M104MC – Final Project

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M104MC – Final Project

Subject: Coventry Canal Warehouse Artists.

For my final project I propose to make a Klynt documentary about the artists who are based in the different studios located in the Canal Warehouse in Coventry. My initial idea is to expand upon the film I made for the Zero project and to produce several films for the different artists who work in the studios. There are painters, sculptors, fashion designers and various craftspeople that I hope to document. As part of the project, I hope to include a film about the trust and the building, including a short history of its recent development in the last thirty years.

This project will only work if I get multiple subjects on board, so I am approaching the trustees who run the warehouse, and who are some of the main artists I hope to work with, to contact the community who reside in the building.

Elements:

“Community”

Canal warehouse visuals and environmental audio for menus and archival elements.

Artists films – Experimental documentary. Audio/video interviews. 360 studio interior photo/maps – node for each documentary.

Building History/Trust documentary

I am looking into the use of VR/360-degree media to navigate website and videos? Klynt can use 360 videos, so I will start testing to see how they work with the software.

Schedule:

This is subject to confirming willing participants. I have started the project now as I have limited availability for the project due to working full time. The project will be filmed in Coventry at the Canal Warehouse. I am arranging an initial meeting with Alan Dyer next week at the warehouse. I have spoken to him on the phone and sent him the email below with a little more detail of the project and to circulate as an initial call for participants.

Email to Alan:

Hi Alan,

Further to our conversation about my proposed Final Major Project for my MA in 21st Century Media Practice, could I ask you to forward my proposal to the other artists in the Canal Warehouse to see if they would be interested in being part of it?

Proposal:

As a development of the short documentary I made of Alison Lambert earlier in my course, I wish to produce a series of short experimental films of the Artists located in the Canal Warehouse. I’m interested in working with visual artists and designers, as this would translate best into the films. These could include fine artists, sculptors, fashion designers and craftspeople.

These short films would be of each artist at work, in their studio filmed in an observational style, without interaction from myself. In addition, I would also like to produce a short audio or visual interview with each artist to accompany each of the experimental films talking about their work/inspirations/methodology. For Alison’s film, I spent around 3-4 hours one morning with her, so I would hope that this would be similar for each artist.

All the films would all be collated using a program called Klynt, to produce an online interactive documentary. I would be happy for the Canal Trust or any of the individual artists to use the documentary to promote their work, with the relevant credit.

I would like to include a separate interview with yourself about why you set up the warehouse and the history/ethos of the Trust. This would be included in a short film of the warehouse. Do you have any archival footage/images I could use?

The project will run from now until July 2018, with the hope to start filming in next few weeks.

I can be contacted via email at kevinrossin@gmail.com or by phone/text on 07881784685 by yourself and/or by the artists for more information.

I hope that this project interests the artists as it can only be made with their help!

Kind regards

Kevin Rossin

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M100 Zero Project Submission

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Concept:

The Zero Project was an challenging task on several levels. As the choice of subject for the piece was open, the first step was to carefully select someone that would be interesting to observe, open to work with and also provide good visual content. I had an idea that an artist would be a good place to start, having connections with a few local artists that I now from having a studio in the same warehouse at the Coventry Canal Basin. It was also fortunate timing that the same day I was set the project I was invited to attend an opening of an art exhibition that several of the artists would be at to approach about the project. I managed to secure Alison Lambert as my subject for the project. From my research on Cinema Verite, I knew it would be advantageous to be familiar to the subject to make them at ease having a camera in their space. I have known Alison for several years now, although when it came to shooting we were both nervous.

Shooting:

Shooting took place on a Saturday morning in early November, I had arranged a three hour slot to allow enough time to get the shots I thought I needed. I have never visited Alison’s studio before so had no idea on how big it was, what the lighting was like or her work process. I arrived at the warehouse a little early to grab a cup of tea with Alison before we started to go over the ‘Verite’ rules. As soon as I had set up the camera we started filming. The studio was large with about five different pieces of work on the wall, all at different stages of development. It was very interesting to see an artist at work, there was a lot of stand back and checking marks/placement of paper shreds that I hadn’t anticipated. Around the space was all sorts of artist supplies in various stages of use and reference material for the different work in production.

It took me about half an hour to start to get into the swing of things with the camera and Alison’s working patterns. Initially I mounted the GH4 on a shoulder rig, but I found this to be a little restrictive with the framing and focusing of the shots I wanted to get so I ditched it and shot hand held only. This reduced the physical size of the rig allowed me to get closer to Alison working with out distracting her. It did however make my shots more shaky. I shot for about two hours, almost continuously, with Alison working on three of her drawings.

