Town of Mitry-Mory : drone workshop at Paul Langevin College

4 July 2017. Published by Benoît Labourdette.

Film shootings with drone during the end of year celebration of Paul Langevin college in Mitry-Mory.

In Mitry-Mory in the Paris region (France), the Concorde cinema (led by Maëlig Cozic-Sova) initiates cultural collaborations with school structures, more thorough than the only “Collège au cinéma” system. An inaugural, original and atypical initiative, in consultation with the city’s youth department, was proposed on July 4, 2017 during the end-of-year celebration of the Collège Paul Langevin of Mitry-Mory: collective shootings of films with drone , Which I animated. The objective is to propose a playful and federative action, which also has a real dimension of education in images.

Accessibility of images

This project was organized at the last moment. So when we arrived at the college we visited the premises to imagine how the workshop would take place. We installed a video projector in the entrance hall of the college, to project in loop while the young ones arrive, the films turned to the drone. The projection of the images produced in the workshop that is taking place in the place of passage is a way of making the workshop affect everyone, even those who do not invest in it.

The drone-camera, playful and reflective tool

  • First proposal to four young people who passed: I hail them and propose to them to be the actors of a film turned to the drone. They are starting to have fun, and I film them with the drone, proposing races and confrontations with the object filmer. It’s very playful. After this shoot, we come to the video projector, I load the film into the computer, and the participants view these amazing images, which shift the vision of the world. They invite their friends to look with them.
  • The young “engines”, four in number, ask me timidly if they can drive the drone. I accept, I take the risk (risk that the drone is destroyed or lost). So, in turn, they will each turn a sequence shot, rather a choreography with each other. Everyone runs, plays, to make images more surprising than the others.
  • They invent the “Matrix” figure: the drone flies over someone, who must bend back, they pursue, hide-and-seek.
  • After each shooting session, we go back to the lobby, to watch the shot made, the young people inviting others to this moment of sharing. Then we leave for a new shoot.
  • The fact that the act of filming is a truly playful act makes it possible to produce images without narrative stakes, but with strong aesthetic stakes because the visual representation of the college which they know by heart is completely different. Discussions between young people are often about fairly profound questions of cinema: types of shooting, angles of shooting (face, diving, low angle), speed, movements, reactions of actors, captured or not. Thus, through play and viewing right after shooting, there is a natural and spontaneous deployment of substantive discussions on the aesthetics of images. Without appearing, it is a real course of analysis of the image.
  • This time of shooting was also a moment of encounter between a pupil of 5th and pupils of 3rd, who did not know before, but collaborated for this shoot, equally.
    Other students, further away from the workshop, were mobilized as actors in these shoots.
    Thus, from a motivated group and a very visible action in the circulation space, this action became very unifying, and nourished the eyes of all the pupils.

From the cinema workshop as a choreographic act

In a certain way, this workshop was more of a participatory choreography, using a flying shooting tool, than a classical production workshop. This allowed for its very playful dimension, a very important body investment, and therefore a visibility towards the less invested students, without compromising on the importance of the education issues to the images mobilized. Thus, the fact that there is a small “motor” group is a good way to impel a communicative energy.

Sharing Energy

Towards the end of the workshop, the drone, which crashes a lot, has completely broken down. I told myself that the workshop was finished, and that I will repair it later (it is often necessary to buy spare parts). But one of the participants managed to convince me to try to repair it at the time. We managed to fix it, so the workshop was able to continue, and I also piloted the drone myself to shoot very high shots that the young people had not dared to do. Their energy and creativity also fueled mine, for I had left them that place, that responsibility.

Animated workshop with Alice Posiere and Maëlig Cozic-Sova.

The drone is “democratizing”, begins to enter our lives. The world seen from above, the real world through this flying eye, disembodied, as in our vision of virtual worlds... our representation of the world is changing because of this new “look”, which is spreading. But what is the point of view of this disembodied eye ? What political position holds on it ? What new aesthetic derived ? What relationship to the body, to the territory, to the architecture, is deployed there ? In short, what is happening to our viewpoint ? It seems important to me to explore the use of these machines in their (...)