We're so pumped to have Project Senium online and out there for everyone to see. After dreaming about it, planning, shooting, and editing it feels so good to have it out there and being received reasonably well. Looking at it from this side of the release it is easy to forget the obstacles and disappointments that we faced throughout the project and that is probably in part why others didn't create something like this before us. Like almost anything else worth doing, Project Senium's creation was about overcoming adversity.
From the onset there were difficulties that could easily have derailed us. The first was that the location was off-limits to the public. This limited what could and could not be brought into the building and so we designed a relatively small package of cameras and gear that allowed us to nimbly enter and exit, but gave us the tools we needed once we were inside. The advances in DSLR cameras and Freefly's stabilization made a reality what would have been a pipe dream 10 years ago. So that wasn't so bad. Oh yeah, and the air is teeming with cancer-inducing asbestos. No biggie, we'll wear masks. But early on we would suffer a huge disappointment.
As we began to plan Project Senium, we knew that if we had more resources we could do a bigger, better job. So we turned to crowd-funding and social media. After establishing a name among fellow urbexers we made our appeal and tried to raise what we thought was a reasonable amount of money over a month. These funds weren't going to make us rich or even pay us for our time, they were just going to help us cover costs. So when no help came from social media, it was a severe blow. Only friends and family gave to our crowd funding and even with their help we sat at about 15% of our goal. For a moment, it seemed like Project Senium could be dead. We decided that we would still do our best with what we had because this place was wasting away and we might not get a second chance.
In filming, we were presented with the challenge of the darkness. Lighting is always an issue in these places, and this is why mostly pictures emerge from people in the urbex community. With essentially no lighting, we had met this struggle before and tried to work around this. This time, though, we were able to plow through this problem. We were able to rent the Sony A7s which is truly an incredible camera. It can essentially see in the dark better than the human eye can, and it would have been nearly impossible to do Project Senium without it. Technology is truly changing the game, and we made every effort to employ it for Project Senium.
Production itself was plagued with adversity. In addition to the usual struggles of getting in and out undetected with all of our gear, conditions were tough. It was extremely cold (our overnight venture is recounted in another blog), at one point we lost a considerable amount of footage, we only had 5 days with the A7s, and a few of the crew got sick during that time. We even got to a point where we realized we did not have all the footage that we needed so that meant another day of shooting without the A7s. But we pressed on.
Even aspects of Project Senium's release were difficult. The premiere, though awesome, unique, and totally worth it for our cast and crew, didn't see the attendance from some key urbexers that we had invited. Upon our release we sought to get featured on sites like Vimeo so when a feature and staff pick never came it was kind of disappointing. But then all of a sudden wtf.nl in the Netherlands picked it up, then Gizmodo, then the Blaze, then the San Francisco Globe, and we're talking to more people still! At the time of this writing, nearly 50,000 people have watched Project Senium and we are blown away by what people are saying:
"Nothing short of bone-chilling...utterly fascinating" - SF Globe
"The eeriest thing...quite unsettling". - Sploid/Gizmodo
"Beautifully creepy." - The Blaze
"A must watch video." - ISO 1200 magazine
"You need to see this...both beautiful and disturbing." - player.hu
"Generated nightmares." - tjock.com
Sure we faced a ton of adversity to get to this point and even now there are life-sucking internet trolls, but we're here now and we're just happy that we get to preserve and share this experience with others. It's was never easy, but it was always worth it.