Location Sound Part 2 : Timecoding & More

Today learnt more about timecodes and some professional methods to sync sounds and clips.

3 of them are:

. Clipper Board (traditional)
. Using timecode
. Sync Software (not 100% reliable if audio is too noisy)

Best is to use all three at same time. Apparently there are some devices that can broadcast timecode or record timecode from the camera to the rest so everything will be in same timecode, making synching extremely easy with the right software.

There are some new stuff that I learnt today of filmmaking world, that is timecode is really essential and also all equipment need to be able to have timecode so as to be considered professional equipments, otherwise it’s considered prosumer.

We get to try out using clipper boards and use the camera for a few takes, with each of us taking turns of different roles of sound and camera instead. Plenty of fun but also makes learning much easier with practical experiments XD

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Spider Dolly

Today we learnt how to use spider dolly and it’s usages in filmmaking.

Mainly:

1. Smooth camera movement
2. Follow action
3. Reveal, this is used normally to reveal something from the foreground or background when camera is moving to a new place all in one scene
4. Makes a shot more interesting compared to static shot
5. Track in & track out

I also learnt of speed of parallax, so if there are objects in the foreground, if camera moves, the same speed will perceive as faster compared to when theres no foreground objects.

Same goes for vertical parallax. Later, we are allowed to play and experiment some shots with it. I try to frame a shot while letting the camera being pulled on top of the rubber tracks. Pretty interesting 😀

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Creating Screen Fiction part 5 : Final Editing and Real Recording

Today is the recording day. I rush to the Mac Pro to finish up more versions of the green screen background and also the credits list from Holly’s name. The credit is done twice because the first one miss out our vision mixer by Petra.

There is some oversight that I did not expect when I was shooting the tunnel. It is the perspective, because instead of eye level, I shot it from lower angle looking up, causing the actors to look miniature and the background ‘people’ looks bigger than them when walking past. This is a really huge error that I should take note next time. Luckily, we could position the studio camera to shoot from same angle and it looks better.

Thanks to the 4K footage downgraded to 1080p, it looks sharper than a normal 1080p footage, almost making it like a still but with some subtle movements like the water ripple which really makes it look organic and damp. It brings out the intended mood.

The shoot went off well, though with some errors from the vision mixer, sound problems and also the cameraman forgetting where to position it. Overall, I must say with the amount of time given, we did pretty well, our actors did better than I expected and the jokes and changes to the script is actually hilarious.

However I think I could do much better. One last thing is that the green screen is screwed up a bit at the end when it actually shows some cables and the floor, which really destroy the ambience all of a sudden. Something to take note of again next time.

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Creating Screen Fiction part 4: Shooting Tunnels and Editing

Today started shooting for the green screen at a tunnel near Marketgate, lead by Kelly and then met a few of the other members preparing their camera there, but I decided to use my GH4 instead for 4k footage for much more detailed footage.

I chose an angle facing the stairway, with one of the other members suggesting I include the pool of water at the bottom for a good reflection and addition to make the scene more lively. Though I want to shoot the walls itself for easier angle that is suitable for green screen in the studio, but the staircase scene seems better in bringing out the mood with some people walking past, making it more natural and organic.

After shooting some different takes so that I could have choices to play around, rush back to school to edit as my computer is not strong enough to handle 4K footages. The school’s Mac Pro is , luckily, powerful enough to do that and I slowly added the ‘trippy’ and ‘dark’ effect that the director wanted. But I feel that it will distract the audience when the background is fighting for attention with the actors, thus I created a few different versions and selected one that is colour graded but with no effects added to make it a suitable background.

Also, I shortened the Title duration shorter so that it would fit the overall length of the drama scene.

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Creating Screen Fiction part 3 : Title making and Blocking

Today is the creating of Title using pills that I bought from Tesco on the green mat itself. I suggested the idea of Ben forming the letter with the pills one by one while I video the process and take picture of the completed letter. I plan to fast forward the process to make it almost stop animation like. Then, at the end, I will form the full title : Brief Encounter.

I spend most of the time editing the video and images and stitch them together using Premiere Pro, while the removal of green screen is done with After Effect. I had planned to use Avid, but as I am not that skilled and also because of shortage of time, I decided to use Premiere Pro instead since I have been using it for years.

Photoshops are also used to remove some green screen to form the full title using images rather than using videos. I felt that a music would make it much better but for now it seems everyone is satisfied with this, maybe I will ask the director or the sound guy for help on this issue.

Also, my group has started the blocking with all walls set up, look mighty impressive since this is the first time I have seen the processes!10877674_10205005691536378_1567443800_n

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Lighting and Location

Today we learn a new workshop teaching all about lighting and it’s equipments.

First, learn the dangers of lighting equipments:

1. Heat
– Must use gloves to prevent hands from getting burnt
– May cause bulb to melt

2. Bright
– May blind people, which is not what you want
– Warn others before activating any light
– Use a hand to cover first

3. Tripping/Falling
– From cables
– May need to use tape to cover them up
– May need use sandbags for heavier light equipments

4. Electricity
– Electrocution from strong currents
– May cause blackout if no safety measures taken

Indeed, there are some of the precautions I have paid less attention to in the past, especially the Blindness part, which can ruin a day’s shooting, if any actors or important roles are blinded and unable to perform their part well.

