I would like to thank the Grangetown Local History Society for all their hard work and general input into what I think is a well researched and poetic piece of animation. A big thank you to Parliamentary Archives and Glamorgan Archives for all their support and commissioning me in the first place. I hope you like the finished animated film. Please feel free to share the animation with your friends and family who we hope will enjoy it as much as we do.
One of my strongest memories was of visiting Parliament with the Grangetown Local History Society to gather research for the project. We stepped into the Act Room and instantly were transported through time. Walking through the shelving surrounded by scrolls signed by Kings and Queens of England was amazing. I remember the Archivist picking up a scroll signed by King Henry VIII. Each scroll is an Act of Parliament passed with royal approval.
It’s been a long time since I last posted an update. The animation was shot on 12 frames per second, which means 12 drawings for every second in time. Without doing the maths this amounts to a lot of work to create a 6 minute piece of animation. So I kept my head down until the project was complete. Now that it is over and up on Parliaments website, I would like to talk about some of the highlights and processes in making the animation.
A Camera Man takes a picture for the Pilot Members Club
The opening scene starts in an abstract way looking through the lens of an early victorian camera. The subject a group of sailors posing for their annual Pilot Members Club photograph appear upside down. Early cameras were like small Camera Obscuras. Light traveled in through the lens and projected an upside down image of whatever was in front of it. The camera man instructs the restless Pilots in where to stand and how to pose.
Researching at Glamorgan Archives with the Grangetown Local History Society.
An animation teacher many years ago called this research period ‘Filling the Well’. Without it you are dry of ideas, but with a well full to the brim ideas flow with ease and great work can be achieved. So what have I been filling my well with? Not being local to Cardiff or an expert on its history I have collaborated with others to fill gaps in my knowledge and experience. The team consisting of the Grangetown Local History Society and archivists from Glamorgan Archives and Parliamentary Archives have been a great help in steering me through a sea of information, including documents, photographs, letters, maps etc. Some of the highlights have been photographic records from the Victorian period depicting everyday scenes on the docks. You get a sense of how busy the docks were and the rate in which the population of Cardiff expanded in such a short time frame. The inhabitants came from all over relocating to Cardiff to work as laborers or from distant shores working on the merchant ships. Cardiff was and still is a multicultural City.
Merchant Seafarer’s War Memorial sculpture by Brian Fell. Photographed by Tony Hisgett 2008
Walking along Cardiff bay you can’t help but be reminded of its rich history. Art and heritage isn’t a new concept here, but rather something that is celebrated and openly engaged with. I look at Brian Fells Merchant Seafarer’s War Memorial and the power that it encompasses. Cardiff has raised the bar high for all future artists to follow. Not only do we need to be creative, but we also need to engage the public with awe and wonderment.
My first week of the project working with Glamorgan Archives and the Grangetown Local History Society has been exciting researching artifacts from the 1800’s, reading letters, area maps and looking at old photographs. There is so much to explore and so many possibilities.