I feel like my film does fit the purpose I had originally set out to achieve. This is because, I originally wanted to create a film that was relatable to people, especially teens, that are transitioning or confused about their identity. I feel like my film has fit this purpose because it’s about a teenager and how they go through bed, yet good times during their transition. It also ends on how happy Ava is at the end. The other purpose to my film was to inform people about the hard times people go through. I feel like I touched on this, however I didn’t want my film to all be able to bad times of transitioning, because I feel like other short films only focused on this. As a result, I’ve inputted bad opinions people have on Ava, yet not having a massive aspect of the film as the negativity. Finally, I also think it fits the feel of it being realistic. This is because, the scenes and the reactions I’ve incorporated aren’t out of the ordinary. Also, I haven’t included any strange camera shots, like extreme close ups. To improve on the purpose I set out to achieve, next time I will have the transition into Ava a lot slower, by including more of a background to Leo and more of the upsetting times, to increase the informative impact.
The codes and conventions of the genre I have chosen include many aspects. I feel like I have covered most of these. I’ve made the script quite realistic, by using rambling, swearing, and other realistic dialogue. However, I feel like the actors could’ve made the dialogue seem a lot more natural, rather than forced. The actors I have chosen aren’t well known in any other films, this makes my film also slot into the social realistic genre because of the lack of famous actors. This added to the feel of the film because it meant that people weren’t confused about the actor, unlike in The Danish Girl. After watching this, some people were confused about Eddie Redmayne and his masculinity. Also, the actors had a broadened northern accent, which is a convention that I found out from researching social realism. This is because, the films/TV programs are usually based on the northern working class, around the mining times. Therefore, by having northern accents, my film is more included into social realism. The lighting and the shots were realistic too, since I didn’t use any Extreme Close Up’s, and the lighting wasn’t artificial, yet looked like the sunlight due to windows. This is another big aspect to social realism, because it adds to the whole feel of the genre. Finally, my locations were all real places. I filmed in many different houses, and also filmed in my college and public cafe. This adds to the look of social realistic films because it means that none of the locations look fake and artificial.
However, I didn’t use a few codes and conventions. One of those includes using the hands-on camera look. I felt like my film needed more of a stable look, however I also feel like the film would’ve looked more personal if I had used the hands-on camera approach. Another aspect I didn’t use was that I didn’t create my characters as working class, yet they were more middle class. Although I did this, I feel like middle class if more of a realistic class nowadays, because that’s the wider audience. Finally, I didn’t add any brutal action into my film like other social realistic films do. In This Is England ’90, there is a lot of violence. My film would’ve improved if I would’ve have used this aspect, however I feel like it would’ve taken the ‘happy’ feel away from my film and made it more focused on the bad aspects of transitioning. Even though, in my opinion you should always focus on the happier aspects because the person transitioning is becoming themselves, alternatively happier.
Overall, in my opinion my film fits the purpose I set out to achieve. When I showed my film to my classmates for critics, they agreed with me and said that they thought my film fit the purpose. They explained how they understood the concept and how they knew what was going on, and that the purpose is very clear. Therefore, even though there are a few things I’d do next to emphasise the purpose and the storyline, I feel like I’ve succeeded in pushing the purpose forward to my audience.
At the start of the film, my classmates commented on how the starting shot was grainy and also, it lacked headroom. When editing my film to make the final adjustments I was commented on, I wasn’t able to change this first shot because I had no other shots to use instead. It was hard to shoot this scene because of the lack of light, making the footage slightly grainy. I had used lights, however by trying to make it look natural, I couldn’t overload the scene with light. This is why it turned out grainy, because I was trying to achieve the natural party look. Also, according to Kensworthy, actors must share the screen when there’s dialogue involved, for a realistic feel (2012, page 176). Next time, I would give my subjects a lot more headroom and also mess around with many other lights to try and lessen the noise on the shot. Since I didn’t have that much time due to the battery running out, I couldn’t practice many times with the lighting. Overall, for this shot I couldn’t have really improved it with the time and equipment I had, although if I was to shoot it again, I would plan it out more thoroughly.
The second shot my classmates pointed out were these two shots. In one of the scenes, Mum tidies Leo’s room and finds some lipstick and nail varnish. The first shot is where Mum finds it in a sock, and the second one is the shot it transitions too. My classmates commented on how the lipstick and nail varnish were nearly out of shot in the first shot, taking the focus off the prop and maybe confusing the audience. And they also explained how the props aren’t the main focus in the second shot. To solve this, I changed the cut to a quicker cut, and also cropped the second shot to zoom in, so that the props are in the middle of the screen and are a main focus to the audience. I understood where my classmates came from with their critiques, and thats why I decided to improve these shots so that it emphasises the point I’m wanting to make, and improves my film as a whole.
