Archives for February2014


French New Wave

Film Studies Task 1 – Criteria 2.1

French new wave is a term used to describe a specific type of film making that dates back to the late 1950’s and early 60’s. The idea of French new wave all began with an article in Cahiers du Cinema, a French magazine that focused on film. In 1954, Francois Truffaut wrote a controversial piece in the magazine entitled ‘A Certain Tendency in French Cinema’, in this article Truffaut famously stated that ‘French cinema is dead’, calling it too ‘script lead’ and ‘literary’. Truffaut’s wanted to point out that cinema was too similar to other art forms and not it’s own, ‘why not simply read a book or watch a play if you want people just to talk?’ encapsulates his point. This article would go on to cause controversy through out the world of film making. After this article, Francois Truffaut went on to become a film director himself, he teamed up with fellow french film makers Andre Bazin and Jean-Luc Godard, and through a combination of long takes, frequent jump cuts and non-linear narratives they went on to create an entirely new genre of film that would influence film making for decades. Truffaut, Bazin and Godard did not use artificial lights, professional actors or scripts, which gave french new wave a fluid and natural feel to their films. New, never before seen techniques were used in the films, voice overs were used to explain what was happening and characters often broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the camera which almost forced the audience to realise this was a new type of film, different to anything they had seen before.

As a class, we were split in to small groups and told to make a short film that showcased techniques used in French new wave. To give us some ideas, we watched some clips one of the most well-known French new wave films, ‘Breathless’ or ‘A Bout de Souffle’ (shown below).

The natural aspect of French new wave was a very important part of this kind of film making so we purposly did not write a script or even think too in depth about a story. My group, consisting of Craig, Vicky, Pete and Joey used long, un-interupted shots and a voice over when we filmed our attempt. We also broke the fourth wall, frequently swapped clothes and moved positions in order to deliberately break continuity. It was good fun experimenting with different methods of film making like this. Our video is shown below.

French new wave is still used today and aspects of french new wave continue to make an appearance in films, proving that Francois Truffaut and French new wave was an influential and very important part of cinematic history.

3D Modelling

Unit 69 (Criteria 1.1, 1.2, 2.1,2.2,2.3,3.1,3.2)

The Project: For our 3D Modelling unit we would be creating models for a game. Our setting would be an American 1950’s style gas station. The idea of the game is to find all the missing pieces of a crashed rocket in order to repair it. The game is designed for a young target audience of around 5 years old.

For the first week of our 3D Modelling unit we attempted to make a simple table in Blender just to get ourselves used to the software.

We began with a cube and through cutting, scaling and extruding we got a basic table design that we added a wood texture to so it looked realistic. From here we tried to model something that could be used for our project. Again starting with a standard cube, we attempted to create an old style gas canister similar to the ones you would associate with 1950’s America. Similar to the picture below.

 

Using the basic skills we learned from the first week, we extruded the basic cube shape to make a rectangular shape that would be the starting point for us to shape our gas can. We then added a slight lip around the top of the gas can (pictured below), a handle and a screw top that gave us a good looking realistic shape for our gas can. The next step was to add a texture to the can, we searched online to find a suitable texture that we could wrap around the gas can to make it look real. We wanted a dark red, rusted looking texture that would make the can look used and aged. Although we didn’t manage to finish the texture process, we did finish with a model I was pleased with.

 

Week 3

On our third week of this project we were told to make a wine bottle and wine glass. The win bottle was quite easy to make because we were given a picture to base our model on. We used the picture as a background and used a line tool to draw around half of the bottle and then we mirrored this shape to create a full model. After adding a few curves and modifiers a dark green, glass like texture and label the wine bottle looked very realistic. After the bottle was complete, we began to make the wine glass to accompany it. Pictured below is the finished wine glass, I was very pleased with the wine glass because I think the glass texture looks very realistic.

