My finished film opening sequence.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Evaluation Q1 Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What roles did you take? What were your best bits and why?

I massively enjoyed the shoot day, and found it a thoroughly interesting experience which was unlike anything I had ever done before. It was eye-opening to watch professionals working in different roles such as our cameraman Robin and our director Dom. It was also very interesting to see the many different aspects that must work together to produce a music video, especially in regards to how advanced the lighting was. Below is a time lapse of the shoot day:

video

Me in role as Graha
My main role was as a performer, specifically in the role of Graham, the drummer of the band Echosmith. Out of all the performing roles in the video I believe this was one of the simplest to perform, as most of my performance involved me sitting down and playing the drums, with some basic close-ups. I had a small amount of experience playing the drums in the past, so I found this to be a fairly easy role to adapt to, although my best performances were the result of following advice and encouragement from our
performance director Jasmine. I also played Graham in the group dance shots in the remake, which were easy to shoot as there was no specific choreography that I had to follow, and there was a very fun atmosphere, meaning that I never felt awkward or uncomfortable when dancing.

Me in one of the group dance scenes (I'm in the same
Costume as Graham.)
When not in front of the camera I took on several different other roles. I helped encourage performers from behind the camera. I also manned the clapperboard for several dozen shots, as is visible in some rushes such as below:
Me slating a take of shot 12
I also got the opportunity to act as a cable basher for our cameraman, and to observe the make-up artists at work. Overall, the shoot was incredibly enjoyable and I found it much more fun than I had been expecting. It felt much shorter than the (around) 7 hours I believe it actually was, and definitely gave me a lot of valuable information for my A2 project. Overall, my best bits were likely the drumming performances I did and the dance scenes at the end of the video, as I really enjoyed these and I think I did a good job with them.


Evaluation Q2 What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks 1,2,3 and 5?

Prelim Task 1: Complete an Audition Video

The first prelim task was to create an 'audition video' for the role(s) we wanted to get in the music video shoot. This video was massively fun to make, as I created it with two of my friends, Tom and Jack, who made the filming process very entertaining. This audition video gave me an idea of how to lip sync convincingly, and while this didn't come in useful for the video shoot due to my role of Graham not requiring a lip-sync, it will doubtless still be useful if I appear in a music video in A2. I also learnt how to 'get into the groove' of a song on camera, and how to keep moving in rhythm, which were both vital to my role of the drummer. The audition video is inserted below:


Prelim Task 2: Learn and practice your performance

Our director Dom positioning us on set.
I attended all of the performance sessions, ran primarily by our performance director Jasmine, and these sessions helped me develop my performance in a number of different ways. It made the physical movement of the shoot day seem less challenging, as we did a lot of exercises, such as dancing in a number of different ways. The sessions also let me improve the energy and passion of my performance through games that revolved around these things, such as 'Woo-Ha'. I also learned how to channel different emotions into a more realistic performance in these sessions, which although i din't use on the shoot day, will undoubtedly be useful for my future performances. I was also given some advice in these sessions about how to improve my performance as Graham, such as what posture to sit with and what facial expressions to use.

Prelim Task 3: Help to plan and organise your costume

My drummer costume
Me in my 'standing' costume.
My costume was decided on and put together in a number of costume meetings held during lessons, with my final costume consisting of a checked shirt, black skinny jeans (Which were my own contribution to the costume.), a blue tie, smart black shoes and a black fedora, with a black blazer also worn for some shots. This is not exactly what Graham wears in the video, but it is very similar, and works well in the video. These sessions taught me the importance of costume, an area I hadn't even considered for the video, which I now realise it one of the most vital visuals present in the music video format, as it is a major signifier of the genre of a music video, and gives the audience an idea of the personality of the artist. 

Prelim Task 5: Complete the Remake Edit

An example of a shot which I believe is graded very
similarly to the original video.
Me in the process of editing
Although I had observed it in passing during the shoot day, it was the edit of our remake that really made me realise just how many different shots there are in a typical music video. I had expected the edit to be fairly simple, and although the only real difficulty I faced was when I had to attempt to sync footage of our singer, Sian with the lip-sync of the original video, the whole took a very long time. The edit taught me just how often and quickly shots change in a typical music video, and the grading process taught me how to make a video look somewhat professional. The way I did the grading was quick and efficient, and I believe it looks similar to the original video at many points.

Evaluation Q3 Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

I'm very pleased with the finished edit and the majority of the footage that was shot. I believe that everybody played their roles effectively and passionately, and the shots look for the most part, very similar to the original shots. Even when a shot was unusable or missing, I was able to effectively compromise this in my edit, usually by zooming in other shots to give the effect of a close up. My finished edit looks very similar to the original video, and is therefore a success in my opinion. It is inserted below:



The finished edit is also similar to what I had expected it to look like, as it looks similar to the original, yet at the same time has some limitations which I had predicted would slightly effect the look of the video. For example, in the original, I believe the camera is of higher quality, although the camera we used for the remake was definitely still high quality.

