HBO has been pretty tight with footage from season six of its hit show Game of Thrones, but now they’re letting you get a spoiler-free behind the scenes peek at how the show was filmed. Put together from the point of view of the camera operators working in Ireland and Spain, they go over how they take the scripts and director instructions and try to elevate every shot into art worthy of the series.
“I would say the biggest challenge we’ve come across on Game of Thrones is probably the terrain for us,” said Sean Savage, who worked with the ‘Dragon Unit’ in Spain. “We shoot some very beautiful photographs, yes, or at least I hope we do. But to get the cameras into those positions and to overcome the challenges and still make it look fantastic and great, that’s the big thing.”
“Wind, rain, heat. Often these locations are dusty and gritty,” recalled Ben Wilson, who was a part of the ‘Wolf Unit’ that films in Ireland and Iceland. “So, the gear is always having to be carefully looked after. Chances are we’ll have a lot of horses, or a fight sequence. So, we’re going to generate more dust. As well as that, there’ll probably be lots of fire aspects in. Probably be a lot of special effects guys with big fans throwing grit through them to make it even worse.”
“Whatever the environment is, we tend to enhance it to make it more exciting visually. But as a result, it’s quite punishing on the crews.”
Imagine filming some major Game of Thrones sequence and then realizing half the footage is unusable because a flake of fake snow is on the lens or there’s sand inside the camera. It sounds stressful enough to outweigh the joys of being part of such a major show. But the crews have certainly pulled off pretty much everything they’ve struck out to do (Dorne fight scenes aside). Hopefully this video gives you a little bit more of an appreciation for all the hard work they do.