Shoot The Summer Part 2
After five months touring the festival circuit, Shoot The Summer is finally finished.
It received a great reception when screened at the Electric Proms on Wednesday night. Jo Bellingham (co-producer), Pete Roach (director) and I are exceptionally pleased with how it all worked out. You can watch the whole film online now here.
It was an incredible project to work on and, even though I don't really need reminding, it hammered home how good it is to work for the BBC. It was an adventurous project that required support from all networks and a large helping of trust and vision from John Ousby (Head of Distribution Technology, Audio & Music Interactive) who backed it from day one.
Thanks to this project, my summer has been littered with surreal moments, glorious memories and chaffing (from where my wellies rubbed the hairs off my legs). I won't forget watching the excellent Robert Ziegler encourage a Proms crowd to do a Mexican wave for my phone whilst also conducting the Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Other musical highlights include seeing the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Nile Rodgers and Chic and Dame Evelyn Glennie. Strapping a phone to Stephen Merchant's head was fun too.
I recently watched a documentary on photography. Because old cameras had such slow shutter speeds, photographs of moving people had to be posed - otherwise they would blur. One photographer (whose name escapes me) was criticised for not getting people to pose. He shot moving people and featured the blurred pictures in his collection. The purists thought it insane to include blurred pictures in a collection. But he felt that capturing this movement was part of the language of photography at the time - it said something important about the tools of their trade.
In many respects, Shoot The Summer speaks to the audience in the language of film-making today. One of the earlier shots in the film is a guy going to huge efforts to prop up his camera with a packet of bacon. Only for his head to be out of frame and for the phone to fall over once he begins to speak.
There are several shots where the film-maker is holding the camera in portrait rather than landscape because it feels more natural to do it that way. These are the clips I left in. They aren't perfect, but that's how the audience filmed them and how the majority of clips you'll find on YouTube look.
User-generated content (UGC) is a phrase that makes me shudder sometimes, but it shouldn't.
There's more than one way to make a UGC film. Spike Lee and Nokia chose to go for the "send us all your clips and we'll try to find something interesting from them" method. I chose to spend some time with people who I thought might capture something of interest. I'm not saying my way is better than Spike Lee's. All I know is that I'm glad that when September came, I didn't have to go through thousands of random shots that had no narrative.
I gave the phone to people at festivals in the hope they would deliver. In most cases they were spot on.
Hugh Garry is Content Producer, Radio 1 and producer of Shoot The Summer.