Biaff at Harrogate

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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billyfromConsett
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Biaff at Harrogate

Post by billyfromConsett »

How was it for you...

I was there the Friday night and on Saturday for the mini cinema, taking the James room with my projection kit.

For me, it was a really good experience. It wasn't easy projecting the 1 minute contest on Friday night using a laptop and Windows Media Player- played through some slightly buggy Toshiba video-channelling software. But we got there.

On Saturday, the room that I was in went as well as I could have hoped for. The projector did it on screen and the sound hit those notes from where my little desk was.

Everyone seemed to be having a good time and enjoyed the shows.

I left Biaff after the cinemas at 5 ish, and I've heard just one report about the Gala Dinner.

But really glad that I went.
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stingman
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Post by stingman »

I`m glad you had a great time. Sorry I could not help you (see previous thread!).

It is a challenge and a very big experience when you have a responcability like that. I did the projector at my club (until a missunderstanding, the money was just resting in my bank account gov!... Honest.)I stopped doing it.

I also did my churches sound mixing desk with 14 live inputs. I gave up when we started to get feedback every sunday evening and it wasn`t my fault. Every week, I lost about 10 years off of my life, it really is nerve racking when you have power like this, but it is REALLY fun and excitting to do, yes, really. I enjoyed every moment, even when it went wrong...

Well done.

Be good....

Stingman
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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson »

Well I can confirm what Billy said ... the Friday night one-minute movie show was plagued with problems of the hiccuping video kind. There are many ways to show videos direct from computer and maybe more experiment was required. There was also some silly confusion when the numbers on the films Billy was showing did not match the numbers they were given on the public programme .. a needless complication.

I saw two of Billy's one-and-a-half-hour mini-cinema shows on Saturday which were both immaculate and in the correct ratios.

Sunday's gala screening did not reflect well on NERIAC - frankly it looked amateurish in the wrong way.

There was an announcement that they had problems changing connections to get an image from the live camera which was covering the presentations ... duh! We did get a pale image from that camera a lot of the time, but not always. That was a shame because the presentations happened in a bay-window area to the side of the hall - a great idea since the curtains there made a better background for photos etc than standing in front of the white screen. But that meant when the camera image was not on screen most of the audience could not see what was happening.

They switched between a title slide and the films - a good idea but it often took a while to change, changed back, clicked to something else then back ... all the signs of panic in the projection team.

And then some of the films were shown letterboxed (presumably entered that way by the film makers) but the image was not enlarged to fill the screen so those looked very small from the back of a big hall. Most of the true 16x9s were shown in one block and those were presented correctly, filling the screen and looking very impressive.

And at the climax of the day the chairman's microphone died. She said the batteries had gone. Why they needed a radio mic for a fixed-position microphone on a stand a few feet from the control desks goodness knows. Why they did not put fresh batteries in before the main event goodness knows and why they did not change them within a few seconds goodness knows.

My guess is that there was little or no rehearsal time which might have ironed out problems. The people doing the shows were all volunteers lending their time, energy and kit. It is a stressful job being done under difficult conditions.

I ought to make it clear that the audience was very tolerant and really enjoyed the show. The films themselves were generally presented well (with the exception of the letterboxed ones) ... and the Saturday shows that I attended all ran like clockwork. So much was done right that it was all the more shame that the most prestigious and public part of the weekend suffered such problems.

As for the results ... there was much anticipation about who would get The Daily Mail Challenge Trophy ... it was not a foregone conclusion as there were several strong contenders of very different types ... and it went to "Oldiegarage" by Bernhard Hausberger.

Bernhard made a speech explaining - as he also does in his article about the film on the main website - how he was inspired by the disabled star of "Oldiegarage" first to give up smoking and then to fight the disease when he was later diagnosed with lung cancer.

In general it was a successful festival with excellent mini-cinema programmes - each packed with a varied and entertaining mix of movies - lots of lovely people enjoying themselves ... and several of us from the forum meeting and greeting each other.

Dave (let me catch up on some sleep now) Watterson
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Stephen
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Post by Stephen »

Arrived at 7:40 am on Saturday... left 4:00pm sunday

Assisted Michael Gough in The Edward Room and thanks to Michael's excellent organisational skills the mini cinema number 4 seemed to go without a hitch..

Loved every minute of it !!! It was good to put names to faces and hey Dave .. your avatar is an uncanny resemblance !!! :wink: :wink:

Sadly I must agree with Dave, things did not seem to go well on sunday... how did members of the audience see that the screen was chopped off at times and it was being projected at the wrong size and the techie guys missed that ??? ... not just the once but several times...?? ... also I couldn't understand why they don't just mount a camera on a tripod and keep it on the spot where the presentations are going to be?... and switch some lights on !!!!

