Shooting Art – The Shoot

Shooting my video art project, unlike setting up was a breeze. The actor turned up early, he did brilliantly in each of the first takes, he was professional and I’m really excited to exhibit this and see what people think of the real Self Perception Theory, or at least my example of it. Another reason this shoot was especially great is that I won a bet between myself and the technician. I told him that my shoot would take ten minutes to complete and he pretty much just laughed at me and then made me sign a piece of paper that stated; ‘I will shoot my video in ten minutes.’ Of course, I happily signed and potentially sold my soul to the devil, because if I failed, I would never ever stop hearing about it. This is how my shoot went for me.

After setting up, I didn’t really have to wait very long for actor Anthony Taylor to arrive. I met him on campus and brought him up to the studio where I directed him on what exactly I wanted from his performance. After a little chat about what I expected from him and I was confident he knew what he was doing I put him into position so that I could ready the 18mm-55mm lense. I set the exposure levels, framed the shot and focused. While doing this I noticed that the lights were to dim, so I increased the brightness on both of the spot lights to a setting that casted little to no shadowing. A technique I learned from the technician was to point the lamps down towards the backdrop so that all shadowing would be casted below the field of view of the camera. Which was a life saver, because I never would have thought about it, although when I do I feel stupid for not realising it. Here is an example I drew up in MS Paint to show what I mean about the shadow casting being below the frame.

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The person in the middle is obviously the actor, the square around his head is my framing, the yellow beams is the concentrated light from the spot lamps and the black things at the bottom are where the shadows were cast. As you can see, concentrating the light from the top of the set, pointing down will clear the frame of any shadows, leaving the shot seamless and as beautiful as you imagined it. I certainly think I met my lighting aims with this technique.

The first sequence I shot was certainly the easiest for the actor to portray. The first sequence I shot was the blank expression. I shot for roughly two minutes to give the audience time to move on before they notice any cuts when the sequence loops. Here is a still I took of the actor when playing his role in my project.

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The second sequence I shot was a little harder for the actor to grasp as he had to seem the happiest person in the world for two minutes. I could see him struggling towards the end, but he did a fantastic job. Although he has had some experience in acting, he hasn’t had much and has never acted for a lens, only an audience.

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The next sequence was a bit easier for him as most of the time he had his face in his hands, but even when he lifted his head, he surprisingly showed slightly bloodshot eyes and a few tears. I was quite impressed as it genuinely looked as though he was upset.

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The final sequence was the hardest, but I was confident he could pull it off. He did, but anger is really hard to act for two minutes when there is nothing really to be angry about. He did really well, but he really struggled with this one and you could tell. I also noticed that because he moved around a lot the camera went out of focus for a slight moment. I was going to cut, but from the screen on the camera, it didn’t look like it was an accident. And I quite liked it.

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Overall I was extremely proud of the outcome. All that is left left is to put each of the four clips into sequences, render, export and I’m done. And it only took nine minutes and thirty seven seconds. Which means, I won the bet.

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