DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp at DVinfo.net

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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #1
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DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Hi all,

Hope you enjoyed the short film and hopefully came away with a little bit more knowledge about glass blowing. The idea of seeing molten glass being formed and sculpted was so compelling, I had to do it. I suddenly realised that a lot of information would need to be simplified and condensed into 5 minutes and the fact I had to find someone who still did traditional glass blowing was going to be the big problem.

As luck had it ,Siddy Langley was based 20 miles away and has her own studio. Itís was perfect, a small compact studio full of character, aged with time. I came up with a basic order of events and the kind of information I wanted to get across. Nothing was put in stone until I arrived on the day of filming and met Siddy for the first time.

I had 7 hours to film everything I needed and had no crew or assistants on this project, just me and Siddy. Siddy was brilliant, she read the basic script and ideas I had, then added her own words and facts about her life and glass blowing.

I started with filming the interview, while the studio was kind of quite. It was never going to be quite as the glass furness is constantly on, keeping the glass molten. The main problems I had was space as the studio was small to move around in with a camera and tripod. I needed space to get some kind of depth in the image. Plus at the same time keep away from the hot stuff or not to step backwards towards the furness. The heat is incredible when the furness door opens. The heat hits you in the face like a heat gun and the plastic on the camera feels like your steering wheel in the car, after youíve left it in the sun all day. I was expecting the camera to die on me due to the heat, but no my trusty Sony A1 Camera took it like a pro and kept on recording. I spent all day sweating buckets, while outside it was hammering it down with rain. The biggest problem I had was trying to film inside the Furness and Glory Hole and getting an exposure so you could see the detail of the glass. This project was testing the camera to its limits.

The dull light outside created a wonderful soft light from a single source (the patio doors) the rest of the studio was dark and under lit. This made the molten glass stand out as it glowed white hot, and then slowly cooled into wonderful oranges and yellows.

With glass blowing things happen quickly, no real time to think, you have to know which shot you want and how long to film it for, then get the next shot, so there was a lot of dragging the camera with the tripod still connected. At the same time there is a risk of getting burnt.

Siddy made the same type of vase three times to ensure we got all the shots required. Before shooting I had chosen to shoot a cinema scope like image in keeping I think with the nature of piece.

Itís kind of sad that the old studio with all it tradition and memories will give-way to a modern studio, hence the choice of music.

Video link below


Equipment used:
Sony A1E, radio mic, vinten tripod, mic stand, headphones. Plus a Raynox semi fisheye lens. Edited with Avid Media Composer.

Last edited by Mark Hartopp; September 6th, 2012 at 04:32 PM. Reason: added video link
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Old September 6th, 2012, 05:39 PM   #2
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Hi Mark
A very nicely shot film. For a mini doc like this is a nice subject because it is just so photogenic. Your contributor was great and takes you through the piece well. The film is poignant, full of character and has great production value. An enjoyable watch...cheers!
Mat
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Old September 6th, 2012, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Great production values! Nice close up shots, lovely piece overall. I'd love to see more of the finished works too. Like the one where she was rolling the molted glass in some material, what did that end up looking like? Never thought about energy costs, and how that affects glass blowers. Interesting and educational.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 02:37 AM   #4
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

@ Dick Mays - The last shot with the credits is the final vase.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 06:44 AM   #5
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

I enjoyed the shots of her hand shaping the glass with the wet newspaper. Very cool!
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Old September 7th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #6
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hartopp View Post
@ Dick Mays - The last shot with the credits is the final vase.

Wow. That was really beautiful. What was she rolling the glass in?
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Old September 7th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #7
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Mays View Post
Wow. That was really beautiful. What was she rolling the glass in?
Just emailed Siddy for the correct facts, this is her reply.

"The powders and "grits" are ground down coloured glasses, they are used to colour the piece. I buy the coloured glasses in from Germany or New Zealand. You can make your own but it is very time comsuming.
The coloured glass powders and grits will be coloured with various oxides and minerals. Roughly copper gives you green, cobalt gives you blue, selinium gives you red, etc etc but the colour manufacturers tweak them so that there are over 20 different transparent greens to play with and then another twenty or so opaque ones - same for blues etc."