Linda did a fantastic job with her presentation ....but the 'live' camera pictures (when shown) were washed out even though there was more than enough lighting available to use ?...!!!!

it was all a bit confusing...

the films were worth waiting for ... absolutely superb.... and it was great to chat with some of the producers...

A great deal of organisation had obviously gone into all the other things that make the weekend a film makers feast !

I for one will say a Big Thank you to all the organisers...
Stephen

Film making is not a matter of Life and Death
It's much more important than that.
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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson »

I for one will say a Big Thank you to all the organisers...
Wow - Stephen - you are right! Everyone who was there does owe a huge vote of thanks to the event organisers of NERIAC and the competition managers - Brian and Alice Dunckley for all their hard work.

I wanted to comment on the problems but that does not mean I do not appreciate the people who worked so hard, gave up their time, lent their equipment and paid for the privilege!

Thanks for reminding me to say so.

Dave

PS Stephen is not nearly so good looking as his avatar!
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Stephen
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Post by Stephen »

I was much younger then... :D :D
Stephen

Film making is not a matter of Life and Death
It's much more important than that.
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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett »

I know that Brian and Alice Dunckley give huge amounts of their time to the competition. So I was really pleased to join in and give them something from me.

IMO All of the NERIAC group wanted to support my little bit, and I'm sure I speak for all the of other Saturday cinema team likewise. Neriac's chairman Derek Matheson made sure I was ok, I was fed and watered, and Trevor put me really at ease on the Friday when I plugged things into his kit, and he also helped me get my cinema safe for people to come into.

It's a tad poor news about the live-camera presentation and the wireless microphone. But you know we are not professional presentation specialists. A friend of mine who sound-rigs industrial events and conferences would charge over 4 figures to cover an event like this. The sound would be right, but at a sizable cost.

I know for sure that the NERIAC crew were totally focused with the resouces they had to give everyone a great weekend.

If there were any negatives, then the IAC council should consider for future festivals whether money should be spent to guarantee certain standards for the people who go.
Ken Wilson
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BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Ken Wilson »

Dave Watterson wrote:Well I can confirm what Billy said ... the Friday night one-minute movie show was plagued with problems of the hiccuping video kind.
Sunday's gala screening did not reflect well on NERIAC - frankly it looked amateurish in the wrong way.


Hi folks;
I haven`t got round to adding my thoughts on the forum for a while, but of course after the BIAFF weekend, there are many things I have to say. In many ways it was a great weekend, but there were (for me) a lot of disappointments.
Things got off to a great start with the Friday evening meal, which I enjoyed very much.
Anticipation built for the 1 minute competition particularly as this worked so well at Tunbridge Wells last year. Sadly, I must agree with Dave that technically there were a lot of problems. But beyond this, I do feel that the standard of most 1 minute entries was just not very good and in fact some were embarassingly bad. Many were very old jokes, badly acted and badly shot and edited. Sorry, but that`s my view.

Saturday went very well. The pictures and sound in the 4 shows I went into were all excellent. We had two films shown to very full rooms and both looked good and sounded good. There were a good mix of films in all shows, though again I think the overall standards (including ours) was down on last year.
The Gala dinner, where the food is usually a token gesture (with so many people to cater for) was actually quite good. Our company was very good which helped a lot, as I sat with that youngster Michael Slowe, also Ron Prosser and Phil Martin and their wives, so we had good conversation.

Sunday breakfast was good and then it was into the show.
It was here that the decline started. Lots of technical problems as mentioned; the terrible very hard hotel chairs...always a big issue with me and an apparent air of confusion. Room lights going up and down all the time.

The films were a mixed bag and I must say, many were not to my taste. Certainly the movies were of a high standard technically, but in entertainment terms, not ones which I would have chosen to watch had there been a choice as there is with the Saturday mini cinemas. Insects are not as fascinating to me as they obviously are to many film makers. Lots of bugs, Praying Mantis` eating their partners and large hairy spiders would not be my preferred choice of Sunday entertainment. Sorry, but I can`t change that!
The movies were very worthy, but for me a bit dull. Not enough lightness; all sombre and gloom. No doubt individually, each were excellent films, but as a collective (something none of us can do a thing about) the complete programme was not balanced and with several films similar to another, for me it was not a vintage year.
Bernhards film was the right one to win, but it didn`t have a lot of competition. I did enjoy LISTEN by Jim Walker, MUMMY`S BOYS by Southport Movie Makers and AN AMATEUR AUTEUR by Anna and Paul Kittel.
Lots of interesting chats with friends over the weekend, which is a lot of what it is about, but film-wise, I didn`t think it was a vintage year.

