Script to Film 13: Sound Foley

Today me and Mat booked the Foley Studio and started doing our own foleys for the film. There are a couple of sounds that are not clear in the original boom mic recording and so we decided to add them instead. Many of the sounds need to be improvised and we actually used some unusual combination of items such as plastic + wet paper for the rustling leaves sound. Thankfully, there is not much sound needed to be created as half of them have been downloaded by Mat and fits the scenes nicely. It’s quite fun making and thinking of weird combinations that actually produce the sound you want, guess with more experimentation, we could do more sounds within a shorter amount of time.

Then I helped Mat does the timing of the music and tension soundtrack to bring an abrupt and sudden ending before it flows to the credits. At the same time, some extra ambience are removed due to too much noise in the scene.

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Script to Film : Reflection

Looking back, it all started with just a simple idea that is needed to form a script. The time spent on brainstorming new developments, characters and endings are finally bearing fruits on the results. This is my first time doing this seriously and with my group-mates. It takes sometime to combine ideas from different people, and having to give opinions and receive feedbacks that may not be to your liking. I used to work mostly alone on some projects and this really trained me a lot in my communicating skills, which is really important in a group. Everyone has different temper and tolerances, but I was lucky my group is dependable and is willing to accept criticism and change something instead of stubbornly sticking through with original idea which they really liked.

This project allows me to experience a role I have never done before :Producer. It’s really quite a change from my usual role of storyboard or sound editor or film editor. The responsibility is pretty huge and seems like it requires me to be there for the whole production. There’s definitely more paperworks involved and needing to know all the details of the film, from script to actors to locations to budgets etc. It is only after I did some research that I realised a Producer acts like the Leader of the Team and is someone who involved himself into many aspects of the production. Thankfully, this role allows me to understand more about my teammates and I get to spend more time working with each of them. Being a Producer really floods me with lots of information and I have to relay to others of certain changes that are made but not announced by the Director.

Sometimes, I got to handle conflict among members too, which luckily had never been extreme or common. We get to discuss together most of the time. Each of us are quite enthusiastic at the roles we have chosen with most of us taking new roles we have never taken before. There are some aspects that I hope we could change like researching more about our time setting of 1950s beforehand to find out the limitations. We are unaware of such drastic changes from the wall socket to the clothing and thought that they are pretty easy to be replicated. We also have to deal with several drastic changes, from the time period, settings, characters and to removal of an actor. I believe that we have to be flexible and always try to find a way out, as changes are inevitable during production and we need to prepare a backup plan or sort.

For the post-production, we do not really have a firm plan for soundtrack and editing and is more like just tried to do with what we had. We depended too much on one person for location and actors which delayed us greatly as that person took too long to accomplish the tasks given to him. It is one major mistake we had made and this is a really great lesson to be learnt. We were really lucky that the production was still able to be completed in the last minute. Choosing team mates for the next project will become my number one priority. Some people have the skills but lack attendance, which is pretty much useless and really delayed the production a lot. I felt that we should allocate similar tasks to more people for a case of having back-ups plan in case the main one failed and not to be too dependent on just one person. Furthermore, sometimes the Director may make mistakes and I need to speak it out, no matter if it’s last minute changes or not, for the good of the production.

Script to Film 12: Helping with Sound

Today comes and helps with the sound editing and foley with the Sound Director. Apparently, there has been a problem with the editing due to lack of footages causing the lips to not sync with the recorded sounds. Sadly, as much as we tried, we could only try to add other foley or ambience effects to mask it and makes it less obvious. After that, I tried to experiment adding on a sad soundtrack during some dramatic moments and it actually worked quite well! The sound recording studio can only be used next week and it will be used for those sounds that could not be downloaded or used from stock recordings, I have listed down some sounds to make it easier for us to focus on. Meanwhile, it seems the Sound Director is doing well, having refined and downloaded essential ambience and stock recordings and has already done 60-70% of the editing. We still have one more week left before submission and I will try to assist as much as possible.

