Friday, 30 October 2009

Ready and waiting

Wednesday just gone. Myself and Graeme caught up with our additional crew members Jon, Jo and Mia. The meeting was literally a situation to talk through the storyboards and shot list comparison. This gave the crew a rich knowledge of the plan for the scheduled shoot coming up, and allowing them to feel comfortable in there designated roles, more so Jo, as she will have to be very independent and proactive on set. Normally i have struggled to communicate and feel at ease around people i do not know well, so far i have taken this opportunity to build my personality with colleagues to develop a solid relationship in preparation for the shoot. Lets hope this shows through in the outcome!

After previous discussions, we made the decision to give john the position of camera grip. In this briefing on Wednesday, I gave Jon a standard operational induction with the sony XD camera and lens mount. Knowing he was already camera literate, he really did not need this induction, he was naturally able with the equipment. although providing Jon with his on set roles was a vital issue that i needed to get across so there is no clash in interest when the camera is in operation on shoot.

With that said, the production is ready to get the good old lights camera and action. Will report back to blogger once the production has been canned, with thoughts and evaluation of the working day.

Until then! Wish us Luck!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Shotlist: Keeping things ship shape!

After compiling the storyboards together and collectively analysing them for final production. The mentioning cropped up in a conversation regarding shortlists. Now until this date, i have never produced a shot list for a production. After trawling various websites and a few books in consideration to the creation of this said shot list. There are various methods to generate shotlists through software. To be fair and honest, these may work for some collectives, however the idea of installing software to do a job such as generation of a shotlist seemed a tad inappropriate for the needs that we request from a shotlist.

However inspiring and productive to see these techniques were, my personalised shotlist was more of a highbred storyboard. Providing that visual into the same document seeped the most appropriate methid to approach in the creation of these documents.

The document had a very easy to follow system to allow our additional crew to make sense of the productions process. This would be most crucial for jo, the continuity and shot list co-ordinator. The process behind making the document easily understandable for a non film production orientated being was to use formats that most people can relate to with no real difficulty.

How did i approach this? by using large thumbnails which are near enough shot by shot relevant, the crew were able to visualise the next shot in the sequence. Speaking of sequence, i organised the shot list in order of various priorities. These priorities were issues such as continuity (especially in the torture sequence, considering the use of SFX make up on actors) Another very vital priority was the use of equipment. When ever possible the shot list would group together equipment used in conjunction to where it is used. So for example; all the crane shots were put together for a start. then they would be placed in order to how far the equipment has to travel between shots. Also to add confusion this would come second to the continuity of bloody make up effects being used.

Those theories should keep us in good stead for the shoot, Fingers Crossed!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Location, Locaion.. Oh wait maybe not!

Temple Mill

After Weeks of waiting and hoping following the very motivating recreational visit to Temple Mill in Holbeck, We have now reached a point where waiting for the location to materialise is casing a threat to the productivity of the schedule. As a result we have now chosen to opt for a backup plan of the studio theatre in the college. But again, booking the studio theatre a couple of weeks before you need the space has again proven near on impossible! So to "plan C" in theory.

We have successfully booked the second photography studio based next to the ceramic studio, this is located in what feels like another world in the deep bowls of the resistant materials quarter of the college.

However, the room does seem sufficient, although art direction will be taking a heavy directional shift, it is something i am already aware of and have had experience with previously. When i say this, my plan will be changing from relying on the much sought after location backgrounds which looked the part of a "torture location" with huge space, allowing freedom of movement and great depth to the camera, to a smaller photography studio with no interesting or even "relevant" background detail. The plan in mind will eliminate any background detail allowing the visual to look and feel like a huge room with very little lighting, this would appear black as the walls are not visible in shot due to the lack of light.

Here is some previous work i have produced to provide an example of this dark open space feel:

After Effects Demon from Mark Braithwaite on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tools or Weapons?

Did a little scout today to discover some nice hidden gems in my granddads workshop.
There was quite literally around seventeen and a half million Weapons "oops" i mean tools

To those familiar with the recent projects i am partaking in, will know with out a thought that these are props for the torture
scene. And if not well these images are of nice tools that we plan to use for weapon props in a short "torture porn" sequence

These images are but a minor amount of what was found in the rummage. It is quite safe to say that there is going to be no problems in the art direction for the weapons department. All we need now is everything else! including a secure location

Friday, 16 October 2009

Got Wood?

Not too long ago back in the early days of october 2009 we all went on a little adventure. After trying all morning to contact both local joiners and corporate giants like Homebase and B&Q. We got a hint on some wood offcuts being stored at the B&Q on the A64 up Holbeck way. As you do , we sporadicly jumped into the car to seek out this wood.

