SPOTTY DRESSES AND THE BIG DAY
Four of us arrived in lots of time. I had an action plan. Set up one camera directly above the dance floor plus a little GoPro camera at right angles to it, clamped onto the balcony. Additionally, I need a live feed from the mixing desk to record the sound direct from stage. Not sure what I am going to do with all of this yet – but if you don’t get it, you don’t have it, so best to get more rather than less is my approach on these occasions.
Then there is the ‘testing the file format’ scenario as there was some debate between myself and cameraman Tom, as to which would work best. I won’t bore you with the details of this conference, suffice to say that when I started off on this long and twisty path called art practice (as a painter), I never envisaged that I would have to grapple with so much ever changing technical detail. I set up the laptop and we see what works best. Our table upstairs on the balcony is now strewn with cables and equipment. Being a video artist I am thinking, is definitely not the easy option.
We are not the only film crew. The event is being relayed live by the local college video unit so there are various cameras, vision mixers and general helper- outers all over the place. Add to this the press photographer and other council related personnel and the place is a beehive of activity. I am glad I took the time to write an action plan. What once was ‘lots of time’ is now ;
“hey people are starting to arrive”…
“Victoria you approach people as they enter the building and ask them if they ever went to the Rink and, if so, would they mind saying a few words to camera”.
I am now in temporary ‘celebrity interviewer’ guise – meeting and greeting people in my suit and bow tie. I am quite enjoying the role as people seem to respond well to my new found status. They don’t know who I am, but I look like I belong to the event… and I in fact know as much, or possibly more, than most people here about the Queen’s Rink, having immersed myself in all things Rink associated for some time now.
Tom on camera and his assistant Imogen on boom, are consummate professionals. He was cameraman for the Ground Force TV series so knows how to get on and do it…responding quickly to events as they unfold.
I am in fact deliberately approaching the acquisition of video this day in a conventional televisual way. It is a style the general public recognise and therefore respond to openly. It follows that, once I get to the point of editing, I will have acquired material which I can subvert in a variety of ways, with the starting point being a form that people initially recognise.
As the event unfolds we take on more singular roles. Vic keeps an eye on locked off cameras on the balcony, Tom has a ‘roving’ brief, with particular responsibility for capturing both the live dance sequences and audience reaction. I take stills.
This day is a sort of staging post in the production. I need material that will allow me to encapsulate the event as a sort of timeless bubble. It will refer backwards and forwards like a conceptual anchor in history.
This is a live event and I have accepted that whatever happens is to be recorded. There is no script, just a running order. It is not a drama. We have not set the parameters.
Having said that, initially the room is flooded with blue light. Everything is immersed in a dull featureless wash. Not something we had anticipated. Tom approaches the lighting people.
“It really wouldn’t have been lit like that in those day would it”.
We intervene. We alter the process of chance. The lights are changed to yellow for the next sequence. It looks much better and we can see some detail. Sometimes you have to just save people from themselves.