Self Directed Project: Painting For Inspiration

Sunday, 20 May 2012


My Final Photo

4 Other's I Wish to Include in the Collection

EVALUATION: Paintings for Inspiration

When the options were given for the vast array of different Self Directed Projects available there were a few that struck my interest. However, the one project that I knew instantly that I wanted to do was Paintings for Inspiration. My main interests (outside of Costume) are History and Art History and this project encompassed both in a way that I would never have dream could be a project for me to work on.
The brief we were given split the project into two, the styling and the filming which allowed me to split my time up quite effectively right from the beginning as the filming section was a very chaotic but in a  short space of time. The styling element however was spread across the entire term and called for much better individual time management, otherwise it would never have got done. I have always kept a diary, however I found that by pre-planning my life during this project as much as possible at the beginning on a Excel spreadsheet I could plan in my free time as well as working time much more effectively. I will use this method again in the future to plan my time.
What I was not anticipating from this project was just how much I would enjoy the filming unit. I was looking forward to it a lot as I wanted to try a new pathway from theatre designing as i felt that the work dynamics would be very different and I was right! I found that working on a film was almost exactly as I expected but unlike anything I have experienced. There was a chaotic feeling the whole way through and I learnt that scripts can change sporadically along with periods in which the film may be set, actors that are used and even crew members. While this was frustrating at times and daunting, I found that this part of the project went incredibly fast. I feel that I achieve more when under, a healthy amount of, pressure and that filming provides this! I feel that I have learnt many valuable lessons about working in a team as part of the two film crews especially that being patient is possibly the best trait to have. Another element of the filming unit that I enjoyed a lot but was not expecting was the networking and how many people I would meet, I feel that going into working on films next year with the film students has been made far more relaxed now that I have already had the chance to meet and get to know them.
I feel that before this project, my confidence was an issue both in my work and in myself, however since taking part in both the filming and the styling units, it has grown considerably and I feel ready to move on into level 6 next year!
One element within this project which I would criticise myself is how late I left it to sort out a suitable location for my styling photograph. I had been so good with planning my time and getting costumes and models sorted but had taken it for granted that I would find a location. It had not occurred to me that certain locations may cost money or not allow photography of this kind. I had just a week to prepare for the shoot once I had booked it, which, in retrospect, was a great deal of time and I did feel ready but not having a location booked until then way weighing on my mind. In the future I would sort this out a lot earlier.
With regards to what I will take forward from the self directed project, I would have to say the main things I have learnt are, time management, the importance of working in a team but also keeping your individuality and standing you ground with crew members and also how researching and planning at a steady rate is far better than rushing everything. I feel that this has been my favourite project so far at uni and that I have gained a great deal of valuable knowledge.


The styling unit of the SDP was initially the main reason that I chose this project. I wanted to be able to put into practice my passion for History and Art in a practical way as well as being able to research theoretically. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised at how much I have enjoyed all the aspects of this unit. I particularly enjoyed location hunting. It seemed too good to be true that I was HAVING to go visit my favourite National Trust homes and posh hotels to find a suitable bedroom. I also really enjoyed the 'administration' side of it, being in contact with he hotel staff etc. I feel that I have learnt a great deal more about how to be professional in the industry. The help I got from others was invaluable and while the vast majority of this unit was done individually, for the photo shoot where I had a 'crew' of 4 others to help I felt the same sense of security that I felt on the two film sets. Having a team around you is so helpful and I appreciated their input greatly.
I will defiantly consider doing something similar to this unit again in the future as I found the entire process from initial gallery research and in depth research to location hunting/ costume sourcing and the final shoot very enjoyable and interesting!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Reflection: Final Photo

My final image came out very well and I am very happy with it. While I did chose a different era and one that was not contemporary to now, to be the period in which I set this remake, I feel that I have managed to encompass the mood and all the themes from the original into it. From this I have learnt a lot about the trails of a photo shoot for a period piece including settings and sourcing the costumes, however, it was all worth it for the final outcome.
The final photo, while not identical has achieved what I set out for it to and that is to present an alternate story in a different era but based fairly closely upon the original.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Styling: 'Post Production'

After the photoshoot I was left with a massive amount of images to chose from to have as my final remake photo!
The original, unedited photo I chose to use:

I love the natural lighting streaming in for the window as it emulates the original portrait perfectly so I really want to work with this. What was evident from early on was how, to ensure the window and the bed were in shot, it would have to be a landscape photo. This would prove problematic as it is a 'Portrait'! Therefore I chose to edit the image in Photoshop to change colours add certain objects that could not have been placed for real and to adjust the brightness.


Process of taking away the cushion used to elevate the model
Using the eyedropper and stamp tools.

I really enjoyed using Photoshop (with a helping hand from my housemate) to make my image closer to the original as I feel that witht the correct colouring and added objects it is far more successful!

Final presentation:
I wanted to create an old fashioned photo album for the 5 images I have chosen to include in my final hand in. I am really happy with how this has turned out!