Another aspect that I found needed improving on my film was the shots and amount of coverage I had. To improve this I went back to my hard drive to discover more coverage shot I had yet not thought I had needed, and I placed them on top of the rest of the footage I had. This meant that I had more coverage throughout the film, discovering more angles and shots. Another aspect is that there was too many medium shots, and no close up’s. One reason for this is because when looked into This Is England ’90 and into the codes and conventions of Social Realism, I found that you shouldn’t use close up’s because they’re unrealistic, as none tends to go so close to someone in real life. Therefore, I took this convention and incorporated it into my work, and that’s why there are no unusual shots. However, on some shots I have tried to crop them in so that I’m able to put across the focus of the shot a lot more effectively, however they’re on objects rather than subjects. Overall, I have added as much coverage as I can with the spare shots I had, however I couldn’t include any close ups of subjects because it went against my research.
Another thing that I’m please with is all of the montages in my film. The first montage when Leo is explaining to their mum about how they’re feeling, my classmates enjoyed this montage and found it very powerful. However, I feel like this montage wasn’t as powerful as I wanted it to be, due to the actors and some of the props that we had to keep on set. For example, the mat on the table had to stay on set because the owner never puts anything on top without a mat. Therefore, this aspect ruined the whole look of the shot.
Finally, my favourite part of the time is the montage where Leo transitions. I really like the look of the initial shot where Leo’s in the bath, and the camerawork is very symmetrical and bright. My classmates also agreed that they found this shot appealing because it was a nice looking shot, especially in slow motion. I like the size of the shot too, because it only focuses on Leo and nothing else, but him underneath the water. I feel like it’s a very good start to the montage because there’s no dialogue, and you can see how he’s feeling at that time just by his actions. Following from this, there’s a montage for the transition.
I really like the two top shots because of the natural lighting on the shots, yet they are also very bright and nice looking. I also like the composition because the subjects are both in the left hand side of the shots, which makes it symmetrical and even. Also, I really like the shot in the mirror because it’s a rack focus and also unusual at the same time, rather than a typical mirror shot the characters face in the mirror. My classmates also commented on how nice the whole montage looked.
Overall, I feel like my camerawork is rather good, due to my camera operator. Despite having a few problems with some of the shots, I believe that all of the good camerawork overweighs the bad ones. Next time I would pay more attention to detail, for example in the party scene and the 180 degree rule in the Winter Gardens.
One bit of audio that I was critiqued about by my classmates was the audio in the canteen. They explained how it had a lot of background noise and the dialogue was robotic. When I tried to originally edit the audio, I researched into how to reduce the background noise. The solution they gave me was to use the background noise reducer add-on on Final Cut Pro X, but by doing this it made the dialogue very robotic. After the critics, and talking my tutor, I realised where I went wrong and how to make the audio sound a lot better. I realised that the synced audio was marantz and camera audio, therefore what I needed to do was to take the camera audio off, since the marantz audio was nice a crisp.
Another point of audio that wasn’t great was in the Winter Gardens where the two boys shouting at Tommy and Leo were really quiet; meaning you can’t emphasise the point of them insulting Leo across. Once looking at this, and the edit, I found that all I needed to do was to up the level on the audio so that it’s louder and more clear. Also with this, I had an over the top audio for the party scene which was also quite quiet. This is because the party music was too loud, and the audio over the top sounded really fake when it was too loud. To resolve this, I ended up just lowering the party music a bit lower and upping the audio slightly, so that it’s made a difference yet still realistic.
Two things that I was complimented on were the crisp audio in most places, and the piano music. They explained how the audio is really clear for most of the dialogue and you can hear what they’re saying/hear the movements really well. Also, that the piano music over the montages worked well because of the emotion it brings to the montages. The first montage when Leo’s explaining to their mum, the music is emotional and emphasises the feelings in the scene. However, once it gets into a lighter and better mood, the piano picks up in pace and mood and emphasises the happiness Leo’s feeling when transitioning.
Overall, all of the audio was really good apart from the main canteen audio. However, once I had sorted that out, I feel like all of the audio is good quality and works really well with the film.
One thing my classmates enjoyed was my title transition, since it follows Leo and they look back as if they’ve seen the title. I found out how to do this just by looking on YouTube for some tutorials. I also like this title screen because it’s exactly what I imagined when I was planning out my storyline of the film. I’m very pleased with the title screen, purely because of this.
Alternatively, in the Winter Gardens scene, there was a shot where two mean boys walk past and insult Leo. This shot that was originally used, it defied the 180 degree rule. This wasn’t good because it put the audience off as it switched the angle of the shot. To solve this problem, I just took out the shot that switched sides and had the voice over going over the top. This works for the film and doesn’t confuse the audience. However, by doing this I had to change shots that are slightly different, meaning there’s a slight cut. To solve this issue, I placed a fade transition over the top, however it still slightly jumps. Next time, to improve this I will make sure that every shot is fully consistent with everything (distant to the camera, angle of props, where the actors hands are, etc). Despite all of this, I gained some compliments about the lighting and the look of these shots. I agree with the compliments because the light looks extremely natural and fits really well with the scene.
