RFDS – behind the scenes

In a nondescript building on Blende Street, season two of Channel 7’s highly successful local TV drama RFDS is being shot on a purpose-built set and the Barrier Truth was invited along for a peek behind the scenes as filming rolled.

The set, a large, sectioned space, is a hive of activity with the cast and crew milking every minute of their 10-hour day, ensuring not a second is wasted. A long beam with a camera on the end of it protrudes into a tent-like enclosure where the internals of a plane scene is being filmed.

The scene is one where a double extraction has been executed by the fictional RFDS team, and the doctors on the plane are tending to the patients. The actors playing the patients face at least a couple of hours laying on the gurneys inside the plane, so need to get their bathroom breaks out of the way prior to filming!

The ‘plane’ itself is a transformable masterpiece that is a tribute to the set designers who helped put it together.

When we were on set, we saw how just how transferrable it was. The back was open during the scene we watched, for the camera to fit through, but we were assured the entire thing can be taken apart depending on what the director needs for a particular scene.

“Our plane set is an incredible feat of engineering,” Executive Producer Imogen Banks told the Truth.  It’s the combined effort of many skilled brains and hands, all overseen by our extraordinary production designer, Sam Hobbs.

“It’s built so that we can pull the front, back, sides and top off to get the necessary camera angles, and we can manoeuvre the plane, to mirror the movement of flight and, when necessary, to hit it with turbulence. And then lighting is adjusted according to what time of the day our RFDS team are flying. Making a set come to life is a collaboration between all departments, but particularly through the way light is used.”

The show, a remake of the 1980s classic Australian drama series The Flying Doctors, takes its connection to the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service very seriously.

“They’re ever present as an organisation,” actress Emma Hamilton, who played Dr Eliza Harrod on the first season of the show, told the Truth.

“I think all of us are very aware that we’re representing a real organisation that does incredibly important work, and we want to do our best to show them in as the best possible light that we can.”

With filming in its final four-week block, it means the show has almost wrapped filming for the highly anticipated second season, meaning the Logie-nominated show that was Channel 7’s highest rated TV drama in 2022 will be back on our screens very, very soon.

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