The End Result

I am really happy with the completion of my film, it’s exactly what I aimed for with no budget and a challenge. This film was put together solely from my influences in previous posts, using these interrogation methods and dark cinematic styles and lighting to capture my own short film. I think that if I could do anything better it would be to construct the script better and maybe give myself more time and thought for the writing process.

I enjoyed the whole process of making this film as it was a challenge with no budget to source anything, I also feel that I’ve managed to bring my skills from the 1st semester and take them forward into this project by using my producing skills to acquire access to locations such as a pub and prime studios, especially when the studios are on a tight schedule with availability. I’ve also never had the chance to direct anything before, so this was a great opportunity to experiment and explore my ideas and interests with freedom.

From this whole experience having the freedom to explore in a variety of different roles and working from my influences, it’s helped me to decide on what I personally want to specialise in for my 3rd year and this is to study cinematography. I think cinematography is an essential part of the creative process during all stages of a production and I think that this is where I would like to explore my ideas by creating various moods, atmospheres and emotion through camera movement, lighting and rigging. In regards to my future in filmmaking, I think that the cinematography department interests me most because I feel that there are no limits.

I plan to keep making films in cinematography based roles using my current influences to experiment and challenge myself to achieve new things across various genres of drama. I will be taking forward the producing skills I’ve gained, and this will help me to be good with my time, stay organised when working on shoots, keep the confidence in my creativity, and more importantly the ability to solve problems.

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Post Production – Week 2

18/04/16


By failing to edit Bad Manners on my laptop, I decided to upload the footage into Avid at the film school, and I asked Juri Sodero to put an assembly together for me because I am slightly rusty with Avid as I haven’t used the program for a year now, this will be a lot quicker and more helpful by using Juri’s editing skills.

I gave Juri the script for Bad Manners and he put an assembly together for me, I also sat through the edit with Juri on one of the days and this helped me to understand and remember my skills with Avid. I decided that I would leave Juri with the script because it will be a lot easier for him to put the assembly together without having to listen to me demand things differently to his style.

Once Juri had put the edit together I watched it, however, I didn’t like how some of it had be constructed, and this is because I am focusing heavily on sound, and some of the clips were either too short or too long because his vision was not quite the same approach as mine for building tension. I took over the edit from Juri, and I began shortening areas where I though it had to be snappier to work with the addition of dialogue, voiceovers and sound effects that I’m including in the film.

Another thing that Juri accidentally did whilst assembling the edit, is miss place the shots that included dialogue. This wasn’t his fault because I recorded the all of the sound separately and without a clapperboard, so this is another time consuming problem I encountered by just letting somebody take over the edit, as I knew which shots I wanted in the different areas of the assembly to make it work. I’ll know now for next time to ensure undertaking a continuity log and also a transcript for post-production, so the editor knows what happens in which shot and when to use it.

In the mean time I recorded voiceovers with Jack Braham. The reason I chose Jack is because he has a distinctive northern voice and I think that it works well to help the story build up tension with his deep tone.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 18.34.09

This image is above is the final timeline of the finished film, this includes all the sound effects, dialogue and voiceovers. Once I has inserted the voiceovers to where I wanted them in the timeline, I turned the volume up to the maximum, however, this still wasn’t loud enough and it was too late to export the clips into protools as I’m not trained up on using this program. If I was to do this differently I would record the voiceovers at a higher volume.

Once this was completed, I inserted a soundtrack which I selected from a similar style and technique of Guy Ritchie’s style with his action scenes. I chose to use Stone Rose – ‘Fools Gold’ because the lyrics link in with that the films trying to say, and also the funky instrumental has a unique way of building tension, which is really interesting once it’s applied. If my film was longer, I would most likely apply the soundtrack to fade out in certain parts of the film, so then it’s not solely driven by a soundtrack, however, I do like this style. I had to be careful when I was applying the soundtrack because the voiceovers are not the best quality in volume, so I faded down the soundtrack in the areas where the voiceovers came in.

