Yesterday was an intensive period for two trainees, Abbey and Bethany. Abbey came up to the new market in the morning and acted as a camera & production assistant with Rick Goldsmith, as would Bethany in the afternoon. Bethany has posted a blog about the afternoon so I’ll fill in about what happened in the morning.

Rick and Abbey set about trying to capture as much material for the film from a whole shopping list (or more correctly ‘shot list’) of cutaways as possible. A ‘cutaway’ is a shot or a sequence that you see while someone is talking about a particular subject e.g. if a farmer is talking about the auction and mentions a tannoy announcement the editor / director can show shots of the auction and definitely a shot of the tannoy. The shot list was generated from watching the interviews in the Assembly Edit – where people mentioned dirty auctioneers, tannoys, baby animals, lorry deliveries, bidding styles and many many more such items. So most of the morning was pent just looking for interesting ways of showing these things.

Abbey (and Bethany) had specified that they were keen on developing their camera skills, so each spent some hours being camera assistants – learning about the different lenses, lens care, loading, setting up tracks and tripod.

We filmed the sheep in pens, using different lenses and a mixture of natural and artificial light. Abbey and I discussed correct lenses for particular shots, and Abbey set up a single LED light just to boost the images. Abbey also had a go at filming some actuality footage. This is always hard, as with set-up shots you have a degree of control and get peopleto arrange themselves for the camera but with this ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style you have to be quick on your toes. We were using a mixture of prime lenses, a 14-140mm zoom and a 70-300mm zoom (this one really came in handy as we could get shots of situations without having to set-up to close by and distract everyone).

The finale was an epic shoot of the cattle auction – it was packed, and the auctioneers were going at full pelt. We needed to get shots of all the aspects of the auction, but the hardest was getting people who were bidding – as some were very very surreptitious about their bidding style.

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