70 – Preliminary Exercise – Second edition

For our preliminary exercise we first shot the following clip however upon our teachers evaluating our clip we were told there some issues and they advised us to re shoot the clip. The clip below is our first attempt.

In our own evaluation of this version we noted that was clear audio problems and that the continuity was wrong at the start of the clip once it goes to an over the shoulder shot. In this shot the character was basically too far into the room and the continuity was therefore wrong.

Upon the teachers viewing they noted that there was a lack of match on action, or at least incredibly apparent match on action. Also they said some of the framing was a bit wrong and that certain shots needed to be closer to the characters and positioned differently. At the time we were a little bemused by these comments but on reflection they were true. We were then asked to redo the clip to correct the problems in this clip. So the following clip below is the second edition of the exercise. We were going to keep exactly the same script but we deviated from it slightly to add in a more creepy element purely for our own entertainment. Also we added in a few more shots in order to demonstrate match on action more effectively.

The start of the clip in this version is quite different which is hopefully apparent. We have added more shots with different angles at the beginning when the character opens the door so that the match on action is displayed in more detail. This involved matching the action from the door handle opening in a close up to a obscure close up on the other side of the door looking down slightly as it turns open and then finally to a wide shot from inside the room as the door finished turning. This demonstrates match on action much more apparently than the first clip so this was a definite improvement.

Also the sound problems have gone as we spent more time making sure the audio was at the right levels and no bit was too loud. Also there are no continuity errors as far as I am aware so all of the points we noted in our evaluation have been corrected.

The final key thing to change then was the framing and we tried to be more creative with how the shots were framed in this version. We achieved this by going for more close ups than before and being very scrutinous when it came to the compostion by sticking as much as possible to the rule of thirds for instance.

It wasn’t extremely deliberate but we also used a much better quality camera this time round. As before we had used a digital 200 pound camera, this time we used a DSLR (digital single lense reflex) which are far superior in definition so in general most shots looked much nicer than before. However at the time we didn’t actually know how to focus the lense so a couple of shots are out of focus which is a shame. Since though I have bought a Canon DSLR myself so I am now much more knowledgeable on how to work DSLR’s so this mistake should not happen again.

Overall I am really pleased with how the second version came out. It particularly demonstrates match on action much more effectively and still shows the 180 degree rule once the characters are facing each other and at the same point we used shot/reverse shot with over the shoulders and close ups. So I am glad we re-filmed as we have been left with a much better example of these rules and in general a better quality clip overall.

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45 – Reservoir Dogs Evaluation

So the editing is now finished and my finished clip can be seen below:

and below is the original scene from Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992):

As I said in the editing blog I am happy with the editing part of this project. I have tried really hard to use the footage our team filmed to match it to the original clip. I think the overall results was the best I could have done and I am pleased with the result as I have played both the original and mine side by side and it does seem very similar which is the only way I myself can asses the video. The only key things I notice that are wrong are possibly the colour palette and how the saturated the shots look, I did try to match the visual look as much as possible but I struggled and ran out of time so this was the best I got. Also the text doesn’t look quite as precise as I would have wanted it to but yet again I struggled to get it exactly how I wanted it.

One of my main problems with this exercise was the time limit which I don’t think our group as a whole felt comfortable working in as the planning wasn’t quite as in depth as it could have been which then along with missing group members and a late start led to the filming being very stressful and difficult to get the best results from. I myself ended up with a larger role in the filming than I initially thought I was going to and the only preparation I had done was screen caps to use as the screenshots and suddenly I had to try and choreograph some of the shots. It was a stressful 50 minutes but it could have gone worse and on reflection it probably went quite smoothly considering the initial difficulties which we did overcome but once we got into it the filming turned out alright. My main regret though is how we filmed the characters ‘walking’ as in our version they don’t walk they just bob, in slow motion, which just looks wrong.

So after the first edit was done I watched it back myself and made notes on it and then showed a further 5 people and asked them to asses it for me and point out any mistakes. This was a really useful stage of the process for me as it allowed me to see mistakes that I hadn’t even noticed and really fine tune the whole video. I then produced a second version of the clip with new corrections which has become the finished version.

Aside from the editing side of things which I have become very comfortable with it is the filming and pre production that I found most difficult. I have definitely learnt a lot by doing this task as I now realise that the preparation before filming is just as important as the filming itself, if not more, and a greater focus will be needed on this stage in the future as it felt like once the filming started the group were a bit flustered and not sure what to do. In the future I think it would be more efficient to plan the whole shoot in detail before hand and possibly draw up more storyboards so that the filming goes much more smoothly. This preparation process is only going to get harder when we start the main production exercise as we won’t have an established clip as a starting point.

44 – Reservoir Dogs Editing

The editing of the clip has been a fairly simple process. This is because the way I did the editing was to overlay our clips on top of the original and then set the opacity down so I could see both the original and our remake at the same time. This enabled me to adjust our version so it matches the original as much as possible. Also it was easy to know how long each shot lasts as you can simply cut it at the same time as the original video. Matching some of the footage was difficult as the shot was filmed slightly wrong so it was difficult to fix the problems just through editing.