On a couple of occasions Alison addressed the camera directly, this was the only interaction she made with me during the who time filming until the end of our session. She was expressing specifics of the glue she was using and how long she had owned the knife she uses as featured in the intro on my final edit. I didn’t respond to the comments as I wanted to see where they lead.

Editing:

This was my first every major attempt at editing and using Adobe Premiere, having only previously shoot footage for others to edit.

Cut 1:

This was my initial cut of the material. I was focusing on slightly longer shots to see the completion of full stages of Alison’s work and her work flow. I was trying to be true to the timeline of Alison working on one piece only.

Feedback from my class was that the audio from the radio program was distracting to the visuals, which I agree with. The section of Alison by the window looking back at her work has been remarked upon by everyone I have shown it to as being a good shot.

Cut 2:

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This was a minor edit with an establishing shot of torn paper on the floor – as it was a minor amendment I haven’t uploaded it to Vimeo. This shot appears in my opening scene in the final Cut v4.

Cut 3:

This cut came from a later section of the shoot as I started to focus on the process of Alison’s work as opposed to the artist. After compiling this I was a lot happier with the content and the speed of the jump cuts, but I felt that there were elements that seemed a little repetitive. The more abstract elements of the feet were remarked upon by Ken Fero as a strong section. Feedback on the audio was better as the radio was more in the background as I was physically further away from the speakers. I presented both versions to class to get feedback on what elements were stronger.

As soon as I had completed the third cut I knew I wanted to take elements from this from cuts 2 and 3 to make a stronger overall edit.

Cut 4:

Above is the final cut version 4 that I settled on. It contains the stronger elements of my earlier edits, along with newly added footage in the opening scene of Alison working on a more complete drawing. This gave a better introduction to the documentary, including adding another stage of Alison’s working methods. This edit broke away from the linear approach to the previous versions that followed the actual timeline of the day.  I am a lot happier with this cut – it seems to make sense to me more than the other edits. It retains the abstract elements whilst showcasing the working methods and beautiful drawings. I also wanted to include some of the tracking shots, particularly the one of following the cutting of the eraser and moving to the drawing.

The sound in this piece is very important, particularly the sounds on the materials being used. I especially like the crunch on the paper on the floor and the scraping of the knife. The sound of Alison sighing and breathing is also interesting as it is the only audible expression of her feelings towards the work as it develops. The short clip containing music worked well to break up the radio commentary and retain focus on the visuals.

Image Stabilization:

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I experimented with image stabilization in Premiere for the clip of the charcoal sticks and the final scene to see if I could take some of the camera shake out of them. I wasn’t happy with the cropping on the charcoal sticks so decided to retain the original shot as is. I applied a tiny 10 percent stabilization to the final clip, which I thought allowed a balance of realism without distraction from the framing.

Grading:

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As I used the Cine like D colour profile on the GH4 camera to get a wider dynamic range, I had to colour correct my final edit to add back in contrast. You may notice in the earlier edit that the drawings seem to be very flat and grey, along with the skin tones. I experimented with some of the preset profiles in Premiere, most of them gave me a unrealistic look to the piece, however I did settle on the Fuji Reala 500D Kodak 2393 profile at 30%. This added the blacks back into the drawings that were missing and picked up the skin tones nicely.

Alison requested that she could see my work as part of allowing me access, which I was happy to do. I presented her with all my different versions and below are her thoughts. I am currently in discussion with Alison to adapt my work for her website and promotional use.

Feedback from Alison:

Hi Kevin,

I looked at your finished version last night and some of the rest. I think the finished one is very good and not what I was expecting. I am somewhat relieved you haven’t focused on my face! It has an overall feeling of textures, and is quite dynamic – very interesting. The lack of narrative adds to the ‘layered’ feel. It also has a strong sense of place and I was pleased to see that it doesn’t look staged and looks as if it is genuinely eavesdropping on somebody getting on with their work.

Best wishes,
Alison

My Thanks go to Alison Lambert for allowing me to film her making such amazing drawings.

M100 Zero Project Cut 1

Last Saturday I spent a couple of hours filming my Zero project with Alison Lambert in her Coventry Studio. The result was about an hours worth of footage that I managed to reduce down to just over 30 minutes of usable clips. Reducing the clips down again to three minutes was a tough task – this was my first serious attempt at video editing. I am happy with the edit. I am tempted to see if I can edit a different section of footage together, if I have time, just to see if it’s more interesting. Below is my first cut: