Week 2 (8 shots) Exegesis
This week we were challenged by our tutors to film a short story without any post production editing. Additionally the short film can only consist of 8 different types of shot, hence this tutorial task was testing our knowledge in cinematic features while testing our abilities on time management and pre-production planning.
I took the roles of actor, cinematographer and a bit of directing, as a group we all agreed that the storyline had to be simple and could be understood without dialogue. The plot followed a male student taking interest in a female student, however he is too afraid to approach the girl. The story continued with a short stalking of the female student, this led to her realization of the timid boy causing him to run away. Finally the girl is seen running after him and finishes with her sitting next to him. The main genre of the film was romance, we believe that the genre romance was easily relatable and viewer friendly. On the other hand, we planned the different shots from start to end as there were no post production. We established the story with a long shot of the male lead, slowly adapting it into over the shoulder and POV shots from the male lead. Extreme long shots, medium shots and extreme close ups were added in to provide the story with more atmosphere and feeling. We finished the production with a close up of both character’s shoes getting closer together.
Time management and pre-production planning were the key abilities display in this production. As each group was to provide 2 and a half hours to finish and screen the film by the end of tutorial. We agreed that pre-production planning will not consume more than half an hour of our time. This created a very brief outline of filming with a simple storyboard with 8 shots alongside the different types of shots and what they were. Many of the locations and camera angles were decided while filming, this would lead to our first production problem. We did not take account of the amount of students entering and exiting the main walkway of the university. The first few shots had barely anyone in them, however as the film progress towards the end the amount of people who is not aware or responsible for the film significantly increased ruining the atmosphere of our final shots. Another challenge we came across throughout the production was that we were too used to post production edit, we had to redo many of our shots as we had to cut the shots with the camera. For example the actor or actress might go out of character too early before the camera ends filming, with the rule of no post production editing we could not cut errors out of the film instead a retake of the shot was the only way to correct it.
In conclusion, the production was demanding and require us as filmmakers to manage our time correctly and adapt the correct techniques to our film. Furthermore the task refresh our memories on cinematic knowledge and offer us a challenge towards directing and pre-production planning.
Week 3 (Interviews) Exegesis
Week 3’s tutorial exercise was based around filming interviews and preparing us for our documentary assignment. We were given 3 hours for the whole production, based on the topic “student interests”. In addition three interviews must be filmed in different location, preferably one interview outdoors and one interview indoors. We were also required to record sounds from the interviews with an external sound recorder; a H4n recorder, a NTG-2 Microphones and a boom pole. The aim of this task was for us to improve our techniques and knowledge on sound equipment and scouting a suitable location for interviews.
Each group divided roles amongst each other, as for this production I was the sound recordist and editor. We agreed upon the topic of “campus stores for students”, the interview consisted of three simple questions:
- What would they like to see on campus at UNSW?
- What wouldn’t they like to see on campus at UNSW?
- What do they think is the best store on campus at UNSW?
The topic was chosen because of the recent openings of different stores around the UNSW Terrance village. Our locations were based on areas with high student flow such as the QWAD cafeteria and the main university walkway. Not only is the topic easy and relatable to all students, but also with high student flows in the area it gave us more opportunities to capture more footage.
The challenges and difficulties I faced as a sound recordist and editor were minor however it should be taken notice for future film productions. The first and most obvious problem is obtaining the best sound quality with a boom microphone. As it was not too windy that day, the sound was clear and crisp if the microphone was placed above the target interviewee. However in post production editing, we realized that we did not obtain a clapper board prior to the shooting. Hence the synchronization between sound and film was difficult and time consuming. Finally some of the interviews were not framed properly, we should have notified the target interviewee prior to shooting about their line of sight and posture.
In conclusion, the interview tutorial task gave us an opportunity to work with others within a time constrict and improving on the roles we wish to partake in future production. It allowed us to learn from our mistakes in this production and apply our improvements in the documentary assignment.
Week 4 (Lighting) Exegesis
Week 4 was a workshop focusing on lighting and the effects of three point lighting. Three point lighting consist of three different lights; Key Light, Fill Light and Back Light. The Key Light is placed directly in front and to the side of the target, its purpose is to directly shine and illuminate the target. The Fill Light acts as the secondary light while balancing the shadows produced by the Key Light, it is usually placed on the right side of the Key Light. The Back Light shines at the target from behind, eliminating minor shadows and highlighting the target while separating it from the background. We were instructed to film in different location consisting of different background lights, i.e. natural light, indoor lights or a mix of both. As a group we decided to film a production on a politically incorrect character expressing his opinions through film. This allowed the viewers to connect to the footage through the genre of comedy as well as well utilizing the recent Australian elections as a point of interest. I was once again given the role of sound recordist and aided in some of the directing.
We chose three different locations, the first one was a mix of natural lighting and indoor lighting. We utilized the natural lighting as our backlight, while setting up a Key Light and a Fill Light to highlight our target. However we noticed that the shadow caused by the natural light was too obvious, while the Fill Light was not strong enough to balance it. Hence forth we set up the next shot indoors, so we would be able to manipulate the lights better. The indoor light was not sufficient to fully illuminate our target, we set up all three lights. We were able to shade and light up the target perfectly, although the red light emitting from the heater was too strong and unavoidable. More so this made us curious about how to use the red light from to heater to our advantage, this led to the decision for our next shot. We decided to film a scene with the stage ladder near the heater, we lighted the bottom of the stairway with a three point lighting while allowing the red light to illuminate the top of the stairs. The red light provide the shot with a sense of fear and mystery matching perfect for a chasing scene. The final shot was taken outdoors and fully utilizing natural lighting and a reflector kit. The reflector kit was place of the top right of the frame allowing the light of the sun to be reflected on our character eliminating some shadow cause by the natural lighting.
In conclusion, we revisited the theory and practices of three point lighting. Moreover understanding the use of natural light on a set and how to manipulate them to create certain effects and atmosphere. Finally reinforcing the safety measures of lighting equipment and the proper usage of three point lighting in different situations.