Remote Participatory Video in Medellin, Colombia

Spectacle has been at the forefront of Participatory Video (PV) practice and community engagement for more than thirty years. We continue to innovate and during the last 9 months we have developed a model for delivering Participatory Video workshops remotely.

Reinventada, a participatory video project for LSE

The Project

Spectacle is currently a partner in a research project developing a groundbreaking remote PV method. The research project Reinventada is funded by the London School of Economics (LSE) Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund (KEI). It investigates the condition of displaced and migrant women, especially mothers and heads of household, living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Medellin (Colombia).

The Garcia sisters, Celmira and Elicenia

The research was initially planned to produce a participatory documentary on women’s ‘right to the city’ in Medellin. However, as soon as the pandemic crisis exploded, being well aware that women are amongst the most affected groups of people during emergencies and disasters, we were able to create a remote participatory project that investigates the impact of COVID-19 on participants’ everyday lives in poorer areas of the city. 

The Beginning

Started in May 2020, the project was originally planned to be conducted face-to-face, but was forced online due to the pandemic. It is led by dr. Sonja Marzi, the Principal Investigator from the Department of Methodology at LSE, as well as supported on the ground by two Colombian partners: Maria Fernanda Carrillo, a sociologist and filmmaker, and Lina Maria Zuluaga, anthropologist.

Dr. Sonja Marzi, Principal Investigator of the project

The aim of this research project is to create a documentary filmed and edited by the women themselves to depict their daily lives during the pandemic. 

Online Participatory Video

We began initially by training the participants on how to best use web platforms and available technology. We set up weekly ‘Zoom’ meetings that served as an online space for workshops on filming techniques and how to use their smartphones to capture high quality video. Zoom meetings became the workshop space where all production and editorial decisions were discussed and made in consensus. The production meetings are chaired by participants on a rotating basis. We discussed film content, planned shoots, reviewed and critiqued the footage together, and collaborated on editing the final documentary.

Demetria, chairing a meeting

The groundbreaking project has successfully adapted Spectacle’s Participatory Video methods and techniques to an online environment. We are in the editing phase and the documentary film will be published by the end of 2020. 

Collaborative editing process

Visit our vimeo channel to see examples of Spectacle’s past PV work.

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Calling all students – take advantage of our huge student discounts, learn filmmaking before you graduate

Are you a student, interested in documentary filmmaking, video-journalism (becoming a ‘self-shooter’), media communications and marketing, or using video for your final project or fieldwork? We pride ourselves on our affordable and efficient intensive short courses in filmmaking, video production, and video editing, and for students they are even cheaper.

training

We offer our Digital Video Production Weekend — a great introductory course for beginners — for just £180 to students (a £60 discount on the full price), and our intensive Four Day Filmmaking Course — also suitable for beginners, but ideal for consolidating and expanding on basic or self-taught skills — for £350 (£150 off).

We also have a course designed specifically for people who want to learn video skills for academic purposes — for use in fieldwork or on their final project and a course for people interested in media communications and marketing. We have courses running soon — before your final project is due! — and over the summer. If you are graduating this year and interested in pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking, self-shooter video-journalism, media communications and marketing, or academia then sign up now and we will honour the student discount even if you graduate before the course start date.

For more information see our website, or email Charlotte at training@spectacle.co.uk to discuss which course would be best for you.

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Spectacle’s training course encourages you to take the next step

training

Spectacle offers several training courses in which participants can experience all the aspects of filmmaking.

Recently I  participated  in Spectacle’s  four day Digital Filmmaking training course which I did as a part of my one month work placement for Spectacle. These intense four days gave me what I was looking for – a practical skill set in filmmaking and post production. As an undergraduate Politics & Media students at Bournemouth University, the training course provided me with practical tips how to produce a short film and what I need to know beforehand which will without a doubt benefit my studies.

During the training course the other participants and I had a chance to practice all aspects of filmmaking: everyone had a go with camera, sound, interviewing and directing. A practical exercise was an interview with a local Mural artist Brian Barnes who talked about his art inspired by the Battersea Power Station. Dominique Lyons, one of the participants describes the training as ‘a good all round course on the basics’. Dominique who works in communications thinks she picked the right course for herself however our participants also came from different fields.

