisor): There’s lots of bullet hits, there’s lots of atmospheric effects; and today we’re obviously here [in Magnussen’s apartment set] doing the rig that you see behind me.
(Behind Danny is a slender metal frame which supported Benedict while Sherlock slowly fell backwards after being shot by Mary.)
BENEDICT: We had this fantastic rig which meant that I could fall backwards – something, I think, extrapolated from the brilliance of [Paul] McGuigan and Arwel [Jones] in Series 2 in Episode 1. Irene Adler, having drugged Sherlock, takes him on an explanation of the backpacker and how he died, and gets it. And she says, “Genius. You got all that from one look? Clever really is the new sexy,” and I just try to respond to her and go, “I, I, I ...” and fall back, drugged, into a bed, which we had on a hydraulic in the middle of a field. It was just launched up; I hit it on the pillow; we marked that spot; and there’s a sort of a plate shot and I put my head in exactly the same position on the real bed, on the real pillow in his bedroom. It was just a very fluid, beautiful, balletic piece of film-making; and this has been the same.
DANNY: This is a massive part of the episode, you know. Sherlock’s getting shot, you know. Does he survive, does he not, you know? And so what we were trying to do there is give him that kind of tipping motion of a controlled move so that when he falls back, we can make the most of it by giving the appearance that the whole room is tipping as well.
(While Danny is speaking we see footage of Benedict rehearsing the fall as he leans slowly backwards on the rig.)
DANNY: We measured Benedict very, very quickly, ’cause he had to run off and shoot a scene – very quickly drew an outline of his body and then we just made this specific rig for it; and it’s a low-profile rig which is designed to sort of fill the contours of his legs and his back so it’s comfortable for him. And then it’s on a manual kind of a lever, really, and it’s got a ... One of my colleagues is outside the set and he’s operating it in a controlled move. I wanted to take the mechanical edge away from that control and had it as a manual operation, just ’cause it just meant that we can get that really smooth move, rather than using a load of pistons and bits and pieces. So it was a lot more controllable that way.

WILL COHEN (VFX Executive Producer): Sherlock is a television series where the production team try and achieve as much as they possibly can ‘in camera’ and then look to Visual Effects to come in afterwards and just try and enhance what they have in order to help support the narrative. It’s one of those shows where the aim is to try and make the visual effects appear completely real and seamless, so that you don’t really notice that there’s been any CG done on the show while you’re watching it.

On set, a woman calls “Action” and Benedict/Sherlock falls slowly backwards on the rig.
NEVILLE: Sherlock’s style is keeping the cameras moving, very kind of dynamic shots that kind of immediately you go, “Wow, that’s a great shot! That’s a great composition!” You’re constantly visually stimulated as a viewer, and that goes along with the storylines and keeps everything kind of racing along.

AMANDA: Sherlock is dumbfounded, because he’s under the impression that it’s somebody else. When Mary turns and it’s her, the first thing he thinks is, “I’ve got it wrong.” Secondly, he’s like, “Oh my God, it’s Mary!” and I think ... personally I think he has a little bit of respect for her. She’s protecting John and also she can take care of herself, and she’s cleverer than he thought she was.
JEAN-CLAUDE DEGUARA (VFX Supervisor): Mary pulls the gun up and shoots, and we’re gonna do a track-in on the camera very fast, so that just the quicker the move is, that when you play it back in slow motion, it feels like a nicer moved camera. So this will be acting as a tracking marker. There will be a CGI bullet that we’ll then put into the gun. That bullet will just be moving through it quite slowly with a nice little trail behind it.
ELEANOR SUTTON (Compositor): The gun’s being shot; it was shot with a very high frame rate. We’re able to speed it up much faster than real-time where it was needed, and then for the bullet-time section we’re able to slow it right down. We made the 3D bullet and animated it across so it matched the shooting of the gun from the footage, and we’ve done some air distortion. This [the air trail] was made to follow the bullet. It’s a three-dimensional swirl so that then I would be able to distort the footage through that shape so that then it gave the impression of air flow behind the bullet.