My classmates commented on how my scenes didn’t have any breathing space between them. When I looked through my film I found this too, however I wasn’t sure how to make it not cheesy. They gave me a suggestion of simply just placing black screens between every scene, that’s a good length so that it doesn’t seem like the end of the film. I feel like this is a good aspect to place for breathing space, because it gives the audience time to reflect and take in what they’ve just seem, but also to be prepared for a change of location and/or characters.
Finally, I think the editing for the montage was really well done. This is because of the timing of all of the cuts and the lengths of the clips. I also believe that the order of the clips work really well with the storyline. The slow motion and fast motion on some of the clips are small and subtle, yet effective. My classmates also agree that my montages are very well edited and creates the storyline a lot better and more emotional.
Conclusively, I think my film went really well despite any technical difficulties that I had come across. I think that most of the camerawork went really well, and looked really aesthetically pleasing. Especially the transition montage at the end, because most of the shots are lit really effectively and brightly. I also think that the audio went really well, apart from the canteen scene. Despite this, I feel like I fixed it well and made it sound a lot better than it did before. Finally, I feel like the editing was a lot better than expected because of the issue of not having a log sheet. After all of the hard work that went into getting the audio and footage synced up to the right clips, I feel like I did really well. Next time I will make sure that I plan everything through a lot better, down to every detail. Despite doing lighting research, because of the location changes, we had to adapt to different spaces. I will also make sure that I get better actors, more professional actors. I have also gained a lot of experience from this project, and I’ve learnt a lot and I now know what I will be doing in my next project, and how I’ll improve.
I have done some research into Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook as platforms for my film. People are constantly using Facebook, according to Morrison it’s “the No.1 social network” and “is used by 70 percent to 80 percent of people in every age group” (2015). From this, I know what I’m going to be putting my film on Facebook as it’s got a huge audience, especially with teens, according to Kibble (2014). This is great because most of my target audience if teenagers since they’re more effected by the issue I’m addressing in my film. Although, it’s good that it’s shown to the older age group too because that was also my other target audience. Facebook is a free platform to upload videos onto, which is also another perk of uploading my film onto this social media.
YouTube is also another free platform to upload films onto, consisting of an even wider audience. According to Aynsley, “YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, according to Alexa and other ranking sites” (N/A). This is a big perk to uploading Ava onto YouTube because I know it will have a bigger chance of gaining views, due to the search traffic they have. I compared YouTube to Vimeo. Vimeo is a video platform that is for “professionals and businesses” according to Aynsley, which means I don’t think that I would fit in on Vimeo since my film is a short, student film. Also, you have to pay to uploads most things onto Vimeo which has a limited storage amount for the website. Since I’m not looking to target the “niche community of filmmakers and creators” (Aynsley) that Vimeo provides, however I want to target a range of ages and people. Overall, I have chosen to upload my film onto YouTube because it’s appealing factors of a broader audience and free uploads, as well as uploading to Facebook. I’m uploading it onto Facebook because I’ve built a community with my Ava Facebook page and I feel like they’ll all want to see the final product.
I did some research into how to intrigue my audience to watch my films using the captions I write on the posts. According to Ganguly, I should “write text to skim readers” on Facebook, because of the audience that use Facebook and how they’ll find it more intriguing with short and snappy captions (2015). From another source, Tunecore.com (author unknown), they say that on YouTube you should have a “relevant” and that in your description you should “go in depth”. Following from this, on Facebook I wrote a short snappy caption for my followers. Also, on YouTube I did a relevant title, using ‘student film’ in the name to give it more search traffic, yet going into detail in the description.
I did some online research on male to female transgenders to see if they was any signs that they were trans before coming out and transitioning. Unfortunately, there’s no signs, for example in the screenshots below. This makes it harder for me to make a costume for Leo before transitioning because there was no signs. This means that the character of Leo will have to wear typical ‘masculine’ clothes before transitioning. After transitioning, I’m going to be dressing Ava in simple feminine clothes with subtle makeup, rather than a lot of makeup.
Firstly, at the start of the week I did the contexts and critical perspective of the film. I explained the purpose of the film and why I think it should be made. I also said about the festivals and how I’m going to be distributing the film. I proposed that I submit it into an LGBT festival and also a student film festival, I think these would be good festivals because the target audience would either be able to relate or be informed and educated by the film; both are my purpose. I explained that my film is about a new topic that not many people fully understand, this is why I’m trying to inform and educate the audience so that they understand most transgender people challenge the stereotypical views. For example, when trans female’s where a lot of makeup, dresses, heels, etc. I also explained how theres a gap in the market for my film, giving an even bigger incentive to make this film the best I possibly can to fit my proposed purpose. By thinking about the purpose of my film, I have started briefly thinking about the mise en scene in my film; this doesn’t need to be thought about in detail just yet, however I have a slight idea about the costumes my characters will be wearing.
