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Thread: Camera Shots

  1. Default Camera Shots

    Hello Everyone,

    I am working on a mini doc about a local business that is currently in the process of being demolished. Basically, this was THE gathering place for years in the community. A department store, with an attached restaurant, it was the place where basically every family in town gathered. Tonight, as I was up there shooting, I had to stop every few minutes as somebody would drive up and begin telling me their memories of the place. It was frustrating that when I asked them to do so on camera, they would refuse, or stop talking right away. Anyway, I realize it is tough to give advice without actually seeing the location, but can anyone out there think of any powerful shots I should get by tomorrow before the place is gone. Once again, maybe impossible to say without actually seeing the location, but I though perhaps someone had experience in a similar situation, and tried something that worked well for them.
    These are the shots I have gotten so far;
    Master shot of entire scene, half torn down building w demolition equipment.
    Close up shot of "do not enter, demolition site" sign.
    Racking focus from mesh of "keep out" fence, to grapple on demolition machine.
    Time lapse of cars streaming by half wrecked building.
    Various shots from different angles.

    I really wanted to convince a long time employee to come to the site, so I could include her in some of the footage, but I don't think that will work out. Once again, if anyone has any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I'm very surprised no-one would speak on camera. My experience has always been the opposite. Can you get a stooge or two to help out? It may be that once people se someone else doing it they'll loosen up a bit.

    In my opinion you definitely need to get some people into the shots. A mantra that comes to mind gleand from this forum is "faces not places" - meaning, of course, that people make for much more interesting video than just locations. Even when a video is about a location it lifts a film to show people interacting with it (eg don't show a staircase, show a staricase with feet walking up, don't show a doorway, show a doorway with someone going through it - or even just a door opening).

    If possible try to get some shots not just of teh site, but of people looking at the site, looking as if they are reminiscing.

  3. Default

    Excellent Advice Tim. I will renew my efforts this afternoon. Unfortunately is has begun to pour rain. Maybe it will let up and I can get out. I like the mantra, "faces not places". I will have to remember that one. And it's so true isn't it. It just adds a more powerful dimension to the footage.

  4. #4


    Yes, good advice from Tim. Also don't forget the close ups of the identifiable objects in the rubble. So long as you are getting a nice mix of long, mid, and close up which follows the narrative of the piece you probably can't go wrong. Next time some one passes point the camera at them, stick a mic in their face and ask questions ?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    There will be cliches like the stopped clock, the winding key, maybe a mascot (for a pub with an animal name).
    Maybe some weeping would be useful back-up and folk telling you how long they've kept that suit (ie part of the reason the business folded) - OR - is this being demolished for some "betterment" reason? - like a new road access for a community project. Nice if you can link the Store to something..."continuity" - I have a roll-top desk bought from Barings Bank - remember that fiasco (& Film).?
    Can you try to secure some object that says "place" - a manequin which can fall-over as the film concludes...

    I like the idea of stuff in the rubble, but you may need to put it there, something you caught during earlier shots.

    Does the film end with the demolition, or is this to be rebuilt as housing, perhaps?

    Voices off - maybe this IS the way to record the Public's feelings, it might be useful even detached from the footage . . . or was there something else useful on the audio? Talking manequins, even..... yes I'm as mad as a hatter.
    Reads as a worthwhile Project....good luck, + when can we see it?
    Last edited by vidmanners; 10-24-2011 at 09:09 PM.

  6. Default

    Well, I went back again today, and did manage to get some better shots. There were a bunch of people standing at the fence looking nostalgic, and I was able to capture that. However, even when I got a little more aggressive, people just didn't want to talk. One fellow was sitting in his car watching the demolition. He must have been at least 65. He told me how his first job was in the building being demolished, when he was 16. I thought "great" and asked him to tell me his story on camera. He closed his window and drove away. Another old fellow on a bike saw me filming, and left right away. Oh well, I did get some shots of the old fellow sitting in his car. I can do some narration to explain who he is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Well, I'm glad you got some of the important shots. I'm still surprised about people refusing to be on camera. Perhaps it's a particularly controvertial subject and people dont' want to be associated (though I find that unlikely given your description). Or perhaps they're all claiming disability benefit and don't wat to be filmed "up and about".
    I have foud that as soon as I say I'm with Staines Video Makers, "the local amateur flmmaking club", especially if I'm wearing ID saying such, this seems to help. It certainly seems to realax people who are suspiscious of paedophiles (though if I was a paedophile, one of the first things I'd do would be to join a local camera or video club!). But you have to be careful, sometimes the association with amateurs can work against you.
    Definitely some form of ID helps - makes you look more legit.

    Will we get to see the doco, when you've finished it?

  8. Default

    Sure Tim. I'll post it when I'm done. Maybe even some "in progress" versions, in order to get some feedback before all is said and done.

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