Filming at Riddel’s Warehouse

Sonya and I arrived in plenty of time with the equipment to set up and do a health and safety check. I brought my Sony semi-pro camera, my Canon 60D DSLR, shoulder rig, blue tooth speaker and extensions, and Sonya’s photographic lighting kit. I also took a fan heater, blankets, seating pad, bottles of water, hot chocolate and cake to keep the dancers warm.

Mari McKee from Hearth Buildings Historic Trust met us at 9:30am to open up for us and turn the generator on. There were to be builders working on the roof and noise but thankfully they didn’t arrived while we were there until around 11:45 am. It would have been a very different atmosphere if there was noise from construction work. Instead, we had a very intimate atmosphere that allowed me and the dancers to completely get immersed in the process.

Health & Safety

There were some health and safety issues to bear in mind, the stair case was dimly lit and could be a problem for Helen and her partial sight. Also there was a step up to the areas under the upper levels which we were filming in, which could be difficult to see as the floor was all the same plywood colour with steps from the staircase with hazard taping. I had to make sure I made everyone aware of that. There were also some ridges at the edge of the step onto the main open area to be watchful of. I kept the cables from the lights and fan heater in one area and away from activity. There were two opening holes to the floor below in the area near our filming that we needed to avoid. There were also some planks of wood with sharp broken ends.

Filming area

There were three potential areas that I liked the feel of, two corners which once lit with the two lights, had a warm glow and felt contained. They both had the aged brick walls, but one had also bricked up windows with bars that I found particularly striking, with their sense of lost history and rigidity. They seemed to add a metaphor to the scene, a sense of hidden lived lives, conversations, stories that they may have witnessed long ago. A sense of the past against the alive sense of presence of the dancers’ movements. There was also the staircase with very interesting shadows.

I decided to set up the lighting in the corner with the blocked windows and if there was time and felt right, to film also in the other parts. The diffusers on the two lights created a warmer atmosphere.


The dancers arrived at around 10am. Maeve had brought a few lose slips for Helen to try. I decided to settle on Meave wearing the same nude colour short leggings with white slip top that she wore for the rehearsal and Helen to wear a nude/cream slip top/dress with nude/cream shorts. I wanted their bodies and movements to be the focus and the clothes to remain inconspicuous.

I played the same track Ruby Mandala as the dancers and I had found it had created the right backdrop to the sensation and dance.

I played the track and the dancers immediately fell into movement with ease as in rehearsal. Sonya stayed quietly behind the lights. I repeated the track and continued to film. They moved at first individually and without my prompting, moved together after a few minutes.

After playing the 10:33 minute track twice, I asked the dancers to stop. they had very little on and I was worried about them getting too cold. We stopped for about 20 minutes as they put on warm clothes, with hot chocolate and cakes. We went back to filming for another two rounds of the track and then I felt I had enough footage and I wanted us to have time to sit quietly and write out reflections about the experience after packing up and before Helen had to leave at around 12:15.

After off-loading the equipment in my car, we headed to a nearby cafe and wrote our reflections. The sun shone