Filming the Feast

Now that we have the mar­ket good and kicked off, we’d like to start a pro­ject for people to make their own videos of their days out at the West Nor­wood Feast. It’s really simple to do, and we’ll col­lect the videos at our You­tube page, http://youtube.com/wnfeast

Here’s an example of how simple a film can be

That’s us in the queue for a Roast Hog sand­wich, with Harry Houseago on gui­tar, Beamish and McGlue with snacks.

Take a look at this mar­velous jack­et from the Retro Vil­lage. I wound up com­ing back for it at the end of the day — an abso­lutely ace deal, if I do say so myself. I wear it all the time!

One take, a bit shaky on the cam­era here and there, but couldn’t you almost taste the vodka-ginger treat? A good film gives a sense of pres­ence, even through the tech­nic­al flaws.

Here’s our take on how to make quick and easy videos like this for the Feast, or for any other event.

Living Video

Mak­ing what’s hap­pen­ing vis­ible to people who’d like to get involved

Pro­du­cing good video is both dif­fi­cult and expens­ive, but the worst pho­to­graph is the one which was not taken, and the worst cam­era is the one you don’t have with you, or the cour­age to start.

There are four rules for pro­du­cing use­ful video eas­ily.

  1. Stand still or get a tri­pod
  2. Film dia­logue and inter­ac­tion
  3. Don’t hide the cam­era (or the cam­era oper­at­or)
  4. Have fun and break these rules when neces­sary

The visu­al style of tele­vi­sion or film is as impossible to rep­lic­ate as the glossy full-face pic­tures on the cov­ers of fash­ion magazines. You are see­ing the work of dozens of skilled pro­fes­sion­als — or hun­dreds in the case of fea­ture films. What is achiev­able is the “good hol­i­day pic­tures” level of video; a video which shows some­body who is socially involved with a pro­ject roughly what is hap­pen­ing. A video which takes a per­son who is inter­ested in the pro­ject and turns them into a per­son who is involved with the pro­ject. The last thing people do before decid­ing to get involved is watch the videos — it’s the largest invest­ment of time a per­son can make short of show­ing up, so it is the point at which people make up their minds.

There­fore to be effect­ive, such a video should not sell, it should reveal.

This is what you will see if you come!”

An hon­est, simple video which shows what is hap­pen­ing, is less than two minutes long, has good sound (just stand right beside people!), is well-lit (day­light! under the spot­light!) can achieve that moment of con­tact with the real­ity of some­thing, uned­ited and unfiltered, which is the spark of enga­ging with people’s sense of the real, and there­fore with their deep­est sense of what they want. Some people make great films by ima­gin­ing cool stuff and film­ing it beau­ti­fully. We make great films by doing cool stuff, and show­ing the basics of what we have done. The hard part is doing some­thing worth see­ing.

Try not to edit, and keep the fact that a cam­era is in the scene socially vis­ible. Talk over the top of your shot, try not to be invis­ible. Ask people to do things for the cam­era. Prompt with ques­tions. Tele­vi­sion is the illu­sion of real­ity, in which the mech­an­isms used to cre­ate and record the illu­sion must be invis­ible. Our films are just a little slice of real­ity, in which you are stood there with a cam­era, jok­ing with your mates about mak­ing a video of
this for the inter­net, because it’s great!

Vinay Gupta, Lon­don, April 5 02011

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