Thursday, 13 September 2012

Learnings from the video work

I had a clear idea and political view regarding the nuclear bunker – in reality a nuclear event monitoring post, albeit in a bunker style – about the futility of it, the manic response to political and jingoistic posturing, from all sides of the spectrum. How these volunteers - 10500 of them - had offered themselves as hostages to fortune and how I wanted their voices to describe both what the work was and how they felt, looking back, about how they felt let down by the establishment.

I set out the video to be firstly a description of the function (ality) of the bunker, it’s role in the defence of the realm, how the role of the bunker, on a practical day to day basis, fitted into a wider and wider panorama of information that, in it’s small but vital way, played in the global Cold War politics. In the second section I wanted to use imagery and words to provide a subversion of their role, how the state had been prepared to sacrifice these volunteers for their own ends, almost as a last vestige of the all powerful state/establishments paternal and patronizing approach to it’s citizens. In an era not yet released from the tyranny of “iron-curtain” diplomacy, the state could and did wield indiscriminate power; but in their own words as volunteers. In a post “wall” world where power at first shifted to the people, only to be replaced by corporate power, the state can no longer hide from these awful truths. Another pertinent reminder of state control of truth has been brought to the surface again with the revelations of the Hillsborough tragedy being finally revealed.

Leaving the politics aside I am not sure I want to make a shorter edit, nor would I want to “sex” it up and make a snappier version. I am sure I could make it shorter, but I feel that the words are important. I had a couple of hours of recording and edited it down to about 9 mins. I was relatively pleased with the editing – though the juxtaposition from the first speaker to the second speaker might have been more imaginative – perhaps a text image introducing each speaker before they started? Not sure, but it doesn’t matter as I probably won’t revisit the project. I think that the images needed to of better quality – this a definitely a workflow issue! I used jpegs sized at 8cm on it’s longest side as a standard output from Lr and I will definitely will use higher resolution and/or Tiffs or better file formats in the future – I will experiment with that. The sound quality I was quite impressed with given that the recorder was placed in various parts of the bunker and Sound booth (Sb) allowed me to balance the audio intuitively, the processing of the audio seemed fairly straightforward as did the editing in Premiere Pro – though I’m still waiting the “How-to” book to arrive.

Outputting the video was also “relatively” straightforward, though quite lengthy into a format that would be acceptable for a “Vimeo” upload. There are issues with the Vimeo upload in that the image “crossovers” have aberrations that have probably come from the using a (relatively) small jpeg. I will experiment with using higher quality images before I get to my next, much more important project, of which I will post some thoughts soon.

I would like to able to get to a workshop to understand some of the boundaries, techniques and opportunities of using video as part of my communication output. I see this an extra mechanism and not as a replacement for photography, which philosophically, at any rate for me, still holds the key to how I want to express myself.

I am really glad I have been through this process, my tutor appears to be comfortable with the finished product (even in it's Vimeo form) and has encouraged me to submit the video with the images and so I will do so. I have also had some very helpful thoughts from some other students and will look to bring them to the next project. Now I suppose I will have to submit the last assignment to P&P - the time for procrastination is over...

p.s. response from the "Tower"

Dear John,

many thanks for the link to your pictures. They are excellent. I hope you enjoyed the day too.

Would you be able to let me have the pictures on high resolution files so we can use them please. They should be shown on our website etc.

Many thanks for your help.
Best wishes,
Annette Gorton
Managing Director

1 comment:

  1. It is a very interesting project and the thought you've put into it is clear. I don't see much to complain about in the still pictures.

    However I found the sound quality not so good - hard to hear if listening on a mobile device but better on a computer. I agree that the words are important but only if you can keep people listening and do think a shorter sharper edit would have given a more engaging experience which people would be more likely to sit through to the end.

    Personally I think it would be worth it as it's such an interesting project but do understand that you may be ready to move on.