Archive | Preliminary task RSS feed for this section

Preliminary task: Analysis and Evaluation

18 Oct


Our preliminary task has now been completed, to what I think is of a standard that I know I can do better than, and as I mentioned in editing; I’m quite unhappy with our end product for numerous reasons. The planning and ideas behind the task were quite strong, however it was the filming and editing that less us down.
When given the brief, we decided to interpret this into a mysterious story line, creating a sense of suspense and unpredictability. Part of the reason I wanted to do a storyline like that was to see how I’d get on with filming horror for our opening sequence.
To help create this sense of mystery and uncertainty we used various shot types to help reinforce this. When filming character 1 walking down the corridor, we made sure he was central on the camera; not only for aesthetic reasons but to give him a sense of isolation: on his own walking down the echo like corridors.
To also reinforce the idea of mystery, we avoided showing character 2s face until it was completely necessary, but still used a shot from his perspective.
 We also used a low angled shot of character 2;s hand in the corner of the shot whilst character 1 entered the room. We could have used any shot for this tapping this but  this shot clearly gives the impression that he’s waiting for him. We also used another low angled shot of character 1 tapping his  fingers and you couldn’t see his eyes; this was so this audience couldn’t establish the emotions of what was happening.  The effects of the shot angles we used created a sense of power in some shots; low angled shots making character 2 seem more powerful and a sense of mystery was creat  contributed to producing a piece that was mis-leading and uncertainty.
When the two characters exchange dialogue, we wanted to build a sense of tension, so we decided to use a shot that would show the position of them both and their facial expression but to also display the friction  between the characters. This shot type would enable the audience to understand the atmosphere between the characters. Our final shot was a simple medium shot of character 1 looking off-screen at character 2 leaving, then we panned the camera to leave the final shot being of the book. I think the panning usage suggests that the book has significance as we leave characters 2’s face to move to a possibly more important shot; the book.  The effects of varied shot types add emphasis and meaning to certain moments throughout the piece, also highlighting and reinforcing significant shots that are creating this sense of mystery or shots that are necessary in creating a smooth continuity piece.
Creating the mis-en-scene was quite difficult to do in a school. Originally we wanted the lighting to be quite gloomy; a dark class room and a dark corridor, however as we had to film during lesson time during the day, this wasn’t an option. So we worked with what we had; we chose the corridor that we thought would give the most “eery” impression; creating an uncertain atmosphere. We wanted the corridor and classroom to be a very standard looking; very bland and traditional to create an uneasy yet simple atmosphere, so it didn’t detract from the simple characters and dialogue, but also almost reinforced it in a round about way. The book was the main and only prop throughout the entire piece. The book is very bland and simple, allowing the audience to interpret the book as whatever they think it could be. When character 1 drops the book in the corridor it highlights its significance slightly, and the final shot of the entire piece is this mysterious book. I think the book helps in creating this mysterious atmosphere as we know nothing of what’s going on apart from the brief dialogue; the book adds a sense of purpose to the piece.
The sound we created for the piece was non-diegetic, and has a very uneasy feel about it. We wanted this music to again, reinforce the idea that what was happening is uncertain, we also wanted the music to build tension. It especially builds the tension when character 1 sits opposite character 2. I think the sound was actually really quite successful in creating our desired atmosphere; it really creates the atmosphere of unknown. The diegetic sound we used were the footsteps in the corridor. When filming character 1 walking, there were people talking in the background, so we muted the sound when we were editing and recorded myself walking in the corridor and played it over the top. It took us many attempts to get the right footwork pattern recorded in time with character 1 walking, but i think it is as good as it can be. The footsteps and the music we created both have an echo to them; echos are usually associated with things that are a bit creepy and misleading, so I think it fits perfectly with our piece.
I think our editing was quite successful in specific areas and not so successful in others. We successfully stuck to the rules of match on action throughout the entire piece. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think match on action is a strong point of mine. When we were filming the corridor shots, we made sure there was enough footage before and after the clip we intended on using so we could crop it to be how we wanted it to look. We intended on using shot/reverse shot on the last shot of the piece (when character 2 is looking off-screen at character 1, then places his hand on the book) but whilst editing we decided it looked much more effective if we left the final shot being the one of the book. During filming, we did film a shot that was supposed to demonstrate eye-line match, however we realised when filming that the eye line match shot was much closer to the door than character 1 was, therefore ruining the continuity; ergo we left that shot out. The corridor shots started off obeying the 180 degree rule  quite successfully,  up until character 1 opens the door; there was a lot of confusion over those following shots as to which side we were filming from (without breaking the 180 degree rule). We attempted to break the rule by crossing over the character at the door, this was successful however I think we should have used this shot at a time where it would have been useful, e.g. during the characters dialogue exchange. I think we just put that shot in to demonstrate we could use it, not actually using it purposefully. There are two shots that I am very unhappy with: the first being when character 1 drops the book, picks it up (so he’s crouched on the floor, then reaches up to the handle), then he opens the door, which is when we see the door handle turning, but in that time character 1 has stood up without us being able to see it, thus breaking the continuity. The second being the shot in which character 1 replies to the dialogue; the dialogue cut out at the end, so we had to edit in speech we recorded over the top, this was certainly was not successful. Overall, I think our editing wasn’t as good as it could have been, however it wasn’t as awful as it could have been. 
We interpreted the brief in a simple manner, to focus on the filming rather than the story line. But of course, our storyline had a mysterious, uneasy approach to it. This approach enabled Zander and I to use shots that weren’t necessarily the most obvious choice of shots, but rather those that will create a different sort of piece. We met each part of the brief:
  Opening the door: We used a range of shots to display character 1 opening the door. The first was a close up of the door handle turning from the inside, we wanted this shot to build tension; the door slowly being opened to what was inside. We then cut to the next shot which was a simple medium shot, this then panned round to the right and  became an over the shoulder as he entered the room.

