Umda – A technical breakdown

As a reference for the style of shooting for Sonder Melbourne, I have often referenced Umda – a music video by David Aufdembrinke. This has been one of my favourite films in the last year and has truly inspired me with it’s style. For my personal choice blog, I would like to do a technical breakdown of the film as it is invaluable to the research behind Sonder Melbourne.

Visual Filming – The film from was shot during a six week travel through India. It was shot using a Sony A7, and three old Nikon lenses and a single tripod. There were two main reasons for using this equipment – one that the old manual lenses made it look like a analogue photo camera and David wanted that because people react differently to a camera when they think you’re taking a photograph as compared to knowing when they are being filmed. The second reason was the low cost of the gear, which meant that a lot more risk could be taken with this equipment, which one would not do with a more expensive kit. This would be absolutely necessary in getting the type of shots for such films as one is more open to the ideas of how the camera can be moved to get a shot. For example, David tied the camera to a stick and stuck it outside a moving train to capture a video that way. Use of hyper lapse was very important in this film but due to the speed of the film, a lot more shots were required and to be on the safe side, he got 12,000 photos for hyperlapse. The footage itself was ten hours long, from which he was able to cut a 4 minute video.

Due to the kind of shots and pre-planning of what he would do in post production, stability of the camera and perfect framing was not of great importance. The effect of an old grainy VHS film with exaggerated and bleeding colours leaves an option of high zoom and re-framing option.

Nothing was staged for shots required, it was shot naturally, in a documentary format. Most of the shots were unplanned.

Post Production – Editing Style – The film is made with match cuts, which means that every shots ending has been matched graphically to the next shots beginning. The fast movements between shots has been inspired by Japanese cartoons for children, which is what gave me the younger age group insight. It is amazing how much more a child picks up as compared to an adult. The editing was done completely in Adobe Premier. The idea was to shift through shots before one could comprehend what had happened, hence just leaving a sense behind. He calls this style ADD-Editing. In an interview with Dezeen Magazine, David explained that he was inspired by the disregard of pixel resolutions he witnessed in Indian videos, and so just used every effect in the editing suite, which is why could scale images to 600 percent to match them to lead in and out.

The hyper lapses have been stabilized to look like a fast, fancy video takes. The clips were linked into After effects to create some of the effects.

Colour Grading – The colour grading is the most interesting part of the film for me as a VHS tape was used to colour grade with the use of two different strength magnets to pull the colour and make it bleed. The final effect could not have been guessed before, but was a pure experiment. The video was recorded on two different tapes, one with the magnets and one with cuts. It was testing and then do again to get different affects. I would like to try this myself in my video but have not made a decision on it yet. Though exciting, I do not have the means as yet.

Audio – For me the audio was amazing as it added to the film itself, gave the perfect beats for the perfect visuals. But, that was all it was. Finding out that the film had been made as a music video was very disappointing as the music itself is lost in the beauty of the film and is not but a mere enhancer. A powerful one, but not a standalone. One you’re not really listening to. It was a remix of six songs by varied artists.

So, in conclusion to this research, I do think I would get a completely different outcome as it is all an experiment, but I love the idea of using a camera like Sony A7 and three old lenses just because I loved the reasoning for it. Before this research I had been ideally thinking of using a 70mm lense and was very sad that the uni does not lend them out, but I have my answers now. With colour correction, I plan on using Premier and After effects as well but no VHS, as much as I want to. I will save that for a later project. For the audio, I want to use whispered thoughts, music as an enhancer and sounds from the city, make it three level.

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Sketch 1 – Caged Dustbins

Walking out after the intensive, behind building number 9, I was talking to my friend when we heard the generator noise around us. It was really loud and over-powering. She thought it would make a really good sound to have in a sci-fi kind of film. Remembering what I had been watching in class all day, I looked around, taking out my phone to see what I could shoot to go along with the sound. There was a door, made of metal bars with dustbins on the other side. I started shooting immediately using various options. I shot with colour, black and white, perfectly upright and some shots in different angles.

