|Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster (choreographer and concept)|
Adam Tonwdrow (production manager)
<< Catch up on the story so far. Part 1 of this project write up <<
I was armed with my trusty Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 14-24mm wide angle lens, and we had our excellent crew of Annie and Adam, with Chi Lin and Tommima ably assisting us and our Cluedo cast of talented performers: Lydia, Saffron, Katherine, Kate, Munier, Amandine, Andrienne. Working with these ‘chance procedures’ we worked out a process for each dance piece, the performer would rehearse the choreography, and adapt it to the space, interacting with objects etc. I would then attempt to take it in and work out all the shots needed for the scene. Anything that didn’t make sense, we quickly adopted a mantra of “its abstract, so its fine”. I usually work with a shotlist or at least some kind of scribbles that make sense to me (occasionally) but I dispensed with this quite early on owing the chance nature of the project; working out what shots were needed and doing a mental edit in my head as I went along.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
|Through the noose|
I’m a big fan of in low budget in camera effects and using random implements to achieve these effects. In the Captain SKA music video that I shot earlier this year, there is a ‘transformation shot’ that looks a bit trippy [1:55 in the video], which was achieved by waving an empty champagne glass around in front of the lens for a bit. A simple solution which made it look like some heavy post production job; I wanted to achieve the same look here as well so hunted round for something to wave around in front of the lens eventually falling in love with a large magnifying glass which seemed to fit the circumference of the wide angle lens perfectly. Sellotaping it to the lens at every given opportunity to the bemusement of everyone; it worked with the convexity of the lens and gave a floating soft focus outer edge to each shot I used it for, distorting everything to the nexus of the image.
A CHANCE TO BREATHE
We shot in 2 locations, Annie’s dad’s house in Palmers Green, a fascinatingly decorated town house with a wealth of depth to it (thanks Paul and Tricia) and we spent a day in National Trust run Eastbury Manor House in Upney (thanks to East London Dance for arranging this). I love shooting on location, for one very simple reason, everyone is afforded the chance to breathe. It's a simple thing which we take for granted, but when your on a slightly smaller set with hot lights, creative temper’s flailing, a lot of people getting on top of each other (figuratively speaking of course.....unless it’s that kind of shoot) and a limited amount of time, people start to lose the plot a bit. Being outdoors or in a bigger location frees up a lot of space despite the restrictions and pressures that shooting involves. It gives people a chance to find their own space in the production and work better. A large Tudor built gentry house, Eastbury Manor provided us with a variety of different textured rooms to shoot in with amazing grounds surrounding it. Featuring hefty doors, a winding staircase, lots of nooks and creaky floorboards, I was determined to get the most out of the space as possible! With good cloud cover, we used the gardens for the main dance and a small courtyard for one of the dances (complete with dead pigeons!) The goal was to perhaps make it look at least as if the houses were one and the same (and if they don’t, it’s abstract so it’s fine!)
CAMERA AS PERFORMER?
|Poor Man and His Steadycam|
Here are some short tests that I did running around Eastbury with the steadycam, which looks like the opening to "Evil Dead", I should have gotten someone to film me doing it to put in the corner of the screen. I’ve obviously set it to suitably over dramatic music quite needlessly for no one’s amusement but my own.
It was a great shoot and an interesting way of working, despite the time constraints I even had time to get a cast and crew photo, something I forget to do on just about every shoot I’m do! Of course, everybody loves the clapperboard (not to be confused with the ‘clipperboard’, which apparently is what people think it is called). Just part of my standard kit, it actually wasn't needed as I wasn’t syncing up any sound and with the absence of shotlists nor was the information on it. Having explained this, it still didn’t deter everyone from posing with it for pictures and ‘clapping’ with it noisily. I obligingly indulged. Now left with nearly 4 hours worth of footage, I retire to Final Cut to begin the final chapter. Here’s a selection of production stills from the shoot.
**Stay tuned for Part 3 as I take you through the post production process including editing and music and the final film itself which is being shown at the beginning of October at Stratford Circus! **