I then went on to the main proposal. I started with the rationale where I explained that my film, once again going to challenge stereotypical views, and that theres a gap in the market for this film. I then went onto explain how I’ve improved the last two years and gained time management and cinematography skills that will help me with this last FMP. I went onto giving and example about how I pursued these skills. These skills will help my project because it means I’ll be able to plan the film effectively before I start shooting, which means on production days it will go to plan rather than playing it all bye ear. Following on, I started to say about how this project will challenge my ability to produce a feel that create emotion for the audience. In this section, I could’ve improved by explaining how I was going to develop this skill. I also went on to say how in my proof of concept I didn’t bring any lighting, meaning when I come to produce this film I will need to be a lot more prepared so I am able to shoot the best looking film I can. I then followed with the concept. In my concept section I explained the storyline and the idea of my film. I then went on to explain a small bit of research I have already done, and what research I’m going to be doing be doing to help the mise en scene. To improve, I could explain some more research I’m going to do rather than just picking one bit of secondary research. Following from this, I explained how the feel of the film is going to look as natural as possible, but not noisy and grainy. This includes using natural as possible lighting, real locations and non-professional actors. I rounded it off by saying how I’ll be using my class time effectively and productively by doing as much work as possible. Thirdly, I did my evaluation section. I explained how I’ll be doing weekly reflective journals on my progress and evaluating what i’ve done each week in order to improve. I also explained how I’ll be using focus groups throughout the 12 weeks to make sure that I’m keeping on track with the purpose and the audience. Finally, I explained how I was going to do a final evaluation after the screening and critique of my film. Conclusively, I explained what research I was going to do in my bibliography section. I explained how I was going to, once again, do focus groups for primary research. I then went onto explain how I was going to do lighting tests and test shoots to make sure that I know exactly how well my film is going to flow. I’ll also be doing secondary research into many aspects, such as the costumes, locations and finally how to make my film create an emotion with sound an visuals.
I then did made an action plan. In which I have explained in detail what I’ll be doing in the first few weeks until Easter. I’ll be working my way through the pre-production and research in order of relevance. First off I’m going to start by coming up with a brief storyline which I will then put into a full blown script in the first two weeks (including review week). In this time, I’m also going to put an advert on a casting website solely aimed at student films so that throughout my pre-production process I have the ability to find actors, rather than leaving it until just before shooting. I then go on to do the shot list, shooting order and scene breakdown. I’ve put these into two whole days, which looking back now probably isn’t a good idea because they’re all long tasks that might take a while. However, I made that Thursday all day is free so that I can finish off everything so far so that I am up to date and ready for research into the production work. For example, lighting and shooting tests. Also secondary research into the location and techniques I can use to create emotion. After this week of research and making an equipment list, I then had the last week until the production for call sheet writing and script read throughs with my actors. The last day and weekend before the holidays is for me to make sure everything is up to scratch before the production. By doing an action plan, it has helped me realise that getting all of this done in such a short time is possible. It has cleared my mind up and made me more motivated to stick to the allocated time schedules.
Overall, my week has been productive so that I am able to start pre-production next week. Next week is review week, however I’m going to be doing some small it of pre-production such as setting up a storyline for my film so that the script goes smoothly.
At the start of this week I started planning and writing my script. This was a struggle because I had a lack of idea’s for the script and couldn’t get inspiration. To overcome this problem, I looked at the question and answers that I asked to my three transgender friends and came up with some scene idea’s. It took me a while to get inspired, and then we ended up going on a college trip. On this college trip we had to plan, shoot and edit a horror film in a team. By doing this, I gained more team building skills since we all had to quickly and rapidly work together. It also helped me realise how vital detailed and good pre-production is to a production, since we barely did anything for the film and it didn’t turn out very good. We should’ve planned a script, got some lights, etc. Another thing that came from the trip was that I found who would be good to recruit for my film as the sound operator and cinematographer. Also, I found how important good actors are to a production because our actors were not very good- making the film downgrade. Conclusively, in my film I’m going to be doing auditions and getting real actors for it to make it as good as I can.
This week I looked into getting actors for my film. At first, I gained many applications for the role of Sarah. Two of which I got in contact with and they said they’re able to come for an audition. I did have someone apply for Leo, however when I got in contact with him he said that he is unavailable on weekdays, which is unfortunate because it’s the only times I’m able to film in the locations I’ve looked at. After a while, someone else had applied for the role however he’s not in the UK for the preferred audition time so I explained to him that we can do one after he gets back. I have told one, 33 year old woman, that she has the role of Mum. This is because she has had many parts before acting as a mum in different student films and good recommendations, therefore I thought I would accept her for the role. Unfortunately, there is no one thats applied for the role of Tommy. To overcome this, i’ll ask around as much as possible to try and get someone for that role. For the actors and the crew, I also did an availability sheet for them so that I can gain when everyones free to work around the actors and crew when production. These sheets will be given out on the auditions.
