Hole though the wall

For our second video for the YouTube series we discussed to make the video based around an urban legend where a hotel guest find a hole in his room and someone sitting in the room next door who was never there. We discussed to make this our second video as we really liked the idea of filming at a different location then where we usually film for our other projects. We also liked the idea of leaving the film on the cliff hanger so we play with the audience’s mind and have them think about the film for the rest of the day.

We first planned the location and the actors over the holidays so when we came back we could start filming straight away. We booked the hotel for one night and stayed there for the whole day and stayed overnight to film over 4 hours of footage which we shorted down to 4 minutes. We headed over to the hotel at 12 and set up the equipment while we waited for our actors to head over. We filmed all the scenes outside the hotel and other shots where we didn’t need any actors which we spent up to an hour filming. Once we got all the shots we had an hour break which he had something to eat, as we were eating all our actors came and met us and we headed back to the hotel together. We started filming as we got back and stayed there for a few hours until it turned night time. We had to film in our room as it was against hotel rules to film in the hall or lobby so we had to get them shots at a different hotel on a later day. All our actors stayed with us until 11pm, we phoned for a taxi to drop off our actors so that they could get home safely and ready for the next day of filming.

We got up the next day and headed home to pick up the rest of the equipment. We changed the battery and got some clothes for our actors and headed to his house to pick him up and film before our next lesson at 1pm. We went to the closest hotel and filmed all the begin shots before he heads inside the hotel. We filmed all the shots outside and some in the hall before he heads into his room before going to the college for our next lesson.

We captured all the footage to my laptop and edited all the scenes in sequences so I could send Evan all the scenes in order and keeping the scenes clean and easy to follow. I changed the colour of the clips to show which clips were for each scene and used the third party plug in ‘Frame.io’ so that Evan could comment on the scenes. I started by ordering all the clips and taking the best takes and putting them in order then tidy up all the clips to make them flow and start pacing the scene for how I want it. Once that was done I went to the next scene and do the same until I finished all the scenes and put them into the master sequence. I then sent Evan a copy so that he could edit the audio and other sound effects needed while I worked on VFX and colour correction. Evan said that he did one of the effects where we see someone though the key hole which was good as that was less work for me in post. Once Evan done the audio I imported it and put them in order and sent him the newer version for his final thoughts. Evan then changed the ending and we finished by uploading it to YouTube and sending Neil the link.

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I felt the project taught us more about shooting at location and understanding our surroundings when filming in a more public place compare to other project where we will film in more private areas. I liked how the final film came out and the style, pacing and look of the film. I would change only a few things from more sound effects to some VFX I felt didn’t work but were alright for time we had left. If we were to film/ edit again I would use more of our time on the build scenes as I felt the pacing didn’t flow from start to middle unlike the pacing for the medium and ending. I would have spent more time on VFX, for example the eye in the wall didn’t work as well as I wanted and felt with more time and testing it could of came out much better. I’m happy with the final film but as I mentioned I would change a few things before I review it as highly as some of the other projects I have made.

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Post-Prodcution/ Editing

For our daydreaming vignette film, I decided to film at 7am as it would be so cold that the frostbite will be covering the grass making the shots look cold. I woke up at 7 and headed out for 7:15 where I got my first four clips of the glass, ice and leaf in cold conditions. I pulled out the drone and got some shots in the sky to set the scene and some other shots that could make everything look cold.While flying the drone I had it come down close to the ground to get some shots of the glass blowing in the wild. As I was doing so my dog walked over to the drone and starts barking at it while the camera films him. I liked this shot as you could the fog coming from his month showing the cold conditions and the wild blowing the glass around him. After filming for 30 minutes I decided to put the drone away and back to my camera for the rest of the shots. It was here where I found some ice on the ground around some mud and still glass. The shot didn’t look nice while filming but I decided to keep the shot as I felt I could save it in post production by adding some colour corrections to make the shot look colder.

The next day I wanted to get some warm, brighter shots to contrast the cold shots from the day before. I decided to get some shots of the fireplace as I felt I would make the fire look like the glass shot and have the two over lapping each other. After filming that for 2 minutes I decided to go outside and film my last shot before importing all the clips to edit. I filmed the lighter and spray together which made a burning flame which lasted of around about 2 seconds. I filmed the same shot 4 times with the camera settings changed every time. I used the third clip as the hands with harder to see and the flame raised higher covering most of the shot.

I imported all my clips onto my laptop and started editing. I put them in a folder and opened Premier where I put all the clips in order and made the clips around about 3-6 seconds so I’m not dragging the clips out. After all the clips were in order I put the clips in time with the song we were using and tried to match the flow of the music so the film was easy to watch and didn’t stand out. I added some colour correction on some of the clips to make them look warmer or colder depending on how I wanted the clips to look. I applied the effect on the ice clip and it looked very nice with the blue standing out making the main focus on the ice and not the glass around it. I made the flame shot slower as I felt the shot will look better if the audience saw how the flame was made and the grow as a slower speed. I added some fades on some of the clips to make the scene look like time has passed and the ice has covered the once green green. Once that was done the film was done and ready to export.

Overall I enjoyed the unit as I learned more on how to use the camera and the type of settings to use before filming. I felt at the start of the unit my camera techniques weren’t up to my standard but after this unit I felt like it’s getting closer with more practice would higher my original standards. This was my first time editing on my laptop and I have to say that the laptop handled the shots very well with almost every clip played at full quality even with effects on them. If I did this unit again I would like to make more warmer clips with the drone as I feel the clips would look great in 4k with the bright warm colours.

