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.