My chosen affordance is spontaneity. That is exactly what my phone afforded me that day. I was able to jump from hearing an interesting sound to shooting a video that I like very much. I was not being billed by the hour, nor did I have to run somewhere to get equipment. It all took less than ten minutes and gave me a perfect video to use. Had I been using fancy equipment, I probably would not have bothered to run back to get it or shoot this piece. A phone allows us to be spontaneous and capture what we deem beautiful or extraordinary in the moments of everyday. In this sketch, the process of making the video was spontaneous.

An issue I did realize was that sometimes your video material can be spontaneous but takes more shape as minutes pass by. It is unplanned, hence the time taken to get a shot you can live with happily may be much longer. I did end up shooting ten videos here to end up with one sketch that I liked. I used the black and white filter on my video as well, which came through after much experimentation. Alternatively though, I think experience makes this issue go away as you develop an eye for things.

This video has been inspired by TransmiLoop as I have tried to give it an effect which I think is loopy and the sound was what inspired me in the first place.

No Direction Home

NO DIRECTION HOME – Click to watch!

One can basically make out what the film,’No Direction Home’ is about within the first 30 seconds as a video of Bob Dylan performing ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is played. The latter parts od the video prove that it is not just a concert you are watching but a documentary about his life. The song itself is shot in an observational mode. It is shaky aand the quality is not what you would call great, but that is exactly what lures you in and also tells you that there is more to come beside the song.

The video then cuts to a very hazy foggy screen with tree impressions on it. It is an abrupt cut between the two shots and it takes a couple of seconds before you realize what you are actually seeing. All the colour and fun of the previous concert is absolutely zapped out of the screen and this absolute contrast and long shot is very interesting visually just because of the difference. After this very quiet and dull shot, we hear Bob Dylan talk about time and freezing it, which has been a very interesting topic for me always and this was when I was sold to watching this documentary.

The film is basically a story of how Bob Dylan started out. We are taken back into his past, which he retells. The mode of documentary also changes here from observational to participatory as he recounts his life. The rules of shooting seem to have been followed to perfection here as we see him sitting on a stool, positioned to the right hand side and shot with the three point rule. The lighting is simple, only a key light is used here and shines on the offside of the face. The contrast is again high on the amount of shadow and light, telling us that the filmmaker enjoys mixing different things for the eye to see. I personally like this kind of film shooting as well.

In between the shots of Dylan recounting his past are black and white photos or videos, some abstract, which help in his telling. My favourite shot of these was of the record spinning.

There are two audio lines in the film, one recording his voice and the other playing old music to set the mood and imply how all that music played a huge part in his life. A third is added in between for fx sounds like wind, I think. A classmate actually bought my attention to that.

The use of black and white grades, old tunes and even Bob Dylan’s voice take you back, you don’t need to hear his words to guess what he is talking about. I can’t help but remember here an advice of a cinematographer that said let the audio and the image go hand in hand and compliment each other to tell your story. Don’t let one take over the other to render it useless. I think that has been achieved amazingly here.

So, in the end, though I haven’t seen this film, the first two minutes show me that it is about Bob Dylan’s journey to the world of music and being a rebel, growing up in a small mining town. Growing up, there is no direction home!

Raise Your Voice – The making

The making of the game “Raise your Voice” with Tim and Isabel as my partners was a really great time, but it took a really long time as well. Making animated videos for the game was really fun and I got to try out my skills, that I have developed this semester, which was great for me. The app itself was very complicated. It isn’t something we are actually posting on Twitter as we made the game keeping The Loboc Choir in mind and posting it would require permissions we do not have.

What Worked Amazingly:

I absolutely agree with Tim, when he says that it was probably one of the best group to work in. I think we worked really well together and all of us took up the job we thought would be best suited to our skills, but at the same time, we were never isolated from what each of us were doing. I think that is really important when it comes to team activity. I was responsible for making the marketing video, which Tim really helped me out with. The picture used is one he got while he was in Bohol. The song recorded is also both of us rapping! Isabel was responsible for making the decision tree for our game whilst Tim wrote the synopsis and the motivation for playing the game.

The game itself I think is really straight forward and short, which, according to some recent market surveys I saw, works really well now-a-days on social media. The element of being able to share it with yours friends on your timelines is also great and something we can look at going viral, which is our main aim to spread awareness about the group and their impending visit.

I really like that with this game it can be a group of friends who do it together as well as individual, which recent similar apps like MyIdol don’t allow.

