Ian Bateman’s AV Extravaganza, 30th October 2023

What a pleasure it was to welcome Ian Bateman back to the club on Monday evening. Has it really been 4 years since he last visited us?
Ian very kindly stepped in at the last minute when our original speaker, Sheila Haycox fell ill. He put together an excellent presentation at very short notice and for which we are very grateful. We send Sheila our best wishes for a very speedy recovery.

Ian gave us a highly entertaining evening with a varied selection of new work. For those new to the genre, he explained that AV stood for Audio Visual. He began with a very brief history of photography, just to set the scene. He amazed us with facts and figures – a staggering number of photographs are taken every day, and yet the vast majority are never seen and never used. One way to make sure yours gets an airing is to use them to create AVs.

Ian then showed us some of his new work. He started with a photo harmony AV ‘Shades of Autumn’. He explained what photo harmony was – a sequence of images, sometimes arty, which blend seamlessly into each other, often creating a ‘third image’ as the photos merge. This is all played to a carefully chosen and complementary musical sound track.

He then explained that you could blend photo harmony with a documentary AV to create a hybrid AV and for this he astounded us with an AV shot in Seattle at the Chihuly Glass Museum. This focussed on colour, shapes, and texture; he used the third image technique effectively to blend the hair of the sculptor into one of his spiky class creations. He combined documentary sections with photo harmony sequences to give us something that was both aesthetic and educational.

Holloway took us into the world of the surreal and creative, complete with a spooky sounding commentary. AVs don’t need to be serious – you can have great fun with them.

Johnny B Goode showed how you can mix other people’s material with your own to give a documentary style presentation. This AV resulted from a task set by his Exmouth AV group. Everyone was sent a random piece of music and had to make an AV using it. Johnny B Goode presented Ian with a challenge until he decided to make it factual using archive film and images.

Ian then thrilled us with ‘On the Underground’, a trip on the Jubilee Underground line in two parts. The first part used images taken with a tiny compact camera due to restrictions on using professional equipment, and the second part was a quite a hilarious speeded-up sequence using a tiny go-pro style camera. Ian framed this sequence with a tube train window to give the impression that we were looking in watching people. This was all candid photography and gave us a real insight to human behaviour during the boredom of the daily commute.

From London to Hong Kong and a quick time lapse visit to the Great Buddha. This was followed by ‘City of Darkness' – the story of Kowloon Walled City which was demolished between 1993-1994. What a fascinating story – and I went straight home and read up more on the story of Kowloon as I found it so intriguing. Google it and discover it for yourself . Ian described it as a ‘colony within a colony, contested and neglected’ which very much sums it up.
Ian gave us a very detailed explanation of all the work involved – over a period of 12 years and inspired by a pop-up book – that went into making ‘City of Darkness. He also talked about the 5 pieces of music he blended together in this AV to create different moods and tempos, and also explained about the use of music licences – these are very cheap so don’t start creating an AV without one. The finished result was astounding, a cohesive sequence using Ian’s own photos of models of the city, his photos of the local area, archive footage and a poster. Ian’s skill in blending both music and multi media images really shone through here.

A quick trip to Bath told us the story of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, including photos, taken with permission in the stunning multi-sensory Mary Shelley Museum – somewhere I am sure many of us noted for a possible visit, perhaps on our forthcoming club outing to the city?

The evening ended in a more poignant, contemplative mood given the time of year. Ian showed his mesmerizing AV of the ‘The Fallen’ created for the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War 1 and used by the Royal British Legion. This focused on the ceramic poppies at the Tower of London and the Shrouds of the Somme in Northernhay Gardens, Exeter. Ian blended the two sets of photographs seamlessly against a powerful background sound track ‘The Sound of Silence’ by The Disturbed. This was an incredibly moving end to the evening and left everyone in thoughtful silence with 11th November fast approaching.

Ian really did give us a superb night. His work just gets better and better and he is happy to share tips and advice about his craft. He relies on skill and experience, not novelty value – his AVs were refreshingly gimmick free – to create a most varied selection of AVs which were both documentary and wonderful to watch. Let’s not wait 4 years to invite Ian back again!

Finally – why not have a go at creating an AV yourself? There are lots of people in the club who can help you. Penny will be adding an AV Night to this season’s programme, and Ian hosts a WCPF AV competition every April. Stephen and I were inspired and have already been sampling music and brain storming subjects with each other. Why not do the same?

- Helen Jones