December 3rd, 2015 by Joonas Rokka

Endorsed by the Lifestyle Cluster, Transforming Markets & Changing Lifestyles Research Center, and Department of Markets & Innovation at EMLYON Business School, the first Lyon Videography Workshop took place at the Ecully campus as a two-day intensive research workshop that welcomed a group of researchers, Phd students and practitioners inspired of doing research on video media.

This was already the fifth Videography Workshop event I’ve had the chance to be part of organising. This time I invited Hannu Uotila as a co-organizer. He is a top European film producer and CEO of an audio-visually focused market research company (Sailer Ltd.) based in Finland. Combining our prior experience in academic and professional, commercial film production allowed an interesting setup for discussions and perspectives into what is currently emerging as a novel research practice.

We were a total of 13 participants, a highly international group representing 8 nationalities (France, Finland, Scotland, USA, Peru, Turkey, Morocco, Germany) and varying professional backgrounds. Notably, we had EMLYON marketing faculty (4), Phd students (3), external marketing professors (3), and external professionals (3). Only few participants had prior filmmaking experience.

The 2-day program was, as one could imagine, action-packed. We begun with important theoretical and ontological considerations about what doing research on video means and entails, drawing on assigned pre-readings and films. We then covered important videographic research streams, as well as modes and approaches to filmmaking (notably visual ethnography and documentary film). Thereafter, reflected on insights from prior videography projects and illuminated the process of filmmaking – including pre-production, production and post-production.

After the theory part we engaged into hands-on videography projects that were completed from inception to finish within 24h. Each participant had brought an idea about research-inspired short film that could be filmed and edited within the limits of time/space of the workshop. We collectively chose two topics that were then pursued in two teams, under supervision. We assigned appropriate roles for each team-member: director, producer, director of photography, script supervisor, and photographer/editor. Enacting these roles made it not only possible for us to complete our highly challenging filmmaking tasks but also taught various tasks and points of view necessary for building compelling filmic experiences. Both resulting films, 3 min each, were completed and finalised in time, and then screened at the workshop concluding “Film festival” where films and filmmaking experiences were further exchanged.

The learnings of the workshop were many. Here is a list of some of the evident ones:

  1. Doing films is a practice that requires careful planning and focus. Poor planning, on the other hand, results in unusable or missing footage and thus unfinished or poor films. This is why we spent time working on scripts and storyboarding (we really could have used even more time doing so!) before touching the cameras.
  2. Doing films is necessarily teamwork and thus the best result comes when the team functions seamlessly, flexibly yet according to the plan (script + storyboard).
  3. Filming is all about being ready for the unexpected, facilitation of the potential for something interesting to emerge.
  4. Filmmaking is all about access. Therefore negotiating access to the studied phenomenon needs to be considered and planned as well.
  5. Justification of all choices. Be it your story, camera angle, argument, talking heads, mood, background music, voiceover, transitions, b-reel footage – always ask: “why do I need this element for my film?”

After the official program we visited the Institut Lumière for an intriguing history lesson on filmmaking. This was important as the moving image has indeed been invented in Lyon!

Next up: the 2nd Lyon Videography Workshop will be organized as a 2,5 day event on 16-18 May 2016, just before the French Marketing Association conference (AFM). There are still some places available, so be quick to reserve. Apply by sending email to joonas.rokka(at)gmail.com

Some pics from the workshop:

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