The aim for our group project was to come together, bringing all our ideas together to create a two minute sound image and sensory experience. As all of our ideas roughly went along the ‘creepy urban night time’ theme, we decided to take that further to create an abstract view of the Bearpit in which the sounds and visuals are intended to create a certain sense of unease and insecurity in the viewer.
Our initial outlook was simply to create a portrait of the Bearpit – we didn’t have much of an underlying theme or driving idea but this came to us later on when during a feedback session, peers and tutors mentioned that they found the lack of people interesting. We feel now that the combination of the vibrant visuals and vibrant soundtrack contrast well with the absence of people and I feel that this adds to the eeriness.
We really wanted to resonate with our audience by enhancing the acoustics of the place. This is why Frank used large amounts of reverb not only to replicate the echoing of the subways but to create the sense of the sounds staying with you after you walk through. We used a variety of different perspectives when filming, looking up, down and using canted angles to give the impression of POV, using handheld shots helped with this too. A few classmates mentioned that they felt as though this connoted the drunk or stoned walk home at the end of the night and this fits well because one of the main attributes of the theme of paranoia.
The overall response from the feedback at the SISE festival was positive, definitely more so than with our media futures documentary which I feel we have developed a lot since. People commented on it calling it, trippy, weird and unsettling which was the desired effect. Unfortunately, the editor wouldn’t use many of the stills I had taken (which received positive feedback previously) and the only negative feedback we got was down to the lack of stills. I am still unaware of why they weren’t used as I tried and tried – I feel nervous that this will mean we haven’t fulfilled the brief.
The negatives I found in the final edit include the lack of stills but there also a couple of shots in the edit that don’t fit well – there’s a strange shot of the Debenhams sign which seems out of place and also the last shot of the Premier Inn seems unnecessary and I think the film should have simply ended with the shot leaving the Bearpit as it begins with one entering it, I feel as though this disrupts the narrative of the piece.
Our project is very different from our buddy group’s work as they have approached theirs as a historical vs. present day piece of a church before and after the WW2 Bristol blitz. I really liked their exploration of this location and I enjoyed the visuals and sound as well as the informative side of it. I was impressed with their research into the place, they visited the records office to collect information on the victims and this showed in their finished piece.
Tonight I did a lot more filming than stills. I used a Nikon D7000 DSLR which I shared with Frank and we took it in turns to film while Aaron did the same on his camera while Pete recorded a variety of sounds from different areas of the centre which we will, tomorrow, edit with the footage.
These are the clips that Frank and I collected today, I think these are the ones that are useable for the edit, along with Aaron’s footage. I thought that some scenes from around the bearpit looked vaguely similar to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives in the way that the bright lights stand out from the darks and shadows.
Sise group feedback – unfortunately we only had the stills I took to show our buddy group as we weren’t able to obtain the edited rough cut. Although we didn’t have much to show, what we did have, we got some valuable feedback on.
Tutors and the buddy group liked the ‘eerie’ look of my photos and suggested we carry on with a creepy theme, they also commented on the lack of people which we have decided is a good idea to stick with.
We had a meeting after and decided to use the sound of people e.g. walking, talking and traffic but not actually show anyone.
They also liked the abstract way we’d captured the bear pit and noted that we’ve taken a new grasp on it, this will reflect on our next shoot – it will be kept in mind to stay with the vibrant yet dark theme.
These photographs are the result from our first shoot today. We want to explore the transition between day and night while documenting the bear pit so we decided to start on the dark side of the spectrum and go for a night time shoot.
I was pleased that it was a rainy day because I found the theme of reflections flowed nicely as the puddles reflect the colours that are present in the Subways and centre of the bear pit. I found that because it was dark, I was drawn a lot to the colours around me (shown below).
I also found that I was drawn to certain structures being illuminated from different perspectives (shown above). The staircase image I am keen on because I like the way that the stairs look like they’re emerging from the darkness.
During our first meeting as a group, we showed each other our personal projects which happened to have recurring themes – urban, night time and landscapes, so after discussions amongst ourselves and with tutors, we decided to bring these aspects together. The base for our production will be made up of these three elements. We were originally going to chose Stapleton Road as our location, but we instead went with the Bearpit because it is easier and faster for everyone to get to and is also safer to be walking around at night with expensive filming and sound recording equipment.
“The Bearpit has become a kind of no man’s land between the commercial shopping districts of Broadmead and Cabot Circus, and the now-resurgent cultural areas of Stokes Croft and St. Pauls.” – http://bearpitimprovementgroup.co.uk/story-so-far/
I think that documenting the bear pit through the angles of sound, still and moving image will be really interesting as it is currently undergoing a big transformation as the Bearpit Improvement Group strive to turn the area into a showcase for local artists and to improve the general atmosphere for the people who use it.