What proved more difficult was adding the text and trying to make that as similar as possible as it’s hard to find the right font and the right movements and fades so that its like the original. This involved using keyframes where possible to match the original movement on the text. I have completed these now and I am fairly pleased with the result.

One of the main issues I have with the footage is that it’s quite obvious that we aren’t moving in the clip which I tried to find ways to correct in the editing, for instance adding artificial camera movement to create a look of real movement but this was ineffective and I gave up with that idea. I have left the footage as it was now but I am not very pleased with it. It was easier when filming though to just stay in the same place but now I think we should have had the actors walking even if it was going to be more difficult with the time constraints.

After finishing an initial draft of the clip I uploaded it to youtube and showed other people so they could help me spot mistakes. This version of the scene can be seen here:

From here I wrote up a list of key problems that needed to be changed which looked like this:

2013-12-10 21.39.08

 

If you find it difficult to read my handwriting the list basically details problems with the audio for instance the pitch of the music needed changing and certain clips needed muting. Also a couple of the shots were too long and needed to be adjusted. Such as the first wide shot of the group walking down the street as the clip went on just a bit too long and makes it look like there are no other people walking down the street. So I then went back to the editing and changed these and then produced a second version of the clip seen below.

As you may be able to see the key differences are the audio at the start has been adjusted so it doesn’t sound as bad as the quality of the audio in the initial clip. Also some shots have ended earlier and a major spelling mistake of Reservoir as Resevoir has been changed. This version of the clip I am more happy with however I noticed that some of the text has lost it’s outline so I will just need to quickly adjust that before the finished clip. Overall though I am happy with how the editing has gone and I think I’ve done all in my power to right some mistakes and get the best out of our footage.

43 – Reservoir Dogs Filming

We had around a week to plan and organise the filming which we did today. We had 50 minutes to shoot the whole scene which may seem a lot of time but each shot needed planning and preparation that is even more prevalent than a usual video as we are attempting to precisely recreate an already existing video. Also our director didn’t turn up and neither did another member of our group so from the start we had to change plan quite quickly. This led to a bit of time being lost at the start of the lesson as we had to go and find different people to help us and star in the video.

This exercise made me realise that preparation is key to the production and even though the problems we had was no one’s fault, it might be worth making fail safe’s in the future so that if someone isn’t there then the filming can still continue smoothly. Also that there is never too much preparation to be made and when it comes to filming our main projects I think I will need to prepare a lot more than I did with this exercise.

I ended up feeling much more stressed than I thought I was going to as it is difficult to shoot without a director. The time we had felt very short which resulted in trying to get through shots very quickly which worried me a little bit as the quality may not be as good, nothing could have been done to avoid this however and the shots will probably be fine. I do think it would have been useful to have an extra 50 minutes or maybe 30 minutes just to ease some of the pressure but all will be revealed once we start editing.

37 – Reservoir Dogs Recreation Planning

Over the last week the media group was divided, girls in one team, boys in the other. A task was given to us to recreate the opening titles of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. This is the scene where the main cast are walking down the street to the song “Little Green Bag” by the George Baker Selection. Personally I was quite excited for this task as it is a really cool scene to recreate. The clip can be seen below.

Each member of the team was assigned a role. As I was the only person in the group I assumed the storyboard artist role. I started drawing these storyboards with a sense of worry as we only had a few days till the day we were filming and a lot needed to be storyboarded. This is when I realised that the scenario of recreating a scene that already exists is a rare opportunity and that the storyboard could essentially be a series of screenshots of the original video allowing for less chance of there being radical difference between our shot and the original.

The rest of the group had to organise locations and liaison with the other group on which locations to use, there as also members of the group who were in charge of costumes and of course a producer, director and camera operator.

The producers is the person who runs the whole production and managers everything from finance to overseeing the filming and distributing the film. The director is then in charge of the filming and will most likely over see both pre and post production, the director usually has the creative control over the film whereas the producer is more managing how the film is made and how it will be distributed. There could be other roles that are specific to managing certain aspects of the film like audio, cinematography, costume, locations, casting and more. Then of course there will be storyboard artists, concept artists and writers.

16 – Preliminary Exercise Evaluation

For the preliminary exercise we were asked to display:

  • Match on action – where the editor cuts from one shot to another view that matches the first shot’s action.
  • Shot/Reverse Shot – a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer assumes that they are looking at each other.
  • The 180 degree rule – a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. An imaginary line called the axis connects the characters and by keeping the camera on one side of this axis for every shot in the scene, the first character will always be frame right of the second character, who is then always frame left of the first. If the camera passes over the axis, it is calledjumping the line or crossing the line.