 

 

The following week we were put in to small groups of 3-4 and given tasks to complete. I was put in to a group with Frankie, Ed, Sam and Emily and we would be responsible for creating the exterior and interior of the shop. The setting we have in mind is something similar to the pictures shown below.

 

Week 5:

This week’s lesson began with a group meeting in the morning, however only  I and Frankie were present because the other members of the group were either late or away. We had the meeting to discuss the roles we would play over the coming weeks. My group was in charge of building the shop location so we searched through and saved some images like the ones shown above, this was to ensure we were all on the same page and working towards the same end product. We drew up a list of items that we wanted to make and split up in to groups of two to get started straight away.

Myself and Frankie will be trying to make the following items:

The Bar/Counter, Bar Stools, Ceiling Fan, Bubblegum Machine, Fridge/Vending Machine and a few more small items.

Ed will be trying to make:

A Cash Register, Receipts Spike, Seating Booths, Bar Condiments, Coca Cola glasses/Bottles and Wall Art/Posters.

Sam and Emily will be making:

Check  Floor, Table Menu’s and Wall Art.

After this was decided, we told Ed and Sam the plan and we each got on with our individual projects straight away, Ed made a great start on the cash register and me and Frankie started to design the bar. However, we didn’t make much progress because we didn’t have a Mac available with the BSC students needing 3of the 8 available.

The pictures below show Ed’s progress on making the cash register and the very beginning of our Bar:

 

Week 6:

This week we only had the morning to work on our projects because we had to go to the cinema for showing of student’s work in the afternoon.

Myself and Frankie spent some time in the morning looking at trying to finish the bar design that we started the week before. But after playing around with the design for a while, we felt there wasn’t much more we could do until the texturing stage so we left that for another time and started on a new model. We read through the list of models that we created at the start of the project and looked for something a little more complex and decided on the bubblegum machine. We searched online for some images that we felt would suit the 19560’s style we were going for and decided on a rough model template. Something similar to the picture shown below.

After a few hours of playing around, we ended up with a basic shape for our bubble gum machine (pictured above) that I was very pleased with. Tony helped us make the whole shape out of one cube instead of joining together multiple cubes, this is much better for keeping our polygon count down to a minimum.

Week 7:

This week we opened up Blender to find that all of our previous work has been deleted. So we were now without the bar, wine glass, wine bottle and bubble gum machine. We would have to start all over again but we decided to press on with trying to make the bubble gum machine as this was the freshest thing in our memory. By the end of the day we had made some progress with the bubblegum machine but we changed the design slightly from the original (pictured below).

 

To be honest, I prefer the design of the first machine we made, but the second design was easier and quicker to make and it’s probably a bit more realistic for the 1950’s.

Week 8:

This week we wanted to get started on a few more designs so we looked at the lists that we drew up at the beginning of the project and, as a group, we chose some new designs to try and get on with. Sam and Emily were not in so myself, Frankie, Ed and Dan decided to try and get some basic designs started for the bar, bar stools and a table. Ed and Dan wanted to apply some finishing touches to the cash register they had started  few weeks before, so as they worked on that, I got started on a basic bar and Frankie got started on trying to make a table. We both got a basic design sorted in decent time so in the afternoon we got started on making a bar stool. Pictured below are all the designs we managed to at least get started. I’m happy with the progress we all made and I think the models will be improved a lot when it comes to the textures. Our designs rely a lot on the texture because we’re going for a 50’s style chrome effect with a lot of our models.

Ed and Dan made great progress on the cash register which is just about finished. Myself and Frankie just need to add some textures to our models and maybe make a few subtle changes to tweak the designs but overall I’m quite happy with what we achieved this week.

1st May:

Now we’ve all made at least one model, our lessons are with Jon to look at the texture process that will make our models look realistic.

This week our aims were to:

Explore procedural Nodal texturing or ‘Shader’ building, build a ‘Shader’ using Nodes and to render and light a model using Cycles render engine.

The process to build a Shader:

1) Colour – ‘Diffuse’ – The base colour that we attach to the model.

