I found in completing my three minute video that I encountered different problems in comparison with the ninety seconds one. I discovered with this that you had to keep your footage as entertaining as possible throughout, so viewers did not feel bored. I aimed to achieve this through including a range of different clips of not just the residents, but the carers and relatives as well. One of the main decisions I had to make when it came to editing was whether I should just have one narrator throughout the whole video, or split it up and have various voice overs. I decided to go with different people speaking as it seemed a shame to not have their interviews included as well, as they all showed different elements of the home. I would have liked to have gone back to Joe, the home manager, who was talking at the beginning talking at the end as well, however as we were only allowed three minutes, I unfortunately was not able to include this. I tried to keep the talking varied, for example when Josh, the handyman, was talking he was doing something practical at the same time, so that the viewer had something to focus on besides him. Consequently though I was concerned that this footage would appear disjointed from the rest of the clips, however I believe it was necessary to show another side of Greville. Furthermore, I found editing this video better than editing the first as I feel as though I had more audio to work with as opposed to the first which I felt was quite limited. Another problem I encountered was the quality of the audio, I was able to eliminate the background noise through using a denoiser setting on premier pro, although I do feel as though it still sounds not quite right. On the other hand one element which I thought worked well was the amount of clips that I could include. When completing my first video as they are similar in some ways, I struggled to pick which clips I should use for which one. Whereas this time round I didn’t have to worry about using a clip that I would potentially want to use later. Overall I have really enjoyed completing this video, and preferred working on it to my first due to the availability of more audio and choice of clips.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed completing this project, it has been insightful regarding using moving image for the first time, as well as editing in premier pro. The subject matter that I chose allowed me to visit Greville house nursing home frequently and become friendly with the residents and carers there who provided many stories for me to use.
I began my project first looking into wildlife hospitals, primarily one in Tewkesbury. Who nursed and cared for injured animals. However, I had no response from them after sending multiple emails and phoning up. I then had to start searching for other opportunities. This is where I found the memory café website online. It advertised for carers of people living with dementia and provided an environment for which they could go to and share their experiences with other people in the same situation. I contacted the lady through email who responded almost immediately saying that she would be interested in this, but that there were a few issues which would need to be addressed. After this email I then met the lady, Antonia, in person at Greville house to discuss ideas. Antonia explained to me that the memory café only ran on the last Thursday of each month, and that she would like to ask the ladies who attended, in person whether they would consider it, however this would then have only given me two sessions to attend to and because it was fairly new only four people actually attended it. Hearing this I then asked whether it would be possible to do a project on the home itself, as opposed to just the memory café side of it. Antonia was really enthusiastic but it meant that we would have to gain permission from the manager of Greville, Joe Caine, St Johns and the residents themselves.
Eventually I was given permission to shoot my project there. Incidentally, problems that were raised almost immediately were the amount of carers themselves who did not wish to be in the project. However, because I didn’t know them by name so didn’t know who’d given their permission and who hadn’t Antonia explained to them that if they didn’t want to be in the film then they would have to make the conscious decision to not get in the shot. Consequently, though when it came to shooting panning shots in the dining room and the communal room I couldn’t include most of them because there were either carers of residents included in them who hadn’t given their permission. Furthermore, I had done a shot where I’d placed the camera on one of the trays that was used to put food on and then the carer went and gave it to one of the residents whilst it was filming, but because in the background there was a resident who had not given her permission, I could then no longer use it.
Additionally, another major problem that I discovered was the lack of available light. I did a couple of interviews and photographs in the resident’s rooms but the lighting was so low that it didn’t look pleasing. As well as this they would quite often engage in activities in the afternoon in the communal room, which by then would also be getting dark. Consequently, because of this I had to turn my ISO right up which made some of my footage, especially in regards to my photos very grainy. To overcome this problem on the second time I went to shoot there I brought with me a portable lighting kit and a flash gun, however I was denied permission to use these as it would have upset some of the residents.
Furthermore, the remaining issue which I struggled with was interviewing the residents themselves. For example, I did an interview in the communal room with a man called Leslie, who used to be a reporter and told me a whole story about what he and his friends used to cover. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to understand even trying to put subtitles on I still couldn’t make out some of the words. Adding to this there was a lady grinding her teeth loudly next to him, so that throughout the whole shot there are clicking noises which if you didn’t know that it was the lady, you would have thought that there was something wrong with the camera.