Script to Film 11 : Starting on creating Title in After Effect & Other Issues

Lots of the time were spent on other module due to it’s earlier submission date, but now that it’s over, I could finally concentrate to create a Title sequence of our film in After Effect. Originally, the title was supposed to be “Lily of the Valley” but we found that it would be too much of a hint to giveaway and have been brainstorming together on a new one. There are some that we thought of such as Poison, Forbidden etc but they are either too plain or still pose the same problem of giving too much hint. In the end, we settle for a word that is of Greek origin– Storge, which means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” but it also means to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. This word encompasses  what we are showing in the film and thus is chosen as the final tile. I think that using a foreign word gives it a more unique feel and arouses people’s curiosity as to the meaning of the title itself. At the same time, it gives people a sense of mystery, not knowing what the film is about until they watch till the very end.

For the software, I use After Effect as I have practised using it and that it has lots of plug-ins available for making effects easier. Also, it is due to the huge amount of tutorials available online and which I can use the chance to test out my skills in creating such effect sequence. Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 19.28.45

For the fonts, I’m using a thicker font called ‘Impact’ as I need it to be thick enough for the masking of the background effect. The background is a video of a falling red rose petals, symbolising the falling apart of ‘love’ in the film and alluding to one of the scenes where the Father cuts away a rose flower before he is poisoned by his wife. The colour that I have chosen is dark red, signifying the deep love that they once had and the ending is the words distingerating into dust, further alluding to the crumbling of the family that will happen at the end, and also indirectly symbolising the death of the Father right when their ‘love’ falls apart. The sequence is planned to start fade in slowly and is given a few seconds for the reader to read the Title before it disappears into dust, making it a smooth and meaningful transition to the opening scenes.

It takes sometime for me to get used to do new stuff like adding Composition and combining them, but I guess its because of my lack of experience since I have mostly dabbled in simple effects. For the current title sequence, the effect that I want to achieve is a little bit trickier and requires more steps and plug-ins for it to be done nicely. It serves as a good exercise, though, for me to learn the shortcut or functions of some effects/plug-ins slowly. After Effect does make things easier compared to other special effect software. For example, the distingeration into dust effect involved a plug-in and a build-in effect that requires only two steps for them to be mixed and are easily manipulated with the available options.

Initially, we are supposed to do a reshoot of a few key scenes back in Dave’s house, but sadly, it was cancelled at the last minute as we did not get any reply back from one of team members who have direct contact with Dave. This incident caused us to have to made do with whatever footages we have and also made me believe even more that we could not depend on a single person or a single choice of location. Also, as a producer, I found that I did not do a great job in informing everyone and bringing everyone together, especially with the director doing his own works most of the time. For now, I will be working hand-in-hand with the Editor and Sound Editor to deliver a final good quality film

Script to Film 10: Starting of Post Production and Issues

Easter ends and we show our first edit to Dom for review. And…as I thought and suspect, some of the shots are really bad, worse than I thought. I guess this happens when a group mate does not know very well about his own camera ability. Too many of the shots are placed in weird positions and some even cut off the actors’ face! Furthermore, he cuts the video almost immediately when the action ends, preventing a smooth edit as almost every scenes are cut very abruptly. However, I am glad that there are also some very good scenes that display the atmosphere and symbolism which we have planned in the script.

Overall, it is bad enough that we may have to reshoot some of the stuff. However, there is something weird going on. The director is also doing his own editing, completely separate from the editor’s. I feel that this is quite unnecessary; rather than doing it together, we have now two separate editors that are working on two different versions. If the submission time is still months away, it maybe fine, but it is now left only 4 weeks. If this still continues, I have decided to tell him straight. We are working as a team, so it’s better that we do not do things separately, especially regarding editing.

Script to Film 9 : Final Tutorial before Easter

Today’s tutorial we are proud to show Dom some good scenes in the film and also discussing possible missing scenes or problems that have surfaced, he’s pretty impressed with how we handle the trouble of missing actor by rewriting the whole script and change the ending which we tried hard to maintain. It seems like our hard work has finally paid off, and we maybe even allowed to reshoot just one more scene back in Dave’s house again.

