Today we completed our shooting for our latest project, which was to create a 60 second long short film using mainly close-ups and set in a toilet cubicle.
We had a limited shooting time because the rest of the groups needed an opportunity to film, so we had to be quick in getting the shots. Unfortunately, we had a slow start, and almost 20 minutes went by before we got the first shot. The reason for this was our first shot, the wide establishing shot, wasn’t quite working as we had expected. In our heads, we had all imagined the shot differently, and we couldn’t decide where the best place to put the camera was. There are ways to avoid this happening in future shoots. The videos we will make this year will all be very short and not require a lot of shots, so we will actually have time during pre-production to go to our chosen location and plan out the positioning of the camera for all of our shots. If we did this for this shoot, we would have discovered the problem before we started shooting, meaning we would have gained an extra 20 minutes.
Another thing we can do in future shoots is to use our planned shot as a guideline, and build up on it. This is what we ended up doing for this film. We took the beginning wide shot of the whole bathroom, and then we collected a lot of other close shots that could fit in with it. As an example, at one point, there is a second person in the wide shot washing her hands. To add to it, we also decided to film a close up of her hands under the tap, as well as a close up of Kayla (the main actress) walking past this second person on her way in. We knew we weren’t going to use all the shots, but it was very useful because it meant that we will have a wider choice of clips during editing. The more footage you have to work with the less limited you are and so the better the story you can tell is.
Another thing that i thought went really well on the shoot was the way we handled having more people than jobs. We had three people managing one camera, and had we not handled this situation correctly, one person may have ended up doing all the filming leaving two people with nothing to do. However, after someone had had a go with filming a section, we always made sure to ask around to see who wanted to film the next shot. This is good because it is very important that everybody gets used to handling cameras, even these simple handycams that we had to film this with. Gaining experience in a film set right from the very beginning means that, by the time you get to bigger sets using more sophisticated equipment, you are familiar with your surroundings and it makes it an easier transition. I feel that I had a good input into the filming for this short film, and just as important, I think that the rest of my group also gave great input.
I think that during pre-production, we all did a large amount of research that meant we could create a shot list fairly easily. However, a way I felt we could have improved it was if we had also drawn up a simple storyboard to link up with our shots. As i said earlier, we had a rough start because everyone in our group had pictured the establishing shot to be slightly different. If we had a storyboard, we could have decided before the shoot exactly how wide our wide shot was going to be and from what angle it was going to be taken. We would then have drawn this onto the storyboard, and on the day of the shoot, we could have started filming as soon as the camera was set up, cutting out the nearly 20 minutes we ended up spending trying to work it out.
All in all, I’d say that once we got over the shaky start, our filming went very smoothly. We were efficient in taking the shots, and even though we had the shot list, we were comfortable enough working with each other that we were able to carry on bouncing shot ideas off each other as we worked. We finished within our time limit and got all the shots we had planned, as well as some extra, and hopefully this will reflect well during editing.