  Crossing the room: We used a medium long shot from near character 2’s hands to establish character 1 walking into the room. We then used an over the shoulder shot as he walked towards character 2 so we could see what he was approaching but also showing him still crossing the room

  Sitting down opposite another character:
We used another over the shoulder  shot to make sure it was clear to the audience that character 1 was sitting opposite another character. We had to make sure the match on action was accurate here; as in the first shot he pulls out the chair, in the second shot which was a medium shot, he is still pulling it out but also sits down. We then use two low angled shots of both of the characters sat opposite each other.

  Exchanging dialogue: Again, we used an over the shoulder shot when the characters were exchanging dialogue. This was to ensure that it was clear to the audience the characters were talking directly to each other. For the final piece of dialogue exchanged we decided to use a medium close up shot which would show the tension between both characters.

Although we’ve met the brief, I don’t think i’ve succeeded my personal best which i’m throughly disappointed by, as this is obviously the first part of my As level coursework. I feel that this piece is a bit scrappy and it still doesn’t feel finished now. I think my storyboard and animatic were quite successful, and also the editing. It was just the filming that let me down, but I think that I’ve tried my very best to cover up any mistakes with my editing. However, I am almost thankful that this didn’t all go to plan, because i will certainly learn and improve on my mistakes. The mistakes i’ve made have really given me the will to prove myself and do so much better. I will thoroughly plan and be so much more organised when I film my opening sequence. The main points I will focus on are:  to film more than I need before and after the clip, to film more than once for every shot, and to obide by the 180 degree rule. Overall, whereas technically we did meet the brief of the preliminary task, I don’t think I completed it to my highest standard.



16 Oct

Today, we started to edit the shots together, however i have mixed feelings about how successful it’s been so far. I feel that most of our shots were filmed with good continuity and if the shots were needed; they matched the continuity rules.

Editing the shots together
 I feel that match on action is a strong point of mine due to my previous filming experience of the music video in my GCSE course. When editing the corridor shots, we ensured that the the characters feet were in the same position when we cut form shot to shot to keep the shots looking as fluid and natural as possible. An example of match on action is demonstrated from 0.06 -0.07 seconds, shown in the pictures on the right. Following those 2 shots is a fairly close up shot of character 1’s face, establishing where he is looking. We were supposed to have an eyeline match shot here, but I find that the eye line match shot doesn’t always look appropriate in some filming, and that was interpreted here. As Zander and I were trying to create a sense of mystery, showing the viewers where he was going from his point of view established a bit too much. The next two shots were two shots that we did film well; the shots of the book being dropped and then switching shots, this again showed match on action. We managed to ensure that the book was being dropped and landed in the same position so it looked like it was just one swift move; i’m actually really proud of these two shots. However, they’re probably the only two shots i’m proud of. All of the other shots we used were carefully considered, but didn’t require too much consideration. We used over the shoulder and medium close up shots when  presenting the dialogue between the two characters so we could establish the communication. 
Overall, i’m not entirely pleased with my preliminary task, there are two shots that have really let myself and Zander down. One shot we were unhappy with was the shot that should involve character 1 picking up the book whilst being crouched on the ground and going towards the door, this was done correctly, however he didn’t stand up straight enough, so when we the cut to the next shot, he’s standing a lot further up than he was before; therefore this lacks in contunity as the characters’ position changes without us being able to document on it. The other shot we were unhappy with was the shot of character 1 exchanging dialogue with character 2. For some reason, the when we were filming it, the camera cut out which meant part of the dialogue had gone, however we only realised this when we got back to editing, and unfortunately we couldn’t re-film the piece as character 1 had his hair cut, so the continuinty would be awful. So, we had to record someone saying “no” and tried to put it in time with character 1’s speech. It looks and sounds hideous, but we just wanted to fit the brief, regardless of how bad it was.

Music and Effects

The music we created was supposed to give an edgy, mysterious affect to create an uneasy, tense atmosphere. This music is non-diegetic to reinforce the mysterious idea for the viewers, but to still keep the mystery from the charactres point of view. The digetic sound we used were the echo like footsteps; this was used to create a spooky, isolated atmosphere. 

Editing summary
I know that our preliminary task isn’t the best it could be, but in some ways, i can now be more prepared for filming the opening sequence. I’ve learnt two things from this: one; film everything with enough space at the end so it doesn’t cut out, two; film everything more than once incase we have a disaster, we have back up prepared.

previous filming experience

6 Oct

Music video filming and production

Last year, I took media studies as a GCSE, and that course involved us creating our own music video, so I would say that my previous experience is quite extensive, as the project was quite intense and length
The production of the music video was my first real experience of amatuer filming. I was fairly knowledgable of the production side of filming because for another part of our GCSE course, we had to create a chocolate advert. However, we used stop-motion so we used a still camera. So, my music video was my first experience of using a video camera (for something productive). I really enjoyed filming the different shots for the music video; I liked being able to play around with shot types and angles to reinforce the signifcance of the shot; e.g. chosing a long shot to show the isolation of the younger character.
As part of our music video, we used various shots of both of the characters walking towards or away from the camera. For this, we had to get the continuity really precise; we had to make sure that the characters were still on the same foot (whilst walking) as we switched from shot to shot. In all honesty, when we were filming the shots, we didn’t really think about the footwork being the same. So, during editing- we tried really hard to make the foot patterns as accurate as we could. Similarly with the shots of the swing, we needed the swing to be in the same place as we switched from shot to shot. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, it was hard to get both of the characters back together to re-film the shots. 
After last years experience of filming, I have 3 rules that I will stick to make the production and editing as simple as possible:

  • Take as many shots as possible, so you have a range to chose from
  • Make sure that shots that need good continuity and carefully filmed and edited
  • Ensure your characters will want to be available for filming all the time

Below is my music video. For whatever reason, I’m not entirely proud of it. I’m unsure as to why, hopefully my opening sequence will be a different story..