Colour Grade:

After I finished applying the sound to my edit, I wanted to try and apply a colour grade to my film to make it colder at the beginning and slightly warmer coming from the security light during the interrogation scene. I’ve never been trained up on DaVinci Resolve, so this was quite a challenge, but I found a document that assisted me to export the files from Avid into DaVinci.

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In the 1st semester I remember sitting in on my colour grade with Juri when he was applying various shades, shadows and colours to our short film and from this I vaguely remember the tools he was using. I decided that I would try and make my film darker by turning down the reds, greens and blues in all of the colour wheels, by doing this I made each shot darker, but I don’t think I achieved it to a good enough standard for the continuity of the film. I then struggled to export the colour grade and it wouldn’t seem to work when I was trying to apply it to my film, so I was slowly running out of time. I decided that I would leave my film as it is and concentrate on further on finalising the sound and cuts. Over the summer, I’ll attempt a colour grade on this film and use this to familiarise myself with DaVinci Resolve and hopefully gain a good understanding of how the program works for my future projects.

When I had completed the edit, I exported in H.264, Apple pro-res 422 and also MPEG-4, but all of these formats were slightly too dark and the H.264 format was the brightest of the 3, so my film looks a little too dark in some areas, but I still like the darkness in the majority of the shots and this worked well for what I wanted to achieve.

Post-Production -Assembly Week 1

Once I had filmed all the shots for my film, I uploaded all the footage to my hard drive and then imported into Adobe Premiere Pro on my laptop. I attempted to piece the footage together through Premiere, however, this proved to be quite difficult because the footage needed to be rendered quite often and my laptop didn’t run quick enough for me to work on the edit comfortably.

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This image above shows that I managed to get around 40 seconds of the edit done before I decided that I would much rather prefer to use Avid and edit my film. The layout that I had on premiere pro was useful, however for a quicker process I would much rather use Juri’s editing skills and also Avid Media Composer.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 17.52.53

I tried to use effects to just have a play around with the edit to try and find my comfort zone with what I was capable of achieving myself because I haven’t edited a project in 1 year. Again, this proved to be difficult using video effects on my laptop as the program ran too slow for the amount of time I have on the project.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 17.53.16

This is a colour correction preset that I created for the opening sequence of my film, I decided that it would be beneficial for me to put a rough preset together for how I want the film to look after the editing and sound has been completed. I like this colour because of its really cold atmosphere and it also helps for the story and the action to appear more distinct and dangerous. I want to bring out the colder and darker colours with the shadows and contrasts in the light and dark corners of the opening scene, and I will use DaVinci Resolve to achieve this.

 

Filming Day 3 – 44 Cliff Mount, Woodhouse

12/04/16

Today I had to resort to filming the interrogation scene in my basement at my house because I didn’t have any more time available in the studio from prioritising my experimental film. I was lucky enough to continue using the Canon C300 for this as it has a high dynamic range and it’s good in low light environments, if I was to use my Sony HX300 it would not be able to pick up the image properly and it would be really noisy and bad quality.

Kit list:

  • Canon C300
  • C-stands x2
  • Matte Box x1
  • Follow Focus x1
  • Boom Mic
  • Sound Mixer
  • Dedolight x2
  • Light stand x2
  • Sandbags x5
  • Italian Clamp x1
  • Gaffer Tape

Props:

  • Photograph of mum and dad
  • Mobile Phone
  • Duck tape
  • Chairs x2
  • Table
  • Keg

Foley List:

  • Car door shutting
  • Locks unbolted and re-bolted
  • Door creaks open
  • Door shuts
  • Fast paced footsteps
  • Regular paced footsteps
  • Tapping finger
  • Fist clenching tighter
  • Slamming both fists down
  • Aaron moaning under duck tape
  • Aaron screaming under duck tape
  • The barrel rolling
  • Duck tape taking tension
  • Ringing phone
  • Paper being teared into small pieces
  • A keg smashing sound being recorded through a phone
  • Tape being removed

