Home and Away

Cameron Welsh reveals Summer Bay storm secrets

With a Summer Bay storm brewing, Home and Away's executive producer Cameron Welsh reveals the secrets behind filming the big-budget storyline.

Cameron Welsh reveals Summer Bay storm secrets

Unplug your phones, book a date in front of the TV and hide the remote as next week the clouds gather, the winds rise and the rains come for an unmissable week of Home and Away. We caught up with series producer Cameron Welsh for the behind-the-scenes secrets on the big-budget storm episodes which put at risk the lives of some of Summer Bay's best loved faces.

We hear the storm episodes are some of the most expensive ever shot. Is that right?

This block cost double the budget of a usual block, with the money going toward extra shooting days, lots of wind and rain FX and CGI.

Talk us through the story.

When the storm hits Summer Bay, Romeo and Alf go to the rescue of Roo and Harvey, who have chartered a boat that capsizes in the rough seas.  Meanwhile, the residents of the town and nearby areas assemble at Summer Bay High, which becomes the evacuation centre, but the roof collapses, trapping Bianca and Heath.

We hear there was a lot of green-screen filming and CGI used to create the storm. What can you tell us about this? 

This is something we don’t usually do, but we wanted to bring the reality of the storm into our studio sets and used green screen there.  We also used it on location to combine with SFX to intensify the overall feel of the storm.

How long did the scenes take to film? 

We had five days location and six days studio – an extra three days in total.

What was your favourite part of the filming? 

The rescue scenes on location in Cattai National Park were pretty cool – massive rain and light towers, freezing cold conditions, but everyone in great spirits, enjoying being part of something special.

What was the most difficult bit of the story to shoot?

None of it was easy!  The biggest difficulty was probably the ADR [additional dialogue recording] of three full episodes. We couldn’t record usable sound on the day due to the noise of the wind and rain machines, so it was all done in post production weeks later.

Is there anything you either had to change along the way or wish you could have done differently?

There are always things you see which you think could be improved. This is the case with any block and is also the case with this one, but really, they’re minor things.  We are really happy with the result.

How did the overall process compare to a typical day’s filming on Home and Away? 

Lots more water!  It took longer – more set-up time for FX and stunts etc., but otherwise we took the same shooting approach.

Summer Bay has seen its share of disasters over the years. How do you think these episodes compare? How do you feel about the end result?

I loved the mudslide of 2000, but this is right up there.  We’re really happy with the results and hope the viewers are too.

Have you any other anecdotes about the storm filming and/or any fascinating facts you can share?

The most memorable thing for me was really seeing everybody pull together to create something so massive – especially Luke Mitchell, who had to endure the worst conditions for the longest time but never complained once and just kept turning up for more.