Pelagia Makrelli, an anthropology student from Greece, did her Erasmus workplacement for Spectacle this summer. She says the training helps ‘anthropologists to go from theory to action’. Another anthropologist participating the course was Zsuzsa Millei who says she appreciates how the course showed ‘respect for beginners enthusiasm, patience when something went wrong and understanding of clumsiness’.

brian

How to film an interview? Spectacle’s training course participants tested interview techniques with a mural artist Brian Barnes.

With my previous experience in editing covering the basics of how to use iMovie, the training course shed light on more advanced editing software and broadened my knowledge of different possibilities for editing. We learned how to use Final Cut Pro and we were advised which software might suit our own purposes. Now after the training course I feel a lot more confident with working with cameras and I’m looking forward to use these new skills in practice.

A freelance journalist Jessica Holland also found the training course very beneficial and she hopes to use her skills to make short documentaries. After all everyone of us who took part in the training course will use these learned skills in different ways. However I believe the course encouraged us to take the next step and get involved in film projects that we might have missed otherwise.

If you are interested in booking the course visit the How to Book page.

For information on other Spectacle training courses

Or contact training@spectacle.co.uk

If you would like more information on future training opportunities at Spectacle sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.




 


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Digital Video Production for Anthropologists and Social Researchers Training Course

Book here

Spectacle offers a unique short course in digital video production techniques designed specifically for Anthropologists, Anthropology students and Social Researchers who want to learn to use video in their field research.

Spectacle is an award winning independent television production company specialising in documentary, community-led, investigative journalism and participatory media. We are a small, socially-minded company whose profits go back in to funding our community based work. Our training is affordable and efficient; we teach the basic techniques in just one weekend and we offer large discounts to students and unemployed people.

We schedule weekend courses for individuals regularly throughout the year at our premises in London. However, If you would prefer us to come to you, we are also able to bring our training to your university or institution and teach a group in digital video production techniques. In the past we have trained groups at the University of Cambridge, University of Lancaster, and the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. We received excellent feedback on these courses:

Mark really knows his subject, and I found the course motivating, practical and enjoyable. I came out with loads of ideas.” Student at the University of Cambridge, Conservation Research Institute.

“In two days you really get a feel for what you can do with a camera, theoretically as well as practically.” Participant at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research.

About the course

This is an intensive, hands-on, weekend training course with emphasis on developing your practical filming skills, participatory techniques, and do-it-yourself confidence that will enhance the quality and validity of filmed fieldwork material. The short, condensed and effective course will give all participants a solid foundation of practical knowledge and a working understanding of digital cameras, sound recording, and filming on location.

Feedback from former participants:

This is the type of course every anthropologist and social researcher should take” – Dr. Mattia Fumanti, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews

Simple, uncomplicated approach to something people are interested in but perhaps scared of trying out.” – Julie Botticello, Research Associate, UCL

For a full interview with former participant Michaela Benson, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, see here: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/spectacleblog/spectacle-training-courses/interview-spectacle-training-demystified-the-film-making-process/

Details and How to Book

Our weekend course costs £240 or £120 concessions (students and unemployed people, with evidence). We are next running a course on 6-7 December 2013, and then the 10-11 January.

To book, please go here: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/projects_page.php?id=165

For more information on this course or others, see the training pages on our website: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/projects_page.php?id=496

If you want to know more about Spectacle’s work, or have any queries, please email training@spectacle.co.uk

If you are interested in booking the course visit the How to Book page.

For information on other Spectacle training courses

Or contact training@spectacle.co.uk

If you would like more information on future training opportunities at Spectacle sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.




 


 

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Interview: Spectacle training ‘demystified’ the filmmaking process

Spectacle has been offering flexible, efficient and affordable training based at our Lavender Hill office in South London for several years. In that time, we’ve had all kinds of people come through our doors, and the feedback we’ve received at the end of the courses has been overwhelmingly positive. Recently, however, we wondered exactly what our trainees have taken away from our particular approach to teaching in the long run. We sought out Michaela Benson, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, a few months after she finished our Digital Video Production for Anthropologists & Social Researchers training weekend to discuss this.

Why did you choose digital video production skills? 

