Screening Day. 🎬

The screening day on Wednesday 14th June was media’s separate exhibtion where we could screen our films to the other FAD students, our friends and family. 

We decided to have two screenings – one for FAD students at 13:30pm and one for friends and family at 17:00pm. In preparation for the 13:30 screening we put up our individual posters opposite the screening room and used a roll banner to display the bigger main poster which was created by Emma Newell. I bought red and blue ballons, which matched the colour scheme of the poster, and stuck them to the door of the screening room and scattered the rest outside in the corridor. 

I am disappointed that only a handful of students from FAD attended the first screening because we had arranged it specifically for them. The students who did come enjoyed watching the variety of films and gave us compliments and positive feedback at the end. 

The second screening was better than the first as more people attended, including some FAD students who had been busy that afternoon. I had invited all three of my actors, however Oliver Moore (extra, stranger character) was the only one able to attend. For the second screening we provided bags of popcorn and a variety of drinks in the room next door. Graham introduced the screening this time and talked about the course before showing the films. The audience enjoyed most of the films and had positive words for us at the end. 

I am pleased with how the screening went, although it would have been better if more people had attended. 






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Post Production – Editing (pt 2.)

Originally I had used additive dissolves to convey that the flashback scenes were flashbacks, however when Brian and Graham looked at the parts I had edited they decided it would look better if I made the flashback scenes black and white, as the audience would know it was a flashback because it is a common technique. I also used the dip to white affect to transition from the main narrative to a flashback scene and back. I included dip to white transitions in the middle of the longer flashback scenes to break the scene up and make it seem shorter. 
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The second flashback, which is the bathroom scene is my favourite of the flashbacks because it is well framed and it gives the audience a better idea of the abuse the character is suffering as her face is bruised and they see / hear an example of emotional abuse. 

The shot was originally a wide shot, however I decided to scale it in to be a mid shot as it would look better with the next shot which is a close up. 

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Another of my favourite shots is the end shot, where the character realises she has hit the stranger and comes out of her flashback. Although the lighting is off I think it is well framed, well shot and that characters conflicting emotions are obvious to the audience. 
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I have added credits at the end of my film using a rolling title. 

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I have finally finished the rough edit of my film, which I will show to Graham on my pathway day. I will need to fix the lighting for my outdoor scenes as it is underexposed in some parts, fix the sound levels and add sound effects at the end. 

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After showing Graham my rough edit, he had some feedback for me and said that I should add a sound effect of a man groaning after the brick hits him and then a sound effect of a man falling during the end shot as it was unclear what had happened to him. He also suggested I change the third flashback, the kitchen scene, from a mid shot to a wide shot and then cut to a scaled – in close up. 

I changed the scale of the kitchen scene and added the sound effect of a man falling during the end scene. I decided to leave out the sound effect of a man groaning as the royalty free ones I found sounded too over dramatic. I then asked Brian to help me fix the lighting on the outdoor scenes as some of it appeared dark and looked yellow. To fix this he applied the brightness and contrast effect to each scene and adjusted them so that the scenes were brighter and matched the others. 

I then exported my final edit and uploaded it to YouTube so that I could share it with actress and peers for feedback. After I receive feedback I will privatise the video until it has been marked.  

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Filming (Day 2.)

My second day of filming was on Thursday 27th April, originally I was going to film on Sunday 16th April, however I had to change the date to Tuesday 18th due to bad weather. On the 18th I had to change the date again, to Thursday 27th, as my actress had injured her arm that day. 

My original location for filming was Kings Road in Mill Hill, Blackburn however I had to change locations on the day of filming because my actress couldn’t travel to Mill Hill. Instead I used an alleyway behind Knowles Street in Rishton. This location was similar to my original location, included bricks which I needed for the end scene and was cleaner than the other location. 

Originally I was supposed to use the GoPro Hero 4 and Karma Grip tripod to film the main narrative, however due to a booking error I used the Canon XA10 and FigRig instead. 

