The first part in creating a successful photo shoot was book the studio. With so many people across all three years looking to use it I needed to ensure I had a plan in advance. I also needed to get as many subjects as I could so I could fully explore a range of different people and their emotional responses.
I decided that the most effective way of maximising participation was to book the studio on an afternoon when everyone is scheduled to be in for regular lectures yet the time was dedicated to self directed study. This way I could approach individual people and ask them to spare me a few moments. This method also worked with my desire to not reveal what my intention was until they were in the studio. I did not want people to allow the apprehension of being exposed to graphic content to build into something dramatic and they refuse to participate.
Once I had a volunteer I explained the process. I gave ten an idea of the 4 types of content they were about to see, I assured them that they must feel free to stop at anytime and that I would be photographing their reactions. Everyone agreed and all but one person managed to watch the entire video.
Studio Set Up
I wanted my lighting to be simple and focus on the face. I took into the studio a snoot and beauty dish in addition to the various soft boxes. I experimented with the soft box at first but the lighting was broad and undefined, the Beauty Dish offered a better, cleaner light and would have made a good choice except for the snoot that highlighted the face perfectly and left everything else in shadow.
I matched this to a black backdrop and added in a white kicker on the left and a black to the right. One to reflect a small amount of light back but the other to absorb light. I did this to offset the direct light from the snoot. Blasting flash into peoples faces can leave them flat and undefined so by manipulating the shadow I could bring back the detail.
Perhaps one of the most critical aspects was the video and the content people were exposed to. I chose the material carefully with the explicit desire of producing certain emotional states. I began with a story of a dog that waited at a train station each day for his master to return home. After his master had died he continued to wait at the station everyday for another 10 years. Eventually the dog died without ever being reunited. This was based on a true story and the locals erected a statue in the animals honour.
With this video designed to invoke sadness I followed it up with a series of comedic clips featuring ever the ever popular cats.
After this I moved to perhaps the most traumatic section which showed genuine car accidents which showed pedestrians being struck and killed in dramatic fashion. The intent was to shock the viewer and it was successful with every person.
Finally I ended on a series of ghostly images, and these were not particularly scary alone but I used music to build tension before showing a singular scary image to frighten the viewer. The scary ones were not as effective as the other 3 sections and this may be because this tactic has become quite common among videos on the net and as a result has desensitised people to there effect.
I would like to have posted a copy of the video here but shortly after the shoot my mac started to fail. I was then doubly unlucky to find that most of my mac back ups had also become corrupt. I reverted back to my 2nd back up and this also failed. I managed to rescue most of my HD contents but the video was lost.