I gained some feedback from my tutor. The first thing he said was that the scene headings weren’t done properly considering I didn’t put ‘INT’ and ‘EXT’ for internal and external scenes. I also needed to add in the location and the time of the day into the script. Since this was just a simple formatting issue, I was able to overcome this quickly and easily. In my original script one of the girl friends is called ‘girl 2’ because I thought since she wasn’t going to be that relevant to the story, there was no point giving her a name. However, I saw where my tutor was coming from and quickly gave her a simple name of ‘Kat’. I then gained some good feedback from him saying “I think the opening scene is really strong though”. He also then says that the story progresses really well and that there is some really good scenes.
He carries on to say how some of the dialogue is “too explanatory”, for example with the scene in the canteen and saying about The Danish Girl. Originally, I had Ava explain how she loves it because it’s about transgenderism and Tommy say that he would support his friends/family if they were transgender. This scene is at the start of the script, and my tutor thought that it would be too explanatory too quickly. Therefore, I still had the conversation about Eddie Redmayne and The Danish Girl, however I didn’t made it too obvious. By this I mean, a small amount of smiles exchanged rather than a full on conversation about transgenderism. Another criticism that my tutor gave me was that the conversation with Ava’s mum was too explanatory, therefore he suggested to change it to a montage with movement as the story teller rather than dialogue.
Overall, my tutor said that he liked the flow and the storytelling of the script apart from a few different tweaks. Therefore, in a script sense it goes really well and it’s not too explanatory and doesn’t give the game away too early. Next, I’m going to be sending this newly edited script to my transgender friends to get a feel or how realistic and relatable the context is as a whole. This will be really good research as it will help my script fit the purpose of the film.
I also rearranged my action plan. I realised this week that the script, and the research for it, will take longer than I expected. Therefore, I rearranged my action plan since I noticed I didn’t need three full weeks to shoot. I delete a week of shooting after the Easter holidays for more pre-production and research time, to give myself more time to plan and research the production thoroughly. Overall, my problem was that I was running out of script writing time on my action plan, and I overcame this by rearranging it and gaining more time.
I looked back at the question and answer sheet I gained from my three transgender friends a while back, read over it and highlighted any information thats relevant/a lot like what I had in my script. I then wrote all of this information down for research because it explains where I got my contexts and ideas from. For example, when Ava comes out to everyone on Facebook, thats an idea from my interviewee’s because thats how all three of them officially came out and introduced themselves on social media to all of their Facebook friends. Another example is that their friends are expecting straight away, but family take a while to come round.
Conclusively, I have done some research into the actors, script and contexts of the film. I think I’m on track to making a great script, after a lot of hard work getting into it. Also, I’m on track to getting good actors for my film and making it relatable and realistic, just like I wanted. Everything I have done this week has helped me make the most realistic and relatable script I could, which fits my proposal.
This week I have gained some responses from my transgender friends on the script so that I’m able to see how realistic my script is and if there was any faults in the script that made it unrealistic. From one of my transgender, male to female friends, she explained how “The characters dialogue seems natural” which is exactly what I wanted from the script and feedback to make it as relatable as possible. She also said how I had nailed the “friends aspect” of the script, which is another thing that I’m glad I nailed. She said that “Ava having people who’d support her is realistic and adds humanity”. However, she then said that there should be a friend “Who can’t handle the news”, therefore I’ve changed my script to add a character that doesn’t agree with transgenderism, to add the harsh reality to the script. To overcome this problem without ruining the flow of the storyline and adding an upsetting scene, I suggested to her that I change on scene. In this scene, the group of four discuss Eddie Redmayne, proceeding to hint to The Danish Girl. To add the aspect of rejection from a friend, I could incorporate Kat commenting on the fact that she finds The Danish Girl gross or inhumane. She gave me some feedback about how she didn’t really agree with the mums reaction since it was ‘too accepting’, however that’s one aspect that I wanted to add an accepting mother so that it relates to the question and answers I gained at the start of the production. She then proceeded to say that “everything regarding clothing/hiding internet results and feminine objects” is very realistic which is great considering the purpose of my film is to be realistic. Overall, I asked for the feedback because I wanted to know whether my script was actually realistic to peoples transitions, and from asking my friends I gained the knowledge that in fact it is realistic, apart from a few small things which I changed.
I then went on to do some research about Starnow.com and actors. I found that Starnow is a very good website to use for casting calls for student films considering there’s a lot of young actors on the website, since it’s free. I also found that it’s easier and smoother to navigate over other sites like castingcallpro.com. Therefore, I found that starnow was definitely the best route for me to go down. Also, I have found a potential actor for Tommy, who I have emailed with a script and explained how the auditions will be after the Easter holidays.
