Memory Artefact – Development 3 and Final Cut

My final memory artefact clocked in at about thirty minutes in length, but I realised this didn’t fit the module brief as a ‘short’ piece. I’ve decided thus to do a short trailer for the final piece to submit as the work, though the final film can be found below:

I constructed the film first by using what archive footage I had (taken randomly during the actual events). I edited all the parts that didn’t further any greater narrative, and then went through again and cut out all the least beneficial parts. What I was left with was about twenty minutes from an hour and twenty minutes of footage. I knew my interview sections thus needed to be ten minutes approximately in length.

The interview was actually quite fun to set up – again, I shot it in my bedroom like ‘Mr Nice Guy’, using a Z camera on a tripod. This time though, I decided to fake an interviewer – I used a hanger as a focal point for my eyes so it looked like I was talking to someone behind the lens.

The real trick was using the dedo lights for three-point lighting. I don’t usually take the time to set up such lavish studio settings, but I think they worked really well in making my bedroom look completely different. The blank background was intentional – if anything, it made the piece look more professional. I was trying to imitate the style of the documentaries that I’d considered previously.

For the final part, the stop motion was imported as a completed film sequence itself. This made it easier to grade and bring more colour out, and also to adjust brightness levels accordingly (when shooting into the sun, the auto-exposure went into overdrive, meaning I needed to change the exposure levels in the editing suites every so often to make the film seem more fluent). The music I used was a sort-of in-joke – I’d used it previously on a piece that I made for the charity whilst in Tenerife about sea turtles. I thought it suited the emotion I was trying to capture at the end.

Finally, I used simple documentary editing techniques to incorporate the relevant parts of my recollection of events with the archive footage. Making the initial shots interesting was the hardest part, as I didn’t take any videos on the first ascent, and thus had to use photographs. This worked okay, although generally photographs should be kept to a minimum with projects like this one. I felt I needed to explain the story of the initial climb, as it delivered the reasons for my mission to take the stop-motion, and also gave a bit of ‘exposition’ with regards my relationship with the volcano itself (to some degree, it is the other ‘main character’ in this film). Without the opening five minutes, the rest of film doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

Overall, I like the way it turned out. Initial feedback has been positive (some say it even brought tears to their eyes!), though this has been feedback on the actual film, and not the trailer. The trailer still needs to be made, so feedback in seminars will be rather limited on this artefact. I will create the trailer using clips from the film itself, and just muddle them up and overlap them in Final Cut Pro to an audio piece.

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