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 were split between Alresford, Ropley and Medstead and Four Marks in order to cover a number of topics. The students worked in groups of 2 or 3 on work packages, which specified a particular area/topic they were to film. On 17th March 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. One group was 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.
In February 2018 we decided to work again with Southampton Solent University Media Production students to create another series of short films about the railway. In February, 58 students visited Ropley for an initial visit before filming started in March. This year the weather caused a bit of an issue and one filming date had to be postponed because of the snow. Two visits were planned in March with the group of 58 students divided into two groups, one group visiting us on 9th March and the other half on 16th March. Again the students worked in groups of 2 or 3 on work packages. On 9th March the group was split between Ropley and Medstead and Four Marks, a bit of a logistical nightmare, but we managed to get the students to the right sites. Those situated at Medstead and Four Marks were tasked with filming about the Wagon Department and creating a film about ‘Delivering the Goods’ to go in the Goods Museum (which is now on show). At Ropley groups were filming about the carriage restoration, the boiler shop, the role of the driver and fireman, keeping the railway running today, how a steam engine works, the work of the station staff, and stories of our engines (focusing on Canadian Pacific and Swanage). One team also worked with Sheila Love, Education Officer to film about being evacuated by rail during WWII, in order to help her teach schools about the importance of the railway in evacuating children during the war. Another team of students were charged with documenting the filming taking place (or making a meta-documentary, as it’s called in the film industry). On 16th March the groups were split between Alresford and Ropley. The group at Alresford worked on creating a film about the history of the Watercress Line and Peter Cutler kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of the film. Those at Ropley filmed about the machine shop, the Urie Locomotive Society, 75079 Standard 4, and stories of our engines (focusing on 30506 and 30499). Again, there was a team of students documenting the filming taking place.
Again this year we had a screening of a selection of the films produced by the students and awarded Peace Olabode (click here to view her film) with the 'Mid Hants Railway Choice Award' for her film about the Carriage Workshop. The evening was attended by volunteers and staff 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 in 2017:
Films produced in 2018: