Abney One of the Magnificent Seven

Here is my latest AV for you to view. We visited Abney several times when visiting Laurence, he now lives close by in Stokey! It is now given over to nature but is an interesting place to walk round. I visited on Christmas Eve 2015 and was thrilled to see a mimosa tree in full bloom. The scent of mimosa always transports me back to childhood, those bamboo cases packed with of all the different spring flowers. On our photography visit this year, it had either been blown or chopped down and lay, in bud on the ground! Sad!

So why did I make this? I have always had a fascination for grave yards, and having taken photos every time I have visited there, I could see the potential for a project. I love the research involved and made a script, far too long, so after much editing, managed to retain the pertinent points but also constrain it to 6 minutes. Audience attention is short and as this was made as a competition entry, that was the reasoning for the length. I could make a longer version if I was inspired to do so.

Having written the script and recorded my voice, which I still hate, but I don't mind reading it over and over again, to get it just right! Its difficult finding voices! I then needed a poem about death, good old Dylan Thomas! His and Richard Burton's reading of it were just too dramatic, but found this one by Derek Jacobi on YouTube, perfect, in my opinion. My visualisation for the project was for it to be atmospheric, understated, so the reason for the sepia and the moody music. I have recently decided I have become drawn to "wailing women music" and a lot is being used in Television programmes. Trying hard to understand and enjoy 'Sherlock', in episode 3, I discovered my backing soundtrack. Again not too difficult to find it on Google. So all ready to start and find, take and make all the images.

Planned a day to make a specific journey to take images, a foggy day would be fine, more atmospheric. The day before our visit was one of the coldest, so we departed, wrapped up, including long johns, hats scarfs and gloves, after all we would be outside for possibly hours! On arrival the sun came out, the birds sang, Spring had sprung and the layers were cast off. But both camera memory cards were filled with images.

Time to start to add the images and try to create the magic in my minds eye. It's a slow progression, trying things, removing them, trying more, then it seems to shape up and becomes something special to me. I added, a little bit of subtle colour, to the sepia tones, just to add interest and show there is still life there. After an initial review by Sue and David I was encouraged to add a little more colour throughout, which I did..

Lots of fine tuning takes place before I am fully satisfied, I would really like to have a different voice to mine, but we shall see. So I sent off my entry. Sitting through the competition is nerve racking, before it's shown, one is worried that something is not right or the volume too high, or all sorts of dreadful occurancies. I know it will not be everybody's cup of tea, it has a feminine slant, and a different style to most! My mother always told me to' strive to be original', and I do try to follow her sage advise in all walks of my life. This is definitely my own individual style, layered and ethereal.

These competitions are usually judged by very competent people who work in the skill themselves, so their opinions are valid. They gave me second place and silver medal, and felt I had captured the atmosphere, as I had planned, thought the sepia with hint of colour worked, they loved the poem and my emotion in the commentary, and thought it was a well constructed AV. A happy outcome but not the only reason I get absorbed in this time consuming pastime.

If you would like to view more of my sequences, they are posted on YOUTUBE

Created By
Melanie Chalk

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