Filming & Editing
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
The 'Motherland' dance practices occurred once a week during the spring semester. During the first two weeks of filming, I found myself filming the practices from a distance. I was new to filming, in addition to that, I did not want the dancers to feel uncomfortable from the sudden presence of a camera, and me moving around the room in their rehearsals.
Footage shot at a wide shot.
By the third week of filming, I felt that the choreographers and dancers had become more used to me and the camera’s presence, therefore I felt more comfortable to get closer and film a variety of mid-range to close up shots. In addition to that, I was able to film the first interview session.
Screen stills from footage shot at mid-range or close-up.
First interview session.
Filming was supposed to have continued until March 29th & 30th, where the dance would have been performed for a public audience at the Malthouse Theatre on both evenings. However, due to impact of COVID-19, the remaining practices and shows were cancelled in line with the government’s advice in regards to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, constant communication and interviews between the choreographers and myself continued through lockdown, via Zoom calls, which were recorded. Furthermore, archive footage from Margaret and Foyin was also incorporated into creating the final product.
Screen still from a Zoom interview with Margaret and Foyin.
The complete 'Motherland' choreography danced by Margaret and Foyin.
Editing was a difficult process because I initially had an idea for the beginning sequence of the film that would lead up to the film's title scene, but following the cancellations of the final performance, it was no longer possible to create the opening I had envisioned. I had wanted to create an explosive start to the documentary by filming the final performance on stage, one full of energy and expressions. I had hoped to film aspects of the stage, such as the flickering lights of the set, the sound set up to use as cuts and create a sense of space of where the performance would be. However, this never happened due to the show's cancellation, so I was left to think of an alternate way to convey a powerful beginning, one that would leave a lasting and impacting first impression on the audience. It was difficult at first, but it was an obstacle that I had eventually managed to overcome when editing my first cut.
First cut of the opening scene that was shown for feedback.
The process of receiving feedback is scary to me. I have always feared receiving feedback regarding my work but during this editing process, as I shared my cuts with my coursemates and friends, I’ve found it very insightful to see how my work was received by the audience, especially from people who had no relation to dance and had never known about the process behind creating a performance. It was enlightening to receive feedback and comments as it helped me see which cuts worked, what didn’t work, what the audience were curious to know more about, and what I could add into my film to satisfy their curiosity. It was a very useful experience as I could see how my audience related to the film, and how they resonated with it.