Vlog 110123 – Pre-production notes and update for the film ‘Senghenydd’

‘It’s been busy and quiet’… my update as to pre-production notes for the film. I’ve managed to visit South Wales with a camera and spent a morning filming walls! Why? so it can be put on a green screen and it can be used as a backdrop to the stage when filming – so we don’t have to spend our days down a coal mine shooting. This is one of a regular set of video updates to chart the progress of the film and so I remember all that has happened. The production of the film and the 6500 word dissertation accompanying it will form my submission for an MSc in Advanced Media Production (AMP)

I have been prepping for a shoot in the Rhondda Heritage Park and around Senghenydd – of panoramas to be used as backdrop to the movie itself – walls of underground tunnels, an upturned mine truck, general scenes in the Aber valley and at memorial park. I used a sony camera but struggled to secure it to the tripod, so there are some wobbles that need editing out – however, I think most scenes will be static or in a small area and not of walking down a tunnel.

I was lucky with the weather, I got in and out before the heavens opened! I also gathered some background material – photos of Senghenydd colliery, both of the disaster and as a working pit. Once collected, I saved all the images on a stick and on my University account, all with descriptive names and separate folders for video, audio and photo. I also chose a selection of welsh hymns from the Aber valley MVC.

Next job, to put together the 2 minute intro to the movie. The intro takes you from a beautiful silhouette of a pit wheel (Big Pit) at sunrise, leading to a model of the village in 1913, a larger model of the pit and then an image of the latter day Lewis Merthyr colliery (which looks similar to Senghenydd). There will be titles on screen,

‘Senghenydd, Aber Valley, Near Caerphilly’

‘Tuesday 14th October 1913’


‘Two hours into shift’

The start of this montage will be accompanied by a hymn and once we get to Lewis Merthyr, the sounds of mining machinery are heard (BBC Sound effects). These finish with an electric bell ringing (the method of signalling for the mine cage). This then dissolves into an explosion and the image of the mine whistle appears, to the background of the sound of a steam whistle blowing forlornly. All in two minutes!

There has been a bit of a conversation about access to facilities. The team at the TFTS dept in Aber have been very accommodating with allowing me access to an editing suite and Adobe Premiere Pro software. However, they are obviously not resourced for the AMP project to use kit a lot and have hinted that it might not always be straight forward – especially with the stage hiring. However, once I have sat down with the actor and crew and worked out when. what and where – I can have a longer discussion on the whys and wherefores of this. They have indicated they will help however they can, but need the full picture

Next, I need to put this together, meet the crew and go through the script and try and hammer out a schedule…


By Geraint Roberts

Stuck in a limbo and desperate to do something meaningful, what to do? That is where writing began for me. A creative way of expressing myself and a chance to harness my wondering imagination. I close my eyes and I'm there. Wish I'd picked 'there' as a warm sunny day on a sandy beach, with the waves gently lapping on the shore...but I have to let the story load in my mind, then watch it unfold, wherever it may be. Currently I'm on a windy bridge, or a Devon beach, or a Cornish ti mine, or a submarine, or looking towards a Hebridean port...

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