BENEDICT: First of all he gets shot, then immediately Molly is a voice and Anderson is a voice coming to his mind as scientific advice on the ballistics, on the entry wound, on the impact of the bullet, on what he will die of and – in that split milli-milli-millisecond – he realises he has to fall backwards to stop the wound from haemorrhaging. He’s not gonna die of the entry wound; there’s no shattering of a mirror behind him; it’s ... the bullet’s in him. He will die of blood loss, so to stop that, it’s better for him to fall on his back. So then the fall begins and, within the fall, all the other traumas start to kick in – the pain of it, what’s actually happening to him; his body’s going into shock as he’s falling. It’s incredibly painful. He’s flying down corridors; he’s on a morgue table; he’s seeing himself dead; he’s running away from himself with Molly saying, “Don’t panic – whatever you do, don’t panic.”
LOUISE BREALEY: I’m spending a lot of time in the Mind Palace in Episode 3, so I’m out of focus a lot ... (she laughs) ... which is great! And, uh, I get to do some slappage. (She slaps one hand with the other one.) I’ve been practising. Benedict mainly was holding his hand up and having me slap his hand for a bit because I’m ... I’ve got slight binocularity problems, so my distance judgement’s not ideal! So, er, so yeah. But it was all right. I have to slap him. I’ve got some more slaps to do. I haven’t done them all yet. Two down, two to go. (She giggles.) So Benedict’s bearing up! A lot of slapping; a lot of talk of bullets and what-not.

A clip of Sherlock looking down at the hole in his chest, and then the blood starting to come out of it.
DANNY: We did the first bullet hit you see on Benedict, and it was a very particular effect. Ordinarily we’d just do a bullet hit with blood, but Nick [Hurran] – the Director – was very specific that he wanted to see the bullet hole first and then a moment, a beat, and then start seeing the blood seep – maybe to give the audience a “Maybe he survived it,” or whatever, but then when you start seeing the blood, you know he’s really injured. Obviously we didn’t shoot him for real, so we had a padded pad that kicks and makes a hole in the clothing, and then we had like a blood tube pumping blood and that’s what you saw – the little bit of blood pumping out.

MATTHEW MCDOUGAL (Compositor): This initial shot here [of a close-up of Sherlock’s shirt with some blood coming from the bullet wound] we got from Production. He’s already got a hole in his shirt and it already has some effects done on set where the blood is actually coming out. What the producers wanted was for there to be an effect that, when the blood comes out, you can see the blood start absorbing into the shirt. We did this by integrating just a small red patch that we managed to feather out and sort of get it to coincide with the moment when the blood comes out of the shirt.

NEVILLE: We’re trying to think of ideas that are new as well, because as technology changes, we can introduce new camera ideas – you know, the Matrix-style kind of shots where we stop-frame, kind of one-eighty degrees in a fight sequence. You could spend a lot of money having, like, fifty cameras to get that same shot. As technology improves, we can cheat it along with a bit of will of the Grips and the whole kind of team that we’ve got. We’ve come up with new methods to create those kind of shots that would normally cost you tens of thousands of pounds.
SUE VERTUE (Series Producer): What’s quite interesting about the directors – and we have three different directors here – and it’s sort of a health... not competition as much, but they all want to do something that somebody hasn’t done before, so, to Sherlock each one wants to add something fresh and new; a different kind of shot. We just had one where this sort of wood goes round with a bicycle wheel and, you know, it’s lovely when you see something exciting and fresh that you’ve never seen before.
NEVILLE: The bicycle wheel idea [to circle the camera around rapidly in Magnussen’s apartment] came up with something I saw on Youtube. I went to Nick, the Director, and it was an idea of putting a small camera on an electric fan and spinning it round. And I looked at the footage and the footage was amazing, but we could do it bigger and better. So we took the same ideas, same principles, applied it to bigger cameras and made a whole rig; and we spent weeks working out the best way of doing it, trying to find a replacement for the fan. We came up with the bicycle wheel. I think we’re on, you know – it’s the third version of the rig was the one we finally used.
BENEDICT: The bicycle rig was a beautiful thing as well. As Mary shoots me, I go down and then, as the camera comes around again, she’s striking Magnussen and he falls to the ground. I love all that. I love being balletic with the camera.
NEVILLE: It was quite an important moment with the bicycle rig because it was the first outing, the first time we’d used it, and we’d put a lot of planning into it. We tested it; it worked. But there’s a little bit of trepidation: will it work on the day when you’ve got all the actors in, you’ve got the Director, you’ve got the Execs? And thankfully, it worked!

LOUISE: Very exciting. Benedict was on that thing ... (she mimes him falling backwards on the metal rig) ... that helps you fall over today, and I was devastated that I wasn’t allowed to play on it. (She giggles.)
BENEDICT: It’s a lovely sensation. The coat sort of flies up, and you have time to think, and they have time to cut in to all these segments as he’s falling. Then he hits the ground, and then we’re back into reality – John’s up the stairs, Mary’s gone, Magnussen’s been struck to the floor but witnessed the shooting, so into the ambulance he goes.
WILL: This is a very strong visual show, Sherlock. It pushes the boundaries of storytelling on television. It’s very modern, it’s very slick, and everybody’s really working together to push it in that direction.
BENEDICT: It’s one of those great combinations of writing, brilliant directorial ideas from Nick, and phenomenal expertise in the Art department; and the SFX boys, as well, with this incredible rig. Remarkable. Really, really cool.

A full list of episode transcripts, DVD commentary summaries/transcripts, and transcripts of the DVD special features can be found here.

20th-Jan-2014 12:42 am (UTC)
Just so as not to sound completely bitchy:

Benedict: It’s one of those great combinations of writing, brilliant directorial ideas from Nick, and phenomenal expertise in the Art department; and the SFX boys, as well, with this incredible rig. Remarkable. Really, really cool.

This is a lovely quote & totally true.

But THIS GUY (Danny Hargreaves [Physical Special Effects Supervisor]) comes off sounding stupider than Anderson (and I mean to say, as stupid as Sherlock believes him to be...)

Here are just two sterling examples of the high IQ shown by DH:

Danny: This is a massive part of the episode, you know. Sherlock’s getting shot, you know. Does he survive, does he not, you know?

I'm sorry but does Sherlock survive? That would be SHERLOCK, of the title of the show SHERLOCK?!

Danny: Obviously we didn’t shoot him for real... (...) and that’s what you saw – the little bit of blood pumping out.

OH!! As opposed to all those OTHER action shows/movies wherein they take their stars and ACTUALLY shoot them for the realism it creates...

But thanks for continuing to type while (I'm assuming now) you must be asleep at this point, in order to get these DVD extras out to everybody! So that people like me can point out the morons who are speaking...

Sherlock debuts tonight in the States!! Yah!! (And I know everything that's going to happen...) Of course, I plan to watch each episode as it airs here with a sense of superiority, knowing not only what will happen but, b'c of these wondrous transcripts, I can actually follow the action and dialogue AS IT IS HAPPENING first time (here) just like a pro! (And then explain to family and friends what REALLY happened...)

20th-Jan-2014 04:32 am (UTC)
LOL INORITE?? Guess they didn't want to pay Benedict that extra hazard pay to get gut shot.
As Steve Martin once said, "Some people have a way with words, some people no have way." Guess that's why Dan Hargreaves is in SFX, not a writer, lol.
20th-Jan-2014 10:17 am (UTC)
May I draw your attention to the disclaimer at the beginning of this transcript:

please remember that some of the comments made by people may look serious in plain print but are actually meant sarcastically or humorously.

Danny isn't being stupid. Of course he didn't mean, "Does Sherlock survive?" If anything, I think he means, "Was he wearing a bullet-proof vest, or something like that?" And neither was his "we didn't shoot him for real" meant to be an explanation. What part of "Obviously" didn't you understand?

Maybe wait to see the actual footage before slagging off the crew?
20th-Jan-2014 12:07 pm (UTC)
Sorry, you're right. I haven't seen the actual footage or facial expressions or how the people are expressing themselves (altho by this point, I've becomes ridiculously lazy & have relied upon your transcripts to just tell me...)

