Me, Myself and MRI

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This session looked at how video can be used to create a portrait of our subjects. John Oxley, our video artist, showed several video clips and lead a discussion on various filming techniques.

The session was designed to look very quickly at a number of key issues:

  • composition and framing;
  • point of view;
  • who is controlling the interview process - the subject? the writer/director?;
  • is the subject being truthful, or is he/she acting?
  • do we learn more if the subject knows they are being filmed, but is so engaged in what they are doing that they are effectively unaware of the process?
Prior to the session, the group had been asked to look at a handout taken from The No Camera Course by Ron Dexter; this addressed in more detail issues relating to composition and using a camera. This handout can be downloaded from the top right of this page.

These areas were explored through watching and discussing the following videos:

We looked at the way in which the frame and the position of the frame controls and can manipulate what you think you are seeing. We then explored the extent to which the two subjects in the Raw Cuts videos were attempting either to portray themselves accurately or to control the conclusions the audience would come to. Following discussion, the group felt that the process of filming someone doing their normal job offered a way of getting behind any mask or pretence that a subject might hide behind.

The group then carried out an exercise that asked the pupils to set up and record an interview in the classroom. They had previously produced a list of questions that they wanted to use in interviewing the people who volunteered to be the subjects of the exhibition portraits. These questions were projected on to a screen and used in the practice interview. Two members of the group took on the roles of interviewee and interviewer. The rest of the group were positioned around the room to provide a range of camera angles using either their own mobile phones or the two hand-held disgo cameras. This was designed to get the group to think about the practical side of interviewing, recording etiquette, camera placement, etc.

Subsequently the students recorded an interview with teacher Richard Nihill, using basic hand-held recording devices and mobile phones.

A full lesson plan can be downloaded from the top right of this page.

A Guide to Taking A Picture

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This Is Me

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Next section: How we created the exhibition video portraits