The skills I have learnt from doing the FMP

In this blog I will briefly be talking about skills I have developed over the course of the FMP, separating it into sections for the pre, production and post production. I will be talking about how I got better at this skills, and what I did to improve them. I will also talk more in depth about this in the Evaluation.

Pre Production

For the pre production I feel that the number one skill I learnt was problem solving. Managing to change my idea mid planning and come up with a new idea that will fit the project brief. I felt that this experience will prepare me for when I go on into the film industry where I would have to keep changing things to do with film. Due to problems out of my control. Such as budget costs or time pressures.

I feel that this would also help with when I do a second FMP. For example if anything happens where I have to change my idea, I will be able to change my idea quickly to adapt to the situation.

Production

For production I feel that I have learnt new skills such as filming in different frame rates and managing to get to grips with the collating shutter speeds. I had to change the shutter speed to 100 when filming due to the fact that I shooting in 50 fps, this was because I wanted most of the footage to be in slow motion. This will mean if I wanted to film slow motion again I will know what to do, and I won’t have to research it. This also means if I am improvising when filming, I can film something in slow mo on the off hand. Not restricting myself as much when filming.

I also got generally better at working a DSLR. Managing the exposure carefully, making sure that the iso isn’t too high. This means that when I go to filming I can be more efficient at when getting a shot prepared, with it being in different locations with different scenes.

With reflection I feel that this project has given me great practice with how to work a DSLR. Being able to be independent with filming shots and not having to rely on people to help set up the shot, or making sure that I have got the right settings. This will help with future projects, being able to do the job more efficiently and under smaller time periods and bigger pressures. Enabling it to feel more natural when filming.

Post Production

I feel that out of the three post production is the section where I have improved the most in my practical skills. Having to research new effects and also doing colour correction to my work to improve the look and feel.

I have learnt new ways of creating an retro super 8 film, over a HD clip. This will mean in the future I can experiment with this technique more and use it more in my films in the future. I have also got to grips with after effects for the first time, this being the first time I used after effects in a short film. This means that when I use to again I can be more efficient and use to greater effect.

In reflection I feel that experimenting with these effects means that I can now be more confident in trying out new things in the future. Being more efficient and wanting to try more in after effects. Trying to make my films better by trying out new things in after effects that I previously wouldn’t if it weren’t for my FMP.

Next time however I have learnt that I should maybe leave more time, maybe a whole week, for after effects. As its quite time consuming and in order to make it look really good you must spend a fair amount of time on it. Added to this I should also research how long it will actually take to perform the task in the pre production stage. As this would give me a more accurate calendar of what will happen during completing my final major project.

Overall

Overall I feel that this project has made me much more constant in my working, having a much more efficient work ethic towards film making. I feel that my pre production has came along well, giving me practise in how to problem solve when a situation arises. Having to change my idea due to budget or time consecrates. For production I feel overall skill that has developed was being more flexible when coming to filming different locations and different frame rates. Finally for post production; having the skills to experiment more and being more adaptable when wanting to add new stuff into the edit.

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30/05/17 – More editing, playing the sound through speakers

Today I have made a new rough cut, this cut is practically the finished version of the short film but I might have one or two changes left to do. Here is the link to my new rough cut:

Things that I changed for this edit I was experimenting with the colour correction of the biking scene where Luc is biking up hill. I managed to get the colour all the same for that set of shots, looking like they were taken at the same time. However then some of the shots looked really washed out compared to the rest of the film, looking more shades of grey then shades of colour. So I then decided to add more colour to the shots and lighten it up more. This makes it look worse continuity wise however I feel that it doesn’t matter because it no longer looks washed out.

I then played the beginning of the film on the big screen using the speakers in the classroom, this was to make sure that the audio was probably leveled with everything else. I found out that the shaving shots were a bit too quiet, not being able to hear the shave of the neck or chin. I also found that the poster rip wasn’t as loud as I wanted it to be. Not taking over the music for a brief period. Tomorrow I will try and test the audio out again on the speakers to see if my changes have made a improvement. In reflection I should have done this before as I would know if I needed to re-record any audio for the music video.

