As some of you may not be aware, much of Scotland has been brought to a standstill due to a severe cold spell appropriately named, “The Beast From The East". As a result, almost all services have been stopped including air travel, public buses and retail. This has ultimately made everyday activities quite difficult to complete. In addition to this, our place of work, New College Lanarkshire, has been temporarily closed until the weather has become more manageable.
Due to these events, much of our time has been spent within Glasgow city where we are currently stranded. In general, this has been both a blessing and a curse. For example, we have been given quite a lot of free time to do as we please...but on the other hand, much of Glasgow’s main attractions/events have been canceled leaving us with very little to entertain ourselves with. These closures also affect the Glasgow Film Festival’s series of events, something which us media students are quite disappointed about.
On a more positive note, the weather has provided some amazing film and photo opportunities. Almost everyday, the other media students and myself have been out exploring Glasgow’s altered environment equipped with our trusty DSLRs. During these expeditions, you are almost guaranteed to encounter odd situations, something which I personally enjoy capturing with the camera. For example, many norms associated with daily life have begun to disappear due to the ongoing disruption. One such norm being the use of sidewalks. Almost everyone has begun casually strolling down the city's main streets, a bizarre site indeed. Also, skiers as well as snowboarders have been spotted using the cities steep hills and streets as slopes. Overall, it has been a very unique experience to say the least.
In relation to the fast approaching departure date, I cannot help but feel somewhat sad. I have really begun to feel very comfortable here and to leave just as this is taking affect is a real pity. That being said, I am delighted with all that has been achieved. Overall, I can confidently say that I have been changed for the better.
Since first hearing about Erasmus it was one of my main goals to get a place in it. That was over a month ago now and since then i can safely say that ive achieved that goal. This is my first year in college, since ive started my eyes have been opened up to so many different experiences wether it be producing a video, Acting, Directing, Travelling and meeting new people its all been very positive and forward moving and Erasms has amplified this. Some of the skills i have learnt whilst on Erasmus include Animation and Design, Working with different pieces of technology such as Black Magic Cameras. Ive also learnt how to travel effeciently and improved my organisational skills.
What have i enjoyed the most?
Ive really enjoyed the City itself, there is so much to do and everyone is very friendly. Ive also enjoyed experiencing a new way of learning in the New College Lanarkshire.
What am i going to take away from this experience? Well its definatley made me hungry for more travel, id love to fly more and travel to other countries for work. Its also shown me that with hard work you can really get somewhere
How will it help me when i return?
The experiences that i've had during Erasmus will make me work harder and allow me to be a better person for myself as well as my friends. Id like to become more involved in projects that others are working on.
This morning started off clear but threatening to bring in a flurries of snow. Regardless, I made the call for us to proceed with the film shoot, and with a little luck, we succeeded.
The first action for me was to head out to the college campus at around 8am to locate a second camera, the Sony V1E. After about an hour, I arrived back to the apartment where Fionn, Joe, Matt and Albert were waiting for me. From there, we began setting up our equipment to film the opening shots. Once these were completed, we split into two groups; Albert, Fionn and myself filmed around the apartment complex whilst Matt and Joe set out into the blistering wind and cold to follow a shot-list/script I had worked out for them.
The filming process from our end was meticulous and challenging. Working with new equipment and camera's which we were somewhat familiar with from GTI, proved to be both beneficial and difficult. A long time was spent acquiring the perfect composition within the apartment, that by the time we reached the roof time and efficiency were our top priority as we could quite literally see our impending deadline approaching us.
The filming so far has been quite an interesting and developmental experience. Naturally, after a days shooting was complete, I treated my cast, crew and general slaves to a proper meal and drink, as the heavy snow begins to fall. It also reminds us all that our Erasmus experience is only days from ending...
Today was our last Sunday and perhaps the most relaxed since we arrived. From early morning, I knew it would be a day of peace and quiet. This was partly because I felt exhausted from all the various activities we had done the day before. I also felt slightly under the weather due to general physical and mental fatigue. With only a week to go, I truly wish to be as fit and able as one can be so as to enjoy every last bit.
The biggest highlight was probably having a delicious lunch/dinner cooked for me by my buddy, Barra, who I am currently living with while on Erasmus. It was a nice gesture and made the day that bit more relaxing. In addition to this, I also managed to further develop my editing skills through using Adobe After Effects. A piece of software that allows for the creation of special effects and various other editing features. This was also quite fun as I was able to invest much of the day creating whatever I fancied, a nice escape.
So that was my Sunday. Nothing too exciting.... nothing too complicated, just peace and quiet and getting ready for our last week in Glasgow.
Today was a very laid back day for us media students. After spending all of yesterday exploring Edinburgh, all four of us agreed to do our own thing today. Some of us used this time to rest while others worked and organised media we had been putting together for the documentary we had to make for our documentary module back home.
We also spent some time having relaxing walks around the city. I've personally spent most of my days with my camera either around my neck or in my bag so I used today to take in some of the city without my camera in hand, leaving it behind at our accommodation for a change and to let the batteries charge after Edinburgh.
Tomorrow should hopefully be another busy day with Fionn and Barra taking this week to primarily film while Matt and I shall be spending this week editing to swap around our roles from last week.
Today we took the train from Glasgow Central Station to Edinburgh, it was a nice change of pace getting the train and we got to see some sights that we hadn't seen before. Edinburgh is a beautiful place with great architecture. We went and visited the Edinburgh Castle whilst we were there. Its fairly expensive but definitely worth it. Some of the photographs we took there were great. Whilst at the castle we got to see one of the artillery cannons being fired. Once it was fired a well dressed man in uniform allowed us to take pictures of him holding the shell from the round that was fired.
After we left the castle we decided to go to some of the museums and have a look around. We visited the National Museum Of Scotland and it was great where the variety of exhibits that they have on display are outstanding. If your interested in culture and history in general you should definitely take time to visit some of these sites.
Today involved a lot of travelling and sight seeing. We had been planning to go to Edinburgh for a while so its great that we finally did it. The journey back was to Glasgow was great and it was added to by the fact that Scotland had won the rugby!
It's strange to think that a couple of weeks ago we were looking these places up on the internet and researching them and now we are actually here!
Yesterday Fionn and myself spent the entire evening and night editing a promo for the National Theatre of Scotland and I had unfortunately only managed 4 hours sleep. Today we started our day at 11am. The cinematographers in our group were given access to work with some of the best equipment in the college that morning, which included the 'Black Magic' Camera and 6D Canon. We then joined in with Michael's workshop where we further researched and studied structuralist theories and semiotics in film, specifically 'Auteur Theory'. Briefly before class ended, the four of us Erasmus students were introduced to the hairdressing course, for whom we would be making a promo for on Wednesday.
As we broke for lunch, myself and Albert (our new Scottish companion) discussed potential plans to shoot a short film over the following week. When we returned to our workshop, Alan gave an interesting and relevant lecture on defamation and legal rights. Topics including 'George Galloway' and cases of defamation were discussed, which were very interesting.
Class broke for the day at 4pm and as we were all tired we decided to head home to relax for the evening. Matt, Fionn and Joe joined the other Erasmus girls and Linda for a dinner whilst I decided to stay in the apartment, working on a planned shoot that I discussed with Albert. What I was not expecting was around 10pm that night, the 3 'Musketeers' came into the apartment bearing a cake to wish me a Happy Birthday. It was truly touching...
It's hard to believe that this is our second week complete. We are hoping to have a great adventure tomorrow as we take a day trip to Edinburgh.
Today roughly marks the halfway point of our Erasmus placement, a shocking revelation to say the least. But despite this rather sad reality, there is joy to be found. Over the past week, we have accomplished so much. Relationships have been forged, memories created and new skills learned. Overall, I am as content as is realistically possible. I mean, the opportunities being made available to us are “a once and a lifetime” type of situation.
In regards to work, much of what I was asked to do primarily centered around editing a promotional-type video for a local project known as SHIFT. Overall, I enjoyed it for the most part but found some aspects rather difficult at times as the footage was not what I would consider “usable”. It was testing at times but also informative. For example, I found the whole ordeal a good reminder that as an aspiring cinematographer, you must be aware of the other various stages of production so as to ultimately produce something of quality. In other words, it is important to do as best a job as possible, otherwise you may cause a great deal of frustration for those down the line.
So today was both a time for reflection and learning. Most of our days at work bring many surprises, something which adds a bit of excitement each morning. On that note, I shall leave it here until my next entry.
Today the other GTI media students and myself found ourselves sitting in on another 2D graphic design workshop. During this workshop the tasks we preformed consisted of working on the Word Press websites we had began making a few days prior and also creating a short opening title sequence in Adobe After Effects.
After completing some more work on our individual Word Press sites and finishing our individual opening title sequences. We also organised booking out some of the colleges film equipment and began filming part of a promotional video we had been asked to make by the college. The video will be used three of the libraries located on each of the colleges three separate campuses.
To begin this promotional video we interviewed one of the staff members of the college library at the Cumbernauld campus and tomorrow we plan to begin filming cutaways in the Cumbernauld library. Overall it was an eventful day.
Its already been over a week since we first landed in Glasgow, and it feels like only yesterday I was packing my bags for the trip.
One of my big interests in film and video is cinematography, and how each person has there own unique style when it comes to using a camera. One of the goals that I set out for myself for this trip was to find my own style. So far, between using my trusty Sony Handycam, and the very expensive and scary DSLR's on offer here at NCL, as well as the odd drone, I think that i'm on my way to achieving this goal. I have a lot to look up too, Fionn, Joe, and Barra are all very gifted with cameras, as well as the new students within the college, and I take inspiration from that.
For someone that is in their first year in college specialising in media, I couldn't be in a better place. I am watching Fionn like a hawk, as he is always pressing buttons and twisting dials on the cameras to get the perfect shot (I think its a bit unsettling for him to be honest, ha!). Barra and Joe have brilliant minds when it comes to the theoretical side of filming. They could speak for hours and go very in-depth into the reason for a type of shot or location. They disagree sometimes when it comes to what type of shot to use or get but its not in bad taste they are just very passionate about what they do and that's very inspiring also.
The fact that we can use the leisure facilities within the Hilton is amazing. It feels so good to finally be able to swim again. I don't want the time here to keep going so quickly, i'm really enjoying it here, but it won't be long until we are on the plane home again.
We decided to visit the GSC (Glasgow Science Centre). We set off on our journey, we followed the banks of the river Clyde until we reached it. Coincidentally, the BBC Scotland studio is directly adjacent to the centre. On seeing the BBC studio, we certainly wished to take the tour around them but we had not booked one in advance. Unfortunately, the target audience for the science centre was suited more for a younger age range.
However, not all was lost as we returned to the Loft apartments after a nice leisurely stroll through the city taking multiple shots for our documentary. As night came, we hatched further plans. We invited our dear Scottish friend from NCL over with his Phantom S4 drone and with the kind approval of the staff, were allowed access to the roof. It was truly breath taking. We spent over an hour and a half taking shots with our cameras, creating sequence ideas and time-lapses, flying the drone and absorbing the night lights of Glasgow. It was truly a magical experience. Our first week has been quite a beneficial and wonderful experience and it can only get better in work and culture.
Map of Glasgow