Well… What a year. I say year, from October til May. I found the Professional Experience module a delight. I think it should be worth more on your final grade. This is the stuff you want to do when you leave university and it has given me so much experience to add to my CV. I wouldn’t of thought a year ago that I would’ve produced a short film in Reykjavik and be looking forward to be filming UB40 at the end of the week.
I have learned so much. One thing I have definitely learned is that you have to grab things by the balls and really pull for anyone to take notice of you. It inspired me to go free lance and inspired me to start my own production company called Nous Invicta.
I fell back in love with editing. I have edited countless number of hours of the last few months. Going through all the footage and picking out the best buts to put in the right place is so painstaking and yet so rewarding. I’m proud of all the work I have done for my Professional Experience so far. Things I can look back on with pride knowing that I tried and that I will continue to try because I know I can get better.
Yes, I’ve been in arguments but ones where I listen to the other side not ones where I yell and not listen because I wanted to be given the chance to learn because maybe I wasn’t right on that occasion. I have jumped in the deep end and swam and I want to go to deeper waters because I know I can make it, I know I can get better and I know I can do something with this for the rest of my life. It made me realise that I love to produce and want to do it for a long time.
People skills: Telling people what to do in a way that they would do it happily is still something I struggle with after they’ve not done it after a few times of asking. Maybe I’m speaking to lost causes, people that don’t care about this degree or their future in media, but is something I strive to improve because it might not just be those few.
Organisation: The power to be organised is a fantastic power to have and is one that I have learned alot about over the last year or so. Being the producer of several productions has made me more organised that ever. Without it you can’t lead and you can’t be respected. Organisation and reliability goes hand in hand. If you are organised you are on time and you get things done and that gives me huge confidence. More than wearing nice underwear when going out on a Friday night.
I look forward to doing more in the next few weeks, months and years and make it part of my life.
So in February/March 2012 I went to Reykjavik as the producer of a film called OutDated. The film was shot so I think that means I made it as a producer.
We were there for 10days and I barely had anytime to myself. being the Producer my hands were full all the time with questions coming left right and centre and having to answer everyone amongst other things.
I had to have a plan of action for each day that we were there. Being the Producer I had to make sure everyone was doing their job and doing their job well. This was very hard to do. The director caused me huge amounts grief. It was a futile attempt at times to sort him out. The words, ‘My Production,’ uttered from his lips and that was on the second day of being there. I knew from that point it was going to be a huge effort to work with him. If it was the real world I would’ve sacked him but I couldn’t at first due to us being on a student trip. It took until the final day of shooting were I was given the power to remove him simply because he was annoying all of his superiors by becoming to self involved and not listening to what other people had to say. I could rant and rant about the director, but I shan’t. It’s plain to see that I was not happy with him even before by never being on time and not doing story boards after 3 months of badgering and even after he still thinks this is HIS and HIS alone.
Anyway, tried to perform as well as I could. Perhaps I was a little under prepared but I made sure I did the little things right no matter what. Things like arrange the meetings, have a plan and always, always be on time. Something I had to do to lead by example.
I also tried to keep everyone happy. This did not happen all the time, especially when I sacked Chris Hammond from directing, which he apologised for afterwards for his actions. On non-filming dates I had everyone doing something.
Things like going on a test shoot proved a huge bonus as if we didn’t when we were there then we would’ve failed simply because the director had no idea what he wanted apart from a couple of shots which I really don’t like.
Meeting the actors two days before the shoot proved to be a God send. This gave jus the director and myself time to go through the character bios and the script with any alterations they wanted so they were happy. I was very happy to change anything that was needed and tweaks were made but made for the good. Everyone was made for the better. It also gave us a chance to get to know each other better and I found both Alex and Vala (our Actors) to be lovely people and were a pleasure to work with.
