Documentary Evaluation


On Wednesday, September 4th 2013, as a group of artists, filmmakers and photographers, we visited The Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery in search of inspiration. The first room in the museum was The Hart Collection Room and that room, instantly caught my attention.

As I walked into The Hart Collection Room, my eyes were drawn to the three windows on the upper wall. The windows each had a person painted into them, using the tools relevant to the subject they are representing. Each window represented a subject that religion thrives off academically. Literature, Art and Science. These windows directed my eyes upwards towards the church like arched roof, which sparked inspiration for a three minute documentary film.

I started by writing down some basic information about the room and some aims of what I would like to achieve within the final edit. These aims included an interview setup, a montage and what would those involve. I also wrote up a shot list, which included some preparation on what shots I may use. For example, I decided to use a classic medium close-up during the interview and for the montage I would use a numerous amount of varied shots of the collection and room. I also did some research into the history of the architecture of the building. I asked the curator of the museum some questions before asking him to attend an interview. I also wrote some information about the room which could have affected the shoot. I looked at things like lighting and sound. I realised that the room was very dark and dimly lit, which could be a huge disadvantage, however in terms of framing it could be used to a huge advantage due to the individually lit display cases. I finally wrote down some potential interview questions. All questions I wrote down were open due to the type of interview. I wanted to cut out all questions in the final edit so that it is a continuous source of information coming from the interviewee, throughout the duration of the three minutes.

Pre-production took less than a day to complete as I was eager to push forward. I felt by the end of the museum visit, that I was ready to shoot the documentary, providing I had permission. I approached the curator and asked him for an interview the next day. He had a busy schedule, but agreed to fit me in.

The next morning I did some final preparations for the shoot in the afternoon. I looked at booking out some equipment such as; a camera, a microphone, tripod and spot lamp. Unfortunately due to the equipment being moved from one building to another, I was unable to obtain any filming equipment. This was a major setback as I had already organised an interview with the curator of the museum. I then thought about my options and postponing the interview seemed a little unprofessional to me, so I made a phone call and managed to loan a still image camera from a friend. The camera was a Canon CoolPix L810 and primarily used for still image shooting, however it does have moving image capabilities.

I tested the camera’s film function and sound quality by shooting a small clip outside. I played the clip back and found that the image quality was superb and the sound quality wasn’t brilliant but possibly useable. I also found that zooming while recording moving image, severely affects the frame rate. I decided to go on as planned.

I arrived at the museum in the afternoon and shot some of my montage before the interview. The shots were incredibly unstable due to the lack of a tripod. I tried to keep the camera as steady as I could, but I don’t know if it helped. The lighting was just as I expected. It did help frame some of the collection, but it also prevented me from shooting the main focus of the room. The windows and the roof. The interview went exceptionally well. I feel like the shot was quite nice as I managed to fit a painting into the frame. I wanted to fit the room’s door sign into the frame but a display case full of beetles deemed it impossible. The interview was brilliant and I was very excited by the end of it. I just hope that the sound quality can be fixed during the edit.

I have yet to edit the footage due to time. However I will finish it soon and update my blog with some raw footage as well as the final edit as soon as I am done. This will also include a small review of my work as well as a conclusion. So far the experience has been excellent. I found it easy to be inspired and I look forward to more projects in the near future.


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