I do a lot of research in people’s houses looking at their relations with the wider residential environment… video can offer a way of introducing participatory elements into an academic research project, and can capture the visual experience of a research setting. I also think that it introduces a different way of communicating findings to our audiences. I wanted to develop these skills so I could apply them myself and start experimenting.

What did you like most about our course?

The way it demystified the process of video-recording and taught me some fail safe basics that are transferable not only into future video work, but also into my everyday use of cameras. I feel that my understanding of video production and the skills involved in this have undoubtedly benefited.

What has stayed with you the most?

The simple understanding of how to frame a shot has been invaluable, and I feel as though it is becoming second-nature.

Now you’ve learned these skills, what’s next?

I’m looking forward to applying my new skills to my current project on self-build in the coming months.

Why do you think researchers should be engaging more with digital video?

I think that video offers additional ways of capturing research data, to be analysed later, and also opens up possibilities for different modes of engagement and communication.

Would you recommend the course to someone else?

I would definitely recommend the course. It broke the process of production into small steps that were easy to remember. Also, having a chance to put these into practice made me realise the benefits of this approach. This is a course that is perfect for anyone who wants to make a start at looking at including video production in their work.

You can find out more about our Digital Video Production for Anthropologists & Social Researchers training weekend here, including upcoming dates and fees.
If you’re interested in documentary film making but you’re not a researcher, we have a range of other courses that may interest you. All our training courses apply the same ‘fail safe’, ‘small steps’ approach to give you the confidence to pick up a video camera and start shooting.

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Incompetent filmmaking is incompetent ethnography

"This is the type of course that every anthropologist should take" 
"Excellent course to get you feeling comfortable with a camera"
"This course delivers on what it offers"
"Mark is extremely experienced, versatile & an excellent teacher"
"Interview technique tips were great"

“Films that are cinematographically incompetent are also ethnographically incompetent (even when made by an ethnographer)” (Heider, 2007: 4).

Producing an Ethnographic Film is not the only reason to incorporate a camera in to your fieldwork.There is no substitute for what the camera can capture. It is an irreplaceable tool, one that can assist you, expand your academic knowledge, broaden your ethnography, enrich your experience and uniquely contribute to the field of Anthropology.

Learning fundamental, basic principles of film-making will make the difference between unusable, poor quality footage and priceless material.

Above all, understand the limitations and the potential of your equipment:

Visit Spectacle and acquire the knowledge you need by attending one of our affordable, intense, hands-on courses in film-making.

References

Heider, Karl G. (2007) Ethnographic Film, revised edition, Austin: University of Texas Press

For more information contact Spectacle at training@spectacle.co.uk

Visit our website and have a look at our upcoming dates for the Digital Video Production Weekend Course for Anthropologists and Social Researchers or find out about our other workshops.

If you wish to book you can find all the details you need on our how to book page.

If you would like more information on future courses and training opportunities sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.





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“Anthropologist and the Camera”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During our last course on Digital Video Production for Anthropologists and Social Researchers the single most important hindrance, while using a camera during fieldwork, came up; lack of fundamental technical knowledge. Chances are, more often than not, that poor sound, bad lighting, amateur framing and many more careless adjustments will stand in the way of what otherwise could be priceless, irreplaceable footage either for teaching/archive purposes or for professional documentary production.

Alas, the transition from the general theoretical knowledge of cinema, to which anyone of us can get access to (at least to some extent), to the actual implementation of it is highly challenging. Several prestigious universities and institutions, such as Manchester’s Granada Center of Visual Anthropology, have been promoting film-making as part of an anthropologist’s curriculum with great success. Yet, for most universities and especially smaller anthropology departments across Europe, Ethnographic Film is far from available.

My personal outlook on this matter is that if circumstances allow it (which only means if the communities which the anthropologists study allow it), a camera is as mandatory as a notebook. By extension, the quality of the filmed material should indicate an effort analogous to the one generated by the anthropologist for the actual ethnography. Thus, the technical knowledge of filming, sound and editing becomes critical. Nonetheless, as our particular academic interests gradually develop, a MA in Visual Anthropology may become a luxury that not everyone can afford, financially or otherwise. Does this mean that we shall be excluded from this community of anthropologists who have committed to become equally good film-makers as well as ethnographers?