For my first shot I stood in the middle of the alley, I told Niamh to wait five seconds after I shouted action and then start running. I used a tracking shot to follow Niamh running through the alley and then cut when she got to area where the bricks were. I did four takes of this shot to make sure I had enough footage. I decided to do an alternate tracking shot, where I ran behind Niamh and used the FigRig to hold and steady the camera. I watched the scene back on the camera and saw that it was too shaky and blurry so I did two more takes to see if the outcome would be different. Unfortunately the footage was still too shaky and although I like the idea of the shot, I may have to use the original tracking shot instead. 

I decided to get a close up of Niamh sliding down the wall at the end of the alley as cutting to a close up would show the audience that the character is out of breath (signifying she has been running for a long time) and that she is upset and distracted by the flashbacks she is having. I also decided to take still shots of this as I think it would be the perfect image for my poster as it displays the main character without giving too much of the plot away. 

The next shot I got was a mid shot of the stranger character (Oliver Moore) coming out of his back yard to see what the noise is about, I chose to have him come out of the yard as it made more sense than having him walk up from nowhere. Unfortunately this shot was under exposed and had a yellow look to it which I will have to try and fix during post production. 

I then used the two techniques from earlier to film the stranger character walking towards the main character. At first I stood opposite to Oliver and tracked him walking up the alley towards the main character, Niamh. I did a couple of tales of this shot to make sure I had a choice of shots during post production. I then did a couple of takes of the same shot – but this time I walked behind Oliver instead of staying still and panning the camera. 

The next shot I did was a mid shot of Oliver bending down and reaching for Niamh’s shoulder which would be the cut to transition into the last flashback scene. Originally I wanted to film this from Niamh’s P.O.V however I decided a mid shot would look better as it would show the main characters emotions as the stranger character triggered a flashback for her. 

After the flashback scene (which has already been filmed and will be cut in in post production) the next shot is the most important one, where Niamh hits Oliver with the brick because she confuses him with the abusive character Criag (played by Chris Short.) This scene is important because it shows how the physical and emotional abuse has effected the character’s mental state. The first take of this scene was a mid shot, which I shot by facing the left side of the characters. I chose to shoot from the left side because Niamh used her left arm to reach for the brick. Staying on the left side also meant I wasn’t breaking the 180 degree rule. I did multiple takes of this shot because I wanted to have a choice of shots for the editing process, I also chose to do a wide shot from the same angle.

The last scene is where Niamh comes out of her flashback and realises what she has done, she stands up and drops the brick before the camera cuts to black. I deicided to use a mid shot for this scene because it would make the audience focus on Niamh’s body language and facial expression. This is my favourite scene from the main narrative. 

Unfortunately I forgot to record a vlog to document the second day of filming, however I have also written about it in my production diaries. 






Post Production – Editing (pt 1.) 

To edit my short film and production vlogs I will be using PremierPro.

I began my editing process by editing the vlog I recorded at the end of my first filming day, Saturday 15th April. In the vlog I talked about how filming went, what issues I faced and how I did or will resolve them and what I had to film next. As this was a short clip I imported it into PremierPro and cut the beginning, where I am reaching to turn on the camera, a part in the middle where I repeated a sentence after stopping and starting and then the ending before I reached to turn off the camera. I then uploaded this video to YouTube[1] as part of my production diaries.

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I then began to edit the footage from the first day of filming, which is the flashback scenes in my film. I started by imported and renaming the shots.

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I chose to start with the second flashback scene, at it would be the most complicated to edit because I want to include text messages on screen. Originally I was going to use a close up shot of the messages, however when I reviewed my footage the next day I found that I hadn’t focused the camera and the messages appeared blurry, which I am now glad about as I like the idea of the text bubbles appearing as the messages are recieved, on screen next to the mirror instead. To find a solution I did some secondary research online and found a video on YouTube[2] which explained the different ways text messages have appeared on screen in soap operas, TV shows and film. It also showed the different styles I could use, however I will be using the IPhone grey bubbles. Unfortunately the video did not give an explanation on how I could do this in the editing procces.