And so, as would happen, I skipped right by your disclaimer at the beginning, b'c I've become used to you saying at the beginning of all your transcripts that we should consider these words in progress and not to just steal lines w'out giving credit, and thanking the people who helped you, etc. etc. and therefore I missed something that changed the manner of how things would sound w' that same Anderson IQ I attributed earlier to Danny.

It will probably be a while b'4 we get access to the DVDs here, tho, b'c they just started the series and they're being played out a week at a time (which actually makes sense, but it will just take longer b'4 items like the series DVDs and such become available.) I'm DEFINITELY not complaining about that, tho, b'c having access to the shows themselves was unbelievably awesome and I may never get over how cool it was to to live stream two of the three episodes from across the ocean!!

But, again sorry. I should have realized something was off from how the whole interview sounded but I was so totally focussed on how Sherlock was started here last night I wasn't paying attention the way I really should have...
22nd-Jan-2014 01:00 am (UTC)
Seems worth mentioning that Danny Hargreaves's job isn't to sound smart in interviews, it's to create special effects. This scene alone with the bullet wound and the rig that lets Ben fall slowly back - it's incredible. This guy is a major factor in what makes this show look amazing, and what's more he was nice enough to tweet updates and photos of their progress as they prepared for shooting this series. God forbid he should sound less articulate than Benedict.
22nd-Jan-2014 02:06 am (UTC)
Yes, I know. I DID apologize.

But it's true that this particular part of the episode, slmilar to when Sherlock slowly (appears) to tumble down during ASIB, is spectacularly done; and that's ignoring the concept that he very well may have, indeed, been talking speciously or in a particular manner I could know nothing about as I only know what was said and not HOW (i.e., the tone of voice.)

B'c (as I've mentioned b'4) I'm lazy, I don't want to go back & look this up, but I have an idea that Ariane said that this portion of the episode (just the part where Sherlock is shot & time suddenly crawls to a snail-pace) took up about 7 minutes of time. Something like that. So that scene was clearly meticulously done.

I really am sorry for commenting in such a nasty fashion. Truly. And I am also aware that I do not have the skill or wherewithall to do his job wherein it's quite likely that he could just go to law school and memorize your laws. (That is to say, special effects is an art; some people have it, some don't. I do not. Learning how to read, write, & memorize legal principles, OTOH, simply takes practice.)

If you could just picture me as Sherlock, from TEH, after John's third attack (except, but of course, I only wish I was so adorable!!) with that same silly expression on my face going: I said I was sorry... Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? (or something similar... again, I'm not quite up to looking up transcripts from what have been the most accurate I've ever read... but I'm pretty sure that's close to the comment) In any case, if you imagine ME doing that, w' the same sort of serious intent but likely poor approach, perhaps you won't be quite as annoyed. (Or maybe you still will. I couldn't say.) But I meant it.
30th-Jan-2014 06:31 am (UTC) - re: obviously we couldn't really shoot him
I watch a lot of 'making of' features, it's one of my favorite things to do (even before DVDs, when they were few and hard to come by - one of the realist I saw, that got me hooked on them, was the making of 'the Silver Nemesis, from the classic Who era). I love leavening how they do the special effects (especially way back when, when they HAD to do them in camera - something I REALLY love about Sherlock). I've noticed that 'obviously we can't just [shoot him/ throw him off a cliff/cut his head off/melt his face], so what we actually did is...' is practically a stock phrase in these kind of features. Obviously, the easiest way to get total realism would be to just do the thing. But since not killing the actor is a pretty important thing in the modern entertainment industry (we're not the ancient Romans, we can't just capture slaves in battle and force then to kill each other in the arena, thank God), faking realism is an art, and that expression is sort of a stock way to remind the viewer of the skill involved to get around the limitations when absolute realism isn't an option.
20th-Jan-2014 10:57 am (UTC)
Thank you for this transcript. Sometimes they speak so quickly that I can't catch everything they say, and I hate reading subtitles because it distracts me from the people who are talking. Your transcripts are brilliant and appreciated. :-)
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