Assignment Two: Photo Film (Moving Image)

BRIEF:

Brief 1

Brief 2

PROPOSAL:

As you saw from my given brief, I am to create a 3-5 minute moving image, or photo film, which examines and challenges the idea of representations. The brief then gave me four themes that I had to try and stick to when it came to the overall production of my narrative. Just as a reminder, they were:

  • A successful or small business
  • Personal hobbies – the need for a balanced work life
  • An inspirational person
  • A personal obsession

After looking at these four themes, I have to confess that I struggled to come up with an idea. I was quickly getting frustrated with the fact that I was struggling to begin this project by limiting myself to ‘thinking inside the box’. To overcome this I decided to ‘forget’ about the themes and just think about something that I would enjoy filming. It took me a couple of days, but after thinking about the films that I had viewed in my “Stills Photography and Moving Image” lecture, and having a couple of ideas flying around (a documentary on the Coventry City Handball Club, or a documentary on the student life at university), I finally managed to pinpoint the idea that I wanted to take further: University: The Students Diary.

This short photo film is going to be a documentary outlining the stereotypical and counter-stereotypical areas of the greatly overrepresented scapegoats that are university students, and their lifestyle. I will show this through a variety of different interviews and personal stories in which I will visually narrate with a couple of artistic and creative moving images. This idea would come under the “Personal hobbies – the need for a balanced work life” theme as, by filming an average student lifestyle, I will be able to represent a variety of different hobbies, activities, and work ethics that aren’t associated with what the media tends to portray.

Now that I have come up with my main idea, I propose on completing a variety of steps before I even begin to film. These will include researching a variety of different documentary videos for inspiration on technique and creativity, including looking at some in depth, before attempting to create a simple storyboard (consisting of types of shots) and a script.

RESEARCH:

As you saw from my Proposal, I have decided to create a short documentary film about the University lifestyle through the use of personal opinions and stories that are shown through numerous interviews and images. After coming up with this idea, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit a couple of the videos from the “Stills Photography and Moving Image” lecture, and to find some more through my independent learning. This would enable me to look at the variety of different artistic and technical skills that are portrayed in these videos, which I will then use as inspiration for my final moving image, before I create a simple storyboard.

After viewing 13 completely different moving images, all created by different people that are at a dissimilar technical and creative level, I then decided that I would highlight the ones that I, personally, thought were the best and related to my theme and style the most. When I say the best, I mean that they were either technically appealing (in the sense of the use of time-lapse, depth of field, camera technique, etc.), and/or incredibly individual and original in an artistic sense.

On the next page are links of the videos that I looked at, just so that I can have easy access to them when necessary. I now plan on watching each of my favourite moving images again, and taking simple notes that could be useful when it comes to creating my storyboard and filming.

La Jeteehttp://mcaman.wrzuta.pl/film/7Y0c3iofXvq/la_jetee_1962_english_subs

New York Times: One in a Millionhttp://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/index.html#/marc_tremitiere

Duckrabbithttp://duckrabbit.info/2011/04/innocence-2/

Guardianhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/multimedia

Phillip Bloomhttp://vimeo.com/23413966

http://mediastorm.com/publication/rite-of-passage

Between birds (English subtitles)http://vimeo.com/40349082

Cinemagraphshttp://cinemagraphs.com

Wait for Mehttp://vimeo.com/3013863

Sony World Photography Moving Image Awards: On the Linehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturevideo/filmvideo/8476579/Sony-World-Photography-Moving-Image-Awards-On-the-Line.html

Last Minutes with ODENhttp://vimeo.com/8191217

The Art of Making, Alma Flamencahttp://vimeo.com/43005056

The Inverted Bike Shophttp://vimeo.com/36258512

Burning Man: Rites Of Passage – Dayhttp://vimeo.com/31687016

“BETWEEN BIRDS” (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) – VIDEO ONE:

Between Birds Screen

Only watched the first five minutes due to the fact that I have to create a 3-5minute moving image/photo film.

