As filmmakers we’ve always been keen to explore new as well as retro technologies, particularly ones that free us to become more agile, collaborative and unobtrusive in our filming practices. So we’ve created work on Super-16 film, 8mm, DV tape, Digibeta, and 4k with cameras such as Bolex, Digibeta, DVcam, Arri, and Aaton. And recently, like filmmakers such as Sean Baker and Steven Soderberg, we’ve been experimenting with iPhones and were looking for a project to film.
When artist Claire Morris-Wright first spoke to us about her Arts Council project, which was to be focused on a hedge in rural Northamptonshire, we knew we’d found our subject. We were entranced by the boldness of her narrow focus – a single hedge, viewed by a single artist, through the four seasons. We loved that it was both detailed in its observations and vast in its themes. We decided to film in a similarly focused way, with a single day to stand for each season, and to film only on iPhone (a 6s) using the FiLMic Pro app and natural light.
Our first day of filming - for the Winter Hedge - occurred on one of the coldest days of the year. The camera froze – we couldn’t focus or change the exposure. Our finger tips froze (we’d had to cut the finger-ends off gloves to be able to swipe the iPhone’s on-screen controls). The mic in the iPhone started to glitch too as the iPhone battery melted away like the snow we were tramping through. Claire froze too but was recovering from the flu so also ran a temperature!
It was a steep learning curve, but at no point did we regret the filming choices we made. We were able to move fast, react nimbly, and get close to Claire, her work and the landscape.
View the films at www.clairemorriswright.com