The Glowing Hours is a 2012 English live-action short film. Production took place in December 2010 and January 2011, on location in Hertfordshire, UK. The interior scenes and exterior of Stowfield were filmed at Elm Court Community Centre in Potters Bar, with the upstairs bedrooms being shot at St Christopher School in Letchworth and additional exteriors in Welwyn Garden City. The shoot had to be completely rescheduled on the second day of filming when unexpected heavy snow fell throughout the December leg of the shoot, having to reshoot several scenes and move all of the large exterior scenes to avoid further continuity problems. A second unit day took place in April, where pick-up shots with artificial snow were also needed.
The unprecedented weather conditions caused a multitude of scheduling conflicts and budgetary issues, with several of the shooting days being cut short and almost two days of filming lost. Eventually in post-production, relatively extensive VFX would be required on over 30 shots with several matte painters having to come on board for two weeks to digitally paint on snow, most notably the arrival shots near the beginning of the film which are entirely digital. In addition to the snow and short light days, the film featured a mainly child actor cast, with a 7-year-old lead actor in every scene, allowing only very small windows of shooting time and a complex schedule with stand-ins and doubles being used in some scenes.
However it wouldn’t be until six months later that most of the key members of crew would come on board that the production would start growing rapidly. During this time drastic alterations were taking place in the script, which was then titled ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ and would be over most of production. Soon the production started rousing interest from charities for children in care The Who Cares Trust and Voice, who began to champion the film. Producer Kaushik Bhattacharya of Milky Films became involved only three days prior to shooting, so that Paul Young could focus on his directing duties, who up until that time had been sole producer organising the production with first time Production Managers, Stephen Boyle and Darren Jones.
Lloyd Quinton was cast as the pivotal role of Spook in an extraordinary last minute casting change the day before filming. Originally on set as a production runner, upon meeting the director Lloyd was auditioned and cast that evening despite having no experience or training in acting, in a questionable casting gamble. Lloyd would practice his lines with the director in-between takes as he shot other scenes, and Lloyd would stay until the end of filming so the two could rehearse on an empty set at night. There was a running joke on set when Lloyd asked on his first day of shooting, “Do you still want me to make tea for people?”
The film was shot on the RED® camera system, with cinematography executed by BAFTA Brit-To-Watch Sam Care, editing by NFTS graduate Una Gunjak and sound design by two-time BAFTA nominee Andre Jacquemin. The original soundtrack was composed by Robert Charles Mann and Brend Trend; featuring an entirely orchestral score with use of choir and glass harmonica to underlay the magical and emotional tone of the film. Director Paul Young stayed with composer Robert Charles Mann for nearly a month in Chaumont, France, where the soundtrack was completed. The film was mixed at Redwood Studios and Twickenham Film Studios in September 2011.
A preview screening was held on Friday 14th October at The Mayfair Hotel in London to an audience of over 230 people, where it received an ovation. The film is the first production produced by Paul Young and his company LightKeeper Entertainment. It will premier and begin screening at festivals in March 2012.