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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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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Wild Miracles

BPS int girders

The bare bones of a tiny section of Battersea Power Station, 20 Oct 2009

“Nine Elms regeneration will strengthen capital’s role as greatest world city”, promises London Mayor Boris Johnson.  In a press release outlining housing, business and transport redevelopment schemes, the Mayor announced that “this vision represents the final piece of the jigsaw that completes the central area of London.  The regeneration of Vauxhall and Nine Elms now is hugely significant in allowing us to support the economic growth of the whole of the capital”.

The plans and policies for the site are detailed in the Vauxhall  and Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework. Copies can be downloaded from here

And if these upbeat statements from the Mayor were not enough, there is also news of a sensational, sensual theatre experience running from 23rd September 2010 to 23rd October 2010.

“The message of the project WILD MIRACLES is very sensational and unusual… The work shows how feminine sensuality can be lived and experienced in synergy with masculinity, and shows – through the stage plot – new possibilities to transform drama and fear into happiness and complete joy of life”.

Stage design mock-up

Stage design mock-up

“WILD MIRACLES utilises…an interactive stage design of light and video installations, giving the audience the impression of being involved in the act”.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here for more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

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Battersea Power Station = Regenicide

Relay sign still

Inside the BPS, 20 Oct 2009

A spiky piece sent to the Evening Standard by Conservation Architecture & Planning office Jack Warshaw caught our eye recently.  In the piece he denounces the redevelopment plans in Nine Elms and lambastes proposals for the new US Embassy.

“The projected new embassy’s security requirements…assume a “worst case” scenario of armed terrorist attack.  The resulting stockade mentality…  will contribute nothing towards making the area a more accessible, human-scaled place. Americans like me will be embarrassed by it.  Londoners will shake their fists at it.”

“The Power Station was doomed when Wandsworth Council failed to safeguard it from the collapse of John Broome’s scheme and English Heritage washed its hands of it… Regeneration? Don’t make me laugh… Just more examples of “regenicide”- killing off a place in the name of regenerating it.”

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here for more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

If you would like to object to these plans you have until January 31st 2010 click here for more details.

For more information about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station project including video interviews.

To read more blogs about Battersea Power Station

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Battersea Power Station – New Mini Documentary on-line

BPS overview

A  mini-documentary exploring the ongoing Battersea Power Station battle is now live and on-line…  featuring powerful testimony from community group members,  politicians and  social representatives, this mini film touches upon the issues, thoughts and emotions surrounding the station and its precarious future.

Watch it here:  Battersea Power Station – The Story so far

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here for more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

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Benefit Busters: Blaming the poor…..again

Channel 4’s new show ‘Benefit Busters’ seems to be a PR gem for a government overseeing the biggest economic crisis in the past 30 years. Once again the numerous reasons why unemployment is soaring and more and more people are finding themselves in the ranks of the long-term unemployed is ignored in favour of the old-iddium- ‘people are lazy’. The concept is simple, an outside team come into the local job centre and teach all the unemployed the reason they have no job is their negative attitude.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t so mind-numbingly unoriginal and tragic.  That Channel 4 has managed to find a character that bares a striking  resemblance to ‘league of gentlemen restart officer Pauline’ in the form of Hayley, is a small triumph but the truth is that a this is a bad tabloid headline come to life and its harmful. ‘No jobs, rubbish! a pep talk from Hayley and suddenly your dreams come true, Poundland has an opening. In agony after a terrible accident, don’t worry if your benefits are cut and your on the breadline you will soon forget about your troubles’. Not only does it patronise those millions of people looking for work in an ever squeezed market, it attacks the weakest in society, the sick and disabled who have the least chance of finding employment.

This is best illustrated by the episode where Kieron, a young man on disability allowance, has his benefits cut after he was found to be ‘faking’ a serious back injury by one of the pep talk team. Now call me cynical but I always thought you needed extensive medical training and a few years working with patients before you could decide whether someone was ill or not, a bad neck tie and lipstick just doesn’t seem like enough.

With virtually no questions asked of A4E,  the private company involved in Benefit Busters or how much value for money we the tax payer are getting for this scheme, as opposed as to the old system, this is more like a  informercial for A4E than a documentary. Given that it is claimed A4E receive up-to £I94 per client per week and they have a limited amount of success, even in the program several clients failed to stay in work, more stringent questions should have been asked about the methods of this company.

