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The final 3 PCDT films!

As you know I’ve been working on a commissioned project with production buddy Emma Fry and project photographer Daniel Holmes over the past 6 months.  Well – the project has come to an end!  After a break away whilst we were all off filming in exotic locations overseas we re-united in the edit suite for 6 more days and completed the 3 remaining films.  Enjoy and please leave us any comments or thoughts you have!


Short films for PCDT

I have been working on an external project for the last few months alongside my course in order to earn some money and develop my skills and portfolio.  The project was for a charity called the Penwith Community Development Trust in Penzance.  The task was to film and edit six short films.  It has been a huge undertaking alongside full time study but has been well worth all the hard work.  We have completed all the filming and editing of three of the films so far.  Take a look at the completed three and the accompanying blog and let us know your thoughts!

My first paid work…PCDT project

I’ve recently started work on a paid project outside of my MA in International Journalism.  It’s a great way to build up my portfolio and practice and develop my video and editing skills in the run up to my final documentary which I will be producing in the summer.

The project is to produce a set of six short films for the Penwith Community Development Trust (PCDT) who are based in Penzance, Cornwall.  The organisation is really interesting and works across a broad range of areas so the project will be great to get my teeth into a number of different themes.

I’m working on the project with a fellow course-mate Emma Fry.  As a team we work really well together as we have the same commitment to pushing our video and editing skills to the next level and we can swap roles freely to give us both the chance to do a bit of everything.  In terms of creativity it’s much better having two people together as you can bounce ideas off each other and take them further than when working alone.

Also accompanying us on film shoots, is another fellow course-mate Dan Holmes.  As a skilled photographer he is coming along to capture still images for the organisation.

As the project is quite large we have set up a dedicated blog spec to document the progress.  This will enable you to follow each stage of the work and see expanded interviews and read about the challenges and new things we learn.

Click here to link through to the site.

Enjoy and please give us any feedback you have along the way!

Community Channel UK360 final piece

I was really pleased with the feedback from the Community Channel on my rough cut!  Yipeeee!  The changes I was asked to make were the ones I expected to have if any so it was nice to see that I was thinking along the right lines!

The main achievement was they liked the script so I didn’t have to make any major changes to the piece.  This was a relief as it did not take long at all to make the small changes requested.

The final piece is submitted and just awaiting being aired on national TV now….keep your eyes peeled for the date which will be announced soon!

In the meantime you can watch the following short clips to get a feel for VisAbility.

Read about how the project came about here.

Read about day 1 filming here.

Read about day 2 and 3 filming here.

Read about editing here.

Community Channel UK360 editing

So with a lot of footage I took to the editing suite to produce a two minute package for the production team at UK360!

  • Step one – selecting clips from the interviews – this was the hardest part of the project as I had so much great material and way more interviews than I needed!  This was good though as it meant I had choice and I had kept questioning until I got material I wanted to use.
  • Step two – luckily I had an image in my mind of how the piece would look, so after finding some statistics and facts that would put the topic into context nationally I wrote the script for the piece.
  • Step three – recording the voiceover and importing it to the timeline around the interview clips.
  • Step four – this was straightforward as I had a good mix of shots to illustrate the story.  I wanted to show as many of the activities and faces as I could as I felt the footage really spoke for itself a lot.
  • Step five – I added a few effects and did the audio mixing and sent it off for feedback from the channel!

The rough cut was 30 seconds over but I decided to send it and give them the option of me cutting some.

Read about how the project came about here.

Read about day 1 filming here.

Read about day 2 and 3 filming here.

Read about the final piece here.

Community Channel UK360 filming day 2+3

The second day of filming for the VisAbility piece was at Gweek village hall, opposite the National Seal Sanctuary.  This was another transport challenge as I took 2 buses which took about 1 1/2 hours each way!  (for what in the car is about 20 minutes!)  This in itself highlights the further isolation for the VisAbility members who come from as far as Lands End and Truro.

I had another successful filming session and was greeted by many friendly people who were great fun.  I filmed the bowls session and conducted a few interviews. I had less time and there were many more people than on the first day in Redruth. The main challenge here was a suitable place to do the interviews.

Also I was unable to have time to set up the position of the chair and framing of the shots as some of the interviewees were helped in by a volunteer and being totally blind I didn’t want to totally move them around the room after just meeting them and didn’t really have the time to do this.  Sound again was tricky as the sound carried from the main hall and kitchen but we got by!

The final filming session was back at The Elms in Redruth and was with a smaller group who are doing a radio project which is part of a Media Trust project.  It really was fantastic to see and learn about this and the members were having lots of laughs and fun with it.  I managed to capture some great scenes from the radio drama which I will be using in the final piece for the Community Channel!

One of the members of VisAbility was really interesting and great to chat to and told me about all of his activities and achievements.  Ruben Daniel is totally blind and as well as having written a book and helping on the radio script he has written a number of poems.  I managed to capture one on film which I thought was really lovely for summing up some of the challenges and feelings of someone who has no sight.  I have included the poem below with some images of the different VisAbility groups in action.

Read about how the project came about here.

Read about day 1 filming here.

Read about editing here.

Read about the final piece here.

Community Channel UK360 filming

Once contact had been made with VisAbility it was all go!  The channel wanted the piece turned around within 1-2 weeks and I had just returned to university to start new modules after a week’s work experience.  Things were busy!

Luckily the charity were fantastic to work for as they were really quick to respond and organise for me to visit and film.  I arranged to go to a couple of the different clubs so that I could see the variety of services they offered and interview some of the staff, volunteers and members.

The first day I went along to The Elms building in Redruth where they run a few of their sessions.  The building is a fantastic place for the charity to use and the group consisted of about 12 women the day I attended.  It had such a lovely feel and I came away from my first day filming absolutely buzzing!  It was so great to be spending time with the people I was going to be making a short package on rather than rushing in, doing a few interviews and shots and rushing out.  Also the people themselves were just amazing, so lovely and both happy for me to be there and that I was doing the film project.

I decided to do a series of interviews where I framed the ladies in the centre of the screen on a white wall in the same place.  I wanted to create an intense focussed shot on each character and highlight their isolation through the framing.  I also thought it would seem like they were speaking directly to the audience this way and be more intimate rather than using the typical rule of thirds to frame the shot and have them talking off screen.

It was really rewarding to feel like the work I’m doing is actually having a positive impact on those involved.


The filming was not straight forward though and I learnt a lot from this first day filming.

  • Sensitivity – filming with a group of people who were partially sighted and blind meant that I needed to gain trust by spending time with the group before just diving straight in to interviews.  I spent some time before the filming just chatting with the members about them, the club and myself.  This definitely paid off as I was able to get the interviewees to open up by spending the time and showing an interest. (I also really enjoyed sitting and chatting too!)
  • Working alone – is a challenge!  Especially when you have a lot to do in a short space of time!
  • Sound is key! – the building we were in was a fantastic location for the club, however in terms of interviewing people it was quite difficult as the building was very echoey and so everyone that walked past the room could be picked up very clearly by the mic.  We didn’t have the time or option to close off the corridor outside the interview room so I had to make do.
  • Lack of personal transport – especially when working on a project in rural Cornwall is tough as lugging heavy equipment around on public transport and foot is hard work and time consuming!

Here is a short snippet of some of the ladies I met which shows the positive impact of the VisAbility club in their lives.

Read about how the project came about here.

Read about day 2 and 3 filming here.

Read about editing here.

Read about the final piece here.