I think that the best aspects of the remake are the group shots, which I believe capture the joyous atmosphere of the equivalent shots in the original, as can be seen in a GIF below. I also believe that the lip syncing is very convincing throughout, to the point where it can easily be imagined that Sian, who played Sydney in our remake is actually the singer of the song.



If I could re-do the shoot session, I would focus on making sure that the darker shots in the original videos are shot with the correct lighting, as many of these shots in my remake had to be artificially darkened through grading, which in my opinion doesn't look as good as the shots which were filmed in the darkness.
An example of my attempt at using grading to darken a shot.

Evaluation Q4 How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

Next term I will be required to create my own original music video for a (non-hit) song of my choice, so much of what I learnt by creating the remake video will be valuable. This includes:

  • How to work with actors, as I know how demanding a shoot can be for those in front of the camera. 
  • I am prepared for the scale of the shoot, as I now realise how many different shots are required to create a typical music video, which I had largely underestimated before the shoot.
  • I can estimate how long the editing process will be (although I assume it will be longer to edit as there is no template to replicate.), which will help me organise my time when I come to this stage.
  • I now understand the importance of using lighting, costume and performance to connote the genre of a music video.
  • I now understand how to work with actors to bring out the needed emotions and to ensure chemistry on set.
  • I know how to organise a shoot board in order to maximise efficiency on set.
  • I now realise what skills I need to work on developing: The technical side of the production, such as lighting, camerawork and sound and also the theory and history behind music videos, which will undoubtedly help me understand how to create an entertaining, competent music video.
Our group photo!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

This blog is now closed

I have completed the AS media project and so there will be no more posts on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading the existing posts!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Evaluation Post 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The opening to 'Shadow of Your Past' challenges certain conventions of the crime/thriller genres, while using and developing others, such as the narrative and style of the genre. We did this to make sure that our sequence felt fresh, but was easily identifiable as part of it's genre.

The narrative of 'Shadow of Your Past'

'SOYP' tells the story of successful lawyer Shania Mollcott who is being stalked by the just-released rapist Jeff Richardson who she helped convict. When Richardson finally manages to capture Molcott he keeps her locked up in an abandoned shack and threatens her. She almost manages to escape, but is captured once again. The police find out where Molcott is being held and start to plan how to get her out. They burst in and have a shootout with Richardson which he manages to escape from. By the end of the film Molcott has had to relocate and change her name, as Richardson is still on the loose.

Form

My opening sequence uses many conventions for film openings, such as introducing the main character, by focusing on Shania Molcott's morning routine, and establishing the location, which is done through the shots of the home and the street. This is shown in the stalker film 'P2' (2007), which starts off with one long unbroken establishing shot of the garage setting before introducing the main character.


Our sequence is also conventional in that it sets the tone for our film, with it's tension and threat. This is common in films of all genres, and is shown aptly by one of our main inspirations, thriller 'Se7en' (1999), where the titles are shown over disturbing music with dark and disturbing visuals.

       

Overall, I believe my opening sequence does an apt job of using the typical conventions of an opening title sequence by introducing the  main characters, the London setting and the tone.

Genre

The following presentation focuses on crime/thriller conventions and how we attempted to implement them into our sequence.



Narrative structure

The presentation below looks at the way we used genre conventions to create our narrative structure:



We also used Barthes codes to make our sequence more narratively interesting - for example by using the action code to create the red herring situation, as the viewer will assume due to the previous shots establishing Richardson's presence, that he is the person running up behind an unaware Molcott. Due once again to the previous shots the viewer assumes that Richardson is going to attack Molcott or harm her in some other way, therefore increasing fear levels and tension before it is dissolved by the reveal that the person running towards her is just a jogger.

Style


The style of our film is very much conventional of the crime/thriller genre in many of it's aspects. In terms of visuals it is desaturated in a way similar to films such as 'Se7en' and the TV series 'Sherlock'. in order to give the sequence a more serious and gritty look. The main colours of the sequence are washed out grey, black, white, brown and green colours, giving the sequence an overcast suburban feel.



Our soundtrack consists mainly of two different pieces of music from Freeplaymusic.com, 'Ever Evolving' and 'Codename'. These two tracks are very different to each other, with 'Evolving' being used during the calm waking up scenes and 'Codename' being used to increase tension during the 'red herring' scene. The music tracks both link with the pacie and rhythm of the scenes they soundtrack, with the longer, more intimate shots of Molcott having 'Evolving' playing over it, while the more intense outdoor scenes contain faster music which builds up to a tense climax in a similar way to the scene.
The titles in my finished sequence
The titles in our sequence were largely inspired by those of 'Se7en' and 'Shutter Island', due to their effectively unsettling and stylised movement and font.

Evaluation Post 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

The main social group we are focusing on is that of black working women, a group which I believe is poorly represented in cinema, when they are represented at all. The Prezi I've created below explores this issue in greater depth:                  



The main inspiration I had for the character of Shania Molcott was Jessic Pearsonn from TV series suits, as she is one of the few black female lawyers presented in a positive light on a mainstream TV show. She is intelligent and works in a highly prestigious role, similarly to Molcott.








How we challenged these representations