The WITH Project: Preparation research

A film I watched to inform myself of how I could approach this project:

Some of the shots aren’t perfect, as the interviewees are looking into the camera. The audio and volume can differ slightly too depending on where it was recorded, but this is clear at least. I think it was structured well, as it introduces the main topic, to capture attention, before going on to a bit of history and context.

A filmmaker described to me by the IT technicians at college was Werner Herzog, who sounds like a very interesting character! I wasn’t able to in the end watch his films, but I did see a clip of Bad Lieutenant: 


The WITH Project: Diary

7th February

Today I went with Emily to the Belle Isle Family Centre, to meet with some of the staff and to see the children and guardians in action. It was lovely seeing them all cooking together, which they all seemed very happy to do! This is definitely an important aspect to showcase in our documentary.

We sat with everybody around a group of tables (6) where they go to eat. We were even treated to some of the food they had made, and it was lovely! This included a chicken curry: a lot of children had said beforehand that they didn’t like curry, however once they had tried it they all seemed to love it! I think that the fact that they made it themselves added to their likelihood of actually trying a taste. This could be another thing we document in our film, as it links to children eating healthily! This can be a struggle for most parents, so it would be beneficial to show that it is possible! Both to future Little Chefs participants and to funding bodies.

It was also useful just getting another idea of the space available to film in and around, especially seeing what it would be like with people in the space! I think this trip was definitely beneficial and worthwhile.

9th February

Today Pat and John from Health for All came to the studio and we presented our ideas to them and our peers. I was quite nervous about presenting, but Emily and I received very positive feedback about our presentation! (She put the main powerpoint together, which I later added a few things to, and I talked through it today.)

Two tweets sent out by the WITH project twitter, including me in the photos!

Afterwards we spent the afternoon planning our schedule and storyboard in more depth. I think today has already given us a better idea of what we need to do for our film! c: Which is good, because there seem to be so many things to think about and consider!

14th February

This morning Emily and I travelled to the Belle Isle centre for our first filming session with Little Chefs! We focused on long shots of the participants cooking and of them eating, and these seem to have turned out very successful! The sound is satisfactory and there are a lot of good shots of which we can use in our final film!

We had planned to take a couple more shots which were of the outside, and interviews with Leanne and Sharon. However, it was quite a dark day outside, so we decided to see if we could catch a sunnier day for these (we want the film to be bright and cheery, after all! Hopefully the weather will want this too, and will cooperate). As for the interviews, there were a few problems; neither we nor the interviewees were very well prepared, and it would have been better to have sent them the interview questions via email prior to filming today. But we had also not completed our questions to them, and so needed time to do this in any case. They were also quite busy, with extra children to look after during the session.

Technical difficulties for the interviews included the battery running low quite quickly, so had we even been properly prepared, the camera would have let us down. I plan to ask if we are allowed an extra battery in the future to remedy this issue. We also may need an extension lead for the microphone, if we wanted to move it closer to the subject during the interview. I forgot this, as it was not on my original list of equipment to take out, and had only been introduced during an interview session at college. However, I have now made a note to remember it! We might not need it, depending on the area, but it’s best we take one anyway.

It was also difficult to remember what exact shots we needed, as Emily had noted them more clearly in her book – but had forgotten to bring it. We worked around this through memory and my notes, albeit briefer.
For next time, we could also try a macro lens for any close-ups of food, which we are wanting to focus on! This is another thing we will enquire about in AV.

21st February

Today was the last day for the first group of participants at Little Chef’s! They made chicken fajitas and icecream sundaes before receiving their certificates, and Emily and I were there to document it: for this session we wanted to focus on shots of the outside, close-ups of food, certificates and interviews with the staff and guardians/children.

We managed to get a lot of footage, and also captured the taxi arriving with the participants. We also tried a long shot from inside the kitchen this time, rather than out of it. We got some more good shots from this, however one of the boys was hesitant to go in to the kitchen at first because of our presence. But we and the staff all reassured him that we wouldn’t film him if he didn’t want us to, which helped him feel less anxious.

Emily and I feel we have enough long shots of participants cooking now, however we may want some of the newer group as well. As for close ups, we could definitely do with some more of these; I found it difficult to record from behind people, but this may be a case of just becoming more confident to do it.

It would have been nice to have had 2 cameras, especially for the certificates. The long/medium shot works at times but it would have been nice to have a closer shot of the certificates being handed over. We may have had to be careful not to show names on these that way however, but I think we could have got around it.

As for interviews, Sharon said that she and Leanne wanted to go over them a bit more beforehand, and Leanne wasn’t at this session in any case. So we are leaving them until the next session, which is a week on Monday. However, we did try to get a few with some children and guardians; we prepared a space ahead of the session starting, which was a choice between the creche room or the office. Both were fairly quiet, but we preferred the creche room because of how fun and vibrant it looked! We found a nice backdrop in there which seemed well-lit, and Sharon helped us to get a sofa put in for the interviewees to sit on.

We had Chloe who was up for being interviewed, but her guardian wasn’t. So it was just Chloe on her own, but with her guardian standing out-of-shot. She seemed quite nervous and we think it would have been better to have had at least some kind of adult sitting with her, or another child who she was friends with. I hadn’t set up the microphone properly and asked her a question to see what the sound was like. She didn’t respond so I tried to rephrase the question to something more specific to little chefs, which she did answer very well to! But as it had been one of the interview questions, Emily continued to ask questions so I fear the sound may have been a little too quiet. But that was my fault, I need to speak up about any issues in future!

We also had Jamie and her two boys come in. However, Tyler got distracted by the toys in the room and started making loud noises with them. That was the main problem with this interview, as otherwise it was pretty acceptable, and I think we may be able to use some of it, we just need to properly review it on Monday.

Continued over on...