Is it right that Emma Harrison, the companies founder, has become a millionaire through other peoples unemployment? If you make money from people being out of work can you be trusted to find them a job? Is Hayley the person to rummage through peoples deep-seated psychological problems?

I just wonder what Channel 4 will sink to next- ‘The poor and disabled, how  they bring it on themselves’.

For a further critique of Benefit Busters visit The Metro

To read criticism of Benefit Busters by a local charity visit  Fife Today

For further information on our Poverty and the Media Project and to view our workshops please visit our Project Page.

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Poverty and the Media DVD clips online

There are now clips of the ‘Poverty and Participation in the Media‘ DVD available to view online. Please click here to view clips of our interview with Zac Beattie, maker of ‘Rich Kid Poor Kid‘.

There is also a discussion of ‘The Tower’ with residents of the Pepys Estate.

Other topics include:

Abusive Elements In The Media

Advertising Pressure

Community

The Media’s Potential For Change

Young People and Education

Media Views of Poverty

New Media

Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog.



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Changing face of poverty

Save the Children recently announced it would be giving emergency cash grants to families in poverty due a massive increase in food prices and worrying increase in malnutrition amongst babies and pregnant women. These families are not the ones that Save the Children normally deal with, they are not in refugee camps or war-zones but in cities and towns across the UK.

With the recession taking hold unemployment has soared and so has the price of food; according to the Guardian the cost of food rose by 11.3% in the year to February, and within that the cost of vegetables has risen by 18.6%. This is leading to new levels of poverty amongst children and families in Britain say Save the Children.

Save the Children argue that many people are facing terrible problems with debt, not because they are frivolous as suggested by some of the media but because they have had to rely on credit for basic essentials. Now the safety net of easy credit has been removed people find they are stuck with high repayments and no new income and end up cutting their food budgets to compensate.

With organisations like Save the Children and Oxfam turning their attention to the UK’s poor is it time we changed our perception of what poverty looks like?

Does the media do enough to let us know about poverty on our own doorstep?

Is it easier to pretend poverty only exists in foreign countries?

For more clips from our Poverty and  The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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Spectacle to interview maker of Rich Kid Poor Kid

Tomorrow Spectacle will be holding a question and answer session with Zac Beattie of Close-up Films, maker of Rich Kid Poor Kid and local residents from the area where the film was made . This is to enable him to answer some the of the criticisms of the program that were raised in our poverty and the media workshops. We would like people to suggest any questions the would like us to ask him.

Please leave any questions in the comment section of the blog or email us at info@spectacle.co.ukFor more clips from our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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From Shameless to Little Britain, does drama negatively stereotype the poor?

Below is an article describing a study of ‘Little Britain’ that was carried out by the London School of Economics. Do you agree or disagree with this report.

A study by a London School of Economics academic said many of the show’s characters – from teenage mum Vicky Pollard to proud gay Daffyd – are stereotypes based on people’s dislike of others of a different class, sexuality, race or gender.

Researcher Deborah Finding branded the show as “the comedy equivalent of junk food”.

“It is clear that when ‘we’, the audience, are invited to laugh at ‘them’, the characters – we are laughing not only at the figures on screen but at entire groups of people whom they come to represent,” she said.

Little Britain does far more to promote racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and classism than it does to satirise them – though it does do that from time to time.

“To claim that it is ironic is to miss the point that comedy constructed about the other – that which is different from us – involves the mocking of minority groups in a way that winds the clock back to the pre-alternative days of (controversial British comedian) Bernard Manning.”

In her study, Ms Finding analysed the show’s characters and found that their physical traits were used to project fears about homosexuals, the working class and minority groups.

She said that in laughing at Vicky Pollard – a fat, chain-smoking, single mother – audiences were expressing their fears and hatred of the working class.

Viewers saw Vicky, with her “stereotypical body”, as having the features of all working-class single mums, “feckless, stupid and promiscuous”, Ms Finding said.

“Even Daffyd, the self-proclaimed only gay in the village, is a character who connects the idea of being homosexual with being ridiculous and therefore relies on mainstream fears about gayness, despite the fact that Daffyd is the creation of comedian Matt Lucas – who is himself gay,” she said.

For more clips from our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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