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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Bleacher on the Rye screenings

Our new film ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ on the proposed redevelopment on Peckham Rye Station by Network Rail has had two recent screenings in order to make local people and businesses aware of this plan that is threatening the station area. Tonight, 6th June 2014 6.15-7.15 there will a third screening at Goldsmiths University as part of the event ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Class and Space in Paris and London.’

The screening is free and open to all. Details here.

The film is still in development but has had two recent local screenings to raise awareness of the plans. At every screening the film is more developed and tweaked to respond to audience feedback.

Wednesday 28th May, ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ was screened at the exhibition ‘CO-IMAGINE the re-development of Peckham Rye Station‘ at Peckham’s CLF Art Cafe (Bussey Building). The exhibition brought together an array of imaginative visions for the future of the station and its surrounding area and an open forum panel discussion with speakers; Eileen Conn from Peckham Vision, local architect Benedict O’Looney and Mark Saunders of Spectacle. The purpose of the event was to provide the necessary space for discussion ahead of Southwark Council and Network Rail’s open ‘co-design’ workshops this summer, in an attempt to actively involve local residents and stakeholders in a collaborative design process to consult on plans for the imminent redevelopment of Peckham Rye Station Gateway.

Friday 30th May Cinema6 screened a slightly updated version of ‘Bleacher on the Rye’ in a Gentrification Double Bill ‘There goes the neighborhood‘ with ‘Concrete Heart Land‘ which documented the attempts by local Heygate residents, in Elephant and Castle, to resist the ongoing process of dispossession and gentrification. Hosted in the cosy arch of artist studios Arcadia Missa Cinema6 together with Full Unemployment Cinema and Southwark Notes opened a lively and fruitful audience discussion with other local activists and artists on shared experiences and strategies.

If you would like to organise a screening of this film please get in touch.

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Dial M for Murdoch- Book Launch

This week saw the release of Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corporation of Britain, written jointly by Labour MP Tom Watson and The Independent’s Martin Hickman. The book was launched this morning at a press conference in which Watson called the Murdoch empire a “toxic institution that has operated in Britain like a shadow state”.  Predicted to be the “one of the most attacked books this year”, the title and publication date were kept a complete secret until Monday. Published by Penguin, the book is on sale for £20. Reviews say that the book gives a detailed and researched account of the phone hacking scandal just in time for Murdoch’s appearance at the Leveson inquiry next week.

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“News International Wapping dispute” exhibition moves to Goldsmiths College, London

The News International Wapping dispute exhibition finishes its run in Liverpool today and moves to Goldsmiths College in south east London in October.

The bitter 1986 dispute between Rupert Murdoch and the print unions started when over 5,000 production and clerical workers were sacked overnight. None of the journalists were sacked but more than 100 of them – the “refuseniks” – took a stand on principle and walked out of their jobs.

The exhibition starts on 1 October with a public launch on Tuesday 4 October at 6pm featuring speakers who were directly involved in the dispute.

When: From 1 to 14 October
Where: New Academic Building, Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW
Entry: Free

Further details can be found on Goldsmith’s website or for the Guardian’s Jon Henley’s article on the exhibition, click here.

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