Ken Wilson.
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Willy
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Willy »

[quote="Ken Wilson
The films were a mixed bag and I must say, many were not to my taste. Insects are not as fascinating to me as they obviously are to many film makers. Lots of bugs, Praying Mantis` eating their partners and large hairy spiders would not be my preferred choice of Sunday entertainment. Sorry, but I can`t change that!
Ken Wilson.
You're risking your neck, Ken, saying such a thing about the films made by my fellow townsman Florent Vanopstal. How dare you ? If he sees this he will write a registered letter of complaint to the BIAFF organizers. Some friends know what I mean. Last year he also took part in BIAFF. I took his film and certificate with me in Royal Tunbridge Wells, but before giving it to him I showed his film in my club. He is a member of a club somewhere in Brussels. Some days later he wrote a registered letter to me which began like "Misuse of other people's property". I didn't deserve to be called chairman of a filmclub ! He also wrote a letter of complaint to Brian Dunckley. I didn't have the right to open the envelope with cassette and certificate, but the envelope was actually never closed. In fact I should have apologized. They also talked about my misbehaviour in the CvB Council (=Belgian IAC). Sorry to have told you this, but I couldn't control myself after having read Ken's message.

Anyway Vanopstal makes excellent films. Parts of them are shown on TV sometimes. He's very proud of it. Thanks to the superb quality of his films he is sometimes sponsored by a bank company. That's what friends have told me. We must always be careful to say such things.

He is praised for the fantastic photography in his films. Look at the "Making of" article on this website. He uses special
lenses. When a mosquito opens its mouth he can even film its stomach. Very fascinating. Two or three years ago he spent 6 weeks in a nature park somewhere in New Zealand. He told this on the scene of a national film show for an audience of about 300 people. He and also his wife must be very patient to film all these animals. Florent has already been "Belgian champion" for many years and he won some UNICA medals. I must admit that he is a better filmmaker than me, but I don't have any problems with this. Last year I even wrote an article about him for this website. He thanked me for it.

To be honest : some weeks ago I already knew that our prominent Belgian filmmaker had not won the Daily Mail Trophy ! I told Werner Vandenbulck, who was the Belgian BIAFF-judge, that the BIAFF-results had appeared on the IAC-website. "Oh, then you already know that our 'Insect Man' has not won the competition and that Bernhard has done it again ", he said. I told Werner that the name of the overall winner will only be announced at the Festival itself." Luckily I could keep my mouth shut. I didn't tell anybody. I didn't even tell my best British friends. Only my wife knew. I didn't want to spoil the suspense at Harrogate because I love the IAC. Of course you can't blame my friend Werner because he didn't know it was a secret, but I think it is useful that I have told you this. Final judges must know (also the foreign ones) that the name of the winner must be a secret until the very end of the festival.

I was not surprised about Dave's criticism after BIAFF. His first message on the forum after BIAFF is always like that. It's good that we say what has gone wrong and we must never forget to praise the efforts done by so many volunteers. I am sure that our NERIAC friends all deserve a diamond award. Dave hates soft-soaking and I appreciate this and he also respects the work done by other people.

After all I have the impression that BIAFF was a success. Be sure that my thoughts were in Harrogate last weekend. Because of family problems (health parents-in-law) life is a bit difficult for my wife and I at this moment. We look forward to our next visits to SERIAC on 9th and 10th May and to Guernsey three times in the course of this year, but our thoughts will also be with Vera's parents. It gives a fine feeling to know that your parents are still alive. I miss mine.
Willy Van der Linden
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Post by Brian Saberton »

In my working life I used to attend a lot of conferences and I've seen technical problems occur with professional presentations so please let's not be too critical about Sunday. I was sitting close to where the projectionists were set up and could see that they worked very hard indeed over the whole day. Sometimes no matter how much preparation and practice you put into a show the gremlins can get in, something I'm sure we've all experienced at one time or another.

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend, the company, the meals and the films and it was great to see so many people attending BIAFF right across the three days with 180 at the Gala dinner and probably more on the Sunday. I thought there was a tremendous buzz about the event and I felt that the Sunday films were well received and appreciated. Because I was on the judging panels this year it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on individual productions but I will say that over the festival weekend I was in turn entertained, thrilled, fascinated and amused by the various films I saw.
Brian Saberton
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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson »

Willy did get the right impression: BIAFF 2008 was a success. As everyone has said there was a buzz about it and the Saturday shows went very well. The Gala Dinner was good, the Fellowship awards well-deserved ... and thank goodness there was no "entertainment" afterwards. (In the past we have often had singing groups of various styles performing - but the audience is so varied in age, interests etc that no one type can please all. NERIAC wisely abandoned that and let us all gather in informal groups in the bars and lounges to chat about the festival.)