The crew I had to help me are:

  • Joe Fowler – Camera Operator
  • Chris Black – Gaffer
  • Preston Williams – Sound Operator

The 3 actors:

  • Juri Sodero – Butch
  • Johan Shay – Aaron
  • Chris Black – Grunt

The interrogation scene takes up the most part of the script so all the planning and preparation was for this day. I put together a shot list and foley list for what I needed and I managed to capture everything possible.

Actors Performances:

I had previously met up with Johan to see if he would be interested in helping me out for the film and I briefed him up on what he role would consist of by acting as Aidan’s character. Johan has previously studied being an actor in the past and he has also had some experience acting in short films and he knew exactly what I was wanting from him. I showed him a couple of clips from my inspiration such as the James Bond scene. I told him to use this for the atmosphere and way of the character, being trapped in a dark underground cellar underneath the city and it’s a life or death situation.

Juri also did a good job acting as Butch, it was a lot easier for him because his face wasn’t being shown, so he more confidence in the role of being aggressive, dominant and scary.

Problems Encountered:

As I was filming in my basement, I was restricted to filming from distances and using different lenses, the room was quite small and couldn’t get a wide enough shot to shoot 5 shots from my shot list. To replace the wide angle shots, I decided to use Aaron’s point of view for when Butch places the photograph and phone down on the table, and I actually preferred this outcome a lot better than I originally planned.

Influences:

Whilst setting up the lights according to my lighting plan, I had these images in mind and I aimed to construct an atmosphere which is darker, but with a very similar lighting style especially with the contrast ratios on Aaron’s face.

Guy Ritchie has certainly been an influence in my work, I have used the poker scene from ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ for a very similar approach I’m undertook, but I was aiming to go darker than this scene with my film. I want to apply a soundtrack that is very similar, it helps to build the tension and understand what the character is experiencing and thinking through the lyrics, not only this, it also attracts the audiences attention to associate with the character, the story and the soundtrack.

I shot all of the point of view shots first, this is just whilst Johan was arriving at the location. At the beginning of this scene I planned to replicate the hand gestures and sound on a wide angle lens form a point of view shot of Aaron, this is something I think I achieved well enough, however, I would have planned to shoot more point of view shots in my shot list, now that I know how useful they are to my film, this is because I have heavily focused on sound for my film and more point of view shots would have definitely worked well for the style I’m going for. If I have time to pick up on shots and the actors are available, I will try and shoot more point of views to emphasise on butch’s intimidating hands on a wide angle lens.

I’m also planning to apply a similar colour grade to my film, slightly over exposed and to bring the yellows and tungsten colours out in the frame, this is so then I can pass over a warm effect and an uncomfortable atmosphere making the Aaron look as if he’s sweeting.

I think this shoot day went according to my plans, I’m very happy with the footage I shot, but if I was to do this again I would shoot it in Prime Studios where I have freedom and space to build a set and apply some production design around the background to help the location seem more believable and distinctively dangerous.

The following shots that include dialogue and when the tape is removed from Aaron’s mouth are the shots I particular planned to achieve well. This film need an actor with a believable performance and  with Johan being the victim, this worked exactly how I expected and I couldn’t have planned for it to be any better with no budget. One thing that would have helped to make this performance better is if I could have somehow been able to make him seem as though he was fighting more in pain and maybe make him cry towards the end, however, I didn’t have any onions.

The dark lighting that I planned for my scene worked as I planned, I wanted to in some way replicate the victim in this scene above, making him look over-exposed, sweeting and warm from the security light, I wanted this to be clear visible light so the audience can see ever little change in emotion the actor feels from the shadows on their face. I think the help from my cinematography specialism this year has enabled me to create different atmospheres and feeling through lighting. Again, if I was to make the lighting any better I would have used the studio where it’s safer to operate and more feasible with space.