I then went on to research about lighting. I did a mood board with different indoor and outdoor shots from social realistic films so that I could get an idea of what type of lighting I’d incorporate in my film. I explained how the lighting is very natural and you can locate a source, for example light coming through a window or from a lamp. This is what type of lighting I’m wanting to use in my film because it’s the most realistic lighting you can use. I also went on to explain how you can easily tell the time of day due to the lighting, because it’s not made to look artificial and always brightened. Following from this, I did some research into how to achieve this lighting. I found that you can gain a natural look by bouncing colours off light coloured walls to achieve a balanced look around the room. I also found that during midday the lighting “has a cooler or neutral color”, which is the best colour for my film. If you’re filming outside you should use as many reflectors as possible, whilst using the sunlight as the backdrop.
I then carried this research on to do my first set of lighting tests; in college. I placed my subjects in the part of college that’ll I’ll be filming in and worked my way around the sunlight and lack of. I started with a table and seats in the canteen with a whole wall full of windows, gaining a lot of sunlight. At first I had a problem of the white balance on the camera was off, but once we had finished that the lighting tests in this room went well. I learnt that using a big LED as a filler light is very useful. I then went on to do some lighting tests in the hallway, which has a lot less sunlight coming through and only the use of ceiling lights. These lights didn’t brighten up my subjects very well, therefore I used a key light to brighten up their faces. I first had the camera on a high setting, but then came to the conclusion that it looked too artificial, therefore I turned it down to make it more natural.
Overall, this week I have done a lot of research into my script, actors and lighting. I have learnt a lot of information from this week about how realistic I’ve made my script, how to achieve the lighting I want to and then how easy that would be to do. To improve, I could do some more research into how to light a room as if it’s night time, like a party. This is because I have a scene at the start of my script there Leo and Tommy are in a dark bedroom. Next week, I will do some lighting tests in the other location I’m using, so that I know how to light a small room with minimal day light coming through.
I started this week off following off from last week by doing some lighting tests in the other location. I started off in the room that will be used as Leo’s, I used the key light acting as the sun light, a rim light acting as the ceiling light and a filler light for the background and the shadows in her face. I started by doing scenes of my subject stood up in the daylight, so that I’m able to understand how to light the daylight scenes. I found that by using the research I did previously, I gained a more natural look to the shots. I then shut the curtains and had my subject sit on the bed with the laptop open, so that I understood how to light one scene in my script. I used my phone light in front of the laptop screen to act as the screen light, and then I used a rim light on her face and a dimmed filler light to smoothen her face out. I had a few problems doing this bit because I didn’t understand how to light a scene properly using the laptop screen as the key light. I also caught the light in the picture behind my subject, and a cross shadow behind her head, giving away to the audience that the lighting is fake. Therefore, I will need proceed to do some research on how to light this type of scene effectively.
I then went onto another room that will be used as Sarah’s room in my film considering the colouring and decoration is very feminine. We first lit the room with the curtains open to understand what the lighting would be like with both day light and artificial light. Both of them worked well, however I feel like it looked too bright and artificial. Therefore, we then proceeded by shutting the curtains to see what it would be like lighting the room with minimal daylight. This worked well because the difference between day lit and not day lit wasn’t a massive difference, apart from a few more shadows on the face. This is exactly the effect I wanted on my film because it adds texture to their faces. I had to experiment with different percentages of lighting to get the softest look on my subjects face, otherwise it would’ve looked too artificial.
I then did some lighting tests in a room which I’ll be using as the party room at the start, therefore I needed to have low lighting and only brighten up their face in a natural way. At first it was hard to light because we either had a too dark lighting or too bright, but finally we found the right in-between with only using a key light on 55% and a rim light to lighten up their faces slightly. And finally, we needed to lighten up the bathroom in a natural way too. This was pretty easy to light, however anything we did it gained an artificial feel to it. Therefore, after a lot of experimentation I got the right lighting.
To start on some planning, I also then did the scene breakdowns. There took quite a long time to do because I had to plan out every prop and extra I needed in each 8 scenes of the film. Even though it took a while to breakdown every aspect, it was worth while because I can then plan the props and equipment that I need out effectively and easily.
Overall, this week I have done a lot of lighting research and gained knowledge of how I will be lighting one location effectively. Next week I will be doing some research a bit more into lighting and then also starting one some other research or planning.
This week I did all of my filming for my film. I filmed over a course of three days, where they get progressively better throughout the days.