The video first explained that the most common way of showing text messages on screen is the shot reverse shot, where we see the character, then the phone displaying the message and then back to the character.

 

It then went on to show the various styles that filmmakers can use to show text messages on screen, including bubbles, free floating text or text bubbles that appear to be attached to the device / person and move with them. The person who created the tutorial seems to prefer BBC Sherlock’s method of free standing text without a bubble because of its simplicity, however I would prefer to include text bubbles.

The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

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House of Cards (2013-)

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Sherlock (2010 – 2017)

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As this video didn’t explain how I could create this effect in my own video I looked online for a tutorial and found an article[3] which included the video I have already looked at by Every Frame A Painting. It also included an AfterEffects template for text messages, which I tried to download, however I was unable to as I would have had to install new software onto the computer which students are not allowed to do.

I then found another video on YouTube[4] which was a step – by – step tutorial on how to use Photoshop to create a text bubble and layer it over my video using AfterEffects.





 

I followed the steps in the video, which started with editing an image of a text bubble in PhotoShop to remove the background of the image. I did this and then saved the image as a document, which I then imported into PremierPro and layered over the clip I wanted it to appear in. I found that once I made the image transparent the edges of the bubble looked messy and the background was visible. I tried to edit the image again to give the bubble a smoother outline however the edges still looked messy. 

I decided to use a different method, as creating a text bubble in Photoshop was difficult for me to do. I decided to use a recording of a girls voice reading the messages as it could represent the character reading the messages in her head. I decided to repeat the last part – ‘it’s your fault’ to show that the character believes that the abuse is her fault, this also shows that the abuser has used emotional abuse to manipulate her into believing him and that it has effected her mental state. I used Louise Howarth’s, another media student, voice as she has a similar accent to my actress, Niamh. I decided to use a sound bridge and overlap the repeated sentence with the scene where the character stops running to show the audience that the flashback has ended. I chose to stop editing at this point and will continue next week.

Filming (Day 1.) 

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9f4LueTtxc

 

Prop Making – Second Attempt. 

As my first attempt at prop making hadn’t gone as well as I had wanted I decided to try and make another ‘brick’, using the same materials but a different method. Instead of layering the polystyrene I chose to glue the edges together to create a hollow rectangle, which I stuffed with newspaper to add some weight. This gave the brick a bigger width, similar to a real brick. Compared to my first attempt, this one looked more realistic in terms of size. 

For the colour and texture of my prop, I looked at a real brick fragment which was brought in by another student. The real brick was rough around the edges and had a red / brown colour with orange undertones. To recreate this on my prop I rounded the corners off and I then mixed red, yellow, white and brown paint to create a light brown / orange colour that was very similar to the colour of the real brick. Although the edges of my prop look rough, I sanded them down to ensure the health and safety of my actor. To achieve a similar texture I used a paint brush and sponge to stipple the paint onto the brick. 

Once I had painted it, I added touches of green paint, again using the stippling technique. This gave the brick a mouldy look, which the real brick had as it was old. 

I am pleased with the outcome of my second attempt at prop making and I am happy to use this prop in my short film. 


Primary Research – Go Pro Tutorial and Test Shoot.

Tutorial:

For my primary research I had a short tutorial with Brian, our equipment technician, on the GoPro Hero4 and the Karma Grip tripod. He went over the functions of both, which I took notes on and then explained how to use the GoPro whilst it was connected to the Karma Grip. Even though I have never used the GoPro or Karma Grip before I am now confident about using them as Brian gave me a lot of information.

booking form 3

After the tutorial I looked at the GoPro Hero4 on www.abekislevitz.com [1]  and the Karma Grip tripod on the official website www.gopro.com for more information on the devices so that I had a better understanding of how they could be used.

GoPro Hero4 Research:

The GoPro Hero4 has a setting called ProTune, which if enabled, activates adjustable settings for video mode including – white balance, colour tuning, ISO Limit, Sharpening and Exposure Compensation. These adjustable settings can be used and changed on the attachable screen at the back of the GoPro or the small screen at the front.