We demonstrated these effects by:

Using match on action where the character opens the door in the first shot and continues to open it in the second and also between 2 shots of the character walking across the room where one shot is a wide shot of the whole room and the other shot is tracking parallel to him as he moves across the room. Another definition for match on action is “either an action commenced in shot A is completed in shot B, or an action in shot A is mirrored by an action in shot B”. In these two examples 2 shots have been used. Let’s take the door opening sequence as our example, in this case shot A is a mid shot of the character approaching the door and beginning to open it, (in this case the action is the character opening the door) shot B is a wider shot of the character finishing opening the door. As said we used this technique again between two shots of the character walking across the room. By definition the action is matched into the next shot and continued in both instances and in this way we achieved match on action effectively.

Shot/reverse shot was used when the characters are both sat down and facing each other. In this sequence we combined mid shots, over the shoulder shots and close ups. As both of the characters are looking in opposite directions the audience can see that the characters are looking at each other throughout the sequence.

The 180 degree rule was evident as soon as the characters are both sat down. All the shots are done on one side of the characters. However one of the shots almost crosses the line, this is the shot that has the mug in the bottom of the frame, it was shot on the axis but is quite close to crossing the line.

The following is our video:

Our own viewing and evaluation:

Upon our groups viewing of the video it was evident that there was audio problems that were not fixed by the time this version of the clip was uploaded but we were under the impression we would get the chance to fine tune it. The main problem with the audio was that the dialogue was captured with a microphone and when editing we added the microphone audio over the top and amplified it so it was audible but we were going to then amplify the rest of the video to match the audio but as stated this was not yet finished when this version of the clip was added.

There was also an over the shoulder shot that did not match the position of one of the characters in the sequence and consequently made the continuity slightly wrong. This was only noticed once we started the editing however. The character basically appears to be further into the room than he should be at that point. The problem was during editing there is not much you can do to fix this, in honesty we should have just removed the shot.

Aside from the shot just mentioned the continuity seemed to be up to standard and nothing looked blatantly wrong in the clip. However there wasn’t much that could have gone in regards to continuity as the clip was fairly simple and did not involve many props or movement within the scene that could have gone wrong after the edit.

Our clip was then evaluated by the class teachers who had further comments of their own. This included:

A lack of match on action within the clip. This came as a bit of a surprise to our group as there was definitely an attempt on our behalf at match on action as stated earlier. Their comments to us was that the action wasn’t quite obvious enough between the two different shots to qualify as match on action and that the two shots used would have been better if they had been further apart from each other, for instance a close up and a wide shot instead of a mid shot and a wide shot which is what we used for the door opening sequence.

Many of the shots were not close enough to the characters especially once the characters were in conversation with each other. This meant in general the framing of the shots was wrong throughout the clip which is regrettable but part of the point of this preliminary exercise is to make mistakes now and learn not to make them when it comes to the production exercise. The rule of thirds is an important part of framing the shot effectively and it’s techniques like that and more that we could do with researching more before the production begins.

There was also a shot near the beginning where it was shot against a glass door, the main problem being the reflections where at one point its possible to see the camera operators foot and I think mine is seen as well. Also there was light coming through the corridor it was shot in which silhouetted the character in the shot. Yet again this is an easy thing to consider next time.

Following the evaluation our group is now filming a new clip where we have been given the chance to improve the clip and fix errors that were made in the first clip.  So overall this exercise has been really useful to me as I now understand more about how to film a scene effectively.

14 – First Impressions of filming preliminary exercise

Over the last couple of days we started filming the preliminary exercise. Myself and other member of the group, Thomas were acting in the clip while Jess was the camera operator. We started filming the exercise in a certain room and only had time to do a couple of shots before the end of the lesson, this left us with the problem that when we tried to carry on the filming the room we were using had another class in it.

So instead we started filming again in the school hall. In fact I preferred the new location as it was a larger area which meant we could get more interesting wide shots. Also there was more light in the room which saves time in editing later however as my group found out during the GCSE music video task if there is too much natural light in the room then people can become almost silhouetted (I did want an effect similar to this though and once it had been edited, I enjoyed the final product). Also it is better for the short story that we created as the script follows an apocalypse inside the school and the wide area gave the scene a more visually imposing look, this gave us more opportunity to use wide shots in a dramatic way and fully make use of the space by placing the characters in the centre of the room.

One of the difficulties was moving the equipment across the room as the room is quite large. Also the largeness of the room gave problems with recording the audio as sounds tended to reverberate around the room, although we will see how much of an effect this has when it comes to editing the footage and audio files together.

For the shots between dialogue we chose to mix mid over the shoulder shots and close ups of each character. These will then be cut one after the over to create the shot reverse shot effect. In addition we only filmed from one side of the characters to fulfil the 180 degree rule. Match on action will be present when Thomas’ character walks across the room and when he opens the door to the hall. I think we used these effectively but it will be really hard to evaluate until we see the footage again and start cutting it together.

Overall the filming went quite well I think although we possibly could have done it in less time and considered the sound recording more. I am worried about how intense the light in the background was as well but yet again till the edit it was difficult to deem what it will finish up looking like.