Channel Project: Filming

The past week we have been filming for our project. One of the first things we filmed was a scene where “Centaurions” are discussing why they moved to the planet.

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It was filmed in one of our project member’s kitchen, which was quite challenging as during sound recording I realised there was quite a large body of background noise coming from a fridge or a fan. Another problem is that out of shot there was a large window and during the time we were filming the sun was setting, so the light levels and colour balance throughout the shots became quite uneven. Hopefully these things can be resolved somewhat during post production.

The black clothing and makeup is to give the actors a cultish look. Overall I find it quite effective, however personally I feel the make up could have been more standardized throughout the actors in order to make it more aesthetically legible for the viewer and to give sense of it being a “brand”. It is also not mentioned in the script which could be problematic for some veiwers.

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The end shot for this advert is a group shot, which is kind of kitsch admittedly, but it is a good visual shorthand for the type of company that would have these shots in their promotional material which we are trying to emulate.

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The outdoor scenes in a way also proved quite challenging. By the time it was light enough to film (around 8 am) the town was allready getting quite busy. Thankfully we got some nice shots, though as I thought the ‘Earth’ doesn’t look as derelict as I imagined it would. The best we could come up with was this shot of some bins and a lock in the rain, though it is quite non-figurative in nature. We made the shot more interesting by slowly pulling into focus the lock, but I feel this shot still would have been more effective if the background was just a bare alley as the bins become too much of a focal point.

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As discussed before the weather dictated our filming schedule and a spate of very rainy and windy weather delayed the shooting. Thankfully Luke Monet was able to get some useable footage in the rare moments of sunshine despite the poor weather.

However there were a few shots that we were unable to get that we had discussed. These adverts also do not have clear storyboards drafted for them, so being able to edit these videos might prove difficult.

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Some of the most effective shots are of the wooded areas, hopefully we can use them in a way to symbollically represent the purity of the new planet in a way that would be clear for the audience to understand.

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Footage of the sky could also be used to this effect. We have some long still shots so we could speed them up to make time-lapse footage that would give a nice effect that is often used in travel advertisements.

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We also have shots of some houses. Although these are more modern, I think I prefer the idea we had in location scouting about using beach huts. They are much more uniform and cult-like and could give quite a sinister underlying tone to the films , which is our intention as Alpha Centauri is meant to be based on ‘model villages’.

A real-life example of these model communities would be Bournville, a town built in Birmingham for the workers of the Cadbury’s factory or the town of Celebration in Florida founded by Walt Disney. These communities, although they are often managed to a high degree due to the company “owning” the housing and most amenities, can also have what is described as a “creepy” feeling. This could be due to the paternalism can occur, where company owners often dictate aspects of the life of their residents, such as in Celebration where lawns must be cut to a certain height at all times. “Middle-class” and  “capitalist” were two recurring themes I found.

From studying these communities motifs I could use in the visual aesthetics and sound design, is a uniformity in design and a lack of complexity. This could be applied to later editing and sound design by using footage with quite long shots and pans with little movement of objects within the frame, giving a calm feeling to the work and a lack of visual complexity. To match, the music could be quite simple using little variation of pitch in the melody and use of sustained chords.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bournville

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebration,_Florida

Channel Project: Filming Plans

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At the start of this new idea we discussed filming in locations such as Brownsea Island and the New Forest. However these initial filming plans were proving quite ambitous. Representatives from Brownsea Island have yet to get back to me and although taking a train to the New Forest would be feasible, none of us are familiar with the area and would know good places to shoot footage. We are also experiencing some issues with availability within the group which is making scheduling fairly difficult. However I have been able to come up with a filming timetable based on the locations that were scouted earlier in the project.

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One thing that might impede our filming is the weather. As most of our shots are based around exterior locations bad weather could make it very difficult to get some useable shots, especially for the sunny Earth scenes. Hopefully as the weather has been good throughout location scouting it will remain so during filming.

As an inspiration for a film we decided to look at travel videos from other real-life companies.