Lightings kits & Techniques

Over the holidays I started researching into some film equipment and the equipment that popped up the most was lights from standard LED to soft box lights. The reason they popped up so much was because they are important pieces of equipment for any film from high production to independent films. I will be going through some of types of lighting and how they all impact your film.

 

Kits

Redheads

Red heads are often used as a key flood light for large areas and used as backlights to light the background of the scene. These are used to show the audience the type of location the characters are in and to understand the situation the character is facing. The more light in the background will bring out the colour of the scene making it look nice showing that the character is safe and happy while having it dark will hide things in the shadows making the character feel watched and scared. The term “redhead” is often used loosely as there is no rigid definition, they do have a history of overheating giving it the name red head.

 

LED Lights

LED lights (also known as light-emitting diode) are portable lights and can be fitted on most dslr cameras. Unlike some lights on this list, LED uses batteries which makes them great for filming outside (at night) as they won’t need a generator to use some of the other lights. LED lights are cheaper compared to other lights and can be useful in some scenes but using LED lights in the wrong way can make the footage look very cheap. Most mistakes are when LED lights are used directly at the subject (character or object) and makes them too bright or makes the colour look poor. Having the LED light not as direct and using it to bounce light, the footage will turn out better.

 

Soft box Lighting

Soft box lighting offers the most (if not the best) lighting for shadows and bouncing light. Soft boxes are more effective at reducing shadows and unlike other lights can be bright without washing out the image (too bright to use). Soft box lights are mostly used for photography but can be very effective in film with the light causing shadows to the scene or to make the whole scene bright with no shadows, depending on what you like the soft box light can do it. Soft boxes are expensive lights and in most cases hard to setup, although some can be quicker to setup and at a cheaper price most of these type of lights are mainly for higher budget production teams.

 

Natural Lighting

The best type of lighting is natural light as having too lights will make the scene un natural and make the audience lose focus in the film. Natural lights are cheaper as you don’t need to pay to use them, you just need to think creative on how you’re going to use them. Other lights can cost a lot of money and most the time won’t be used unless they are needed while using natural lights (from windows and outside scenes) with give that real-life feeling to the scene making the characters as real as possible. You will natural lights for almost every film you make unless the film is hidden in a dark room. The cons of natural light is that its unpredictable and can change at any moment depending on the weather on the day. If the day is raining there won’t much light to use and if the day is sunny but the film is a horror, then it won’t feel natural.

 

 

Techniques

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting is always there and we grow up learning about the sun and the light it begins so there is nothing new to learn about it. We would use the natural light by just opening a window or walking around and film what feels natural. But we shouldn’t rely on natural light as the weather changes from a sunny day to rain in a matter of minutes. Natural light can make the scene realistic with the characters in everyday life which we the audience can relate to. Depending on the time of filming we can understand the situation better, so if the character is walking on a rainy day with grey clouds the light will make the scene look sad so we know how the character is feeling.

 

High Key Lighting

High key lighting is when the scene is mostly bright with a range of light tones to the skin making the subject shiny. High key lighting would usually be used to make the story more upbeat/ optimistic as the shots look artistic. You can make high key lighting with some studio lights and making them go to a high amount of light pointing towards the subject. You can also use natural lighting to create high key stills with the camera settings set high letting in more lights.

 

Low Key Lighting

Low key lighting is when the scene is mostly dark with very little amounts of lighting bouncing of the character’s face or shining off the subject. While high key lighting will focus on the light tones, low key relies on the shadows and deep black tones.  Low key is usually used to hide things in the shadows and gives the shot a dramatic mysterious tone to it.

 

I’ve learned that different types of lighting can impact a film is small ways that make up the scene. Understanding the lights help understand the scene they are used in and will make the scene who important to the film not only for how it looks but also how the characters might feel during that moment in time. I know that before I start filming my upcoming shorts, I need to know what lights I’ll be using and how to use them to tell my story better.

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.

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.

Week 3 – Feedback and Location Search

This week I had to present my idea to the rest of the group and from the feedback I received was great. Not only did people understand my idea but also the style which I thought would be the hardest part to explain. With one comment saying ‘Good Creative idea’ and ‘The no sound idea is a good idea’ I feel more confident and now looking forward to start the production. One of the weakness the group written down was that I need to find a location now so I don’t have to worry about it later when filming. Overall I’m happy with all my feedback and after reading all of the feedback, I feel I will make a better film.

Right after I presented my idea, I added more details to the script and finished the one scene. My first scene is about 15-20 seconds long but it’s in a location I can film in now and is the opening to the short film. I have started writing the second scene but in the scene I would need a flat/ apartment before I film. If I can’t find a flat or apartment in time, I will have to film that scene in a house which wouldn’t be too bad but I would prefer it if it was in a flat / apartment because it will show the audience that they are still in the early scenes in their relationship.

I have delayed my listed audition for the female role as I want to focus more on one thing at a time so that I know what’s going on and that I have everything under control. I want to focus on the locations first as I want to know where my scene is taking place before who will act in it. I will focus later on actors but for now I feel the location will be best to sort out now before I start making stuff up on the spot.

Overall I feel the production is doing well just like last week and just need to keep on top of my work so I don’t fell behind. I will need to find my locations this week so I can start searching for my actors. by next week. All the equipment is ready to use and free anytime between now and next month so I will just need to rely on locations and actors.