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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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’.

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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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Video Marketing For The Web Training Course

video marketing

Spectacle offers a variety of different training courses. If you work for a business, start up, NGO or charity this might be your chance to learn how to use digital video for marketing purposes.

Hiring film crew or attending a training course to learn video skills can be expensive. However, Spectacle’s video marketing for the web course is affordable and can help you to boost business.

If you work for a business, start up, NGO or charity then our course could be beneficial to you, by offering advice on using digital video to advertise, target and fundraise.

By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic according to a study by Cisco. Online video is quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy information and entertainment needs, and has become the future for marketing.

Video has the biggest potential reach on the web, Youtube receiving more than 1 billion unique visitors every month. Meaning Youtube receives the second most visitors on the whole of the web, after Facebook.

We schedule courses at our premises in London regularly over the year but are also available to come and teach at institutions. The course has recently been taught at Cambridge University Press and several Borough Councils. We have received excellent feedback.

Freelance Marketer Ella gave excellent feedback and said :

I was looking for a cost effective course to extend my marketing skills to be able to offer short digital video production for my clients. As a freelancer, a lot of courses I looked at were too long, with content I didn’t need, and frankly too costly. Of course, part of me thought the Spectacle course was a suspicious bargain, but testimonials were strong and I liked how ‘real world applied’ the content looked. 

I needn’t have worried. Mark has a skill to extract exactly what you need from the course and flex content to suit you. My photography skills were basic at best, and decades old, but very swiftly updated!  Hands on use of high quality camcorders straightaway means that you fly out of the blocks on that, and find yourself filming around Clapham getting the feel of things very quickly indeed. By the end of day one we’d interviewed, reviewed framing, focus and exposure issues, and – most eye opening to me –  got the hang of how to record broadcast quality audio. Not to give too much away, by the end of day two we were in post production…

For me, the key was Mark’s ‘mindset’ approach. So, of course, my technical skills will need hours of practice over the next few weeks, but unless your training gives you the mindset of a film maker, you might as well work your way through the manufacturer’s manual. Mark covers how to keep swapping your hats, from thinking like a sound engineer to how to capture plentiful footage that’s filmed in a away that doesn’t prompt a performance or reaction, to maintaining the story thread (and safe files) through the edit process.  

On editing, I have even less background than photography. But there’s hands on time again, and most importantly a really in-depth comparison of software you can use, with differing tools and screen layouts. The same goes for kit options – there’s no pressure to buy any one brand or configuration, and Mark discusses what you’re likely to need specific to your setting.  I have confidence now to choose what will suit me best, and even where to hunt for 2nd hand, which is a quantum leap from where I was 

Would I recommend Spectacle? Only grudgingly – it’s my secret support system now, and I’m not sure I want to share… I shall definitely be going back.

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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