Self Evaluation

Unit One: Art & Design Research Methods.

My research methods aren’t very different to most peoples, I use primary and secondary research to develop my knowledge and ideas in a specific person, genre or project. I start by doing basic searches on the internet or in rare cases, books and magazines. For every bit of research I do, my ideas will develop as does my knowledge. It also helps me narrow down my searches, making my research more precise. An example of this is my three minute film, Hitori Kakurenbo. I started by researching the game online and the different things people have experienced while playing the game. My research then developed my idea to an experiment into Japanese cinematography. I then moved on to explore Japanese film. So I watched the Grudge and The Ring, then compared them to the American re-makes. I was quite inspired by these films and developed my idea even further, I wanted to shoot my film at night and had no idea how to shoot a scene in the dark, so I looked up lighting a night scene and learned. I also took some photographs with a DSLR under a blue lighting gel with the actress of the production.

Unit Two: Art & Design Ideas Development.

The development of my ideas tends to happen through research, or it can happen quite unexpectedly. I almost always have an idea from seeing or hearing something. It can be anything too, like reading something from a book or on the internet, from a scene in a film or television show or my influence could come from a person. The point is, there is always some sort of influence. For example I was recently inspired by Sam-Taylor Wood and her use of multiple screen films. There are two different scenes projected opposite each other and one interacts with the other. That got me thinking and eventually I had an idea. My original idea was to look at father issues. This was because I was thinking about Spielberg’s constant use of the theme, but I then decided I wanted to make this film quite intimate in terms of self exploration. So I decided then to make my film about my weight gaining as it has made me quite self conscious and has affected my confidence quite drastically. I guess this film is a way to vent that creatively. I also talked about idea progression in the Unit One section.

Unit Three: Art & Design Materials and Methods.

The materials and methods I use tends to differ with every project. It really depends what kind of film I am making that determines the techniques I will use. For example, the Shisha advertisement was shot in a three camera studio and most of the edit was done through vision mixing. Hitori Kakurenbo was shot with a single Canon XA10, the sound was done on a boom mic and it was shot under a make-shift spot lamp with a dark blue lighting gel. It was also edited in Premiere Pro. My experimental multi-screen film will be shot with a Canon XA10, using the built in mic and shot under studio lighting. There will be almost no editing as I am hoping the shoot can be played in raw cut.

Unit Four: Art & Design Evaluation and Reflection.

My evaluation process starts with a small review of the finished project and then continues to a short paragraph of how I got there. I then critique the project, say what is good or bad and then write about what can be improved. I conclude with writing what I have learned throughout the production process. I also keep diary updates to show what I have learned and to show how ideas develop. For example the Shisha Advertisement was updated after every production meeting to show development of ideas, experiments and further research. This helps me keep up to date on where the production is at and reminds me what I have learned.

Specialism

I personally haven’t really decided what I want to specialize in. At the minute I’m making experimental films to determine what I want to do and I’m quite enjoying it. If I could make experimental films professionally I would, but unfortunately you can’t really make a living doing so unless you’re extremely lucky. I enjoy making different things, whether it’s studio work, surrealist work, experimental or even documentary. I do like to write screenplays too, but if I write a film I want to be directly involved with the production.

Tutor Comment

I think overall I’m doing okay, I wouldn’t say I was doing brilliantly because I feel like I haven’t made enough work. Plus my work isn’t exactly industry standard. I have however learned quite a lot in the past few months, not only about film making, but about myself. I’m becoming inspired more often and having more ideas and I am starting to make more work. My research, I think is okay. It could be better and I could probably do more. I only tend to research what I need and then start pre-production almost instantly. So I think I should do my research thoroughly before I jump into the film making. I develop my ideas in a way that suits me and it works really well for me, so I don’t really think I can improve that. However I could certainly write about it more. My techniques are really dependent on the type of film I make, but I think I’m doing really well in this unit. I feel like I have a good use of initiative and I think my lighting in Hitori Kakurenbo proves that. Finally my evaluation and reflection, I feel is poor. I really haven’t wrote enough and I have only just realized this when scrolling through my blog. I can improve on this, but I feel this is my biggest downfall. Overall I am doing okay, but there is a lot of room for drastic improvement. I feel like I am fully engaged in the course, however I’m not organizing myself properly and I feel like I am prioritizing the wrong things first. I think my current grade is Pass.

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Hitori Kakurenbo – The Edit

Editing Hitori Kakurenbo wasn’t exactly easy. It was quite stressful because I had a lot of footage to sit through. After reshooting most of the scenes, especially the bathroom scenes I had over 180 clips. I guess its better to have too much than too little. Well, I had to sit and watch all the clips while picking out the best ones. A lot of them had major issues with the continuity between the lighting and then some of them were re-takes due to my sister being excited.

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182 clips.

