Gateway to Your Archives

Having completed two of the three films for York Explore Libraries and Archives, we spent  a day filming at the library for the Gateway to Your Archives project. We actually filmed 3 short training videos back to back with an audience made up of volunteers from previous workshops run by Sarah Tester and Jenny MacGarvey. Using three cameras, three Arri lamps and four Sennheiser gun mics, we converted the archive reading room into a studio for the day.

In her presentations, Sarah uses powerpoint but projections don’t come out well on video so one of the cameras was locked off on a shot of her next to the screen but without the projector running. The Powerpoint images and animations will be added in post production, along with graphics and titles. Rolling text at the bottom of the screen will indicate when further information in available from the website.

When working in an environment with natural light from windows and using incandescent tungsten lamps, it is very important to use daylight filters on the the lamps to  balance the light and give a consistent look. Positioning the lamps and microphones can also be problematic as there is limited space for the stands. As ever, when working with multiple cameras, it is essential to mark each take with a clapperboard so that the separate sources can be synched up on the timeline. This simple piece of kit has saved countless hours in the edit suite.

When filming complicated situations like this, it is almost impossible to keep track of content while concentrating on framing the shot and monitoring the audio levels and quality. Neither do I have sufficient depth of background in the subject, that a professional archivist has, to be able to distinguish subtle nuances. So it is vital that someone with an understanding of the project keeps tabs on the what is being said. This is especially true when we are not working strictly to a script but using it as a guide and ad-libbing and Jenny did a great job!

When working with people who are not trained actors or presenters, it usually results in a more natural performance if they can use their own words, albeit based on a script, but not worrying about memorising it word for word. In this case, Sarah had delivered the workshop a number of times and only needed an aide memoire.