The Castlebar Men’s Shed

As part of this module, we were required to split up into teams and document a particular aspect of the Castlebar Mens Shed. Our team consisted of Lukasz Zalewski, Martin Collins, Ronan Ruane, Tommy Roe and myself.

We were to concentrate on producing a video of the blacksmith at work in the Mens Shed. Photographs would also be required as well as a report/reflection documenting our experience and participation in the project.

GMIT students at the castlebar Mens ShedAt the first meeting with the lads from the shed, we decided to make a video of Tom the blacksmith, working with some metal at his forge.

As a team, we divided up the various tasks between ourselves. A storyboard was created to make sure we all knew what particular images were required.
Lukasz was in charge of the video camera. He would need to pick a suitable location to set up, in order to capture the best possible footage.
Ronan and Tommy were in charge of sound and would need to ensure that the set was relatively quiet, so only the sound of the blacksmith at work would be recorded. Martin and I were on hand to take photographs of the proceedings.

Pat McGee was drafted in from the other team to conduct the interview as he had demonstrated his ability in this role previously. On the day, the weather was beautiful and this helped greatly to get the images and sounds that we needed.

Working on an external shoot like this was a lot more challenging than working indoors. We had less control over people wandering around the set and the ambient sound of the other men at work in the shed.

The blacksmithTom was a little nervous at first but Pat’s calm demeanour put him at ease as he settled into his task.
Ronan and Tommy were challenged by all the background sound but they got enough content to use in the video. Martin and myself got more than enough photographic evidence on the day.

In the days after the shoot, the team got together and reviewed the footage. It was pointless for us all to produce a separate video, so after getting advice, opinions and guidance from everyone, I volunteered to edit it all together.

I had a look at two different editing applications – Adobe Premier and Apple’s Final Cut Pro. I opted to go with Final Cut Pro as it appeared to be the more intuitive application to use.

Video production was a totally new area to me and it took a few attempts to familiarise  myself with using this programme. It also appeared to be extremely memory (ram) intensive.  However, after quite a few hours and lots of clips being left on the “cutting room floor”, the video was finalised.

It’s just over three minutes long. After reviewing it, I decided the theme would be “the sights and sounds of the blacksmith”.  Ideally, this tagline should have been slotted in at the start, but time and lack of expertise prevented this.

In general, the entire process from the initial meeting with the Men’s Shed through to the editing of the actual video went reasonably smoothly. However, in hindsight I can see where some things could have been improved.
The planning stage was well conducted and helped in ensuring we got all the footage we needed and asked all the relevant questions. Metal leaf from the forge at castlebar mens Shed

The next time, I’m sure we would be able to improve the sound quality. The set would need to be closed and have less people on it. It would have been preferable to have the mic closer to the action, but Ronan had to be careful that it didn’t get damaged by the blacksmith swinging his hammer or by any sparks from the forge fire.

It would also be better if we had captured shorter video segments. We had recorded fairly lengthy clips and these took a long time when importing into the editing software. I believe this would have streamlined the editing process.

In conclusion, I am happy with the final video and the way the team performed during this project. Personally, I found it very enjoyable and look forward to doing more of the same in future.

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