The 'A Different Eye' film project aims to work in partnership with local media studies departments to film the restoration project and produce interpretative resources. The project sees the railway engaging young people in the restoration of heritage and in how restoration projects are presented. It provides an opportunity for young people to film, edit and present film and still media images that interprets, promotes and raises awareness of the Canadian Pacific Project and other engineering processes at the railway. This project provided the students involved with a 'live' project and learning opportunity for young people looking for a career in visual media production and photography.
In January 2017 we started working with Southampton Solent University Media Production students to create a series of short films about the railway. In January, 37 students visited Ropley for an initial visit before filming started in March. The railway was a huge shock to the group, as the majority did not know about us or the work that went into restoring and maintaining a heritage steam railway.
Two visits were planned in March with the group of 37 students divided into two groups, one group visiting us on 10th March and the other half on 17th March. The students worked in groups of 2 or 3 on work packages, which specified a particular area/topic they were to film. The first visit on 10th March saw the group split between Alresford and Ropley, a bit of a logistical nightmare, but we managed to get the students to the right sites. Those situated at Alresford were tasked with filming about a variety of topics including signaling, the booking office, roles on the station, the role of the guard and the history of the Watercress Line. At Ropley groups were filming about the boiler shop, wheel drop, light machine shop, yard operations and the Canadian Pacific project. The students went away having shot a large proportion of film and were ready to start their individual film edits.
17th March saw us prepare for another group of students, this time split between Medstead and Four Marks and Ropley. The groups at Medstead and Four Marks worked on shooting footage of the wagon group and station staff. Those at Ropley filmed about the main workshop, the societies, carriage workshop and yard operations. This week there was also a team of students who were charged with documenting the filming taking place (or making a meta-documentary, as it’s called in the film industry). The students were given a surprise when we told them there would be a running locomotive. A photo charter had been arranged for the evening, which meant 45379 LMS Black 5 was used to do carriage movements up to Alton. For the groups, up at Medstead and Four Marks this meant the opportunity to capture the locomotive coming up the straight to the station. One group was even charged with filming the locomotive from the side of the A31 (see it here). For many of the students this was their first experience of seeing a steam locomotive running and feeling that rush of excitement as it passes by.
Our involvement with the students didn't stop there. A few weeks later Dave Deane (Project Supervisor) and Becky Peacock (Outreach and Interpretation Officer) visited the students at the university film editing suites. The course had been developed so that the films would be made for a ‘client’ to provide students with some ‘real world’ experience. Our role as the ‘client’ led to us spending a day with the students before their submission deadline to advise on changes to their final films. This gave us our first glimpse at the variety of films that we would eventually end up with. It was interesting to see how each person edited the footage differently.
On the 11th May we had a screening and awards ceremony at Southampton Solent University. The evening was attended by volunteers, staff and board members of the railway, along with the students and staff of Solent University. It was great to be able to show everyone the films that the students had been working tirelessly on for months.
Roy Hanney, course lecturer -
"...we wanted to find a real world experience that would challenge students and kick start their experience of media production and get them to see themselves as professionals working to professional deadlines with a real delivery at the end of it."
"...the experience has been transformative and we have seen the students really take hold of this project and make it their own."
"...putting students in situations where they have to encounter real people, in their real world, on location, dealing with the uncertainties of real life media production is an amazing opportunity and one that will have had a real impact on the student experience."
Films produced this year: