Week 3/4 -Re-Create a Scene

For week 3 we had to film/ photography another project which meant we had to delay this project for week 4. Although we were out filming, it gave us time to reflect on our current work and how we could improve in the coming weeks. One of my biggest weakest was using the cameras to their full potential to make our shots more cinematic and eye catching. That’s why I was happy to be in a group with both Evan and Molly as they have made really nice looking films in the past and was interested in how they work the camera both though settings and movement.

For this weeks project we had to re-create any film scene using the equipment and locations we had. As Me and Evan weren’t here this week we had to use our spare time to discuss our ideas for a film scene we could re-create. We created a Facebook group chat and wrote down some of the films and the scenes that we could re-create. Evan suggested the fight scene in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows’ as he enjoyed the film recently and felt like that scene would test his camera movement. Me and Molly were more then happy to pick that scene and started researching for props and locations. The planning was very short as Evan already had a few locations in mind and the props were very basic and could be picked up on the day. Once all this was done we choice our two actors (me and Liam) and picked a date we were all free to film.

We started the day at 11am where we all met at the college before heading off to film. We carried the equipment and props to the car park where we filmed the fight scene. As we were carrying the equipment, we talked about the shot list and downloaded the video as reference while walking there. Once we got there we set up all our equipment and went over our lines, we were doing this Evan was changing the settings on the camera for how he felt the scene should look and Molly adjusted the recorder for the right levels. I noticed some of the settings Evan had changed and noticed how most if not all the settings were in manual, this told me that Evan wanted to be in control of everything on the camera and change the style to be as close to the film as much as possible.

After that was done we began filming the opening scene which were going over our lines with little movement in the scene. Once all our lines were done we decided to do all the fight scenes from start to finish as they would take the longest to shot. We watched the scene frame by frame to see how the characters punches and where the other character moves in the shot. We re-created the scene without filming as we went over it multiple to make sure the scene was as close to the original while being safe from the punches. As the fight scene in the film slowed down, we could slow down our punches as well so that no one gets hurt during the filming. Once we felt happy and safe we started filming again and did the shots multiple times so that when editing we had some good clips. After the first fight scene, Molly had to leave but as we already recorded all the audio we were fine to carry on with the rest of the scene without her. Although it did make some of the shots harder without her, I felt like we handled the situation well with some nice shots. While filming, me and Evan were thinking how these shots will work while editing and we said that we should do the same shot using different techniques as having the same shot multiple times wouldn’t benefit us and would make the editing process much harder. After about two hours of filming we got to the end scene where the character throws the other character off the side of the building down to his death, as none of us wanted to die we had to shot an alternative version while still keeping it as close to the original as possible. For that we I had to lay down on the fence and we angled the shot to look like I was laying down on the wall which was shown in the previous shot. Once all the shots were done and we were both happy with what we had, we decided to come back and import the clips to the computer.

As we have the week over, I felt like it was best for me to import all the clips and audio from the day to my own personal SD card so that I could carry on editing at home. I did this as I felt more free and happy to use my own settings which I have set on my computer which weren’t on the Macs at the college. Before leaving, we had forgot to record our lines for the voice over, as we only had a few minutes left we decided to go to the room next door and recorded our lines while we were importing our clips over to the computer.

Overall the day went really well and I learned more about using the camera from seeing first hand how Evan handled it and techniques he used for some of the shots. I also liked how he saw the shots in the original film and thought out the shots with both me and Molly so that when we did start filming, we were on board with his idea and understood how it might turn out.For the end of this week I will begin editing all the clips and audio and will meet the deadline on time. I have a good understanding of how the effects worked in the film and how I could use them to re create them so hopefully they will look as good if not better in our film.

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Week 2 -Film Walsall

For our second week we went out and filmed parts of Walsall, no only did we film parts of Walsall but also tested our presenting skills and our research on these locations. Even after talking about it on my last blog, our shots were very basic and will need to improve in the coming weeks if we want to show off both our cinematography skills and the location of our shot.

The first thing we did this week was finish off our work from last week and after a week, I notice more things about my shots and felt like I looked more at the good points and what I liked about the shots while still looking on what to improve for next time we shot. After finishing off the editing, we exported our project and headed straight into the next project which was to film four key parts of Walsall and to share some information about them. Before we headed off Neil taught us about linked video and audio together. Although we learned about this already, It was still helpful to learn about it again and to make shall I still remember how to do it. We then got into groups and my partners were Molly and Rebecca which I enjoyed as I hadn’t worked with them before and was interested to see how they worked both with the camera and research techniques. Although I hadn’t worked with them before, I had watched some of their work and liked the style and techniques they had used in the past.

Our first location was ‘Walsall’s Arboretum’ which was our longest we spent at a location compared to the other four (we did miss two of the locations in the end). The reason we spent so long at the Arboretum was due to the fact that the Arboretum was the furthest one away from the college and that it had so much history about it, we wanted to use our voice overs talking about it and talk about facts which we found interesting. After setting up our first shot by the lake. we began researching about the Arboretum and found out some interesting facts about the place and wrote them down on a piece of paper. We left the camera rolling for six minutes which we later used for a time lapse. After writing down theses facts, we set up our next shot very quick while framing the camera with a nice depth of field making the main subject (Molly) the main focus in the shot.We also got some quick shots of other things included at the Arboretum such as the flowers, statue and the main lake with the birds swimming just to use over the Molly shot as we felt looking at Molly won’t show us much about what we were talking about. We spent close to an hour there and only spent half the time at the ‘Walsall Leather Museum’ as we were rushed for time.

