Our brief for this latest Field module is to create an abstract documentary style film that’s brings a unique and introspective vision of the Circle Line.
We want to take an in-depth look at the connections between Cardiff’s industrial wealth and it’s sources, reflecting shifts in understanding of landscape and recreation. We started by drawing a line from Cathay’s Station in Cardiff, up to the far end of the Brecon Mountain Railway.
We recently made the journey by train to Pontyridd and then on to Ton Pentre, collecting footage and meeting the composers on the way. Much of this footage was made using rented equipment. But for illustrative purposes I captured some on my phone.
It was rather difficult to try and think outside the box with this project. In my group’s manifesto, which I will post in a later blogpost, we agreed we wanted to make a concerted effort to focus on texture, contrast and the changing light throughout the day.
One handicap we all felt keenly, was we were primed to capture footage in the way we knew. From TV and other media we all knew well. But our whole task was to create something unique. Thus, a lot of cliché shots were off the table and we found ourselves second guessing our work in order to be certain it wasn’t something that had already been done to death.
Here are some features of Pontyridd that I found worthy of capturing. One of its key historical talking points is that it is the point where the Rhondda river feeds into the River Taff that leads down to Cardiff and on to the sea. As a result it was for many decades, a key hub of industry, with much conveyance of materials and goods made via the rivers.
From Pontyridd, we then moved on up the valley towards Ton Pentre. Our reason for visiting was the disused Bethesda Chapel there.
On our visit we learned a lot about this very old chapel and the role.it plays in the history of the area. Ton Pentre is a tiny village of around 1,000 people and this chapel could have seated every one of them were it still in working order.
As you can see, the building as fallen into disuse and is rather delapidated. However it is being slowly restored.
With the footage and audio recordings captured on this trip, my group is well stocked to create an exceptional piece of work to feature in this year’s Circle Line video. Our section will be just a minute long and we captured hundreds of images and hours of footage to draw from.
We were asked to, in groups. Come up with another nearby reference point from which to draw material and tie into the project. My group has chosen Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon. This seemed ideals it is nearby, connected strongly with the areas industrial past and we all have empties of visiting it in the past.