Everything has negatives:

The app – Autorap was a little bit nuts to tell you the truth. We used it to create our own song but getting it downloaded on our computers as an mp3 was next to impossible. We could share it on social media, no problem, but the app doesn’t allow you to download your music which I think is not cool. When people have something like this, they might want to keep it with them offline or on their phones which isn’t possible yet.

The other part of course is our lack of being able to share it due to copyright permissions from The Loboc Choir.

Overall, the game in our eyes is a success but it is something we can’t test out just yet. Hopefully, Tim will be able to get permission to do so and we might be able to do what we started. So, we would love to have the chance to invite people to Raise their Voices and be a part of something that has come to be very important to us.

Moments – Abstract Piece

Nigaahein. Hindi for eyes. The song I used is about conveying messages, feelings and emotions through what an eye can see, which cannot be conveyed with words. I got a few great shots when we were sent out shooting a few weeks back and putting it together I had a few ideas or first thoughts. But I finally setlled on this because I feel the video is a great representation of my everyday life here in Melbourne. The song itself is copyright free for me as it has been composed back home and the singer was a housemate back in the day.  I decided not to use any music from the copyright free website as I have done that in the other videos we made this semester. I had this piece sitting with me, so why not, eh?

Nostalgia. I go back home for the winter break and everyone has been asking me how melbourne is. My family wants to see what I saw everyday. That I think is the essence I am trying to capture here. We never had any form of a video for this great track and I sorely hope I have done it justice.

That out of the way, a few weeks back we went and recorded both video and audio randomly without really knowing we would have to use it together to make something. Looking back at it now, I imagine even abstract comes out better if we have some semblance of a plan. While putting this video together, my head was swimming with ideas of what I can do and what would really make it stand out from what everyone is doing as we were working with the same footage. I would like to go out and do it again, someday maybe to make a real video for my song.

Audio

Suprisingly, we actually got some great audio clips. We even got one guy singing va-va-vroom into the mike, which I think sounds very European in a way if I were to use it. A lot of background noise was recorded as well, which doesn’t work too great for us. I noticed if you want to record some fx sound it’s almost impossible to get good quality because we couldn’t really isolate it. We were able to get sounds of footsteps and doors clicking shut out back, where the ambience noise was much quieter. Also using metal fire escapes worked better than we thought with footsteps.

Overall, I decided not to use it in my video as I felt a minute was really less to incorporate these very well, trust me I tried. For a longer video, I could definitely see it. Also it was so random and I couldn’t really build a good contrast there.

Video

I ended up not recording what I wanted as I was last on the list for recordings and with barely any time left, we rushed to the place I wanted to do it. We found it locked as there was a meeting going on in the room that lead to it. But, no worries, my friends did get some pretty good stuff that we could use. The actual activity of recording went really well as we were a close knit group, really easy going, and complimented each other in everyway. I enjoyed the process more than most other activities just because I had a group who understood and respected each other. I think that is really important if one wants to have a good product in the end.

What I did notice though was that no-one was really bothered with white balance and the other things that we have learnt about and there wasn’t much experimentation that took place. I think everyone was more focused on the content and not how it would look which would be a major problem if we were actually going to get any money shots.

Editing

Like I mentioned before, putting it together, I really wanted much more. But, overall I really enjoyed the process. I worked using all kinds of things that premier has to offer. I know that I absolutely hate the effects you can put in between shots. I like the sudden cuts. I loved playing with the colours and I feel it produces a very different feeling to the video, adding to the nostalgia value that my song creates. I also wrote a few haikus and I felt it took away from my video rather than adding to it, so I went without. I also tried putting in subtitles but decided against it as I felt it took away from the eerie unknown feeling now.

I also realize I’ve used a lot of people in my video who, on a normal basis I would have to take permission from before putting there, but I figured since they are people I am currently working with, this once it wouldn’t really matter. Also, I am not using my video for any commercial process or even in my portfolio as it is just me having fun and creating something personal.

Raise Your Voice

Let’s raise our voices together for the Loboc choir! – Tim, Isabel and Prachi

Motivation: To generate awareness of the Loboc Choir and inspire people to help Rebuild Bohol either through attending the concert or making a donation.

