Thursday, 2 May 2013


From the start of this project to the end I have been very confident in what we were planning to produce, what we were producing and our final product. Our biggest drawback is that none of us are sound engineers and struggled both in the recording and in the sound edit. However we have all kept an eye on the visuals throughout the project and the turnover itself on set has been excellent  I think as a crew on the whole we worked really well together.

In the project I specifically worked on the interview scene, I storyboarded the first half of it up to the evidence bag being produced. Unfortunately on that dat we had some scheduling problems largely caused by sound, again it was one of our biggest downfalls. However I think that although I didn't get exactly what I storyboarded and we worked more for coverage we got some really nice images. I learned a lot about studio shooting, especially in the masking of the background. I am really happy with the way we got the background to complete blackness, it let us get grainless images and play with the space. It is something I will definitely consider in the future for scenes that are set in non de script dark locations. I also got to use DSLR fixed lenses, something I haven't played with before. They look really nice however I cant say that I noticed a massive difference between them and zoom lenses that are set appropriately. The fish eye was nice to experiment with however I was surprised with exactly how wide the lens was, we accidently got a few things in the shot we had to scale out.

I think our preproduction had some positives and some negatives, being a project in which we all wanted significant input it was tricky to divide up the scenes but we did a decent job of it on paper. I wanted to use a creeping track in on each of the characters for my part of the interview. Whilst simple I think that the increasing tension it would convey would have been perfect. However the project being written by Connor was really his, if anyone was the director it was him and Mark the producer. This meant that on Connor and Mark's shoots schedules were stuck to and whilst everyone had camera input they were there shoots. On our day, mine and George's I felt that we had a little of our creative control taken away because of time problems. It wasn't exactly the time shortage that caused the problems but the fact that with the time issues Mark and Connor wanted to get basic shot reverse shots before even touching the tracks and so in place of my tracking shots are a wide and a close up of each character. In post we realised that we had shotlisted way too much on the crime scene and on the interview scene, neither me or George had really considered that reconstructions would be added ontop of our scene.

Another big practical learning curve that I think comes out of the whole project is that roles must be assigned, even if they change per shoot so that everyone gets an equal input the fact that we didn't have a specific producer to do things like check equipment beforehand or a specific sound guy to test things or do foley meant we had lots of trouble. It also would have been great, and we would have had enough people, if we had split into an assistant director, a director and a camera man, I think they are the roles we got closest to but as none of use were specifically in control it made the work difficult. I think these are the reasons we had some exposure and continuity issues with some of the footage.

We got good reactions from the group about our piece, the visuals really seemed to come across strongly which was our main intention with the film. Having the visuals marked overall and being a cinematography piece we were extremely conscious of the shot composition and make up. Whilst this led to some of the aforementioned issues with the film that level of care over the visuals is something I would carry onto other projects as they look beautiful. I learned a lot about lighting on the course through subtle things such as the use of shadow and backlighting which I feel we took advantage of. This was the first time I have used the studio setting and been in such a controlled environment and the chance to really play with light was great. My personal favourite shot that I set up are the light change and the wide on Brad. I think the lighting change is effective and complies well with the brief and on the wide of Brad in the interview there is a nice side to back light which highlights him when sat back but when he leans forward they fall off as the top and other spots light the front of him. This lighting specifically I will use again, I think it looked nice on screen and was relatively easy to achieve. The only downfall of this scene is that it may be too dark, we quite like it but I'm not sure if it is too much for the general audience we are going for, it is extreme but we have used the takes that were a little brighter. I feel we may have been able to achieve a better effect by utilising more blue gels and using blue light as falloff for the dark areas therefore keeping them dark and lit rather than letting it drop off as much as we did.

We had a mixed experience with actors and props, two of our actors were fantastic, our detective and our dead body but Brad was a little over the top. I think it comes from using theatre actors but on a whole his delivery was manageable. The other issue with Brad's character is that he didn't quite act as he was intended when written, this may have been because we knew the reference material and the actor didn't, a simple thing but something so simple it slipped our minds. In future I will be sure to have a full discussion with the actors about their characters inspirations and motivations to ensure the correct performance. The props we got for the crime scene worked really well on the whole, although only cheap I feel they added an authenticity to the scene. Unfortunately we didn't have enough crime scene tape to do it properly but a lack of wides helps hide the fact. The problem we had with props was more with costume, as we didn't buy the dead body costume because it was such a small part and detail we could not ruin it with blood. This meant the blood effects on the body were a little poor, whilst the blood looked good we could only paint it on the floor up to the jacket with a centimetre space between the jacket and blood. We also couldnt put blood ontop of the jacket so there were no gunshots or blood patches representing wounds. In the edit when we looked back on shots that had the body in we realised we could not use any of them that showed the chest or head, it was just too fake. So a simple costume error really restricted the edit. Along with the continuity and sun changing issues on that scene it was extremely difficult to get a full scene together.

I think one of our downfalls was the edit, when we showed the film, we improved it afterwards a little but I think a lot of the little things on set that we didn't notice ie. continuity issues, made the edit difficult. We also had the repeated issue of too many people with different input, Steve did the majority of the edit but didn't want to have a monopoly over other peoples camera work. Whilst I am glad it was collaborative I actually think it weakens the piece and lengthened the editing process. We all had similar strong visions for the camera work that came from discussions within the group but most of us had different ideas of the edit that conflict a little. Specifically me and Steve had different views of the edit, on reflection I should have stayed out of the edit suit and let him get on with it but he asked for some help so I wanted to be there.

Due to strong pre production the project didn't change much, the script was really strong and we all immediately knew exactly what we wanted to do with it so throughout the production and post we used the script much as possible and I think our original proposal is almost exactly what we created. Again this is because of strong post production and confidence in the planned material, whilst its hard to have this confidence on all projects its something I will aim for in the future as it makes for smoother production and post production.

Our time management was a little off, we left shooting very late so that we could get the actors we wanted, this meant the edit and sound edit were really stressful. We also had a lot of problems with corrupted hard drives and sd cards, we tried to back things up as much as possible but some of the corruptions happened too early. Apart from the rushed edit I am really happy with the whole production I think we set out what we planned to, worked well as a team and are all confident we produced high quality images. I think the film is quite clearly made with an emphasis on cinematography but the simplicity of the story gives the visuals time to work. A more complex narrative or a theme or subject behind the narrative would have improved the film, as it is it is almost an exorcise in cinematography rather than a flashed out film but such is the nature of short films. I think that we have produced some good work that will definitely end up in our personal showreels but as an entertaining short it has its limits and lack of originality that we are well aware of, in the end the wish to create something visually considered outweighed the need for complexity and originality. That being said I am extremely proud of the film and would love to see it on a larger screen again when re edited and with a more professional sound quality that I am sure we will add even after the deadline to improve the film for our own purposes.

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