Clansman at Work
Amateur comedy about filmmaking techniques
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A humorous look at how a film is conceived and made by amateur Aberdonian film company 'Clansman', including a range of slapstick comedy techniques. The film starts with sound on black and then the title 'Clansman at Work'. A man walks along the pavement and suddenly has an idea and heads back home. We next see him in an attic at a desk typing out a shooting script for a film. After hours of drafts and lots of discarded bits of paper his final script is ready. The 'location unit' comprising of 14 people pile into a mini in a classic comedy routine. The film crew set up equipment including a hand-cranked camera on a tripod being operated by a man in a top hat. Next to him the unit director directs the actors. Shots of the sound engineer setting up a phonograph - a very early machine for playing sound recordings. Shots of a speeded up pipe band as the film talks about synchronised sound. The recording engineer 'monitors' the sound by listening! The daily rushes (extracts of film that are shot each day) are processed under a blanket to keep out the light. The film is 'washed' in a river and 'dried' using a hair dryer. We then move to the 'cutting room' where a women sews the film sections together using a sewing machine. The film now complete is laced through the projector ready for showing. A series of flash frames end the film. Find out more about Clansman Films on the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive catalogue .
Questions & Activities
- What is a spoof?
- What comic devices are used in this film?
- How was a film cut together then?
- How is a film 'cut' together now?
- How many different ways are there of making a film today?
- Since Greek times, actors have had a star status in society. Why do you think this is?
- Why do we view actors/stars with such reverence?
What are the stages of the filmmaking process and who are the people involved?
Find a modern equivalent of this film.
Make your own spoof film.
Research how a film was developed before digital filmmaking.
Discuss how digital technologies have changed our relationship to images and record keeping about our own lives.
Find out the major technical innovations in filmmaking since the early 1900s. You can use the featured resource on Early Cinema to take you back to the early days. You may also want to look at Scotland's first synchronised sound film Sunny Days.
|Resource Rights Holder||By kind permission of Clansman Films|
|School Subject||English, Drama, Technologies, Social History|
|Subject Matter||Victorians, Early Film|
|Who||Alan Stott (writer), Clansman Films (production company), Ron Miller (director)|
|Attributes||Black and White, Sound|