  • http://vimeo.com/40349082
  • Vimeo
  • 19:42 minutes
  • First 10 seconds – blank, black background
  • Establishing shot
  • Long shot
  • Cuts between each shot
  • No audio for approximately first 50 seconds
  • Title:
    • Black
    • Simple
    • Fade in
    • Negative space (sky) as background
    • Centered
    • In top thirds
  • Blackout when audio starts
  • Diegetic sound – is the actual sound shown on screen
  • Names of each birdwatcher – same text as title
  • Long shot of birdwatcher
  • Interview:
    • Close-up
    • Shallow depth of field
    • Every interviewee is placed towards the right thirds
    • Mid-shot
    • Audio of interview is often placed over the shot before hand (non-diegetic sound)
    • People sometimes look at the camera
    • Shows the interview area with a long shot at least once per person
    • Tripod used
    • 3 interviews in 5 minutes
  • Subtitles
  • Varies from in focus to out of focus – quick and deliberate
  • Fade into black when change in events – e.g. long shot – interview – activity
  • Panning shots

How does it end? – I decided to look at the last minute of this moving image to research how I could end my own production and what to include in the credits.

  • Ends with deep and meaningful answer
  • Fades into black
  • Returns back to the first long shot that was used
  • Uses a simple shot for credits (birds flying in the background)
  • Credits:
    • A film by
    • Subtitles
    • Thank you
    • With support from
    • University name
    • Year (Bigger Font)

“WAIT FOR ME” (3 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY) – VIDEO TWO:

Wait For Me Screen

  • http://vimeo.com/3013863
  • Vimeo
  • 3:22 minutes
  • Vimeo Staff Pick
  • No establishing shot
  • Red Light Film Presents
  • Extreme close-up of woman opening a chest
  • Title:
    • Black background
    • Centre of the screen
    • Bronze colour
    • Same font as “Red Light Film Presents
    • Audio starts when title is on the screen (non-diegetic sound)
  • Starts telling a story:
    • Audio is what links the next shot – e.g. “A handsome child”, cuts to photo of child
  • Extreme close-ups:
    • Focuses on one feature
    • E.g. eyes, hands, letter, etc.
    • Makes it very intimate and personal
    • Reflects the narrative
    • Audience empathize with the woman more
  • Cuts to old footage of child playing
  • Music played in the background throughout
  • Close-up, pans of letters – fades into other close-up, pans of letters
  • Cuts to bronze screen – same colour as text
  • Fades into moving image of boy
  • Interview:
    • Plain black background (therefore no use of shallow depth of field)
    • Woman situated in the left thirds
    • Camera on tripod
  • Information shown about missing person
    • Same font
    • Negative space to surround important information – no distractions
  • Cuts to credits:
    • A film by
    • Edited by
    • Produced by
    • In association with
    • Music by
    • Special thanks to
    • Website address

SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY MOVING IMAGE AWARDS: “ON THE LINE” – VIDEO THREE:

On The Line Screen

  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturevideo/filmvideo/8476579/Sony-World-Photography-Moving-Image-Awards-On-the-Line.html
  • Telegraph
  • 2:59 minutes
  • Consists of only photographs
  • Starts with a black screen
  • Audio starts straight away – ringing phone
  • Title
    • Fades in after 2 seconds
    • Plain white text
    • Simple
    • Centre
  • Fades between each photo
  • First photo is the establishing shot – corridor
  • Approximately 5 seconds per photograph
  • Shallow depth of field – focal point (usually the person) stands out, background and foreground cannot be seen as a distraction
  • Voice-overs
    • Shows the viewer the phone call from the hotlines point of view
    • Never hear the veteran on the other end
    • Allows the viewer to create their own narrative
  • About 4 different voices
  • Jumps back and forth between conversations
  • Cuts to black
  • Fade in of text
    • Veteran Crisis Hotline 1-800-TALK”
  • Finishes with same audio as beginning

