HND – Week 6 – Genre Studies and Themes

This week was more on Genre studies and introduced themes into the equation as well as discussing cliches, the general “rules” around comedy, thriller, horror, etc.

We also worked on movie posters, designing posters for our upcoming short movie and other projects.

The practical exercise on Thursday seemed to be a bit chaotic and unplanned –  Made worse by only half the class having actually turned up 🙁

We were told to think of sci-fi story ideas over lunch, come back and pitch them and the winning one would then be chosen (which then meant we had 5-10 minutes to come up with a script), and the crew were chosen by Zulf using the age-old “spin the bottle” trick. (Talk about cliche’s 🙂 )

The brief was to use “unique” applications of light and colour and to make full use of the gels and lighting kit.

Arabella was selected as Director, Asaturs got Cinematography, Josh on camera, and as the writer, I was told to sit back and let the Director get on with things (this was difficult!) without interfering but to answer questions on my “vision” if asked. 

I quickly defined how I thought the “transport” sequence should work, which everyone bought into, and then I sat back (in my “trailer”) and observed – until asked to help with one of the sub roles (be it sound, lights, etc) – and of course started to get into character.  It was my intention to channel Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from Back To The Future.  You can judge how well that worked (or didn’t) when you watch the clip!

As we were a total of 5 for the afternoon and we needed 2 in front of the camera, one operating the camera, and one directing we found that we had to double up on most roles.  Due to technical difficulties with the sound equipment (and the distinct lack of a boom operator), Arabella made the decision to shoot just using the on-camera microphones.

The whole shoot was pretty shambolic to start with, although after a patchy start Arabella quickly gained confidence and started to take charge.  The shoot would have gone better had the Director spent 10 minutes planning, drawing up a scene and shot list to communicate to the crew, however after some confusion things started to happen and we managed to shoot the (roughly) nine scenes within the allotted 2-hour window (just).

I have edited a rough cut together.  This is definitely not our best work, but it stands as a record of what happened in the afternoon. 

Transporter Accident (Short)

 

Bloopers and Outtakes

HND – Week 5 – Genre and Horror

This week we started work on Genres, discussing the various types of genre and where they fit into the film world.

We covered the basic format of a screenplay and some of the conventions, however I felt the lesson wasn’t overly informative or clear and think we need to spend more time on this important subject.

We worked on our script ideas and filmed our own little horror story where we ended up decapitating a stuffed toy (“Mr Fluffikins”) on a project called “Under Duress” by Josh Farrell.

The filming exercise went well and with Orlando in the Director’s Chair, myself as 1st AD, Chessie as Sound, Santi as Clapper Loader, ?? on Camera and Josh and Arabella in front of the camera, we worked efficiently to shoot the various scenes.

The evening was more time spent on script analysis led by Elliot Grove as part of a five week foundation course on script writing.  The foundation seems to be mainly analysis of other scripts, how they are translated into film and then a bunch of tools for story generation, as well as Elliot’s rules for story types.

Stories are based in one of four arenas, Wilderness, Village, City and Oppressed City.

 

HND – Day 3 – Nic & Sam Scene

Today’s practical exercise was to plan and shoot a scene based in a school corridor with dialogue between Nic & Sam (two characters) written by Patricia Hetherington.  Due to diary clashes, I attended the Group A class instead of my usual Group B.

The planning exercise went well and Leanna (camera) realised exactly what we wanted almost immediately and then drew up some amazing storyboards which we shared with the rest of the team.

Elena and Jonny agreed to be the “talent” for this exercise whilst I directed.

The exercise was fun and we managed to shoot the whole sequence in less than 25 minutes, almost exactly as we had planned it – with the exception of two shots which we agreed would be better as a single “medium two-shot” instead.

I then edited the whole piece together in Final Cut Pro (which took another 30 minutes) and as a homage to Grange Hill found a copy of Phil Redmond’s theme tune online to finish off the clip.

As before, several ways this could have been improved by enhancing the sound (use of proper sound equipment), and lighting (rather than relying just on practical lighting).

The team worked well and it was a pleasure to shoot.  Even Jonny’s acting skills improved as we ran through rehearsal and then filming.

Without a slate to mark the scenes I used a book to split takes where we kept the camera rolling to help the (none professional) actors be more relaxed.

Jonny and Yelena took directions well and we worked together as a cohesive unit quite well.

We also decided to challenge ourselves and try to use every lens in the box, which is why the PoV shots look a bit weird, we experimented with the 24mm lens … probably should have stuck with the 35mm but then this was an experimental shoot as much as anything!

The finished video (at least my edit of it) is below … Leanne will hopefully be putting her version online in the next couple of days

 

 

Planning went well as did the rehearsals (one or two rehearsals before each shot/segment)

Yelena said that she would have preferred more interaction / rehearsal with the Director to see what I wanted from the actor which I have taken on board for next time

Considering we’re using the onboard microphones on the cameras, the sound didn’t come out too badly.

Things to improve / remember for next time

  • Buzz track
  • Better sound equipment
  • Better lighting
  • Continuity 🙂
  • Foley