The IHR Digital and Research Training departments within the Institute of Historical Research are currently in the process of adapting face to face courses for online delivery, which will eventually appear on History SPOT. One of those ventures is a palaeography course created in partnership with other SAS institutes. Right from the beginning we knew that this would involve the creation of video content.
Our first filming attempt was with Erik Kwakkel who himself has blogged about his experience. The purpose of the filming was for Erik to introduce students to a half dozen manuscripts and point out some features of them for further study. It was therefore quite a different type of filming than I have done in the past. Not only did I need to capture Erik himself, but the stars of the show were the manuscripts themselves. Now, how do you make a manuscript look good for the camera? I took a few sweeping shots of the MSS and a few still photographs from various angles. Later on we went back to take additional photographs once we had a better idea of what we would need for the final video.
We tried various directions from directly in front of Erik to right behind him – staring down more at his hands on the MS. We also took video from several angles. What we wanted was to make the video seem more interesting by moving camera angles throughout the talks.
As a whole I think the session went pretty well. Erik himself was ever the professional and amazed me by how comfortable he seemed in front of the camera. Now all I need to do is figure out how to link the videos together into something that works for teaching students about palaeography. I think there will be about eight videos in total – all varying a little in length. They will include close ups of the manuscripts themselves as well as video of Erik talking about them.