White Balance is the colour temperature of your footage (from cool to warm.) On the GoPro Hero4 this is set to auto which works in all conditions. The symbols for White Balance represent daylight mode, automatic mode and tungsten mode.


To lock off the colour temperature, you can set this to different values on the Kelvin scale, between 3000K and 6500K. 3000K will make the footage appear blue to look neutral, while 6500K will give the footage a ‘warm’ yellow colour. The Kelvin scale is a measurement of temperature, used in media (film and photography) to measure the amount of light being recieved and how this effects the look of the footage.


As I am filming outside, in natural light I will keep the white balance setting at auto.

Colour Turning is the overall colour, saturation and contrast of the video. For the Hero4 there are two options – Colour and Flat. Colour is the standing tuning with higher saturation, contrast and accurate colours. Flat is a neutral colour and should be used only if you are experienced with the  settings on the GoPro. I will most likely be using the colour setting. The symbol for Colour Turning is a paintbrush.

The ISO Limit tells the camera how bright it should be in darker scenes or lighting by affecting the gain of the footage. The default setting is set to 6400. This means that in a dark room it will use digital lighting gain to make the footage brighter to compensate. Adding gain will affect your footage however, making it look grainy and sound noisy. As you lower the ISO, the footage will appear darker. The ISO limit won’t affect video footage during daylight or bright lighting. The symbol for ISO is simply the letters. The website I have looked at recommended setting the ISO to 400, as it will give the footage a clearer appearance. I will test both settings and decided which is best when filming.

The Sharpness setting affects the digital sharpness in the video. The default setting is high, which makes the footage appear sharp. The setting allows you to lower the sharpness if you prefer a smoother looking video, or if you want to sharpen the footage in post production. The symbol is –


The Exposure Compensation setting lets you decide wether the camera should always be lighting or darker than normal. The default setting is 0. If you set this to +2.0, the footage will appear to be 2 ‘stops’ lighter – this is also known as the F. Stop. Using +2.0 will make the footage 4x brighter, whereas setting it to -2.0 will make it 4x darker. The author of the website recommended keeping this at 0. Again I will experiment with this when filming depending on the lighting. The symbol is –


There are three video modes for the Hero4, which Brian explained to me. Narrow – which gives the camera a narrow view, Wide – which gives the camera a wider view and gives the footage a rounded appearance at the edges, as if it is a bowl, and Linear – which gives the camera a normal view and seems to crop the rounded edges. Brian first suggested using the narrow setting, but then suggested I use linear as it will remove the rounded edges. I will experiment with both settings as I will some scenes multiple times.

Karma Grip.

The Karma Grip works in conjunction with the GoPro Hero4 as a flexible tripod. The grip allows the camera to turn as the opertator turns for smoother – looking footage.

Test Shoot:

I went outside with another student to test the GoPro and karma grip. The camera was on the ‘narrow’ setting.

I started by walking and adjusting the way the camera looked and turned. I then had the other student run from one side of a path to the other whilst I stood back, attempting a wide shot. I then ran alongside the other student with the camera to do a tracking shot. The GoPro was easy to set up and use and the karma grip was useful as it changed positions smoothly and made it easy to track the person on screen.
The only downfall is that the viewing screen does not fit into the tripod, making it impossible to see what you are filming.

When I reviewed the footage I found that the wide shot I attempted had curved edges – a fishbowl effect. When filming a wide shot I will use the ‘linear’ setting which will crop the curved edges. The tracking shots I had done looked good and had good audio, however it would have been helpful to see what the camera was recording as I sometimes cut off the other persons head.

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I mentioned this to Brian, who mentioned an app I could use which would pair my IPhone to the GoPro, making it possible to use my phone as a viewing screen. The app is called Capture and is free on the App Store. We then set my phone up to the media centre account using wifi and I was able to use my phone as a viewing screen. I was worried that this would not work outside as it connected via wifi, however Brian assured me that the karma grip has its own wifi connection and would work.