When looking for archive footage i found it difficult to find creative commons licensed work that would fit in around my project this left me in a difficult position, with two choices i could either try and use creative commons work and try to find a way to intertwine it into the narrative of my video or secondly i could email owners of footage to seek permission  Due to the videos that i had found and the footage that it displayed i decided to go down the root of seeking permission.

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The first step i had to take was to find the owners of the footage, as i found some videos via youtube i had to make sure that i was contacting the owners of the footage in two cases i had found emails for the owners, above is one of the emails i sent out, i decided to use a template to keep it simple. By writing the same email i could change the title of the video saving me time.

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Over the next few days i found that people were happy to let me use there videos, in most cases the video owners are keen to see my final piece and the end result below is the text i used to email owners of the footage.

Hi my names Alex Wierzbicki I am currently making a short film for my final degree piece about boxing in an industrial town specifically Merthyr Tydfil, I am looking for Short 5-10 second segments of archive footage and came across your video on The Johnny Owen Story 1/2. Would there be any possibility that I could use a short clip from the video, if so you will be fully credited.

Many thanks
Alex

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before setting out taking photographs i wanted to find work that i could use as pointers when making my own images, for me these images would provide a good reference points for lighting and also help me to provide guidance and direction to my subject as this is something i find difficult. When looking for work one artist came to mind before others that photographer is Levon Biss, having already known the photographer and seen his work with sports men and women i knew which images I would use.
Untitled-1The image above on the left is of Louis Smith i have chosen to look at this image for two reasons firstly the lighting, with two lights placed at either side of the subject this is a set up i want to recreate in my own work, also within Biss’s work there is a trait of heavily edited portraits something which can be seen in this photograph and a technique which attracts me to the work making it more eye catching in the process. The photograph on the right shows David Haye, I haver chosen to look at this image because of the contrast between the lighting of the subject and the black shadows of the background, for me this set up is key to portraying only the subject and heightening the focus on him.
Untitledd-1This photograph of Ricky Hatton is one which has influenced the way I photograph, with mirrors being a regualr feature in gyms this image takes advantage of this by using a mirror the photograph allows the viewer an all round view of the subject, not only does the image give a better viewpoint of Hatton but it also give a wider depth and view of the environment in which he trains something i wanted to recreate within my work.
Untitled-71The two images above show another side of the work which I wanted to create aside from only photographing strong posed images i wanted to make some close up portraits. the two examples above show the sort of image i wanted to create with both images above the subjects are looking away from the camera. The photograph on the right appears to be one light to the right of the subject  this creates a heavy shadow around the back of the subjects head. With the image on the left there appears to be two lights parallel which creates a shadow running straight down the image.

IMG_8571After looking at the two final examples I wanted to create portraits using harsh shadows whilst shooting with Kerry, above is an image which I shot when in Merthyr by using one light placed to the right of the subject i was able to light the right side of the subject creating a very strong shadow down the subjects face, for me this allows a sense of the unknown within the image.

Before starting out on making my short film I knew i wanted to interview people i felt would be useful in the video, in my case i eventually ended up with two interviews leaving me with around 30 mins of audio to work with. My plan was to ask a set of around 10 questions to the interviewees and with the result pick out parts of the audio which i felt would be useful to do that i took a couple of steps to get to my final product, i did so using adobe audition, having used the program once before to make a short photo film i already felt confident with the program.

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Editing Down Full Interviews

The first step i took was to take the full length interviews and import them onto Audition once i had done this i had to go through each interview multiple times, my reason for doing so the first time was to remove any stumbles in the speech or noises in the audio effectively cleaning up the track without removing any of the actual interview content. By doing this i was able to reduce the track to a much cleaner track without any odd sounds that could crop up later.

Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 21.47.38Removing my voice from audio
The next step I took was to import the cleaned up tracks this time editing the down by removing he audio of my own voice asking questions. For my final video i do not want to have any of me in it i want it to feel like a fly on the wall where it is all about the subject. After removing my voice i decided to create gaps of silence in between each answer therefor trying to create a narrative throughout the audio without the assistance of an interviewer.
Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 22.04.43Once I had made a full audio track i could then begin to cut and move around the audio i wanted by using the separate short answers that were on the track i could make a stronger narrative by the placement of the audio, the main reason for doing this also was so when I come to editing the film i will have one track for each person which i can select section of audio from with little fuss.

After my first shoot with Kerry I was finding when reviewing my pictures one common problem, this problem was heavy shadows within the images, most photographs from the shoot had this trait. Knowing that these shadows appeared because of the use of one light and the directness of the light i wanted to address this in another shoot. Later in the week i got another chance to shoot Kerry this time I was adement that I wanted to shed much more light on the background of these images and not just light the subject himself.

IMG_8817The image above was one i took to experiment with areas of the gym which i had used in the last shoot  in the last shoot the background of my images specifically in this area of the gym were appearing very dark with strong shadows, as it is clear to see within the image above I have tried to address the problem and within this image I am much more happy with the outcome and the even spread of light, this is much due to the use of two lights during this second show.

IMG_8791Once again as like the other image sin this shoot the photograph above was intentionally lit, when experimenting with using the mirror in the shots earlier in the week in my first shoot i was keen to go back and re shoot more images providing a more even balance of light this time. I feel this images i better than the result from my first shoot, unlike previous images i feel i managed to create an even spread of light between background and foreground, unlike previous images I am happy with the reflection as before I felt  the images in the mirror were perhaps to dark for the viewer to see.