Synopsis:

This game is designed to raise awareness and promote the upcoming visit of the Loboc Children’s Choir to Melbourne on June 27, 2015. The tour is a fundraising initiative to help rebuild the the century old churches of Bohol that were destroyed by a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the island of Bohol back in 2013.

This game uses the application Auto Rap where you and your friends can separately record your voices, saying anything you want, before it immediately transforms your voices into a musical or choir piece. It is our hope that together we will be able to produce beautiful music inspired by the choir itself.

So people will basically be invited to the app to make their own music peice without having to sing, all their converstions or monologues that they record will automatically change into a choir song that they can then share on various media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Etc.

We believe that by making a fun and interactive game, we will be able to inform different audiences about the upcoming tour whilst also raising awareness about a very important and serious issue for the people of Bohol.

A motivational video to show and direct people to the game app on twitter.

 

Decision Tree: Scan the QR Code and Start playing

Gamification

Shooting Drama

A few weeks back we were given a task in class. A task to shoot our first drama – Lenny. It was exciting, confusing, fun and wierdly awkward. The scripts themselves were handed out by our teacher and we were put in fairly large groups for a scene so small. We had to divide everything we did into three categories – Pre-production, production and post-production.

Pre-Production – Planning and Storyboarding

This was the easy part. We all fell into our seperate roles with no problems as they came straight from what we enjoy and the skills we have, if not our personalities. There was absolutely no chaos as I sat with Scott and we decided out angles, shots and camera positions. I wrote down the kind of shots we would want, most of it came from my knowledge of stuff I’ve already seen in similar scenes in movies and it was really easy for me to imagine how I would shoot everything. Scott did the drawing of camera positions. We explained it all to the other two members we were working with. Vivi wanted to do storyboarding and Dey wanted a call on locations. It was fun, yes. But I feel that we all missed the point somewhere as what we did that day just lay forgotten in the next stages.

Production – Ready, Speed, Rolling and Action

This is probably when everything shot to hell. We did the actual shooting two days in a row. None of us carried our plans with us. We just went out and shot. The first day we ended not recording a lot of the shots that we had thought we did because quiet a few of us were not sure on how to use the camera. All the record buttons don’t record. How wierd is that. The two actors didn’t do anything but act. Everyone wanted to play camera man. No one really paid attention to the sound. When I was at it, I could here everything so clearly, including a couple whispering away to each other in the distance, so I’m guessing the volume was turned up way too much. When we heard what we had recorded, we could hardly even make out the dialogues!

The director did no directing, he just called out action and cut. Not everyone got a chance to play with everything. We were confused and after a point everyone took the excersise lightly enough to just get it over with. We kept missing team members and there seemed hardly a need for so many anyway as a lot just stood around and watched it all go down. I wish we had more guidance and structure to this task even though it wasn’t for earning points. Our first shoot and we missed the enjoyment in it!

Another thing we absolutely missed at was our log sheet. We just wrote different shot numbers and scene numbers as we weren’t sure how they were going down due to lack of our planning sheet with us. We were all writing in it, which probably added to it, so I can safely say, it turned out useless in the end.

We did manage to get all the scenes, just not the way we wanted. No one was really happy. Maybe lack of communication was a big reason as well, as we were all busy trying to make each other happy.

Post-production – Premier

Finally going through what we had and what we recorded was dissapointing to say the least. But using Premier and seeing how films are put together was actually a very fun task for me. Paul told me that this was probably as boring as it gets because that’s what drama is really. But I was happt to play with it, try to give it filler scenes, a different music to cut the voice altogether and play with the colour to make it look cooler. I felt like I could do so much even though I knew we were barely even scratching the surface with what we had learnt. I decided I was going to make the most of what we had and play with it, do a french number, ha. Different camera angles, longer than usual scenes, less cuts, absolute scenario scenes in between to cut from the intensity but giving it more intensity in the end. I enjoyed it, even though the sound sucked, some shots were missing and I could kept thing of all the things I wanted to shoot now that I was actually looking at it.

 

In the end, it was fun, confusing and definitely lacked structure and on our part a lot of knowledge I wish we had before we went out to do something like this. I have gotten to play more with the audio recorder as well as the camera in my future classes and I feel like I do have more knowledge on both. I would love to give it another go.