Yes that was my first question. What on Earth is the ‘Theory of Knowledge’? Firstly, it’s a part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a course for 16-19 year old high school students taught in over 3000 schools in 150 countries.
TOK is about critical thinking and applying these skills to the world in general.
“TOK asks students to think about the way knowledge is produced, how it shifts according to our perspective, and its role in helping us to construct our moral framework. Students use it to evaluate and compare how the meaning of that little phrase “I know” can alter radically depending on the subject you are dealing with. It can be described as ‘critical thinking on steroids’, and is a great way of preparing students for our post-truth world of information overload.”
theoryofknowledge.net, as the name suggests, is all about teaching these classes and learning these concepts online. It is the world’s most popular and innovative online resource for TOK, tailoring specific programs to individual schools and universities.
Michael Dunn, the founder of the Cambridge-based outfit, approached me for a series of short interviews with him to convey the ethos of the company, who is involved, its history, benefits, how it is delivered, and how it can help the prospective user or client.
These topics became 4 short films, which we broke down in the same way as we do our testimonials to deliver a good number of short films at a very reasonable cost. My philosophy on these is to use my editing skills on the shoot to edit the interview as it is going, so live, and in fact (and very importantly) before it even starts. If we do that, all the time is taken out of the edit and costs are far more affordable. We get to make more, and companies get to make more – which is simply what the current climate of video consumption demands.
How do we do this? As ever, we have to research the company and the product thoroughly: what information do they want to provide the viewer, and what are they trying to achieve with the films? Do they have a new project or product? Is there a lack of understanding about them or their industry? Or are they simply underpinning the website information with some digestible videos? We liaise carefully with the you, the client, to produce a set of questions to deliver what I know will generate answers of the correct length – correct in as much as when cut together they will not be too long, and correct in-so-much as short enough to guarantee we can get the information cleanly in one take. Shoot the interview on two angles, so any stumbles or extra info can be removed in the edit, and most crucially without the need to shoot any additional coverage, aka b-roll or general views (GVs). Bottom line is that’s time saved on the shoot, and in the edit.
The answers must stay on point, and that’s my job on the day. They cannot go on too long, and as a minimum need good clean ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ to each answer. Then we add the question as text on-screen beforehand, and cut a few questions and answers together to make each film, of around 1.5 to 2 minutes. And that’s the trick. But for me, the most importantly aspect is getting the preparation right beforehand, nailing those questions (or at least the concepts of the answers – the actual text of the question can be changed at any time).
So what do we get? A series of good-looking, easy to view, easy to create and reasonably priced interviews. As I mentioned, this is normally what we do for our testimonials but works just as well in certain other situations, such as this.
For this particular shoot I did the whole thing alone to keep costs down, so that was lighting, audio and the 2 cameras. And the interview. But honestly easy with a patient subject, forewarned that I might take a couple of hours setting up on my own. I stayed the night near Cambridge, and picked up the shots of Cambridge the evening beforehand, being lucky enough to get a rain free, and sunny golden hour.
For this part of it it was also a question of taking your time. I did check sunset directions online beforehand, and how it would hit the places I wanted to feature, and just hung around the city coming back to a couple when sun was in the right spot, which of course makes all the difference, as we see below on the King’s College backs.