Saturday, June 23, 2012

Video of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012

Here's my handheld video of a walk around the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 at the Press View at the National Portrait Gallery on the morning of 20th June.

You can hear my dulcet tones at the beginning check with the Head of PR that it's OK to video the exhibition and post it to YouTube. 

I was walking around with one eye on the portraits and one eye on the people I had to negotiate my way round!  I've edited out all the bits where there's lots of people and not a lot of paintings!  The lighting is also not brilliant - I maybe should have tried videoing with my new camera which produced photographs of the paintings which I didn't need to process.

I'd be happy to hear suggestions for ways of improving a video of a walk around the exhibition - as opposed to setting up a tripod and panning.

PS Later today I'm hoping to process/upload the video of my chat with Aleah Chapin, the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2012 and then post my interview with her on this blog.

(I've previously posted my video of the 2010 Exhibition on YouTube as well - with the kind permission of the NPG)

BP Portrait Award 2012
Plus my website - which includes other portrait competitions - Portraiture - Resources for Artists


  1. Thank you for posting that up. Makes me doubly sorry I am going to miss it:(. Don't think I can justify a trip to London, unfortunately.

    As to my comment about brush marks, as I wrote that I knew you would refer to the historic paintings in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery but my argument is that they did not have photography so they were aspiring to be as true to life as possible within a theme. I know at bit about the camera obscura and Vermeer but that comes no where near the ability of our present day cameras. Of course, today's portrait painters will aspire and look back to the great painters of the past and I have no issue with that
    I am not fond of photo realism as it screams I have mastered a technique and does not necessarily make you a good painter. There are photo realism paintings I like but generally its cityscape themes, not straight forward portraits. However, the winner this year has definitely used photography to great effect and combined it with all her other knowledge to make a painting that is unique.
    I look forward to seeing your interview with her and learning more about looking at art through your blog.

  2. Looks to me like it is a great showing, would enjoy seeing it.

    As far as the video and given you are walking instead of using a tripod I would have wanted a few extra seconds on each, remember your post on "How long do you spend looking at art"?. I know I can pause the video but it is a bit less 'alive' that way, that's what photo's do better.
    If a few extra seconds each makes for a video too long then short multiple videos would do.

    Also the horizontal (landscape) format left too many chopped off at the bottom, maybe try rotating the camera 90 degrees for vertical (portrait) format.

    1. I do agree about the pause. However I should have remembered to say that I'd woken up that morning and realised that I'd forgotten to put the chargers on for the batteries for the camera and video camera after the night before - so I was late leaving for the PV. This video was done right at the end of the PV (after interviews etc) and I literally had about as much time as I used. I took another 3-4 minutes to get the "gallery empty" gallery shots and that was it - time was up!

      I also agree the portrait format is a problem re chopping off the bottom of some of the paintings - but the only thing that happens if I turn the camera round to portrait format is I get film which isn't the right orientation. If you take a look at YouTube you'll notice everybody shoots landscape - because that's the way it gets published!

      The problem with the hang when it came to the video was that large portrait format paintings were interspersed by much smaller paintings - which meant zoom out to get the size of the large paintings and them zoom in to get the smaller ones or do what I did which was move around fairly slowly and do neither as much justice as I would have liked. A bit more time and a lot less people and I think I could have done a much better job.

    2. Yeah I thought the format issue would be one of publishing but figured I would still mention.
      And I hear you on the technical or more practical challenges of shooting different sizes, zooming and all, too much of that and it is dizzying.

      We can't expect perfect from the informal 'shoot from the hip' style but I'm sure small incremental changes will make a big difference.

  3. The thing which makes the biggest difference is not having to negotiate other people as you shoot. I always leave the gallery "shoot" until very near the end however this time there seemed to be many more people who lingered long in the gallery.

    In technical terms what I will be doing next time is using my main camera for the video in this particular gallery as the colour accuracy is so much better with the interior lighting (see my video of of my interview with Aleah Chapin).

    Does anybody know what type of bulb it is that gives of a pink light. Or might it just be the Panasonic Camcorder (which is the Panasonic SDR-S15)

  4. I think it's great you are introducing more video, Katherine. My tip would be that without professional equipment you are better off not walking around. You have a great eye for framing a shot so why not do wide shots, medium shots and then close-ups. You can get artistic in the editing. Record a longer shot at the end and use the continuous sound from that under your edited version.


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