Renewable Energy - Highland

Two wind turbines providing electricity at Forss Wind Farm in Caithness
The group studying RCAHMS collection material relating to renewable energy.
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ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

Over three days in February 2008, the film-maker Jane McInally worked with a small group of adults from Cromarty in the Highlands. Focusing on the theme of ‘Renewable Energy’, the group created a series of short films connected to this subject. Participants were encouraged to freely use copies of related material from RCAHMS collections, as well as allowing sequences and stories to develop from their imaginations. The results were a diverse and inventive range of stop-frame animations.

One of the group prepares for the film-making process.
^ One of the group prepares for the film-making process.

HIGHLAND ENERGY

As a starting point for ideas, the group used photographs and drawings held in the RCAHMS collections connected to the theme of renewable energy.

The group studies the RCAHMS collection material relating to renewable energy.

^ The group studies the RCAHMS collection material relating to renewable energy.

A diverse range of material provided inspiration. This covered local engineering works by Sir William Arrol & Co, dramatic aerial photographs of dams, and also recent survey photographs of wind farms.

HIGHLAND ENERGY

We also brought along many drawings for hydro-electric schemes carried out by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (NSHEB) during the 1940s and 1950s from the collection of the architectural firm Shearer & Annand. These schemes were bold and forward thinking with the ambition to bring prosperity to the Highlands from Scotland’s natural resources.

SGrudie Bridge Power
Station, designed as part
of the Conon hydro-electric
scheme.
SC609887

 

 

Grudie Bridge Power >
Station, designed as part of the Conon hydro-electric scheme. SC609887


The dam at Cruachan
hydro-electric scheme,
photographed by RCAHMS
in 2006.
DP017795

 

 

The dam at Cruachan > hydro-electric scheme, photographed by RCAHMS in 2006. DP017795

SIGHT AND SOUND

The group worked with Jane McInally to learn basic animation techniques, using these to bring the RCAHMS collections to life. Participants also drew and created their own characters and landscapes, as well as taking photographs of the local area.

The content for the animations relied upon techniques such as making cut-outs with moveable parts or gradually altering drawings.

Preparing the many cut-outs needed for the stop-frame animations.
^ Preparing the many cut-outs needed for the stop-frame animations.

A series of still frames were taken of these images with a video camera; each still capturing an image only fractionally different to the next. It was a process that took time and patience, with 25 images required for a single second of film footage.

SIGHT AND SOUND

Getting ready to shoot
another frame.

 

 

< Getting ready to shoot another frame.

In addition, the film soundtracks and sound effects were created by the participants, calling upon their own musical talents. Imaginative use was made of house-hold objects such as jars and bottles to create all sorts of atmospheric sounds.

One of the participants records music for his film.

 

 

One of the participants > records music for his film.

BULLS, PIGS AND OTHER BEASTS

The results of the workshop were a diverse range of short, stop-frame animations, ranging from the magical to the humorous.

Detail of carved panel at Fasnakyle Power Station depicting a Pictish beast. SC1098820

 

A number of the participants were inspired by the ‘Pictish’ carvings that were used to decorate the outside of the hydro buildings. Brought to life through the films, these animals reside in their own magical world or are shown bringing power to the glens.


Detail of carved panel at Fasnakyle > Power Station depicting a Pictish beast. SC1098820


A still from the animation ‘Way down in the Woods’. A still from the animation ‘Beast Power’.

^ A still from the animation
‘Way down in the Woods’.

^ A still from the animation
‘Beast Power’.

BULLS, PIGS AND OTHER BEASTS

Some of the films such as ‘Peckhole Windmill’ and ‘Splash’, were made by animating copies of RCAHMS archive material. These lighthearted films used a copy of a survey drawing of a windmill on North Ronaldsay, Orkney drawn by RCAHMS in 1980, and copies of photographs showing the construction of the hydro scheme at Loch Sloy in the 1940s.

A still from the animation ‘Splash’.

 

 

 

< A still from the animation ‘Splash’.

A still from the animation ‘Peckhole Windmill’.

 

 

 

A still from the animation > ‘Peckhole Windmill’.

BULLS, PIGS AND OTHER BEASTS

The films ‘Damn Pigs’, ‘Tug Boat’ and ‘Wind Power’ were inspired by the theme of the workshop - renewable energy – and were created by using found objects and materials as well as the participant’s own photographs.

One of the many photographs taken by a participant to create the animation ‘Tug Boat’. Oil rigs towed by tug
boats are a common sight in the Cromarty Firth.

^ One of the many photographs taken by a participant to create the animation ‘Tug Boat’. Oil rigs towed by tug boats are a common sight in the Cromarty Firth.

Through the archive material and with the assistance of Jane McInally, the participants delved deep into their imaginations to create these short films for us all to enjoy.