Updated: May 23
I was approached by the London Metropolitan Police Service to create a video for their social media channels, showcasing what they are doing during the coronavirus crisis, while also tributing the NHS. This was my process.
'We want to create a video for the Metropolitan Police service, reflecting on our effort in the COVID-19 epidemic as well as to thank the NHS for their service in the pandemic. No interviews, only visuals including a voice-over.'
For reference and inspiration, they sent me a few videos that they have done in the past. The main one being this, 'Do Something Real'.
I really enjoyed that rawness of this video. It feels real as if the viewer is part of the action.
This comes from the fact that it is shot handheld, making us feel like we are there and involved in the drama of it all. This is the direction that I immediately wanted to go towards as it fits the dramatic nature of the police. However, as this video is also a tribute to the NHS and the more sensitive aspects of the police response to COVID-19, I had to not only focus on the police action but also focus on the human side of the police, which I learnt during my brief few weeks were in plentiful supply.
Yes, getting footage of the police in-action is grand and in some ways necessary, but I also had to get the faces ordinary officers who work day in and day out for the force. Keeping this in mind was key to creating a video that would connect with the audience.
Because the police is naturally a fast-paced environment and I was shooting by myself, I couldn’t bring a cumbersome rig that would be difficult to handle. That meant that I would have to set up a handheld rig and leave the tripod in the office.
My mobile rig consisted of the camera with the Sigma 18-35mm lens, shoulder mount, 1TB SSD and the Rode Videomic Pro. A very simple and lightweight set up for a project of this nature.
Filming the police was my most memorable filming experiences to date. Being able to ride in the van while they went on patrol was exhilarating. Meeting the officers and getting to know them, glimpsing into the world of policing, finding out how mentally and physically fit you have to be to do what they do.
What wasn’t exhilarating was the amount of running that was involved. I know I should have guessed, but I just wasn't mentally prepared for it! I need to get fitter...maybe go for a jog every now and then so I don’t nearly pass out from running and filming simultaneously.
Just a thought.
Then there comes the reality of travelling around London during a global pandemic. As I am but a poor videographer, I had to rely on trains and the London Underground to get around. At first, I was worried about getting onto packed trains (like the ones I saw on the news), but every day I filmed each train was basically empty, which was great!
The Health Workers Animation
There is a small section of this video that pays a tribute to a number of health workers that have died during this awful period. I was given quite a number of images to use, so I decided that it would be fitting to have them all fade up individually and fall into place as they fill the screen. This paired with the audio that was recorded during the weekly clap for carers events all around the country proved the perfect backdrop for this animation.
Creating the animation was simple. I created a border for each photo, placed them all in a collective square, then in Adobe After Effects I individually animated them into place, fading into the frame so it could feel as gentle and natural as possible.
This element turned the video into a thoughtful and reflective piece that directly countered the action of day to day police life.
Overall, I am very proud of how this video turned out. Working with the police was an interesting and extremely fun experience, getting to know them and seeing what they have to deal with on a daily basis was eye-opening.
I also know that I'm not as fit as I thought I was.
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