On the other hand, what went well when I was filming was the amount of content that I was able to capture, because although a lot of the carers opposed there were plenty of residents who said yes. This meant that I was able to film a lot of the activities that they were doing, as well as them doing everyday things like eating, feeding the birds and sitting in the communal room. I ended up using a lot of this footage for cut away shots and had quite a lot to choose from for when it came down to the actual editing part of it.
In regards to editing I found that premier pro was simple to use itself, it just seemed to take hours to get anything done. I began by looking through what footage I did have and found that although I had a lot, it was hard to link them altogether. For example, I had footage of one resident called Benita describing how she went to a Daniel O’ Donnell concert, and then footage of the chefs preparing the food, and then one of the handyman Josh talking about how he was going to make a cardboard fireplace for Christmas to put in the dining room. Some of this footage I have left to go into my three-minute video. But for the film that I did have I decided to settle on one of the carers who was preparing to give one resident their dinner, and use her as voice over throughout the whole thing. In a way this worked because she narrates it well and she is physically doing something, as opposed to a sit down interview which consequently makes her more relaxed. However, the corridor that she’s in is very dark and the footage itself is not completely sharp. Furthermore, I included a lot of different cut aways because having been influenced by my research I thought that the videos that worked better were the ones that had a range of different environments within them, which consequently I tried to replicate. Also I decided to include music in the background of my video because there were some parts of it where I didn’t have enough audio of the carer speaking, and so was just silent or background noise, which made the film seem a little disjointed hence why I put quiet music on. I also didn’t want it to take over the film though so I edited it to in some parts come on louder than in others.
Additionally, when it came down to choosing which prints to include in my twenty final images, I stuck with the same notion of including ones from different environments to avoid repetition. Therefore, I included a range of close ups of the residents themselves, as well as objects around Greville house. Progressing onto my ten final images I did consider just having ten close up portraits of the residents, as I felt that these worked the strongest. However, again I wanted to avoid repetition and so decided against this, and instead went for five photos that were close ups of the residents and five that were either zoomed out more, or not of the residents faces. There were two of one person called Mary which I really liked and took me a while to actually choose which one to include. I ended up getting both of them printed off and then deciding which one I preferred as I would have liked to have included both of them but I didn’t want to repeat any.
All in all, this project has been a challenge to complete but I have really enjoyed it. It was intriguing to learn how to use moving image, the microphones and premier pro and is definitely something that I would like to try again in the future. The biggest problem that I had I think was the lighting as some of the shots I filmed I had to completely discard because they were just way too dark. However, it was fun interacting with the residents and learning about their background, as well as some of the carers, like Antonia who really helped in terms of getting access to the home in the first place. Overall I am pleased with the video that I have produced as well as the photos, as I think that they do reflect the friendly atmosphere that surrounds Greville House.
Below is the presentation that I made containing my twenty final images. I decided to include the captions on the actual images themselves as I preferred the aesthetics of this as opposed to having them inscribed below. In regards to the captions, I didn’t write too much as I didn’t want it to take over each image, however what I did write was mainly about things that the carers and the residents themselves told me. Where I knew the residents names I included it to make it feel more personal I also included information about their lives that they had told me to try and make each slide different. The main problem that I encountered when making this presentation was the image sizing, as I think that they looked better when they were full bleed, however with most of the images this didn’t work. Meaning that I have got a range of sizes of pictures, which is a little disjointing. But I preferred to have them like this, as opposed to them all being the same size and smaller, because then it would have been harder to include the captions on them and also I feel as though they would have had less of an impact.
When it came to narrowing down my images further to just ten I did strongly consider just including portraits. However after reviewing my research I decided to stick with keeping a range of images to avoid it being too repetitious. Instead I chose five images that were close up portraits and five that were either taken further away, or zoomed in but not of faces. Within my ten there are two that are fairly similar, this is the two where there are the four lady’s sat in their wheelchairs, and then another where there’s just three of them, however in this photo the perspective is completely different and has the ball in the foreground, which makes the image appear almost comical. I also decided to print out both of the photos of Mary as I was still undecided, after having seen both of them as proper copies I think that I am going to stick with the image where her face is more animated. I decided to go with this one because I have another image where one of the residents is gazing up and his eyes are very prominent and I feel as though the poses are kind of similar. Additionally, when choosing my final images I paid attention to the ones that were at interesting angles and perspectives, as I feel that these would be a lot more entertaining as opposed to normal images of people I nursing homes.