So the shoot itself went ok. The interior shots were easy enough to shoot, not as much pressure, you’re inside and don’t have to worry about lighting and the weather as much. Exterior, well that was always going to fail us. Has luck would have it we shot the first day with the interior shot in the morning when it was clear blue skies. By the time it got to the afternoon and we needed ext. shots the weather had turned and a blizzard insued. This lead to us thinking on our feet. Hammond was in his own little world not listening to anyone trying to solve every question the world had given us. Anyway we decided to shoot the montage scene here as the weather didn’t matter too much. The decision was made for a lot of the crew to head back to the hotel and a few of us stayed back and quickly drive round town to various locations. Which in the end worked out alright apart from being stuck in the Concert Hall for over an hour with kids playing in an orchestra.
Post-Production. Well I still havn’t seen an edit. People seem to dissapear of the face of the Earth when I asked people for it. After two months of nothing from our editor Tom Hill, I sacked him. Which had no impact on the edit at all since he had not even started. I then gave it to Hammond to edit. Why? Simply because no one else would. I personally was too busy to edit it. But after another month of badgering he is still AWOL with only one rough cut which I personally think is massively under par.
What comes next?
Me wanting to produce. I thought it was hell at times but yet in Hindsight I did rather enjoy it. To say I produced that is something I like to be proud of no matter what it is. Could’ve OutDated run smoother? Hell, yes, but this was my first decent scaled film and I don’t think I did horribly bad and next time I do have the suspicion I shall be twice as prepared with doubled results.
Heres a spoof of what I did.
So after a successful acoustic night, I was left with the arduous task of editing over 2 and half hours of filming. This of course is multiplied by 3 as we had three cameras so in essence I had over 7 hours of footage to sift through to make to make every song look good, make sure the right camera shots were picked and even match up the colours of the camera to make them appear the same since we had lighting problems and the aperture was changed throughout and was left on different settings.
The audio was mixed by Alex Chance so a separate audio track was added and none of the audio from the cameras was used. This left me with having to line up every single performance with the audio three times. This proved to take an age. I went purely on the lip syncing, so I matched the mouth moving the the lyrics that were used. Doing this 78 (3 cameras x26 songs) times over took a huge amount of time as sometimes I could not match the audio up as it always seemed just a few frames out.
As you can tell from the picture after I lined up the audio I then had to start cutting up all the footage. Fades were added in places and cuts in others to make it look as good as I could get it. To get the first rough edit together took around two weeks. With an average of 45 minutes a song it would of taken around 18-20hours of editing.
With a rough cut done that was sent to Gabbie (the event organiser). She loved it but I could see when I watched it bak with her that I saw a few things that needed tweaking. I then went back and spent another 6 hours or so editing it together. This was then watched back in its entirety (which by this point managed to whittle down to 1hr49mins as there’s no need to have the parts in-between the songs) and then made some minor changes and was ready to export the final piece to DVD.
I was really happy with the results and received great feedback. This has lead to future filming events during May, which I really look forward to.
On April 2nd 2012 I went to film an acoustic night consisting of Performing Art Students at Coventry University. The acoustic night was shot in Coventry at the SU’s Square One.
Tom Neary – Camera 3
Thomas Barnes – Camera 1
Alex Chance – Sound
Dicken Richards – Camera 2
The day started at around 3pm when myself and Tom Neary went to Square one with 3 Sony Z5’s and 3 Tripods. Upon my arrival I had a chat with the Event Organiser Gabrielle Mir-Hosseini about what was going on and what we were going to do and film. Alex Chance was already there sorting out the sound for the evening which took along time to sort out. Myself and Tom then discussed where each camera would go and made sure that we would not be in the way of the audience and likewise them not being in our shots.
We had to move a few tables around so we could get in our prime spots in order to get the best shots of the performance. The biggest problem was where to stick Camera 2. The camera that would supply the shots directly in front of the performance. The best thing to do was to get some staging out, raise it up so it was about 5 foot off the ground and then put the camera on the staging.This made sure that the crowd wouldn’t get in the way and also that the sound desk was also in line with myself and the staging so also had to rise above that.
The lighting also proved to be a huge issue. The lighting had to be good for the show but also good for us to film in. A long time was spent on trail and error to sort out the best lighting. The main problem was that the lights that would be used were not spread wide enough to cover the whole stage. This would turn out to be a problem in filming. The problem was that the microphones had to be evenly spread but the light was different for each microphone spot and in one case the light only covered half of the space it should have. There was only so much that we could do so sorted it out the best we could.
