One Day Story: The Ragtag Cinema Oscars Watch Party

The black and white version:

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The color version:

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I did not originally plan to work on my one-day story at the Ragtag Cinema’s watch party. I first planned to photograph the DIY car shop, but the first snowstorm came and stopped almost everything in Columbia, so no one was going to the car shop. I switched my plan the last minute, and gladly that Ragtag agreed.

I liked the idea of photographing the watch party as an event. I was excited, too. But I realized that it was not an easy job once I started shooting. First of all, the lighting situation was tough. The environment was as dark as it could be, or I should say it was as bright as a theater it could be. I had my strobe with me, but I really worried about keep popping lights in front of 100-200 audiences for three hours. I was not sure if I could ask all of them to bear with me and work with me in that kind of situation. I only used the strobe outside of the theater, such as the first shot. And, I did not have a tripod—thanks to the snowstorm that I could not check one out from the equipment locker—so my shutter speed and aperture choices were very limited. I used ISO 3200, which I rarely do, but I still had to open my aperture all the way up, and the shutter speed was around 1/15-1/40. I used my body, the table, and the rail on the isle to stabilize the image, but the photographs still look a bit soft and even blurry. Second, I did not have a long lens, thanks to the snowstorm, again. I only had a 335mm prime, a 50mm prime, and my 17-50mm zoom on my Canon 7D body. So, it was hard for me to get a close-up shot of a participant’s facial reaction. I could only go to the very front of the theater or on the side of the rows. The shots I could get were limited. Last, there were not too many activities going on during the watch party since the audiences were just sit there and WATCH. As a result, I struggled with looking for shot variety and content variety.

The edit meeting with Rita was valuable. Rita told me to think about the event as an overall, not just the event. I should also think about shooting the location of where the event was happening— the exterior of the building as well as to think about showing the audiences walking into the door. Also, all of the photographs here just show that this watch party happened in a theater, but I forgot to show that this is not any cinema but Ragtag Cinema. I could have incorporate one detail shot of a glass of drink to show that Ragtag allows audiences to drink alcohol in the theater, which makes them different from others. I did not think of any of these details while planning and shooting for this picture story, and I could not go back and reshoot now. This is what I should have keep in mind and to be aware of for my next project.

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