2) Detail – ‘Bump/Displacement’ – Giving the model texture (bumps, dents etc).

3)Reflectance – ‘Specular/Gloss’ Giving the model a realistic reflective surface.

Nodal texturing is similar to the process we use in other programmes like Photoshop and After Effects, but these programs use layering, meaning we put things on top of each other to create the image we want. So instead of layering effects and colours on to a picture or model, Nodal allows us to put things in to each other.

To get used to the Nodal way of working, we used a standard mesh model (monkey) in Blender and textured it. Pictured below are screen grabs of the model and the Nodal workflow.

We gave the model a rusted metallic look by finding images online and attaching them to the model. Through the Nodal workflow we were able to add a realistic, rustic look, coupled with a reflective surface that made the model seem almost palpable. By the end of the day I felt comfortable using a Nodal workflow and felt much more comfortable with the terminology associated with this way of texturing.

The following week we applied the nodal texture process to our chosen models and we chose to texture the bar stool model that we made a few weeks before. The first thing we did was look online to find similar textures for our models. So the fist thing for us to find was a red leather texture and then make it seamless using GIMP. After we found the red leather texture, we looked for a bright, silvery looking metal-like texture that we could alter to make look chrome for the metal section of the bar stool. We found the textures and then followed the same process that we applied to last week’s model. Pictured below is our labelled nodal texture set-up with three different sections, Diffuse, Gloss and Bump. Also pictured is our model with the red lather texture applied and the final, completed model with a real background.

I’m very pleased with how the texturing process went and how our final model looks. Chrome was a difficult texture to create because it’s such a  reflective surface but I think the bar stool looks realistic and would fit in well with what we were trying to create.

Our final week is focusing on how to ‘bake out’ our competed models for game play. This was simply a process of separating our models in to the different sections and baking out each aspects individually. Tony showed us how to bake out our models by demonstrating on a basic cube with extruded edges so we would be ale to see the shadows etc. Below are some screen grabs of the baking out process. This process was quick and easy once we knew what we were doing, it was just a case of memorizing the process. Once we had gone through this process a few times using basic models, the theory is the same for all our models.

Genero TV – Task 1

Thoroughly Research, Identify and then Negotiate a GeneroTV Project – Unit 80 criteria 1.1 & 1.2.

As part of our research for Genero TV, we looked at a past project by Icelandic producer, Olafur Arnalds. The brief for this project was quite short;

‘Olafur Arnalds wants you to make the music video for This Place Was A Shelter off his latest album For Now I Am Winter.
It’s inspired by the dilemma of not really believing in an afterlife but still wanting to know of some better place. Olafur says, “being the dreamer that I am I would prefer to know that you are not just lost in oblivion, but at the same time it leaves me with an inspiration to do more and perform as well as a human being as possible in the moment”.

The brief is open to your interpretation, be inspired by the music and get creative!’

Although the brief states that it is open to your interpretation, it gives a big hint in to the kind of music video Olafur is after. He mentions the afterlife being an inspiration so that lends itself to the idea of life, death, religion, life after death, beliefs etc.

Along with the brief there is also a write up on Olafur Arnalds which gives an interesting insight in to him as a person. Finding out about him is a useful tool that can help influence the type of film you’re planning to make, for example  Olafur Arnalds growing up in Iceland can influence how you think about the music video, Icelandic society and culture can give a valuable insight in to his personal interests and aspects of the video that might interest him personally. Icelandic culture tends to be very rural and scenic so these may be things you would want to try and include in your video. The winning video for this project is shown below and demonstrates how looking in to the artist you are working for can benefit your video, I think by using Scandinavian looking scenery and actors it appealed to Olafur Arnalds more than others.

Watch the winning video

Olafur Arnalds gave feedback to all of the videos entered and in the video below, he explains why he chose the winning video. He says how he liked the simplicity of the video also pointing out the good choice of actor and slow pace of the video that did not detract from the music. This project is an excellent example of how researching the artist can help immensely in the planning of your video and ensure you make a video that suits the brief.

