Film Poem – Shooting

Despite having a lot of shots to film, our shooting day went very well. Our group had planned for this day thoroughly, meaning that filming could start as soon as we got the camera. We went in to the day knowing all locations we were going to use, the order we were going to film the shots in, and (as our film requires a lot of props) each person had gone home with a list of items we would need to bring in for the filming. Planning it through like this just meant that it was a more relaxing environment to film in, because we could concentrate on making each shot look right without having to waste time getting everyone in the group on the same page. There were really only two main problems that stood out to me during the day.

One of the things that I wasn’t happy about, was that we didn’t get a chance to re-film the shots for the line, ‘Why the people who don’t notice us, happen to be the one’s we admire’. This line required us to get a number of shots of people just looking into the camera, so that we could cut quickly between all of these shots. However, it is completely up to a person whether they want their face to be in our video or not, and we cannot do it without their permission. Almost every person we asked wasn’t comfortable with being in the video because it will be put on YouTube, so we ended up with not enough people to do the scene effectively. Because of this, we are having to rely on our test footage that we got.

Here is the test footage

As you can see, the test shots are usable, but the filming was rushed. This meant that for the tests, we didn’t have time to think about background or lighting and because of this it means the faces are too dark and in shadow, whereas the white wall behind is lighter, so your focus isn’t as much on the people as it is the background. Also, our original aim had been to get everybody in the same place in the frame, so that it cut smoothly between each one, but the lack of time meant we didn’t have time to do that properly. As a result, the cuts are too noticeable and, with everybody being different heights and distances from the camera, their faces jump around the screen too much. I had wanted their faces looking at the camera to be the main focus so you could see everyone’s expressions, because the eye contact they made with the camera would have had a powerful effect, but they move around so much that the focus is lost. If we had been able to film more people, we could have used the grid on the camera’s viewfinder to line up everyone so they were in the same position. We could also have found a room that was more suitably lit to get rid of the unwanted shadows on their faces, and adjusted the ISO to make the overall picture lighter.

The other thing that worried me during shooting, was that we filmed a lot of shots, but only used a couple of locations. Most of our shots take place in one room or by the river. This means that there a large groups of clips that all have similar backgrounds, and the worry is that the shots will look too similar next to each other. Each shot is meant to link to the poem, not to one another, but if they look vaguely the same the viewer might automatically try and connect them. This will defeat the point of each shot telling it’s own little individual story, which is what happens in Seconds of Beauty, a short film that largely inspired ours. The shots in this are so different that you naturally want to study each one separately as they flash up on the screen, and we want to mimic that with our film. If they do look too much the same, the only way to get around it is to arrange them carefully during editing so no two with the same background appear next to each other.

Even though we maybe could have thought about the backgrounds more, I think we experimented well with the actual shots. During planning we didn’t want to limit ourselves with the shots because none of us were sure exactly how we were going to arrange the props in the frame. So deliberately, we kept our shot list fairly open, to allow ourselves some space to try out different angles, distances and lengths. For example, if we were filming a prop like a phone or a calendar, we would try first filming it close up with a shallow depth of focus meaning part of it wouldn’t be in focus, then we would try filming it from further away, having it smaller in the frame. We wanted to find the shot that best highlighted each prop so the viewer could easily see what it was and link it up to the poem, and by giving ourselves a bit of freedom from set shot lists and storyboards it meant we could find the perfect shots. 

So in general I am pleased with how the shooting went. Because of our experimenting, some of the shots turned out better than we had originally planned, and even though we had a couple of dilemmas, there wa nothing that will greatly affect the overall film.

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One Response to Film Poem – Shooting

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    Brilliant. You worked well as a three in this group, showing a broad range of skills to explore the poem and deliver a strong integration of the poem and the video—well done for this! Your research was strong, your planning cohesive and detailed, and your shoot ran smoothly from the back of this strong workflow. Your point about the backgrounds is valid, and yes, in an ideal world, you would have had the time and space to try more locations and input a little more variety. As it is, though, you created a cohesive piece that neatly delivers the poem. Well done, Kitty.


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