“LAST MINUTES WITH ODEN” – VIDEO FOUR

Last Mnutes with Oden Screen

  • http://vimeo.com/8191217
  • Vimeo
  • 6:15 minutes
  • Best Video Winner:
    • Best Video
    • Best Documentary
    • Community Choice
  • Fades in from black
  • Title:
    • Bottom left
    • Scrolls in from the left
    • Simple
    • Plain white text
    • Rather large
    • Can be covered by time control at bottom
  • Music plays throughout
  • Audio of interview plays over narrative shots:
    • No actual staged interviews
    • Naturalistic
  • Extreme close-up of:
    • Eyes
    • Hands
    • Mouth
    • Cigarette
  • Keeps in the emotional audio – i.e. man welling up – makes it more personal and real
  • Motif’s:
    • Bike
    • Cigarette
    • Rain – stereotypically used to represent sadness
  • The audience is unaware at the start of the moving image that the man is actually talking about a dog – still elicits enigma codes
  • Long shots
  • Tracking shots
  • Always uses a shallow depth of field
  • 1:07 minutes – first view of Oden
  • In focus then out of focus:
    • Deliberate
    • Creative
    • Artistic
  • 1:16 minutes:
    • A lot of my friends have stories about that dog.
    • Close-up of Oden’s (dogs) face
  • Includes conversation on phone that wasn’t recorded using the correct technical audio equipment – emphasizes reality
  • No actual interview set-up – only voice-overs
  • Shows true emotion
  • Music gets more dramatic to anchor the raw feeling that is being portrayed
  • Shows other peoples reactions to Oden – short clips but incredibly meaningful
  • Close-up of needle:
    • Shows that it is inevitable
    • Up until now, the audience thought there would be a ‘happy ending’
  • No use of tripod (apart from tracking shots on bike) – more realistic
  • After Oden is put down, cuts to cycling again
  • End shot:
    • Cycling
    • Goes completely out of focus
  • Credits:
    • Cuts to black screen
    • Credits fade in
    • Directed/edited by
    • Director of photography
    • A Phos Pictures Production
    • Website

“THE ART OF MAKING, ALMA FLAMENCA” – VIDEO FIVE:

Alma Flamenca Screen

  • http://vimeo.com/43005056
  • Vimeo
  • 3:22 minutes
  • Starts with spotlight of production company
  • No establishing shot
  • Theme:
    • Black background
    • Letters fade in individually – not in order
    • Audio of guitar starts – diegetic sounds
  • Close-ups
  • Extreme close-ups
  • Pans
  • Title:
    • After 30 seconds
    • Music becomes more upbeat when title comes on
    • Cream colour
    • Uses black negative space of the man’s back as the background
  • Text/lines:
    • Used to show narrative – rather than audio of interviews
    • Shows hours of work – indicates to the viewer just how long each individual task takes
    • Measurements
    • Angles
    • Materials
    • Enables the viewer to grasp the concept quickly – they are able to take in lots of information in a short period of time
  • Cuts between shots
  • Making of the guitar is accompanied by music that is made using the guitar
  • After completion of guitar:
    • A film by Deep Green Sea
    • Directed and VFX
    • Director of photography
    • Editing
    • Sound design
    • Special thanks to
    • Guitarist and composer
    • Guitar maker
    • Website
    • Copyright 2012

“THE INVERTED BIKE SHOP” – VIDEO SIX:

The Inverted Bike Shop Screen

  • http://vimeo.com/36258512
  • Vimeo
  • 5:14 minutes
  • Vimeo Staff Pick
  • Fades in from black
  • Establishing shot – blurred around edges
  • Location shown in bottom left corner:
    • White cartoon-like text
    • Looks like it has been hand-written
  • Panning shot of bike shop
  • Cuts to three photos of different places in bike shop
  • Long shots of owner – he is always situated towards the right third
  • No interviews, just voice-overs:
    • Relates to the shots and the narrative
    • Only one person talking
    • One man’s story
  • Close-ups
  • Shallow depth of field
  • Out of focus to in focus:
    • Deliberate
    • Artistic
    • Creative
  • Slight movement in all shots apart from stills
  • Very creative and photographic shots
  • Shows process of bike making
  • Soft music played all the way through – occasional pauses in voice-over to hear music
  • Every minute or so, the moving image swaps to stills
  • Shows names of staff that are seen on the film:
    • Same text
    • Negative space as background
    • Staff tend to be shown towards the left thirds
  • Credits:
    • Address and information fade in
    • Presented by
    • Filmed and edited by
    • Many thanks to
    • Website zooms out then fades
    • The end

INITIAL PLANNING:

After watching the six different short movies and taking some brief notes, I was planning on jumping straight into the storyboard. After some careful thought, I decided that it would be a good idea if I made a very short initial plan that was influenced by the six videos. This plan will include a list of potential interviewee’s, themes to talk about, locations, and so on. After I have completed this and the simple storyboard that I plan on doing next, I will then create a more complex and definite time plan.

