Archive Film Project - an insider's overview
In May, Bernadette Smith participated in the Freehand Archive Film Project. Here she tells us what she got up to and what she learnt whilst she was here.
16 June 2014
On 17 May we attended our first session of the Freehand Archive film project at FACT. We had a great day where we learned about everything from archive footage to video art and different camera shots.
We were taught by Sima and Carlos, who worked on a short film called Titanic Love. Mark from FACT helped us too! We began to think about what we wanted our films to be about and to do this, we looked at archive footage of Liverpool and England.
We were then split up into three groups. My group decided to base our film on a piece of archive footage called Big Family, an informative piece of film about a family of 16 children and their parents who lived in 1950’s Liverpool. We named our short film after the original archive footage. The other two groups decided to make short films about fashion through the years and about the children of Liverpool!
Sima also taught us about the cameras. We used Sony Z7 cameras to shoot our short films, learning about how to use the camera and what all of the buttons and rings are used for! By the end of the day, we knew how to zoom, focus, and pan the camera as well as how to fix the sound and exposure. We also learned how to set up and use a tripod.
The following week, we watched more short films to get inspiration. My group also got some experience with set dressing when we began to film our shots. Sima taught us more about different types of shots and why they are used. After that, our groups began to storyboard and decide what scenes and shots we wanted in our short films. Then, we began filming and got our hands on the camera! My group started to film shots for Big Family. We wanted to create scenes about a large modern family based on what we heard and saw in the original archive footage. For this, we filmed scenes in FACT about the family eating breakfast, the amount of food that the family eats every week, the family walking up the stairs, and the father of the family hanging up clothes. We all took turns directing, operating the camera, and performing the actions in the shots!
The last week of the project, we finished filming and reviewed our footage. We also decided that we wanted our three short films to be tied in together to make one big film.
During the last week, it was exciting to go outside of FACT to film with my group! We went to a barber shop to film a haircut and to the grass at the Anglican Cathedral to film the children (us!) running and playing. We also filmed some shots inside of FACT, such as the father of the family reading the newspaper, the shoes of the children all lined up, and the children grabbing money from a table. After we were done filming, we watched what we filmed and then decided which shots we liked best.
Being a part of this project was so much fun! I loved learning all about cameras and how to film as well as getting filmmaking experience. One of my favourite parts of the project was getting to know all of the great people I met! I’m so grateful to Sima, Carlos, and Mark for teaching us and to my fellow filmmakers for making the project so great and fun. I had a brilliant time and I’m so happy I got to get involved with the Freehand Archive Project!
If you would like to know more about Freehand, or any of FACT's work with young people, please contact