The event was due to start at 8 and by 7 everything was set up and ready to go. Some performers managed to get a few run throughs which did help us in for the main show as well as them.
Thomas Barnes then joined us and went through everything that was going on, what I wanted from everyone etc. and got ourselves in position. What was wanted was to film it and then edit it like it was done as if it was a live tv show.
The show went on for around 3 hours with 26songs and here is a song from that evening edited and sounding amazing.
There was an photo exhibition for the second year photography students. I myself had work shown. I took it upon myself the film the event and the build up to it. In there everyday from Monday to Thursday looking to get the right shots to show the before and after like things as them putting up work and lighting the exhibition.
I worked on my own for this and tried to capture everyones work so it could be seen around the world and not just in an art exhibition.
Upon Completion of the video it was then uploaded to the PicBod website. by Jonathan Worth it has received good reviews for which I am happy although could’ve perhaps filmed a bit more of the art itself as I over shot some photos and undershot others, but heres the video.
On 29th March 2012, I felt that showing Spanish students at the Cathedral would look good as it shows all kinds of people go there.
I tried to arrange a crew but failed so took too it upon myself to go film. Just me and a Camera. It was a glorious day, one of the best days of the tear so far, which made it more perfect to shoot especially outside as it makes the whole place look brighter and better, rather than the doom n gloom of filming over the winter.
I thought that by going by myself it lead me to be more professional and had little distractions. The fact that it was a lovely sunny day also made going outside a wonder. I got some nice shots and shots that I really wanted which I felt were missing from other shoots.
After being let down by my editor I was left in the position that no one wanted to edit it together so was left with little choice but to edit it myself.
There was a Tower tour at Coventry Cathedral which I thought would be perfect for the promo video. I However was in Reykjavik at this time so I arranged a small group of people to go on my behalf. The Director didn’t seem bothered about doing it, but then again she never is or rarely replies. So I made our some one else the director for that day.
Also going on on the same day was an Easter tour where infant school children came and learned about easter and made easter cards which is always enjoyable for younger kids.
The footage that came back wasn’t too bad and very useable. We got footage of kids making easter cards colouring and children going around the cathedral up the tower and generally having fun.
On Wednesday 11th January 2012. Myself and Rees went to the Cathedral to film their Blitz tour. Our Director turned up over an hour late which didn’t make us look too professional. The met up at 9am and filmed until around 1pm then I uploaded and backed up the footage.
Upon the shoot we followed some students around on their tour. They had a mock up WWII school where they learned about Coventry during World War II and about the way of living in Britain during this time. They also had a tour around the Cathedral. This included the history of the Cathedral and how and why it came to be bombed on 14th November 1940. Footage from the war was also shown and they even had their own Anderson shelter which the kids got to experience. The shoot could’ve gone smoother if the director turned up on time and knew what was going on, the weather was also pretty bad that day so filming outside was kept to a minimum for fear of the camera breaking. Some camera shots were very shoddy. Extremely over and under exposed which left a lot of the footage un-useable with one particular shot which would’ve been perfect but because it was so over exposed can’t be used in the final promo video.
Today I went on the first real shoot for the school’s promotional film I am doing for Coventry Cathedral.
Today we shot to Christingle services one at 10am and just got added shots at 1pm for the second service which involved different performances from the pupils such as dancing.
We arrived at the cathedral around 9am. This was to have a talk with Emma (The head of Schools for the Cathedral) to get a better understanding of what we were filming. I also saw this as an opportunity to get the stain glass window that is on the east side as the colours look great in the morning as the sun is rising and thought this would be our best chance to get them as the sun rises quite late in December.
Chairs and staging were set up so we knew where to film. Also two giant Styrofoam oranges around 3ft in diameter were centred between the schools which added to the excitement for the children.
The children were primary school children from all around Coventry and each school had their own performance which was either singing, dancing or a mixture of both. It was quite a joyous occasion which was topped with Christian and Christmas songs by a man playing a guitar being accompanied by a piano.
We managed to film everything that was needed even the lady trying to rare up the pupils by dancing on a platform. I had fun and feel this project should be a good one to continue and should get a lot out of it.