Filming Exercises

The filming exercises that I did in class, helped prepare me for when it came to filming my documentary. The filming exercises helped me gain confidence with the camera, and I learned how to use the camera fully to my advantage. By learning how to pull focus, set the white balance and what best audio equipment is best to use, really gave me an advantage when it came to filming. As I did  not have to spend a long time setting up the camera, or playing around with it, not knowing what to do. Because of all the exercises that I learned in class, I knew what to do and I was less likely to have any mishaps or make any mistakes whilst filming.


Through the filming exercises that I did in class with my symbolic camera, I gained confidence filming in front of strangers and therefore, I felt more comfortable behind and in front of the camera. I was able to experiment with different camera angles, and try out new things and experiment with the use of the camera. This helped me when it came to filming the real thing, as I felt like I had gained enough experience using the camera to be confident when filming and using it to my advantage.


In group discussions, each of us were able to discuss our ideas about our projects, get feedback from the rest of the group. I found this very useful to get feedback and different people’s perspectives and views on things. It is this part of the collaborative process that I find crucial whenever you are producing a piece of work.


What inspired to make my film was from my anthropological interest in gender and identity, and my interest in the LGBT community. It was through a recommendation from a friend that led me to choose to make my film about Untucked Margate (a group of drag queens living in Margate). My first time meeting with them to introduce myself and ask their permission to be in the video, I knew that it would be a great collaborative project.

Collaboration played a very important role in my decision in choosing my topic for my film, as well as in the filming process itself. Through group discussions I was able to tell people about my ideas and get their feedback and input on what they thought. I found this very helpful in the creating process. I was able to ask other people about any issues or opinions I had in my creative process, and the feedback they offered helped me get an idea of what direction I wanted my film to take. Collaboration enables informants to produce or contribute to documents they want, it enables the creation of other forms of academic knowledge, such as reflexivity.



‘In his refusal to give his subjects access to the film, the filmmaker refuses them access to himself…. In denying part of his own humanity, he denies a part of theirs…. he inevitably reaffirms the colonial origins of anthropology: It once was Europeans who determined what was worth knowing about “primitive” peoples and what in turn they should be taught.’ -David MacDougall (1998)

I watched several films that inspired me and gave me ideas on the film that I wanted to create. My inspirations came from films such as Paris is Burning, Tangerine and Mirror Mirror. They gave me lots of ideas, and helped me create a story for the film that I would wanted to produce.


When it came to the filming process, particularly for one event that I was filming, I needed more than one camera. I asked Soffia (who is also on the same course) to film with me, so that I could get footage from two different aspects. This part of the collaborative process really helped me with filming. As it allowed for better creation of intersubjective knowledge to be made between both of us and the audience.



First Time Filming


The first time that I recorded, I encountered a few challenges that came my way. Firstly, due to the location of where I was filming (inside a bar) I had to consider aspects such as background noise, music playing, how the use of microphones and people signing would affect the audio and sound quality. So all these challenges I encountered on my first time filming for my documentary. I found myself constantly checking and changing the audio levels so that it would not be distorted or too loud or quite. This proved very challenging. Lighting was also another issue, as the bar was very dimly light and quite dark. I was afraid that the footage was not going to be very good, that you would not be able to see much, or the quality of the footage would not be to a high standard. However, when watching back the footage that I had filmed, to my surprise the quality was good and usable.

Going into filming, I had already an idea about what sort of shots and angles that I wanted to film, which helped me with the direction and flow of the film. I knew that I wanted several close up shots and varied angles to capture the drag queens facial expressions, as well as their make-up and outfits.