Past Entries

Most of the briefs on Genero TV state that the music and video is open to interpretation but by looking into the bands own influences, style of music and past videos you can easily find the kind of style they want to portray and use this to your advantage when planning your video. M83 have had projects on Genero TV before and all of their projects state that the music is open to interpretation but all the winners have certain aspects in common. M83’s videos often contain some sort of supernatural element to them, from super powered children in Midnight City to make believe fantasy worlds in Steve McQueen.

Evaluation of Promotional Video

Assessment Task 4 – (Criteria 4.1 & 4.2)

Evaluation of Chevrolet Promo Video

On Monday 29th April, after everybody had finished their videos, ourselves and the BSC students did a critical analysis of everybody’s videos in the film studio. This was to get essential feedback for our videos and to see where they could be improved or adapted. Feedback forms were given out to everybody. Assigned randomly, the forms contained a few different questions on different videos, this was to give a wide opinion and get a fair representation of people’s views on each video. All the feedback was anonymous. Some of the feedback we received can be seen below:

‘Sound effects were good, could have been improved with more time.’

‘The video was funny, universal and hit the brief well.’

‘I liked the sounds of the characters. It could have shown more of the football match.’

‘Fantastic stop motion and could have been improved with more time.’

Overall I was very pleased with the video. Given more time I think we could have made the movements of the Play-Doh more fluid and life like. I would have also liked to experiment with some more effects but as this was our first attempt at a ‘claymation’ film I was very proud of the work we accomplished in a relatively small amount of time.

Evaluation of ‘The Edge’

This project was a pleasure to work on. Everybody worked very well together and the performing arts students were a joy to work with and showed professionalism of the highest standards. I hope to work with them again. The finished product was shown before the live performance at Melton Theatre, which I attended. I was extremely pleased with how the video looked; it was received well by the audience and received a well deserved round of applause.

To conclude, I was very pleased with this entire project and find it difficult to think of things I would do differently if I had the chance.

Jon Holmes comments on ‘The Edge’:

HND students and Level 3 Acting students have been working collaboratively to create a short promo for the forthcoming, self-devised Acting Performance of Macbeth, called ‘The Edge’.

The shoot was a short, but very intensive day; in very hostile working conditions in a Bolier Room. The performers not only had to adapt to the conditions, but also stay focused on character and theme when called upon. As with all shoots of this type and quality, there were numerous takes needed from varying angles. Each set-up or shot would take 30 mins to an hour to compose and light, which required focus and dedication from the actors to produce when called upon; not one of them found wanting.

Additionally, the film was shot on Film Standard Prime lenses. This gives the promo that “filmic” look, but also gave the performers another, added restriction to their performances, namely: shallow depth of field. On all shots, the performers had little or no room for error having to work within a very confined focal range of 5 – 10 mm, which meant that the students had to hit their ‘Marks’, or they wouldn’t be in focus. This calls upon multi-stranded concentration –   using physical memory and procedure – whilst staying true to the core of their characters and physical performance.

The HND Moving Image students worked very hard to not only preserve the inherent themes of the brief/adaptation through the aesthetic of the piece, but also to work within very tight and filthy conditions. This was a real test to not only light a shot for aesthetic, but also to work with limited power requirements and space. Again, like the actors, all students were very professional in their approach and produced very professional results in a relatively short space of time.

Moving Image students commented on the fact that this was only made possible by working effectively and positively as a team across both the other moving image students and the actors alike. They said that the focus and the commitment of the actors made the project possible and without the performers’ dedication to the shoot and to the process of filming, it wouldn’t have worked.

Critical Reflection – Vexille

Assessment Task 5 – (Criteria 4.1 & 4.2)

Critically Reflect on the Process and Final Productions you have Created.

