Documenting a Space

My first film assessment as part of my Degree in Film was to document a space in two minutes, all footage and audio must be recorded by myself.

For this module I had to work on two films, one as an individual, and one as part of a group. The individual film was a two minute video documenting a space of my choice. The group was a five minute interpretive film.

For the Documenting a Space film, The brief stated that the camera must be fixed at all times, no movement or hand held shots allowed. It also stated that I had to record all the sound for the film myself. I chose to document the National Mining Disaster Memorial at the site of the old Universal Colliery known for having one of the worst mining disasters in Welsh History.

To organise my time, I created a gantt chart to keep track of my progress of what I needed to do and what I had completed. This helped with my time management greatly.

First I visited the location to get photos of the space so I could plan the shots I wished to use for my film. I also planned the “story” I wished to tell through the images and sound using these.

I then proceeded to book out the required equipment from the college, a panasonic camcorder, tripod, boom microphone, tascam and the relevant cables. I went to the location and gathered the shots I wanted plus extra to ensure I had more than enough to fill the 2 minute length for the film. I also took the tascam so I could record some background folly sound to use for the film. This included rustling leaves in the wind and subtle bird song.

I had decided that I wanted the sound to tell the narrative of the disaster at the Universal Colliery. I begun with attempting to create the soundscape of a miner hacking away at the mine shaft walls to get coal, I added background noise of heavy breathing and water dripping, as well as coughing. The sounds were to get more intense leading to the explosion halfway into the film, which would then fade into the background audio I had recorded at the location to show how the valley turned silent.

I edited the footage together and moulded the sounds together on premier to create the film I wanted. I decided to add text with facts on a black screen at the end of the film to inform those who didn’t know about the disaster as to what happened.

There are several things within this film that I would improve in hindsight. I would have planned the journey around the memorial garden more carefully so that it told a story more than just showing you the area. For the sound I would have built the sound of the miner up slower so it wasn’t so intense so soon. I would also have liked to record the audio coming from the information post so that it would give audiences more of a feeling of being there and able to interact with the items actually at the mine. Overall I feel the film works well and for the first film I had made in a long time helped to show me in what areas I needed to improve in future projects.


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