After going through all the clips, I chose the best ones and ordered them into a sequence. After doing this I hit a major problem. My film was far too long to meet the criteria, so I had to shorten it and that was not easy.  A lot of the vital parts had to be taken out as the film reached to almost double the time it was supposed to run. I started by cutting out the hallways scenes entirely and skipping straight to the bathroom scenes from the bedroom scenes. I then layered some of the clips on top of others as cutaways to save space and time. The beginning of the edit I used the sound of a ticking clock that I found online and cut to a montage on each tick. This gave the edit a smooth edit as it cuts to the beat of a ticking clock. For me I feel like it makes the video interesting quite early, engaging the audience. I then faded to a title sequence where eerie horror music plays to hopefully keep the audience engaged with the film.

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Here you can see the layered edit after completion.

The living room scenes, I had trouble editing. I wasn’t sure how to cut them together while keeping them short so I took up the same technique and layered the footage. I layered cutaways from the living room scene as Holly counts down giving one second for a cutaway and a second on the countdown scene. The living room scene was ordered in a sequence that would make sense to the audience. Obviously a lot from this scene had to be cut to meet the criteria too and I feel like I had to cut some important scenes such as; the television flickering to different channels, hiding and the crying scenes. These for me are vital scenes.

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This is what the final edit looks like.

I then felt like I had to credit my sister as she did a good job at her first time acting in a film, so I made a title sequence. The title sequence was extremely easy to make. I inserted text, animated it to roll and edited the speed and duration. Easy stuff. I then searched for ‘royalty free horror music’ and found a track that I felt would work well with my title sequence. I had to cut it at a point where it could fade out. I couldn’t find anything so I cut it at a note and edited it in Adobe Audition, added reverb and an echo to sustain it.

My edit for me went quite well and I am proud of the edit, however there is always room for improvement. I feel like Hitori Kakurenbo is unfinished due to the cuts. So I think I’m going to make a longer version to develop it further. However since my interest in multi film video art, after this experimental film is finished it will be pushed under the rug as I’m looking forward to experiment with multiple screen art installations.

Hitori Kakurenbo – The Shoot

Hitori Kakurenbo took roughly two evenings to shoot and it wasn’t easy. I had previously played around with lighting and lighting gels to experiment with the look that I wanted. The first problem I encountered was that it wasn’t so easy to shoot without the correct lighting equipment. I lit my scenes with an office desk lamp and a blue lighting gel which had been attached using a small piece of string tied around the base. Most of my walls are white so I used the white walls as reflectors. I really had to fiddle with the light for quite a long time to get the look that I wanted, sometimes it was too dark and other times it was too red. Especially the bedroom scenes as the walls are pink, which gave the lighting a gloomy pink colour. I kind of liked it though, it set the scene as a girls bedroom. The audience see pink and think, ‘this is a girls room.’ However that wasn’t the only thing I had to do. My actress is a lot older than I wanted her to seem. I wanted to knock at least four years of her age for this production. so I had a dig around her room and around the house and found some of her old toys. I then re-arranged her room to make her seem younger. I feel like this worked. My sister is twelve years old and by the look of her room after I was finished, she was either extremely immature for her age or she was between six and eight years old. Not long after the room transformation, it was time to get the tapes rolling. Well, SD card rolling. Digital media is taking over.

It was quite difficult to work with my sister as it was the first film she had starred in, she was far too excited and I had to shout at her quite a few times to make her stop grinning. The first few scenes went quite well and Holly did quite a good job, but then I had to move the light and fiddle with it again. It was quite stressful as the continuity was extremely difficult to match in terms of lighting. It took a while but I feel like I got there. After the bedroom scenes it was time to shoot in the hallway, I found it difficult to get the lighting right as the walls (or reflectors) in the hallway were different colours. So the hallways scene gave off a blue glow instead of a pink glow. I wasn’t a huge fan of the change but unless I wanted to paint the walls pink, there was nothing I could really do. So I continued. The hallways scenes went okay, I feel like they could have been better due to the lighting, but I am quite happy with it.

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Here you can see the difference between the lighting in the hallway (left) and the bedroom (right).

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You can see it a little better here.

The bathroom scenes were a lot easier because the room was lit using the light bulb on the ceiling. so I didn’t have to mess around with it. Holly did extremely well in the bathroom scenes, but I wasn’t happy with some of the footage so I decided to call it a night and continue the next day. I wanted to shoot the whole thing in one evening but there was a problem with shooting the living room scenes.

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The day I come home with a camera, decorating.

 The next day I continued with the shoot. I first re-shot all the bathroom scenes and managed to get what I wanted. Then I could finally move to the living room scenes. I started with a few montage shots of photos and of the clock, and then I shot the television and left it on record while I played with Youtube on the Television and found some static.

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Static is scary! Poltergeist.

I had to bring out the lamp for the living room scenes and by now you probably know how I feel about that damn light. Such a ball ache to set up and mess around with. However, like always I eventually got there and finished the shoot. Overall the shoot was stressful, but it felt good to have finished something. And to have actually started to make some film.

Playing With Lights

Today I used the Canon EOS 700D which I booked out to take pictures of lighting tests. I absolutely fell in love with this camera, the quality is incredible, however my photography skills are not. I think over all this experiment went really well. I used a dark blue lighting gel and wrapped it around an office lamp. It was just some makeshift lighting equipment, but it seemed to do the job quite well after I fiddled with it a bit. These are the photographs from the lighting test shoot. Or some of them at least.

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