Connecting Heritage

Reflective Journal

2 March 2018

I have been given the task to create a heritage film for a coastal town in East Anglia using archival materials.  This includes archival footage, imagery and audio. I will also be including other footage, imagery, music, sound effects and dialogue that I either create myself or are taken from archival sites. I also plan to combine collage animation with green screen footage (subject to the narrative and if models/actors are available).

 The brief is to create a 5+ minutes moving image covering:-
  • people stories, recollections, reminiscence and perspectives
  • living and working in a seaside town 
  • tourism
  • geography of the coastal town including land, harbour and sea
  • approximately 150 years from 1850’s until yesterday
The outcome should be historic, respectful to the history of the coastal town and its people and non chronological. The vision of the film is dreamscapes, juxtaposition and slightly surreal. 
Over the last 2 weeks I have researched the town looking at books  and discs. I have also visited the site and taken photos and videos.
I have been given some materials to start including imagery and archival books and have explored the best ways to animate and connect the still images in After Effects.
The following images I animated the boats racing across the lake, included the sounds of a starting gun, cheering and would like to record a child saying ‘ready, steady, go’. I also experimented with footage that I had taken of the site and overlaid flying seagulls and land. I am pleased with the result of combining footage with still images and would like to explore this further.
The next image shows the other side of the lake with the race ending. I would like to add a hand moving in this one. I don’t think it matters that the boats are different from the first image. Both images have been coloured in Photoshop. I would like to include these animations in the film.
I also experimented with some station images. I watched a tutorial on animating watercolor splashes as I wanted to add these to the steam train. I also acquired copyright free imagery of people from British Library and included these in the scene. I was given a sketch of railway lines and overlaid these. If I decide to use these I would redraw them in Photoshop or Illustrator. I was happy with the experiment and would like to include it in the film.
I also explored joining images of stations together showing steam and diesel trains. I added another plan of train lines and animated a train that would travel towards the harbour. This would be a good way to link the station to the harbour. I am unsure whether the merging of train images works. I will come back to this later.
I have also started collaging images of signs, plaques and buildings to form a map of the town, harbour and sea. I plan to refer to the map throughout the film as one point of the brief is about the geography of the location.  I add a moving horse and carriage to the scene to see if this would work. Although the collage isn’t finalised I was happy with the result. I am planning a location visit next week and will take further photos to create the collage. I would also like to film certain aspects including fields, cows, sea, sky, seagulls and other things that aren’t so time specific and could be added to the film.
I also looked at overlaying some footage on archival materials and own photographs. I also looked at an old collage of a crab which I could animate. I checked local crabs and would have to create a different shape. I would also have to see if the textures are right for the film. I also scanned images from books specific to the area and activities and created a rough animation of a lifejacket.
Lastly I did a tutorial on overlaying text on a face. This could be used for a character in the film such as a fisherman. It will depend on my resources however I could use an image of any working class man.  I would make the text bigger and animate from different angles of the image to create more interest.
These experiments have helped me understand the look of the film and proven that I can animate and link the still images and overlay my own photos and footage.
My next task is to work out how I am going to narrate the film and connect all my materials. The commissioners referred to the play Under Milk Wood, liking the narrator, characters and moving from one section to another. I am also reading the book for further inspiration.
I am interested in the day of the life of the town which starts from sunrise on the fields and works its way down the town towards the harbour and finally the sunsets on the beach. I am unsure whether I should create some protagonists or just use the characters from the town. The problem is that I may only know one thing about each person. Also the day would be across 150 years. I would like to include stages of good and bad times to make the film interesting to the audience.  The pace of the film will be important to make it emotive,  atmospheric and create a suspense. A part of the brief is to create an immersive film.
From my research into the history of the location I have picked out historical events and places that I want to include in the film and put them into an order that reflects the day and the geography of the town. I am also interested in trivial things such as the milkman delivering milk and fishermen working. However I am still unclear how to connect them together. I also need to elaborate on some of the places to work out what I want to communicate. My next stage is to divide the outline into scenes and work on these further.  My other concern is how to divide the film into three sections so that it is projected with three projectors. Would a scene be across three projections or would the film be divided into three or is there a sequence of events? I think this will be clarified when I develop the storyboard.
Action points
  • Chase up archival materials
  • Divide outline of film into scenes/sections
  • Further research for each section (what do I want to communicate?)
  • Develop a connection from one section to another
  • Visual research for each section eg. collages on agriculture
  • Plan a site visit and write a list for photography and videoing

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