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Notes from behind the screen

Changing Gear

15th April 2015

​After three months of labour, Make, or as it is now known, Handmade, is finally fully crafted, ready for delivery to the BBC4 Go Slow season.  Having spent so long making films about art, history and Art History, recording artisans at work on that poor relation, craft, has been a refreshing change.

Marx would be pleased
Marx would be pleased

It’s also a celebration of our own craft. The first hundred films I worked on were made on it. In the intervening years I’ve occasionally dipped back to emulsions and light meters, but this series meant a prolonged return to a pace of production dictated by the equipment. Every story was recced three times. Every shot storyboarded. Day one consisted of fifteen shots.  In the cut, a short one lasts ten seconds.

The style of shooting was also dictated by the subject matter and the need to deliver the message as slowly as possible. There is one stunt shot, a motivated180 degree pan with a focus pull from infinity to eleven inches, and beyond that, barely any movement. All the action comes to the frame. With no commentary or music, only the pictures and the dense audio track tell the story.

wide shots in the tightest of places
wide shots in the tightest of places

The objects created appear when they are ready.

Karl Marx tells us that art without function is decadent, and William Morris, that if an object is ergonomically pleasing it will invariably be beautiful to behold. The makers of the knife, the chair and the water jug that feature provided beauty and utility in equal measure, enough to satisfy both beardy revolutionaries in one coup.

when a workshop involves tools not therapy
when a workshop involves tools not therapy

And now it’s back to something faster but still of the old world, shipping out to Dixie, and the birth of Rock and Roll.