Final sequence - Dark Summer

Preliminary Exercise

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preliminary Exercise

1. Who did you work with and how did you manage the task between you?
I worked with Winnie, Jacob and Wanda for the Prelim exercise.  Firstly, we had a group meeting to discuss and plan what we were going to do.  We wrote our script, did the storyboard and then wrote our shooting schedule.  We all contributed ideas equally, were well organised and did this very easily and efficiently.  We’d learnt about the different roles before which were:

- Director
- Assistant Director
- Camera Person
- Sound technician
- Light technician
- Actors

As there were only 4 of us and me and Wanda were required to act in a lot of the shots, we had to double up roles.  Winnie and Jacob shared these roles between them mostly.  We took it in turns doing these roles to ensure we all had a go at all of them eg. When I wasn’t acting I would be Director and the Camera Person, we didn’t need a light technician as we didn’t need any particular lighting.  When we were editing our sequence, we all made suggestions and listened to each others ideas and got the editing done quickly and without any big problems.

2. How did you plan your sequence? What processes did you use? What theories did you try and take into account?
We did most of our planning in our group meeting.  When we wrote our script, we ensured it had narrative flow and made sense to the audience.  When drawing our storyboard, we planned how each shot would be framed and if we had a pan in the shot we drew an arrow to show the camera movement and direction, we also made sure we had a range of different shot types and that there wouldn’t be any jumpy transitions eg. We wouldn’t have an establishing shot to an ECU but we would have a MS to a CU to an ECU.  We also included the continuity rules such as the 180 degree rule so the characters had the same left/right relationship throughout the sequence and the ‘imaginary line’ was not crossed.  Also match on action when I’m opening the door, we planned to film this twice, once from outside the room and once from inside the room so we can just edit the shots together to create the match on action, also a shot-reverse-shot to show the conversation.  We planned on our storyboard the length of our shots and to film them longer than they will actually be as we can edit what we don’t want out.  We planned the location of all our shots too.  As we had all our shots on our storyboard, we can then write out our shooting schedule, we chose to shoot them based on location instead of order as this is much quicker and less set-ups.  After our meeting, we did a walk through to figure out camera placement and to ensure we had enough room for our shots, the lighting looked good and we were clear and confident about what we were doing.

3. What technology did you use to complete the task and how did you use it?
Hardware – We used a Canon HV video camera, a mini DV tape, a Tripod as oppose to holding it as this makes the shots look really smooth and is easy to move when doing a pan, and a shotgun microphone and headphones plugged into the camera to increase the quality and clarity of the sound and to hear if there is any background noise which would disrupt the shot.

Software – We used a PC based editing suite and we used Adobe Premiere Pro.  There were two monitors, the source monitor, the main one which we were editing on and the output monitor, where we could watch what we had edited so we would see what the sequence would look like and weather it looked right or not.  We dragged our clips onto two timelines so we could put the clips alternately on two different tracks so they were clear to see.  We cut the clips using the razor tool, this cuts them into separate shots so then we could just delete the clips, using the rubber band tool, we didn’t want.  When doing our shot-reverse-shot we had to cut the clips and then rearrange them to create the conversation.  Also we had to drag the clips right next to each other so there were no gaps so the sequence had narrative flow.  Finally, using the board titling software we created a title for our sequence at the start and we used a transition, a fade to black at the end.

4. What factors did you have to take into account when planning, shooting and editing?
We had to take into account many factors when planning, shooting and editing.  When planning, we had to consider how we would manage our time shooting the sequence, we had 1 hour to shoot and 1 hour to edit so our storyboard and shooting schedule helped organise our time really well.  We also had to consider the location of where we wanted to shoot and if all the locations were free at the time we wanted to use them as all of the groups were using the corridor to shoot, so we arranged time slots for when we could film in the corridor.  

When shooting, we had to consider camera position, weather there would be enough room to comfortably shoot where we needed and the 180 and 30 degree rule as without these, the sequence would have looked disorientated.  We had to move around furniture in the room so that there wouldn’t be any distractions away from the characters and so there would be more space to do the pan and the establishing shot.  Sound was a big factor we had to take into account when shooting as we were picking up background noise from people which was disrupting the shot so we had to ask the other groups to be quiet while we were filming.  

When editing, we had to consider where to cut each shot to create narrative flow and techniques such as match-on-action and shot-reverse-shot.

5. How successful was your sequence? Please identify what worked well, and in hindsight, what would you improve/do differently?
I think our sequence was quite successful as a lot of things worked well.  Firstly I think the editing was very good, the shot-reverse-shot was cut exactly right and we showed the match-on-action very well as when I’m filmed opening the door from outside the room, the door is the same angle amount open when it cuts to me being filmed from inside the room.  We didn’t break the 180 degree rule, there was no camera movement and we didn’t have any background noise as we’d ask them to be quiet.  We also created a sense of the characters surroundings and atmosphere well for the audience as we had a few establishing shots.  All of this adds up to create very realistic narrative flow.

However, there were a few things that I would improve if I had the chance to do it again.  Firstly I would have a close up of my hand on the door handle pushing the door open as this would have been more effective, our original shot of this broke the 30 degree rule, it was too similar to the one of me walking in and the transition looked really jumpy so we couldn’t use it.  Secondly, when I walk across the room we originally planned me to say “Hi” to Wanda as she said “Hi” to me but we had to cut this out because it interfered with the match-on-action, so it looks like I’m ignoring her but walking towards her which doesn’t make sense to the audience.  Also, when I walk across the room and sit opposite Wanda, there is a pause which creates a sort of tense atmosphere, this wasn’t meant to be there but we had to keep it in otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting down yet.  Still, the transition between the establishing shot of me and Wanda sitting opposite each other to the shot-reverse-shot is really stiff and doesn’t flow at all, this was because we didn’t take a long enough shot to make this transition smooth.  We should have filmed this shot twice, once from the pan and once from Wanda’s point of view and we could have edited this together to create a match-on-action.  Finally, I think the last shot-reverse-shot when Wanda says “Sorry” is not long enough, we had to cut the end as she looked at the camera so I don’t think this was very effective.

6. What have you learnt from completing the task? Looking ahead, how will this learning be significant when completing the rest of our foundation coursework, do you think?
I have learnt a lot and understand a lot more about planning, shooting and editing from completing this task, I see how important the continuity rules such as match-on-action, shot-reverse-shot and the 180 degree rule, are to make a sequence flow, make sense and be easy to watch for the audience.  I’ve learnt how important it is to film a shot much longer than you intend it to be and make sure you have the shot’s from all point of views and camera positions so you can edit and cut the clips down later to create the sequence, this ensures transitions are always smooth and never look jumpy or stiff.  I’ve seen how important planning is as this really helped us organise our time and we worked a lot quicker and efficiently with our storyboard and shooting schedule as we knew exactly what we were doing.  I’ve also learnt how important every little detail is as the smallest detail could disrupt the narrative flow.  I think this task will really help me when completing the rest of my foundation coursework as I’ve had experience with planning, shooting and editing now and I know I won’t make the same mistakes again.

Group 1C

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