Finished Horror Opening Sequence 2010

Preliminary Exercise 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preliminary Exercise


1)Who did you work with and how did you manage the task between you?

In my group were Spencer, Catharrin, Bianca and I. When beginning the task we all listened to each other’s ideas and decided on what we thought could work well for our sequence. Once decided we all thought about who could be the actors and who could film each shot. We didn't have any particular leader as we all got along really easily with everyone contributing to team discussions. We thought about everyones strengths and worked with them so we decided upon Bianca and I who would do the main conversation in the sequence and Spencer would act in the last couple of shots. This left Catharrin to do a lot of the shooting, however this made it a lot easier when shooting as we didn’t have to keep swapping round cameraman each shot preventing us loosing time. Nevertheless we all decided to at least film one or two shots. These group dynamics worked well so we kept them the same and we all helped with the editing process allowing everyone to have a go. Spencer helped a lot with the editing process as he found it particularly easy however we all tried little bits of editing so we were all involved and again had no one leader as we didn’t think it was necessary.

Overall are group got on really well, we listened to each other’s ideas, which avoided any arguments. I really enjoyed working with my group, as they were very helpful and reliable.

2) How did you plan your sequence? What processes did you use? What theories did you try to take into account?

To plan our sequence we had one initial meeting in class and this is were we decided the idea for our sequence and worked out location and actors. We then went into the location to look at size and space and too check are sequence would work well in the space provided. We then made a rough script with everyone contributing and then planned a meeting for a lunch at the end of the week.

At our lunchtime meeting we firstly read through our rough script and worked out what sounded wrong. We then did a run-through in the location and worked out where we would sit, from this we made the final script and I copied this out in neat.

By completing the script we could then work out our storyboard. We knew that we had to include continuity techniques in our sequence and the techniques that were essential were ‘match on action’ ‘shot/reverse shot’ and ‘180 degree rule’. It also had to have someone coming in a door, crossing a room, and sitting opposite another person and exchange couple of lines of dialogue. With this in mind as a group we went through each box and planned what would be in each and what shot type we could use to get the best effect. We decided upon using a pan shot to track a character. We made sure our shots had eyeline match to ensure the charcters gaze stayed the same. We used mid shots, close ups, long shots, Point of view shots, reaction shots and over the shoulder shots. Also when doing the storyboard we thought about the 30 degree rule so that our footage didn't look like it had a glitch. Each of us completed a page of the storyboard so it was equally shared out. The importance of the storyboard was so the director can visualise the shots and it also creates a narrative flow. Therefore to get a narrative flow we had to have a beginning middle and end including charcters and some sort of event to happen, which in our sequence we planned the awkward moment.

We then used this storyboard to quickly work out what shots needed to be recorded for our shooting schedule as some shots were done twice. We grouped shots together according to setups therefore made the shooting process much easier.

3)What technology did you use to complete the task, and how did you use it?

We were taught how to use all technical equipment before our shooting week and we were also told what instructions a director would say on a shoot to make it as professional as possible.

On the day of shooting our group were given a Cannons Digital Mini DV to record all our footage on which we could easily press record and stop for each shot. We kept this camera throughout and this was essentially our group’s camera. We used the rewind button to look back over footage to check we got the right shot and that it looked good.

We were also given a tripod so we could place the camera on it. We used this to make all our shots steady and increase continuity. We attached a microphone on to the top of the camera and a headset. This ensured that we got a good sound and that all words were able to be heard and to check it wasn’t too loud or quiet so that when we capture our footage on the computer we knew that it was right.

We also used a clapperboard to record each shot before we filmed any action so that we could separate each shot and take in, therefore it made it easier when we had to edit

For editing we used an editing software called Adobe Premier Pro which was set up on the PC's.We had a source and and output monitor to playback our edited work easily. The program allowed us to cut up our sequence and edit each shot really easily. We had tools such as the razor and hand tool that allowed us to cut out small sections that we did not need in our sequence precisely. We used 2 video tracks so that we could break up our clips making it much clearer to edit. This helped break up the conversation in dialogues and when different characters come in. We used one audio track and an editing style called non-linear editing allowing us to move clips around in different orders. Once we had our sequence cut up and ordered we used an effect of a fade at the end of the clip and added to title pages at the start of our sequence.