Hope that was helpful. It would have been great if the comp was 10 or 15 minutes long, I would have been able to get so much more in.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Very nice cinematography, and an interesting story. Siddy was very good at taking us through the whole process, and it was interesting to hear at the end the need to consider fuel costs. When I was 12 I saw serious glass blowing and was so entranced me and my brother tried to build our own glass shop, which was a complete failure. But over the years I have always admired the work done at glass shops, and visited them whenever I can. You did a great job capturing the beauty and magic of glass blowing.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #9
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Mark,

Am so glad you did this! I was really hoping that at least one entry would highlight glass-blowing!

It was a very interesting piece and I was entranced until the end. Loved seeing the fire shots where she put in the glass. It made me want to see more.

The script was very well written and I enjoyed Siddy's voice. The one thing that was missing for me was a little bit of "off-the-cuff" interview. I could tell she was reading a script off-camera and it would have personalized it a little bit more if she didn't sound so read.

The audio capture was impressive!

Toni
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Old September 7th, 2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Wow, DVC has really improved in the quality department! This is a really well planned and executed piece. I found in very pleasing and informative. My only gripe is the one already mentioned here - the monologue seemed a bit too scripted. A few refreshing non-scripted remarks, I think, would have improved the experience even more.

Really setting a new standard this one is. :) /yoda voice
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Old September 7th, 2012, 08:39 PM   #11
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

The production value you got out of your piece is great. The shots look wonderful, awesome color and Siddy did a great job. I had also toyed around momentarily with the thought of trying to make a similar documentary about the making of glass but decided against it -- and luckily so, as there isn't much room for improvement on what you pulled off.

The very subtle camera moments gave the film a nice pace and keeping everything smooth on a tripod defiantly made for a very professional feel. I'm glad your camera (and you) survived the hot temperatures of the shoot!
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Old September 7th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #12
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Wow, Mark, what a beautiful piece. I have to agree with Toni and Andris about the scripted interview, but the shots all looked terrific. The composition of everything was lovely, and the colors were gorgeous. I hope one day some of my films can aspire to that kind of quality.

Did you shoot this all solo? If so, it is all the more impressive for it. Well done on surviving the heat, as well. We were shooting a documentary in community gardens under 90F sun last month, and the black plastic got so hot I was fearful of damaging the camera. A furnace like that must be just as bad, if not worse.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 01:47 AM   #13
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Great piece Mark. I had actually visited a small glass blowing and recycling workshop when I was investigating what story to make for my piece. In the end I decided against that story, which is just as well because I'm sure I couldn't have pulled off as nice a story as you did! I did buy some wine goblets and a carafe from that workshop, which I used at the end of my documentary though.

I reckon this is a very strong piece which is well rounded on every level (lighting, cinematography, audio, music), the interview is informative and interesting. So I can't fault this at all.

Excellent job, well done!
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Old September 8th, 2012, 04:44 AM   #14
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Mr. Hartopp,

Let me just say wow!

Your film "Mini-Documentary" was beautiful! Sound was great, lighting was great, composition was great.

I really can't give you feedback you seem to have it all together and now after reading that is was just you I truly amazed!

I am not that into glass blowing, but I was entertained by your film and ever educated about the energy cost of the art.

Thank you
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Old September 8th, 2012, 09:01 AM   #15
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Re: DVC22 Tradition by Mark Hartopp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Dolce View Post
The one thing that was missing for me was a little bit of "off-the-cuff" interview. I could tell she was reading a script off-camera and it would have personalized it a little bit more if she didn't sound so read.

The audio capture was impressive!

Toni
The script was kind of scripted to give a running order like this.

CUT TO: Shots of hot molten glass on rod, being blown.

CLOSE UP: Of glass glowing orange.

CUT TO: Siddy talks about the glory hole and why its use.

CUT TO: Glory hole.

I basically ask Siddy the question on the day of filming and said I have about 10 - 15 second to explain this section. Siddy came up with the dialog on the spot and we did 3-4 takes for every bit of dialog. So its kind of a rehearsed script on the spot. If I had more time to produce a longer film I would have filmed each stage in more detail. Good point and I see what you mean.

I don't think I would have got as much information crammed in, if I was "off-the-cuff".
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