Adding depth

Just a quicky – something I learned about myself this Bank Holiday weekend.

Yesterday, I met a lady who we are going to making a documentary with for my course. She was extremely inspirational, having had hydrocephalus for all of her life, without knowing it. Two years ago, after a lucky spot by her optician, she had brain surgery and came out of it literally seeing a whole new world (cheesy, but true). She said the colours were so bright it was painful for her to look at anything for too long.

As we were discussing this with her, I was already thinking about how we could document this in the film. I imagined having her narrate her experience, over a clip of her walking through a bland, green meadow before walking into a field of colour, with blooms of different varieties looking like multi-coloured fireworks to signify the explosion of colour after her operation.

I was then reminded that in film, especially a documentary about someone’s life experiences, it’s their faces that show the emotion that add depth to the story.

So, the interesting thing for me was that I was trying to explore her story as if it was going to be on the radio: that by adding secondary codes – in this case the brightly coloured flowers – to add more depth and meaning to the words. In radio, because you cannot see people’s faces, you can use sound effects and other non-verbal sounds (eg music) to bring the story to life. (Radiolab podcasts are especially good for this!) Instead, as this will be filmed and not just an audio recording, her face and her expressions will add extra dimensions to her story.

I musn’t forget that people relate to people, they relate to their expressions and body language.

Image credit: Navdeep Raj, Flickr

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