Dan Hume's Blog

Early Development & iPhoneography from Shooting to Storytelling
March 1, 2012, 2:34 am
Filed under: Extended Major Project

I did talk about multimedia journalist Richard Hoci Hernandez in the Specialist Project. I saw one of his first videos about shooting with an iPhone and I was very inspired by his approach that it enticed me to actually try out his nifty techniques. He’s made a more recent video, which can viewed via link attached to image below. It looks at techniques of shooting and storytelling all specific to the iPhone. Watching this video for some reason gives more confidence to want to go and shoot whatever I want and to not question everything I shoot.

One thing he does mention, which I think is the reason I love shooting on an iPhone and it’s the freedom to not have to worry about fiddling with settings and different dials on a camera. The iPhone camera is less demanding when it comes to settings; therefore you have more focus on the subject of what you shoot.

Click on the image to watch the video.

I took some shots around Bournemouth town centre on last Saturday in the evening to keep me in constant focus with the subject of my documentary, which is isolation.

The first photo opportunity was of this person texting on a bench in the centre of Bournemouth’s high street. In the second image, I’m drawn to her body language, which shows her being more hunched forward and completely fixated on her mobile phone. Isolation!

The image to the left is a shot of someone listening to music with those big headphones. The actual headphones didn’t come out as clear in the photograph. The image to the right shows two people walking past each other. This was round about 5.30-6.00pm and the town buzz slowly died down, and there was this subtle sense of loneliness.

As I was sat waiting to meet someone, ‘on my own’ may I add, I saw this image emerging right in front of me with the town slowly becoming sparse and a hot air balloon floating in the background. It looked really peaceful. If this was a video clip, I’d use this in the documentary as a contrast to convey this idea of escapism. Music is a form of escapism for some people, and this as a scene would represent this chilled out relaxed mood.

The shot outside Mcdonalds was something I was told to shoot, in reference to an extract from a poem. It was derived from the cliche of young youths hanging around Mcdonalds at night, waiting to target vulnerable victims and take their money and possessions to survive. In this particular context, it’s the young youths that are the isolated subjects. If I was to reference this in my documentary, I would use it to show the reality of a particular  social issue against someone oblivious listening to music, oblivious to it.

I started shooting some stuff for my documentary when I went up to London on Sunday. I decided to shoot everything using the 8mm iPhone app because I want to bring something visually different to this video compared to my previous project.

The documentary explores the idea isolation amongst a densely populated place. Our dependance on technology, in a way, has enabled us to cut ourselves off from interacting with other people and the environment we’re in. Even if we are aware of what’s going on around us, we’re not always 100% focused on one thing like talking to someone face to face whilst texting. Listening to music on the move is another example of isolation amongst a crowed of people. People maybe looking face forward, but their minds could be immersed in the music. I’ve experienced this form of isolation myself, so I’m aware that I’m not paying attention to what’s going on around me. It’s like we now spend a lot more time living in our imagination.

I decided to make an edit of all the shots I took that day. I was really surprised at the amount shots I could take of people engaged with technology. I found it interesting at times, when someone was talking on a phone or texting, they would naturally put themselves in a remote place.

The Man With a Movie Camera

I’ve already made reference to this documentary in the specialist project, because I’ve been filming with a camera that has relatively limited functions. When Vertov made this film, he was using one of the very first video cameras and they had extremely limited functionality too.

This experimental film is really three in one: a documentary of a day in the life of the Soviet Union, a documentary of the filming of that documentary and a depiction of an audience watching that documentary. We see the cameraman and the editing of the film, but what we don’t see is any of the film itself.

Since I’ve been using the 8mm app, I’m kind of going backwards to the 1940’s visual style of filming. Here is another award winning film in the 1940’s, created by Italian director Vittorio De Sica.

De sica was part of the Italian neorealism film movement, which was characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class, filmed on location, frequently using nonprofessional actors. Italian neorealist films mostly contend with the difficult economic and moral conditions of post-World War II Italy, reflecting the changes in the Italian psyche and the conditions of everyday life: poverty and desperation.

The Bicycle Theif

A poor young father in postwar-ravaged Rome who finally finds work putting up Rita Hayworth posters around town, only to have his precious bicycle stolen the first day on the job. In a light moment as the father and his young son chase after the thief, the boy attempts to relieve himself against a wall, and his father lets him know they don’t have time for that. In another scene, the father tracks the thief into the kitchen of a brothel.


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