My first day of filming was on Saturday the 15th of April, the call time for all crew was 13:00pm at the filming location. Originally my crew was going to be myself and three other media students, however two couldn’t make it due to their work schedules so it was just myself and Emma Newell, who is my assistant camera operator for this project. The call time for the main cast, Niamh Mahoney and Chris Short, was 14:00pm as this gave Emma and I time to set up and go over the shot list for each scene.
I set the camera up for the first scene, a flashback to the couple arriving home from a meal with friends where an argument happens and the audience sees an act of physical violence. I used the boom mic for audio, which Emma opperated and decided not to use the dedo lights as there was enough natural light coming in through a window.
Once my actors arrived I went through the narrative with them again and then explained what I wanted them to do in the first scene. Although their movements and camera shots have been scripted I decided to let them improvise the majority of the dialogue as it would be more natural to them.
The first two shots, which show the couple entering the house and sitting down to talk about their afternoon went well as they were well framed and the dialogue between the characters sounded natural.
The next shot, which was a mid shot, shows Niamh attempting to walk away from the argument they are having and then a close up of Chris grabbing her arm is shown. This is where the flashback will cut off and it will imply that an act of physical violence has happened afterwards as Niamh’s broken arm is shown in the next two scenes, although this was an issue at first I am glad that I could include it in the narrative and Niamh used long sleeves to cover it in the first scene. The only issue with the shot is the lighting, as they are standing in front of a large window which lets in a lot of natural light and this made the shot look too exposed. I did multiple takes of each shot and adjusted the camera settings to try and dim the light.
I decided to film the third flashback scene next, which shows the couple arguing in the kitchen and the woman goes to hit the man with a mug, showing the audience that she is no longer willing to take the abuse. I did this next because I wanted to experiment with different shots and knew it would take longer to do, whereas the second flashback scene I knew exactly what I wanted to do and could wrap up quickly.
Originally I wanted to position the actors in front of the sink, however the large window behind it again let in lots of natural light, making the shot overexposed and the face of the actor very shadowed and dark. Instead I moved them forward to stand infront of the countertop and used one of the dedo lights to act as an overhead light, although the this looks like a spotlight in the pictures it looked natural on camera. I stood both characters side – on, to prevent blocking, a term used when the shorter person cannot be seen behind a taller person and used mostly wide and mid shots as Chris is quite tall and didn’t always fit on screen. This scene had to be shot multiple times, as the dialogue didn’t sound right and Chris had a hard time with getting into character. The shot where Niamh swings a mug towards Chris was clumsy and awkward at first, however after a few takes I got a couple that I could use in the film.
The second flashback scene, which I shot last, shows Niamh’s character putting on makeup to cover a bruise, she then recieves abusive text message from the boyfriend character which shows the audience that the abuse is emotional as well as physical. The bruise was made with makeup and a stippling sponge by Emma, I am very pleased with how it looked. As the bathroom light was yellow I decided to use a dedo light which acted as a natural white light. I positioned the camera to the left of Niamh so that it would not appear in the mirror over the sink.
The first shot, a close up of Niamh looking into the mirror and touching the bruise is well lit and well framed and conveys the characters emotions. For the shot where Niamh is looking at the abusive text messages I used a close up / over the shoulder shot, which I thought had turned out well. Unfortunately when I looked back at this scene later I realised that the messages were not in focus and that I had only done one take. I am disappointed that i hadn’t noticed or rectified this before however I am going to look into different ways of showing text messages on screen if I cannot refilm the scene.
Despite the issue with the phone shot, this is my favourite scene from the three flashbacks because of how it is framed and lit and how it looks dark and gritty.
At the end of the day I recorded a video log of how I thought the day had gone and what I would change if I were to reshoot.