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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