In regards to the sound that I recorded, I would have sourced more ways of recording a number of sounds I needed from the foley list, for example, I would have recorded more separate sounds of:

  • The chair creaking
  • Legs kicking
  • Aarons screaming
  • The tape being pealed from his mouth
  • My back door locks being unbolted and then bolted again (This is something I forgot)
  • Moans under the tape
  • The sound of the tape taking tension
  • The sound of paper being slid across the table
  • A clicking finger (I also forgot to get this shot from the shot list, if I can possible pick up on this shot, I will do as it’s essential)

I would have also recorded more of the moans, grunts, crying for help and frustration coming from Aaron, this would have given me more freedom to use more sound in the edit, instead this took me slightly longer to achieve to a good enough standard.

 

 

Filming Day 2 – Prime Studios

11/04/16

Kit List:

  • Canon C300
  • Matte box
  • Follow Focus
  • 650w Fresnal
  • 8ft track
  • Dolly
  • K clamps
  • Sandbags

Actors:

  • Butch: Juri Sodero
  • Aaron: Johan Shay

prime recce

Today was the same day that I was shooting my experimental film, so this was the main priority. Once this had been filmed I didn’t have much time left and I wanted to shoot the whole interrogation scene in prime because they have a huge studio space in studio 2, however, I could only get one shot and this was the shot of ‘Butch’ walking down into the cellar.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 18.40.48

I filmed this shot with a one 650w fresnal light and a track and dolly along the studio floor, and this shot is going to be placed in the film as a build of shot to help create tension when this unknown character is walking into somewhere mysterious.

Filming Day 1 – Granary Wharf & Becketts Bank Pub

10/04/16


Granary Wharf

Kit list:

  • Sony HX300

Costume & Props:

  • Safety boots
  • Combat pants/dickies working pants

I organised to shoot on this day with Juri Sodero and I asked him to wear his big safety boots for this shooting day as I was getting shots that represented a dominant character, so the clothing had to be suitable . These shots were the opening shots to my shot list and they only consisted of 3 different angles of his legs and feet walking down an underground alleyway.

I accomplished these shots well to my expectations, however, it would have been more useful to film with a camera that is good in low light environments, because my camera’s image sensor isn’t quite as good and it records a noisy image.

Grainy look NOISY

This is a shot I got tracking in from black, however, because this location was unevenly lit and it was really dark and this caused me to have an issue with my footage. If I could have had the Canon C300 for this day, this would have been beneficial.

Becketts Bank Pub

Kit List:

  • Sony HX300

Costume & Props:

  • Safety boots
  • Combat pants/dickies working pants
  • Kegs

Whilst shooting at this location, I kept in mind that I am using the kegs to my advantage to drive the story, so Juri helped me to line kegs up and down a narrow corridor on either side so that it looked a little bit congested to help set the scene of the interrogation.

Once the kegs were lined up, I told Juri what his action was during these shots. His action was to walk down the stairs that lead to the underground entrance of the pub, he then walks down past the barrels and kicks the cellar door open. I filmed this shot from 2 different angles, from behind and also in front of the character, ending the shot on the door slamming shut.

This shoot was a success because my work allowed me to film in the staff only areas, the producing skills that I learnt from my 1st semester benefitted me into gaining access to locations like this that are essential for helping my story flow. If it was feasible for me use a camera that records in better quality for low light environments, I would have done so because this is the only negative outcome from the shoot.

 

Final Draft Shot List

07/04/16


This is my final draft of the shot list. I figured that if I have to shoot the majority of my film at my house in the basement, then I will have to adapt to that with my shot selection, so for this I can’t use as many wide shots as I’d like, however, I will use more Point of View shots and also Over The Shoulder shots to resolve this issue if it’s necessary.

Updated Shot List 1

Updated Shot List 2