When it came down to choosing my twenty final images I decided to narrow it down to forty and then to thirty, and then gradually to twenty. Out of the photos that I did choose I concentrated on getting a range of photos, after having been influenced by my research I thought that a variety would work better, as opposed to sticking to a certain theme like portraiture. Especially in terms of having twenty images as I didn’t want the viewer to be bored. Therefore I incorporated a mixture of shots around the home itself, some of the residents as well as some of the workers, and the activities that they participated in. I was concerned that I had too many images of the residents playing bowls in the communal room, but I spread them out so its not as repetitious. One of the main problems that I had was that there were two photographs of Mary that I really liked, she was in the same position for both it was just her facial expression that was different. I would have liked to have included both of them but, I feel as if that would have been too much. Eventually after asking the opinions of a lot of people I went with the image where her face is more animated, smiling in the distance, as this keeps in theme with the friendly atmosphere of Greville house itself. There were a couple of residents that I included in more than one photograph, however because they were doing a different activity I didn’t think it would be too repetitious. Additionally, I think that some of my photos will work a lot better with captions, such as the image of the monitor on the wall, because as an onlooker who maybe doesn’t know about nursing homes it can look a bit sinister. However when you find out that its connected to a remote that the residents carry and they press it if they want anything even if its just a cup of tea, the viewer is provided with more context. Below are the twenty images that I went with, including the two of Mary which I was stuck between because I may still change my mind on that one, when I come to put it in my presentation I’m just not too sure yet.
One thing that I did have to take into consideration was making sure that everyone in the home was happy to be on camera. This was especially true for the residents living there who I had to fully confirm that they didn’t mind. Resulting from this Antonia the main lady I’ve been in contact with drew up a table, whereby the residents signed if they agreed to be on camera, as well as one carer with another carer there as witness, so that they couldn’t later be accused of forcing them to sign.
In this draft of video the main thing that I focused on the music in the background. I adjusted it to be so that in the parts where she isn’t talking it is ever so slightly louder than the sections where she is. Additionally, at the very end I gradually lowered the volume so to avoid it seeming to end very abruptly, this way its a more subtle ending. There are still parts of it that I’m not completely happy with, such as the jump from the shot of the tree to it then moving onto Betty folding napkins, however I don’t have anymore audio of the carer talking to fill gap. All in all though I am pleased with it as a first attempt at making and shooting a video, as well as using premier pro.
I decided not to add any further visuals in this draft, instead I worked on the transitions to try and make them appear to be smoother. I still feel as if the ending of the video is still too abrupt. Also I’m concerned that the music in the background is too distracting. Overall I think that I’m pleased with the outcome, there is however just a couple of things left to tweak and then it will be better.
This was my last time shooting in Greville house, I was invited in to join in with an activity that they had planned to capture some last footage. The man who came in was from an entertainment company for the elderly, he usually gets the residents involved with all kinds of activities, recently they’ve been writing poetry. This time however was more active and he set up a bowls competition. Even though the residents are almost all in wheelchairs, this does not restrict them from joining in with games like this, which helps them to take their mind off of whatever stress they may be going through. Unfortunately the activity took place in the middle of the afternoon, so again the lighting wasn’t at its best. Then again I did manage to capture some actions shot of some of the residents. These shots will add something different to my project I feel, as we are so used to seeing the elderly not as active as they were being. Luckily I did take the images in raw so was able to retrieve a few of them back, however it is such a shame how dark some of them did turn out.
I decided next to focus on more on photographers who take portraiture shots as I would like to include a number of these in as my final images. I began by looking at Cecil Beaton as after looking at a book that was dedicated to him and his work I found that a lot of his portraits are very striking. Beaton manipulates his light sources very well, casting shadows in the right places, as well as this he takes most of them at a fairly close up angle allowing us to see in depth the expressions upon their faces. This is something which I would like to try and replicate within my own work, especially because of the lines inscribed upon their faces will definatly add character to the images. As opposed to some of my other research that I have done, the subjects within his photos look as though they are staged and posing for the camera, this I feel is less like the kind of images that I would like to take. Overall, I think that the way Beaton composes his work works well, especially when the use of good lighting is also incorporated.