This Discover Ireland add has a great way of showing you the landscape. Of course we couldn’t fly helicoters to get those panoramic shots but we could easily do panning shots of the cliffside.

Emulating the feel of this video of an abandoned themepark would be a good place to start for the Earth scenes. The shots in this video are mainly still shots and pans, but the music really adds to the effect as well as the lighting conditions.

This ad also emphasizes the use of music to build tension and create a mood within a film. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to use similar footage of aircraft to their advert, however we could use found footage to similar effect.

TourismIreland., 2007. Discouver Ireland Long Version. [video, online] Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvaIO9Gb7Jg. [Acessed 24.01.2014]

British Airways., 2013. British Airways Advert 2013: Today. Tomorrow. [video, online] Retrieved from:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1M0pbxNUF8 . [Acessed 24.01.2014]

hush hushvideo., 2013. Nara Dreamland: Abandoned Themepark [video, online] Retrieved from:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amCZA877cnY . [Acessed 24.01.2014]

Channel Project: Voiceovers

Today we recorded the voiceover parts for our project. Thankfully one of the soundproof booths for the radio students in University were available for us to use so we had little problems with ambient sound. However this also produced quite a ‘sterile’ sound environment with little to no echo or reverb which can give a clipped and unnatural quality to the sound.

We recorded the voiceovers several different times, with several different people, however Suzie’s and Luke’s were the only recordings which were useable. They acted very well, however there were some problems with the voiceovers sounding a bit rushed, perhaps because people were nervous acting in front of others, but hopefully this can be fixed in post production by adding pauses to the speech and slowing it down slightly.

Here’s a video of the raw recordings:

Developing Arguments: Guided Independent Study Week 3

What do you think Bourriard means by the term ‘postproduction?’

I think Bourriard envisions post production as being the proceess in which an artist finds material from works already in the cultural market and appropriate them for their own use. It the artist remixing and re-exhibiting works made by others.

How, if at all, does David Carson fit into Bourriauds idea of a ‘Semionaut’?

A semionaut is someone who mixes media together to create a new whole. He creates a “path”  throught the work of others. by imaging the links through sperate pieces of work. David Carson fits this idea through his work as he often uses found type and images, such as those from magazine letterheads.

Find an example of a film, a game or other media artefact that you would consider ‘Postproduction’ and describe how it fits that definition.

In some cases the game Minecraft could be considered post production. In Minecraft you start out in a ‘blank’ world. Users then build things, such as buildings or statues, which they then post online. Players may then download those worlds and build on top of them, post producing the artifact. This is exemplified in multiplayer and modded versions of the game, where building over another’s creation can be done much faster.

Channel Project: Script

As we were having problems writing a script and finalize it ready for recording voiceovers and filming, I decided to get some books out from the library to help our group understand the problem better.

One of these was Scriptwriting for Dummies by Laura Schellhardt. As we are all mostly novices to writing for film this book has a lot of helpful information on a broad range of topics to do with scriptwriting.It was particularly helpful in providing a style guide for formatting scripts as well as the information that should be contained in the stage directions.

Although by now quite dated, Basic Film Technique by Ken Daley provides a wider insight into the whole film production process and was useful in helping to plan how filming of the script would work on location, and how to set up shots regerding lighting and composition.

Setting Up Your Shots by Jeremy Vineyard goes into more detail on this with multiple examples of storyboarding which were very useful in explaining for different moods and effects are translated using film as a medium.

After reading these books, I theorize that the main problems we are having is that the narration feels quite stilted at points. We are also finding it hard to convey all the ideas and themes we brainstormed into the film. We are also having problems with matching the script with footage that would be feasible to film. For example one of our ‘adverts’ is mainly to do with space travel and colonizing a new planet, however this would be hard to convey non metaphorically without the use of special effects or animation.

Schellhardt, L., 2008, Screenwriting For Dummies. New York : Wiley

Daley, K 1980, Basic Film Technique. London : Focal

Vineyard, J 2008, Setting Up Your Shots : Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know. Studio City, Calif: Michael Wiese

Channel Project: Location Hunting

One of the main things we would need for our episodes would be footage of a variety of locations, both picturesque and derelict, for footage of Alpha Centuri and Earth respectively.