To our amazement there was a good 20 to 40 pounds worth of wood going cheap. We pushed a little banter onto the woodsman and he let us take it away for the amazing price of £3!! yes absolute bargain!

The wood will aid us in the set building process for the seance sequence we are setting up in the lecture theatre

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

Again similar process to the last test sequence, The more experiences i can squeeze into this academic year, the better i will become ultimately. I felt a genuine amount of confidence with the XD camera and its additional lens counterpart. It seemed almost like i have always known how it worked. Of course, having a sound knowledge in still photography and the advantage of how the lenses work set me up for a very nice head start.

Below are a set of screenshots taken form a second short experiment we produced. it was a simple idea to create tension through a staring competition using the camera alone to frame shots

and to top it off, it was still putting the 180 degree rule into great practice! a very productive day indeed!! Lessons well learned
Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

The plan behind this next section of research exploration was to test specific camera techniques that were presented in the project proposal. These would include methods such as: Pulling the focus and crossing the line (180 Degree Rule)

180 Degree Rule
The 180° rule is such a simple technique, yet something i have not fully realised and quite hounestly neglected in previous productions. Known for being a basic guideline in film making, it is a method that i intend to know inside out by the end of this production.

In a short sequence, we put the rule to the test taking extra care to follow the rule to perfection. Below are some screenshots providing a visul of the sequence.

Notice how both characters stay on the same side of the screen. when watching the sequence it soon becomes obvious to why the rule was implemented. It aids footage to run much smmother with a natural feeling.

If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line. The new shot, from the opposite side, is known as a reverse angle. However, when this rule is broken, it cal look very odd and disrupt the flow of the sequence. This shot below pictures the characters from behind. This does break that rule, although when watching the sequence, it feels like a very natural cut. The reason for this can only be one thing, and it seems pretty obvious once you watch it armed with the knowledge that the shot is from behind.

The session was a great sucess and provided everything that we intended to gain from the research.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

Seance Research: Drag Me To Hell

This film is quite literally a pile of dog shit, however, as far as its seance scenes go. There is quite the possibly that we can salvage some tips and techniques on how to set dress a room and more importantly film such a bizarre series of events.

The seance clip has bee posted on youtube. The opening few shots are great to present to a viewer that something manic is going on in the room.

In addition the room that the seance is being held is pretty much what i would expect from such an activity. Low candle lit lighting, vintage furniture, high ceilings. An old rich mans mansion feel.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

Torture Mood board

Some more Torture visuals to fuel the decisions in the execution of the film. Especially decisions such as set design and colour treatment

Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

Seance Mood Board

Project Metropolis: Music video production

Project metropolis are looking for a new music video for there latest track recording "Rothcore" This is a rather bizarre project to be involved in from my position. Because the word "involved" is quite literally an understatement on a stupidly large magnitude. Not only was it my inspiration that lead to the idea of the music video for the band, i am also a member of the band, and i will be working in the production and editing of the music video.

Funny Old Picture: LOLZ

To start with i will underline my specific duties i have been directed to partake in:

Producer: i will be organising all the scheduling of the band members, and equipment booking. I will also be on scout for shot locations, although another member of the project is undertaking this job on a more primary level. I will be more of a backup for that side of things.

Assistant Director: Although i will keep my input to a minimum, i intend to have some form of input into the directing, wether it involves something as simple as providing a second opinion, as well as speaking my opinion on how to approach matters that arise.

Editor: Although there will be a primary editor on the project, i will be creating an edit of my own. The main reason for this is my personal direction on how i wish to carry the story of the video. My opinion is more than likely to differ from the other editors choices.

On top of that, i will just float and try help out when ever i can. This project will always fall second to my main project with James and Graeme. Just to make that clear. My commitment will go into the post production side of things when the shooting has wrapped on the project with James and Graeme.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Digital Media Development
Research and techniques

In the previous posts regarding the torture sequence, it has just come to realisation that covered the main concerns but one. That is the torturer. Although the Saw films provided a great reference for all the other aspects of this sequence. The one thing Saw does tend to approach differently to how we have planned our sequence is the role of the antagonist. The antagonist in the Saw films operates remotely, setting up self harm scenarios. We are looking for a one on one aggressor to victim situation. This then pointed in the direction of The Hostel Films.

The first detail i wish to point out in these films is the issue of a costume or in a more traditional sense "a disguise" Something that removes your personal identity from the victim. We have discussed the matter of costume and are still debating on the options of a balaclava or keeping the face exposed. The decision to consider the balaclava is down to the social stigma that the wearing of one may suggest an aggressive and somewhat rude personality stereotype.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Research: Visual inspiration

Interrogation Sequence

The Interrogation Sequence:
Using a combination of carefully planned camera techniques and organized fight choreography, this sequence will provide an action packed blood curdling torture session that will get the adrenaline pumping.

