Channel 44 volunteer Austin Frape recently completed his first production for the station, producing an episode of our Best 5 in 5 series focused on arthouse cinemas. Here, Austin gives us an insight into how it all came together.
Earlier this year, I joined the Channel 44 team to get involved in productions and gain more practical experience as an emerging media professional. Asked if I had an idea for the Best 5 in 5 series, being a movie buff I came up with the premise of Best 5 Cinemas in 5 minutes. I thought it was a great opportunity to spotlight smaller independent cinemas, their place in Adelaide’s history, and their unique catalogues of obscure movies.
Because of COVID restrictions, we were concerned that not enough cinemas would be open. Most cinemas in Adelaide either had very limited capacity or were still closed. However, out out of seven cinemas that the executive producer, Vivian Wong, and I had brainstormed together, we managed to organise the five that were required for the episode.
My friends and I are frequent patrons of Palace Nova Eastend and I thought that would be a place to start, because it met the criteria of being independent and has a good location in the CBD. The Capri Theatre is such an iconic cinema, and a heritage building, so it had to be included in the five. The Trak CineCentre was another. I didn’t even know the Trak existed before I visited once in 2019 because it was the only cinema in the whole state that was playing one particular movie (which made it even more unique!). Finally, we chose Piccadilly Cinemas and Mainline Drive-In. Both were cinemas that I hadn’t visited before but both were very strong candidates: Piccadilly for its historic importance and Mainline because it’s one of the the last surviving drive-ins in SA.
This was my first time working on a video production outside of university assignments and it was an interesting experience to organise and coordinate the many aspects involved. Due to the different locations and availability of each cinema, we had to film across three days in mid-August, with Piccadilly and Capri filmed on the Wednesday and the Trak and Palace Nova on Thursday.
The Mainline Drive-In was only open during weekends, so we planned to film on the Sunday. As the Channel 44 team had different availabilities, we ended up having three different cameramen across the three days of filming. On the first day, Yajjur Sharma did the camerawork, with Maddie Siegertsz as a production assistant. Rodrigo Arias and Tudor Amen split up camera duties on Thursday, while Rodrigo also did camera work on the Sunday. I found the experience working with everyone very rewarding as each person had a different perspective and brought different ideas to what could be filmed for the episode. The interviews were also really enjoyable to do as each interviewee shared some very insightful facts about their cinemas, such as the history and their unique features.
As my on-camera experiences are limited, and as this was my first video production with Channel 44, it took a bit of getting used to being the host of the episode. While it may have been an easier option to have a more charismatic host for the episode, the thought of having to rely on that person was too daunting. So I stepped up as the host just to make the production run more efficiently. There was a bit of pressure in my mind about getting all the notes as correct and quick as possible so that the rest of the production schedule could run smoothly and, most importantly, on time. You can almost see a progression with how comfortable I get on camera as the episode moves forward, which must have been some sign that I improved as we filmed!
FUN FACT: The introduction was reshot on October 22, two months after the original shoots. Funnily enough, October 22 was also the premiere date for the episode! How’s that for movie magic at the last minute?
Overall, I am very satisfied with how the Best 5 in 5: Arthouse Cinemas episode turned out and the experience making the project. The production ran very smoothly as each cinema and their managers or marketing managers were very collaborative and allowed us to do some quality production work. The cameramen—Yajjur, Rodrigo and Tudor—did outstanding work and were very professional and patient as I got through my lines. Vivian and Maddie were incredible help when it came to organising and researching the cinemas. They certainly helped make my job easier!
Want to produce TV?
Like Austin, you can gain practical skills and experience in TV and video production as a C44 volunteer. Learn more here.