Additional Work: Director


Independent: Depict!

Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation – Criteria 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1 & 4.2

For this project, I require an external brief so I looked online for film competitions. My tutor told me to look at Depict.org, an online competition where the only restriction was the finished video must be 90 seconds or less. This sounded ideal so I went online to look at the competition and the previous winners to see the sort of standard I would be up against. I read through the brief and it suited this task perfectly so I decided to go for it. This competition was much more feasible than GeneroTV or Mo film projects. The Mo film and GeneroTV briefs were all a lot more specific and complex and in terms of budget, time and available resources I think would have been too difficult to do to a decent standard. Personally I would rather attempt to create a video for the depict competition anyway because I like the idea that you can film anything provided its 90 seconds or less and the video must have been completed after September 2013.

Depict Competition

 

Because the brief states the video can be no longer than 90 seconds, I began to think of things that I could fit in to this time frame. I wanted something that would be simple and easy to film but that shows something interesting and unique at the same time. As I was trying to think of ideas, my brother asked me to help him take some photographs of his car which gave me the idea of creating a short film that shows why people take such pride in their cars. As he was cleaning his car, I got a few shots of him cleaning it and afterwards I asked him to talk about his car and why he loves it so much. I hoped that if I could get some good shots and some decent dialogue then I could create a short documentary style video in a short amount of time. This would be ideal because the filming process would be completed in a matter of a few hours. I wouldn’t have to travel anywhere for filming and as my brother would be the only one in shot, communication and monitoring the filming would be easy without the pressure of trying to direct lots of people or actors.

I used my 600D to film and as I was at home, I had access to all my equipment, lenses, tripods etc. This meant the only problem I had was a flat battery that I was able to replace within minutes. My brother was happy to help me out so didn’t mind me filming him or his car and was more than helpful when I asked him to talk about his passion for cars. I got as many shots as I could to ensure I had enough footage for a decent edit. I wanted the video to feel fluent and natural so I didn’t use a script, instead I just recorded a conversation that me and my brother had about his car and then edited out anything I didn’t want and took the best bits to add over the top of the video. The first time we tried to record the conversation, the camera was picking up a lot of noise from general movement so we tried again but sat still and spoke a bit louder which improved the audio. We finished our conversation when I thought I had enough to add to my video and I packed away all my equipment.

I began to put together an edit while all the shots were fresh in my memory. The first thing I did was get all the visual in place so I could then just drop the audio over the top. Most of the shots I got were good and useable so I put all the best shots together which gave me a 60 second video to work with. I then edited together the best bits of the audio and placed them over the top of the video but the voice recording on their own didn’t sound right so I added a ambient background which greatly improved the edit overall. By the end, I had a minute long video which I thought would be fine for the DepicT! competition as it met all the required criteria, so I uploaded it to the competition (Screenshot below)

Capture depict upload

 

The finished Video:

Evaluation:

I enjoyed this project a lot overall. I really enjoyed having no set restrictions on what you can film and although the time limitation was something to think about, I don’t think it stifled any creativity. It was a relatively easy project to work on in the end, once I had an idea of what I wanted to film the filming and editing process flowed nicely. I like the overall look of the finished video, my only regret is that I didn’t make better use of the audio. I wanted the conversation to flow and sound natural so I didn’t write a script, and whilst the dialogue does sound authentic, I think it lacks substance, I would have liked a bit more in terms of detail about my brother and his feelings towards his car. But this is something I’ll definitely think about in future projects. I think I could have improved the film by recording the audio at a separate time in a more suited environment where the sound quality would be a bit better. I would have also given my brother a list of possible topics to touch upon but not a script, that way I could have more detail on what I wanted to hear but without the pressure of reading a script and it sounding forced.

 

The Making Of Documentary – Media & Make Up

Film Editing Criteria 1.1, 1.2,3.1 & 3.2

On 12th March myself, Frankie, Craig,  Andrew, Vicky and Sam were asked to film a ‘making of’ style video for the Media Make-Up Department as they helped out the BSC students with a short, zombie based film. We arrived in the morning and began to shoot straight away. Throughout the day we followed the media make up students as they prepared actors and got them looking the part. In the afternoon we focused more on the behind the scenes action of the BSC students as they shot the film.

The day was a great experience and I enjoyed helping out. It was a useful insight in to how the BSC students shoot their films compared to us and it was nice getting to know some of the Media Make-Up students.

Below is a screenshot of the editing process after I had acquired all the footage we had. There was an issue when Sam’s video footage went missing but we had to just use the footage we already had and stills.

Screen Shot

Here is my final edit of the day:

Donnie Darko – Cinema Scene Analysis

Analysisng a Scene  – Fiction Unit (Criteria 2.1, Directing Unit Criteria 1.1 & 1.2)
This scene from Donnie Darko takes place in a dark cinema populated only by Donnie and his girlfriend Gretchen. There is an immediate feel of isolation and loneliness as the scene starts with a distant shot of Donnie and Gretchen sitting right in the middle of the cinema surrounded by almost life like shadows on the wall, this gives the impression that they are alone and surrounded by an unnatural presence.The camera slowly zooms in to reveal Gretchin has fallen asleep and Donnie is starring forward, but not really watching the film, he seems distant, worried and almost tearful, this emotion adds to the feeling of an uneasy environment. Donnie then slowly turns to his left and begins to smile, telling the audience that he can see something that wasn’t there before. As the camera cuts to a wider shot, Frank is seen sitting next to the sleeping Gretchin. Frank is a character created by Donnie’s subconscious mind, a a frightening looking character dressed in a rabbit suit that speaks Donnie. The camera cuts between close up shots of the Frank and Donnie to capture the emotion and intensity of the scene, but occasionally cutting back to distant shots of them all in the cinema to remind the audience of their isolation.
I also think Gretchen sleeping in the middle between Donnie and Frank acts as a ‘middle ground’ not only between characters but also the worlds they are from – Donnie in real life, Gretchen in her unconscious and Frank from an unreal imagination.
The entire scene is dark, the only light is coming from the screen which highlights the characters nicely as they’re the only people in the cinema. This places emphasis solely on the characters and pushes the background into complete darkness, again denoting isolation in an unnatural setting. I also think setting the scene in a darkened cinema shows how Frank only appears to Donnie in dark places when he is alone.
There isn’t a lot of dialogue between the characters and there are lots of pauses that allow the emotion on Donnie’s face to explain his feelings and thoughts. Frank’s voice is a softly spoken whisper which seems pointless as they’re in an empty cinema but I think this works well to indicate that his words are only for Donnie to hear. At the end of the scene, the camera cuts to a wider shot showing Donnie and Gretchen alone again. This tells the audience that Frank was never actually there and he was just a figment of Donnie’s imagination, but still pushes the idea of loneliness and insecurity.