Preliminary task; filming

5 Oct

Task outline and story line
As I mentioned in a previous post, my partner, Zander and I decided to keep the storyline simple yet effective to really emphasize our continuity filming and editing. However, we obviously did consider the storyline and how we wanted to present it. We decided to have a mysterious storyline which involved character 1 walking down a corridor, and dropping a book outside a class room. The very last shot shows the significance of the book; as character 1 walks away, character 2 places his hand on the book protectively. Character 1 then enters a class room and sits down infront of character 2. The dialogue exchanged is very brief and mysterious:

Character 1: *slams hands on table* “WELL aren’t you going to say anything?
Character 2: *leans towards character 1* “I’m sorry”
Character 1: *leans towards character 2* “This isn’t the end of it!”

We chose two boys in our year, both of a similar height, looks and style. We wanted their to look like their shouldn’t be any difference in power and dominance, but obviously character 2 has more of a stronger position. We tried to demonstrate this through use of  a low angled shots, to represent his higher position between the two of them.

Our filming was actually very successful. The two boys we chose to be in it were very good at taking direction and easy to co-operate with; I think that a good rapport between actors and directors is always demonstrated through the final production with amateur filming.
My partner Zander  is a very talented artist and as he drew the storyboard, so it was very clear to see what shots we had to do. His perspective of the shots he’d drawn made production a lot quicker as we knew exactly what we wanted, where we wanted it and how we wanted it to look for each shot.
Throughout our filming, we ended up adapting, adding and attempting to replace shots to what we had originally planned. As during filming some of the shots looked better from a different angle or with a different shot type. I think that sometimes stepping out of the original plan is better than sticking to it shot by shot. We did shoot every shot we planned, but also tried out different ideas to look through and decide which looks better when editing. When filming each shot, we were very cautious to keep the continuity as clearcut and precise as possible, so we made the characters stay in the exact position they were in whilst we switched position to take the next shot. I hope that this is clearly displayed in our final piece as we tried so hard to make it as good as we possibly could.
The only problems we encountered when filming were people walking through the corridor, this slowed down our filming as we had to wait for them to walk past. However, overall, I think our filming was very successfull, and I look forward to editing the shots together!

Preliminary task and anamatic

3 Oct

For our preliminiary task, we were asked to create a short 2 minute continuity piece. It involves filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down with whom she/he then exchanged a couple of lines of dialogue.”

This task should demonstrate 4 filming rules:

  • Match on actioncutting from one shot to another and carrying it on so it looks like just one shot
  • 180 rulemaking sure that the characters always have the same left/right relationship
  • Shot/reverse shotshowing one character looking off screen at another character, the other character shown looking back
  • The eye line match- a shot which conveys what the character is seeing from their eye level

When we were first given the outline of the preliminary task, I wanted to film someone coming out of a trap door to give it some level of individuality. But problems occured due to when we had to film, and a severe lack of trap doors; my partner and I decided to opt for a simple story line so that the focus would be on the shots and editing, rather than the content of the piece.  The storyline is quite simple, however i find it quite intriguing. We have character 1 walking down a corridor, at a slow pace to build the tension. We use the eye line match shot during his walk down the corridor to show the audience where he is walking to. Character 1 then drops a book onto the floor, this shows match on action as we’ll use two different shots to present him dropping the book. Once character 1 gets to the door, we’ll break the 180 degree rule by panning round the back of him, from right to left, as he opens the door. All of our following shots will then be on the left side of the characters. The suspense is even more tense as when character 1 enters the room. When reviewing our anamatic, we realised we didn’t have a shot/reverse shot. So, we decided to use it as character 1 walks into the room and looks at character 2.
So, this is the end of my first blog post ever!!!