Interviewee’s:

  • Oli Dowling
  • Grace Child
  • Lucy Bartlett

Themes to Talk About:

  • Oli
    • Accommodation
    • Sports
  • Grace
    • Night Life
    • Home
  • Lucy
    • Finance – £9000
    • Lectures/Seminars – Hours

Locations:

  • Interviewee’s rooms x 3
  • Coventry Community Sports Centre Hall – will need to receive permission
  • Hub
  • Communal Area in Trinity Accommodation
  • Outside of Trinity and Singer Accommodation
  • Facilities in Trinity Accommodation – e.g. Launderette, Reception – will need to receive permission
  • Sainsbury’s – will need to receive permission
  • Media Loan Shop – will need to receive permission
  • Lecture Hall/Seminar Group – Ellen Terry – will need to plan and receive permission
  • Outside of Hush (Night Club) – may be worth getting in contact with the club, just in case
  • Outside (in general)

PLAN OF STORYBOARD:

Plan for Storyboard 1

Plan for Storyboard 2

Plan for Storyboard 3

STORYBOARD:

Storyboard 1

Storyboard 2

Storyboard 3

Storyboard 4

Storyboard 5

Storyboard 6

SHOW REEL:

https://vimeo.com/59481692

Password: assignmenttwoshowreel

Before we began making our final films, we were asked to produce a small show reel with some of our footage that we already had. This was to prove that we could use the filming equipment correctly and were able to understand the technicalities of the Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 editing software.

I then posted this video on Vimeo and asked my course mates to tell me their opinion and asked for feedback that would be helpful. Below are the comments that were made and who they were made by:

Siyana Kasabova:

“I like it but I think that the background in the first scene when Lucy is talking is… Strange. I’d prefer a clear background because all the cans and wipes and stuff on the desk are pretty distracting.”

Emilie Taylor:

“See I like the background like that as it’s like a natural environment and showing more personality within the surroundings.”

Jenny Stonely:

“Really liked it. Amazing. Please teach me! It went together really well.”

DRAFT ONE:

https://vimeo.com/60068048

Password: assignmenttwodraftone

After creating my show reel and receiving feedback, my next stage was to make my first draft of my moving image. This draft was then shown to my course mates who welcomed it with technical and creative constructive criticism, which will be used to influence my final editing stage. This will enable me to put forward a second, stronger draft for review over the next week and will, hopefully, receive no additional suggestions of change.

Below are the notes that I made during the feedback session along with how I plan to change my moving image to make it a more professional looking piece.

Video Feedback:

  • Audio levels at the start of the film are a bit varied – change them to a constant level
  • Bump up the volume of the background track – especially at the beginning
  • Technique of hearing the people before we see them
    • Confusion – different people shown in footage to the voice; perhaps use blander footage rather than person oriented footage
  • Fade to black at end
  • Few clips didn’t work as well together – only about 20%
  • Music went well
    • Cuts out awkward silences
    • Sets the correct tone
    • Review the changes next week

FINAL FILM REVIEWS:

University: The Students Diary from Holly Constantine on Vimeo.

After I had shown my first draft of my film to my course mates for critique, my final stage was to edit this draft with the suggestions that they made in order to finalize my moving image. With all of the changes made, I then presented it to my seminar group and ask for additional feedback or reviews on this piece of work.

The overall reviews were very positive (as you can see from the quotes below), and they only came back with one change to be made. This was to increase the audio levels of my interviewee’s so that they “weren’t fighting against the music”. As soon as this seminar had finished, I corrected the suggested change and my video was finally complete.

My next stage of the post-production process is to critically reflect upon my moving image; this can be found on the following tow pages.

Reviews:

Charli Nichole-Collins:

“Your film was really good with really smooth transitions. The volume of the narrative and backing track seemed to clash a little but other than that it was really professional!”

