Across this past month you have heard a lot about Sport Science students, Nutrition students, Events Management students…but there is a substantial part of the team that has been working in the shadow until now. That side of the team that is responsible for all the posts you have seen online on social media, for all the pictures, the vlogs, the blog posts.
As you probably figured, I am referring to “us”, the media team, composed of three Journalism students, one Media and one PR. And today I want to even narrow it further down, to that corner of the media team that has been focusing on the visuals. My name is Simona, and I am a Journalism student with a big passion for photography and video-making. I came to the project with the really ambitious plan of making a documentary out of it, in the belief that this could be one of the best ways we have to portray our project, for different reasons.
First of all, I find that a documentary could give the clearest picture to you on what we have been doing in India: it brings voices and faces together, you can enjoy people’s accents, you can get to know who we are on a deeper lever, and it gives me a chance to tell you, within a short amount of time, the full story of our project in India. I can show you where we were and what we have done. You just need to sit down and enjoy the watch for less than an hour. Hopefully with a bag of (healthy) snacks and (fresh) juice.
Also, it is a good sum up of the whole month and it is a good memory for us to keep. When we are going to feel nostalgic about our experience in India we could just all gather up in an empty classroom at RGU and watch it together – obviously with that bag of (healthy) snacks and (fresh) juice – cuddling one another while reminiscing those times when something so important and meaningful was happening in our lives.
Finally, it is a good way to show the initiative to our sponsors and also to those institutions that might want to replicate the idea in the future.
So Amy and I, came to India with an extra kilo or two of camera equipment in our luggage, and there has not been a day in which we were not going around with our cameras hanging onto our shoulders.
The thing about filming is that you never know when things that you SURELY will want to include in your documentary will happen. You can pre-prepare as much as you want, making lists of shots you want to take, scheduling interviews and organising time-lapses, but at the end of the day 80% of the images in the final work are the result of unexpected coincidences. We were always rushing to our camera, turning on and adjusting settings within seconds in order to capture that interaction between students or that woman crossing the street. Trust me when I tell you that this month gave us a chance to truly enhance our camera skills. It made us really flexible, too. We had a production schedule list – which is basically a calendar of what and when you plan to shoot – that we made taking into consideration the general team’s timetable, but our whole team schedule was changing quite often so we just had to “go with the flow” and adapt to changing circumstances, just keeping on making sure that we were, little by little, day by day, gathering all the material that we would have used to make the documentary once back in Scotland.
I consider the sharing of our experience as film-makers also an opportunity to show you the Official Trailer for the documentary, which we worked on during our 4th week in Mumbai. From the moment we left Manipal, we had five days to review our 100 (and over ) GB of footage, clip it, polish it, find the audio recordings and matching them with the interview footage, think about music, think about clips, think about chapters, think about making it sensible, think about cover shots. I could go on forever! On our last Friday in India, we premiered our trailer at the British Council offices in Mumbai, during a splendid night of evaluation and celebration of the outcome of our project. The trailer was well appreciated by everyone and that made all our hard planning and camera working worth happening and gave us incentive to work even harder for the full documentary, that we will commence producing once university starts next week.
What I loved the most about doing this and what I believe the beauty and the challenge of film-making is – you need to tick all the boxes in the amount of time that you have. And when you put it together you come up with maaany plans and maaany ideas. I realised that I could do this documentary in 10 different ways and love each and every one of them, but I need to pick one and stick to it! So at the end of the day, no matter the planning, the final result is always a bit of a surprise to everyone, even me.
Now please have a seat, grab the (healthy) snacks and (fresh) juice and enjoy. I hope you will like it and it will give you a flavour of what it meant to be in India with us.
Shot, directed, edited and produced by Simona Bisiani
Shot by Amy Wilson
Interviews run by Giulia Bottaro and Camilla Giannoni