Wednesday saw lessons and workshops placed centre-stage after Tuesday’s afternoon of fun activities across Oxford.
Every class had a workshop in the early afternoon, building on the ideas and concepts that they had learnt in the morning lessons. In the Medicine class, students discussed some of the trickier aspects of biomedical ethics: does a doctor have an obligation to tell a man’s wife if the man contracted HIV from another woman? Can a mother stop her child receiving a life-saving blood transfusion if they are, for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses and it contradicts their code? There are no easy answers to such questions, and students enjoyed the discussion
In film, meanwhile, thoughts have already been focused on the large project that they shall have to undertake, and on the film that they shall have to prepare in smaller groups. Some consideration has already been given to the scripts and storylines of possible short films, but yesterday attention was devoted to the rather less glamorous area of post-production editing. There are, students discovered, a host of things to remember, both on set while preparing a shot, and sitting in front of a computer with the footage all taken. Firstly, there’s the ‘atmos’ recording: a sound recording of the environment being filmed, in which nothing is happening beyond the sounds normal in that location. This is then layered under any other audio, to equalise the sound patterns between footage with altered audio and footage that came directly from the set.
Then, there’s the nitty-gritty of visual editing. Sometimes, different shots in the same place might have a slightly different hue: perhaps the camera angle, having changed, makes the shot appear greenish, or redder than it should. Here, the colours need to be equalised, and students were guided through the nifty software created for this purpose. Frame-by-frame editing was also touched on: in a demonstration, the teacher edited the footage so that a clock began to glow, something that had the watching students pausing while inspiration began its work.
After workshops, students had a period of free time before supper; and in the evening, there was a choice between more free time, a Model UN debate, and a trip to the Kassam Stadium to watch an Oxford United football game. The Model UN debate was very exciting: students took on the task of representing a country of their choice to discuss the morality and pragmatic difficulties of the continuing reliance on oil, touching on the problems of fracking, as well as its economic benefits. The winners will be able to represent the students in Balliol in the Great ORA Debate in the Sheldonian Theatre next Tuesday, so more than pride was at stake. In the Kassam, meanwhile, an equally exciting contest was taking place: Oxford battled back from 2-1 down against the Brentford Bees, before eventually losing 5-3.