Kieran McLaughlin: HND Short Documentary

“The opportunity to shoot a documentary on the HND was something which I looked forward to and a challenge I relished as I had never shot non-fiction before. I dabbled between a variety of ideas but eventually settled on sartorialism which is the art of tailored clothing.

This is a style of clothing which I am particularly invested in as I often wear suiting and I thought I could provide a unique insight into the world. As there are many angles I could have taken the documentary in, I decided to keep things simple and grounded. The documentary follows four people split across three distinct sections who all dress differently but come under the umbrella term of sartorialism. The title of “Sartorialism: Style as Expression” is fitting for the documentary as it explores these people’s individual tastes, how they became interested in this way of dressing and what it means to them.

Since I was dealing with garments which were delicate, hand crafted, of unique materials and expertly paired together, I had to ensure I did them justice through the cinematography. The decision was made to make use of a continuous slow motion montage which tells a story of a day-in-the-life of the people being documented. Rather than have talking head interviews, I used voice over from the people instead, asking them the same questions for consistency between the sections. Shooting the documentary was extremely enjoyable as I was able to explore the craft between sartorialism, learn about people’s different perspectives on the world and learn of their personal journeys.

For the edit, I had the [good] problem of cutting down the runtime. Due to shooting mainly in slow motion, footage runtime was doubled or even tripled. I decided to do an initial large cut, making use of most of the footage and voice over recorded. This came to about nineteen minutes. From there, I went through, cutting out any excess, trimming shot lengths and squeezing the documentary down to twelve minutes. I am extremely happy with how the project turned out as it was a battle to shoot during COVID-19 times. As I had been efficient in my pre-production, I was able to shoot swiftly, timing my shoots prior to lockdown. It was important to remain safe though when visiting people’s houses so the appropriate safety measures were put in place such as mask wearing and social distancing along with hand sanitising. Scheduling around people was also difficult, especially for the ending which required everyone to come together. Overall, I think the entire process was successful. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting the documentary and hope others like it too!”

– Kieran McLaughlin, HND Film & Television.

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