Day one started a bit rocky. I woke up to find out that one of the actors was poorly, therefore I had to swap the two days in this location around, having all of her scenes the day after rather than on day one. This wasn’t a problem since we hadn’t set up anything just yet, therefore the day still went well. Another problem was that two of the rooms I wanted to use for two of the scenes (Sarah’s bedroom and the party scene at the start), were unusable. This is because the owner of the house was decorating one of the rooms and left everything in the other room. To overcome this problem, I planned to shoot at one of the actors houses on the second day, however once we got there we realised they were drilling all day downstairs (since they were having work done too). After setting up and realising this problem, we had to use the camera and sound operator’s houses as the sets on the third day. This part was rather stressful at first, but by the end of day three it worked very well. Overall, the locations used in day one were definitely very good and looks great in the scenes shot.
With the equipment, we had a lot of technical difficulties considering I only had one battery for my camera. To overcome this, we kept having to take small breaks to charge the batteries up. These breaks gave a good time for us to evaluate what we have already done and what we need to do next. Me and my camera operator weren’t fully trained with my camera, the Canon 750D, since we needed to get used to it a small bit before filming. My camera is mostly similar to the 550D we normally use, however there were small differences we needed to adjust to. To overcome this, we took some small bits of footage of random things to get used to the technology. We also had a problem of the marantz kit running out of battery, therefore we had to go to the shop and buy some batteries for the kit so that we were able to keep going as soon as possible. This also gave us another chance to charge up the camera and look over what we have done.
My actors came in suitable clothing for the shoots, after me explaining to them what clothes I’d like them to wear. They also brought other outfits with them so that they’re able to do different scenes throughout the day, which was very proactive of them. One costume error that we came across was that we needed a bra for some of the films that Leo could wear, to overcome this whilst we were out buying batteries for the marantz kit we bought a bra that would fit the actor and look realistic. I had all of the props ready, which wasn’t a lot other than some food, mugs, nail polish and some clothes for the floor. There was no problems on this part of the production, other than the bra situation which we swiftly overcame.
Overall, the day went well, however it was a slow day because of technical difficulties we faced during the day. However, this meant that we would learn from it the days after and make sure that everything was charged and constantly going on charge whenever we have even a small break. Also, that we bring the bra and make sure all of the equipment and locations are sorted before shooting.
Day two started with the crew turning up on time, but my main actor getting there late due to having to go to college before hand. However, he wasn’t massively late and it meant that we could start as soon as he arrived. The rooms we were able to use were great for the scenes, and this is the day where we went to my actors house but they were drilling. So, we overcame this by rescheduling to the day after in my crew’s houses, since their rooms really fit the look I’m wanting to create. The day went pretty smoothly, starting off with Owen (Leo) and Hannah (Sarah) acting some scenes, doing alone scenes with Owen and then following to the last scene including Rachel (Mum). We took a while doing the first scene that includes Joe (Tommy), since the other actors weren’t used to him doing a ‘camp’ voice, sand after a long day of work, the giggles came through. We overcame this by reshooting the same scene, finally getting it right. Just like every other day, the camera battery ran out. So we overcame this by charging it up on small breaks. Overall, the second day went a lot more smooth and quickly, until we went to Owen’s house to do some scenes, and they started grilling. We overcame every problem effectively and efficiently.
On the last day, everyone was on time, however we didn’t have a sound operator this day and one actress wasn’t able to come. To overcome these, I asked some drama production students to do the sound, since they know how to sort out levels on sound technology. Then, one of the crew volunteered to be an actress to say a few a lines in the college scene. Both of these solutions worked well, considering the sound sounds good and the acting worked well, too. The locations worked really well on day three. The scenes in the college canteen went well, with a good amount of background noise and the sound of the actors talking. However, one of the places I wanted to film some shots in I was unable to use due to safe guarding, therefore to overcome this I had to do the shots in a quieter place. Winter gardens went well for the scene in a Cafe, the lighting was brilliant. However, the place were there was a free table was small and crowded, but we got over this by packing everything as tightly as possible and filming quickly. Georgia’s (camera operator) house worked brilliantly for the party scene, because it was a nice dark room with black out blinds, and there is a lava lamp beside her bed that lit up the characters in a nice dark red light. Finally, Maddy’s (sound op) house also worked really well for Sarahs room because it was feminine, but not overpoweringly. Also, the wardrobe was right next to the bed, in a perfect place to shoot the scene. And finally, she has photos of Hannah (Sarah) on the walls, since Maddy and Hannah are close friends. Overall for location and actors, everything went really well and effectively on day three, despite any set backs.
The equipment worked well in college and winter gardens, however at Maddy’s house the memory card ran out. We tried to put everything on a laptop, but they wouldn’t transfer across. After persevering for a long time, it finally worked and we could carry on filming these scenes. Despite this working now, the battery then was starting to run out, therefore we had to quickly film the last few shots and charge the camera and Georgia’s house, in time for filming the last scenes. Overall, the timings and locations went extremely well on the third day, with barely any technical difficulties and a nice smoothly, satisfying last day.
