Production Talk - 'Haunted Changi' by The Haunted Changi Crew
HAUNTED CHANGI - A group of local filmmakers explore the famously haunted Old Changi Hospital in Singapore with terrifying and tragic results.
On Facebook, HAUNTED CHANGI is an interactive film project in which people can interact and talk to the crew member-characters of the movie. Audience are able to read what goes behind the scenes during production and correspond between each other - making it a unique experience for the viewer.
So what inspired you to start on this project?
There are many supposedly haunted places in Singapore, but Old Changi Hospital seems to be the granddaddy of them all. There are so many urban legends and stories surrounding OCH (true or not)... how could we not take interest? I think when we first set out, it was just a documentary on OCH's past but the direction seemed to change as we became more interested (some might say obsessed) in exploring OCH itself. The final film is a both a mix of our originally intended film project and behind the scenes footage that was captured along the way. In light of everything that eventually happened while filming, that made for the best movie experience.
What is Changi Hospital being used for now? It looks abandoned, but knowing the Singapore govt, they cant just be leaving it to rot right?
When we filmed in OCH, we were documenting it in a state in which it now no longer exists. Basically, we documented the premises just before it's latest clean-up. After we filmed there, it was entirely cleaned, gutted, and painted -- all the old doors, cabinets, stray documents and windows have now been removed. It is a shell of it's former self. It will never be the same. It will never again be like it was when we filmed there. Our film crew captured OCH in it's spookiest prime, when it had been abandoned and unkempt since the hospital officially closed in the 1990s.
From what I understand OCH had been leased out by a property developer in 2006 and was targeted to be turned into a resort spa (ya right!) Plans fell through and the company leasing OCH returned it to the government. We received permission from the company to film inside OCH just before they cleaned it up and handed it back. OCH has heritage status, so it will not be torn down... but it still remains a victim of time. I believe the government is looking to lease it out to another developer in the future... but it should just be made into Singapore's official haunted house... sponsored by the Singapore Toursism Board. ;)
You keep selling some scares and mentioning some very compelling footages in your blog... can you share what kind of a scare is that? A shocking-type scare? A 'gets-underneath-your-skin' type scare? A slow burn?
While I cannot reveal the exact details of the footage, as we are still in negotiations for a distributor and potential buyer of the footage... I can say that yes, there are some very frightening elements in HAUNTED CHANGI and the story that eventually unfolds with the film crew. Stringing all the footage together in post-production, our filmmaking process actually became a big part of the story as our cameraman shot a great deal of behind the scenes footage. Combined with the initial focus, the viewer will see not only what we experience while filming in OCH, but also how OCH eventually effected us all. I personally think the unfolding of the story is a "slow burn", but even so, the exploration of OCH was very well shot by our crew and will be interesting for the viewer to experience. Sadly, in the end however, there are truly horrifying and tragic results.
Will it get under your skin? Yes, I think some people will definitely think twice before deciding to explore the abandoned building again. There are many dangers in OCH. Kids can go in and out seemingly unharmed, but such things can attach themselves and effect your life much later... as our crew painfully discovered first hand. Enter at your own risk... you have been warned and our film will serve as evidence.
How is this film different from other short videos of OCH taken by anyone?
Very different in that HAUNTED CHANGI is a feature-length film and we took great care to capture OCH in a very professional manner using high resolution imagery and certain camera techniques -- including specially made HD infrared helmet cams and using long shutter exposure sequences and the fastest lens available. The long exposure sequences in particular will show the audience exactly what it looks like inside OCH at night WITHOUT any artificial lighting. Watching HAUNTED CHANGI footage, the audience will truly experience OCH like never before... and on the big screen. Great sound recording for the project too!
HAUNTED CHANGI footage was painfully captured at high quality so the footage can be enjoyed on the big screen.
Is it true that the main bulk of the film was shot only from a night's footage?
Night footage probably comprises about half of the footage. Infrared footage is used only during our initial night exploration and is mixed with the footage of the 7D. Basically for the night exploration we had a 3-camera shoot -- one 7D with two infrared helmet cams. Nothing got out of our site! The 3-camera shoot actually ended up playing a pivotal role in the night exploration during one "encounter" because one of the cameras actually captured something that the other two did not and it is quite disturbing and unexplainable. We are dying to release this particular footage to the public, but obviously we need to save some things just for the film release. However, we are considering releasing this particular sequence on the Internet before the film is in cinemas to help promote the movie. Can't promise anything right now though.
Why the choice of the Canon 7D cam? How is it particularly suitable for the 'Blair-Witchy' nature of your film?
We chose the 7D for a couple of technical reasons: 24/25P HD recording, able to use great film quality lens, very good in low-light, portability, able to take high resolution still sequences at fast rates. At first it seemed like a hassle to deal with recording sound separately, but I think it actually just enabled the soundman to capture great recordings on his own. It really wasn't a big deal to sync the sound in the end.
Do the 'scientific gadgets' actually help?
The usefulness of "scientific gadgets" in the study and exploration of the paranormal can of course be debated. We see it as a step in the whole process of simply recording evidence. Using the gadgets can't really prove anything either way, but it can help narrow down the possibilities one way or another. That said, we understand a lot of people like to point out orbs and such in photos. We are not interested in any of these orbs and they have nothing to do with the footage we've captured. Others can point out orbs and debate the significance, but these orbs are not the focus of our footage. So trust us, we won't be showing orb pics and crying "ghost!"
So... do you believe in ghosts and/or the supernatural?
I did not believe in ghosts or the supernatural before filming HAUNTED CHANGI... but I definitely do believe now. I am never going back there again... ever.
When and where is 'Haunted Changi' going to be released?
As for HAUNTED CHANGI's theatrical release.... looks like early September. We will definitely make a public announcement on the HAUNTED CHANGI web pages when we know for sure.
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