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.

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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.

Action….and Cut! Working with Actors

The article ‘Actor and the Director’, gave me a lot of insight upon their relationship. The article starts with the question – ‘How much does the film actor need to know about the work of the film director?’

I, for one, think the relationship goes both ways. As much as the actor’s performance represents the outcome and success of the film, the way he is directed also shows him in a certain light – good or bad. Hence, I believe that the actor should have complete knowledge of the techniques, camera angles, focus and other things that the director is working with. I, like Mackendrick, do not agree with Antonioni’s believe – “An actor does not need to understand, he needs to be.”

A few years back, a Bollywood fim was sued by the lead actress as she claimed that she had been shot horribly, in very unflattery light, which would taint her future job prospects. The director suffered a great deal due to this claim as it became hard for him to hire a good actor to play his roles in subsequent projects.

Also, I think an actor can perform his task better, and faster, if he is already aware of what exactly the director is focusing on and where the camera will capture his movements from. He can give you his best angles and expressions when he knows his face is the focus or he can use exceptional body language to get across the same points in long-shots. It really can be imperative for him to  know, to put his best foot forward.

An example used in the article was Actors being compared to trained atheletes. Again, I have to disagree with the way the comparison is made. Even an athelete to perform his best must be aware of things in his surroundings like the temperature, the terrain, the amount of oxygen in the air! He does depend on these thing to enable better performance.

Having said that, I realize we do not live in the perfect world where everyone shares the same work ethics. It is completely possible that a new actor may be over-whelmed by all the knowledge or an experienced one may want to interfere in the director’s work. Harmony is what we seek at the end and luckily, we get to choose who we want to work with!

And I thought it was all the Director’s Job!

Every time someone asks me what I want to do, I say I want to direct a film. But I had no clue how absolutely small and meaningless my understanding of that line really was. I thought I would get to choose my cast, choose how I want the cameraman to work, how my lighting would be, what kind of sound I have going on, and of course direct and edit the whole damn thing. I mean I would be choosing my locations and the look of the character right down to that mole on her cheek, right? But after reading the two articles on crew roles, I realized what I was really looking at was at least a gazillion peoples’ jobs!

Who would have thought? Now I say, I want to try being in different roles and see what I’m good at so I can decide. Hopefully my course will help me through that. The Director and Assistant Director roles still sound really good. But, I like the idea of being in the positions of UPM, Art Director, Production Designer, any of the photography roles and I love the job of the Documentary Videographer who is ultimately the man enjoying from the back seat.

Having worked in Advertising as a script writer before, I understand that most of these roles have blurry lines and for smaller projects like ad films, the crew is much smaller where most of these roles are merged into one man. I also am very familiar with the concept of chain of command as we always worked with a hierarchy. I am not going to say I always loved it, because it can get in the way when your immediate senior is a pain to get along with or an almighty know-it-all. Having said that I understand the reason for it and the chaos that would be created if this was not in place. Work ethics is pointed out as obviously being a huge part of every role’s responsibility, which I think is really important for the ultimate success of the film. You do end up being each others best friends and family for a while there, working on the film with all the wierd and late working hours. I practically lived in my office!

I loved how the different roles have been given their own set of personalities. That was the most fun to read, specially when words like ‘formidable powers’ were thrown my way. It was fun learning about these roles, all in all and it does leave me a lot to think about when planning my future in the industry. One step closer! A billion more to go.

Refrences:

https://drive.google.com/a/student.rmit.edu.au/file/d/0BzGjVbGqm4cXejVheXZjLUxuNEk/view