What I learned

Reflexivity is important when completing a project of this nature. It is only through making mistakes and learning from them that we can grow as filmmakers and ethnographers. Moreover, it is also important to learn about the culture one is studying as to represent them ethnically and truthfully.

Technical side

I learnt much about the technical side of filmmaking. On our first shoot I set the sound too low. Unlike with previous equipment I had worked with, there was no way of monitoring the sound level via headphones. This left us with a low sound recording. From this I learnt that the cameras auto sound function was actually very good and used it in future shots. This provided us with great sound quality thereafter. Furthermore, this forced me to learn how increase the volume of quite shots. I did this by adding gain to sound recordings to digitally amplify the sample in the editing software. This then produced much digital noise (static) and so the noise reduction effect had to be used. Furthermore, much of our footage was filmed with camera in hand. Unfortunately this produced a fair amount of shaky footage. I hindsight, there were several shots where the tripod could and should have been used. This would have produced a more professional looking shot. It also limited the scenes I could use, as some were too shaky to be acceptable. The footage produced had some visual noise also. This was due to wrong setting on the camera. Unfortunately this was hard to see on the small screen so it was not realised until after the shoot. Next time it would be useful to use the camera when it is plugged into a large screen as to detect the visual noise and adjust the settings so that this is removed.

 

Othering

It was not until I showed the film to some classmates that they pointed out that at one point it appeared I was ‘othering’ one of my subjects. David was speaking about how he is never looking for something with a dance partner and I had overlaid a clip of him clearly looking at a women. This implied he was lying and made him come off in a bad light. This was not intentional, however I should have ealised what I was implying by using that interview footage and visual clip together. I was too concerned about the story to realise that I had prioritised this over fair and accurate representation. I was glad that they had picked this out so I could change it and learn from it. After this I made a conscious effort not to make any of my subjects come off in a bad light. For example I could have insinuated that there was a romantic feel between David and Nicole however this was not present (or if it was it did not notice it or is it my place to broadcast it). Even though this would have produced a more emotional element to the film, it was not something I felt I could ethically depict over film; whether or not it was there, implying it may have made them feel uncomfortable.

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Representation

One of the participants said that it is not possible to capture on film the true nature of 5Rhymes. This was evident due to the strong relationships 5Rhymes produced. While I was aware of this before hand, the extent 5Rhymes would produced interpersonal connections was not known to me. I was filled with serendipitous feelings during and after the dance session when I observed the joy it brought these individuals through dancing with one another. This was obvious due to the long distances many travelled to get there; some came all the way from London. However, while the film may not show the full picture, or it misses an integral part of 5Rhythm, it would be naïve to say the film did not capture any relevant components of it. By understanding the structure of a particular dance form, the ethnographer can gain knowledge about the cultural context and how the cultural influences are reflected in the system of a particular dance practice. Additionally, if nothing more it gave viewers a taste as to create a curiosity that could be fulfilled eventually by participating in it.

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Ethics

When representing an individual or group of individuals it is important to represent them in a fair way that they would approve of. Throughout the filming and editing a fair representation of the subjects was paramount. A some points I included footage of one subject however, after getting feed back from a classmate I became aware that it was slightly disrespectful. The linking of that particular audio with that particular visual made the subject come out in a bad light. After I had become aware of this instance I was able to ensure it would not happen at any other point. This exercise also showed me the usefulness of feedback. When you have created a film from scratch, it is often hard to view it through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before.