When filming art, how do you strike a balance between letting the piece speak for itself and creating something new, and visually exciting? The video team at Christie’s auction house knows exactly how. Founded in 1766, Christie’s has auctioned and sold some of the world’s great fine art, antiques, interiors, and more. Today, they’re expert video team helps give auctioneers and art lovers alike a window into their process, the stories of pieces coming to auction, as well as behind the scenes content into artists studios. In our latest In Focus interview, we spoke with Lucy Jackson, Production Manager for the London Video Content Team on what the creative process looks like for her team, the most memorable piece she’s shot, and more.
How do you go about finding the right balance of displaying creative videography and also letting the art you’re capturing speak for itself?
We look at creating a mood around an artwork through lighting or slow close-up camera moves, to highlight the texture of the paintwork. We are always respectful of the subject matter and show the work in full at some point in the film.
There are occasions where we take the energy of an artwork and let that inform the way we edit a film or trailer. An artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat really lends itself to a punchy, fast paced edit to reflect the artist’s style.
What does a day look like for the team at the start of the creative process?
We meet as a team every Monday morning to talk through new briefs and projects. The brief might be for a film to promote an artwork coming to auction at Christie’s, or for evergreen content such as an artist studio visit or a collecting story.
Art historical research is at the heart of our films, so we will often take a brief and look deeper into the potential stories around an artwork. We work closely with in-house specialists who have scholarly knowledge within the genre that they work, such as Contemporary Art or Old Master painting, which allows us to have expert insight into the object that we are filming.
We tend to produce and direct films ourselves, and work with the director of photography to plan how to best shoot the film in the style we are looking for.
We have departments spanning many categories, which don’t just focus on art, such as natural history, decorative objects, Islamic artifacts, furniture design, and books and manuscripts. We have an incredible raft of intriguing items to film, which keeps us all enthusiastic to continue to create engaging content.
What has been your most memorable piece to shoot?
Filming George Michael’s art collection was a real highlight last year, and having access to the extensive collection of Young British Artists that he owned felt like a real privilege. Within that sale, there were many large-scale Damien Hirst formaldehyde works, including The Incomplete Truth, which dominated the gallery.
Who else in the UK is making work that inspires you?
In terms of video platforms, Nowness is consistently creative and stylish in their delivery.
We work with a team of freelancers on a daily basis including:
Bruno Ramos – Fantastic DoP for filming artworks
Fgreat – Animation studio that creates a beautiful treatment of artworks in 3D
Chris Vickers – Director specialising in motion graphics
What do your Telly wins mean to you and the team?
It means a great deal. It is a recognition of the team’s hard work, and will keep us motivated for the year to come!