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Leiden, Movies for the Museum
Monday 4 June 2007

The start of the movie can be seen here at the RMO website!We received an invitation to act as experts (ahem) for the Leiden Museum of Antiquities or RMO (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Dutch). The planned to make a short movie for the younger visitors of museum about one of their top pieces, the Late Roman helmet from Deurne (read more here). Since we had a (not too bad-looking) replica of that helmet, as well as all the other gear, we were asked to help make this movie. The plan was to takle the day off and go to Leiden, where the museum had hired a crew, to begin filming as early as possible. But with the traffic being what it usually is on Monday moprning, that plan hit a snag and we were almost an hour late.. Luckily, so was the director! The sky was more worrying - although we started out with bright sunshine, dark clouds kept moving, and a distant rumbling was heard..

The Hortus gardens in Leiden from the air.
The Hortus gardens in Leiden from the air.

Joost Winterwerp as veteran of the Stablesiana VIThe place where the crew meant to recreate the burying of the helmet was the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden. That was a surprise, since the peat bogs of northern Limburg south of Deurne, a wide open landscape with open forest, was hardly the same as these densely wooded gardens in the middle of a large town! But apparently, the film crew managed to do just that. We only had to stop time and again when the ubiquitous plane flew by, when the expected motorcycle buzzed along the streets, or when visitors got too close, attracted by the cameras.

Justsus being dressed..
Justsus being dressed..
.. and repeating his lines. Joost was meant to play the distant ancestor of a modern visitor.
.. and repeating his lines. Joost was meant to play the distant ancestor of a modern visitor.
Getting ready for the first take.
Getting ready for the first take.

I'm your ancestor boy - ain't I handsome!
Justus on top of the stairs.
Justus on top of the stairs.

The film crew were the crew that usually shoot for Zapp, a well-know Dutch children's program. We had a young actor by the name of Joost Winterwerp, who managed to more-or-less fit into our combined gear. No small feat, because veterans like Andreas and myself are quite a bit bulkier that he is! Nevertheless, the clothes did fit him (although we had to adjust the slipping belt about 20 times!).

Preparing the sacrifice - the helmet, shoes, a fibula and the coins in the purse.
Preparing the sacrifice - the helmet, shoes, a fibula and the coins in the purse.
The crew and extra's: Andreas, Maaike (assistant), Yolanda (RMO), Marjolein (RMO), Scet (camera), Joost, Chantal (director) and Rik (sound).
The crew and extra's: Andreas, Maaike (assistant), Yolanda (RMO), Marjolein (RMO), Scet (camera), Joost, Chantal (director) and Rik (sound).
A shot across the 'lake'of the sacrifice - well actully it's a pond and the leather bag has an old pot inside..
A shot across the 'lake' of the sacrifice - well actully it's a pond and the leather bag has an old pot inside..
The drowning of the helmet.
The drowning of the helmet.

The movie was shot in three parts - part one about the Late Roman ancestor, part two about the discovery of the helmet, part three in the museum.

It's a wrap!
It's a wrap!
We were only involved in part one (and only the helmet in part two), but even that took us about 4 hours! Part one also had several takes: one - the stairs, two - preparing the sacrifice, three - across the lake, four - 'drowning' the sacrifice.

After the succesful 'drowning' of the helmet we went packing our gear. The crew continued in a small patch of mud - pretending it was the bog, 1500 years later. Amazing what these camera people can do! Anyway, we had a good day with lots of nice people and interesting stuff.

The start of the movie can be seen here at the RMO website!


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