Paula Healy

Moving Image Extracts

The Brief

Create 4 short observational shots of domestic and outdoor spaces of your choice which explore distinctions of the space, textures or histories to build an image of your chosen environment/space.

You are required to use different strategies and equipment to enhance or change perspective using the following camera observational strategies below:
Close up/macro shots of texture/light and abstraction
High angles
Forms of stabilisation: Hand held/tripods/gimbals and other options

Develop this footage into a series of 4 x 3 min shots edited using some or the following techniques:
Loops, fades and cuts
Chromatic looks for your work
Distortion and perspective
Working with speeds
Split Screen and/or multiple video channels


My initial instincts for filming were to look for textures, movement, pattern, lines and contrast. I filmed in a number of renowned beauty spots, but the resulting footage seemed banal to me and I abandoned it – often the more stunning the view, the more prosaic the shot. I chose close-by and domestic scenes, instead looking at the everyday with new concentration. I shot footage for 8 concepts before narrowing it down to the following four. I may not have intended it when I set out, but each of my pieces eventually reminded me of certain filmmakers and artists.

The Claddagh Basin piece ended up a John Hinde postcard “Old Galway” style that hinted at also groovy 1960s beach films, surfing Super-8s and in a small way, Tacita Dean’s Green Ray (2001). The area is steeped in history and the stonework has changed little over the years, so the retro film style seemed appropriate. The Greenway demonstration was cycling by, and a week later I was cycling around the area and filming, so I inserted my cycling viewpoint. I repeated the video, as that was the only stretch of my cycles where I didn’t have a close pass by a car or a shaky piece of road – I didn’t want tension in the video.

The Irish Breeze piece, initially all captured in colour demanded to be rendered in black and white, particularly the shot from Derrygimlagh bog, which I shot thinking of Akira Kurosawa, Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty, 1934) and old westerns. The pieces are simply linked by wind. The audio underneath is the processed audio from the bog, with the original audio mixed through – it gave the piece the tone I was looking for. Everyone says never film in wind, but I particularly love the slight distortion here.

The Mushrooms near to the woods in Mountbellew were so tactile I lay down on the gravel to catch them. As I worked with them, they reminded me of Derek Jarman’s Journey to Avebury (1971), but also the 1917 Cottingley Fairies photos, thus the feathered edge, small dimensions of the videos, movement, fades and saturation works to this end.

Finally, The Fringe, a curtain in my room that I am regularly mesmerised by, judders and shifts like Bridget Riley’s Op Art, a 1920s flapper dress or film stock hanging from the ceiling of an edit suite. I did not colour grade or crop, but enhanced its movement by reversing and playing with frame speed to allow the strands to be observed more clearly. I added a frame around it, as this is how it appears in my room.