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The white flash transition I have placed in, something that I am unsure about if it totally works, as it may just look better having a jump cut. I will ask around properly tomorrow, or switch around a few of the clips. So I can still have a the extract times but maybe in a slightly different order. For example having the clip of Luc in between the jump cut. To break up the “awkward,” transition.

Skills that have improved

In this blog post I will be talking about the skills that I have challenged in this project, I will be looking at each section of the making of the film: pre, production and post. What I have done in each stage to put me out of my comfort zone.

Pre Production

For pre production I challenged myself by having to look at research about music videos. This was because I am doing a music video for my final major. This was different from other tasks where I would look at other films as inspiration rather than music videos. I also had to plan out a story I could tell without any speaking, due to the fact that it is a music video.

Production

For production I challenged myself by only having a few filming equipment at my disposal. That being a camera and two tripods. So I had to make the best out of it. With the fact that I didn’t have a big crew either and it was just me filming the scenes. I think that this has shown that I am able to work under pressure as well as making a quality product with relatively cheap equipment. I showed that I can also adapt to the situation, for example filming out of the boot of the car to keep up with the bike shots in the county lines. Rather than ordering experience equipment to keep the shot straight and not shaking.

This showed that I was able to improvise in this situation to still get what I want, but to much more cost effective technique.

Post production

I feel that I have tested myself by having super 8 film effect in my music video, having to adjust the colour wheel and making the colour curves different from the original. I also had to edit to the beat of the song. I have not had to do this before due to the fact that this was the first time that I made a music video. So this was a new rewarding experience to me.

25/05/17 – Playing around with the colour correction, white flash

Today I have been playing with the colour correction shots for the overall music video. Making sure that all the shots are looked how I want them to. I first went over the normal shots of Luc making sure it wasn’t as bright and quite as harsh lighting. Having it more cinematic, in reflection I feel that I won’t shoot at 12pm-3pm as the lighting is really harsh at these times and its difficult to not make the sky completely white.

Colouring correcting the super 8 film effect

I went back over the super 8 film effect, trying to make it more stronger and less able to see that its HD footage. I did by playing around with the curve effects and also experimenting with the colour wheels.

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After changing a few of the effects trying to make it more super 8 effect and less HD footage, this is the end result. (before, after)

Its very hard to see here, but I have made the colour wheels more pink so that the shadows and highlights have a more of a tinter pink to them. Trying to copy the Nikes music video intro. In reflection I feel that this works for the shot where is she is walking away but no so much for the close up, so I might go back and make the effect weaker or remove it all together.

I feel that I should keep comparing the changes I make side by side so I can see which one I prefer. This would help me to make changes in the colour correction and post side of the project. Making sure that the shot isn’t too pink or anything. However I feel that the shot walking away looks really good now.

Having that really colourful film vibe to the shot. Making the colours pop out a lot more than they should do. Having that overexposed feel. However it would be better if I actually shot the footage with the camera being overexposed. As I feel that this looks quite good in the Frank Ocean nikes music video.

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The white flash

Speaking of the walking away shot, I have also placed a white flash in between the jump cut of the shot of Sam walking away. To try and show a reel film change. The effect looked good but not great and not how I imagined it. Not really having that same effect of the film reel. So after experimenting with the keyframes and the opacity I decided to try add some scratches to the white in after effects.

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After adding marks to every frame in after effects, I looked back at the footage to only realise that it looks a lot worse and ruins the whole effect. I decided then if I wanted the full effect of the scratches done properly it was going to take a lot longer than I had and it wouldn’t be worth it. So I am going to see if people like the white flash, if they do I will keep it. But however I am favouring removing it as it just doesn’t look right and not how I want it. However I still have a focus group over this small transition.

In reflection I feel that I underestimated how long this effect was going to take me if I was going to do it properly. With consideration I feel that I should do research in the planning stages of the project for each effect I will be using. Seeing how long they will take each thing to create. Rather than waiting till post to find out how to make the effect. I feel that this would create a greater plan foundation, allowing me to know in advance what will take too long in post.

Meaning I can take stuff out in the pre production phase, rather than waiting to post production to find out that I can’t do a certain effect. I will be making sure that I do this in the future.

Over the weekend I am going to looking over my wordpress, making sure that it fully completed and there is nothing missing. With tuesday being the day I have the final focus group, and I will also test the audio on the classroom speakers, making sure that it is properly leveled and nothing is out of place. If this is both in order I will export my final cut and have it submitted. I am aiming to have the final cut exported by Wednesday next week, 31st of May.

Things I will be taking out of the finished video

I have already talked about my concern with using the pink hoodie and how I feel that I won’t be able to get it in there, without making seem forced. So I have decided to forget the idea and not include. Feeling that my film is fine as it is and will just look odd with the shots of Luc in a pink hoodie. So will now no longer place the footage of that in there. I felt that I have made the right decision as I have a great film at the moment and don’t to over do it and ruin the film with something that might not work.

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Another thing I was thinking about in pre production of doing was the after effect drawings around Luc’s face and cigarette.

After finishing a rough cut I don’t think that adding this sort of effect will suit the style. Due to the fact that the song is very slow moving and doesn’t have a lot of action in the music video, the after effects will contrast against this and probably make the film quite jarring as a result. As this effect is better suited to rap videos with a faster and more aggressive beat in the music and vocals.

Added on this it would have been very time consuming as well. So I am glad that I won’t be doing it in the final cut.

However I am glad that I thought about this before putting it in due to the fact that the tone will be messed by having this crammed in the final edit. To improve this in the future, not having to cut stuff out, I should have a look at all the scenes to make sure that they all fit the same tone and are all in the same style before I go ahead and shoot. As having the right tone for your project is very important and I should focus on this more in the pre production phase.

24/05/17 – Credits, typo messaging and the casting list

Today was mainly going back and finishing bits and pieces off that weren’t yet complete. This was mainly the reflection from yesterday that I didn’t have time to finish properly.

I then later moved on the casting list, managing to get that from wordpress to print out in paper, this so I can have it in my pre production folder along with my other pre production notes for the music video.

I then moved on to a few things I needed to change in editing, I then went into after effects making sure that there was correct spelling on the effect and changing the “anyone,” to “anymore.” I then exported it back into premiere making it the correct spelling in the edit.

After changing the effect, I then moved onto the end credits sequence. I copied over the bike shot from the beginning, placing it at the end again. I then used the same font style keeping with the beginning. Trying to get it all the same style, and wanting to have it match the end. I placed the cast first and I have the music by Frank Ocean following. With the final credit coming to me saying “written and directed by Seb Griffin-Keane.” However I will need to go back because I have spelt Sam’s surname wrong with one letter.

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I really like how the titles matches the credits, having a continuous theme and flow to it in the music video. I wanted to pay homage to Frank Ocean’s titling in his artwork for his debut solo mixtape nostalgia, ULTRA. I also think that I spent a lot of time on the titles and credits as I feel that they are a very important part of the film, and they should reflect what the film is trying to say. Hopefully some people will get the reference, but if not hopefully they will just like how it looks on its own.

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In reflection I notice a common theme among by text writing on screen. That I commonly spell things wrong. From I will now read the text several times out loud and have also look over to make sure that I have no spelling mistakes. I will make sure to do this as this is really amature.

I will now always get four or five people to each check the spelling of each one of my titles and credits, just before I export. Because going back and changing it wastes time, which I could be spending adding more onto my wordpress or video.

I will now finish colour correcting tomorrow and make sure to place the white flash of the film reel in there. After that I will watch the video several times over the weekend making sure that it exactly what I want for my music video. When it is done I will then export the finish film and submit to the ezone.

23/05/17 – Focus group with a set of questions, self evaluating and helping a fellow student

Today I showed people my newest rough cut giving them a set of questions to answer after watching the film.

Self evaluation

Before I talk about the focus group questionnaire results, I will be giving a brief of the things I like about the rough cut and also things that I think I should change.

I feel that this rough cut is pretty much finished, feeling that there is isn’t much more to add and having the feeling that I happy with the outcome of the final film. I don’t think editing wise there is much to improve on and I feel that reshooting, there isn’t anything major that ruins the film. Only some of the shots having weak focus, however I don’t feel that this takes massively from the film and will much rather improve my wordpress then go back and reshoot.

However I feel that there is some colour correction left to finish up. Having to make some of the shots look a bit better, mainly the shots with Luc walking with the bike at the beginning. Making sure that they are a bit darker and not as bright. This was mainly because I filmed at 2pm where the light is quite harsh. In reflection I will probably try to aim to film at magic hour times when filming at outside again, so there is good light and no real shadows or bright light. Making the shot harsh.

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I feel also that I did to make the super 8 film more grainy and add more colour correction to it, making sure to have that raw film look. This is due to the fact that you can still tell that it is HD footage and doesn’t give the full illusion of the dream like state. Staying on the topic of Sam’s footage is that of the white flash that appears between reels of films, adding that authentic nature to it. This will also cover up one of the jump cuts in one the shots of Sam walking away.

Overall I feel that the main aspect of my film that I need to change will probably be the colour correction. After that I will be able to export and will be ready for a viewing audience. Tomorrow I will be adding a credits scene, after which on the Thursday and Friday I will be colour correcting whilst adding finishing touches.

Focus group: Questionnaire

I laid out a set of questions for six people to answer. I got people to watch the rough cut and then answer the questions on what they thought of the film. I got people that haven’t seen any of my film or any of the rough cuts I have shown already. This because I wanted a fresh take on the film and if I got people I had for other focus groups, they might of just said the same sort of things.

The questions were:

  1. What’s your general thoughts?
  2. What do you think of the texting scene, anything I need to change (the dialogue for example or the font)?
  3. Is there a scene that went on for too long, or any shots that out stayed their welcome?
  4. What did you think of the 8mm film effect (the effect over the Girlfriend, Sam, shots)?
  5. Is there anything that needs reshooting, or any new scenes that need adding?
  6. Do you like the opening title sequence and shaving scene?
  7. Anything that might need editing out, shots you didn’t like?
  8. Do you like the ending?

The reason for asking these certain questions was because of these are the things that I am most unsure about in the project. I feel that some people may not like the ending, hence why I am asking about the ending and if they like it. I am also worried about if I need to reshoot, making sure that there is any shots that need reshooting.

I will now be looking over what the audience members thought of my project. Giving my brief thoughts on what they said.

Dan – fellow student

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Dan managed to notice something that no else did, that being the typo in the text messages. This was good because after all the people I showed my work no one noticed that was the case. So I will be changing the typo whilst also probably picking a different font.

Dan also mentioned to make the super 8 effect stronger. I agree with him on this point and will be making the colour correction stronger and more grainy to really have that super 8/8mm film feel. Making sure that you can’t tell that it is HD footage.

Apart from that Dan didn’t have much to say in terms of negative points or criticism towards the finished film. Which was very pleasing to see. I will make sure to take the advise of making the super 8 effect stronger, having the full effect of the dream state.

Nathan – fellow student

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Nathan as well really liked the film. Saying that it was “really great,” giving only a few editing pointers in terms of cuts with the flow of the project. Mentioning that he felt with Sam looking back at the camera and then going on to walk off felt really off and unnatural, not going well with the rest of the film. Not sure if I agree with him on this point and don’t really see a problem with it, I will see how it looks when I place the white flash of the reel change in-between the jump cut. Seeing if changes anything, but I am not sure if I will change the shot.

He also mentioned to me that it might be better to have the ending be him cycling off as the last shot and fade out from there to credits.  I see how this could work, better fitting the music with slow motion cycling. I will have a experiment with this editing technique and see how it looks. If it works I change the ending if it doesn’t I will keep the ending the same and have the last shot of his Mum.

Mark – Teaching Assistant

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This is one of the people I have already shown my film to in one of the previous focus groups. Still saying that my film is good he also mentioned how it looks a lot better with the super 8 effect over the footage of Sam. This is good because he has seen both versions, the one without any effects and the one with a super 8 effect. With giving the feedback that it is the super 8 effect was better than the original.

After cutting down the woods scene from his previous focus group advice, Mark still feels that the woods scene could be cut down a little more. I might play around and see if I can without heavily effecting the time of the music with the film.

Tammy – fellow student

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Tammy really liked the film, seeing that she pretty much liked every aspect of the film. But had a few criticisms with the sound and the texting effect on the bedroom scene. For the sound she mentioned how the poster rip was very loud compared to the rest of the diegetic sound. I will make sure to lower the sound levels of the poster rip to match the rest of the levels. This was good that she noticed this because otherwise I don’t think I will be able to.

She also mentioned how the bug was a bit distracting from the shot where Luc is smoking. For reference there is a shot with Luc smoking and there is bug on his arm. I feel that I can’t really change this but I can appreciate telling me about it in case I could fix that mistake.

For the advise on the bubbles around I feel that I won’t be taking this advice on board. Due to the fact that, like I have already mentioned, I don’t want the texting to come off cliche or too predictable.

Ethan – fellow student

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Ethan pretty much had the same comments as Tammy, saying that the audio with the poster rip should be levelled properly and the bug was a bit distracting in one of the smoking shots. He as well mentioned that the opening scene some of the audio clips were a bit too loud as well, I will have to get some proper headphones to listen to the audio clearly making them all the same level.

Connor Norton (another Connor from the other Conor that I had previously in my other focus group) – fellow student

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Connor really liked the music video along with everybody else, saying that it was very good and thought it worked really well. Also mentioning that he agreed with all my creative decisions in the music video. For negative points and ways I could improve he nothing to say, saying that he only wished there was more. This good because this showed that he lost track of time and hasn’t getting bored by the whole experience. As this is the most thing I was unsure about, the length of the project.

Overall thoughts of the focus group

I thought that this focus group was good. As it let me know of any final thoughts of the project. Whilst telling that it was good enough to submit as a final major project. People thoughts were very positive and only a few light criticisms that I could change to lift the project even further.

I will now change I think is good advice and do some final colour correction. To then finally exporting it to be submitted. I am aiming to have it submitted by Wednesday next week. So I can have plenty of time to evaluate, go over my blog post making sure its as good as it can be and get ready for presenting my work in front of the class.

The reason for doing this is so I can get a more focused feedback on what I wanted to know from people. With it being on what I was most scared about at the time. In reflection I feel that I should do this for every section of the FMP. For example having a focus group for the main idea, with having another one for some footage I shot recently unedited. With people saying if I should reshoot.

What I am understanding from reflecting constantly is that I should maybe more constant throughout my work progress. Trying to keep at the same sort of speed constantly and keeping doing things again and again. For example, always having focus groups throughout my progress.

Filming another student film there FMPWP_20170524_09_23_29_Pro.jpg

Today in the last lesson someone needed helping their FMP, so being ahead of schedule I thought I would lend a hand to help him in his project. He was filming his main part of the film and wanted help with the overall shot composition and sound. My job was to wear headphones and make sure that the sound was recording properly. Not needing to hold the boom as it was on a tripod facing towards the person speaking.

I wanted to share this as I feel that sound is my weakness in filmmaking and I feel that any experience will help me in the future when it comes to recording it next time. Making sure to get to grips with the equipment and recording device. I felt that it was a good experience and I liked working in a group when filming the scene. This also helps as I didn’t do much sound recording for my FMP. So this made sure that I had done some sound recording in the space of the FMP.

I will now be talking about the equipment I used for the sound recorder. I used a zoom to record the audio of Fin, this was plugged into a cable which lead to a microphone on a stand.

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This was because Fin was setting at a desk for this scene and wanted to make it like a sort of podcast feel to it. I then had headphones on, plugged into the zoom. Making sure that all sound has recording.