On Wednesday August 31st 2011 the cast and crew of Nikita descended on The Distillery District to shoot nine scenes from episode five of their second season. It is really fun watching a film crew come in and take over for a night. It’s neat to watch how they makeover the brick buildings and cobblestone lanes of The Distillery to resemble some other part of the world. Usually its a period piece or sometimes its Eastern Europe, or both… This shoot needed The Distillery to look like Russia.
A portion of the Fermenting Cellar was used as the interior of the Safe House and another piece of real estate over by the metal vats on the south wall became a torture chamber. Another crew member’s Twitpic , http://twitpic.com/6eimlc as seen below carries the message “It’s a bleak fate for crew members who disappoint us”. Im not sure if @MagicBranch is talking about life in the show? or life on the show?
Episode five is being directed by Ken Girotti and he is very efficient. He knows what shots he wants long before the crew begins setting up the lights and laying track for the dolly. The camera is almost always moving on Nikita, unlike other TV series which have a lot of static scenes.
The bulk of the day was spent inside the stone walls of the Fermenting Cellar, and up on the wooden catwalk above. There was lots of dialogue in the Safehouse and that means lots of coverage with two cameras and multiple angles. Nikita is a fast paced show and even in the slow scenes, the heavy dialogue scenes, there has to be a lot of angles to keep the story flowing.
At midnight, Patrick Tidy, the 1st Assistant Director marshaled the entire crew outside to fetch three exterior shots in Distillery Lane. They parked a white BMW right where building 12 and building 5 meet and the cobblestones were suitably wet down and lit up to provide a romantic backdrop for a tender moment between Michael and Nikita. Presumably they just escaped from somewhere and now finally had time for a kiss? Well dressed steam hoses were back lit by sources off camera to make this steamy moment even moister in the close-ups. You can see the exterior of Bldg 58 is nicely illuminated in the background, and all the metallic chairs and granite tables that usually adorn the courtyard have been packed away around the corner for this cinematic occasion. Rene Ohashi, the Director of Photography, gave the bricks a pale sodium lamp glow, ‘a queer yellow light’, while the foreground action was lit primarily with the overhead 6×6 bounce that you can see in the photo above.
There is a whole website dedicated to Michael and Nikita here, and it does a good job presenting these two characters, played by Shane West and Maggie Q, as ‘badass soulmates’.
The Distillery District is well photographed by tour groups, wedding photographers, and small, medium and large budget film and television projects – there’s something for everyone here.