Film TV 2 Screening

All in all, it was a great screening! So many talented individuals and ofcourse we wouldnt have done it without the help and guidance from Robin and Paul. Made me realise the possibilities of documentary making are actually endless. The films that really stood out for me on that night were Albert Salt, More or Less and To be A Poet.

 

Albert Salt’An insightful and really intriguing film. It was brilliant aesthetically as well. Loved the concept of the whole documentary; behind the scenes’ of a musician’s life and the build up of events.

‘More or Less’ really stood out for me. Best film of the night. It was a really creative way of conveying something so simple into something really impactful. It worked really well with the film being in black and white too which emphasised on its simplicity. The interviewer being in framed felt like it was just a casual chat between the interviewer and the interviewee.

‘To Be a Poet’ proved that a short documentary can also be outstanding. Kept the audience engaged throughout with the narration of the poet.

Video DSLR vs. Z7 and the likes

The pros of a DSLR video camera: 

Bigger Sensor = Better image quality

More Control over Depth of Field

Interchangeable Lenses

Easier to transport

Looks less daunting

The Cons of a DSLR video camera: 

Lacks a decent audio functionality ( can be overcome by using an external audio recorder)

No zebras (can be overcome by installing a firmware)

 

For the above reasons, we’ve decided to go with DSLRs, for the fact that the image quality turns out heaps better than a Z7 camera. We did a test shoot comparing a DSLR and a Z7 and we really liked how the DSLR image quality turned out. Considering Deans Cafe’s space constraints as well, we thought it would make more sense to keep our filming equipments as compact as possible, allowing for more space to move around (already we have had experiences of almost tripping over our cables and tripods). And boy, the dedo lights were enough of a work out for us having to lug it all the way to high street by tram. Thank god for the existence of a sexy yet compact video camera that made our job a whole lot easier (without compromising results)! The only issue we had was struggling to switch to manual control on a 5Dmii. We should have been more prepared and brushed up our technical knowledge before attempting to take this beast out. Better luck next time.

Work in progress

Its week 7 now, so where are we at? Let’s see.

We shot our first interview for our documentary over the term break and things seem to be going well so far. Initially when we came to the cafe for the first time to have a chat with the owners and told them about our documentary, we thought that we had a pretty good story to tell. The owners were so enthusiastic about telling their story having lived in Melbourne close to 30 years. I felt that the second time we came (and were geared with our camera and lighting equipments), they seemed a little bit tense when answering some questions and seemed to hesitate in sharing some of their experiences. It felt to me that there was this facade that they had to put up, which only seemed natural, given that they were conscious of being recorded. Halfway through the interview (being the interviewer), I had to try to make her feel at ease, and tried to maintain a casual conversation with her just as we had initially before the lights and cameras were on. I realised it did work to help her loosen up and she began to share things that were more personal. I guess as an interviewer, we had an important role towards shaping our documentary. From week 6’s reading, there are some points that I could use to overcome this. A director’s vision of a documentary can be fulfilled by ‘coaching’ our characters into a certain direction. We are documenting a story that is made possible only by leading our characters with us. In a way, we are the ones crafting this story. We have the control over what we want to tell and how we want to document it. Let’s see how I could use this in our next interview with the secondary characters which we will most probably do over the coming weekend.

Reflection from week 2 reading: Pawel Pawlikowski. Imagining reality

1)  To quote, ” For me the point of making films is not to convey objective information about the world,  but to show it as i see it and to find a form which is relevant.” I think the misconception of documentary films as a mere recording of an image or event is proven wrong in this statement where he states that documentary filmmaking is all about the vision of the director in putting together these images into a string of events (crafted into a story). What you get in the end is a work of non-fiction presented in a form of careful planning and thoughtfully crafted sequences. It is still a real event or a recording if you may put it, but the art of documentary making lies in conveying the story.

2) The future of documentary as discussed in the readings for week 2 seems to be quite dark. The reality of it is that fiction films tend to be more sellable and suitable for commercial use on TV. Documentaries often times require more crowd-sourcing effort for funding as compared to narrative films. However in my opinion, documentary filmmaking still appeals to me more as it captures emotions of real people with real stories to tell.

