Through searching for more amateur filmmakers and pieces that don’t have the biggest budgets or complex setups, I stumbled across some really unique short films. Focusing on people, the importance of the story over anything else. Pure and simple, the intention of my documentary in Sefrou.
‘Old Craftsman Portrait’ (Hristina Papadopulos, 2014) offered stylistic inspiration for my project; it features a great number of shots showcasing craftsman working. The imagery is beautiful, every movement, every interaction with the material. The relationship the craftsman has with the tools, their chosen methods and how he/she implements the unique style that makes every piece original. Here is the film below:
There is no interview here, only the visuals that speak for themselves. To an extent, I’d like my documentary to focus more on the visuals. It won’t be so interview heavy, I want sections where only the visuals and either the working sounds or soundtrack are present. This choice will be made in post. If you can understand a character, get to know his values, his culture, whats matters most to him just through the visuals then you have captured something of real worth. Images must be able to stand alone, speak volumes.
A real influence on my shot ideas came from two singular shot styles in this film. It can be seen on the thumbnail but below are some screen grabs of wide shots repeated in different workshops and some facial closeups.
The composition is key here with the subject solely in the centre, staring directly at the camera. The wider shots recreate a moving portrait as they all ease in or out. I would like to test this out, possibly in camera or throughout adjustments in post. By having a wider shot than intended, I could have the choice to do it in post. My subject has a guest book that he welcomes artists and visitors to sign, I feel that this movement could be applied on a wider shot as he stands proud with his book. This will be dictated on the space in his workshop as I remember it being rather tight before. It will require myself and crew to be creative in practise, a challenge for sure to capture the intended shots but thats the beauty of film-making. I will also look to process my footage in DaVinchi Resolve with support in Adobe Premiere Pro. I am looking at some film grains that could possibly be applied, as was in this film through ‘Film Convert’. To give it a sharp, unique look that matches the tone of the picture, the aged buildings, the gritty landscape. This will depend on the images I capture, the lighting and decisions made throughout filming will contribute also. I basically want as many options in post as possible.
Another smaller piece I found is not so much a fully fledged piece, it’s more like a travel piece. ‘The Weaver-Crafting Morocco’s Carpets’ (Madalin Tiganus, 2016) is more like a snippet of someones travels, who thankfully had the time to document an interesting woman they came across. Fatma is a weaver, as is my subject. Here is the short below:
The shots are interesting as we have focus behind certain objects, a style I will very much like to adopt for my documentary. Testing the focal point will be lots of fun and finding out what works best. The audio quality for the diagetic sound isn’t quite the best but this does not distract me as I feel once again the visuals are so powerful, similar to ‘Old Craftsmans Portait’. It’s a shame this piece is so short, I feel that a lot more could be done. I still take some inspiration for sequential shots in my documentary and how I could develop sections where we see Mustapha operating his loom.
Below are some screen grabs that show the source of my inspiration from this piece:
The inspiration and influence I’ve had from reviewing the material in these blog posts has been immense. I have a greater idea of how I will attempt to capture Mustapha’s work, the ways in which I can allow my creativity to flow through the use of prime lenses and how I can setup certain shots. At this point now, I’m excited to continue planning my project and jet out to Morocco to do this thing!!
- HRISTINA PAPADOPULOS. (2014) Old Craftsmans Portait. [Online Video] April 13th, 2014. Available from: https://vimeo.com/9187000 [Accessed: February 5th, 2017]
- MADALIN TIGANUS. (2016) The Weaver-Crafting Morocco’s Carpets. [Online Video] October 29th, 2016. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiPZVqrNwCU [Accessed: February 5th, 2017]