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  • Writer's pictureAlfie Hollingsworth

Shooting in The Real Capital

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Steve Canty approached me to shoot his ghostly Christmas short 'A Christmas Drop' back in August 2019. We ended up shooting in November for 4 days. Our only location was a fascinating and properly old school pub, An Spailpín Fánach, down in Cork.

I was pleased to be able to get a gaffer( and none other than Noel McElligott) in for this as I knew the tight spaces and low ceilings would pose problems. We also had the challenge of lighting the clock FX. Much of this was done in post in the end. Noel brings such an edge to any of the films I shoot as he always has suggestions on hand if I need something in a pinch and don't have the time for anything fancy. He's a steadying presence on set and I can't imagine working without a gaffer anymore, especially Noel!

Unusually I edited, sound-mixed(not particularly well for the latter)and did the VFX on this short, although it was a great experience I think it will be my last attempt at the entire post-production process, I'll leave it to the professionals and focus on camera instead! Turns out I'm not much of a fan of rotoscoping, then again who is!?

Most of the lighting was done from above or off to the sides of the scene, through doorways and a set of interior windows, because we didn't have a great deal of room for lighting, although I'm pleased with the 'Christmassy' fairytale look we achieved. The use of LEDs kept everything cool on the set, it's amazing how far technology has come, colour matching LEDs on the cheaper end is still an issue, but getting less of a thing these days! I'll take an HMI any day, but it's lovely to be able run an entire scene's worth of lights off of house power with no tripped switches.

Had great fun shooting this one, I love the Cork sense of humour and the attitude of being in it together and just getting it done, no matter what!

We shot on the Ursa Mini 4.6k EF with Sigma Zooms(18-35 & 50-100)

Below are some BTS shots of the lovely crew! Followed by some screen grabs fresh off the press. (Apologies to anyone who didn't get a mention, I don't have set photos of all of you.)


Michael Donnelly, 2nd Assistant Camera standing(sitting ;) ) in for lighting and blocking.

(Left to right) Gaffer, Noel McElligott & Brendan Ryan, who plays Enda, the first ghost to appear through the clock, taking a welcome break in between setups.

(Left to right) The side of Joe Lyons, who plays Jim, the main character of the story. Brendan Ryan(Enda) and Lisa Marie Dwyer who plays Susan, Jim's wife and new co-owner of the pub.

Having some fun on set! Previously not mentioned. (Left to right) Danny Buckley(Ultan) Michael Ryan(Fintan)

Clap! Big thanks to Michael for his hard work on this!

Lovely fake pints of Murphy's, clever courtesy of the cast. (Cork is the only county that Guinness doesn't rein supreme over, I am told!)


That's all folks! Thanks for giving me your time!


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