Film Tv 2

After a semester of Film Tv 1 and coming back from a hiatus, we’re back in uni and this time we’re embarking on a documentary. To get our engines warmed up again, i came across some amazing documentaries on Vimeo’s Staff Picks, each with their own strengths in areas like sound design, animation and storyline.

What I love about this documentary: Use of time-lapse in video dock, use of slow motion and lots of close-up shots.

What I love about this documentary: good cinematography and colour grading

What I love about this documentary: The pace of the documentary matches the audio track really well

Lab 3 – Social Media

Like any other media events, social media is a crucial factor in the success of a public event. For the past two weeks, we have been looking at some examples of an interactive documentary. I would say most of the substantial content used to produce an interactive documentary consists of a particular target audience actively engaging towards the event via online media platforms. The most common ones include Facebook and Twitter. To stage a public event, such as a flash mob, we require audience participation and attention. Most of the flash/smart mobs that have been staged are either organisation-runned or planned by individuals who come together with the help of social networking platforms. This particular website, Melbourne Mob is a great place for mobs to start. They even have a facebook group page where some 4550 members will get to know about any upcoming mobs or events they could propose. Social media allows for constant communication with a niche target audience. In a way, we are also building relationships and extending on this.

Film Review

As the sound designer for my film, I was paying more attention to the technical aspects of the films during the screening. The film that really caught my attention was Jack and the Box. I would have to say the sound designer did a really awesome job that I was blown away by the possibilities of what he/she had done and what sound design could offer to a film. My perspective on sound changed dramatically. It was as if that without it, the film would not be complete. The sound of the film was used to build tension and suspense. Whispering voices, sound of screeching and clanging of metal on metal created this whole different sound-scape. I was blown away by how the sound designer managed to keep me at the edge of my seat! Bravo, guys!

Best Film of Film TV 1

I would say the most entertaining and hilarious film that deserved a standing ovation from us was Loot. The script writing was amazing, witty and smart at the same time. They nailed it technically as well. The sound levels were really good, constant and clear. The camera movements were not too overboard, they managed to include a tracking shot as well which was awesome. The set design was amazing. They even had posters, cups and cards designed after the film’s title ‘Loot’. What most did not know was it was actually shot in a cafe, not even a boost juice store. Most of my friends who watched it were amazed and laughing so hard. Kudos to the looties! Well done! 😀

Week 13 – Reflective Process

I have achieved a lot during the past 12 weeks. So many things I thought I could not do or had no idea of what to do, I managed to overcome them with the help of my tutors and tutorial mates. It seemed daunting at first to be filming and producing our own short films but now that I have gone through it, it was definitely something achievable within the means and knowledge that we have. Alot of self-learning had to be done to explore and experiment with different possible ideas for our short film. From scripting to our final edit, I think I was pretty much able to solve problems and obstacles along our way. This was also possible with the help of the group. We had set a rule for ourselves; if any of us are in doubt or need any help, we should all assist each other no matter what our roles are. This is one of the best way we keep our learning open. In this way, we were able to learn beyond our individual roles. As the sound designer, I helped my producer to do casting and ensure the flow of events during our filming day. However I think I could have improved on being a better sound designer. It was a first experience for me and i think I did pretty okay. As a group, we were doing the edit mostly individually. I think it was best that we could have discussed the direction we wanted to go with the edit, as a group before embarking to edit on our own. Communication definitely is key. Overall, it has been an amazing journey with my production group and Robin, the ever-helpful tutor who’s always willing to show us the ropes! (:

Weekly Learning

Week 1:

 

Not sure what to expect out of this course but from the first week of lecture, we were told that the requirement would be to come up with our own 5 mins film. From last semester’s experience, team work is crucial to the success of the film. We were pretty much going through a refresher from last week’s Writing Media Text. The terms protagonist, antagonist, plot, characters all sound too familiar. This time round we were going into genres and how the development of characters are dependent on the genre of the film. In our first tutorial, Christine taught us more about character development. We were given about 10 minutes to come out with our own character and story idea. It was quite daunting at first but I think this exercise trained us to develop our characters within a given amount of time but at the same time  establish the character quite well within the given time.