Overall I think this project went alright. I enjoyed the recording process at the beginning and found it a very creative and interesting process. Trying to create a sound from scratch proved more difficult than I thought. However, I found the editing process to be quite difficult and time consuming. If I were to do the project again I would definitely start the editing process as early as possible, I didn’t realise just how long it would take to import all of the recordings and synchronise them, let alone adding EQ, reverb and effects.  There are ares in my final piece that I am pleased with but there are areas which could do with improving. Some of the sounds are synched up fine but don’t sound realistic because of the characters environment, for example the ADR on the plane is all synched up but is lacking the metallic echo that you would expect to hear from a place like that. There were so many different aspects to think about in order to make a life-like  and natural sound. During the ADR recording sessions, we had to think carefully about the characters tone, volume and environment. Some of the ADR suits well and matches the character’s tone, but in some places it sounds as though it is being read so it gives a false, forced feel to it. This doesn’t really matter too much because we were focusing on the actual recording and editing process rather than the voices of the characters, plus we used people in our class instead of actors. Sourcing the sounds we didn’t record proved difficult because some members of the group did not complete the tasks they were assigned, leaving it to the individual to search through pages of sounds to find something suitable, which took  long time and I for one could not always find the sound I was looking for. This entire project has made me realise the importance of sound design in film making and how important sound design is to all films. It also made me realise why sound design is often the longest process in a film production.

The biggest issue for me in this project was the editing process, specifically the final export. Because I did my final edit on my laptop which runs on Windows, I encountered a lot of problems with settings, playback and uploading. After trying several times to export the video in many different setting, I eventually had to export my video in a format I didn’t want, although as previously mentioned, I felt it would be better to submit something in any format rather than nothing at all. I will be looking for solutions to this problem so I can export my video in the format specified in the brief.

Although the sound design process is a long and difficult process, I would still like to try and use this method of sound design in the future instead of recording sound on set because the difference in quality is quite noticeable and a good sound design can really elevate the production quality of the entire film.

Critical Evaluation – Mo Film

Evaluation – Assessment Task 4 (Criteria 3.1 & 3.2)

Critically evaluate the success of the completed project and critically analyse audience responses and feedback.

To be honest, I don’t think the video went as well as it could have. The last minute cancellations caused some issues, as did not having the correct lighting, however I think the main problem was the story of the video. I didn’t think the narrative was clear enough and some of the shots did not work. Although I still like the general idea of the story I think we should have added a bit more detail and a few extra shots to make sure the audience was aware of the situation. As it is, I don’t the video makes much sense. It wasn’t all bad; some of the shots work well and gave a nice cinematic look and even though we didn’t have much time, everybody involved tried their best and contributed well. Overall, I think I should have put more thought in to the narrative and just added some simple shots that would have made the story clearer. For numerous reasons including actor availability and other ongoing projects, the filming process was left until very late, which left us no time at all for a contingency or additional shots that could have added to the video. Although I wasn’t fully pleased with the outcome of the video, I did enjoy the project and will definitely keep an eye out for similar future projects to be a part of, having learned many valuable lessons from this experience. This project also taught me how difficult arranging a shoot is by yourself. Trying to organize the actors, equipment, locations, lighting and camera proved extremely difficult by myself so in the future I will definitely make sure I have a good team of people to help me out. I think that the final video would have been much better in all areas if I had people to help me. I showed the video to friends and family and asked for some honest feedback and the overall reaction was similar across the board, that although it looked aesthetically nice, it also looked rushed in areas and could have been improved with more planning. These comments were well received because I completely agree with everything people said, so I will definitely be looking at improving these aspects in my next project.