Thinking about the Sunday show. There is an almost equal split among audience members between those who want the lights up between each film so that they can read the programme brochure and those who prefer to bash straight through each block of films.

Here is an occasion when BIAFF might learn from the Cotswold and Guernsey festivals. At their gala shows they run pretty much straight through each block ... but between each film is a caption which clearly states the title, maker and prize for the following film. Both those festivals copy the winning films onto a single MiniDV cassette for each block which greatly simplifies the projectionists' task.

And Willy - you were very much missed. Lots of people asked me where you were, when you were coming, how you were ... obviously they do not read the forum. Linda Gough read out your greetings and apologies at Sunday's show when "Will Ye Go To Flanders" went down very well indeed.

My surprise delight of the festival came in a mini-cinema. Paul Bagshaw's film "Behind the Wire" is about Auschwitz. As well as the usual archive pictures and modern shots taken in the camps he had assembled typical stories from many accounts. Each of these was told by actors of roughly appropriate age speaking to camera as if they were Auschwitz survivors being interviewed.

The gentle murmur of whispers which seems to fill every cinema these days stopped. The room was absolutely silent. We were all gripped by a piece of film making which broke through the barrier between screen and audience. If ever a film deserved higher awards, this one did. Catch it if you can.

Dave
Ken Wilson
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Ken Wilson »

Willy wrote:
[quote="Ken Wilson
The films were a mixed bag and I must say, many were not to my taste. Insects are not as fascinating to me as they obviously are to many film makers. Lots of bugs, Praying Mantis` eating their partners and large hairy spiders would not be my preferred choice of Sunday entertainment. Sorry, but I can`t change that!
Ken Wilson.
You're risking your neck, Ken, saying such a thing about the films made by my fellow townsman Florent Vanopstal. How dare you ? If he sees this he will write a registered letter of complaint to the BIAFF organizers.
Thanks for the warning Willy! But I have my own views. Perhaps I should make clear that I am in no way criticising the quality of the film making of these films. I believe I mentioned that in the first posting.The close up photography was indeed stunning, but ultimately, as I said the first time- not to my taste. I wouldn`t choose to watch this type of film if it was on the BBC. We can only enjoy the types of films that entertain us.
I like all kinds of films, but we frequently get these nature films in BIAFF events and they are just not for me.
This is very much a personal opinion and nothing to do with BIAFF. The judges were no doubt right that the quality of work merited their inclusion in the Sunday show and their ratings were deserved, but entertainment for the individual is a personal thing, so I do not retract one word of what I said.
Paul Bagshaws "Behind the Wire" came in second place in our competition. Though not strictly a total "fiction" film, I allowed it as it has dramatic reconstructions. It was indeed a very powerful film.
The Sunday show is always a problem to some extent and I nearly always enjoy the Saturday choices better. Ken.
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stingman
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Post by stingman »

I have seen `Amateur` nature films, and they aren`t really very good. To do properly, you need really special and expensive kit.
To you fellow filmmakers out there. Leave the Nature and Animals films up to the experts to make. Namely The BBC.... God Bless Her.....

Be good.......

Stingman
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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson »

I have seen `Amateur` nature films, and they aren`t really very good.
Sorry, Ian, but you clearly have not seen these films. Florent van Opstal makes superb close-up studies of birds and insects. Mark Kapteijns made equally good images. Some amateurs can make great movies of this sort.

Take a look at http://www.fvi.org.uk/film-making2/insect-man.html to get a couple of examples of Florent's work.

I agree that the usual "sparrows in my birdbath" movies often leave a lot to be desired.

Dave
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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett »

stingman wrote: To you fellow filmmakers out there. Leave the Nature and Animals films up to the experts to make. Namely The BBC....
No way man! We at Newcastle last night had the honour of an evening with Phil Martin.

His whole evening was great - including a gold awarded movie from this year's Biaff.

But people came from around the North East to see his documentary about the re-introduction of breeding colonies of the Red Kite (a large bird of prey). And it could have been on the BBC. It was that good.

Me and you maybe couldn't do wildlife stuff as well as that, but Phil couldn't have seen how good his movie would turn out to be - until he made it.
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