Dear readers, today our blog will host Ryan Stone from Lambda Films. He will tell us his story and perspective behind the camera while documenting people’s lives constantly exposed to volcanic risk. If you want to get a quick taste of today’s content, just take a long breath and watch this video: https://www.lambdafilms.co.uk/video-production/an-eclipse/.
Hello Ryan, Please tell us about the aim and perspectives of a director involved in natural hazard films
When starting with any film project, we have to be clear about what are the objectives and who are the audience, and ensure everything we shoot supports those two considerations. In the case of our natural hazard films, we have to achieve a balance between imparting useful information for a non-scientific audience and keeping the audience engaged. (so that they can they learn.) We have to ensure both the information and visuals are pitched just right, as the viewers are most likely to be those at risk of future events.
Our first ever brief was simply a series of interviews, which provided the useful information but was lacking in engaging and varied visuals, so since, we have ensured all of our subsequent collaborations afford us enough time to film the interviews and shoot relevant lifestyle footage. This b-roll footage, whether it’s of the interviewee at work, or visiting the ruins of their former home, adds an extra depth to the narrative, keeping the visuals interesting and adding further impact to their words.
We try to keep the ‘actors’ (i.e. local people) at the front and centre of the films – essentially the stars of the show – whilst also recognising the extent to which the various locations, and the hazards themselves also play a major role in the films. This footage can both demonstrate the beauty and pressures of the natural environment, as well as some of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the communities that live with the risk of natural hazards.
As a director, you always have to consider the visual impact on the audience, and ensure shots look interesting, relevant and are able to support the, often sensitive and/or scientific content. Personal stories or scientific explanations can often be quite lengthy, so a director has to consider the production as a finished film, not just the individual scenes in isolation.