Thursday, 31 July 2014


July’s Monthly Film is A Perfect Circle, which we wrote about quite a lot as we were making it:

So I asked Chris to reflect on the actual shoot. He said:

I didn't want to make this film. I wanted to make something entirely different. But we ended up in a studio in Sheffield for two days making A Perfect Circle.

Which was a good start.

We abbreviate to APC when we talk and write about it among ourselves. I'm not that happy with the title to be honest but I've never thought of anything better so perhaps I should stop moaning.

No comment.

There are couple of things about the making of the film. We borrowed the overhead camera and gaffer taped it to the lighting rig in the studio. I had no way of knowing whether it was properly in focus and exposed by the time I managed to lean over and hit record. I managed to overcome my mild vertigo by climbing twenty feet up the ladder to do so. 

It was essentially a two camera setup on multiple takes of the entire process, with me doing close ups and wides on the floor and the borrowed camera on the birds eye view. I also had to guestimate as to whether or not I would be in shot if I moved in for any extreme close ups of the powder or the feet.

Climbing with gritted teeth up the ladder to retrieve the footage for a quick mid-shoot review was not fun. As you can see, the footage was ok. We had a coffee and carried on.

The main part of the shoot was a highly rewarding experience, lighting Gillian, her performance and the action to make it other, elevated. Ditching the storyboards very early on in the first day. Finding new ways of framing the process using angles and perspectives that the theatrical experience couldn't replicate.

Alex and I have written and spoken about the editing process in other places and about the intentions behind the piece. I had two additional motivations when making A Perfect Circle, rather prosaically one was to learn and find the limitations of a new piece of editing software - hence the large amount of frame blending during the extensive slow motion shots - and to attempt to create something elegant, fully formed, which needs no additional explanation in order to be enjoyed - like a piece of music.

I learnt the software, which is now defunct five years after the fact, I'm unsure as to whether or A Perfect Circle can be enjoyed without knowing what is happening. 

I did also want to make a dance film and this was the an opportunity to do so within the Third Angel fold.

So to paraphrase Meatloaf, two out of three ain't bad.

So I'd just add, A Perfect Circle is best enjoyed watched on as big a screen as possible, turned up loud...


Third Angel presents
A Perfect Circle
9min 32sec. HD.

A female human being performs a ritual: an attempt to describe a circle and an attempt to describe the world as if all you could see of it were the series of images carried on the Voyager satellites, the two furthest-travelled human-made objects from the Earth.

Devised by Christopher Hall, Alexander Kelly, Gillian Lees and Rachael Walton
Performed by Gillian Lees
Music by David Mitchell
Camera and Edit by Christopher Hall
Production Assistants: Cristabel Horne and Dan Wray

Commissioned by Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum for The Sheffield Pavilion2009. Supported by Sheffield Hallam University and Leeds Metropolitan University. With thanks to Sheffield Independent Film. Third Angel is regularly funded by Arts Council England and supported by Site Gallery, Sheffield.

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