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Although my focus when shooting was to mainly take full body shots of Kerry so i could portray a strong figure i also wanted to take close up portraits catching the subject off guard. Above is one such image throughout the shoot i found myself moving between full body portraits and getting closer to the subject, with the photograph above I have purposely chosen to frame the subject alongside the poster in the background by doing this i felt i was drawing comparisons between the boxers in the gym and the posters on the walls which provide the inspiration to boxers.

IMG_8820With the image above I decided to try and shoot somewhere in the gym which i had not covered in the first shoot, when looking for spots to shoot in i thought the weights area would provide an interesting setting with many different areas for the viewer to focus on. Looking at various settings in the gym I found this location hard to get right, as i moved the lights around in various set ups i kept encountering the reflection of the flash on the metal and glass in this case the ball in the foreground has a sharp reflection and this was something I was keen to avoid. Aside from the lighting I was however happy with the way in which Kerry is lit to the left of the image.

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Finally the last image above was one i shot to experiment with lighting the background, as the lighting of the background has been an issue in the other shoot i have done with Kerry i felt it important to address the issue. Overall with this second shoot I am much happier, although i feel that i made some strong images in the first shoot i was glad to have the chance to reshoot some images and correct any mistakes i may have made the first time round.

IMG_8686The shot above was one i took as a spare of the moment whilst outside the gym, although i only got the one shot i was very pleased with it, i feel it is aided by the background the stone wall provides a simple setting which allows the viewer to focus fully on Kerry.

Whilst in Merthyr I wanted to visit Cyfarthfa Castle, Built and once home to the Crawshay Iron masters the castle has seen change over the years, from a rich household over looking the town and the workers the family employed to a museum to share the towns heritage and a grammer school. Over the years the building has always been a centre piece for the town wether in the days of the Crawshay’s or in the present day.Untitled-1One of the main features of the museum is the section dedicated to Merthyr’s boxing heroes  in this section you can find the belts, gloves, shoes and other belongings of the men who have forged the towns boxing history in the room are artefacts belonging to Johnny Owen, Howard Winstone, Eddie Thomas and Ken Buchanan .
Untitled-1fThroughout the museum there are highlights of Merthyr’s past aside from boxing Merthyr has a proud history some examples can be seen above, on the left a painting of William Crawshay the Iron master the painting was made by Rolf Harris who’s family descend from Merthyr  The image on the left shows two of Merthyr’s most well know fashion designers, Laura Ashley who was born in Merthyr and also Julian McDonald who has designed clothes for many celebrities, along with the boxing statues and memorabilia Merthyr was alos home to composer Joseph Parry who’s cottage can still be seen today.

Aside from the final degree show exhibition in Coventry at the end of May the group are also exhibiting work in London at The Strand Gallery on the 18th June, when making the posters there is one requirement from the gallery which is to place the logo on the posters. When designing the posters we first as a group decided that it would be useful to work to a template which would allow all of us to choose which images from the group would fit best with the poster. Aside from the group posters I have also created my own poster as a possible design, I have tried to keep it as simple as possible allowing room only for the vital information otherwise i feel it could become to crowded.

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The main emphasis of my poster is on the clean look, i felt it was important to keep it clear easy for a viewer to read, also by using less text and majority of an image i feel it will be more likely to catch the eye of a viewer more so than the writing which i believe is less important than the image as the image is the focus.

So its been a while since I’ve posted, aside from making my short video for my final piece I have started to look through and begin editing images from the two shoots with Kerry Hope, Below are a two images which I am most happy with from the first look at the images.

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Aside from the two images above i have begun to look through, pick and begin to experiment  with my images and the editing process, from the first shoot I conducted with Kerry i left with over 300 images, although this seemed a lot of choice to me many of the images are very similar and to me communicate the same ideas. Whilst on the shoot i tried to move around the gym as much as possible trying to create as many settings as possible for the shoot. Also as i was shooting i was keen to film Kerry in a gym environment, i found this quite a balancing act as being on my own i had to capture as many different types of media as possible. all together I am happy with the first shoot, below are some rough edits.

UntitledThe two images above are the first two photographs I looked at after the shoot, from looking at this selection I wanted to work out where i was going wrong when shooting, having already taken images to use as reference i knew the style of image I wanted to create. Firstly the Image on the left, by using a single light with this photograph my intentions were to light half the subject creating a harsh shadow on the subjects face, by doing this I felt I could photograph the subject without out fully revealing his identity. With the image on the right I chose to use two lights, due to power sockets and availability i had some trouble using two lights in all areas of the gym, but with this image i was able to brightly light my subject although i don’t feel i achieved the shot i was wanting. It is clear in the image on the right the the contrast between shadow and light is strong the subject is very brightly lit whilst the background is fading to black loosing the look of the gym something which i did not want to do.

Untitled-41The third image above was one I was keen to have the option of using when coming to choosing final images I felt the setting in which the photograph was shot was key to photograph, unlike the other settings around the gym in this corner there was a full length mirror. After having used mirrors in previous work when photographing athletes i know they can be well used to show a profile of a subject, when creating this shot I wanted to experiment more with the lights in this case I have used two lights using one to light the subject directly and one to the right side of the shot to light the background. At the point of shooting using direct lighting was causing me to still create harsh shadows, something which I wanted to address in the next shoot.

Untitled-1Much like the rest of the images that caught my eye both of the photographs above have heavy shadows, once again a problem i found on this shoot due to problems with power, the image on the left was one which i felt was helped by the shadow i feel like the first image at the top of the page it adds a sense of not revealing the whole subject leaving some of his character hidden. In contrast to the previous image the photograph on the right is a mix of good and bad, in the area in which the subject is lit I am happy with the result but like the other images i feel the aid of a second light to expose the background of the image would have helped the final outcome.