Initial concept exploration

Gathered facts about piers

Rough video shoots (abstract shots of pier)

Following my initial concept exploration I began to collate visual research of Hastings Pier with an abstract approach in mind. View the full shot list here (69 videos). Below is a short visual summary of footage captured. I particularly focused on making best use of technical camera features exploring depth of field (aperture) and playing with the focus ring.

 

Developing narrative

I began talking with family and friends to discover their idea of a pier. The responses varied from historical icons, architectural and engineering greats, 'nothing but a plank in the sea' and joyful memories.

During this stage of the project I discovered my grandparents had met on the pier in the late 50's. This lead to having a conversation with them to discuss how they remember it. See notes taken during convo below...

This lead to me thinking about ways in which I could tell my story of the pier through their youth and marriage. As of this point onwards I was determined to develop a raw narrative solely based on my grandparents experiences and tell it in their words. However, along the way I would encourage them to drop hits that suggest 'pier'.

I arranged to sit down and record my grandparents, above is a recorded discussion with them. As you may find in through the above audio clip. This didn't exactly go to plan. Following this I began exploring short narratives online. Through this research I would determine a pace and generate an understanding around narrative story telling.

 

Short film research

Very interesting use of camera angles and scene transitioning.

 

Great story telling with visuals referencing both youth and current day of the subject. Could I use this split in some way i.e. young/old, male/female, then/now.

 

Nice combination of new and old footage. Like how they have focused on close up details almost if they are trying to hide the subject. Like how audio has taken lead, almost documentary like.

 

Very joyful and upbeat story. Pace fits perfectly with it's playful subject. Nice use of moving and still image.

 

Grandparents (first take)

After gathering some examples of short narrative films I took a shot at capturing some footage of my grandparents and some of their belongings that might fit into the film. See all footage here (28 videos)

When looking back on the footage I decided it would be good to write a script that better flowed but still told the story in their words. I aimed to write the script in a way that captured the differences in my grandparents personalities and use of language to describe details about the story. The plan was that the two sides fed into each other and towards the end, their marriage became apparent, as did references to the pier. See scripts here.

Storyboards

Grandparents (second take)

Now armed with a script I revisited my grandparents to try another shoot, this time following the script. Here are the results (10 videos). Not entirely happy with the results I rethought my approach.

Grandparents (third take)

Giving up on the idea of including a talking heads approach, I look at ways in which I could use family photos to tell the story. I believe hands, much like eyes also capture a lot of emotion and say a lot about one's age, gender, career etc.  Here are the resulting videos captured (43 videos).  

 

Developing audio

Happy with the results I began editing a narrative cut from the audio recordings of my grandparents reading their scripts. Rather than just a voice narrative I began exploring music from the late 50's / early 60's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIxl_ISz1Ag

Here is the developed audio which will take lead for my short film...

Fillers that support narrative

After viewing the video with purely my grandparents hand's the film became very slow and not very engaging. I went out to shoot more footage that supports the audio narrative... All filler footage (22 videos)

 

Developed film

With some minor amends to the audio narrative such as cutting certain sections to ensure it didn't sound too scripted, I put together my final short complied of early exploratory footage, footage captured of my grandparents hands, filler shots that support narrative and footage from the pier archive. See below as my final submission...