Volunteer Post // The Community Voice Film

Light Box volunteer Ben tells us about the Community Voice Film Project:

Back towards the end of last year I and fellow Light Box volunteer Jennifer were asked to take part in the making of a film which could be used to promote what Light Box has been doing through the Happiness Project 2011. It was an opportunity created by Happy City in partnership with Plastic Buddha as part of the Community Voice project which works towards creating a wider resource bank of professional film makers, journalists, photographers and writers to support local people to learn the skills to get their voice heard, and tell their story of positive change to the world.

We were given a day’s training at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft with 3 other pairs from Bristol based organisations where we learnt a variety of techniques and got to grips with using microphones and using the mini Flip video cameras. We did various group and pair exercises which created a great team atmosphere and lots of laughter! Highlights included on person acting as director while everyone else was trying to squeeze as many feet and ears in to one shot while rolling about on the floor and interviewing a woman and her lovely black dog Shadow. By reviewing what we were filming throughout the day we learnt all about composition, set dressing, interview techniques and basic storyboarding. At the end of the session we went off in our pairs equiped with our cameras and our heads full of ideas!

We had 2 weeks to gather footage to be edited in session number two. We had roughly planned out what we were going to try and archive so set about gathering as many exciting shots and interviews as we could (life was made very easy for us by the fact the Light Box shop is such a brightly coloured and inspiring place to be in anyway). Fortunately for us all the workshop participants we spoke to were only too happy to be filmed and interviewed, we explained that we had previously decided not to show participants faces as we felt this was more appropriate due to the personal nature of what might be discussed as well as that fact that people staring down a lens is pretty dull viewing when we can show all the messy creative fun that goes on in the sessions instead.

After the 2 weeks were up we began to pick through all the best shots and Dictaphone interviews and create the final 4 minute video, this was really hard as we had over 2 hour of material – most of which was pure gold! The second Community Voice session showed us how to do this using the Flip Video software which was really useful and enabled the groups to share rough edits of their videos to everyone else – complete with projection screen and popcorn. I spent the next few days cleaning up the film and adding the finishing touches before we submitted the final piece which can be seen on Happy City’s YouTube Channel along side films by FoodCycle, Redcliffe Ladies Swimming Group, East Bristol Food Bank and Life Cycle plus more to come very soon.

I think it’s brilliant that Community Voice has given us the opportunity to both create a wonderful publicity/marketing tool and also given us the skills to make a similar projects in the future as well as being part of a wider resource bank able to lend a hand to anyone who may need us. A BIG thanks to everyone involved at Happy City and Plastic Buddha and especially the participants who gave up their time to answer our questions and talk about their Light Box experiences.

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