 

Week 2:

This week we were learning more on script writing. Some important points I noted during lecture, the more plot heavy your script is, less character sophistication & complexity. We also touched on the three act structure in a typical storyline. However, in a short film, it could only be two acts instead of three. In tutorial this week, Robin briefed us on what was required; A 5 min film within 1 day shoot. We were also tasked to do our story outline and plot by this time. I must say script-writing is not one of my forte but I think the story ideas I had in mind were quite concrete. The challenge would be fitting it within the 5 mins constraint.

 

Week 3:

This week we were learning on sound design and sound operating. Sound is one of the most crucial part in a film. We were learning how to operate the audio mixer, the different pickup patterns of a microphone and microphone placement during recording. Points to note: always record main audio/dialogue separately from background sound, meaning to say record ambient sound to use during post-production.

 

Week 4:

In week 4, we were learning on shot construction and scheduling. The importance of storyboarding, constructing a shot list to avoid running out of time. Always do the most important shots first, the shots that require to be done outdoors incase of bad weather followed by the least important shots and those indoors. The storyboard should cover the frame of the shots, angle, viewpoint – objective, subjective, POV, shot size and camera movement.

 

Week 5:

Cinematography is a complex yet the most creative part of filmmaking. It takes practice to master this. It brings the personality of the filmmaker out in the film. It is a creative expression of the filmmaker. We were watching several films that Robin showed in lecture to demonstrate how cinematography can make the same plot look different with different cinematography directions. Cant wait to explore this in our own film! The use of different lenses, short and long focal length can manipulate perspective of audiences. One of the films that inspire me in terms of good cinematography is Moonrise Kingdom by West Anderson. Most of the shots are well-planned one takes, with camera tracking used in most of the shots. This creates a sense of continuity in every shots.

 

Week 6:

This week we were learning on pre-production. The importance of developing a crew whom you can work well with as it will directly or indirectly affect work relationships. This is particularly important to keep the crew going as positivity and morale boost makes a whole lot of difference from the work flow to the completion of a film. During Casting, several problems and obstacles came our way. We were casting for the role of Mr. Berkley and Phoebe. During the auditions for Mr. Berkley, one of the actors who auditioned decided to take things his way. He wanted to make some changes to the script and wanted to make his own direction to the film. We were caught between selecting him or another actor for this role as it was between work ethics or their acting capabilities. After much discussion with the group members, our script writer decided that person A (the one who demanded changes to the script) fit the role best as his acting was marvellous compared to the others. We decided to go through with it after sitting down and having a chat with him to set things right. Hopefully things will go well during rehearsals and our shoot itself!

 

Week 7:

Lighting is one of the key components in filmmaking that I am most unfamiliar with. I have done some lighting work for photography but am still not well-versed in it. I learned that lighting creates spatial continuity and temporal continuity, on top of aesthetic reasons. In class we were experimenting with the use of key lights, fill lights and back lights.

 

Weeks 8-10:

The following three weeks we were pretty much delving more into production stuff. The importance of blocking, shot planning, setting up a dolly and camera movements such as panning and tracking. We had our film rehearsals with the actors in week 9. We could not go through all the shots that we had planned due to time constraints but we managed to get the actors rehearse their acts according to the direction we wanted. In this way, we save time during our filming day and we could use that time to focus on pulling through the camera shots we had in mind.

 

Weeks 11-12:

Most of the time spent was in the edit suites. As our shoot was one of the latest groups, Robin managed to inform us about the problems that other groups faced especially in terms of technical issues they faced. An example would be the grainy effect on the Sony camera. We were told not to use the auto gain and use the manual control instead to avoid excessive grains. Our shoot went smoothly and were pretty much ahead of schedule. I must say that production can be intense and super duper tiring! At the end of it all, it feels very rewarding to watch the product of 12 weeks of learning up on the screens!