Intern Diary | WDC Creative
Part of the Intern programme we run at Anattic is helping aspiring Directors, Filmmakers and Editors to project manage their own productions. This series, ran by Alex Hughes follows different creative spaces, design houses and agencies across Manchester. We provide the kit and offer advice, but these films are owned by the interns that produce them.
You’ll find inspiration in many different ways
One of the great things about working with Anattic is the creative freedom that they both give and encourage. They allowed me, as an aspiring director and producer, to manage my own project to practice these roles, and so I jumped at the chance to work on my skills. I find creative processes really interesting and wanted to learn about the different ways people go about being creative, so that hopefully I could try and take some of the ideas on board to improve my own creativity going forward. So, I started looking for creative companies and people.
I came across WDC’s website whilst looking for potential companies I could start the project with and was really impressed by their website and works. It was interesting to see that they were one of the only companies I’d come across that actually designed spaces, such as shop floors and bars, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they’d actually
designed a restaurant called Tapeo that I’d eaten at a couple of months before, so, interested and intrigued by what they do, I got in touch.
After a few emails and calls with Helen – WDC’S director – they agreed to take part in the project, and I was really excited to see what their space was like and what their vibe was. When I arrived at WDC for our first meeting to talk about the project and what I’d be filming, I was really impressed. Everyone there was exceptionally welcoming, kind, and open to the project, and they were happy to give me as much freedom as I needed. Initially we talked about how their 18th anniversary was coming up and we could tailor the video around that, however further down the line this didn’t reflect nicely in the video, and so instead I focused on the processes and ethics of the company.
The following Tuesday I arrived at WDC at around 11 and dived straight into filming. In order not to get in the way, I asked what their schedule for the day was and number one on their list of things to do was rejigging their meeting room. I filmed Bella (a really lovely employee who had been with WDC for about two years) as she took down various design references and pictures and proceeded to put new ones up. It was interesting to see the reference pictures, as it gave me an idea of how creative companies manoeuvre quickly and smoothly between ideas, and how they generate new ones. You could see the base inspiration for a project and could then see how that idea had grown through a kind of ‘mind mapping through pictures’ type technique, I thought this was really cool and I loved the way it looked. It was an insight into creative thinking that I hadn’t really seen to that scale before. After I’d captured all I’d needed from that process, I decided to film around the office. I was a bit nervous to be poking around everyone whilst they were working, but they were all so nice and welcoming that I’d soon settled in, and filming what everyone was getting up to was an enjoyable task. All the software that the designers were using seemed immensely complicated, but they were just ploughing through their work nonetheless, and the drawings and sketches that lay about the place were all so detailed, it was all really interesting to see.
When shooting the interviews, I found the room in which I was filming was slightly awkward for me, camera wise. The space was quite small to navigate with the size of the tripod I had, and so I had to try and work around the space, which made some of the angles slightly awkward. I think in the future, I need to think more about my interview spaces before I film and pre-meditate what I’m going to do slightly more in the spaces that I’m using. The main issue I had was with the audio; the audio recorder that I was using wasn’t reading the SD-card that was inside it. Despite my efforts to troubleshoot and fix the issue it just wasn’t working. As a result, I had to use the in-camera audio which sacrificed the quality, I’d hoped it would be still useable. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out this way. When it came to the editing process, working with the audio just didn’t work out. It was muffled and in general just didn’t sound great. It was a big learning curve for me, as I knew that the audio I’d captured just wasn’t good enough for the video, for WDC, or for me. So, I asked if I could re-do the interviews, which WDC really kindly agreed to. These interviews went much more smoothly, however when I was reviewing it with James, he explained to me that it would have been better to use a lapel microphone, as it would’ve cut out some of the room echo that is still present in the audio.
When I got back from these interviews and returned to editing, I realised how much better the audio was and how vital sound is to production; I’m definitely going to keep this is mind going forward, and I’ll make sure whenever I capture audio it’s as good as it can be. The rest of the editing process was fairly smooth. I found the hardest thing to be colour grading, as I hadn’t done much of it before. Luckily, James and Matt gave me some tips and guided me through it, and although I still find it tricky and feel like I’ve got a lot to learn, it was good to have a lesson and to take a step into a wider world of editing.
The project was enjoyable, and I’m happy with the video I created, but there are definitely some things I need to take away and learn from. First and foremost, I need to make sure that the sound I’m capturing on any project is of the highest quality. I think this made me realise more than ever how important audio is – it seems to be just as important as the footage when shooting a video with audio. So this is something I really need to remember. I think that it would be helpful when editing to make sure that my white balance is consistent whilst filming, this would make colour grading so much easier! On the subject of colour grading, lighting makes a huge difference.
With projects where I might have access to lighting, it’d be a good idea to use it if I can, as I found that in some rooms at WDC the lighting didn’t react nicely with the sensor, creating a strange colour across the footage, this in effect made some of the grading quite difficult. When asking questions and contacting people, I just need to be a bit more confident. I can be quite anxious when talking to new people, freeze up and appear awkward. This (I think) hindered my ability to get more of the content I would’ve liked – this is something I've observed, and I feel like I should focus on .
I learnt a lot on this shoot, in all aspects of the production. I learnt how to contact and talk to potential clients, something that I was actually quite worried about; I learnt my lesson in always remembering to check kit, and make sure I’ve got a memory card spare, which in turn taught me the importance of audio, and finally I learnt a bit about colour grading, which I hadn’t really looked at before. I really enjoyed being able to flex my creative muscles and producing an entire video and shoot. I’m really thankful to both WDC and Anattic for allowing me this opportunity, as I learnt a lot, and have produced a video that I’m happy with as well.