When thinking about a documentary based on moving from one home to another there is so many different directions to take it in. During our pre-production discussion, we came up with so many ideas that we really needed to knuckle down and decide on one and pursue it. The theme of our documentary was making a new home and the main question that we put to our interviewees was what makes you feel at home at a new place. We decided to put together a documentary plan showcasing what we wanted to finish at the end of shooting so we could go into the editing suites knowing that we had crossed all our T’s and dotted all the I’s. We wanted to do two main interviews and then a series of vox pops and each of us would decide on a certain documentary mode, I chose to do a participatory mode based documentary.
Reflect on the process of shooting and the edit. Look at the technical attributes of your footage: framing, focus, movement, exposure, lighting etc. Analyse the performance of your participants (interviewees). How could you illicit better performances next time?
On the day of shooting, when we rocked up to uni there was a massive trolley full of gear to set up. Firstly, we got divided into groups which would either do sit down interviews or go out and do the vox pops. Our group decided to do the interview first but we had to go downstairs and set up around the editing suites. We found it very difficult to set up as the lights were being reflected and showed up in the shot so the interviewee had to move around to try and block out as much of that as possible. We also got the idea from Paul that we would make the interviewee stand as it would be easier in the space. However when you get a group of small girls and try to frame up the face it proved to be a bit hard and not the most flattering angles were accomplished. Given all the stuff that went wrong that we had to work out, I believe that we got quite a nice shot, the lighting was nice but not too harsh, the focus was clear and muddled in the background so that helped with the reflective surfaces. As I was one of the main interviewees I felt that I could’ve done a better job, after watching I just kept thinking to myself ‘Rachel why on earth did you say that’. Therefore, the phrasing of the questions could have been better to get more detailed responses, as I felt that our reposes were too open ended, thus made it harder to edit together for the final product.
Then came time to go out on the street and bug some people so we could find out what the general population feels about making a new house feel like home and if there was any specific item that would help the most in the transition. We set up our camera opposite Bowen street so we had a nice backdrop of an old building, that didn’t take away from the interviewees, the light was nice, the only thing that didn’t work in our favour was the sound as there was a tram that went past every now and again that really altered the recording as well as one interview with a couple and all you could hear was a large Harley Davidson roaring up the street so that couldn’t be used at all. As everything that had to be done with vox pops had to be quick, we set up an initial shot and then just made minor adjustments as each of the interviewees entered the frame so we didn’t waste anybody’s time. I feel that all of our interviewees did a really great job as we asked them a broad question and then followed with a more direct question that really got a good performance out of them.
Towards the end of your edit reflect on the following: how was your project organised, could you find the footage you needed easily; did the layering of vision and audio add to your work; it would be good to be conscious of timing in your edit and then reflect upon it – was it cut too quickly or slowly or just right, did it need more gaps, more silence, more time to ponder.
When it came time to start to edit together this documentary. I decided to thoroughly go through all of the footage, name it, add markers with comments so that when it really came time to put it all together I could easily find what I was looking for. In my documentary plan, I mentioned that I wanted to add some music, so I got in touch with a friend of mine and asked him if I could use one of his songs which he allowed. Once I added in the layer of music, in my opinion it completely raised the mood of the film, which I really enjoyed. When I went into editing, I thought that I would have one main interview and a few different vox pops sprinkled though. When I went through the footage, I found that the vox pops and the interview footage didn’t really blend in the best. So I made a decision just to use the vox pops, I found that editing them all together worked really well, I went with the interviewees time and cut off when was appropriate and moved on. As I had already landed on a participatory mode I really needed to try and edit in that fashion also, but the filmmaker in the case of my documentary is Kate but I feel that I made it work even though I wasn’t the one asking the questions. I feel that the length of this film is probably a bit long and I could’ve probably skipped a few of the interviews that I put in, but with the music selection everything finishes at a similar point so ultimately I am happy with it although like I mentioned before when we were shooting the vox pops some of the audio peaked and I just had to work with it and try and make it the best I could.