151MC Creative Digital Practice – Assignment 2.

151MC Creative digital practice
Assignment 2
The grade will be 25% of your final grade.

“The capacity of photographs to evoke rather than tell, to suggest rather than explain,
make them alluring material for the historian or the anthropologies or the art historian,
who would pluck a single picture from a large collection and use it to narrate his or her
own stories. But such stories may or may not have anything to do with the original
narrative context of the photograph, the intent of the curator, or the ways in which it was
used by the original audience.” – Martha Sandweiss.

Digital photography currently sits in a very diverse field, it is quite common for
practioners to be making moving images (a photo film) as well as still images.
This assignment is designed to add to your pre-existing photographic skills and
introduce how digital technology can open up new forms of visual
representation.

Using the technical and creative skills acquired when making your show reel
during the skills instruction workshop with Bex’s, you are required to make a 3-5
minute photofilm, which examines and challenges the idea of representation. NB
Sandweiss’s quote and consider how you can creatively and depict one the
themes below in an interesting and poetic way.

A successful small business.

Personal hobbies – the need for a balanced work life balance.

An inspirational person.

A personal obsession.

As well as your film you will need to present your research and progress of your project on your blog. Chart the development of your ideas, your research, your script and how it relates to other contemporary practitioners working in the same way.

Initial Ideas

I had a few beginning ideas that I could have potentially developed for assignment 2.

  • A personal obsession – football. One idea I had was to make my film about the team I follow – Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. This would have consisted of attending a game and capturing the atmosphere of match day. The atmosphere of match day and the excitement of fans is really something unique therefore I was interested to capture this through film. I also thought of interviewing various fans and getting their thoughts on both the team and their own passion for football.
  • Another idea for a personal obsession was to film my university housemates and my obsession with the people around me. This could have included getting to know each person and their personality, and the things in which we get up to as a house.
  • A successful small business – my dad runs his own business in event photography. Being part of this as a photographer allows me to see all the processes and thought that goes into running a successful business. The film would have consisted of recording the set up of attending the events, actually attending the event followed by the uploading of images to the website and the printing of orders.
  • An inspirational person – my brother. This idea could fall into two categories – an inspirational person or a personal obsession. My brother Richard is a very passionate runner who works hard every day to improve his performance and fitness. He participates in a great number of races throughout the year with many that he has won. He is forever improving and despite injuries, never gives up. I have seen him grow as a runner and supported him and photographed him at a number of races and I am proud to cheer him on. For my film, I can explore the life of a runner and his dedication, including attending some races with him. I was able to visualise a successful film with this idea therefore I have chosen to take this idea further.

Initial ideas to include in my film:

  • Beginning shot of open road – ‘running with the camera’.
  • Shot of Richard’s head whilst running.
  • A shot of Richard running, transforming from day to night.
  • Photo of trophies and medals.
  • Photo of trainers.
  • A visit to the High Performance Centre at Birmingham University to use the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill.
  • An audio clip to accompany this explaining what it is and his interest in it.
  • Warm up before race.
  • Pre race interview.
  • Start of race.
  • Shots during race to show pace.
  • An audio clip to ask what it feels like during the race/what he does as backing clip.
  • Crossing finish line.
  • Possible award ceremony.
  • Post race interview.

Research

This video is quite short and basic but with a strong message. It has introduced me into the different shots I can use to explore the movements of a runner. The simplicity of the audio in the background “When I’m happy, I run. When I’m sad, I run. Even when I’m hungry, I run. Running… is my life.” Informs the viewer of the importance of running to him, and this is a really important message for me to have in my video.

  • “Day in the Life”
  • Introduction to what he is doing/the place.
  • Great visuals/shots/pans of Death Valley.
  • Detail of the race/maps.
  • Detail and visuals of diet.
  • Interview at start of day.
  • Publicity.
  • Social aspect/friends.
  • Opinions and feelings during ‘interviews’.
  • Highs and lows of his journey.