Reflection: Styling Setting

When I first started out on this unit of Paintings for Inspiration I was so excited by the overall prospect of the final image that I almost overlooked the technicalities of setting a photo in a non-contemporary period. I also overestimated the amount of locations I had to choose from when deciding on a Victorian era remake. From this I have learnt the challenge behind finding a suitable location as well as one that is actually available for hire! I now know that National Trust houses (while they may be more than willing to open their doors for big feature films) aren't so accommodating to University students with very little funds!
While my minor setback,(my request being rejected from Kingston Lacy National Trust) was frustrating, I feel that it allowed me to do what I planned to do all along with this project, to extend my researching skills. Therefore by visiting other types of property, the Hotels for instance, I got a much larger cross section of options for the bedroom which resulted in me finding the perfect room at the Lillie Langtry Manor Hotel!
One thing that I was not anticipating was how much I enjoyed the location hunting. I have always had a love of Historic buildings and stately homes and to be able to use this knowledge and passion for my photo was really exciting.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

STYLINGDIARY: Photoshoot day

Today was the big day! We picked up the two models and the photographer from their respective houses around 12.30 and arrived at the hotel shortly before 1pm, my alloted time.
Once we got in there it was all about getting the models dressed and hair and accessories sorted. For the woman, Abbey, the hair was quite challenging as we did not have a hair/make-up artist. However I did take a lot of examples of Victorian hair styles of the period for instance:

For the hair in the photo I chose to copy the style of the second drawing down from the top in the image, but the added my own twist by clipping in a hair decoration I had made. I feel that this linked it back to the Arnolfini as in the original there was a white veil on the head of the woman.
For my man, Ryan, hair was not an issue as it was to be hidden underneath his top hat in the image.
Both of their costumes worked so well for the feel of the image, the setting and their link to the original.
My fantastic Photographer, Charlotte Dart ( understood exactly what I wanted out of the shoot and took such brilliant photo's for me to work with.
Here are just a few of the unedited images from the day:

The King's Room

The Models and my wonderful Assistant Charlie Bestwick

This has to be my favourite shot.
It really looks like a still from a film!

I thoroughly enjoyed today and I found it very exciting to be in charge of a historical shoot, even if it was for only a few photographs!
After we had finished and I had settled up the £25 for the room hire:

We moved onto the second location for Charlie's photo, on which I assisted. At the Miramar Hotel on the sea front. The setting was in the hotel lounge and was so perfect for her remake photograph!


Her chosen image and her final edited photo!

Charlie Bestwick (

It's absolutely incredible! I just hope I get get mine to such a high standard!

I really enjoyed the whole process today and the planning that went into it. Organising the shoot was really fun and I hope to do it again sometime even if it is just in my spare time.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Final Setting Choice: Styling

The Lillie Langtry Manor Hotel was my setting of choice for the remake photograph section of Paintings as Inspiration. Upon my initial visit I was struck by how fantastic the hotel was, they have kept a strong Historic sense aboout the place and this helped with chosing it as a set.
I was aware that there may be a charge for the use of the King's Room for my photo which I am more than happy to pay for such a perfect room!

This is the area in which I plan to set my photo up!
I am very excited for tomorrow as it will be the first photoshoot I have set up myself. fingers crossed it goes well!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Setting: Research #4

After my tutorial today I felt a lot calmer about my setting fiasco! I was suggested a few locations in Bournemouth to check out; three hotels.
The first hotel I visited was the 'Hotel Miramar' over looking the sea.

 This Hotel was lovely and had a lot of great features, however it was not of the right period for my photo shoot. I am still looking for the Victorian style room or around that era as it is integral to the theme of the photo.

The managers of this hotel were very nice indeed, offering the use of their rooms or library free of charge as long as we like, as long as they were free. For another project I would defiantly consider the Miramar Hotel.

The second hotel I visited was 'The Lillie Langtry Manor' hotel.

This hotel was absolutely beautiful. When I visited there was a wedding party there preparing for the reception so it was pretty chaotic, however the receptionist still took me to a few rooms as examples, which were wonderful. However I also saw 'The Kings Room' (right) which it totally perfect for my photo and is available on Sunday evening! I am so excited now that I have a location that is pretty much exactly what I was looking for and I am now in the process of organising my two models for the day, the photographer and hair and make-up!

I visited a third hotel just to be sure and it was stunning from the outside! 'The Tudor Grange' hotel is also near the sea front.

This hotel was stunning from the outside, a Tudor style in a lush green garden setting, it didn't feel like I was at the seaside at all anymore! Inside was all dark panelling which could also have been really nice only the bedrooms have been renovated to a modern standard.
Also a down side to this venue for any future projects is that they asked for a us to pay a fee if we did want to use it at anytime. Which neither of the others did.

Today was really interesting. Using hotels as settings was something I hadn't initially thought of so it really opened up another route for me to find the bedroom that I needed! I can't wait to get it done now!

Tutorial 3: Catch-up

Painting for Inspiration

Tutorial #3

Filming: READY TO GO!

