Pre-Production | Location Scouting

Finding the Binary Opposite of 'Machine'
July 12th, 2018

nature, ancient, access, binary opposition, peak district

Importantly, not only do I have to fully control the mode of recording in terms of formatt, camera, colour space and exposure, but I also need a location that serves a thematic as well as logistical function.

Similar to the research I conducted at the outset of my practice-based project this year, I am chiefly looking for locations that are definitely British in origin; whose topology can suitably signify an ancient landscape that has abhorred a vacuum.

Additionally, for the purposes of genre, scale of production value and motion tracking I also require a location that has a great deal of perspective; large vistas and skies; as well as, granular natural detail to assist with tracking and matchmove.

  • Validity of Research 80%
  • Complexity of Content 80%

Above is an image taken at Harboro Rocks in the winter, Peak District, UK

Secondary Research


Chiefly, because of its locality to myself, but also because of the ancient and varied nature of its landscape I focused my research around locations in the Peak District.

Firstly, I searched for locations that already bared the remnants of human/manmade civilisation, that have since been reclaimed by nature. To this end, I came across Harboro Rocks, which is a Stone Escarpment, with a ruin of a Victorian Mine embedded in the hillside.

The structure and position of the Mine alongside the ‘stepped’ nature of the natural rock formation not only denotes the industrial past/present of the UK, but also alludes to other past technically advanced civilisations such as the Mayans on the Incas.

One issue with this site is possible access, with the all the access routes around the site being owned by Hoben International – a mineral and stone processing plant. The position of the rocks, even though accessible by a long walk by foot, do make driving to and from the site and more importantly shipping equipment to site difficult if not unclear in terms of legality.

Core findings


Harboro Rocks and its mine are very distinctive, inherently illustrating the binary opposition between machine and nature.


Due to the lack of accessible roads and parking, as well as the vague nature of the ownership of the land around the site, Harboro Rocks and its mine are very distinctive but unfortunately not an option in the short term.

secondary RESEARCH


Using this as inspiration I studied Peak District sites for other large stone escarpments and eventually came across a site I had visited many times – both socially and for prior filming projects: Stanage Edge, Peak District.

I also know from experience and from my research online, that the site is very accessible to the public from road.

If i was to drive to and park at the Plantation Car Park, there is then a relatively short, if steep, climb to the top of the Stanage Edge escarpment, which should then give very wide views of the Dark Peak as well as the vale inbetween. Additionally, Stanage Edge is one of the oldest sites of its type in the UK, formed in the Ice Age by a Glacier.

To this end, its geography is very distinctive, with a combination of dark peat bogs, large limestone rocks and rugged cliff edges. This will not only offset the man made nature of my renders, but also give very valuable parallax and tracking markers for Tracking and Solving in post.

Core findings


Stanage Edge is not only an ideal site in terms of genre and style, but also in terms of thematic relevance; its geography in stark, binary opposition to the notions of machine. It is also highly accessible by road – with parking, toilets and clear access – if a little steep in terms of climbing once there.


The only drawback would be that Stanage is both exposed in terms of weather, but also is very popular with climbers. To this end, I will need to monitor both weather conditions and will have to travel to the site very early in the morning or late at night to avoid the general public.

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