The un-edited, single take film and video is now well -documented genre which probably began when the Lumier Brothers projected the first film reels in Paris 1897. The form , which has more in common with still photography and painting than it does with conventional film ,was later continued in the USA by Larry Gottheim Fog Line 1970. In the UK my own films Tree 1973 and Stream Line 1976, Guy Sherwin’s Eye and Tree reflections and in Germany Kurt Kren’s Asyl 1975 added some unusual twists to the concept. The genre has since been taken to exquisite lengths by American filmmaker James Benning in his Thirteen Lakes a series of 10minute studies made over several months in 2004. There are, of course , many more wonderful examples and perhaps it could be argued that recent hard drive based web cam works like: Susan Collins’s Fenlandia of 2006, Alison Craighead’s Light From Tomorrow 2006 and my own Time After, currently running in the city of Nantes, France, are part of the same tradition. Entrance Island is a prominent landmark at the northerly end of the Gulf Islands, which are situated off the south west coast of BC Canada. This charming and quintessentially Canadian costal scene; a barren rocky island with it’s lighthouse, surrounded by a little huddle of white cottages with red tin roofs; provided a perfect reason for me to re visit the now well established tradition of the single take film.I had once seen the lighthouse, just as it now appears in this video, with the low winter sunlight illuminating the rocky coastline and the little white and red buildings appearing and disappearing as the fog banks roll across the cold surface of the ocean. However I had to wait four years for the conditions to repeat at a time when my schedule allows and I have a camera and tripod to hand. On Monday 9th March 2015 I happened to be in the right place at the right time! At about 13.00 PST I arrived at the viewpoint on the northern tip of Gabriola Island, set the camera on it’s tripod and, pointing the lens out to sea, guessed where the lighthouse would appear in the frame. At this time of year, the ocean is still very cold from the long northern winter but the land is heating rapidly. The results is the formation of dense fog banks, which move uncharacteristically quickly with the wind. When I first arrived at the scene, the visibility was around ten meters, but at approximately 14.15 the tide turned and behind me, the fog began to clear a little over the land. I still couldn’t see a thing through the view-finder but the signs were favourable so I turned the camera on and walked away to take shelter from the cold wind. My work was done and from here on the combination of wind and fog and the heat of the spring sunlight did what they do best and 15minutes later I had a completed video.
Chris Welsby, BC Canada, 9th August 2015