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A trip down memory lane from a car park in Lyth


By David G Scott

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With many venues closed due to Covid restrictions it was a breath of fresh air for many to attend a special outdoor screening of a newly commissioned festive film in the car park of Lyth Arts Centre (LAC).

Despite the arts venue being closed over the last few months, there has been a hive of activity going on in the background that recently culminated in a short film being produced – Caithness through your Windscreen.

Tom Barnes, co-director of LAC, said: "Having been closed pretty much all year, we wanted to make sure that we could do something at Christmas time, so that's how Caithness through your Windscreen was born.

The film aptly called Caithness through your Windscreen was projected on the façade of the Artists' House at the rear of the complex and viewed from within the comfort of your car.Pictures: DGS
The film aptly called Caithness through your Windscreen was projected on the façade of the Artists' House at the rear of the complex and viewed from within the comfort of your car.Pictures: DGS

"When we did something similar to this two years ago, we noticed people were driving up and watching from their cars – so the drive-in cinema style was perfect for Covid times. We trawled through archive film and audio materials for Christmas and festive material, and combined that with submitted footage from other organisations and individuals to make the show. We hope it was an uplifting end to the year."

Various slots were made available that could be booked on the LAC website and social-distancing restrictions meant that only four cars at a time could attend each screening. The festive drive-in movie experience was based on Caithness memories and provided a novel way to bring art to the people.

Staff members gave out small bluetooth speakers to each car which provided the soundtrack to the film.
Staff members gave out small bluetooth speakers to each car which provided the soundtrack to the film.

It was suitable for all ages and the 20-minute film's soundtrack was made available through small bluetooth speakers that were handed out to each car owner before the start.

Caithness through your Windscreen was projected from a van in the car park directly on to the façade of the Artists' House at the rear of the complex – a perfect screen for the occasion.

Editor and designer of the film, Graeme Roger of Wildbird based in Moray, said it was a pleasure to be working with the arts centre again after doing a similar "projection mapping installation" two years ago.

He said: "I had some really valuable help editing the project from my 14-year-old daughter, Amelie. She wants to study medicine but has great film skills too."

One of the many nostalgic memories of Caithness captured in the specially commissioned festive art film, Caithness through Your Windscreen.
One of the many nostalgic memories of Caithness captured in the specially commissioned festive art film, Caithness through Your Windscreen.

Graeme said he hoped to be working with LAC on a future creative collaboration based around Wick harbour.

Fraser Macdonald did visual effects for the film with a colourful countdown sequence denoting the Twelve Days of Christmas. Cogwheels represented time passing and poetic musings were added on to each day.

Throughout, there was music by local band Neon Waltz, champion accordion player Brandon McPhee and orchestral musicians from the county. Images of long gone days ofCaithness Christmastimes and wintry snowscapes shimmered on the walls of the Artists' House through the clever manipulation of archive footage and still photographs of our yesteryears.

The film was punctuated by a countdown of the Twelve Days of Christmas with graphics created by Fraser Macdonald.
The film was punctuated by a countdown of the Twelve Days of Christmas with graphics created by Fraser Macdonald.

Snacks and hot drinks were supplied by Caithness Pizza that had pre-booked orders ready for its customers.

Caithness through your Windscreen was unabridged nostalgia of the highest quality and a welcome distraction from the dark days of lockdown and coronavirus.

The special show finishes this weekend and more information can be found on the LAC website at www.lytharts.org.uk/event/christmas-projections/

Home videos sought for Lyth Arts Centre winter projection display


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