Friday, April 22, 2011


Last night I went down to do some night shooting. I wanted to do some guerilla run and gun style shooting so I didn't want to haul along my Slik tripod; while it is not exactly heavy it's a sold piece of gear, it takes a few seconds to set up for each shot and it has a certain intimidation factor when you are shooting in public.

Instead, I took my aluminum monopod. Much lighter, much smaller; you can tuck it into your back pack or, in its collapsed state, keep the camera clamped to it and just carry it in you hand. Yet it still provides you with stability for shots where you are tightly zoomed in or long shots that you want to time lapse

I'm liking the footage that I'm getting but as I go through it, I'm not sure it's going to be capable of carrying an entire video. It's filler or, more correctly, punctuation

I believe in the power of the shot. Every shot should convey information. When you take the shot you need to ask yourself "What is this saying, how is it adding to the story" The kind of footage I'm getting, of subway trains and traffic at night, of people moving like ants in a huge mall, they are like punctuation in the language of the story. They all say something

Here are two shots of anonymous crowds. The way I framed them, they should illicit different feelings

This is a shot in the Eaton Centre. This high angle wide shot should convey a sense of insignificance and remoteness for those dots that are people. From camera perspective I guess it could you a sense of power but the idea here is to make you think about how lost and insignificant we have become in our own man built environments.

Here is another shot of a crowd of people

This shot should give you a different kind of feeling. Here, admist the crowd perhaps you feel lost, claustrophobic, surrounded but because they are all strangers, also alone. This is a kind of forced perspective. I've zoomed in from about 20 feet away. That makes the shot even tighter, harder, more constrained

Here's a couple of shots of traffic

The concept here is to again convey a sense of remoteness; the cars and the pavement, even the grass verge and the hills don't seem quite real. You don't seem connected. It's a landscape and you forget that there are actually people in this shot, in the cars
Another shot of traffic. But far less remote. Now you are aware of the true presence of the cars and perhaps even the people inside them. Perhaps you feel a little unnerved; damn those cars are coming right at me ... But there is still that remoteness. There may be a person driving that car but you can't make an instant connection with him

So I have my punctuation but I am certain that I have my sentence to which it belongs. Looking at all my footage, hearing the music track in my head, I'm not sure if this footage is enough to tell my story.

My original story involved using a character, an actor, to cut in and around and through this footage. I dismissed that for logistical reasons but I'm coming back to it. Not sure if that's possible but this video has to evolve .. quickly

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