A passion for for photography and digital communication with a background at the BBC and ITV.
Currently director at the School Media Club making cinema films for schools and working for Oblong Leeds a community development organisation. Also a member of All Saints Church in Ilkley and involved with communications in the parish.
This blog features posts about photography including some of my photos, while the media posts will include thoughts about filmmaking and online media - particularly to do with PR activities.
School Media Club
Category Archives: Film
About the Project
LS12 Film is a dynamic award winning film-making project that engages young people from across Leeds, inspiring them to tell their stories through film. The project gives young people the opportunity to work alongside artists, actors, screenwriters, animators and editors to produce high quality films and learn skills in film-making and working in the industry. The project is funded by First Light Films.
The group meet every Wednesday, from 5-8pm at Interplay, and the group is open to young people aged 13-19 (or up to 25 with learning difficulties). No experience in film making is neccessary, all we ask is that young people come willing to learn, open to meeting new people and working together to create high quality films.
For more infomation and to find out about our other activities visit www.interplayleeds.co.uk/project
Had a wonderful morning at Keighley Picture House there Nick and Eileen welcomed our cinema project. The school had 6 weeks to make a film – but not just any old film.
The project was initiated by the arrival of a strange alien capsule guarded by the D.A.F.T. agency. The capsule contained this encoded message from another planet with instructions for the mission.
The mission involved making a special effects film. A green-screen studio was built in the school and a project schedule worked out. There were to be set designers, costume, props, musicians, dancers, actors, writers and more. The film was made to cinema specifications with full on sound for an immersive experience.
It shouldn’t amaze me that children can rise to a challenge and produce something so professional. Well done Y5 at St Joseph’s Primary School in Keighley.
Looking forward to a another film project in the new year. Now watch the opening titles with the specially written and performed music.
I thought I’d share some exciting progress I’m making with the St Joseph’s project in keighley. Being a bit of a film technology enthusiast, I have been looking at ways of delivering school videos in Digital Cinema format. Normally this process would cost thousands of pounds to format and encode special files.
The film we are making at St Jo’s is being filmed in full HD using a Canon 5D2 camera. The plan is to upgrade the film to an impressive 2K digital cinema format with surround sound. In short, the film will look great on the big screen and give a true cinema experience. Importantly it means that it will be much easier to deliver school films to the local cinema in future thus opening up new opportunities for these showings.
I also think that we may be able to produce commercials made by school classes for the cinema. This will be a great way to learn about advertising, audiences and creative process.
If you’re a school and would like to make a film or advert for the cinema we’d love to work with you on a project. We don’t cost a lot and are very hard working. email@example.com
If you know of anyone in Leeds who would like to take advantage of a superb video story telling course, please pass on the information.
The course will run for 10 weeks from the 7th of November and will be a script to screen practical guide. It’s aimed at beginners so all you need is to be interested. The course is FREE for some applicants, so please ask about this.
Video Story Telling begins Wednesday the 7th November at the Woodhouse Community Centre, Leeds LS6 2NY. email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are still places left but because it’s a valuable course offered free to some people we expect it to be over subscribed.
Here’s a heads up on a course we’re running at the Woodhouse Community Centre in Leeds. Please alert anyone you think might be interested.
On Wednesday the 7th of November we will begin a new 10 week filmmaking course to be run at the Woodhouse Community Centre in Leeds. The sessions will run between 4pm and 6pm
The tutor on the course will be Abdul Rahman Al-Marsumi formerly of the BBC and with many years experience of teaching.
The course will cover
- The language of film and video
- How to understand the theme
- Story boards and story telling
There will be a strong practical element with student creating their own film sequences.
The course is likely to be over subscribed, but if you would like to express and interest in this course we can send you more information.
Use my Oblong email address email@example.com
Thought I’d update you in the media projects I’m involved with through Oblong in Leeds
Oblong is a community development charity based at the Woodhouse Community Centre in Leeds. The charity manages the newly refurbished centre, runs community development projects and supports the personal development of volunteers. As part of this we are steadily growing the Media Collective which provides learning and development opportunities for volunteers interested in various aspects of media.
In the coming weeks we are starting a number of courses which are aimed at giving small organisations and individuals the tools to communicate in the digital environment. The courses include an introduction to WordPress websites, photoshop and photography and video production.