Deana Chantler:

“The use of extra clips between interviews was a nice touch and kept the viewer interested, it allowed the narrative to move away from the people being interviewed so that they weren’t shown too much. The only problem I had was that it was hard to hear parts of these interviews due to the low volume of one of the subjects. However, when I saw it as a large projection it was clearer. Overall I enjoyed watching the video and found it interesting to view and hear!”

Becky Woodall:

“The music in the background linked to the content as it is a recent track however the instrumental version meant that the lyrics didn’t take away from the speech in the interviews. The transitions were good and the scenes were planned effectively to move between clips without confusing the viewer. The narrative was easy to follow so the viewer could concentrate entirely on what the subjects in the film were saying. This project has come together to be a clean, effective photo-film that clearly identifies the concept she wanted to create.”

Lucy Bartlett:

“The transitions between each of the shots flow accurately and the use of music in the background is well suited to the tone that the video is conveying. The video is technically well constructed and it is evident that each section was considered, drafted and planned in great detail in pre-production.”

Emma Hall:

The Video was well planned and moved from one shot to the next with ease. Transitions were smooth and the choice of music complemented the theme of the documentary well. It was evident that Holly approached this task with a clear vision of what she wanted to achieve and the final outcome is testament to this.”

Caroline Molloy:

This is a much better cut from your previous draft. The transitions within this film are a lot smoother and it feels like a more comprehensive piece.”

CRITICAL REFLECTION DRAFT ONE:

After completing my moving image and receiving good reviews from my peers, the next logical step was to critically reflect upon my work. Within this critical reflection, I will discuss my purpose for this piece of work, followed by any underlying points I wanted to make, along with what I have learnt creating this production, and finally, if there is anything that I would do differently next time.

The automatic response to “Why are you making this film?” from a student tends to be “because I was told to,” or “it will allow me to receive 25% of my overall mark for this module.” Now, although I was given a brief to follow, and my mark will go towards 25% of my module, these are not the only reasons why I created this moving image. When I came to university, I was overwhelmed by the mass change in what seemed to be in every aspect of my life. I felt scared, lonely, excited, nervous, ecstatic, all at the same time. Nobody handles change well, and every so often you just need that reassuring feeling that you’re not the only one. That’s why I created this film. I wanted to produce a documentary about the student life, through the eyes of first year students, which could be used by new undergraduates as a calming, supportive tool. I am also a student that is dissatisfied with the constant use of students as Scapegoats within the media industry. Along with many others, I feel that the media’s representation of our age group is unnecessary and imbalanced. I wanted to create this film to challenge the stereotypical representations (including concepts such as drinking, carelessness, and even severe ideologies such as drug misuse) that we constantly have to struggle against. This also relates to my brief as it states that we should create a production that “examines and challenges ideas of representation.”

With my generation being categorized as ‘Digital Natives’, we are able to search, find, and share information through our linked digital devices, which have enabled us to view the bias opinions of the media in a variety of different locations. We are surrounded by the unjust stereotypes that have been injected into the minds of the older audiences and are therefore in constant conflict with preserving the reality behind student’s aura. Within my production, I wanted to share the truthful opinions and lifestyles adopted by my three student subjects, by showing their honest views on the university domain, in order to challenge the current student archetype.

This has been achieved throughout my moving image through the common use of interviews followed by the way that I interpreted their opinions in a narrative sense. I tried to steer clear of any underlying stereotypes by filming day-to-day activities of the student lifestyle, but was obviously unable to reject the social side of drinking, as it is a prominent aspect of the student experience. To contest the preconceived idea that students aren’t careful when it comes to drinking habits, one of my subjects addressed the fact that this was an inaccurate statement, followed by sharing her own opinions and sentiments towards the matter.

Producing this moving image has obviously enabled me to come away with new knowledge towards the idea of creative film constructing including the use of technical and communication skills. As I studied Media at A-levels, I was pretty well prepared for the process that I had to undergo when film making. This included the whole planning side of the method, incorporating the location scouting, storyboarding, and permission side of the pre-production. I did, however, learn how to use the video recording settings on the Canon 5D Mark ii (although I still shot with my personal Canon EOS 600D) and the Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 editing software. Along with the technical ability that I learnt, this project also allowed my communication and people skills to expand. I was able to learn how to professionally yet productively interact with my subjects, making them feel at ease and in a comfortable situation by relaxing them and creating small conversations allowing the trust to grow between us, as colleagues.

