Its all in the editing

The construction of the edit is well underway. Using HD video files means the rendering time is long and needs to be done fairly frequently to ensure smooth playback. My computer feels like it struggles at times but running the files off the external hard drive seems to be helping. I am being extremely diligent with a back up on a 2nd external hard drive also – just in case.

Just as I thought there are some extra photographs of documents I need to take for the edit. Will email NRO to see if its possible on the day I meet the group for audio recording.

Must also check with principal archivist Susan about the intended title for the work…


A few more photos

Finally the photographing of the documents is complete, well undoubtedly there will be one or two images I may need to go back and take but I have plenty to be going on with.

After spending a fair few hours today resizing images to use in the edit I took a bit of time to look at another project exploring archives. Les Bicknell is undertaking a research project ‘unpicking and unbinding’ at a number of archives and collections in the Eastern region. Immediately on looking at Les’s blog there are plenty of images of objects, where as documents have been the fodder for this project. There are some similarities in things we have both been drawn to record: fastenings, seals and storage. The ways in which artists view documents, collections and archives differs from those who work in these contexts – an obvious point but nevertheless important in the promotion of cross discipline working.

To check out Les’s blog see: http://unpickingandrebinding.blogspot.co.uk/



A week has passed since being given the go ahead on my proposal and images have been arriving from Parliamentary Archives and permissions for using some others is being sought. I’m spending plenty of time resizing images and organising my new external hard drive. Two people in the group have confirmed they can attend the day set aside for audio recording in December. The edit needs to be pretty much done so we can watch it through and then work on a script / notes as a guide.I’ll then work with the technician to bring it all together and try to figure out how to use dropbox as a delivery method for what is likely to be a rather large file size.

As I have been photographing the documents I have come across items I didn’t get a chance to look at when we had our weekly meetings. I am sure the group feel there was plenty of materials which they also didn’t get a chance to look at. Such is life on projects which are running to a timescale. Most of the documents we had out on our trolley are back in the strong room, I will finish recording the others tomorrow. The archive is closed for a stock take next week, I wonder what that involves – surely it can’t include checking all the documents they hold, maybe a random selection? Will ask tomorrow and find out.


More than three yes’s

I have delivered the proposal to the project board (of 7 people no less). My presentation went well, I showed a Keynote detailing a summary of the residency process, keeping the blog and the proposed structure of the artwork. I had also edited together a short clip of just over a minute of how the images of historical documents and contemporary visuals (video and photographs) would work together.

The idea was well received and I have been given the go-ahead to make the artwork now. There was a section of the small trial edit that seemed to go down well and I have a good idea about the balance I want to strike with this work.

Now I have 4 weeks in which to build the edit. It’s likely this will go by quickly but I have the structure mapped out and quite a bit of the video footage and still images. There are some things still to get but it’s all possible. I will be at NRO taking some further images with their lighting stand tomorrow and have a date for inviting the group in to make audio recordings. I would like them to elucidate the process and visuals rather than explaining each image on the screen.

I wonder how historians and archivists (not involved in the project) view this kind of commission – the documents obviously play an essential part but equally important will be the contemporary imagery and the audio recordings. I see the contemporary footage becoming a further document of the place and time of this commission in addition to being a response to the more historical items we have been exploring.

In terms of digital preservation its all looking straightforward (famous last words) with a full quality version in addition to the one that will be loaded onto a YouTube page.

Now to order that new external hardrive to hold all the files during the editing process……


Digital, digital, digital

Its all go with the digital just now. Yesterday afternoon I spent time at NRO to use their studio lights to take photographs of the documents. Today I had some time in the studio planning the edit and then a session with technical support. I have a new all singing all dancing HD video camera – getting it to work with my now (in digital terms) ancient editing software was in a word complicated. Downloading file converters, exploring different file types, trying to make things simple – no such thing in the digital world now.

When I first started working with video, it was all about DV tapes. It was fairly easy, the settings fairly basic, and compatibility issues seemed to me to be fairly minimal (although that may be rose tinted nostalgia). The other day in the charity shop I came across 3 DV tapes, unused, on sale for 25p each – I couldn’t resist and bought all three! I wonder if I will ever get around to using them. I do like obsolete or near obsolete technologies, the ways of working, the aesthetics. I have a load of DV tapes and I wonder what I will do with them, archive them? How? The final edits can be upgraded but what of all the footage on the tapes?

Part of the commission is about working with the digital preservation team at the Parliamentary Archives. I had an email a while back and have been digesting since. I have keep my files very neatly for this project, or at least at the end of everyday I organise things which just get saved to the desktop during the working process. I am also, given the size of the files needing to be very efficient with what I need, deleting unwanted files regularly. This type of digital management is something that applies to anyone who works digitally. Some may have a ‘come what may’ approach to back up whilst others may be extremely diligent. In terms of this diligence it seems to take the regular form of external or remote drives. When working with a student a few years ago, she showed me a note book of handwritten text message conversations. She had been undertaking this process for some years. I find this integration of hand recording processes of a digital source interesting fodder to consider.

Although I have worked with digital process for over 10 years I still work with ‘analogue’ processes. In this case I printed out some of the source material, cut them up, arranged them on the table and added in some notes. This informed the keynote presentation I have put together to show the project board on Thursday.

Just working on the digital trial now and will need to collect footage over the weekend.