These two weeks I spent editing my film thoroughly. It started as a struggle because I didn’t do a log sheet whilst filming, therefore I had to manually search through all of my footage to find which ones were usable, and which ones linked with the audio. This took me around three hours to look through all of my 100+ video’s and audio files to see which ones were usable. Whilst going through these, to save myself hassle in the editing process I wrote captions to the audio and film that links to the scenes in my script. This helped me because I could easily sync the footage up without searching through them all to see which linked up. It then made it easier to place my footage into the timeline, in order of the script. After having the problem of no log sheet to make the edit easier, I decided to become more organised when I was looking through the footage. This saved me time and effort when building a base for the edit.
Once building a base for the edit, I started tweaking little things with it. At first I started tweaking little bits by cutting everything to detail and to fit in with each other. The first thing I came across was the audio for the canteen scenes. The audio has a lot of background music over the top, which is the same frequency as the actors voices. I tried many things like YouTubing how to downgrade background noise, changing the EQ, many things. None of them worked, they didn’t change the background noise it just made that actors sound robotic. After trying and trying, once I showed my tutor and he realised that I still had the storyline audio on, as well as the marantz. After taking the storyline audio off, the marantz audio is pretty clear and crisp.
I put two adverts out on Starnow.com for actors. I was recommended to use Starnow, therefore I had a look into it. I found that Starnow is a free website to send out casting calls, which is always a good since I’m only a student and my crowdfunding didn’t get a lot of money. That was one positive thing about Starnow. Another positive sway towards Starnow is that it’s really simple and easy to use, the interface is very easy to navigate. Also, I picked Starnow because it has a lot of student actors on there which means that when I put my adverts out I would be a able to gain more of a relatable audience than on a professional acting website. I have gained quite a lot of applications, even though it’s a student short film. However, if you’re wanting to contact your actors via Starnow you have to buy credits, which is one down fall. You’re also able to put more than one casting out on one call, rather than one actor at a time.
When looking up ‘Casting calls websites uk’, I found the website called castingcallpro.com. I could’ve used this website, since it is also free, however it’s for professional actors rather than student actors. I think that using a professional website would not be the right website for me since they wouldn’t really want to work on a non-paid college film. The interface seems really easy to use, just like Starnow, however it seems a lot more professional and business-like. I also looked at Tobeseen.com which is for any type of casting calls. This website is free to put adverts out and have a wide audience for actors and films, however the interface and website doesn’t seem as professional as Starnow. Another downfall for tobeseen is that you put one casting call out for characters at a time. This means that if an actor saw one casting call that doesn’t fit the actor yet want to be in the film, they wouldn’t be able to easily find another part to play.
Overall, my casting call is on Starnow because it’s the best website for my film. It’s the best for student actors in Sheffield and also has a suggestion sections where you can invite people you think would be good, to apply. It’s a free website and easy to use compared to the other websites that may become complicated.
These are going to be the sort of shots I’m wanting to create. I like the scene on the second down on the left because it’s very personal but realistic since they’ve cut their heads off. I like this feature since it’s as if you’re the eye of the camera and you’re sitting next to them. Also, it’s a very personal shot where you’re only focused on those two people than anything else. According to Kensworthy, to gain a realistic look to your shots you should have the actors to share the screen (2012, page 176). This will help me lay out my shots when I have dialogue, since I need the realistic feel to my film. Conclusively, I’m going to be shooting my dialogue scenes with both characters in the shot to make it more realistic. When shooting my montage, I’m going to be assembling “quick cuts” “that combine to form a larger idea” (Sijll, 2010, page 48). This helps me understand the concept of a montage, which will help me structure my shots and content to any any montages that will be in my film. So far, I’m looking at incorporating at least two montages in my film. Montages are also meant to emphasise an “Emotional transition”, which is great because the montages I’m going to be including will be to stress the emotions Leo will be going through. Another shot I found from this book was that “in the process of moving the camera, new information is revealed”, when you’re panning up from a character (Page 170). This gives me an understanding on why I’ll pan on a character, meaning that I’m going to think about putting a panning shot of Leo in the montage to give the audience a reveal of Leo. Overall, I’m going to be using a range of shots in my montages, including pans, medium shots, etc, to create a lot of emotion for the audience. Any dialogue shots will consist of the two characters in the shots to create the realistic feel to the film.
College canteen is a good location for some scenes that are set in a college. This is because the aesthetics are clearly college-like because of the furniture and decoration, it’s also free and easy to get to.
I’ve done travelling from city centre because thats the easiest place for people to get to. I’ve done the car travelling time which says it’ll take around half an hour from town, and also public transport with the list of buses and trams you can get to college.
I find that these location is really good for the film because it’s like an average persons house, but has three completely different rooms in that will be great for my film. The aesthetics fit the three characters I’m going to be using as their bedrooms.
I also looked at transport for getting to worksop. It’d be about 50 minutes from Sheffield centre in the car and over an hour to get to it via public transport- the train and/or buses.