Another major aspect that I learnt was becoming more adaptable when plans didn’t go as well as expected, or when I received constructive criticism. As you may have noticed, my film is, in some cases, different to my storyboard that I created in pre-production. This was due to one of three main reasons: locations were out of reach due to the polite rejection of permission, plan’s were suddenly changed during filming, or ideas were given during my first drafts review. Instead of becoming stressed and panicking about these sudden changes, I simply re-scheduled and made quick decisions permitting me to use my time as effectively as possible.

The final stage of my critical reflection is the most obvious. Would I do anything differently if I were to do it again? Although I am very pleased with my outcome, and feel that it was more successful than I originally anticipated, there is, and always should be, something that a photographer would want to improve upon. In this case, I would consider using the Canon 5D Mark ii as this would create more cinematic footage which would automatically increase the standard of professionalism within my film. I would also experiment with zooming and panning techniques to create a more dynamic and energetic set of shots (but only if this fitted in with my creative narrative).

All in all, I feel that my first attempt of making a photo film within the boundaries of photography, rather than the route through the media industry, was very successful. I have greatly warmed to this type of photographic creativity and would not be surprised if I were to revisit this method of commerce at a later point in time.

FINAL CRITICAL REFLECTION:

I wanted to produce a documentary about student life, through the eyes of first year students, which could be used by new undergraduates as a supportive tool. I am also a student that is dissatisfied with the constant use of students as Scapegoats within the media industry. Along with many others, I feel that the media’s representation of our age group is imbalanced. I wanted to challenge the stereotypical representations (e.g. drinking, carelessness, and drug use) that we constantly have to struggle against. This relates to my brief as it states that we should create a production that “examines and challenges ideas of representation.”

With my generation being categorized as ‘Digital Natives’, we are able to search, find, and share information through our linked digital devices, which have enabled us to view the bias opinions of the media in different locations. We are surrounded by the unjust stereotypes that have been injected into the minds of the older audiences and are therefore in constant conflict with preserving the reality behind student’s aura. Within my production, I wanted to share the truthful opinions and lifestyles adopted by my three student subjects, showing their honest views on the university domain, in order to challenge the current student archetype.

This has been achieved throughout my moving image through the use of interviews and the way that I interpreted their opinions in a narrative sense. I tried to steer clear of any stereotypes by filming day-to-day activities, but was unable to reject the social side of drinking, as it is a prominent aspect of the student experience. To contest the preconceived idea that students aren’t careful when it comes to drinking, one of my subjects addressed this by sharing her own opinions and sentiments towards the matter.

Producing this moving image has enabled me to come away with new knowledge towards the idea of creative film construction, including the use of technical skills. I learnt how to use the video recording settings on the Canon 5D Mark ii (although I still shot with my personal Canon EOS 600D) and the Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 editing software. Along with the technical ability that I learnt, this project also allowed my communication and people skills to expand.

Another major aspect that I learnt was becoming more adaptable when plans didn’t go as well as expected, or when I received constructive criticism. My film is, in some cases, different to my storyboard that I created in pre-production. This was due to one of three main reasons: locations were out of reach due to the polite rejection of permission, plan’s were suddenly changed, or ideas were given during my first drafts review. Instead of becoming stressed and panicking about these sudden changes, I simply re-scheduled and made quick decisions permitting me to use my time as effectively as possible.

Although I am very pleased with my outcome, and feel that it was more successful than I originally anticipated, there are some things that I would want to improve upon. I would consider using the Canon 5D Mark ii as this would create more cinematic footage which would automatically increase the standard of professionalism within my film. I would also experiment with zooming and panning techniques to create a more dynamic and energetic set of shots.

I feel that my first attempt of making a photo film within the boundaries of photography was very successful. I have greatly warmed to this type of photographic creativity and would not be surprised if I were to revisit this method at a later point in time.