Learning how to use Final Cut Express
During my journey i managed to accumulate around 3 hours worth of footage from beginning to end. Although this has given me a lot of room to play in regards of creating different film sequences, as a somewhat indecisive person this has actually ended up being more difficult for me. I seem to have acquired a film makers arrogance and begun to think that in fact all of my footage is fantastic, therefore it has been stressful cutting out sections which i was initially very fond of. After hinting that perhaps the films should be 15 minutes long rather than 10 and subsequently being denied, i have finally been able to cut down my film to around 10 minutes (perhaps a little bit over, don’t make me cut anymore!) Although it has to be said that in some respects i am glad i filmed as much as i did as there have been clips which i originally recorded just for the sake of it but have actually ended up being vital to my film due to their unintentional audio or actually looking better on the big screen. Clips which i planned carefully before hand often ended up being cut as there wasn’t a ‘realness’ to them which i really desired for my film.
The editing process has certainly been a learning curve, and i have never had more respect for film makers as i do now. Desperately trying to make the clips and audio run together seamlessly without being cut off abruptly or too much background noise, trying to select the clips where mine or Holly’s hand weren’t shaking too much, and finally grappling with the ever confusing and baffling world of technology has been a challenge every step of the way. Nonetheless, if i was offered to this project again and start from scratch i absolutely would. I would film more carefully and concisely, avoid interrupting interviews with my own voice AT ALL COSTS and finally i would not rush the editing process and give myself a good few weeks to play around with how to best send a lasting message to my audience. Bring on the next film!
After a difficult 6am start and sluggishly preparing for the day in the dark, myself and Holly managed to do some filming, choose our final destination (Scunthorpe) and be leaving Canterbury by around 7:30am. My initial thoughts when placing the pin blindfolded in Scunthorpe were ones of uncertainty. It is place i knew very little about and for some reason had in my head that it was a seaside town. I think our lack of knowledge about our destination worked in our favour as we did not make any assumptions and certainly did not change the way we filmed to ‘fit in’ with Scunthorpe, so to speak.
As we travelled north to Scunthorpe we took spontaneous detours to Cambridge and Newark, as well as a number of service stations. These places were both equally interesting in regards to landscape, though Cambridge was easier in regards of interviewing due to its bustling tourism. The best interview we received in Cambridge was with Mark Elliot, curator at the Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology for the University of Cambridge. Not only was this a great opportunity as anthropologists but in regards to the film Mark’s academic and passionate narrative summarised Cambridge perfectly, despite his Irish accent.
Newark on the other hand had was quiet. The only people we saw were from a distant in a supermarket where we could not film. Just as i was beginning to feel anxious that Newark would have nothing to offer us we found the the Newark Polish War Cemetry. Though perhaps rather morbid the cemetry was beautiful in it’s own right. Elaborate buildings and vibrant flowers were scattered throughout this vast space. A touch i particularly enjoyed filming were the crocheted bunting and flowers which had been lovingly wrapped around the trees. I feel the filming here was not only visually stunning, but also perhaps reflected in a way our relatively quiet experience in Newark, contrasting greatly to the life in Cambridge and symbolising a quiet part of our journey.
On arriving at Scunthorpe at around 6pm Holly and I were ready to interview anybody we could find, with new found energy and excitement after leaving Newark. However, Scunthorpe did not greet us in the way we hoped. From assuming that Scunthorpe was a relatively large place we were greeted by desolate streets with shut down pubs and restaurants. We wandered aimlessly for a while until we encountered some lovely locals who unfortunately did not want to be filmed, although i managed to record their voices. As they advised on a place where we might find some people one woman stated ‘Pick somewhere more exciting next time!’ This is was our first taste of how perhaps the locals felt about their place. Luckily, by going to the pub they had suggested we found a group of male locals, only one of whom was interested in talking to us. This was Steve Deyes, who, in contrast to Mark Elliot, seemed to lack passion and a sense of place despite living in Scunthorpe for mostly his whole life. I found this very interesting. He discussed with us his life as a doorman and also his past regrets on leaving the Navy. As a character i felt he portrayed a sadness which was absent from earlier on in the day and he was truly fascinating to film, especially for someone we had met by chance,
After a long drive back to Canterbury and an arrival at home at 4am (almost 24 hours on from when we started) i gave a rather sleepy sign off to camera and before i slept i began to appreciate the spontaneity of the trip. Truly it had been an interesting journey and all in the power of a little green pin.
I have decided i would like to record my film on Wednesday 13th March, 2013. It is currently the day before filming will commence and i have mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension. Due to the nature of the film i am still completely unaware as to where i will be travelling to, who we will be meeting and generally what i will be filming. I want to keep the filmed removed from the temptation to plan as much as possible.
Accompanying me will be a fellow Social Anthropology undergraduate, Holly. This is predominantly for practical reasons as at times will be difficult for me to film when i am driving but it is also for safety as i felt it would be more more logical to travel to unknown areas with someone else rather than alone. Whilst discussing the possible logistics of the film i had mentioned perhaps trying to avoid areas which were too densely populated whilst panicking as to whether the film would be interesting enough. Holly protested this idea profusely and when asked why she responded “…because otherwise it won’t be real.” Naturally, she is right.I want to the film to show real and raw footage that relate to personhood and passage. For this to work the film therefore has to be unplanned, spontaneous and filmed on instinct.
In the morning me and Holly will be waking up at around 6am to film ourselves randomly selecting a destination in the UK. At the moment the plan is to achieve this by using a map of the UK, a blindfold and a pin, though this may change in the morning if we think this method will be problematic in any way. We will also be filming a video diary tonight to document our thoughts, feelings and hopes for the day.
Life In A Day – a film by National Geographic – Click for website
Oscar-winning film director Kevin partenered with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free UK and YouTube. The film is a user-generated, feature-length documentary shot on a single day—July 24, 2010
This film has been my inspiration to film over the space of one day. I wish to try and capture as many stories, landscapes and people in one day as possible. Though Life In A Day is a user generated film which gives the film a unique first person perspective, my film on the other hand will be captured through my own eyes and introspect.
One of the aspects which makes this film so visually exciting is the wide variety of landscapes captured across the globe. Within this film i will try and eminate a similar effect by trying to record as many British landscapes and scenes as possible to make it visually diverse and also create emphasise a ‘patchwork’ Britain.
To learn about the production of the film click here.