An introduction to Photoshop
This is a new ten week introductory course in Adobe Photoshop
Mondays from 3.30pm to 5.30pm starting 1st October.
An introduction to WordPress
This is a new two week introductory course for WordPress blogs and websites.
Two Wednesdays from 4.00pm to 6.00pm from 10th October and the following week.
This is an eight week course starting early November and will be a script to screen cover the essential techniques involved in making short films.
If you live in the Woodhouse area of Leeds and know of anyone who would benefit please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
On an ITV camera course I was on a couple of years ago the point was made that the most common shooting situation was the interview. So what are the skills?
Shooting people being interviewed is one of the most fundamental activities of TV production. Of course shooting people doesn’t only require technical skills – soft skills are vital. How do you get someone to feel comfortable? How do you ask the most important questions in the right way? There are many other considerations like appropriate locations and potential legal problems. The technical aspects of shooting interviews include lighting, sound, angles and composition; use of cutaways and cut-ins. There’s a huge amount of skill and planning required to get even a simple interview to look good.
I’ve been doing some edits on a promotion for the dating site Christian Connection. This involved me shooting interviews solo with my Canon 5DMk2 camera. The challenge of shooting solo was that I had to really concentrate on all aspects both soft and hard. I’ve been quite pleased with the results, but mostly the learning.
In the schools I have been working with, interviewing workshops have been great ways of introducing this range of skills to children – planning, speaking and listening, photography, vocal performance and a whole lot more.
Since the activity of shooting interviews is such a rewarding and fundamental activity I’ve decide to focus much more on this and I’m actively looking for opportunities to explore this in both the schools work and the commercial work.
So this really is a pitch to any schools, businesses or production companies who would like me to shoot some interviews or facilitate interview workshops.
I've been reflecting on this year's Creative Partnerships projects in local primary schools. There has been a real mixed bag – some brilliant and others less so.
The work has involved making video usually alongside a drama practitioner. The projects are set up by the school to a very specific brief. The brief will usually say that the school wants to focus on speaking and listening, confidence building and so on.
Here are some bullet points from my reflections:
- The best managed projects are not always the most valuable.
- Most learning comes through a constructive response to failure.
- An open brief is much better than a prescriptive one.
- Not enough effort goes into designing and initiating projects.
- The ideas are rarely big enough.
- Ambitious and risky projects are usually more rewarding.
- The active visible support of the head teacher is vital.
- The most interesting work is done while the creative practitioner is not present.
- Teachers can be fully supportive or not supportive at all – the worst is when they are reluctantly supportive.
- Allocation of roles and in particular the role of a project co-ordinator is vital.
- Build in time for conversation and reflection.
- Capturing evidence of success immediately is invaluable.
- Trust the children.
The most successful and sustainable project I've worked on is in a school which has been somewhat ambivalent towards new multimedia technology. A media team made up of 6 children has championed the use of video and in particular green screen with great success. The children are now teaching the teachers and hopefully contributing to a change of culture.
The next step is to look at the leadership of creative projects – in particular raising the ambitions and quality of the initial ideas. Perhaps creating a model for project design and initiation - but then the practitioner backing off and handing ownership to class teachers or the children themselves.
This may be of interest to you if you are at a school and planning to do some video interviews.
I've been preparing a short workshop to help some 6th formers get ready to conduct video interviews about the 1980s anti apartheid movement in Leeds. Interviewing on video can potentially fail for all sorts of reasons – poor questioning, unfamiliarity with the equipment, unclear sound, etc, etc.
Like all good workshops the participants are not told what to do but discover the best practice for themselves. For the workshop I'm only preparing a list of questions to prompt discussion.
Had a great day filming at the Otley Court House recently. This is a venue that puts on some great shows for the community and also has some old prison cells. I had the privilege of filming some scenes for a production called The Fox Hole at the venue.
This is a new show written and produced by two young local chaps with a slightly disturbing interest in Freudian psychology and the darker side of Victorian life. All I know is that this is half stage play and half cinema. Some of it filmed in the cells and other scenes will be shot on the moors. They say it will be challenging and give an insight into victorian attitudes towards abortion and other difficult subjects.
For my part I enjoyed the challenge of lighting and filming in this unusual place with some crazy people. The Fox Hole will be on at The Court House Theatre some time in January.