Long story short, the fact that not every anthropologist aspires to a career in documentary and Ethnographic Film, does not justify a potential indifference to the efficacy of high quality filmed material for other purposes. As Mead (2003: 5) points out, we can only “cherish those rare combinations of artistic ability and scientific fidelity”, yet as whole cultures go unrecorded it is “inappropriate to demand that filmed behavior have the earmarks of a work of art”.

Spectacle’s weekend courses are a unique opportunity to acquire detailed and concise digital video filming skills at affordable prices. It is also important to stress that even the most experienced anthropologist does not necessary know the best way to introduce a camera in to fieldwork. With expertise in participatory media, engaging the ‘hard to reach’, as well as 20 years of professional film-making inside and with communities and minority groups Spectacle is more than equipped to provide this difficult to obtain knowledge.

References

Mead, M. (2003). Visual Anthropology in a Discipline of Words. In: Hockings, P. Principles of Visual Anthropology. 3rd ed. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 3-10

For more information contact Spectacle at training@spectacle.co.uk

Visit our website and have a look at our upcoming dates for the Digital Video Production Weekend Course for Anthropologists and Social Researchers or find out about our other workshops.

If you wish to book you can find all the details you need on our how to book page.

If you would like more information on future courses and training opportunities sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.





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NEW WEEKEND COURSE Digital Video Production for Visual Anthropologists

Visit here for next dates and more details:

Digital Video Production for Visual Anthropologists and Researchers

About the course

Short, Sharp, Affordable. This is a practical hands-on weekend course aimed at visual anthropologists who want a fast way to acquire detailed and concise digital video filming skills.

There is an emphasis on bringing together the theory and practice of visual anthropological film making:

  • What is Visual Anthropology?
  • Positives and Negatives of using Film in Social Research (includes ethics)
  • Types of Visual Research Methods
  • Editing
  • Working in the Field

 

The short, condensed and effective course will give all participants a solid foundation of practical knowledge and a working understanding of digital cameras, sound recording, interview techniques, filming on location and industry language.

You will also get the confidence to use a wide range of equipment and learn the “future proof” principles of film making that remain constant despite the changes in technology and formats.

We allow a maximum of three people per camera set up (camera, sound, interviewer), giving everyone extensive hands-on experience.

What you will learn

– Preparing a shoot
– How to use a digital camera (focus, white balance, aperture, formats etc.)
– How to use microphones
– Framing, types of shots, camera movements, cutaways and other techniques and tips
– How to conduct and shoot an interview
– Shooting on location
– The principles of lighting, both natural and artificial
– Filming to edit
– Legal issues, permissions and copyrights

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About the tutors

Mark Saunders is an award-winning independent film-maker, media activist and writer. His expertise in the field spans over two decades.

He is currently running Spectacle Productions, a company which he founded in 1990. Clients include Amnesty International, Channel 4, the Rowntree Foundation, the Howard League for Penal Reform and many others.

His films have been broadcast internationally and exhibited at galleries, including Tate Britain, the National Film Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Musee des Beaux-Arts,  the National Media Museum and the Photographers Gallery.

Alongside production work, Mark has also been teaching for over 15 years, and he has been a visiting lecturer at a number of institutions, including London School of Economics, the Royal College of Art, the London College of Communications, Bournemouth, Florence and Coventry Universities. He is currently teaching at Birkbeck College.
Chloe Evans has written for several social science and Anthropology journals, predominantly on her work based on the Philippine Diaspora. She has also contributed photography and video materials to several University projects. Chloe Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the L.S.E and a MSc in Visual Anthropology from the University of Oxford.

Spectacle is a member of the Moving Image Training Alliance (MITA).

The details

Where

Spectacle
No. 25
99 – 109 Lavender Hill
London SW11 5QL

Price

£200.00 + VAT = £240
Concs.: £100.00 + VAT = £120

 

Special Discounts

Group bookings
– Bookings for three to five people: 10% discount
– Bookings for six people or more: 20% discount

Multiple bookings
You will receive a 15% discount if you book a place on our Final Cut Pro editing course (dates to be announced).

How to book

Please visit the How to Book page to reserve a place on this workshop.

Also, please ensure you read our Terms and Conditions before reserving a place on one of Spectacle’s training courses.

If you have any queries please contact training@spectacle.co.uk

 

If you would like more information on future training opportunities at Spectacle sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.




 

 

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