The director/editor and I went on a walk in the Bournemouth area to find suitable locations for filming.

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These are photographs taken from a Tropical Garden. The ecclectic mix of native and exotic fauna help make this location feel out of this world. However the fences do obscure the shot a bit so it would be best for close ups.

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This is one of the most picturesque locations we found on the shoot. Although it is quite hard to get to we both agreed that the effort was well worth it as we could get some beautiful shots during filming.

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We also found these beach huts. Although they don’t look very futuristic, they do look eerily similar and quite cultish. However they aren’t as modern looking as we had planned in the script.

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Houses like this were more along the lines of what we were thinking of. In Sandbanks there are lots of developments like this so hopefully we can get some good shots.

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Finding locations for the scenes of Earth is going to prove more difficult as Bournemouth has little areas of deprivation. However, we did find this overgrown parking lot, perhaps we could zoom into the leaves and rubble to make it look like a deserted landscape?

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Another area which might be a good candidate for the scenes of Earth would be the underpasses in the town centre. However they are usually really busy so we would have to film either late at night or very early in the morning. Early morning would be a better choice as there are not very many daylight hours this time of year.

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A good contrast to these shots would be scenes of wide open spaces and bodies of water. Although Bournemouth has many good location candidates for these types of shots, there is a rule that we aren’t allowed to film on the beach so we mist be careful on where we take our cameras.

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These shots of the Overcliff wwould be good as a type of establishing shot. However we need to do some clever editing or camera work to make the vista look as if it has two suns.

Channel Project: Change of Idea

We had been having some problems with group cohesion and our working practises probably influenced this alot. At the moment the way we were working was very unstructed. This would be fine if we had a circular development cycle (see below for an example, the whirlpool method).

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However the way we were working was also very linear and to a strict deadline. Consequently the pre production process was being cut very short, leading to a weakness in the strength of the idea and refinement of things like the script and production planning.

Some group members shared my concerns and also raised the point that the idea was very complex. It would have involved a lot of intensive acting and scriptwork as it was a comedy. Filming in lots of locations (as teleporting would take the protagonist to a variety of places) was also a key part of the idea which would have been very difficult given the short timeframe.

After much deliberation we decided to change the idea.

Now the idea is that we are a company that owns a planet, Alpha Centauri. The Earth is becoming disused as a habitable planet and so we are relasing a series of adverts to encourage people to move here instead.

Again I kept copies of notes from the meeting to update everybody on the idea change and keep a record of what was said.

Meeting Notes 2

I also decided to produce a gantt sheet so that this time the production process would be more structured.

Channel Project Gantt Sheet

I also produced a more detailed timetable for next week as ideally I would like some sound recording (mainly the voiceovers) to be done.

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I am much more hopeful for this idea as it fits the brief far better as we have a clear company to brand and design for. It also gives more scope in terms of ideas.

One theme that was interesting in the last idea which could be applied to the new idea was the theme of kitsch and how it could be used to formulate a futuristic world. As described by Walter Benjamin (1925) in his discussion of kitsch and surrealism, current work can find meaning though looking back to ideas and objects from the past, even those that seem quite minor or of quite “lowbrow” sentiment. This is shown in his deconstruction architecture (which would have clear linkages to set design) the objects that inhabit the building (such as a set of hairdressing chairs in a barber’s) are of the same importance to as the structual qualities (such as the entranceway to that barbers).

An obvious way to show this in our work would be through use of costume, makeup and set design. Audio would also be an area where the future could be imagined through our past lens of the future. Certain objects (such as  a ray gun or the sound of synth machines) have for many years become a cultural shorthand for the future and I feel using these would help thematically develop our film a great deal.

Benjamin, A., & Rice, C., 2009. Walter Benjamin and the Architecture of Modernity. Melbourne: Re.press