Location: Look into Lillie Langtry hotel/ Miramar Hotel
Have everything ready by Sunday

For presentation on Thursday, have EVERYTHING in sketchbook, very full. Take stuff off of here to put back into book. Images etc.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


The filming unit of our Self Directed Project was one that I was greatly looking forward to. I have always been interested in working on film and since the start of this year I have been more and more sure that it is what I wish to specialise in, in level 6 next year. I knew I would learn a lot about the industry but I feel that I have gained a lot more knowledge than I could have anticipated.
This unit has really helped with my confidence after the last project knocked me slightly. It also helped with my confidence in meeting new people. Being alone and having to become a member of a team who already know each other (the film crews) was daunting at the beginning but as soon as I had my first meeting I realised that working as a team on such a chaotic project made it very easy indeed to make friends.
A key lesson I learnt while participating in Painting for Inspiration was how patient you must be to stay sane while working on a film! Working with a Director and a writer together meant that the script changed a great many times and in turn the characters to dress. I made sure to keep all my research and to be open to any changes that were given to me.
Most valuable of all was learning how being a costume designer/ supervisor/ assistant actually works out on a shoot and on an actual film production team. While all of our tutorials and workshops have been constructive and very helpful, gaining real experience was so much fun! I really enjoyed working as part of the two film teams and learning a little about a few different specialities such as the camera dept, the sound dept and editing.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Setting: Inital research: 3

The third space I found as a possible setting is a bedroom at the National Trust property, Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster. This 'striking 17th-century house is noted for its lavish interiors. The outstanding art collection includes paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel, with the largest private collection of Egyptian artefacts in the UK.'

I have visited this property a few times before and I love the progression of styles from the exterior to the interior.  The bedroom I had my eye on was of a very Victorian style:

I felt that it would be ideal due to the look and the proximity to university, being only a short drive away.
Unfortunately after I sent an email to the estate manager of Kingston Lacy asking their policy on photography inside the house i recieved this email:

'Thank you for your enquiry, however we do not allow this type of photography within the house. You are very welcome to do this photography in the gardens though. Please let us know if you do decide to visit and take your photographs outside.'

Property Administrator
Kingston Lacy House
Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 4EA'
This has certainly made this unit slightly more difficult as I will now need to find a new setting but I will find somewhere new soon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Reflection: Filming Shoot 2

The shoot day for 'Memorial' came as somewhat of a relief. There was not a clear route from the film pitch to the shoot as differences between the Writer and Director meant that the script changed quite a few times and the characters along with it. This meant that for me, the creative process was rather disjointed and my final ideas that are seen on screen are the result of just 2 days work due to all the previous research being redundant.
While this was frustrating at times, I believe that it has taught me a valuable lesson about the designing industry. I have had to alter designs and ideas to correlate with what the Director asked me to but I still managed to find a way to put my own ideas forward to help him to make decisions.
Other things I learnt a great deal about is the basic workings of the camera and sound crew. This learning is a continuation from last weeks shoot where I sat and chatted with the sound guy for a long time. I also learnt about the clapper and how it is also their job to put in the film. I found it extremely interesting to see how you have a separate person standing with the camera man at all times just to adjust the focus on a shot if the subject moves from close up to far away.
I really love finding out about all the aspects of the filming process and I have even been chatting to the editor about his role in post production. I know that it isn't really anything to do with a costume designer's role at all but I much prefer to know a little about all the elements of filming as it helps me to to make more informed choices on my work. And also because I love learning about new things!
As a final reflection on this filming and also the 'Bridges' shoot as well I have discovered just how much I love being involved in a film. Even though it is stressful, changeable and tedious at times and you have to be very patient indeed I have made a great many friends already, have learnt a lot about the film industry and how it works and, most importantly to me with regards to my future career choices, I absolutely loved the shoot days themselves. I had so much fun on this project and I can't wait to do more next year.


Yesterday was my shoot day! After a lot of script and location changes the day finally arrived and we set off to the location in Talbot woods, just 5 minutes from AUCB.
The film, based on the painting by Max Leiberman 'Memorial Service for Kaiser Friedrich at Kosen':

The scripts for this particular film were all very different to one another due to artistic differences between the Director and the Writer therefore my research has fluctuated significantly for each! However, the final script which I recieved on Sunday morning had just 7 characters; one principle and 6 extras.
The shoot day itself ran fairly smoothly but did go on longer than everyone anticipated. There were a lot of tracking shots and these take a long time to set up and move (but create a really nice effect on screen). An element of this shoot that differed to the previous was that there was no make-up student on set! One of my extra's voulenteered to do make-up, which was fantastic as I'm not so great but I was charged with doing the actress' hair. This was fine aside from the continuity when scenes were shot out of sequence. But we kept a lot of photo's to document this and it all seemed to work out very well!
 As before, I took A LOT of photo's
on set to document the day:

5 of my extras!

By the end of this shoot day I was totally exhausted but I felt so satisfied with how the day went. My film was the only one of the 7 chosen that had real continuity to deal with, over the space of about 8 script day and I feel that this was the main obstacle I faced but with the help of the continuity photographer, my wonderful assistant (Georgia Jeffery) and a brilliant actress the day went very smoothly!