Enter the Pitch

Editing Criteria 2.1, 2.2 & 2.3, 3.1 & 3.2

Enter the Pitch is a competition where film makers can pitch an idea for a short film through creating a short trailer. The chosen trailer will then be given a sum of money to turn the pitch into a short film with the help of top quality help from industry professionals.

The short film had to last no longer than two minutes and have a biblical influence. This could be from a biblical passage, one of the ten commandments or anything found in the bible. After reading up on the rules I went away to look for a quote from the bible that could influence my pitch. The first thing i did was research bible quotes on the computer and after searching through pages and pages I found a quote that I liked. Although I looked at hundreds of quotes, the one I chose was simply ‘An eye for an eye’. After I decided this was the quote I was going to use, I went away and researched real life stories of revenge to get inspiration.  A few days later I had come up with a rough idea of the kind of story I wanted, I then discussed my idea with Joey and Evan, who I was working with, and together we altered, improved and finalised the story. We also decided on costumes, equipment, props and locations.

Costume wise, we wanted the character to look as ordinary as possible to not draw any attention away from the storyline so I asked Evan to dress in basic, one colour clothes.

Equipment list: 550D x 2, Joey’s 1.4 50mm lens, Giotto Tripod, 4 x Canon batteries, Camera mounted Light.

The only things we had to account for in a budget were petrol costs and food for the evening which all came to around £30 total.

The Script:

‘So, there it was. The 15 minutes that rendered my life pointless.

Everything I lived for and the only good things I had in my entire life now gone, taken from me by him. My mum had been knocked around by that son of a bitch for years. She never admitted it but she didn’t have to.

I knew what happened. He knew he could get away with it. I should have been there. I’m not a religious guy but an eye for an eye seems only fair.

I knew exactly what I was going to do.’

This was just an idea as to the kind of thing I wanted but after Evan read it out loud, it sounded good so we all agreed to stick with this as the voice over.

As the story was to be told by narration, the first thing we did was record Evan’s audio using Joey’s Zoom mic, we recorded in the sound booth to make sure we got the best quality sound possible. The recording went well but I still thought it wouldn’t be enough on it’s own so later that night I set about recording some music to accompany the narration. After all the audio was ready, I edited the audio and had that in place so we could just film the footage to match.

Locations: For the locations we decided to shoot the majority in and around Melton. As we were shooting at night time we would need as much light as possible so well lit areas were a must. We needed a park/wooded area, a car park, an alleyway and a busy main road so al these locations could be found around Melton. We also planned to shoot an an abandoned house a few miles outside of Melton, but when we got there it was too dark and we decided not to use this shot in the final edit anyway.

The Schedule:

There wasn’t much of a definitive schedule as such, we planned to meet at 8.30 in the evening and then film until we had everything we needed. Myself and Joey would spend the afternoon at college going over any final changes or alterations to the shot list and then hang around until we met Evan at around 8.30pm.

Although it meant traveling around a bit more, I decided to shoot all the shots in chronological order. I prefer to work this way so we know exactly where we are in the story line and to ensure we don’t miss anything. We filmed until just after 2.30am, by this time we had all the footage we needed and I was very pleased with the evenings work.

At the end of night we all reviewed the footage and all agreed it was a very successful night of filming. And with the audio already in place, the only thing to do was go home and edit the film ready for submission the next day. After hours of filming I had a finished product that I was happy with, I sent a copy to Joey and Evan to make sure they were also pleased with it and as they were, I submitted the video accompanied with the necessary entry form. Below are some stills taken from the night of filming:

 

The Edit:

I began the edit of this video as soon as I got home from the shoot. By this time it was gone 3am but I wanted to at least get started whilst all the shots were fresh in my memory. So the first thing I did was take all the footage and put it on my laptop. This took quite a while as there was a lot of footage but eventually all the files transferred and I was ready to begin. As pictured below, there were over 40 video clips to begin with so the first thing I did was go through all the footage and label them with a short title describing what they were, for example ‘car close up’ and for clips that I was already sure I would use i would add ‘_good’, such as ‘Evan driving_good’. Some of the clips were too dark and unusable so they were deleted straight away but I put all the other clips into a new file and then added a sub folder for the best clips entitled ‘Best’ (as pictured below), Apple Mac’s have a colour coding system which would have been better to use but as I was working on my laptop this was my only option. After all the files were labelled I imported them all in to  Premiere Pro so i could start an initial assembly of the clips and put them in chronological order, I like to work this way so I can get the storyline established ready to improve later. Pictured below is how my timeline looked after I had a rough draft of the story, but this was too long so I began to cut down the clips, cut some out all together and add some effects where I thought appropriate.