The making of “Perspective”
It has indeed been a wild ride these last few months. Simon and I have been at it non stop, starting before the lockdown ensued, calling news networks for media passes and getting all the information necessary for us to be able to film legally during the Lockdown, law abiding.
In January 2017, I was involved in a life threatening accident and had my 6th major operation in January 2020. The recovery period was 6 weeks and after that I could focus on strengthening the area once again and slowly getting back into work. I had saved enough funds to carry me over the recovery period and of course, needed to start working as soon as possible.
Then Covid-19 hit our shores and the thought of not being able to work, with savings running low, flooded my mine. I spent days, exhausting every angle, to figure out how to get a media pass to allow me to work over the period and this is when I got in contact with Simon. Whilst we are both RPL drone pilots and both own Inspire 2 drones, collaborating creates enthusiasm, two heads are better than one and I do believe I was extremely fortunate to have Simon as a colleague with this project. Finally, we managed to get our keys to the empty city and the filming was to begin.
Our first day out was the second day of lockdown. We decided to venture out into the unknown and document a bit of Durban on the ground with our cameras in hand and get a feel for the situation, whilst we waited for the permits to allow us to fly our drones. It felt like one of those zombie apocalypses you see on TV without the zombies or the broken down cars. The eerie calmness was mesmerizing. With not a soul in sight, I started a moonwalk on the new promenade but was quickly stopped by the security guards. We showed our credentials and the moonwalk carried on to uShaka.
We filmed almost every day, early morning till 12pm and as we captured the emptiness of KZN, the idea of putting together a short film was evident. Our plan was to cover a different part of KZN each day, weather permitting. We ticked off key points that were known to be busy, such as highways, the beaches, promenades, city streets, schools, town roads and the airport getting a variation of each shot. We wanted to capture what was happening over the period and included images of essential services at work. Once we had covered all that we felt necessary, I started basic editing of the film. Starting off with the clock tower clicking down and then tracking back through the closing doors. This symbolized time coming to a standstill as the hour hand strikes 12 and the lockdown moving back through the doors of homes, businesses, churches and mosques closing.
Once we had captured what was needed, we then got picky and set out on better days to improve on the stock footage and get a few motion time lapses. At this point we had moved to level 4 and people were walking the streets and promenades, so the idea of capturing the people of KZN came to mind. I walked each promenade, Red camera in hand, asking strangers for a video of their face. Behind that mask I could sense a bit of happiness for the gift of a morning stroll. The people of KZN are truly awesome and friendly, our work a lot of the time forces us to communicate with people and this was a breeze with loads jumping to the opportunity to face the camera and smile. You can also see a bit of hope in their eyes that things may be getting back to normal. The underlying meaning behind the faces was to say that no one is better than another. This pandemic has reminded us of one simple truth: we are one humanity, we create our future.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to liven a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela
When it came to the edit, things got expensive! I had built up an old Mac cheese grated tower. It was a beast of an editing computer, allowing me to create awesome graphics without any lag or crashes, but towards halfway of the edit a power surge shut it down and it would from then on be a door stop. I spent weeks researching and trying to figure out the issue, sent it off to dozens of specialists with no luck other than a, ‘maybe this would fix it’, kind of answer. This put the editing behind significantly and I was forced to work off my Macbook PRO Laptop. Still a strong little machine although the graphics I was working on, coupled with 6k and 8k resolution footage, was proving difficult. After a total of 4 days of rendering, I managed to get a good work flow and plus over the time, I found a quick fix to the Mac tower which lasted long enough to get some good editing in until it shut down on me once more.
Even though we had many set backs and were faced with loads of challenges along the way, this experience was awe-inspiring, indeed a momentous time in history. We have seen a great deal of spectacular sunrises around KZN, met and connected with really awesome people, travelled on empty roads too and from the locations and experienced a serene side to our nation.
This film has done far better organically than we ever imagined our only wish is that people would take the time to read the write up attached to the film, It explains our reason behind making it and if you haven’t read it yet then go do so. We will now be boosting the film with some funding to get a larger audience internationally. Our hope is that we get our message spread far and wide and if you haven’t shared go do so today. If you already have, do it again and tag some friends. We have the opportunity to unite as a nation with spreading this film, as the strength of a nation lies in the unity of the people.
Mandela was the true definition of ‘UBUNTU’. He operated with compassion and integrity, bringing about togetherness and fighting for the greater good. Let the spirit of ubuntu run through our veins … see things through a new perspective and be the change our society needs.
All our lockdown footage is available to purchase / license.
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