The Cameras Have Arrived.
Today We started filming. Amazon has delivered once more, Two Go-Pro Heros’, two miniature 32 gigabyte SD cards, two Go-Pro car mounts and a satin lip stain, but that’s just for me.
The Go-Pro’s themselves are tiny little things, and there’s no way of seeing what the hell you’re filming, so it’s all just been a bit of guesswork. After a bit of a tweedle Dee and Dumb moment from myself and Michael the cameras are up and running. The footage is upside down, but apparently we just need to change the settings on the camera itself and all will be golden!
The footage itself is quite charming, the wide lens on the camera distorts the image ever so slightly, but the framing is almost symmetrical and the back camera catches reflections on the roof of the car in a way I could never imagine. At least if nothing else its going to be relatively dynamic looking!
Since initially seeing the footage of Michael and I setting up the camera’s in my car, we have been discussing it, and I think we’ve agreed that I shouldn’t watch the footage as I film. I don’t want what I see of myself to affect how I behave on my own and with others in the car. As someone who has always tried to avoid the camera, I imagine viewing myself is going to be something quite difficult to overcome.
Revelations from Rabiger,
We’ve been focusing on the directing techniques of Michael Rabiger in class, But his insights which spoke to me the most were the ones I’ve since read, in his book Directing the Documentary, Rabiger speaks of the presence of the camera and its effects on the individual. He suggests that the camera will always inevitable have an effect on the situation, but this is not always negative, the camera also has the ability to produce moments of self revelation. And the way of achieving this, according to Rabiger is people with the least degree of self consciousness, and once you have seen this, it exposes the opposite. Although I cannot change my level of self consciousness, being the driver puts me in prime position to alleviate others.
The Tension is Building…
It harder to implement Rabigner’s insights than it is to discuss them, and my relationship with the camera is beginning to deteriorate. Its presence is making me feel vulnerable and violated, it is an invasion of my private space. I feel like part of the issue may be that any vision for my film seems to be slipping from my grasp, I have no idea what the footage looks like, other than my memory of each of the journey I’ve made, and from my recollection, they have not been particularly exciting or dynamic. I need to reminder myself as much as to explain to you, that my film is observational, it is about the space within my car, and how i react in it, so however mundane, each journey is going to be an insight.
Painting a Portrait
Well after midnight, with that day of editing drawing to a close, my housemate who’d been helping me turned to me and said, ‘I suppose it must be quite difficult, you’re painting a portrait of yourself’. That is when I realised, that actually I wasn’t, All of my fears around making this film, had been shrouded in the idea of being self indulgent or involved, but that wasn’t what we had created, and in fact this wasn’t a portrait of me at all, it was a portrait of my car, the space within it. When editing, wed tried to include moments of me, quick quips from my friends, small asides or little jokes, which gave the footage some flare or sense of personality, but they’d never worked, instead the footage is often moments of silence, or chatter abstracted from its original context, what has come forth as important has been the mundane, the daily routine, the milk run, and sure the film reveals a version of myself, but not one that can be seen as distinctively me, but hopefully one which could resemble many others, a depiction of the way the space is used and how people relate in in, rather than a depiction of me and how i relate to others.
Who’s That Girl-delirium or a Eurythmics Song?
I think as you can probably tell from the title of this section, delirium is setting in. We’ve been editing for days now. 14 hours in on day 3, and i turn to Michael and say, ‘I’ve only just realised that’s me’. In order to be objectionable, or as objectionable as we can, I’ve had to totally detach myself from myself, and retrospectively there are probably moments in the film that I wouldn’t want people to see. We’ve taken out the moments of whimsy, and instead used the moments of most of guard, potentially even vulnerable. Although this is the film I wanted to make, the most honestly observations and exposing of the private space of the car, it has also become completely intimate. An intimacy one doesn’t necessarily even consciously share with themselves and subsequently has left me feeling exposed. totally.
Ethically this questions the responsibility the filmmaker has to their subjects, and perhaps if i wasn’t playing both roles I would listen to my concerns of the subject, but as the filmmaker and the subject it is morally acceptable for me to reject them clearly my vision outweighs my vulnerability.
What The Hell Am I Going to Call It?!
Since day one, those around me have been requesting a name, all the way through the editing process all i heard was, ‘you’re REALLY gonna have to think of a name soon’ ‘has it got a name yet?’ ‘What you calling it Ellie?’ The onslaught was never ending, but hey were right, this film needed a name. The number of suggestions, almost doubled the number of inquisitions! Some helpful, some not so, The Highway code, Driver’s side, Dive, In My car, A-B, Milk run, I think someone even suggested last of the summer wine…delirium was really setting in, we’d even googled the exact make and model of my car, A ‘Vauxhall agila, Eco flex 1.2! Quite the mouthful, and then Simon suggested in between places, an appropriate title for sure. But did this give too much away, I don’t want to impose of my audience any ideas i have myself for the film. The film itself gives no explanations as to its purpose, so why should the title. Maybe googling the model wasn’t such a bad idea at all. Cars are a commodity duplicated for mass consumption, and from the outside one looks very much like the other, it’s the way we use the space inside which becomes personal to us.