This short project I helped a friend with (Adam Broome), was to document the photographer Marta Kochanek’s exhibition and to get her views of her own work and the story behind it.
For this project I was camera person, what was most difficult was that when I asked about style before I started filming there was not one – my instructions were to ‘get what you think’. Therefore when we arrived on location we had some time before Marta arrived and I began cutaways. Something that caught my eye immediately was how bad the lighting was in there which may affect the end result of the interview and also how small the exhibition and space for it was, not allowing for much manoeuvring around the room.
To go with what I already knew I just went with my instincts for cutaways and went in as close as I could, taking the chance to perform a few pull focuses but keeping movement minimal due to the lack of space and because of the still shots I filmed this meant that any movement could be later added in the edit.
When it came to the interview, I set up the camera with her to the left of the frame and Adam was standing on my right so that the set-up was professional as she talked across camera. Also here if it were my piece I would not have had the microphone in shot as it looks unprofessional unless the interviewer is in shot or will be seen at some point, however this is what he wanted. As the interview proceeded, it was clear that Marta was nervous as she began stuttering and stammering and exclaimed that Adam was making her laugh. Therefore we moved Adam away and he asked questions out of her eye range, yet we gave her a focus point. The trouble with this was that she began to look where it was comfortable for her and her eye-line went down and her sight transitioned to the other side of the camera, resulting in the shot composition being destroyed. I did mention and check this with the Director however he was happy for me to just film this, so I did. It is a shame because overall the interview did go quite well and she does have some interesting things to say. Another issue was that Adam had already sent her the interview questions meaning that she had already written answers on a piece of paper and had to keep looking to remind herself, which probably did not do the best for her nerves either.
In post production Adam sent me a rough cut of the project to see what I thought so I fed back to him:
brilliant work…her voice is really fluid. i am surprised after the um it buts we had but good work. i dont think it needs music. just at the end you added the title ‘for more information’ maybe just have the image with website without that. some of the cutaways because they are static jump as the play through goes, is there a way to solve this do you think? maybe a little fade or a zoom using same technique you used with the photos?
It was a shame that changes were made to the edit but not much of what I was suggesting, that in my opinion thought would make the piece more coherent and professional. I am glad however he kept the final piece music free, there is already so much going on as when the music was there it took away from what was happening in the interview. So here is the final piece:
So what have I learnt from this project – as Director there needs to be a style (the camera ops cannot just be expected to film), pre-questions to the interviewee (make sure that these are not exactly like the ones in the real thing or just a few to keep things fresh and to avoid paper), with a nervous speaker go through the ‘script’ (as it were) over and over again, when asking for feedback take it on board and finally have a very clear idea of what you want. In addition to this I have realised that working with friends is not always the way to go about your work, as I think from Adams point of view it made it difficult for him to tell me what he wanted exactly and trusted my skills. This is something I will take into account when looking at a crew for my final project and already I am beginning to see on the course those people who are solely collegues, friends or collegue/friends.