Back in 2016 when I had completed the script for the short film Colliding, I decided to take advantage of working for Oxford University. The film was all set in one location - inside a prestigious lecture theatre. Something Oxford University has plenty of. But, it couldn't just be any lecture theatre otherwise it could've been filmed anywhere. It had to have the authenticity and stereotypical aesthetics of a classic lecture room. The audience had to believe that this was Oxford and this was a legitimate physics lecture theatre.
Weirdly though, only a few places around Oxford University maintain that old, classic look. I'm talking about the wooden pews that incline to the back of the room with the dusty blackboards at the front. I knew about this from a previous work assignment I was on only a year earlier. The lecture room was in a building called the Le Gros Clark Building. This is usually home to the department of Physiology Anatomy & Genetics, but for Colliding, it would be home to Quantum Mechanics and Condensed Matter.
Unfortunately as you may notice from the images in this post, the blackboards were changed to white boards by the time I came to complete my location scout. Of course, this would have to be a compromise if filming were to take place here.
After a few more location scouts we hit a few more hurdles; the actual Physics lecture room had bright red carpets. The Natural History Museum had a raised stage and so did the Law Faculty's Gulbenkian theatre.
So we ended up at the Mathematics Institute. It's grandiose size and new build added something of an Oxford quality.
It had the floor space to film the scenes and be flexible with our shots as well as enough plug sockets for our equipment. The scrolling white boards worked and well and we could hire it out for a reasonable price given that it was already booked out.
That's when we ran into trouble with our lead actor...