“What I Don’t Understand” – Film Poem Evaluation

I had very few problems during this project, but one of the major ones was the music. Up until editing, the background music had been discussed only very vaguely in our group, and nothing specific had been picked out. All we had decided was that either piano or cello would probably fit best with the mood of the poem. Ideally, I would have liked a piece of music that was very slow and simple, more like a series of chords rather than an actual tune. This was because I was very aware that a poem has a certain rhythm when read out loud, and I didn’t want my music choice to have a rhythm that clashed with it. This was something I noticed in the film poem for Charles Bukowski’s poem, Roll the Dice during research. If you listen, the music is really very simple, it’s almost just one long, continuous note. The poem isn’t fitted to a tune, but it still works, because the way the music slowly goes up gives an empowering feel to the listener, which links to the emotion in the poem. I thought that a very simple piece would be easy enough to blend into the background to keep the poem in the spotlight, but it turns out that finding music like that is very difficult.They were mostly too fast or too complicated, and were a performance in themselves, meaning they deserved their own video but weren’t suited to being in the background.

In the end I had to pick a tune that had as consistent a beat as I could, but even with this music I had to cut up the poem audio so I could fit the words to the rhythm. I lost a lot of editing time because of this issue, and it meant that not only was the rest of my edit rushed but I had to miss out certain things like colour correction. It would’ve been a better idea to find the music first, because then we could have spoken the poem so it fitted with the tempo and rhythm. The only good thing about picking the music after was that everyone in our group ended up picking different music, which affected the mood and the way we edited the clips together, so it made our videos a little bit individual.

Another issue that I have with the video is that the consistency of exposure is not good. Some shots are too dark where as other shots are slightly overexposed. It’s obvious enough on their own, but when they’re next to each other in the video it only emphasizes it.

These shots come one after another in the film poem. Two are too dark and the other two are too bright, and this makes it disjointed to watch because you naturally focus on some shots more than others. When you look at these ones, the last screenshot doesn’t stand out as much as the one of Caitlin holding the ice cream, but this makes the film less effective because each shot is meant to be important and meant to be noticed as they each link to the poem. Looking back, we had more than enough time during filming and shouldn’t have tried to rush through our shot list just because we only had one day. If we’d have spent the time before each and every shot experimenting with the ISO and checking it against previous shots rather than looking at each one individually, our film would have flowed better and the quality would have looked better.

One thing I do like about our film is the audio. The worry was that that the music in the background might drown out the words and make them less potent, which is what happens in the film poem called True Love, where you can barely listen to the words because the music is too strong. But I feel like the words stand out well in the film and the focus still stays on them, and this is because of audio gain, which we were introduced to during editing. A lot of the audio we captured was too quiet, but we were able to increase the amplitude of the waves to make the audio peaks more defined. It would definitely be easier and get better results to get the audio right during the capturing of it, but as we didn’t have time to re-do it, this is an effective way of sorting it out.

Finally, I’d like to discuss the title at the end of the film. I chose to put the title including the names of the poet and the names of everyone in my group over one of the shots we got of the paper hearts.

film poem title card

I did this despite a few people suggesting fading to black first before putting the film title up. I preferred this way, because the whole poem can be viewed as quite sad, apart from the last line, “but that only makes me love it all the more.” when the poem suddenly has a light and uplifting tone change. I wanted to reflect that using this shot as a background, because even though you’re more focused on reading the words, you’re still aware of the pale, warm colours behind, and these colours remind you that the poem ended on a happier note. I agree that the words maybe take away from the shot a little bit, because it’s a nice shot and deserves to be appreciated, and I probably would have been better putting the writing in the centre of the shot where the hearts are in focus, because that draws your eyes towards it. However I don’t regret this decision, and I think what this has taught me is that it’s okay to follow your instincts and not just blindly follow other peoples opinion, because everyone has different opinions and you’re allowed to disagree with them if you feel confident about it.


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One Response to “What I Don’t Understand” – Film Poem Evaluation

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    Great stuff again, Kitty—I’m pleased with this. You’ve combined strong technical comprehension with effective aesthetic and narrative choices, and you’ve drawn some excellent connections between them. I’m pleased to see you show a consistent improvement in your understanding of broader techniques, and it’s also great that you’re making some increasingly personal decisions and responses in your work. Well done (again!).


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