Digital Video – Week 03

Class Work

Our pitch was received quite well during the last class. With a degree of trepidation, we stepped up first, expecting to be grilled. But instead we were guided through a ‘to-do’ checklist of our planned shoot.

I think our pitch went smoothly in large part because we were all aware our plan and we’ve kept it simple. I still believe that for a project with such a short turnaround time, the last thing we should attempt to take on is a documentary that requires a huge amount of character development, or multiple shoots. The Bus Museum is quite well contained, with all our shooting and interviews available to us in the one place, on the one day, allowing us to focus more on getting it right and then moving straight into post production.

After ticking all the boxes during our pitch, it was just a matter of confirming gear and dates.

Thank goodness for the helpful Resource Center lads. There’s some pretty expensive looking gear in the bowels of COFA’s C-Block and we made a good effort to book as much of it as possible. Flashy gear makes it look like you know what you’re doing, so the Bus Museum volunteers are going to think we’re pros. He’s some of what we’ll be taking along for the shoot (if you’re adverse to lists of tech gear, look away now):

  • 2 x Sony A1P cameras
  • Zoom H4 sound recorder (this one is from my geek-shed)
  • Sennheiser ME66 shotgun microphone + boom pole
  • Dedo lighting kit + reflectors
  • Clapper, XLR leads + power leads

I’m not totally sold on the Dedo lighting kit, but after explaining our shoot to the Resource Centre guys, I was told with conviction that it would do the job (and who am I to doubt the Keepers of The Gear). Either way, the warehouse has excellent ambient light (if the rain clouds disappear by the weekend) and the Dedo kit could give some nice highlights to the buses.

We’ve got a solid day of shooting planned, and have been assured that we’ll get to interview up to six of the volunteers, working at the museum. Potentially there are a lot of great shots in there, with some excellent characters to capture on film, so fingers crossed it all goes according to plan and we come away with a bunch of workable footage. There’s still time for one last group meeting before the shoot, so we’ll sit down to check off any last minute details, like transport arrangements and finalising questions for those we interview.

Development

I have been thinking a lot about the style of the shot composition that could work for this documentary. I’m still leaning toward the up close, almost macro style of Helvetica, although seeing some of Werner Herzog‘s film, Lessons of Darkness in the lecture reminded me of one of my favourite documentary-style films, Baraka.

This is one of the better known scenes from the film and whilst it’s a bit heavy-handed with its juxtaposition of humans and battery chickens, it’s undoubtedly effective imagery in place of a spoken narrative. And all shot on beautiful 70mm film… if only!

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I absolutely love tracking shots on a large scale. And within the huge bus warehouse, I think we may have scope to do just that. How it would sit alongside the closely shot interviews and cutaways of engine parts and bus badges is something that we may have to discuss after the shoot.

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