Wednesday, 1 June 2011

And CUT! That's a wrap.

Today was it: the day we finished our first short film. This week we added in the opening title and end credits, as well as background music. The end credits are by far my favourite part. We mixed credits with bloopers of each member of our group. We also made sure to include a list (in order of appearance) of the songs from which we used lyrics.

Honestly, I'm not at all satisfied with our finished video. It doesn't look very professional, there are inconsistencies with the sound, and lighting, and a lot of the angles just aren't that great. I have to think positively though, and chalk it all up as a learning experience. This first film may be crap, but the next one will be better, and the one after that even better. I can definitely appreciate all the time and effort that goes into bringing a film to the screen, that's for sure. Plus, if our first try had been perfect, then how would we ever top it? This way we've left ourselves heaps of room for improvement. Positive attitude!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Colours? Corrected!

Last week we went through our film and colour corrected each of the clips. Some of them were a little bit tricky, but we got it all done and it looks better. Overall though, the more times I watch it, the less I like it. I just notice all the things I would've done differently, and it's starting to stand out to me more and more how amateur our shots look. Oh well, I guess I can't expect perfection from my first shot at film making.

On a different topic, we still seem to be short one member... Zehn. To be fair, his grandmother is sick and having surgery, but he was the weak link in the group way before this. I even gave him a warning, and he still didn't change his behaviour. I guess he figures that his other classes can take priority because this project has six other people to cover his ass. Frustrating.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cutting like a Pro.

On the weekend, Julian, Mel, and I booked one of the computers in the Editing Suite and started editing our video together. We got all the shots for each scene put in order, and all the scenes from start to finish. It's rough so far, but at least now it looks like a movie. We even put in transitions between scenes to make it look smoother. There's still a long way to go, though. We have to figure out where to put the title, but we do have an idea for the credits. We've got blooper footage of each one of us, so we're going to use that to show each person along with their name and the roles they played in making the film.

For me, it's hard to loosen the reins of control, especially when there are group members who have yet to prove they can be trusted and relied upon, but I'm working on it. Julian was happy to let me do most of the editing because he already has experience with the program (plus I kept asking his opinions and he was very helpful in getting me comfortable with Final Cut Pro), and when Mel wanted to try her hand at editing, I let her have a go. She was a little rough with cutting the clips, but she won't get better if I don't let her practice, and I have to let other people have a chance to learn too.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Final Cut Pro

A little behind on my blogs, but here's what we did last week:

Since all of our filming is done, we had to get our files set up on Final Cut Pro. A group of us, including myself, Julian, Gemma, Bec, and Zehn, booked a computer in one of the editing suites. We went through our film clips and decided which ones we wanted to use, then transferred them into Final Cut Pro. We got a bit confused by the process because the only person who had used the program before had done it from tapes, not digitally. We got it figured out in the end though. Personally, I would've liked to have taken more time to go through the entire length of every each clip, but the rest of the group was set on just going through the last few takes of each scene because those were the best ones. I guess my way would've taken an unnecessary amount of time, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it bothers me that they were all willing to rush through it.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Lights, camera, action!

Ta-dah! Filming is done. It actually went more smoothly than I was expecting and I'm fairly confident that we got all the footage we need. We all got the hang of it pretty quickly; setting up the camera and lights and audio equipment, white balancing, framing, etc, etc. I don't mean to sound boastful, but I feel I did a really good job of keeping everyone on track and organized. I kind of took over the role of director for most of the filming. However, I made sure that everyone got to have their say, each person's input was taken into account, and if people wanted to try their hand at camera or audio work, they were free to do so. To be sure that everyone was comfortable, I even asked if I was being too pushy, and told them that if I was, they should just tell me. Everyone did a good job though, and everyone took part.

We did run into a few snags. The main one being Zehn. He missed our first day of shooting. Don't get me wrong; it wasn't completely his fault. His flight from Cairns was delayed, and when he arrived on the second day, he did work hard to help out and be involved. We've had issues with him besides that though. He's missed several classes, missed numerous group meetings, didn't help at all with planning or writing the script/production schedule/shot list, and is really bad at keeping up with group correspondence. I did talk to him about it briefly after we finished shooting (separate from the group, so he wouldn't feel like everyone was ganging up on him), and it seems like he's going to step up. I think he's more interested in the post-production work anyway.

Another issue we had was with the weather. It rained on and off for both of our shooting days, so we had to adapt several scenes that took place outdoors. One we managed to do under cover, and the other we finished our final shot just as the water came tumbling back down. Lucky timing. Overall though, it was a successful couple of days, and we didn't end up killing each other. For the most part it was actually a lot of fun.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Schedule this!

This past week we had to submit our first hardcopy assessment: the production schedule, script, and shot list. It was a little bit difficult because most of the group didn't show up when we tried to put together a meeting. Out of our seven members, three of us were present and put together the shot list and schedule. I had already gone through the scene breakdown pages before we met up. We got everything finished, and I'm even fairly certain that we did it properly. Yay!

We've had to rearrange our schedule however, because we didn't get the shooting days we wanted. Turns out that everyone wanted to shoot on Wednesday and Thursday. We've also run into the issue that one of our actors is going to be in Byron Bay for our filming days, so we're finding someone to fill the role.

The thing I find most frustrating at this point is that not all of our group members check the group email, so then when they come to class, they ask me all kinds of questions that have already been answered and figured out through email. I guess it's hard with group assignments to find a group in which everyone is dedicated to the project. You just have to manage with what you've got and hope that the number of dedicated students outweighs the slackers. Sadly, it seems like it doesn't in our group.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Here a camera. There a camera. Everywhere a camera!

This week we got to play with the video cameras. And of course, by "play with" I mean "learn about for our academic and professional benefit." They are really cool. Kind of complicated (there are a lot of little things to remember), but very very cool. I'm definitely excited to get to the filming stage over the break.

As for our group, this week we assigned the roles of Producer (that would be me), Director (Bec), and Production Designer (Mel). We also wrote the script. This we did as a whole group, which worked out really well. We already knew what our scenes were going to be, so it was fairly easy to go through them one-by-one and put them into script form. We've continued working on the script draft by sending it back and forth through the group gmail to add things in and make revisions. Bec, being the director, is in charge of putting together a first draft shot list and then sending it out for the rest of us to go over. We've discussed what we want the film to look like, so I think we're all on the same page for that and hopefully shouldn't have to revise it too much. I'm in charge of typing up the shot breakdown pages so that we can put together the actual production schedule. We're planning on filming on either the Tuesday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Thursday of the break. I think we're all really excited to actually shoot the video now that we're really seeing it come together in the script. The script, shot list, and production schedule are due on Wednesday, so our plan is to have everything done by Monday night, have Tuesday to double check and make final revisions, so that it's all ready to go first thing Wednesday morning.