The Walsall Leather Museum was our last location of the day and we only spent half an hour there which was shown during the editing later on the day. This time I asked the group if it was alright for me to present the information and they were happy to let me. Although the information wasn’t as interesting as the ones at the Arboretum it was still useful we felt that we told the history in a professional manner. After filming my shot we moved on to the other shots which were mostly wide shots and close ups of the building and flowers in the garden. I did try and do dolly shot but in said of doing the shot side to side, I did the shot from top to bottom to show off the building we were filming. On the camera this shot looked really nice but as I soon found out, didn’t look as nice and wasn’t good enough to use in the main project. After the filming was done we headed back into the college to import our clips and begin the editing process.

After importing our clips we began editing and as I talked about last week, some of our clips looked better on the camera screen then on the computer editing. Although it wasn’t as bad as the week before we did have some very noticeable clips that looked shaky and were not good enough to use. I made a quick edit and put all the clips in order just so I would know how the project would flow and when the clips should start and stop. Once I did this the editing was very simple in the sense of what clips I should be using and how the project would flow with the clips. This also helped with what clips I would use and which I would delete as some clips were just too small or too long. I do have a lot more editing I would like to do next week such as the colour grading, rearranging the clips and the use of music throughout the projects. Hopefully after this week I will see how other people in my group edit their clips and see their style of film making.

Overall I felt like the lesson was a stepping stone for the next project with some good and bad points to take away. With our main project coming close it’s always nice to use these lessons to improve our basic skills and try more advanced techniques to see if they would work for our other projects so that we won’t make the mistake with more to lose.The group I was put in was more then happy with the shots and I felt like we understand how we want our projects to flow and that we filmed different shots to fit our styles. In the end I was happy with what’s happened so far and will be happy to finish off the short project to compare to my group so that we would know in future our styles and techniques so that we will improve our film making skills together.

Week 1 – Different Camera Angles

First week back at college and we looked into camera angles and when we would use them, as basic as that was it really made me think about how I can push myself into perfecting these shots and how I can tell my story better in my upcoming short films. We were then asked to go out and shot some of these shots and to edit them when we get back. After shooting the shots and looking back at them, I felt that the shots could of be better in both the duration and what was on screen.

The Wide Shot (WS) looked fine but felt it didn’t really show the location for what it was and that was a quiet park with the birds swimming. Although we wasn’t telling a story and that the shot was just a random shot, I still felt that the WS should still set the scene for the rest of the shots that were about to come. I did however like the amount of colour coming into the camera which was done by changing the settings on the camera and increasing the aperture on the lens.

The next camera angle was the Mid Shot (MS) and the thing I really liked about this shot was the depth of field between the character and the location background. Again just like the WS, the settings on the camera really brought out the colours and details in the characters hair and eyes. My only criticism of the shot was that it wasn’t long enough and that we didn’t play around with different angles such as showing the character from his left or right or over the shoulder of another character.

The Close Up (CU) was my favourite angle from the others as it didn’t include a character but just a flower blowing in the wind which I enjoyed looking at and felt it could be used in a story to show how calm the scene is or how everything is fine in that moment of time. The shot wasn’t too long or too short and just looked beautiful to look at for as long as you wanted to look at it for. But the thing that makes this shot my favourite was the range of colours between the flowers, the water, the glass and the ducks swimming, all primary colours fitting in the shots really balanced the levels.

The Pan shot was possibly the worse shot of the day as it didn’t feel natural and had parts where the camera would stop then move too quick. The Pan was the only shot that was used at the college and to be honest wasn’t the best place to use the shot, the location looked doll and was mostly just white walls from the top floor looking down at everything else. If we were to do the shot again it will be in a brighter location with different colours in every frame. We would also improve the Pan from the tripod so it will feel more soft and smooth which we will do with a number of different shots adjusting the tripod every time.

The Dutch Tilt (DT) was a shot I wasn’t used to before but after the first few attempts I felt like I understand the shot more and could see myself using the shot in some short films in the future. The shot wasn’t anything special with the shot being just a laid down tripod, but as just mentioned the shot has potential and with more attempts and research could be useful in some short films.

The Low Angle (LA) was forgettable compared to the other shots but looked good on screen both on the camera and computer. What I liked about the LA was the light bouncing off the statues head and creating a lens flare on the camera which was something that we didn’t have on any other shot. I felt like the shot kept unfocusing which we will look into next time we use the shot as both the Low and High angle shots are artsy shots which we will be using next time because they not only look really beautiful and adds more detail in the shot but also tells a story of the character/ object in the scene.

The High Angle (HA) wasn’t as good as the LA and could possibly be the worse shot next to the Pan. The reason the HA didn’t do very well was the fact we rushed the shot due to the time and only filmed the shot the once and went off to the next shot. The shot looks dull and lacked colours and detail of the character. As talked about in the LA, we will be using this shot more so it was nice to not get the shot right so that in future we will know how to shoot the shot better and with more planning.

The last angle as the Tracking Shot and this shot looked great on camera but once we got back to the computer noticed the mistakes which could of easily be fixed if we had re watched in playback. The main mistake was the fact the camera shake was too noticeable and could of be smoother had it been filmed on a tripod and filmed holding the legs. The idea of the shot was there but during the filming was not thought about and that was the reason the shot didn’t look good and compared to some of the other shots were not professional for this high level.

Overall I felt that more then half the shots looked artsy and could be used in some upcoming short films in ways to tell our story better but the other shots I felt should be looked over and for us to practice them over and over until we can master them and to use the shots to make other films better. This lesson has opened my eyes to how and when we should use the shots and how they can tell the story from showing us the same thing but in different angles.