Now we are getting to post-production, I will be helping mostly with the sounds, but maybe with the edit as well. Hope what I have learned from foley workshop and other sound related ones could help.

Script to Film 8 : Final day of Filming

Second and last day of filming and surprisingly, it’s true when people say they can learn from experience and makes things easier and faster, as that was what happened today during the full day of filming from morning to evening. The actors delivered their lines well while the set up of the light and sound was much faster too. Some of the scenes only need 1 shot to finish, showing how much everyone has grown accustomed to it.

We wrap up plenty fast, and was on time before we had to leave. It had been a wonderful experience, my first time working in such a production in England. Hope to be able to more of such things soon!

Script to Film 7 : Day of Filming!!

The day has come! The day of filming! Everyone rented out the equipments and I brought some of mine and food too. We set off from the school using Craig’s big van, my first experience travelling in van for filmmaking, took a pretty long time due to picking up others and bad traffic cause of an accident.

There are few lessons I have learnt while doing the first day: We are almost never on time with each scene. The set ups took the most time, and there are still confusion due to the place needed a change in furniture or too small than expected for lightings etc. The actors are mostly left waiting, which I felt quite guilty as we really never plan well enough. We are lucky that the Megan’s role by Maddy is allowed by her mum to act beyond the 3 hour marks, otherwise I feel we couldn’t finish it on time.

I am the First AD, calling with Clapper Board, while helping with set ups and making sure the scene stays the same in the view as the previously shot scenes. I’m lucky I’m able to spot some parts that will utterly destroy the footage, such as Jack holding his glass of wine in one scene and suddenly he’s not in the other shot scene.

Overall, although we wasted a lot of time, we managed to do it within the schedule and all planned shots today have been done, kudos to the team and the brilliant actors!

Script to Film 6 : More changes to the Script cause of absence of actress

Sadly, I just heard from the director that the actress for Ania couldn’t make it for the last minute and we are really just few days before the date of filming and changes to location date is not possible. Thus we decide to spend a long day in Petra’s house to discuss the script changes, and it will be a pretty drastic changes. The decision comes from eithe having Petra acts as Ania or taking the character out completely from the story.

After some discussion, we decided to do the latter, as Petra is not very keen on acting and wishes to fulfil her role of DoP to the fullest instead of acting. Another reason is we realise having one less character to deal with actually helps to increase interactions between characters more meaningful. Where once Sophia’s role is lesser than Ania, it is now Sophia who has the full interaction with both Megan and Jack. Alas, we managed to make minima changes in the front, relegating all Ania’s lines to Sophia instead, but it is the ending that is now completely different. Gone were the ambiguous ending, the loss of Ania means everyone knows who’s the killer is and instead we figure out how to make it realistic : the killing process.

I did new storyboards for all of these as soon as they updated it in google drive, and I kind of feel it’s a blessing in disguise. The story is more believable now with much greater interactions between characters. Hope we are able to film everything smoothly.  😀

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Script to Film 5 : Auditioning Ania’s role

Today Patrick and I use Google Hangout to audition with an actress from Bath, who will be auditing the roles of the nanny, Ania. It is my first time participating in the audition as I miss the first one last time and it is pretty fun, even though we did not do it face to face and I have to be contented with my phone screen instead of a laptop due to it being spoilt at a wrong timing.

I took the roles of Megan, Sophia and Jack, and from what I have seen and heard, the new actress is pretty decent. She has years of experience in acting in short films, and this actually shows during the reading of the script. Her emotion, tones and facial expressions is able to capture the role of Ania well. it’s just too bad we couldn’t get to see her face to face.

Everything is captured by Patrick, so hopefully we can review the footage fast and decide on whether to take her or not, though it will definitely cost us more money, but I feel that it is worth it to make a good film.