The past few months have brought practical work on this project to a standstill, a combination of needing to get an essay written, Christmas and being out of the country on two occasions. Things are now back on track however.
I was very interested in getting the sound component to these videos working, so that the sound of the breath could be heard in each piece as it is the anchor subjects are using to attempt being present. I had an audio tutorial which worked out fine but subsequently ran into all kinds of problems with spaces available that could facilitate both sound and video recording simultaneously. The air conditioning, which cannot be switched off, makes recording in any of the rooms in the media building very problematic. I tried using the dead room but the light spill from the adjoining rooms, as well as the noise spill, meant that recording there was pointless too. This is a big disappointment as I really feel it would add a further dimension to each video piece but I don't see how I can overcome it.
Putting it aside I have spent an evening in the studio with the help of my glamorous assistant Mike Downing to run a series of test videos, as the ones I had experimented before were haphazard, without a tripod and so forth. Test sequences were run at a variety of iso/aperture combinations; the very wide apertures that lend the portraits their painterly feel are not suitable for video as focus can not be maintained, even with the minimal movement involved in these videos, at such a shallow depth of field. This is a compromise that simply had to be made. Learning from the results of the series of photographs in this project I am using PRECISELY the same settings each time in camera and PRECISELY the same set up, by which I mean I am actually measuring the distance from the light to the reflector and the subject to the light and the subject to the reflector and making sure they are THE SAME each time using a MEASURING TAPE. Yes, that's right, measuring things!!! Furthermore I am changing my working methods. I have block booked the studio for three hours each week on the same day and am shooting two to three subjects each time. The irony is not lost on me that working on a topic area that is very much centred on some of the ideals in life I hold most dear, I am conversely forced to adopt entirely rigid working methods in order to bring them to life. I am not used to working this way but I must adapt! However this does seem to have instantly made everything simpler. I shot two videos on Friday, both of which I could not be happier with and I now suddenly have an abundance of subjects, more than I can actually fit into the project!
My plan is as follows, shoot for the next four weeks, then post-production (which i don't know how to do on video yet!!), sort out presentation methods and wrap this project up. My research file is almost finished so I think this is achievable. I am off to London at the end of March for this film production role so everything will be finished by then. I repeat, everything WILL be finished by then.