Friday, 4 May 2012

Finding The Emperor’s Real Clothes

Film & Camera Advice with Sharron Harris

I first came across the work of Sharron Harris when I was looking at films that my friend Heather Summers had made with her. Heather is wonderful musician that lives near me and in a later blog I’ll be telling you all our Fusion Inspire Meeting ... Heather had a little black and white film up on her face book...

It was such a beautiful film taken in the Barn of another AMAZING woman musician from this area called Maggie Nicholls.

What I love about the film is the subtlety of it, the editing, the feeling that you are in the barn with them, the quality of the sound.  The way she captures the expression and emotion of the musicians, the ambience of the room... and as whole if it were a painting I would want this film hanging somewhere in my life.

Here is the link to the film at Vimeo:

So I went to her link on Vimeo to look at all her films via Ostrich.

Look at this one... isn’t it gorgeous!

So I emailed Sharron explaining why I wanted to meet up with her. I thought that if perhaps I had one to one training with her, where my film shoots for Fusion Inspire became my training course, that this would mean that I was sort of killing 2 birds with one stone ... actually, what a horrible saying ... freeing 2 birds with one open cage ... that’s what I think we should say from now on!

My sister came with me and we chugged off in the beetle to Pembrokeshire which is where Sharron is based.

Her home is a treasure trove of beautiful artefacts and interesting moments captured by her friends... such as a fabulous mermaid rug in the hall. Or a bunch of ukuleles hanging together in the basement.

I felt as if I had always known Sharron. I think this is what happens when you are drawn to people. If you listen to your heart it will bring you to your kindreds.

I was a tad embarrassed though when it came to showing her my ‘equipment’. Given that my films have been short listed for awards, and that I have secured valuable film work contracts, it shames me that all I have been using is a little Xacti video camera!

‘That’s OK,’ said Sharron kindly, ‘Lots of the kids today are using these to make great films ...’

Mmmm ...

‘ ..... So what are you cleaning this lense with?’ She asked
‘Clean the lense?’ In my shame it had never actually dawned on to clean the lense!

We all laughed about it but honestly I was wishing the ground would open up and swallow me!

‘Actually,’ Sharron continues,’ this lense is broken!’

SHAME! In my defence, I think it probably broke when I was filming the wind turbines looking for locations for the Dance of the Ribbons piece and I fell down a rather large ditch- type hole only 2 days before, badly grazing my entire left thigh and knees on cascading chippings! I had been so relieved to still be alive as I sat at the bottom of the muddy water filled ditch that it didn’t dawn on me to check the camera still clutched in my hand! Also ... and now I’m digressing but I’m going to tell you anyway .. I was wearing my bestest Gucci bracelet twirl watch and broke that too!

But the universe has a way of letting you know things .. And so I took this as complete affirmation that ... it was time to buy a new camera and it should definitely be an upgrade!

Sharron recommended Sony HXR-MC50E (HXRMC50E, HXR MC50) compact handheld AVCHD Solid State Camcorder : Here is a video review of camera kindly sent to me by Sharron:

I am looking around for help with funding for the camera but I think it will take too long to come through because my shoots start in June

So I asked Sharron for a quote for Fusion Inspire based training .... And have been pursuing  funding to help toward the cost, but again, to no avail (until today! had an email back from an enquiry so will be looking at the guidelines this week!)

And this got me thinking ....

I was looking back at my notes to myself 8 weeks ago when I started this journey, and I said
I want to grow through this amazing opportunity! To learn and to expand to become better at the things I do ...

And I have been thinking long and hard about this.

I have been using quite a lot of head space vexing about 'better' equipment and 'better' sound and being 'better' at what I do .. And in the last week or so, I have come to realise the following ...

The reason that I have been focussed on this ‘betterness’ is because I do not feel good enough!

I do not have the confidence in my work to say, ‘Do you know what, this is what I do, and so this is what I will do.’

And maybe this is exactly what I am supposed to learn. It’s crazy isn’t it that I have lists of awards for songs, books, films, projects that I have done over the years and I have been asked to play all over the world with musicians and writers who have been my childhood heroes, like Bob Geldof, Van Morrison, Jools Holland ... and yet still I’m waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder to say,
'Hey you, you’re not wearing any clothes’

And for all this time, I have in fact, been walking around in the Emperor’s Invisible Cloak, made by myself to protect me from the harsh truth ... that I am not worthy!

Well, this grant is the reverse of that! My Individual Mainline Grant is someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying .. ‘Do you know  what Chez, you have made a fine cloak there and we recognise it ... we want to support you to make it totally visible and give you real time to make it your kind of beautiful ... ‘

And there it is ... my confidence laid out bare for you to ponder over, fragile, tattered, bruised and yet through this process, healing in the belief that I do not actually have to make myself better, that by allowing myself the space to create Fusion Inspire, by allowing this journey through my own creative mind, that I will grow and develop just because ... not in a laboured ‘everyone is better at this than me’ type way’ but in a ... ‘Actually you are OK and you do deserve this poppet’ type way.

I still very much want to work with Sharron and I’m going to ask her if I can come to her for advice and maybe book some very specific training ...

What I have also been thinking is that although I have come to realise that this year is about nurturing my belief in my own work as a multi media artist, musician, writer & Director ... there’s no reason why next year I can’t put time aside to re-train, expand my technical skills. I think I need specific head space to deal with that.

Sharron very kindly said that, although she can obviously see my technical limitations when she looked at my work on YouTube, she can see why I am winning and being nominated for awards ... that creatively my films work and that I’m on the money with the vision, and in some cases the very fact that I am making it up as I go along and thus breaking the rules, is what makes the films work.

My Black Dog Film: This song is now part of The Black Dog Campaign with SANE to deconstruct  stereotypes in relation to Mental Health

I love the immediacy of the little hand held video camera because I can capture things as I think them, as they happen sometimes in a moment, capture the mistakes  believing that there is no such thing! Editing to make sense of what you have filmed believing that it was what you were supposed to capture, rather than being frustrated by rigid story boards, having that structured improvisation technique discussed in a an earlier blog.

Also I have a disability that gives me a left side weakness so I can’t manage a big pro camera, I quite literally wouldn’t be able to lift it.

So I have decided to buy a PC friendly top of the range home video camera and continue to edit on my set up at home for this production.

I am not going to buy a Mac this year .. It’s too stressful a decision!

Therefore, I am going to buy the much cheaper audio inter- face to use with my current set up in word.

I don’t feel at all disappointed about this now informed choice .. rather I feel ... RELIEVED!

1 comment:

  1. As I read this I let out a big 'phew' and said "finally, she's realised......thank goddess"!
    Sending you a big hug!


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