4) What factors did you take into account when planning, shooting and editing?

Planning- When planning we took into consideration who liked acting and was confident to perform in our piece we did this so that we could make the process of shooting as quick as possible. We checked that the room we planned to use was free at our shooting time. This was very important as all other groups were filming in the media block and everyone had a shot in the corridor however we overcame this at shooting. We also checked that we were able to move furniture around for our task. We made sure all our shots made sense in the location and all the conversation works. We checked we knew who was shooting and in what location to make it quick and easy and so everybody knew what they were doing beforehand.

Shooting- When shooting we made sure all furniture was in the right place so that both characters could fit into the establishing shot. We made sure the light in the room was kept constant to make it look realistic and kept a check on the weather conditions. Made sure all actors were in the correct place and could be heard on film. When filming the shots we had to make sure the framing was correct and that we were keeping to all the continuity techniques because that was the point of the exercise. We kept a time check so that we did not run of time and got through our shots as quickly as possible.

Editing- The main element we had to check was time because we didn’t want to run out of time because we needed to get it all done. We also had to make sure our computer for editing was free and set up so that we could get on with as quickly as possible.

5) How successful was your sequence? Please identify what worked well, and with hindsight, what you would you improve/ do differently?

Our sequence started with a girl sitting in an office working and another girl then comes through the main door back into the room where they begin to type on computers. One girl then turns to the other girl and asks her if she is going to a party on friday not knowing she wasnt invited and it quickly turns awkward. Then a boy enters the room and without knowing asks the same question there is then an exchange of awkward looks and the clip ends with the boy looking down feeling very awkward and embarassed

I think our sequence went quite successfully. We were able to stick to all the continuity rules and I think our match on action looked really realistic. I also like the conversation because I think are framing went well and the cuts between them were accurate. However as this was a preliminary exercise I think there were quite a few things I would change. At 16 seconds we firstly did not realise when shooting we filmed me opening the door with one hand and then on the extreme close up I opened the door with the other hand. This was only noticed after we had filmed therefore could not change it so we had to cut out the ECU. This would have given us a variety of shots and would have brought the audience closer to the action however we still managed to make it work. Another big error we made when filming was that we did the establishing shot with Bianca sitting in the chair in the room at 10 seconds into the clip. We then later on at 13 seconds filmed the clip that would join this and forgot to put Bianca in the chair. There fore when I opened the door she was not there and then she appeared which ruined the flow of continuity. However again we made it work and only opened the door a small bit but would have been better opening the door more. At the beginning of a lot of the shots some look very blurry and of focus for around a second. If we could reshoot I would have checked this much more carefully because we had small problems when we came to editing. At some points I didn’t think the acting was that realistic however I think if we had more time to plan and shoot this could have easily been changed. We also had a small problem of lighting as we shot some scenes later on which joined onto earlier scenes therefore at some points we had stronger sunlight then other shots. We also had a shot by the door therefore as this light was coming through the door it made the actor look very dark this was shown at 16 seconds which is something we could aim to improve for the real thing.

Overall I think it went well we learnt a lot and worked hard. Although there are some things I’d change we still made the editing look smooth and not edited which was the main point of the exercise

6) What have you learnt from completing this task? Looking ahead, how will this learning be significant when completing the rest of your foundation coursework, do you think?
The main thing from this task was to learn new things and understand editing shooting and planning in much more depth and I feel I really have taken a lot from this.

  • I have learnt so many new continuity techniques e.g. the 180-degree rule, shot reverse shot and match on action. I have seen how important it is to get every detail into each shot to make the continuity techniques make sense and for the sequence to flow. It is also much harder then I first thought to get all the shots to make sense to the audience and how important little shots like reaction shots are.
  • I have personally learnt how to use the edit tool and familiar myself again with the editing process. I still feel I need more practise however have learnt a lot more and also how to put them on 2 tracks to make it clearer to edit.

  • I’ve also realised how important time is and how essential it is to keep a time check so that we do not run out of time. During a shoot I’ve realised to play back the shots and look out carefully to make sure I’ve got the correct shot before moving on