Memories of Battersea: Christine

Memories of Battersea is a video oral history project run by Spectacle Productions and funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gives young adults from Battersea the opportunity to be trained in film-making while producing short films about their neighbourhood, collecting memories from elder Battersea residents, bridging intergenerational gaps and engaging with the history of their borough.

In this episode we met theatre director Christine Eccles in the Battersea Art Centre. Christine tells her story about Mayday Theatre, a politically engaged theatre company based in Battersea during the seventies and early eighties.

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Christine moved to Battersea from Liverpool in the early seventies and, inspired by radical theatre and the political atmosphere at the time, started her own socialist community theatre group. Working with the local residents and the Labour council they put on shows around South London that were based on local issues and stories such as the lives of factory workers, the gentrification of Battersea and the growth of the National Front in the area.

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In this short film she recounts stories from some of their most memorable performances, shares her photos from the time, describes her experiences of working with the local community, and explains why her work was an important political force in the history of Battersea. She describes the neighbourhood’s radical history, what it was like when she moved there, and the changes that have taken place since then, including the sudden switch from a Labour to a Conservative council and the rapid change in housing landscape.

Christine is the second episode in the series. Watch Memories of Battersea: Jean, the first episode, here.  

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Free video training for young adults resident in the Battersea area

Memories of Battersea: Free video film making training for young adults resident in Wandsworth

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Continuing Spectacle’s oral history video project “Memories of Battersea” we are running a series of free video production workshops for young adults (18-30 year olds) resident in the Wandsworth Borough, particularly SW8 and the Queenstown Ward.

The workshops will run during November and December please contact production@spectacle.co.uk for dates / times and locations.

All equipment is provided, no prior knowledge is necessary and it is completely free. There are 10 places so book now to be sure to get your place.

The 2 day workshops will cover practical hands on digital video production including shooting an interview and shoot locations.

Other workshops will be scheduled in 2018.

Please contact production@spectacle.co.uk to book, we are happy to answer your questions and provide details.

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Take out our video production and video editing training courses

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Do you work in media communications and marketing? At a university? In the third sector, at an NGO or charity? For an established business or a rapidly growing start-up? A local council? Or a publishers?

If you have a group of people who would like to learn to produce beautiful in house video, we can travel to you and teach essential video production or video editing skills in two days. We bring all our own equipment, so all you need to supply is a suitable space.

Please see our website for more information or email training@spectacle.co.uk for a quote.

In the meantime, have a look at the excellent feedback we received from Angela Farrance, Senior Communications and Engagement Officer at Watford Borough Council:

“We work for a local authority, and want to promote our services, activities and places to visit in the most accessible and fun way, to a wide range of people.

I liked the flexibility that Spectacle offered; the training was completely bespoke and reactive to our needs, but still covered everything we wanted to learn.

The team had varying levels of experience, and all felt it was a really well spent few days. Everyone is very keen to get started!

I would recommend the training, and already have to fellow comms officers in Hertfordshire. Mark made the sessions fun, accessible and everyone is really excited to get filming.”

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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.

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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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NGOs – Learn to use Video!

For NGO's video is important in storytelling and giving campaigns greater impact.

Video is important for NGOs when it comes to storytelling and giving campaigns greater impact.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. With the rise of social media and the internet, NGO’s have never been so equipped to campaign and connect with their audiences as they are now.

2. Video is important in storytelling and can give campaigns more impact.

3. Videos can create more interest, meaning more people will support your initiatives.

4. Video can encourage sharing as people are 21 times more likely to share a video on social media than text, says a study by Hubspot. This creates further knowledge of your project and encourages new and potential supporters.

5. Campaigns which involve video are more likely to go viral – for example the ALS ice bucket challenge last summer was seen by millions.

Spectacle offer a short film making course which is designed to suit NGO’s, Charities, Start ups and SME’s.  The training is not technology specific but allows you to make use of the equipment you have available and use low budget techniques.  This is more cost effective than hiring a film crew.

We also offer an intensive 4 day course attended by NGO, charity and communications workers.

If you are interested in booking either 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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An insight into an internship at Spectacle

I have just completed a month long work experience placement at Spectacle, an award winning independent television production company. Spectacle is a small, friendly company with a positive office atmosphere.

As an intern my tasks include promoting Spectacles training courses in video production through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and the Spectacle blog. Through this I have learnt how to use TweetDeck a useful tool to line up tweets, improved my ability to use WordPress and learned other transferable social media skills. I have also been involved in writing Spectacles monthly newsletter.

As Spectacle is a small organisation there is the opportunity to become involved and receive a greater insight into the company. For example I have had the opportunity to be on the film set of one of Spectacles current projects.  I do not have any past experience in the film making industry so this was interesting and valuable.

Another benefit of working for a small company meant that my ideas and opinions were valued and my actions made more of an impact.

I am currently a student at Bournemouth University studying Communication and Media and needed to complete a four week summer placement as part of my course. I came across Spectacle on my university careers website, which can be used by both current students, graduates and members of the public looking to further their career.

To find out more about Spectacle’s work experience placement opportunities.

 

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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”

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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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Digital Video Production for the Web- Short Training Courses

Digital Video Production for the Web

NGOs, charities, social enterprises and small businesses have been badly hit by the recession and funding cuts. To reach out to your target audience and get your message across there is an ever increasing demand for online video- producing high quality online videos need not be an expensive luxury.

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DIY digital film making and successful use of No/Lo budget techniques, can slash your production costs and actually improve your production values.

By training existing staff or volunteers in the techniques of high quality digital film making organisations can greatly reduce production costs. When people working on the ground document their own activities and events and record client testimonials you can often get better results than with a hired film crew of strangers.

Where your workers have built relationships and trust with your clients they can film more relaxed and interpersonal moments, moments that might elude an external film crew, making for a more direct and powerful film.

This practical hands-on course aims to give you the “future proof” information you really need to know to produce high quality videos by concentrating on the techniques and skills that stay constant, regardless of passing developments in software, technologies and formats.

The training is not technology specific but gives you the knowledge and attitude to get the best out of whatever equipment is to hand, to navigate your way around the complexity of codecs and formats, to identify and solve technical problems. You will learn the techniques and methods of high quality digital production in a way you can speedily pass on the knowledge and expertise to other members of your organisation and client base.

Organisations with a member of staff who have completed the course can hire Spectacle’s equipment at a 15% discount.

The course is modular. You can take just the 2 day production course or the 3 day course that includes post production and uploading video to the internet.

For more information Digital Video Production for the Web

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

For information on other Spectacle training courses

Or contact training@spectacle.co.uk

For info on new dates and courses please sign up for the Spectacle training newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.




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