When considering art direction and location in this sequence, by carefully planning and giving consideration to detail will ultimately make or break the success (or failure) of this particular sequence. Again the main point of this sequence is to develop an understanding of the relationship between choreography and film. Ultimately for my personal education, I intend to really dig into the use of the XD camera with the Canon lens adapter. However, being in control of cinematography, i deeply feel the urge to sucseed in the art direction on set. My hope is that even if the choreography does fail, we may be able to salvage some visually stunning footage from the shoot.

To aid with this decision on art direction, I decided to opt for the now typically cliche saw films. As horrifically cheesy they may have now become, they still manage to create some exceptional visuals in the films. Saw films are the closest "hollywood standard" reference to gain a visual aid on set dressing a location for a torture scene. There are other considerations such as the "Hostel Films" which are equally as impressive, but in my opinion fail to provide the same cinematic quality to them.

Below are a couple of screenshots from Saw II & IV. Although being two feature films apart. they both share very similar properties. The obvious similarity is the acid green colour grading used on both scenes

Other shared qualities can be picked up when watching the scene. The next of importance will be that both these screen grabs are shot in a very similar fashion, and both feature a victim, tied down, somewhat unconscious and in a very secluded, run down and dark location with alien objects surrounding them.

These visuals provide great techniques on how to introduce a torture victim into a scenario of such terrible circumstances.

Below are some stills taken from the opening scene of Saw IV. The sequence is set in in a morgue, with a very cold colour grading to footage. This suggests the cold feeling of death most likely? The main interest of these stills is the method used in filming a selection of cutting utensils sat upon a table. As we have planned to film a very similar sequence, this research is imperative to develop from. The only real difference between the Saw sequence and our torture version, is that we wish to imply an additional sexual reference to relationship between the weapons and the torturer.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Personal Directives:

As mentioned in the project overview, the working group have been designated jobs to carry out thorough all areas of the production process. These are some short descriptions to what my jobs will be and what they may entail:


Storyboard/Pre visual Artist:
In preproduction, I tend to prefer taking a backseat to any real role. To send myself out of this my comfort zone, I shall be in control of the storyboarding and concept art for the duration of the project


Cinematography/Camera Operator:
This job is a job assigned by preference, and in belief it is also a strength. The role does tend to piece together with the pre visualisation quite well.

Post Production

Special Effects:
One specific sequence demands a call for the use of visual effects. The effects will be in camera, and in postproduction combined. This job will be a challenge by providing the possibility to learn new skills and techniques. In addition, i shall also overlook the editing sessions to supply a fresh set of eyes, and catch out any mistakes that the other person may have missed.
Digital Media Development

The sequences:

There are a total of three sequences in the preproduction pipeline at the moment. The idea behind each individual sequence is directed to exploit specific techniques and emotions that have been a failure in previous projects, or alternatively something that is a desire to accomplish. Find below short synopsis and descriptions that demonstrate in more detail the theory of the project.

1.Suspense Building Drama:
This sequence will concentrate on long establishing shots to deliver a feeling of being trapped. A big benefactor for this sequence will be the combination of an atmospheric track and soundtrack to capture a cringe worthy feeling of isolation.

2.Aggressive Torture:
Using a combination of carefully planned camera techniques and organized fight choreography, this sequence will provide an action packed blood curdling torture session that will get the adrenaline pumping

The séance themed scene will provide a chance to dabble in the field of visual/sound effects. The plan to produce an intense suspense followed by a supernatural disaster, the sequence will provide a great opportunity to build a studio set.
Digital Media Development

This is a short introduction to the project, and what the main objectives will entail

In a nutshell:

Create three short sequences (30-90 seconds) that strengthen and develop a various amount of specific film making techniques, in consideration to possible weak points from previous productions. As a result, reinforcing vital skills to produce quality products to the best possible ability.

The project:

The main objective of this brief is to build upon the skills obtained from the previous college years by developing and directing them into a successful and professional workflow. By taking consideration to eliminate all the unneeded errors and problems that have occurred in previous productions, the quality of work, and time taken to produce such work should in theory “improve dramatically”. The successful completion of the brief will also provide valuable additions to the building of a portfolio.

As a group of three, the production will delegate specific production jobs accordingly. This will allow for an equally distributed workload, and more importantly assign desired specialist jobs, in conjunction to the person’s skill strengths and preferences.