A really interesting and inspirational story into Michael Arnstein taking on the ‘Badwater Ultramarathon’ – running 135 miles through Death Valley in intense heat. I really like the “Day in the life” style, as it’s a good way of telling his story and getting a quick insight into how things are going. The composition and flow of this video works really well which I want to be able to incorporate into my own – the mixture of videos with audio tracks over the top and shots of Michael speaking all work together to make it interesting and keep the audience engaged. The video also has a slight humorous, ‘happy’ feel to it making it more enjoyable, whilst you also feel you get to know Michael so it makes it more personal.

  • A lot of backing audio for detailed explanation.
  • Life outside of running – working in the shop.
  • “It’s not glamorous by any means”.
  •  Running shots.
  • Various angles to capture speed/technique.
  • Interview to get to know ‘his story’.
  • Stills.
  • Slow motion shots.

The flow of this video works really well and has helped me with regards to composing my own. The different angles at which the running shots have been composed create variation and interest and whilst I feel there is a lot of audio, it is all very informative with regards to his life and story. After looking at this, I would like to have interesting audio whilst also mixing this with different visuals to keep the viewers engaged. I also think it was interesting how the video shows the different side of his life working in a runners shop – although I think this works well, for my video I’m going to stick completely to the running aspect.

Further Development

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Following the storyboarding task, I was able to plan the set up of my film efficiently.

Scene 1 – Begin with casual running shots with an introductory audio introducing self and passion for running.

Scene 2 – Combination of photos/videos showing various aspects of a runner- trophies, trainers, running club. Audio clip for description.

Scene 3 – Race day number 1, Birmingham Cross Country. Pre race interview followed by the beginning of the race, some shots during race and the end. Audio describing feelings during the race. Post race interview.

Scene 4 – Interests in spare time – visit to use the Alter G Treadmill with audio explaining usage.

Scene 5 – Race day number 2, Threshold winter series. Clips of warming up, start of the race, crossing the finish line and post race interview.

Scene 6 – Finish with a series of images with an audio track as to why running is so important to him.

Questions to ask for audio clips:

  • Introduction of self.
  • Training and partaking in races.
  • Explanation of the Alter G Treadmill.
  • Feelings during the race.
  • Feeling of winning a race.
  • What does running mean to you?

An Inspirational Person – Richard Simkiss

For a first attempt at making a photo film, I am pleased with my end result. Working predominantly with Nikon, it was interesting to get to know the Canon 5D and have the chance to use filming feature – as well as working with the Edirol RO9. Getting used to filming was challenging but exciting, as it was important to capture smooth shots and often mine included panning so sometimes they could be a bit jerky – but with more experience the better this became. Following research into videos about runners, it was made clear to me there were certain aspects which I needed to include in my film such as a good balance between interesting audios and visuals to keep the audience engaged. The biggest problem which I came across was having a large amount of footage meaning my video was 6 and half minutes long, with the limit being 5. There were certain clips which I knew had to be included in order for the film to make sense and the story to come across in good flow, therefore with careful selection I was able to bring the video down to 5 minutes. Following group critique, my aims were to cut down my film but to also make sure my transitions worked efficiently. I feel I achieved this by using a few black cuts however not too many and for not too long so they did not distract away from the story. I think the film works well with the number of audios and pre/post race interviews that are included because they are greatly detailed and make the video more personal. Another aspect I like is the use of music – I chose to use ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2 because it is an upbeat track similar to running. Getting the right balance between the volume of the music and the audio tracks could be problematic at times however after a number of adjustments I feel I achieved the right levels. It would be interesting to work with film again and see how I could improve upon my own skills and the different areas I could explore with it – this film was quite documentary style by attending races but also personal by getting to know my brother and his story. There are a great number of other aspects in film which I may like to explore in the future, considering the growing connection between film and photography.

Thanks to Richard Simkiss for his time and patience in being part of my photofilm.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on March 4, 2013.

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