Pre-Production – Mo Film

Assessment Task 2 – Conduct Pre-Production (Criteria 2.1)

After me and Frankie decided to work together on the Mo Film project, the first thing we did was sit down together an listen to the song. I already had a vague idea in mind for the video so I asked Frankie what he thought and he liked the idea so we chose to try and develop the idea. As Frankie joined late on we both agreed that I would direct the project and he would assist me. This made sense because I already had a rough idea of the production process as I had been planning it before he joined. I would be in charge of acquiring the actors, locations and equipment and Frankie would be in charge of setting up and lighting the scenes. After a long discussion we had an idea of what we wanted to film. We wanted to tell the story of a regretful break-up between a couple because we felt the lyrics fit nicely with this idea and suited the music. We wanted a very simplistic video that would be heavily relying on our actors performance to portray their feelings, this was especially important because our setting would be an almost pitch black environment (the film studio) with a projector playing old movies of the couple. We wanted the videos being projected to represent his joyful memories of the relationship, yet also symbolise his regret that he let it slip through his fingers.  This was also a viable option because it would mean needing only two actors, a male and a female character, a setting that we already had access to and very little in the way of props. . By the time we decided on an idea we were both happy with, we only had a week until the deadline and our main actor was only available on the day before deadline, we toyed with the idea of replacing the character somehow but we didn’t think it would make much sense so we stuck with the idea and just hoped the filming went smoothly. We sat down together and quickly drew up a shot list and storyboards so we at least had a rough idea of shots to follow. Pictured below is the rough storyboard and shot list that we drew up.

shot list and storyboard mo film

 

The main character would be played by  a friend of mine, Evan Larke, who I had worked with before so knew i could rely on him to deliver the performance I wanted. A few days before the shoot I got him to sign a actor release form which is shown below along with the same form signed by our female character, Lottie Wright.

Mo film release forms

On the day of filming I sent a message to Frankie asking him to meet me at the studio a few hours before our actors arrived so we had plenty of time to set up all the equipment and lighting. Below is a screenshot of the messages between myself and Frankie.

mo film texts

Pictured below is a schedule that we set up for the filming day to ensure we kept to a strict deadline, this was especially important with the deadline being early the next day.

 

Capture - Schedule

 

The Role of a Producer

(Unit 59, Assessment Task 1 – Criteria 1.1)

‘Based on your own research into the role; your experiences so far on the course; and, from discussions in session, briefly explain and compare the role of Producer in Film, Video and TV.’

The role of a producer is to provide overall supervision for all aspects of the film making process.

This includes: Locations – Researching and scouting for suitable locations before the filming process. Conducting recce’s to ensure there is a power supply if needed, ensuring transport is available to locations, acquiring permission if needed, providing refreshments and ensuring the health and safety procedures are all in place if needed.

Actors and Crew: The producer is usually responsible for acquiring actors and setting up auditions, ensuing the actors all sign release form if the actors are under 18 years old and providing general communications for all the actors and members of the crew should any problems arise. A producer will try to manage the hierarchy of the entire cast and crew of a film production so responsibility is shared.

A producers overall core responsibilities can be broken down into four major categories. Communications, Health and Safety, Budget and overall organization.

There are slight differences in a producers role depending on the type of production. Producers working on television have a more creative role to play as well as being in charge of general organization. Below is a clip of Gale Anne Hurd talking about her role as a producer on The Walking Dead. In this interview she talks about how she got in to her role as a producer and her roles and responsibilities as a producer of very successful TV series.

 

Executive producers are often brought in to television programmes to control other aspects of the production such as the budget. This is also the case in film production, executive producers will have financial responsibilities to ensure the film is being produced within its budget. The producer will be responsible for the overall day to day running of the film production. The line producer will have similar responsibilities, but with the added responsibility of being around on the day of filming to ensure the process runs smoothly.

In our producing project I think myself and Richard will try to cover all these responsibilities between us. Instead of labeling our job roles as producer and line producer, me and Richard will share both roles and responsibilities together. Depending on availability, we will both be available to be on set if we are wanted, but if not then we will be working closely together to make the filming process as easy as possible for the group to film. We will be setting up auditions for actors, trying to acquire locations, preparing paperwork and contracts and offering general advice and support. I think we will find it difficult to acquire locations etc because of our non-existent budget but we will try our best to provide suitable places and people to suit the film.