Importance of light:

– Exposure/Illuminate on subjects
– Create depth, 3D effect
– Mood/style

Finally, we also learn of 3 Point Lighting, including the strongest light (Key Light) for main source of light on subject, then a Fill light for covering shadows caused by Key Light. Lastly is Back light, to give the sense of depth on the subject and alienate it from the background. All these have been learnt by me previously in my high school’s course, but it still does the trick of reminding me each of their functions.

But there’s new stuff that I learnt today. They are types of light and colour temperature, the latter which I have never considered to be a significant factor in conveying mood and it’s usage.

Colour temperature uses Kelvin scale, with a normal tungsten light emitting a warm orange 3200k , suitable for skin tones. Fluorescent light is more cooling at 5600K, bluish and cold. It really depends on what style I want to use I found.

Disadvantage of Tungsten:
1. Get hot easily
2. Causes subject to feel the heat

Disadvantage of Fluorescent:
1. Not suitable for skin tones

Disadvantage of LED:
1. Uneven brightness

However, we are able to use filters to change the properties, like from cold to warm etc.

Lastly, I also learnt that camera could change setting to allow warm or cold light to be set to normal so any subjects shot will retain the natural look.

Creating Screen Fiction part 2 : Planning and Preparation

Today woke up pretty early to get to the ‘supposed’ group meeting for all Design Team plus producer and director.

Met with James and he already talked and explained everything to the Art Director on the style, costumes or anything art related stuff. Then, the Art Director, Director, Producer, An actor and I went to the canteen for further discussion.

I ask their personal views and ideas on what to include for the green screen. They have decided to make the style looks modern and dirty. One idea is to shoot in a tunnel, under the ‘railway’. I suggested it to be moving still clip, so that it looks more natural and much more organic and catching to the eye. The director adds on to make it into a timelapse, which I think it’s a pretty cool idea. As the character can be in front of the green screen, and we make the background moves slower to depict certain emotion, like Laura being shocked to hear Alec is leaving, and she wishes the time to slow down or stop completely. I gave the idea of time reversal, which may further emphasise that she wants time to turn back, to the beginning of their relationship. The group thinks it’s a good idea and we will need to experiment more on it.

Then, it is about Title and Credit list, they want me to do some animations using pills to form the Title cover. As the story is sort of like drugs related, this actually helps to set the style to the audience right from the beginning. For the credit list, the director plans to use a toilet roll to roll down the credits, though I think it’s not really relevant. But for now this is the only available idea, we may find more new ideas when we discuss with the rest of the group in facebook.

Finally, we set the dates to shoot, the tunnel one will be shot next Tuesday, while the Credit or Title is most likely on next Monday. I’m glad that the producer and director is working hard for their roles, as I see other groups missing really many people.

Hope everything goes well as we plan or turns out even better XD

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Creating Screen Fiction Part 1 : Grouping and Deciding Roles

Today is the beginning of a new module by the name of Creating Screen Fiction, where we start off with a reproduction of a famous film, Brief Encounter. We are given two scenes of the characters interacting.

The difference is, we will be using the studio for Multi-Camera set-up, which is stated to save more time and able to shoot more per day than a single camera set-up, at the cost of less choices for lighting optimisation. Since we will be in the studio, we were briefed by many lecturers, including new ones that come here just to teach this section.

After the brief, we went into our group, and decided the role. There were some people missing, but eventually we sorted it out. I choose to be Graphic Designer, as I have worked on graphic related field previously and would like to make use of this skill in a production. This would be my first time applying this skill in a studio production.

I was taught with the other visual mixers and graphic designer in the gallery. It’s my first time doing things here and thanks to Michelle, I finally learn small part of the machine and how it works. Apparently each button has already be labelled and thus is easy to know which one is connected to the current screen. Learn to fade in and out using a special slider, which you can control how fast to fade.

Finally, I learn the software, Clarity, which is essential for my role as it is the software to change graphic. The interface is old and not really intuitive like After Effect. I still wonder why they never upgrade to a newer one, that software is already decade old. Nevertheless, I learn that :

Clarity:
Page one better leave blank as it may likely cause problem later on (a glitch maybe??)
There are essentially two parts of the software, one to edit the image, one to cue and take image to impose onto the live screen.
However, you can actually cue and take impose image using the edit version, though it is more troublesome.
Black means transparent,not white.

I play a bit with the software, pretty fun, but less shortcuts to use and mainly need mouse. Learn to edit text, add shapes etc. Too bad can’t animate as they say need spend money to add that function LOL

Luckily, I found that half of my group people are some that I have worked with previously.And the others are friendly too. I hope we are able to make a great one.

One positive note: My group is fast in doing things, like deciding roles and knowing what they want to do.

Scriptwriting Part 1 : Establish Plot, Characters and rough story

There’s been some changes to the group, with Tom swapped out for James as the former was absent.

We started off by each of us giving ideas through real life experiences or what they have seen in the news. Finally, after consolidating every ideas, we decided on a rough plot of murder and domestic violence. Following these themes, James suggested a poison from a plant called Lily of the Valley, which becomes the murder weapon of the plot.

I brought and wrote all these onto post-it-notes for easier organisation. For the characters, we planned to have a nanny getting involved in a murder plot between the wife and the husband over their only daughter. Slowly, we establish the time period and characters personalities. For the ending, we decided to leave it ambiguous, thus, we worked on the story backwards from the ending.

Overall, we managed to do a good rough storyline for the script that we wanted to write.
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