This week, we were tasked with filming an interview that would form half of our documentary for next week. From the start, we had complications with the location, as we ended up hauling equipment across the maze that is the Parry-Williams building! When we arrived, we spent a lot of our time trying to find the most suitable background. Originally, we had decided to film against the concrete wall, and then we tried filming from the other end of the conference table in the middle of the room. But, in both cases, we felt that this didn’t feel natural both in person and on camera. This was further complicated with the lack of power points in the room, meaning our lights had to be close to each other. In the end, we decided to prop the door open, filming the subject (myself) against the out-of-focus corridor. The camera and corridor were positioned in parallel with each other, and I was positioned slightly off-centre, which finally felt and looked natural for both myself and the crew. Following usual interview conventions, Leon positioned me in frame left, with my body tilted, facing the interviewer (Elliot) to the right of the camera.
With lighting, we only used two of the kit lights: a key light in front of me at a 45-degree angle, and a backlight behind me on the same diagonal line. As for the fill light, the room had two control switches, so we used half of the room lights to provide a fill light. This was mainly to avoid the power issue that I discussed above. It was important that we used the barn doors, as we found too much light was leaking onto other parts of the frame or onto me. A main problem for the team is that I wear glasses, and I have a few visible shadows on my face from the glasses. I think we will need to review lighting conventions and try to accommodate the glasses issue in our later productions. Jon Snelling also walked past and provided us with a filled sandbag, as we had positioned the key light on a table – which was a hazard for both the light itself and the crew.
For audio, Daniel set up the boom microphone and positioned it just out of frame on the table. I thought this was a bad idea as I was worried that it would pick up audio from the corridor, however, the audio was clean when we reached the radio edit stage.
The problems continued into the edit, as the computer in our editing suite had graphics card issues, causing Avid Media Composer to have playback and UI issues that rendered it unusable. It’s also important to point out that, as a contingency, I have been backing up all footage to WeTransfer (an external file hosting service) before we hand back the SD cards. After sourcing another editing suite, we were able to assemble a radio edit in an hour without added music – as this would be provided from the activity audio. There were some moments that we had to discard due to my hesitations in answering and awkward phrasing that meant that we couldn’t isolate that clip without the context surrounding it. This could partly be due to the questions asked by Elliot, but I would also say that I am not confident being interviewed on camera. There were also moments where I tried to unintentionally dodge the questions, which resulted in those responses being unusable. However, I am excited for the “activity” part of this documentary, and I am interested to see in what interesting ways my team will capture me playing the piano.
Encounters at the End of the World (2017) Directed by Werner Herzog [Online]. Available at: https://aberystwyth.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=aaf5b115-dbdc-4936-b0dc-adb200d8d409&instance=blackboard (Accessed: 17 October 2021).
‘The Suspect: Ep. 2’ (2021) Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, Series 1, Episode 2, 30 June [Online]. Available at: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81094755 (Accessed: 13 October 2021).
Knowles, K. (2021) ‘Micro-lecture 2: Participatory documentary’. FM26520 Creative Documentary [Online]. Available at: https://aberystwyth.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=c258009f-109d-4dc2-8825-ac4100d5f8d6&start=0 (Accessed: 17 October 2021).
Nichols, B. (2001) Introduction to documentary. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.