Learning Technology

The award for ‘one-take wonder’ goes to….

October 22nd, 2013 at 03:10

filming… the team filming the videos for our Sustainability course? Or one of the interviewees?

This guest post is by Dr Sarah Speight. Sarah is an archaeologist and educator who has been the University of Nottingham’s academic lead for sustainability since 2011. Sarah is also the lead academic for  our Nottingham Open Online Course, Perspectives on Sustainability, that is available to all staff and students at Nottingham and also on our Sustainability, Society and You course that will run on FutureLearn from the 6th January 2014 and is available to anyone in the world. 

In the 2nd week of September, Nottingham’s video production team worked with me to produce some new films to introduce the various weeks of the Sustainability course.  I was nervous about this. The schedule was tight and we were reliant upon academic colleagues working to our deadlines. I needn’t have worried though. Simon and Alec are experts not only at the technical side, but at the people side too. They know how to set you at your ease – how to politely mention you have spinach between your teeth or toothpaste down your shirt. They will even pluck an offending hair from your head without causing offence. And they always offer tea.

While Simon acts as producer, Alec takes charge of continuity. Freelancers Andrew and Paul join them with additional kit and expertise. Together they set you at your ease, offering praise and gentle suggestions if they think the right message isn’t coming through. They totally get sustainability. Like me, they are keen vegetable growers and we have bonded over our successes and failures – sharing plants and photos of prize courgettes.

Initially, we planned to film conversations with our academic colleagues in one of the University’s Eco-houses (these feature in the promotional video for this course). Unfortunately, we couldn’t get access at the time we needed and so we switched to our back-up plan – to film instead in an ordinary house that might well illustrate the unsustainable features of modern domestic life.

It worked very well. The Estates department allowed us to use Cripps House, a 1950s 4-bedroomed house formerly occupied by the Warden of the Cripps Hall of Residence. Cripps was only partially furnished and so we had to supply various things from home in order to make it comfortable for all our contributors. As we were talking about sustainability, it was important to work in a responsible manner – extra chairs, kitchen equipment, towels etc., were borrowed rather than bought: nothing for only temporary use was purchased in the making of these films.

We also decided that we wanted a natural feel to what we did. We were filming largely unscripted conversations. I don’t recall anyone requiring more than 3 takes – and for most it was only 2. There were even some ‘one-take wonders’, including Professor of Economics, Wyn Morgan, talking about the internet’s contribution to the spread of knowledge about sustainability. I hope you enjoy the conversations and take them as they are meant to be – honest conversations about what sustainability means to all areas of our lives.

You can join the conversation by using the hashtags #nooc13, #FLsustain and #futurelearn

Sarah Speight

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