The London Symphony Journals. #3.


Last year I wrote of Alex Barrett’s crowd funding campaign in aid of his new film, the silent celebration of the city, London Symphony. I’ve invited Alex to use Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second as a platform to broadcast his thoughts as the project moves along. Herein lies his latest diary entry, as well as an extensive gallery of new images from the film.

In my previous entry in this irregular journal series, I spoke about the work that my team and I did between finishing the crowdfunding campaign and beginning the shoot for our new city symphony about London. I also ended by saying that “I hope to start preparing footage for the edit next week”. This preparation hasn’t, perhaps, progressed quite as quickly as planned, but I did start it shortly after my last post, so I think it’s worth outlining in passing.

Essentially, the idea is to log our footage in as much detail as possible, creating a database of search terms which includes information such as the location and content of the shot, as well as value judgements on the artistic quality of the material. Although this is a lengthy process, I believe it will speed up the edit proper as, when the time comes, I’ll be able to search for — say — a ‘gold’ quality close up shot of a tree blowing in the wind, and have the appropriate options shown to me instantly. The search will also help me gather the footage shot for a particular part of the film, which will be useful given the protracted and disparate nature of our shoot. We’ve already shot on 44 separate days, covering over 130 different locations — around one third of our planned shoot. Some photographs from the footage we’ve shot can be found below.

Given the time-intensive organisation the shoot itself has required, I’ve not been able to keep up with the logging in quite the way I would have liked, but I’m pleased with the way the shoot is progressing, and keeping the momentum going there seems like it should take priority. As we make our way through our location list, organising the shooting will become easier, allowing me more time to look at the footage — and, as there will be more footage, I’ll be able to get a clearer sense of what we still need. I’ve been making notes for the final edit as I go, and these notes amass to a kind of paper edit for the film. I suspect that, when we get to about two-thirds of the way through our location list, the paper edit will lead to a rewrite of the script, which will help us refine our ideas as we head into the final stint of the shoot.

In fact, the script has already been rewritten once since my last post — our composer, Jim, wrote a more detailed outline of his score and, as we’re structuring the film around the structure of the symphony Jim is writing for the film, it seemed sensible to refine our script accordingly. It was useful doing this a month into the shoot, as it helped us focus the shoot going forward, as well as allowing me to start thinking about how the footage we’d already shot will be used in the final film.

So, as I think all this implies, we are making good on our original plan to have some back and forth between the shoot, the edit, the script and the music. The film is ever-evolving, and I think this is a really good thing for the project. But, for now, our main focus is still the shoot itself. We’ve got some great locations lined up over the next few weeks, and it’s exciting to be continually filming (and discovering) new facets of this city we call London.

As ever, I’ll be updating this Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second journal throughout the process, but for more detailed updates and exclusive photographs, you can still join the official London Symphony community here:

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