Methodology, Medium and format

To create the content for the video I will use interviewing as my methodology, more specific a qualitative interview, to create the base for the project from which I will then extract the narrative. Much like with the project last term, I rely on a strong set of questions and the answers the person will provide me with. As I wrote in my evaluation about using interviews as a method:

Interviews are a “frequently used method in social research” (Ukdataservice.ac.uk, 2014) and can “produce highly structured data on people’s opinions on a specific matter” or “facilitate a more evocative communication of people’s life experiences, activities, emotions and identities” (ibid.). My interview technique was supposed to give the interviewees “space to expand their answers and accounts of their experiences and feelings” and they were set “in an exploratory manner which seeks to investigate the subjective interpretations of social phenomena” and did not “necessarily presume that most of the topics of interest are known in advance” (ibid.) 

The aim is often interpretation and understanding of how and why, not ‘fact-finding’ or getting answers to questions of how much or how many (Warren, 1988).

(From http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/teaching-resources/interview/qualitative.aspx)

This approach of “how” and “why” is very important in creating the topics / questions I’d like to explore.

From the interview I will then “extract” the information and create the visual content.

Video as a medium is the best choice as I can use an audio narrative and combine it with visuals to create a story / re-create their reality. I have yet to decide whether the narrative will be Paul’s voice directly taken out of the interview or someone else’s.

The way I envision it at the moment would be to create the narrative based on the information I gain through the interviews and then use this to create the scenes that go with the narrative. It will not be an observational documentary where I solely film the blind person doing the tasks trying to capture a “real” documentation but a combination of re-created scenes together with “real” footage (which will be staged, for example Paul writing or reading) and/or (possibly) things taken from the internet such as animations, sound etc.

I think this approach gives me more creative freedom, also because I am not reliant on filming my subject, staging it etc. as it can be quite the hassle and the quality of the footage can suffer from it. Also my aim is to show something that somehow triggers/addresses all senses, though it is visually I think there is a strong connection between seeing images and reacting to it through other senses such as taste, smell or touch. Like when you see someone biting into a lemon! Yet at the same time I want people to take something away from it, there will be of course also information that has to be supported visually.

Here are two examples I looked at, one being a short documentary and one being a fictional movie.

Ilhas das Flores by Jorge Furtado (1989)

I think this documentary really cleverly combines story telling, repetition and a twist in the plot to shine light on such a horrific reality that is the poverty on the Island of Flowers. The end really demolishes the somehow ridiculous portrayal of events and information and I especially like the way the footage is used. There are actors, that play out scenes but then there is also footage taken from other sources such as animation, charts, cartoons etc. and the “realistic” footage of the poor people that is shown in the end. I will look at the structure and aesthetics of this short documentary more thoroughly as I think it could be useful for my project.

 

“The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)

In this well known movie by one of France’s (in my opinion) most unique directors I found the attention to detail and the aesthetics the most interesting. The way he gives an insight into Amelie’s world by creating intimacy with the audience is astonishing and I think the way some of the scenes are filmed, beautiful close ups of little details or actions, is something I could incorporate in my video. I’d like to find more theory/analysis about Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s directing to better understand the concept of how he creates his strong connection to the viewer.

And this is how I do NOT want it to look like:

I understand that this is an informative piece about Chris at college and how the school and its disability services have helped him but it is produced in a style that I definitely do not want to apply. This is more of a journalistic / news like piece which follows the conventions of visual journalism just like we learned it in second year, specific camera angles for the interview with Chris and the school staff, GV’s of him walking and talking to people, cut away / cut out etc.

For my piece I’d like to apply other conventions which I still have to pin down (looking at more examples, different styles of documentary) to make it more appealing and interesting, less formal and richer in detail and interpretation.

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