Fresh@CU: Camera Operator

This is probably the last day of professional experience that can be taken into account for this module. Certainly it is not the last time I will work in this field. This opportunity is also my second involvement with video, in a professional level, after Hereward College’s Peer Support Team video. George Rippon of Fresh gave me the opportunity to operate a fixed camera for two interviews within Coventry University’s campus. We interviewed a staff member and a member of Coventry City Council.

still from interview, camera 2

This time though it was different as I worked with two Media Production students and George, where all had done similar activities at some point. This environment gave me the chance to witness how a crew films in these instances, the occasional jargon and off course timing.

They day started early at about 09:15. We picked some extra equipment from Media Loan Shop and headed to Fresh’s office to sort out batteries, chargers, memory cards and lighting equipment. I would also be responsible for lighting. We got with us a Kino Flo light which we didn’t use, instead we used a reflector in one of the scenes. The weather unfortunately didn’t allow us to film on location, thus we had to adapt to indoors environment.

still from interview, camera 1
still from interview, camera 1

In between the two interviews we had enough time for a break, which gave us the chance to re-charge batteries and download the video clips to the computer. It also gave me time to meet better the people I was working with and discuss about related topics.

We shot both interviews in The Hub, student union building. The first interview was easier to make as it was still early and the building was quiet. The second interview was more challenging in terms of sound. The tie clip mic could pick up sounds from high pitched sources.

still from interview, camera 2

On this interview after assisting in framing the subject, I was holding the reflector to make sure our interviewee was adequately lit from both sides. As we shot this in a space surrounded by glass windows, floor to ceiling, there were only a couple angles that we could work with, mainly because of reflections. On top of this, the windows had there frames which created a grid and that was challenging in terms of composition. There is nothing worse than converging lines, or non-parallel lines if they are not part of the creative brief. They can essentially distract the audience of the interview and it is very easy for human beings to detect a stray line.

A I mentioned earlier, this was a job I would gladly do again as there are a lot more to learn in terms of technical issues. This past year I have worked a lot with video and editing and it is medium I really enjoy in all its stages.


Final Task – Crime Scene

The three tasks so far have focussed on technical skills and application thereof. We have focussed this week on storytelling through bodies of work (the books and the movie) through technical application (the lighting workshops that turned into scene setting with actors and scripts) and by discussing “Why?” in tutorial.

Your final task is to build on this and make it your own. You will re-visit the “Human Presence” theme using all of the skills and techniques discussed and explored. You will previsualise your images and tell a story, that narrative will include an environment both populated and empty, detail studies and images of people, it will have a beginning a middle and an end, you will consider pace and flow, tension and resolution. 
The amount and nature of the piece will reflect one month’s work (a significant chunk of time we expect a significant piece of work).

For the final task I decided to build up on what I did on Task 2 and 3. I started building more complex stories on the person who lives in that storage room. Finally I decided to recreate a crime scene. What came out this story is as I was thinking initially, but I am more than happy with the outcome.

The story builds up without much information intentionally in order to let your imagination take part in my story. It is open to interpretation. I am portraying a story around a space instead of a character and that is why I am telling it from two different points of views. The first one being our point of view, introducing tragic irony, while the second one being the characters point of view. You are aware what is probably going on. But for him, the character it’s a surprise. The character is probably an investigator or a police officer and that is why some pictures look more like taken by the forensics team. I shot most of it with low key lighting and low angled shots to give a more dark and sinister feeling to the story.

For this shooting I used:

  • 2x Bowens Esprit 500 watts
  • a snoot with a honeycomb
  • a wafer strip light box
  • 2x Pulsar radio triggers
  • a Canon 5D Mark II (24-105mm, 50mm lens)
  • a tripod and a low backlite stand, extension pole
  • a light meter
  • a laptop tethered to the camera

(click on the first one to start the gallery show)

I will also like to thank Hollie Woodward and Siobhian Palmer for their ideas!

Task 3 – Human Presence Portrait

For the third task build around the theme of Human Presence I had to make portraits of the people that populate my chosen location.

Your focus of photographic interest in task three is to make images of the people that populate your chosen location. Your approach may be that of a documentary practitioner or you may choose to develop your practical approach to portraiture. Whichever; your decisions, experiments and practical research should be detailed in throughout and supported by your sketchbook/diary/blog. 

Your images can be made in situ or away from the site (whichever you prefer), naturally/ artificially lit or a combination thereof. 

You should again apply the knowledge garnered throughout Level One, drawing on inspiration from the range of artists and practitioners so far covered as well as your own research and investigations. You should continue to develop your own practice within the module and communicate your unique vision of the world.

I got attracted by a particular space in the house I live in. The garage; which is our landlord’s storage room is filled with old furniture and tools. I thought of this place and start imagining stories I could around it. I imagined that it could be a cabin in the woods and the person who occupies it. Then I thought of murder stories and crime. I decided then to start applying my imagination into this space.

With great help and inspiration from fellow photographer Ioana Bultoc we started the project. It’s really great working with other creative people because you can share your vision or help them out in theirs. Ioana helped a lot giving ideas and of course taking the photographs. I mostly operated the light meter and the lights, as well as act. My imaginations were built around a male personality, which would either leave isolated in the woods or capable to murder someone. Because my planning wasn’t thorough and I didn’t have a story board my ideas were spread everywhere in the room, without any actual goal. So we ended up having a hybrid of those two ideas.
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